Dementia & Alzheimer’s
Dementia is the single greatest cause of disability in older Australians, and it is the second leading cause of death in Australia.
Your brain function is impacted by the food you eat day in day out. This is why it’s important to include foods that are high in antioxidants and medium chain triglycerides, both for the protection of brain cells and for fuelling brain function.
There are some very simple steps you can take to help prevent and treat memory problems now and going into the future, as well as associated illnesses, such as Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson ’s disease. Following are dietary and lifestyle steps, however when it comes to natural remedies let me know and I can discuss these with you.
Improving your brain health is not only about preventing neuro-degeneration, such as dementia, but also about improving your memory, clarity of thought, learning and other cognitive abilities. Many of the things I’m recommending are things I do myself anyway to promote good health, and wanted to share these tips with you.
By reducing the number of healthy fats you eat, such as a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, it can essentially starve your brain cells, prevent effective detoxification and diminish the structural components necessary for cognition, memory and learning.
According to neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, fat avoidance and carbohydrate overconsumption are at the heart of the Alzheimer’s epidemic—which is an entirely preventable disease, driven by lifestyle factors, such as diet.
Contrary to popular belief, the ideal fuel for your brain is not glucose but ketones. Ketones are what your body produces when it converts fat (as opposed to glucose) into energy.
During one study, researchers found individuals with Alzheimer’s who were treated with medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) for 90 days experienced significant improvement in their cognitive function compared to those in the control group.
The MCT found in coconut oil are an excellent source of ketones, because coconut oil is about 66% MCT.
The most important food or supplement I recommend to people to help with their memory and conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s is coconut oil. It can be used as a butter or cooking oil replacement, so is easy to integrate into your diet. It must be Virgin Coconut Oil (not refined). The dosage depends upon your needs, I often recommend building up to a dosage of 3 tablespoons per day – but ask me first and I will advise you personally on it.
Dr. Newport, whose husband Steve was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s aged 51, said she began to see improvements after starting him on four teaspoons of coconut oil a day. Her research (at the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute) is being used to launch one of the first clinical trials of its kind, which is designed to test her theory. This is what she said about her husband’s progress:
“Before the coconut oil, he could not tie his shoes. His weird slow gait… That improved. He walked normally and he was able to start running again.
He was able to start reading again, his conversation improved dramatically and then over several months we saw improvements in his memory,’ Newport said. Prior to starting him on coconut oil, Newport said none of the existing medications were working.”
HOW DIFFERENT FOODS IMPACT BRAIN FUNCTION
The foods you eat feed your brain and significantly impact your ability to think, learn and remember. Below I have listed some examples.
- Avoid sugar and refined fructose
Ideally, you’ll want to keep your sugar levels to a minimum and your total fructose levels low. Fructose is fruit sugar, so I don’t suggest more than two to three pieces of fruit a day. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a major source of refined fructose, and this is found many products available in supermarkets, from fizzy drinks to breakfast cereals. We don’t only get fructose from HFCS, but also from regular table sugar. Sucrose is a made up of glucose and fructose. HFCS and sucrose are found in processed foods including sweets, soft drinks, and nearly every “edible food-like substance” found in a bag and/or box. Keeping your sugar intake low has many far reaching benefits across a person’s health.
- Avoid gluten (primarily wheat)
Our blood-brain barrier, which keeps things out of your brain where they don’t belong, has been shown in research to be negatively affected by gluten. Gluten also makes your gut more permeable, which has the knock on effect of allowing proteins into the bloodstream where they don’t belong, promoting inflammation and autoimmunity, both of which play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s.
- Optimize your gut flora
Regularly eating fermented foods or taking a high-potency probiotic helps optimize the good bacteria in your gut.
- Increase consumption of healthy fats, including animal-based omega-3
Beneficial health-promoting fats that your brain needs for optimal function include organic butter from raw milk, olives, organic virgin olive oil and coconut oil, nuts like walnuts, pecans and macadamia, free-range eggs, wild Alaskan salmon, and avocado.
Eating just one gram of turmeric each day could cause short term memory improvements in people predisposed to memory loss, according to a study conducted by researchers from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and several Taiwanese research institutes (published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition.) It is one of the most powerful nutrients found in nature, while also giving curry a distinctive flavour. The chemical curcumin in turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body. It’s interesting to note that in India (high consumers of Turmeric) there are many fewer reported cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s than in western countries.
- Foods to incorporate into your regular diet:
Blueberries: High in antioxidants, they are renowned for protecting the brain from neuro-degeneration. Blueberry powders are available in health food stores. Broccoli: High levels of vitamin K and choline in broccoli help protect brain cells. Bone Broth: An excellent way to help heal leaky gut. This in turn protects the brain from the increased inflammatory process that results from bacteria and food leaking into your bloodstream. Rosemary: Carnosic acid found in rosemary helps to protect the brain against free radical damage that triggers neurodegenerative changes. Beetroot: These are one of the most nutritious root vegetables you can include in your diet. They are high in antioxidants and the natural nitrates boost blood supply to your brain and improve performance.
There are a number of nutritional and herbal supplements that can assist; these include Magnesium, Vitamin D, Omega 3, B vitamins, and Ginkgo Biloba. For any advice on what is suitable for you, please contact me.
- Heavy Metal Toxicity
Aluminum and mercury are the key players here. Aluminum can be found in antiperspirants, non-stick cookware, and vaccine adjuvants, for example. Dental amalgam fillings, vaccines (including the flu vaccine) are all sources of Mercury. When you are fit and healthy it is a good time to remove these fillings, which can be followed by a mercury detox program.
- Exercise regularly
This helps oxygenation and circulation.
