Is Amyloid Plaque Really the Culprit in Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

Autoimmunity & Healing Diets

Feb 08
Alzheimer's, Dementia

Amyloid Plaque has been blamed for causing Alzheimer’s. However, all the medications geared towards reducing amyloid plaque are proving to be ineffective – so much so that researchers are beginning to question the relevance of amyloid plaque to dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Amyloid is the sticky stuff that fouls up the brain. However, amyloid has recently been found to be a protective mechanism in the brain.

Reasons for Amyloid Plaque

There may be many insults to the brain tissue and the amyloid plaque appears to develop in response to that.

3 Reasons for Amyloid Plaque

  1. Inflammation or infection
  2. Lack of trophic factors (which are known or unknown molecules which display specific actions on specific tissues or cells) – such as lack of hormones (estrogen) or vitamin D
  3. As a reaction to binding toxins such as heavy metals – mercury and aluminum

Functional Medicine Looks at Alzheimer’s/Dementia

The brain has a lot more plasticity than we were first taught. What this means is that brain cells can grow back.

There are 54 identified mechanisms that lead to brain cell death and disarray. With this new, functional information, new treatments have been developed.

Insulin resistance is common with Alzheimer’s and diabetes increases risk of Alzheimer’s. There are two types of insulin resistance:

  • type 1 – Inflammatory
  • type 2 – Trophic loss – due to loss of hormones or nutrients

Insulin Resistance in the Brain

The loss of glucose utilization in the temporal and parietal regions of the brain is pathognomonic for Alzheimer’s.

A PET Scan of the brain clearly shows where glucose is taken up and, importantly, where it is not. Glucose is, for most people, the main form of energy consumption for the brain cells. If it is not available due to insulin resistance, brain cells will die.

It has been shown that people with Alzheimer’s have less glucose uptake in the memory centers of the brain. Incidentally, PET scanning is used to identify tumors, as well, because tumors live on sugar.

To resolve this, there has to be a switch from carbohydrate metabolism to fat metabolism – the ketogenic diet or as close to this as possible.

There are also neurotrophic factors – nutrients for the brain – that can be used to address some of the mechanisms that lead to Alzheimer’s. These include omega 3 fats, resolvins, saturated fats, vitamin D, and hormone balancing.

Resolvins are extracts from omega 3’s.  Specialized pro-resolving mediators, or SPMs, represent a portion of the omega-3 fatty acid spectrum that has a powerful effect on reducing inflammation.

SPMs do not block the initial inflammation phase – that phase is a normal and natural response to injury or infection. However, when the acute immune response is finished, SPMs modulate the process to resolve the inflammation.

This is promising new avenue of therapeutics to reduce inflammation.

Check out more on pro-resolution lipid mediators

What do Statins Have To Do With Alzheimer’s

It is a fact that statins increase memory loss.  Statins are dementogens (like a carcinogen only causing dementia). Sugar is also a dementagen.

Statins have been shown to drive Alzheimer’s. Current medical recommendations for indescriminant use of statins is driving the Alzheimer’s epidemic. People tend to stay on statins for life. Statins are effective in bringing down cholesterol to levels that are way too low – levels that equal those of some autistic children and this causes brain shrinkage.

Not to mention that statins reduce levels of Co-Enzyme Q10, an molecule necessary for heart and gum health.

For a small minority of people, statins are good in reducing cholesterol and can act in an anti-inflammatory way, but cholesterol is not the problem in heart disease.

Read more about the real causes of heart disease.

Infectious Agents in the Brain

Infectious agents may affect the brain. Pathogens such as P. gingivalis, Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease), various mycotoxins and mold can all contribute to cognitive changes in the brain. Many buildings and homes have water damage and may harbor mold without anyone knowing unless they test for it.

This has become known as inhalation Alzheimer’s.

These infectious agents can also contribute to allergies and autoimmunity.

Top 5 Dementagens

Dementagens is a new term coined by Dr. Dale Bredesen at MPIcognition.com. Rather comical, it is still an accurate description of some of these exposures.

  1. Simple Carbohydrates – too much sugar and starch and not enough fiber
  2. Poor sleep – during sleep the brain rids itself of the garbage and toxins of the day – good sleep is essential to good brain health
  3. Exposure to mold and chronic sinus conditions (the sinuses are very close to the brain) – one must optimize the nasal and gut microbiome
  4. Stress – clearly stress has an impact on every facet of health
  5. Mercury and other heavy metals – aluminum in deodorants and cooking equipment, mercury in amalgams and in fish

Three Actions You Can Take To Prevent Alzheimer’s

There are three major actions you can do to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

1 – Stop eating sugar

Glucose causes inflammation and increases production of free radicals. Additionally, gluten is a powerful upregulator of inflammation and can affect the brain (source).

In a study funded by the National Institute of Health and published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013, researchers found that carbohydrates dramatically increased blood sugar and increased free radicals.

Researchers were testing blood sugar and mental decline. In a median followup of 6.8 years they found a significant increased risk of dementia in direct correlation to blood sugar even in non diabetics! The researchers concluded,

Our results suggest that higher glucose levels may be a risk factor for dementia, even among persons without diabetes.

There is a need to establish insulin sensitivity. A healthy fasting insulin is 4.5 or below.

2 – Stop eating gluten and most grains

While some people continue to think that properly preparing grains by sourdough fermentation, soaking and/or sprouting is the simple fix to this problem, the reality is that the immune response to gluten is much more complicated.

While proper preparation of grains is very important for the people who can tolerate them, those who have an immune reaction to gluten will be creating inflammation that can affect all areas of the body from the digestive tract to the joints, the skin and the brain.

Inflammation is the cornerstone of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and MS — all the chemical markers of inflammation are the same whether the inflammation is in a joint or in the brain. Elevated blood sugar drives inflammation.

When blood sugar is even mildly elevated it raises glycation. The glycation process is when sugar binds to proteins. When this happens it increase free radicals and the glycated proteins increase the process of inflammation. This is devastating for the human brain.

Inflammation is fundamental to the cause of Alzheimer’s, (also known as diabetes type 3). A high carb diet leads to modification of proteins (glycation) that leads to damage to DNA.

Read more about what Dr. Perlmuter, a practicing neurologist, has to say about the relationship of sugar and carbohydrates to brain conditions.

3 – Eat as much coconut oil as you can, 2 – 4 tablespoons a day

Investigations on the effects of the medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil, on neurological diseases such Alzheimer’s, show benefits. Other research shows coconut oil to benefit epilepsy.

Fats are categorized as either short-, medium-, or long-chain depending on how many carbon molecules they contain. Close to two-thirds of the saturated fat in coconut oil is made up of medium-chain fatty acids, which have antimicrobial properties, are easily digested by the body for quick energy, and are beneficial to the immune system. Far from being dangerous, the saturated fat in coconut oil is actually health promoting.

Dr. Mary Newport used coconut oil to treat her husband’s severe, early onset Alzheimer’s with great success. Her article, What if There Was a Cure for Alzheimer’s Disease and No One Knew? is a must read if you or a loved one is confronting this relentless disease. It will give you actionable alternatives and hope for the future.

Read more about how she used coconut oil to treat Alzheimer’s.

Coconut oil is delicious and can be used in many ways for cooking and baking.

Additional Actions to Regrow Brain Cells

Using these strategies, you can improve your health greatly and prevent not only Alzheimer’s but any number of other diseases of our modern world.

If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment what would you do? Would you take the drugs or would you investigate these alternative methods and be proactive with your health?

Leave a comment and let me know!

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