Reversing Alzheimer’s With Food and Lifestyle? For Real?

In the small way that I can, I try to redeem myself and modern medicine regarding food and lifestyle.  I don’t know where we got so off base.  I’m just a stay-at-home mom now who homeschools.  I’m not sure why I can’t just leave it behind and say, “Who cares?  Not me.  At least now I know.”  I guess it doesn’t matter.  I can’t.  You can take the doctor out of the hospital and clinic, but you can’t quell her thirst for learning and helping.

I put this following information on my personal Facebook timeline several days ago, but this morning a real friend who isn’t a Facebook friend (Oh my Gosh, is that possible?) sent it to me with excitement.  I decided to make it a small post here in case others haven’t seen it.  It is regarding a small research study which successfully implemented diet and lifestyle change for Alzheimer’s dementia.

I have three very good medical school friends that I hold dear who are scattered across the United States.  Two of them have strong family histories of premature dementia in their families, and I harp on them about nutrition when we talk by phone.  When the craziness of these days with young kids is over, we all plan to get together for a beach vacation.  I jokingly, but quite seriously, tell them they have to change the way they eat or else they won’t know who I am over their pina coladas.

Anyhow…

Memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s reversed: Small trial succeeds using systems approach to memory disorders

An excerpt from this article, (emphasis mine):

“Bredesen’s approach is personalized to the patient, based on extensive testing to determine what is affecting the plasticity signaling network of the brain. As one example, in the case of the patient with the demanding job who was forgetting her way home, her therapeutic program consisted of some, but not all of the components involved with Bredesen’s therapeutic program, and included:

(1) eliminating all simple carbohydrates, leading to a weight loss of 20 pounds;

(2) eliminating gluten and processed food from her diet, with increased vegetables, fruits, and non-farmed fish;

(3) to reduce stress, she began yoga;

(4) as a second measure to reduce the stress of her job, she began to meditate for 20 minutes twice per day;

(5) she took melatonin each night;

(6) she increased her sleep from 4-5 hours per night to 7-8 hours per night;

(7) she took methylcobalamin each day;

(8) she took vitamin D3 each day;

(9) fish oil each day;

(10) CoQ10 each day;

(11) she optimized her oral hygiene using an electric flosser and electric toothbrush;

(12) following discussion with her primary care provider, she reinstated hormone replacement therapy that had been discontinued;

(13) she fasted for a minimum of 12 hours between dinner and breakfast, and for a minimum of three hours between dinner and bedtime;

(14) she exercised for a minimum of 30 minutes, 4-6 days per week.”

What Are You Waiting On, People?

I just want to yell, “What are you waiting on, mom, dad, sisters, friends, doctors?”  Do we need to wait on studies to confirm that we need to eat REAL FOOD, REDUCE STRESS, AND GET SLEEP?  Good grief.  Are we stupid?  WE ARE NOT.  Please, do the right things when it comes to food and lifestyle.  Eliminate sugar.  Make treats treats–as in, not every day!  Get rid of all the processed vegetable and grain oils now!  Strongly consider eliminating wheat.  Increase vegetables and fruits.  Do not buy premade food.  Reduce stress.  Get sleep.  Move more.  We doctors have tried to make it too complex for you for years.

And now, geesh, to do it right, it sounds too hard for people!  What?  Buy fresh fruits and vegetables?  But they’ll spoil.  What?  Turn on the stove?  I might burn the house down!  Don’t buy things in a box?  But what will we eat?  Take away cereal?  But my kids will scream.  What will they eat?  Buy fresh meat?  I don’t know how to cook it.  Don’t drink pop?  What do I drink?  Juice?  Ummm.  NO.  Water has worked for millennia.

I don’t want to be a part of some faction who eats weird.  I’m tired of fighting the crowd who brings candy to my kids.  I want you on board for the sake of all of our kids.  I’m not a self-righteous, better than thou, health nut snob.  I’m not.  I’m a doctor who used to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE pizza, pasta, sub sandwiches, donuts, bagels, bread, cookies, cake, Diet Coke, Sonic, candy bars and eating out.  Medical school taught me no different.  So I learned it the hard way on my own thanks to some people willing to put themselves on the line (on-line) when my gut finally crashed.  And I am going back now and applying what I have learned about food to the biochemical and physiological pathways I learned in med school and pharmacy school.  And I am aghast.  Duh.  Duh.  Duh.  You are what you eat.

