It seems like everywhere I turn I hear people talking about Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. Each person talking about these diseases have a different take on what they are, and what they are about. The minute you or a friend or a family member forgets something someone will immediately say, ‘it looks like they are getting Alzheimer’s’ – especially if they are in their senior years – which can be anywhere from 50 to 100. But, what if they are only experiencing ‘brain drain’?
In the latter months of 2019, I watched and listened to 12 hours of discussions on Alzheimer’s disease. The discussions were conducted by various medical doctors, neurologist doctors, and ‘Functional Medicine’ doctors (the new term for doctors who treat chronic illnesses). From the many pages of notes that I took, I will try to narrow down the conclusions the doctors came to concerning Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, and temporary memory loss. The following reflects these conclusions.
The diseases referred to – Dementia and Alzheimer’s stem from the BRAIN with one being the symptom and the other being the cause. The brain controls the majority of health issues people encounter everyday. The questions – can you Regain Your Brain, can you regrow your brain, and, are either of these diseases reversible, were the core of the discussions.
The first day of discussion was basically and overview about Alzheimer’s and Dementia. It was mind boggling, so I did a little research on my own.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease? According to the Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, Alois Alzheimer, a German neurologist, 1864-1915 refers to Alzheimer’s disease as “Presenile dementia, which is similar to senile dementia but occurs in the 40-60 year age group. The disease has a relentless and irreversible course, but may take from a few months to four or five years to go to the stage of complete helplessness.” What does ‘presenile’ mean? Presenile dementia means “dementia beginning in middle age, usually resulting from cerebral arteriosclerosis. Symptoms are apathy, loss of memory, disturbances of speech and gait.” This leads to ‘senile dementia’ which is the progression of ‘presenile’ dementia and mental deterioration with loss of memory.” The end result is Alzheimer’s disease.
What is the Difference Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia?
- In a nutshell, dementia is a symptom, and Alzheimer’s disease is the cause of the symptom.
- Dementia presents as a group of symptoms, with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common cause…
- Dementia is not a disease – it is the clinical presentation of symptoms of a disease.
Realistically, then, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form or cause of Dementia. They each show with different degrees of memory loss and brain activity.
With that being understood, I went on to the second day.
Dr. Dale Bredesen’s discussion, the second day, went into more detail informing those who were watching and listening, that there are 3 forms of dementia:
- Type 1 – caused by eating a poor diet (mainly JUNK FOOD – Standard American Diet – SAD), the exposure to molds, and bacteria (such as in Lyme Disease), starts the memory loss. Symptoms are generally inflammatory. It is important to identify the pathogens in order to know the cause of the inflammation.
- Type 2 – is when the brain atrophies because of the withdrawal of nutrients (SAD) that support the brain. This can lead to short term memory loss. The brain needs to be in balance in cell support, testosterone, protosterone, hormones, and nutrients. When the brain becomes atrophied – amyloid plaque is present. This forms when healthy proteins in the body’s organs lose their normal physiological functions and form fibrous deposits, as plaque, around cells, which can disrupt the healthy function of tissues and organs. The healthy balance is now interrupted, and eventually other diseases are formed such as Thyroid issues, diabetes, and Vitamin deficiency, etc. which causes a decrease in cognitive recognition. Type 2 dementia manifests in people in their 70’s especially in women in menopause. When the brain is deficient in Vitamin D there is a neural network change where one remembers old things, but not new things. The ‘perfect drug’ would normalize all body functions. One is in the research stages at this time according to Dr. Bredesen.
- Type 3 – is a mixture of Type 1 and 2. In Type 3 the body becomes more impaired as the brain is inundated with metal toxins such as mercury, copper, and zinc, molds, parasites, and mycotoxins; (Wikipedia) – “a Mycotoxin is a toxic secondary metabolite produced by organisms of the fungus kingdom and is capable of causing disease and death in both humans and other animals. The term ‘mycotoxin’ is usually reserved for the toxic chemical products produced by fungi that readily colonize crops.”), and neurotoxins. Neurotoxins are toxins that are destructive to nerve tissue (causing neurotoxicity). Neurotoxins are an extensive class of exogenous chemical neurological insults that can adversely affect function in both developing and mature nervous tissue. The term can also be used to classify endogenous compounds, which, when abnormally contacted, can prove to be neurologically toxic. Though neurotoxins are often neurologically destructive, their ability to specifically target neural components is important in the study of nervous systems. Common examples of neurotoxins include lead, ethanol (drinking alcohol), glutamate, nitric oxide, botulinum toxin (e.g. Botox), tetanus toxin, and tetrodotoxin. Some substances such as nitric oxide and glutamate are in fact essential for proper function of the body and only exert neurotoxic effects at excessive concentrations (Google). With Type 3 – Alzheimer’s, it is necessary to identify all toxin exposures. Take care of your brain – cognitive decline is difficult to recognize.
