When science writer Morton Walker questioned members of a long-lived native population about dementia, these healthy people, who typically lived into their hundreds, didn’t know what he was talking about. They had no word for it; it was just not part of their experience.
In his 2005 article on Alzheimer’s, Raymond Francis took this as evidence that, like other chronic diseases, Alzheimer’s is “something we have created with our modern diets and lifestyles.” And, “Since we created it, we can uncreate it.”
The article goes on to describe particular factors that may be involved: free radical damage, high homocysteine levels, nutrient deficiencies, and a host of neurotoxins including food additives, pesticides, heavy metals, and especially that deadly toxin sugar.
Now a UCLA researcher, Dr. Dale E. Bredesen, has developed a program that, in a small pilot study, has been highly effective in preventing and reversing Alzheimer’s disease with diet and lifestyle. Although there are 36 different factors addressed by his individualized program, which will certainly be described in greater detail when his book, The Bredesen Protocol, is published next May, certain common themes emerge from his articles in science journals.
Diet is central to the Bredesen program and is designed to keep insulin, blood sugar and inflammation levels low. It includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, with some non-farmed fish or fish oil supplements for omega-3 fats. Eliminated are: 1) refined sugar and flour; 2) processed foods; 3) gluten, if intolerance is established; 4) transfats and hydrogenated fats; 5) conventionally-raised beef and chicken (grassfed and organic are OK) and farmed fish.
Patients fast for at least 12 hours between dinner and breakfast the next morning, and 3 hours between dinner and bedtime. They are also encouraged to sleep from 6-8 hours nightly. This gives the brain a chance to detoxify.
Regular exercise—30-60 minutes a day, 4-6 days a week—produces factors that encourage brain development and good cognitive function.
Exercising the brain with mentally challenging activities helps to build brain synapses, just like physical exercise helps build muscle.
Stress destroys brain cells. It is moderated in this program by participating in a relaxing activity like yoga, walking, playing the piano, etc. daily for 20-30 minutes.
Homocysteine, a toxin that builds up in the body when folate, and vitamins B12 and B6 are insufficient, is linked with many diseases, including Alzheimer’s. Patients bring down high homocysteine levels with these nutrients.
In addition, the following antioxidants and other supplements are taken in individually prescribed amounts as needed: vitamins C, D3, K2, and E, selenium, magnesium, zinc, CoQ10, N-acetyl-cysteine, lipoic acid, coconut oil, bio-identical hormones, probiotics, citicoline, curcumin, ashwagandha and bacopa monnieri.
Dr. Breseden uses supplements in their most effective, bio-available forms, as we do at Beyond Health. For example, he recommends vitamin E as natural mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols. In this, he appears to be a man after our own heart—employing the same kind of high-quality supplements we sell; supplements that will actually help people get well!
We applaud Dr. Bredesen for his pioneering work addressing this major health problem. Anyone concerned with cognitive decline should also be careful to avoid toxins, including various brain-cell destroying recreational and pharmaceutical drugs, and might consider taking acetyl-l-carnitine, green or white tea, ginkgo biloba and PhosSerine. See Raymond’s Alzheimer’s article for more.