Approximately 5.4 million people have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S. alone.
As treatments for this disease are few and ineffective in most cases, prevention and early diagnosis become very important.
Believe it or not, simple methods, such as a ruler and 1 tbsp. of peanut butter may be used to diagnose early stage Alzheimer’s. Specifically, the Journal of the Neurological Sciences published the results of a small pilot study carried out by a graduate student in the University of Florida, Jennifer Stamps, and her colleagues.
Stamps worked with one of the most popular behavioral neurologists, Dr. Kenneth Heilman, from the UF College of Medicine’s department of neurology. They used peanut butter to test for smell sensitivity.
In fact, the ability to smell is connected to the first cranial nerve. It is usually among the first things that are affected in cognitive decline.
The study included 24 patients suffering from mild cognitive impairment. Additionally, the study examined the ability of the patients to smell. To do the test, the patients were asked to close their mouth and eyes, and hold one nostril closed while breathing through the other.
The clinician measured the distance between the peanut butter and the open nostril with a ruler, thus marking the distance at which the patients were able to detect the distinct odor. About one and a half minutes later, the patients repeated the same procedure with the other nostril.
The results showed that patients diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s had a great difference in their ability to detect the odor between the two nostrils.
However, more research should be conducted because it is too early to conclude if this test may be reliable enough to become widely used.
Coconut Oil May Help in the Treatment of Alzheimer’s
The theory of Dr. Mary Newport suggests that ketone bodies, also referred to as ketones, can act as an alternative fuel for the brain, thus providing beneficial effects in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. Your body will start producing ketones when you ingest coconut oil on a regular basis.
Dr. Newport’s research is currently being used to start one of the first clinical trials of its kind to prove her theory. In addition, it is being conducted at the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute.
Namely, the study has involved 65 patients suffering from mild to moderate form of Alzheimer’s. The study has tested the effects of coconut oil on this neurodegenerative disease in comparison with a placebo.
Coconut Oil Could Help Improve Brain Health
The human body can convert only 2 forms of fuel into energy: fat, or sugar/carbs. As mentioned previously, ketone bodies are produced by your body when it transforms fat into energy. Additionally, the MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) present in coconut oil are the main source of ketone bodies. Coconut oil has been found to possess nearly 66% MCTs.
MCTs are fats, which are processed by your body in a different way compared to long-chain triglycerides. In general, when you consume a fat, it has to be combined with bile secreted from your gallbladder prior to breaking it down in your digestive system.
However, MCTs go directly to your liver that transforms the oil into ketone bodies, bypassing the bile completely. Next, your liver releases the ketones into your bloodstream where they are transferred to your brain to be utilized as fuel.
It has been found that ketones could help renew and restore neurons and nerve function in brain, even after it has been damaged.
Here Is How Much Coconut Oil You Should Consume
The therapeutic effects of MCTs have been examined at 20 grams on a daily basis. Dr. Newport notes that 35 ml or 2 tbsp. of coconut oil could provide you with 20 grams of MCT. This amount of MCTs is considered to be a preventative measure against almost all degenerative neurological diseases as well as a remedy for an established case.
Simply start taking a small amount of the oil and then work your way up to these therapeutic levels. You may want to start taking 1 tsp. of the oil with your breakfast. Then, slowly add more oil every few days until you can tolerate 4 tbsp. In order to prevent an upset stomach, consume the oil with your meals.
Following a Low-Fat Diet Has Resulted in an Increase in Alzheimer’s
Many nutritional guidelines have resulted in several health issues in the United States. Following a low-fat diet is actually toward the top of that list. If you do not eat enough healthy fats, you are at a higher risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.
Dr. David Perlmutter, a neurologist, explains that avoiding healthy fats and overconsuming carbohydrates can greatly increase your risk of Alzheimer’s. He also adds that it is a disease that can be prevented by making some simple dietary changes. In the book Grain Brain, Dr. Perlmutter explains that you need to exclude grains from your diet to prevent brain disease and improve your brain health.
That’s not all, another great factor is the elevated consumption of genetically engineered grains.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer’s and Keep Your Brain Healthy
As Alzheimer’s can be prevented, you may want to make some simple lifestyle and dietary changes. The following recommendations could help in the prevention and treatment of almost any chronic degenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s:
– Elevate your intake of all healthy fats. When we say healthy fats we mean high-quality, organic, plant-based fats and animal-based omega-3 fats, not trans-fats found in margarine and vegetable oils. Moreover, healthy fats include avocado, wild Alaskan salmon, free-range eggs, nuts such as macadamia and pecans, extra virgin coconut oil and olive oil, olives, organic grass-fed raw butter, and organic butter from raw milk.
The regular consumption of these foods could help prevent cell damage triggered by Alzheimer’s disease, thus decreasing your likelihood of developing the disease and slowing down its progression.
Plus, you should also take animal-based omega-3 fatty acids, like krill oil. It is important to know that even though most fish is naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, it is nowadays contaminated with mercury. So, always opt for high-quality fish.
– Eliminate gluten, including wheat, from your diet. Studies have shown that the regular consumption of foods containing gluten has a negative impact on the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier is actually the barrier, which keeps things out of the brain where they do not belong. What’s more, gluten could also make your gut more permeable, thus allowing proteins to enter your bloodstream, where they do not belong. It can also weaken your immune system and lead to autoimmunity and inflammation, thus increasing your likelihood of Alzheimer’s. Therefore, you should avoid consuming any food containing gluten.