Mentioned above in his brief overview of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia were some of the causes, in technical medicinal terminology. However, he went on to say that there were other things that contribute to the symptoms/cause, to include: MOLD – Studies have disclosed that 70% of Alzheimer’s patients have been exposed to mold. LYME Disease – Lyme disease and infections are major causes of dementia because of tick bites, parasites contracted from pets, herpes, and cold sores. DIABETES – high blood sugar is one of the major causes of Alzheimer’s. Diabetes contributes 50% to dementia and Alzheimers. BRAIN SHRINKAGE – it is what we eat, drink, how we live after the age of 18 that starts the brain to shrink. HORMONES – According to the Mayo Clinic, hormones are front and center as a lead to dementia because of estrogen and testosterone imbalance. STRESS – is also a factor. Stress is the result of when we live in conflicting environments – which applies to most of us.
The big question is – what can be done about lowering the risk of getting Dementia/Alzheimer’s. Dr. Daniel Amen M.D. continued the discussion stating that “you don’t just treat the symptoms – TREAT THE CAUSE.” Where have we heard that before when it comes to health issues? He further stated that, “just doing crossword puzzles doesn’t cut it anymore. BRAIN EXERCISES – in addition to puzzles are crucial, to include: walking, dancing, strength training, Tai Chi, swimming, etc. (all good coordination exercises). CIRCULATION is your friend, MOVE! And last but not least – engage in LEARNING NEW things. When you stop learning your brain stops growing.”
SLEEP – Every doctor talked about ‘sleep’, with Dr. Michael Breus M.D., Ph.d and Sleep specialist being the main speaker in regards to sleep. He stated that ‘ Lack of sleep in today’s age is an epidemic.’ Sleep is important because the “brain repairs itself at night. It is called ‘brain housekeeping’. It cleans and washes itself. Sleep is a brain tonic, but you need 7+ hours a night to increase the blood flow to the brain. Sleep medications were discussed with the conclusion being – less sleep medicine is better, prescription sleep medicine is NOT GOOD! If you wake up early ‘GET UP’, because going back to sleep causes sluggishness. Respect a consistent wake-up time – your brain is ‘done’ cleansing itself. Listen to your body. If supplementing – use Melatonin, 1/2 to 1 mg. Take 90 minutes before bed. Melatonin is not a sleep initiator, it is a Circadian rhythm regulator. Note: it can interact with medications, especially high blood pressure meds. Remember – mixing any prescription or over-the-counter medications with alcohol is a deadly combination. If stressed before bed – write down what is bothering you. Then write down a solution. Keep a journal. Thinking makes it difficult to sleep. PAIN is often a big factor when it comes to sleeping – arthritis, sleep apnea, chronic fatigue, joint issues. Over-the-counter drugs are the usual treatment, but over a period of time can become addictive, or they just stop working. Try drinking Banana Tea/magnesium – Rinse off a banana, leave the peel on, cut in half. Put the banana in 3-4 cups of boiling water. Boil for 4-5 minutes. Discard the banana and drink the water. The magnesium is in the peel.
Dr. Amen (Psychiatrist) can be watched on PBS television. His theme is “You are not stuck with the brain you have.” He continued his day’s discussion by stating that “risk factors are treatable.” Consider the following, from his discussion.
- The ‘Hippocampus’ lateral ventricle of the brain is the first area of the brain that dies. The blood flow deteriorates and affects the critical memory center.