If you have any questions, drop them in the comments.  Try me.  What are your barriers?  Do you think I’m full of it?  Do you not care?  I’ve got one of those medical school friends burning the house down with coconut oil while her kids run to the windows for fresh air and the fire alarms in the house scream out.  Yay!  I don’t know how she caught the coconut oil on fire, and I don’t care.  She has made the change and she tells me her kids feel better for it.

The research will eventually pile up on real food.  Don’t wait on it.

~~Terri

3 thoughts on “Reversing Alzheimer’s With Food and Lifestyle? For Real?

  1. nontoxicnurse

    Yes, the same government that is telling us that GMO corn, soy, etc. is safe and fine, in the absence of research that establishes safety, is allowing us to be exposed to an unprecedented amount of man-made electromagnetic frequencies–also in the absence of research establishing safety.

    I addressed the man-made electromagnetic field issue as soon as I learned about it, because, to me, it seemed that approximating a natural electromagnetic environment for our bodies was as important as eating natural/real food. First, I learned about the effects of blue light on melatonin production, which it now seems most have heard about–but remember, visible light is just one teeny-tiny part of the electromagnetic spectrum (this diagram will remind you just how teeny-tiny a part it is http://www2.lbl.gov/MicroWorlds/ALSTool/EMSpec/EMSpec2.html ). Then it hit me: (extremely simply stated) we know that our bodies (e.g., our hearts, brains, and cells) carry out work of an electrical nature to accomplish bodily functions–so why would we venture to think that waves along the electromagnetic spectrum would not affect our bodily functioning? Many electric, magnetic, and radiofrequency devices interfere with each other’s functioning, so why would we assume that such devices would not interfere with our (electrical) bodies?

    It had been a really long time since the one physics course I took in college, so I began to brush up. Thankfully, before my brain exploded, I quickly learned that folks from around the world, far smarter than I, were on the issue (especially as it pertains to radiofrequency), had done their homework, had conducted tons of great research, and had actually published a report that pleads with governments world-wide to take steps to protect their citizens. The Bioinitiative Report was produced by “29 authors from ten countries, ten holding medical degrees (MDs), 21 PhDs, and three MsC, MA or MPHs,” and can be found here: http://www.bioinitiative.org/table-of-contents/ . It is not written in the simplest language, but you can get an idea of the researchers’ findings that EMF has far reaching implications for the human body simply from scanning the table of contents. I encourage all to make their way through it at some point.

    Essentially, what I have learned from 3 years of studying such things, is that, at the very least, man-made fields have the potential to make the human body far more susceptible to falling into inflammatory and other disease states. I assume that, as was the case with my family, avoidance of such disease states is what most parents who are trying to mend leaky guts are really looking for, overall. The more I learn about the effects of man-made EMF on human physiology, the more I think that it is as, if not more, important to address than food. Thus, while I agree that food is an important starting point, and a much less overwhelming starting point, I do not think that EMF remediation should be too far behind. EMF remediation (just like food remediation) has easy, “baby” steps–thank goodness.

    Regarding your K2 quandary, have you considered using the starter culture developed by Dr. Mercola for making your fermented vegetables? It utilizes strains of probiotics that have high K2 production potential. Here is an article on his site mentioning it http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/11/19/fennel-plant-prevents-bone-loss.aspx , and here is a link to the culture
    http://shop.mercola.com/product/kinetic-culture-30g-1-bottle,1275,0.htm . I cannot do dairy either. I currently get my K2 in capsule form, but am considering trying Dr. Mercola’s starter when I run out of my current veggie starter.

    We do not do iodized salt for two reasons. First, I have yet to find an iodized salt that is not chock full of yucky anti-caking agents. Second, from what I have read, it is best to consume sodium with other electrolytes–as it would occur in nature. We do various types of natural crystal sea salts to take in the full complement of minerals with our sodium (including iodine). We do not tolerate eggs or dairy, so our food-based iodine comes from various types of seaweed, asparagus, carrots, fish, shell fish, and cranberries. Our carefully chosen multi-vitamins also have low dose iodine and we use low-dose Llugol’s Solution as an insurance policy.

