Everyone knows a cancer survivor. No one knows an Alzheimer’s survivor. That is about to change. Just in time. Currently, there are 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer’s; currently, another American is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s every 66 seconds; and currently, each American has a 50:50 chance, at age 84, of having Alzheimer’s. But there is new hope.
Nope, the hope does not come from our pharmaceutical world. The standard drugs, including Aricept and Namenda, still do not work, except nominally over the first 6 months. Pharmaceutical companies have spent 84 billion dollars on new medication trials in the past decade with no success. Studies show that only 2% of new drugs, despite their much higher cost, are better than the traditional, older drugs.
So, what is the breaking news? Studies, from around the world, are showing that 50% of Alzheimer’s is preventable and 75% of dementia symptoms are reversible. How is that possible? Through a combination of new specialized programs involving diet, fasting, sleep, breathing, exercise, and crucial supplements. More importantly, these are programs that each of us can incorporate without much inconvenience. They require 3-6 months to show positive results.
For diet, it does not matter if you follow the paleo diet or the vegan diet. What matters is that you eat healthy, wholesome food without toxins or chemicals. What matters is that you reduce sugar and carbohydrates. What matters is that you eat more vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. What matters is that you eat fish (like salmon) with omega-3 acids, not mercury. What matters is that you forgo addictive snacks, packed with salt, sugar, and toxins. What matters is that you reduce the foods that cause inflammation and/or infection.
For fasting, what matters is the number of hours between your last meal of the day and your first meal of the next day. Ideally, you should have 12-16 hours of fasting through each night. That means eating dinner early and having no snack late at night, OR eating dinner late and not eating until early the next afternoon. Why is this so important for preventing Alzheimer’s? Because your body needs fasting to promote sufficient neuron / cell brain repair and rejuvenation. Collectively, those repairs decrease any chronic inflammation and life’s gradual damage to the brain.
The same truth applies to sleep. Most Americans are sleep deprived. We each need around 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Sleep has different stages, including a period of deep sleep and REM sleep. The deep sleep provides physiologic repair; and the REM impacts cognition and memory. The deep sleep comes early in the sleep cycle; and the REM arrives more toward the morning. To maximize physiologic repair and an improved cleansing process, we need to fall asleep early. We need to fall asleep before 10:30 pm; and we need to get at least five full 90-minute sleep cycles. Try to awaken at the end of one of your 90-minute sleep cycles.
While we sleep our brain cells shrink, squeezing out debris from the day – much like the trash we pile outside our homes. During the night, that debris is washed away, degraded, and excreted from our bodies. That process – so dependent on the quality of sleep and the extent of fasting – allows our brain to repair itself, rejuvenate cells and decrease any inflammation. We were taught that amyloid plaques were the cause of Alzheimer’s. In truth, chronic inflammation is the cause of Alzheimer’s. We need to reduce inflammation on a daily (and nightly) basis.
Advanced breathing is also effective. Most of us take 15-20 breaths per minute. We need to pause for 20 minutes, at least once daily, for a period of advanced breathing. During advanced breathing, the person is slowing their breaths to 4-7 per minute. Breathe in for a count of 7, hold your breath for a count of 28, and breathe out for a count of 14. The exact numbers can be variable, but the benefit is clear. Advanced breathing increases cerebral blood flow and reduces the inflammatory stress during the day, giving the night time clean-up a head start.
Exercise is equally crucial. Each person needs to exercise 45-60 minutes a day. If the exercise if walking, that equates to 10,000 – 15,000 steps per day. High intensity exercise or isometric exercise (pushing / pulling against something stationary) is equally important. Both types of exercise “turn on” the genes that help regulate physiologic repair and rejuvenation. Recent studies have demonstrated that there are “healthy” genes and “unhealthy” genes, and that exercise activates those “healthy” genes that are crucial for repair and rejuvenation.
Supplements are also crucial (and the recommended doses are labeled on each bottle). As we grow older, our brain loses some of its ability to handle sugar, toxins, and other contaminants; as we grow older, our brain loses some of its ability to absorb the essential nutrients; and as we grow older, we become progressively prone to inflammation. Supplements, including the below list, can help the brain retain its key functions, including membrane permeability. Supplements can help the brain control inflammation with a higher level of function.
We should take supplements under the direction from our physician. Unfortunately, most physicians do not know nutrition. We need to find a preventive medicine physician, or functional medicine physician, or holistic physician – and work with that physician and a nutritionist to rule out any medical causes (low thyroid, Lyme’s disease, metal toxicity) and initiate a full spectrum program. I suggest taking this formula – the above features and the below supplements – to your physician / nutritionist, allowing that professional to devise for you an individualized approach. However, as a starting point, here are supplements to consider.
- Vitamin B (combination)
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Co-Enzyme Q 10
- DHA (omega-3)
- Bio Strath
- Rhodiola rosea
- Gingko biloba
- Curamed turmeric
- Coconut Oil
- ECGC (green tea extract)
- Methylene Blue
If you have doubts with this approach, consider the following fact. We have “Blue Zones” around the world where there are high number of centenarians – people who live beyond the age of 100. They grow old, remaining physically healthy and cognitively sharp with no Alzheimer’s. They have different diets, but the people from those “Blue Zones” all utilize the above features in this blog re: diet, fasting, sleep, breathing, and exercise – plus they maintain higher levels of nutrients than the rest of us. The supplements will help increase those nutrients and improve our cognition / memory.
If you still have doubts that this approach, I invite you to check on the Alzheimer’s studies on the Internet. Take a look at the recent interviews from “Awakening From Alzheimer’s”, as this series discusses the physician treatment programs, from around the world, that are showing reversal of Alzheimer’s. (There is another program HERE starting on October 6th.) Some current, non-drug programs are slowing 75-90% improvement with cognitive decline. It appears as if we are close to a breaking point in this new treatment of Alzheimer’s.
Remember: The best time to fix a leaky roof is when the sun is shining …
So, it is never too early, or too late, to start your own program …
So, educate yourself and find the right physician / nutritionist
Then start reducing your own risk of cognitive decline …