- Take supplements – keep the Omega 3 fatty acids high to fight inflammation; Vit-D, low levels of Vit-D cause obesity. Obesity is a contributor to Alzheimer’s. Take supplements that support the 4 main organs for detoxification of the body – the lymph, kidney’s, gut, liver, and 1 more, the skin (the largest organ in the body).
- Your ‘genetics’ can be an area for a wake-up call, but has not been proven to always be the cause of dementia/Alzheimer’s.
- Don’t let your children play contact sports. The brain is the CEO of your life.
- A John Hopkins study found that “people who drink alcohol, smoke (cigarettes, pot, etc.) have smaller brains.”
- Eat healthy foods to include: cabbage, broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, smoothies, etc. Eat foods that love you back by keeping you healthy. Stay hydrated on a regular basis.
- Meditate at least 5 minutes per day. Being angry and arguing is the reality of hell.
- MAJOR NEEDS – boost your Immune system. Remember that as your weight goes up your brain gets smaller.
- Humans thrive on ‘natural’ sunlight and good quality air. DEEP BREATHE before lunch – breathe in 4 counts., hold 4 counts, breathe out 4 counts. If you do carbs – eat them at lunchtime.
- Decompress after 5 p.m. Eat a light dinner. Play board games, limit TV, no computer, no phones, no electronics 1 – 1 1/2 hours before bedtime. These are your ‘Power Down” hours: (1) prepare for the next day (20 minutes), (2) Hygiene (20 minutes), (3) Meditate/Relax, Deep breathe, and if you read -read fiction.
MOLD – was mentioned earlier. Mary Kay Ross, M.D. specializes in personalized medicine with the holistic approach. She wrote a book called “Your Toxic Brain – How to test and treat Metals, Molds, Toxins, that are erasing your memory.” In her terms – MOLD is a biotoxin that can cause Alzheimer’s disease. It damages the immune system, and causes inflammation by breathing the mold (inhalation). Mold is always an indicator of a damp environment. Humidity, in the house, can cause mold throughout the house. Mold can be in the furniture, clothes, carpets, etc. Mold affects the respiratory system. The best choice to combat mold, is to leave the mold environment. Today, there are methods to demold a house – but it is costly. If you leave, don’t take anything that was in the moldy house with you such as the furniture, etc.
This is a lot to comprehend. I have covered what DEMENTIA AND ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE are, but what is the bottom line on what can be done about it: Can you Regain Your Brain? “Can you regrow your brain?” “Are these diseases reversible?” What plan or protocol is there that can be followed?
If you think that you are a candidate for Dementia/Alzheimer’s – find a good doctor and get tested. Where are your hormones at, do you have a normal blood sugar reading, do the tests show toxicity – heavy metals, parasitic infections (Lyme disease), fungus, etc., how is your thyroid working? Ask these questions and more.
According to Dr. Mary Newport M.D., “Alzheimer’s should be a rare disease and is a preventable disease. You can make your brain better.” Things, she and all of the other doctors agreed on as being on the leading edge toward getting dementia/Alzheimer’s were diet, lifestyle, health issues, and medications.
We now know the cause, and the symptoms. What do you have to do to regrow your brain and/or reverse the disease issues. Genetics are not necessarily a cause in any, or, in all Alzheimer’s or dementia cases.
DIET: How can you change your diet? What foods will help to improve your brain? Dr. Newport talks about a Ketogenic Superfood that reverses memory loss, and tames blood sugar. What is it? COCONUT OIL. Yes, there have been many pros and cons in the health society regarding ‘coconut oil’. I for one am a great fan of ‘coconut oil’ and coconut in general. The doctor stated that “Coconut oil contains 50% medium chain fatty acids which are partly converted into ketones which are an alternative food for the brain, and serve as a preventative to Alzheimer’s disease. This is specially linked to Type 3 Alzheimer’s where there is decreased glucose to the brain in the early stages. The medication used for this stage of dementia/Alzheimer’s is usually MCT Oil. MCT oil has Coconut Oil in it. How does this work – the MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides) are converted by the liver into ketone bodies which supply an alternative fuel to the brain preventing further damage to the brain. She further states that one needs to provide Ketones to the brain 24/7 if possible – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This sustains the glucose (ketone levels) and improves cognition. You can use coconut oil in place of butter, on eggs, toast, over veggies, in smoothies, salad dressing, add to tea, etc. Coconut water does not have elevated ketone levels but does have a lot of nutrients and is a good hydrant. Coconut milk – good organic thick, canned and without other ingredients added or processed in, is a great source of coconut oil. MCT oil is now a brand, and is sold in stores. It is a prescription medical food, but you don’t need a prescription to buy it. It is available over-the-counter. Not good for cooking. Other coconut products that are good to use are Coconut flour for baking, coating chicken/fish, etc. and Coconut sugar – a great alternative to refined sugar. If taking the coconut oil by itself start slow taking 1-2 Tbsp with food and build it up. If you already have Alzheimer’s, try taking 3-5 Tbsp per day.
