I want to repeat a suggestion and a warning. I encourage you to take the shape test (check prior blog), re-evaluate your life, and shift your life direction toward greater happiness. I also encourage you to avoid dementia while chasing those new dreams and passions. Here is the good news. There is research that is showing that dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s, can be avoided. Better yet, if caught early, it can be reversed with restored cognitive function and restored memory.
Let’s reset the challenge. Dementia has been around for over 100 years and there has never been an effective medication treatment. The pharmaceutical companies have spent over a billion dollars, trying to find some medication cure without any success. Today, dementia impacts over 5.2 million Americans. One in nine baby boomers, over the age of 65, have the disease. Some experts predict that by the year 2050, around 13 million Americans will have the illness.
In the old days, experts viewed dementia (specifically Alzheimer’s) as being caused by sticky plagues that block the connections within the brain. Today, most experts have discarded that theory. They view dementia as an imbalance in nerve connections so messages get lost in route. Imagine an airport where the runways have no clear signals or directions, so planes do not know how to get to the appropriate terminal. That is dementia.
In Part I of this discussion, I encouraged reducing your risk of dementia by reducing your intake of sugar, your consumption of non-vegetable carbohydrates, and your ingestion of gluten. All of those components are toxic to the brain. I also encouraged expanding the consumption of healthy fats with omega-3 fatty acids by eating more wild Alaskan salmon, or avocado, or olives, or organic virgin olive oil and coconut oil or nuts or even organic butter.
For this part of our discussion I want to be more specific. There has been recent excellent work at UCLA, reported by Dale Bredesen. In their program, nine out of ten patients have reversed their early Alzheimer’s by a multi-dimensional program that aims to improve the nerve connections and nerve signals within the brain. It has restored function in these patients for 2.5 years – with the study ongoing and expanding. Instead of a pill, you have to make some life style changes. But they are life style changes that protect (and restore) your brain’s function.
Reduce or eliminate your simple carbohydrates.
Eliminate gluten and processed food.
Increase diet of vegetables, fruit, and non-farmed fish.
Do not eat for 3 hours before sleep.
Fast 12 hours between dinner and breakfast.
Exercise 4-6 times per week (30 minutes per day).
Try daily yoga or meditation (20 minutes twice daily).
Increase your sleep to at least 7-8 hours each night.
Take melatonin to help the sleep cycle.
Increase oral hygiene with use of electric toothbrush / flosser.
Take Vitamin D3 each day.
Take fish oil each day.
Take CoQ10 each day.
Take methylcobalamin each day.
From my perspective, I do not expect each person to do everyone of these activities. Try an individualized approach. Try to incorporate those components that can fit into your current life style. Let’s be honest. It is not that difficult to reduce your sugar or your non-vegetable carbohydrates. It is not that difficult to reduce your heavy load of wheat and gluten. You can easily eat more vegetables and fruit, plus consumer more fish (as opposed to meat).
It is not that difficult to stop snacking at night. It is not that difficult to eat dinner at 6-7 pm and breakfast at 6-7 am without any snacks. It is not that difficult to set up a program to expand your sleep. Melatonin can be purchased over the counter. During the day, you can attempt meditation or yoga – something to reduce your stress (which apparently gives the brain some time for restoration. As for those supplements, they all increase certain metabolic actions that also help in restoration. In short they help to empty out the trash and keep those nerve connections working.
Now, this approach may not be as easy as taking one pill. But let’s be serious. One pill will never resolve dementia. One pill will never restore your brain’s function to its baseline. Dementia is like all of the other illnesses. We need to change our life style if we want to prevent it and if we want to restore ourselves to better health. If you say that it is not possible, that it will be impossible for you to recover. However, if you take this approach, your mind will thank you. Your family will thank you. At some point, as you appreciate the change, you will congratulate yourself on your life style changes.
Then go after those new dreams and passions …