    Another possible caution regarding iodized salt (or possibly any non-naturally-occurring salt that is lacking a full spectrum of minerals) is that some recent research has implicated plain sodium chloride as a possible contributor to autoimmune disease http://www.nih.gov/researchmatters/march2013/03182013autoimmune.htm. It remains to be seen whether or not natural crystal sea salts, with their full assortment of minerals, can also produce the results the researchers saw . . . but my money is on salt in the form found in nature being less inflammatory than isolated sodium chloride.

    As for how much iodine . . . my family doctor is a widely recognized iodine guru. He literally gives presentations to doctors all over the world on iodine. He believes that the Japanese provide us with a good idea of a safe upper-limit dose of iodine (i.e., a CYA dose for doctors who are inclined to prescribe such things). Prior to the Fukishima disaster, an average Japanese woman consumed around 12.5 mg of iodine per day and had a lower risk of breast cancer than an American woman (which many connect to the iodine consumption). Furthermore, there do not seem to be adverse effects on the fetuses of Japanese women from the iodine consumption (some maintain that there are actually advantageous effects). From what I have seen and read, some doctors determine individual iodine dosages based on the results of what is termed an “iodine loading test,” run by specialized labs, and put severely deficient patients on doses as high as 30+ mg using a supplement called “Iodoral.” Some doctors urge folks with Hashimoto’s to go easy on iodine and monitor their response to it–my doctor is not one of them. I take the middle road and take less than half of the 12.5 mg per day in supplement form.

    I did not read your folate posts, but meant to. In my experience, green vegetable hesitant husbands, who also have two copies of the MTHFR C677T single nucleotide polymorphism, will only get enough folate from real food to keep their homocysteine at a worrisome and whopping 26 mcmol/L (reference range 4-17 mcmol/L)–a recipe for cancer, dementia, and heart disease, from what I have read. Unfortunately, detecting such things usually depends upon having a family doctor who is willing to listen to the wife’s ramblings on the intricacies of MTHFR polymorphisms and order the test. Once the test comes back, life is a lot easier for the wife, because the doctor reads the husband the riot act and she gets a break for once, haha!

    I have also read that synthetic folic acid intake can block the folate receptor, from both dietary folate and reduced forms in supplements. According to this article http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/87/3/517.full , “Theoretically, folic acid could interfere with the metabolism, cellular transport, and regulatory functions of the natural folates that occur in the body by competing with the reduced forms for binding with enzymes, carrier proteins, and binding proteins. For example, the folate receptor has a higher affinity for folic acid than for methyl-THF—the main form of folate that occurs in the blood.” I have read elsewhere that this receptor blockade could take quite some time to be undone once synthetic folic acid supplementation is stopped.

    There is also a condition known as cerebral folate receptor autoimmunity, common in autism, in which supplemental folinic acid (not folic–folinic is more reduced than folic, but not as reduced as 5MTHF) has shown therapeutic ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22230883 & http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23314538 ).

    Additionally, I suspect that those with digestive issues resulting in the passage of undigested food, those with inflammatory bowel issues, or those with IBS-type issues that involve having a “fast” gut (with diarrhea often triggered by folate-rich veggies), would not get enough folate from green veggies, due to absorption issues–but that is just a guess . . . oh wait, here’s a study on inflammatory bowel patients that suggests my guess may be somewhat correct http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25141576 .

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thank you so much for that well-formulated comment. I have marked the links. I will revisit this. I was NOT hinting for you to read my folate posts. 🙂 I think what you said pretty much jives with what I concluded. Yay! Some of what you suggested regarding EMFs sounds very easy for me to implement and no harm done with the changes and potentially lots of good. And then hopefully I can get a post on it for other people too before I am old. 🙂 I prefer not iodized salt too. But most people are not seeking alternative sources of iodine when they cut out iodized salt. They don’t like fish. Can’t tolerate dairy. Etc. So they end up iodine deficient and this is bad. Loved hearing what your doc does with iodine! Going to close for the night. Keep throwing it at me. I’ll reel a bit then get back up. 🙂

      Reply

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