– Minimize your consumption of refined fructose and sugar. All you need to do is keep your sugar levels to a minimum as well as your total fructose below 25 grams on a daily basis or about 15 grams daily in case you suffer from insulin resistance or any similar health problem.
– Make sure you keep your levels of fasting insulin below three. This is indirectly linked to fructose, because it will result in insulin resistance. But, other sugars, grains and physical inactivity are also important factors. Reducing your insulin levels will help decrease your leptin levels, thus lowering your likelihood of Alzheimer’s.
– Intermittently fast and/or lower your total intake of calories. As mentioned previously, ketone bodies are mobilized when you substitute carbs for coconut oil and any other source of healthy fats. Only a 1-day fast could help your body start burning fat instead of sugar.
You may want to practice intermittent fasting. Simply restrict your eating to a 6-8 hour window. This means that you should fast about 16-18 hours on a daily basis.
– Eat foods high in folate. In fact, veggies are the richest source of folate. This means that you need to consume lots of raw vegetables on a daily basis.
– Consume fermented foods or take high-quality probiotic supplements on a regular basis in order to keep your gut flora healthy.
– Increase your consumption of blueberries. Did you know that the regular consumption of wild blueberries that are rich in antioxidants and anthocyanin help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and any other neurological disease? So, you may want to include some wild blueberries in your diet.
– Challenge your mind every single day. Challenging your mind, particularly learning something new, like learning a new language, has been connected to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Mental challenge can help build up your brain, which makes it less prone to the lesions related to Alzheimer’s.
– Get safe sun exposure to optimize your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Optimal levels of this vitamin could protect brain cells and improve the amount of important chemicals in the brain by elevating the effectiveness of the glial cells in nursing damaged neurons.
The immune-enhancing and anti-inflammatory properties of this vitamin could also provide positive effects in the treatment of Alzheimer.
– Increase your magnesium levels. Higher levels of magnesium in the brain have been associated with a reduction in the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Keep in mind that almost all magnesium supplements don’t pass the blood-brain barrier. However, magnesium threonate is a new magnesium supplement that is far superior to other types of magnesium. Furthermore, it could also help in the prevention and treatment of this neurodegenerative disease.
– Get regular exercise. Getting regular exercise has been found to lead to a change in the manner the amyloid precursor protein is metabolized, which helps slow down the progression and prevent the development of Alzheimer’s.
– Avoid any flu vaccination since it often possesses mercury. In fact, mercury acts as an immunotoxic and neurotoxic substance.
– Avoid using any products that possess aluminum, like non-stick cookware, antiperspirants, and vaccine adjuvants, to name a few.
– Avoid and remove mercury from your body. Some of the main sources of heavy metal toxicity include dental amalgam fillings. But, you need to be healthy before having them eliminated.
– Avoid taking statins and anticholinergics. Research has suggested that medications that block a nervous system neurotransmitter called acetylcholine could elevate your possibility of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, these medications include some narcotic pain relievers, some nighttime pain relievers, incontinence management drugs, sleep aids, antihistamines, and some antidepressants.
That’s not all, statins are especially problematic since they deplete the brain of neurotransmitter precursors and coenzyme Q10, inhibit cholesterol synthesis, and prevent proper delivery of fat-soluble antioxidants and essential fatty acids to the brain. Statin drugs actually inhibit the production of low-density lipoprotein, which is an indispensable carrier biomolecule.
There are also four other nutritional recommendations that may help prevent or slow the progression of dementia, including Alzheimer’s. The following natural supplements/foods have been associated with a reduced risk of age-related cognitive problems:
– Vitamin B12: The journal Neurology published a small Finnish study suggesting that participants who ate vitamin B12-rich foods experienced a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. You may want to use sublingual methylcobalamin for maximum benefits.
– ALA (alpha lipoic acid): ALA helps normalize cognitive functions in those suffering from this neurodegenerative disease. Also, it could slow down the progression of the disease.
– Ginkgo biloba: A number of scientific studies have confirmed that Ginkgo biloba helps in the treatment of dementia. According to a 1997 study, Ginkgo enhanced social functioning and cognitive performance in dementia patients. Another study conducted in 2006 showed that Ginkgo could be compared to donepezil (a common dementia medication, also known as Aricept) when it comes to alleviating the symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. That’s not all, a meta-analysis carried out in 2010 proved that this remedy could offer beneficial effects in the treatment of different forms of dementia.
– Astaxanthin: It is an all-natural pigment that has unique healing properties, including some of the most powerful antioxidant activity. Moreover, astaxanthin is a fat-soluble nutrient that can cross the blood-brain barrier, thus helping prevent neurodegeneration related to oxidative stress. This means that this nutrient may act as a powerful all-natural brain food.
You can actually get this nutrient by taking high-quality krill oil. However, you can get a higher amount of this nutrient by taking a pure astaxanthin supplement. You should take astaxanthin and/or krill oil with a high-fat meal for optimal absorption.
- Perlmutter, David. ˮGrain Brainˮ;
- Perlmutter, David. ˮThe Better Brain Book: The Best Tool for Improving Memory and Sharpness and Preventing Aging of the Brainˮ;
- Clark, R. ”All Natural Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment Guide”;