Some of the benefits of raising the ketone levels in your brain include: an increase in mental and physical endurance; muscle – promotes, tones, and regenerates; weight reduction; and better sleep. It also improves – diabetes and pre-diabetes conditions, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, MD, neurodegenerative diseases, aches and pains, heals skin conditions, and is good for hair. Use as a massage oil – absorbs well into the skin. The outcome for improved heart disease issues is still being studied. It is suggested that you keep the ketone levels high and the carbs low. If you find you are allergic or have liver problems – consult your doctor before using.
Another topic discussed was Cortisol – by Dr. Joseph Maroon Ph.d (neurosurgeon), and Iron Man Athlete. He states that too much Cortisol which is mainly caused by stress, destroys the brain.
STRESS can cause a person to develop depression, become overwhelmed – burned out, have a difficult time coping, become irritable, depersonalized, and want to commit suicide. He states there is good stress and bad stress. Stress is good when controlled, when out of control – it is bad and can be dangerous. When a mother is pregnant and stressed – the stress goes to the babies brain. One needs to eat a good diet, to include Omega 3’s, fish oil/Krill oil. Mitochondrial supplements for neuroprotective cell protection, Vit-D3, magnesium for cellular support, resveratrol as an antioxidant, probiotics – for gut health. And, again. “THE DIET IS IMPORTANT“. He states that the most effective antidepressant is EXERCISE. If you exercise you don’t need drugs. Exercise creates NEW BRAIN CELLS AND HELPS THE BRAIN RE-HEAL ITSELF. Exercise releases anandamide into the brain – our own cannabis (marijuana effect), naturally. God gave us this – “We are built to actually create all these positive biochemical interactions just through exercise.” He as well stated:
- Watch your diet, your lifestyle, incorporate a Wellness program in your life.
- Lead a BALANCED LIFE
- Get essential SLEEP
- LIFE AND STRESS CONTROL IS NOT COMPLICATED.
He went on to say, “Reflect on the most important things in your life. They should include HEALTH, RELATIONSHIPS WITH GOD, FAMILY AND FRIENDS, WE SHOULD SEIZE THE DAY THROUGH PRAYER, SPIRITUALITY/GOD. And, as in the book ‘AS A MAN THINKETH’ by James Allen, quote, “We turn our genes off or on by how we think.”
Another discussion included information on a new way to alter the brain physically without surgery and drugs called ‘neuroplasticity‘. It repairs and reverses degenerative brain disease. According to Dr. Norman Doidge, M.D. – psychiatrist, “neuroplasticity is a property of the brain that allows it to change its physical structure and to function in response to mental activity.” This is a complicated subject to discuss and one should really read his book where he talks about the brain cells, how strokes affect the brain, the electrical connections of the brain, brain diseases, how light affects the brain, sound, autism, program, brain exercises, stimulation for the brain, the effect of sleep on the brain. His book: ‘THE BRAIN THAT CHANGES ITSELF.’
Other doctors that shared their information and knowledge included: Dr. Shari Caplan – Functional Medicine, and Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum M.D. They each discussed many of the same topics that have already been addressed, and added topics such as tuning up your brain to improve cognition; low brain energy (how when you forget something or where you put something, it is not dementia/Alzheimer’s, it is brain fog, or brain drain – mostly from stress); and functional protocols for real life recovery, and detoxification.
Dr. David Perlmutter M.D. – Neurologist left us with the following ‘food for thought’.
- The BRAIN can grow new cells. A new scientific concept is that the brain is continually in a state of rebirth.
