5 Steps To Prevent Alzheimers
Dementia was a comedy routine we giggled at in the movies because we were hardly ever exposed to it when I was little. As an adult, I started to experience some of our grandparents and parents suffering from severe memory loss, but last year I had my first run-in with a dear friend of mine diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Someone not that much older than me and that sh!t got real!
Alzheimer’s, the most common type of dementia, is growing at an alarming rate with 44 million diagnosed in the world and 5.5 million in America alone. We are living much longer than we used to and experts say we have a 50% chance of developing some type of dementia over age 80. The bad news is there is absolutely no treatment. There are drugs to tame a few of the symptoms, but none of them are able to cure or even slow down the progression of the disease.
The good news is that experts believe Alzheimer’s and most types of dementia are preventable, but we have to start now. Valter Longo, PhD expert in Alzheimer’s says to start when you’re 20 not when you’re 50. You don’t receive a diagnosis from hitting a specific age with specific genes, it’s an imbalance in the body that has been going on for 5-30 years before the diagnosis.
So what is this big imbalance that causes us to lose our mind? Well, it’s a combination of high blood sugar issues, inflammation, a sedentary lifestyle, and toxicity from a poor diet that causes plaque or scars to build up in the brain. Some call it Type 3 diabetes because like Type 2 it develops from high sugars and sedentary lifestyles and by improving both factors, people can reverse their diagnosis.
Without getting too deep in the science and scaring the crap out of you, let’s focus on the things we can do to prevent Alzheimer’s. There are 5 main things you can do now that have been shown to prevent the development of Alzheimer's serious statistic in the future.
5 Steps to Avoid Alzheimer’s
Step 1: The best diet to avoid Alzheimer’s is low carb but high vegetable
We need a diet that doesn’t lead to high blood sugar or obesity with simple carbs because diabetes and obesity both increase risk, but we do need high fiber from fruits and vegetables that feed the good bacteria in the gut. Dr. Dale Bredesen, an expert in Alzheimer’s says diets high in simple carbohydrates lead to diabetes and increase the risk of brain damage. He also says that the health of the microbiome is critical to make sure that intestinal permeability or ‘leaky’ gut is not increasing inflammation in the gut and brain.
Our brain runs on glucose so it seems counterintuitive that we should not need sugar, but Dr. Georgie Eve explains the more sugar you eat, the less your brain gets, and the hippocampus starves for energy. It’s actually better for your brain to get the natural sugars from fresh fruits and vegetables, and believe it or not, the brain can get glucose from the high-quality fats we eat too.
Step 2: Move your body to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s
We all know exercise is important but this is another critical reason why. Our muscles use glucose in the sugar we eat when we exercise so moving our muscles can use up excess sugar. It’s important to have muscles that are hungry for glucose, not overfed and sitting at your desk all day. This will cause storage in fatty liver and belly fat which will increase inflammation in the body.
Exercise also increases a little thing called BDNF or brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Think of BDNF like BaDass NerF guns that squirt Miracle Grow in your brain and memory centers. BDNF improves memory, brain function, and reduces your risk of dementia. The best part is that the type of exercise is not that important so you can literally dance in your kitchen while cleaning up, or take the dog for a 20 min walk every day and you could check off this step.
Step 3: Hydration can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s
Did you know that the brain is 80% water and the most sensitive organ of the body to dehydration? This may explain why 20 minutes into a hot hike I feel dizzy and confused.
It only takes 2% dehydration of the brain to feel:
- Brain Fog
- Memory slippage
- Brain shrinkage
Dr. Batmanghelidj says “you’re not sick, you’re thirsty” and he has been right in a large number of cases. This is the low-hanging fruit for all of us lucky enough to have clean sources of water and we can all try to drink somewhere between 50-100oz of water per day depending on how much we weigh. Ideally, we should drink about half of our body weight (in pounds) in ounces every day.
Step 4: Stop Alzheimer’s by reducing your toxic load
This one is huge and sounds crazy hard when our environment is getting more and more inundated with chemicals our bodies cannot break down, but it is possible. By reducing your exposure to the toxic chemicals in food colorings, preservatives, additives, cleaning solutions, body products, drugs, and pesticides you can drastically reduce the inflammation and liver damage they cause.
Some exposure is unavoidable, but we have a built-in filtration system to detoxify our bodies from these chemicals every day. Isn’t that amazing? I find the process so beautiful that I wrote an entire detox program about it. Not to trick people into buying a supplement to cleanse their bodies, but to help you understand that by simply supporting your liver’s regular process, you can detox from chemicals that lead to liver damage, dementia, and disease.
The trick is to understand your personal tolerance. A typical person can drink a glass of wine and it will take 8-12 hours for the liver to detox if there is plenty of water, B vitamins, minerals, and plenty of antioxidants present. Aspirin can also take about 8-12 hours to flush out, and some medications may take up to 24 hours which is often what determines your dosage.
If your liver has a low tolerance or gets congested easily, you will feel sensitive to perfumes, smoke, and alcohol, and feel nauseous or get a headache easily. This is often exacerbated by movement and why you may get easily car sick. Take these signs as early reminders that your liver needs a little love. It does not need a juice cleanse, or an olive oil flush, it simply needs fewer toxins ingested and more antioxidant-rich fruits and mineral-rich vegetables. A little less processed sugars and fried fats, and a little more water, clean proteins full of B vitamins, and omega 3 rich fats to help reduce the inflammation.
Step 5: Sleep is critical to avoiding Alzheimer’s
Dr. Dominic D’agostino, PhD says there is a non-negotiable triad to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Non-Negotiable Triad to stop Alzheimer’s
- Low carb nutrition
- Move your body
Many of the experts I mentioned here claim that exercise in the morning can be better than exercise at night because morning is when natural cortisol levels are higher and exercise can stimulate you at night and prevent sleep. Everyone's a little different, but if you struggle with this, it may benefit you to find a new workout time.
Sleep is such a critical time for the brain to repair damage in the brain, reduce inflammation, and form new connections in the nervous system. I suffered from serious insomnia in University and any new parent can tell you exactly what a night of no sleep feels like. The symptoms sound very much like the start of dementia and that is because the same breakdown occurs at a smaller level.
The good news is that a good night of sleep with 8 hours can refresh your system and start up repairs again. Though sleep is critical, we don’t want to rely on sleeping pills because of the toxic load in the drug, but there are natural sleep aids that can help you while you find your natural sleep routine.
Check out my holistic sleep tips in this video or ask me about my favorite holistic sleep remedy with 3 types of magnesium, a little poppy, and lavender to calm the nervous system and allow you to rest and relax.
Some of these things may be health tips you already practice, but I think it helps to understand the why. Especially when you’re staring down the barrel of a Coco Loco Mai Tai with potato chips and cupcakes and you need to remember why moderation is important.
Remember it’s what you do most of the time, and planning ahead can really make a difference in your long-term health. Focus on what you can do and get enough of these 5 things daily.
The 5 most important things you need to prevent Alzheimer’s
- Fewer toxins
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