- The brain has a growth hormone protein BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), that makes this happen.
- He, as well, states that a lifestyle change will encourage the production of BDNF, to include, as the other doctors have stated: Exercise; Supplements to include herbs – sage is great for enhancing BDNF, Turmeric – for inflammation as it reduces the plaque in the body. Today we are led to believe this is a brand new concept, but it has been known for 2000 years; Omega 3; BHA; the Keto diet; and detoxification of the gut to get rid of acidosis. Mayo Clinic research also tells us that” it is the gut bacteria that determines the health of the human brain, and determines amount of inflammation in the body.” Again, Sleep is restorative – as mentioned earlier.
- The doctor says that currently there is no pharmaceutical treatment or prescription drugs out there that will fix Alzheimer’s Disease. He claims it is a PREVENTABLE disease and that prevention must come first.
- Sugar is dangerous. Carbs are detrimental.
- Fasting at least once a week is good for the body and lessens the stress on the brain and body.
What is the scientific viewpoint in regards to Dementia/Alzheimer’s? This was discussed by Dr. Michael Fossel, M.D., Ph.d. – scientist. In his book “New Frontiers in Genetic Expression” he states that “there is an injection being worked on now that would cure Alzheimer’s, and is soon to be used in human trials.” This could happen in 3 years. This would bring a person back pretty much to normal.” How will this work? Read on.
- It will start with a 1 time injection to be done about every 5 years. This will reset the cells to act like young cells again.
- The injection will be done in other areas, as well to include all dementia, arterial disease, Parkinsons, ALS, and heart disease, because they are all connected to the brain and the blood system. These are mostly aging diseases.
- Cancer cells don’t age, just divide and make more cells. Germ cells don’t age and other cells age at different rates. Aging and non-aging cells are all going on at the same time.
- There are cells in the brain called ‘glia’ cells. They nurse the neurons. – are the housekeepers.
- GENES – are like a symphony orchestra – all playing different instruments and for different tunes. The injection will make them back to young, but, they will age again so the injection would have to be done again.
- The goal is to reset the ‘glia’ cells that surround the neurons which are the cells that age and die. Need to read the book to find out more about this.
My consensus of the discussions, came down to the same message I have been blogging about for years. “Because of the health results of the SAD people need to CHANGE THEIR LIFESTYLE AND EATING HABITS, which in essence will help to eliminate the CAUSE of all health problems/issues. You need to have a healthy immune system. Without a healthy Immune System, the body functions seem to go out of control. With PREVENTION being the bottom line, you have to be COMMITTED to making these changes.”
It was interesting though, that one of the doctors stated that “Jack LaLanne (if you remember him), had it right many years ago.” Jack’s protocol entailed the following basics: To prevent mental and physical illness you must EXERCISE both the physical and mental body; EAT RIGHT for nutritional soundness; SLEEP: 6-8 hours for mental repairment; HAVE HORMONAL BALANCE – not by prescription drugs, but naturally. He also proclaimed that heart health and brain health are connected; that a high protein diet is a major risk factor for heart disease, that as well, it can be an indication of infection. Inflammation is considered part of the healing process in certain cases of injury, but must not continue after the healing. HEAVY METALS = toxic exposure.
This information was new to us then, but should not be new to us now, since so much research and testing in the field of health has been a continuing process since the days of Jack LaLanne.
IN SUMMARY, going back to Dr. PerLmutter, I think he said it best.
“PREVENTING disease makes the best sense, is less costly, and creates more healthy people in the first place. EMPOWERMENT happens when we receive knowledge. When you have knowledge, then you can take action and reap the benefits. GRATITUDE – BE GRATEFUL for what you can do and not what you can’t do. Celebrate the glass that is 1/2 FULL. Don’t lament what no longer is available.” This answers the questions of the WHAT, the WHY, and the HOW!
Can you Regain Your Brain, can you regrow your brain, and, are either of these diseases – Dementia/Alzheimer’s disease, reversible? The conclusion of the above discussions is ‘YES’ and ‘NO’ depending on who and what you want to believe, as the whole process is still a project in the works – one that can take anywhere from 6 days, to 6 months, to 1 or more years.
Only YOU can decide for yourself.