- A Note on Drugs & Statins
There is some controversy over the use of anticholinergics and statin drugs, but the debate is on as to whether or not they increase a person’s risk of dementia. The theory is that statins deplete the brain of conenzyme Q10 and prevent adequate delivery of essential fatty acids and antioxidants to the brain.
Arthritis & Pain
Do you experience swollen and painful joints, with burning pain in your knees, hips or knuckles? Is your mobility affected and making you less active?
These are common arthritis symptoms, which simply means joint inflammation. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and is most usual in people over 50. It is a slowly progressing disease that results in reduced mobility and pain as the soft cushioning that is around the joints deteriorates.
Natural medicine and dietary steps provide a way to more effectively manage and help reduce symptoms.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
There are a dozen remedies that can be beneficial for arthritis, what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. Finding out what best suits you is usually what is required and I’m very happy to help work through this with you. In addition, homeopathy provides more tailored and targeted treatment and in my experience accelerates healing and is a vital step. Arthritis is a tough condition, and putting all shoulders behind the wheel is what is needed.
- Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): With its detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties MSM provides an essential building block for joints and cartilage. The effect of MSM is optimized when taken in combination with Vitamin C.
- Glucosamine: This is a amino acid that helps regenerate joints and cartilage, and is beneficial for healthy joints. I’ve seen many people who swear by this, but also others who have tried it with no success. This is best in combination with Chondroitin, which helps with cartilage preservation. (Please note most glucosamine contains shellfish, so be aware if you have allergies.)
- Gelatin: Beneficial for connective tissue repair and supporting joint health and pain.
- Green Lip Mussel Extract: This is a popular product and I’ve heard good feedback from people trying this for joint inflammation and arthritis.
- EPA/DHA: Omega 3 essential fatty acids are helpful in reducing arthritic stiffness, pain and inflammation.
- Magnesium: Helps prevent leaching of calcium from the bones, and as a result can help protect joints. It also helps prevent spur formation.
- Silica: Also very important for the prevention of spur formation and the proper assimilation of calcium.
- Vitamin D and K: Very important for proper calcium and other mineral assimilation into bones and joints.
- Homeopathics: These are prescribed to match exact symptoms a person is experiencing, and in this way are directly targeted, rather than being a general treatment. For example, one homeopathic may address knee pain, whereas another may focus on swelling in the fingers. I can call you to discuss what would best suit you.
I recommend following a diet that is packed with anti-inflammatory foods, including lots of fruits and vegetables, protein-rich foods such as fish, poultry, nuts and seeds. The emphasis is on fresh, unrefined food. It is also beneficial to have plenty of clean water.
Things to avoid include acid forming foods, in particular sugar, coffee, tea, alcohol, most grains and gluten, dairy. One might be surprised at the inclusion of dairy, but cow’s milk does not have a well absorbed form of calcium for bones and there is increasing evidence to show the acidic nature of it can contribute to joint deterioration. Please refer to my last email about acid forming foods. Interestingly, one cup of coffee leaches about 40mg of calcium from bones in order to rebalance PH levels.
Obviously regular use of our joints through exercise, such as walking or swimming, is beneficial to help activate the joints. A sedentary lifestyle will only contribute to a build up of waste material within the joints that can predispose us to joint inflammation.
Arthritis is a debilitating and difficult condition to live with. Please write to me with any questions or for any assistance, I’m very happy to help you get the best out of this.
Cholesterol & Circulation
Cholesterol and circulation are closely linked.
Cholesterol has been one of the top health issues of the past 50 years. We are constantly reminded of the dangers of it by medical associations, Government advertising and the shelves of our supermarkets are literally covered with “lite” non-cholesterol foods – yet evidence exists to show that cholesterol is not quite the villain it has been made out to be and is not the right target in the fight against heart disease.
Two key studies, “The Framingham Heart Study”, done by Harvard Medical School and the “Keys Seven Countries Study” showed that those with Cancer had cholesterol levels that were lower than average.
A large study done in Japan, covering two decades, concluded that low levels of blood cholesterol increases the incidents of stroke.
Results of 350,000 men screened for MRFIT in the US showed that the risk of death from cerebral hemorrhage in middle aged men was 6 x greater if they had low blood cholesterol.
On Christmas Eve 1997 the Frammingham researchers concluded “Intakes of fat and type of fat were not related to the incidents of the combined outcome of all cardiovascular diseases or to total cardiovascular mortality.
Decreases in blood cholesterol causes decreases in seratonin (hormone that helps with moods amongst other things) and brain function and since 1992 several observers have noticed increases in suicide among those on cholesterol lowering diets.
A study of the native peoples of New Zealand, the Maori, showed that those with the lowest levels of blood cholesterol had the highest mortality rate.
In 1993 the the Caerphilly Study in Wales showed that men who drank more than a pint of full cream milk a day had only one tenth the incidence of heart disease as those who drunk none. They also demonstrated that those who ate a high energy diet lived longer than those who cut dietary fats. Their findings indicate that far from being a killer, the diet we are told to avoid by nutritionist may actually protect us against heart disease.
A 1994 Japanese paper examined the diets of those who lived to 100 and found out they got their protein from meat, not rice and pulses. The centenarians also had high intakes of animal food, such as egg, meat, milk and fish. Their carbohydrate intake was much lower than their fellow countrymen, who died younger.
Cholesterol is an essential component of the body, found in all cells of the body, particularly brain and nerve cells. Although we are taught by media and advertising that cholesterol is bad, the amount of cholesterol in the diet affects blood cholesterol levels very little.
Cholesterol and heart disease became linked in 1951 after American Doctor John Gofman dissected bodies of dead soldiers from the Korean War and discovered high levels of cholesterol and fatty deposits on arterial walls. They found cholesterol in the material that builds up on artery walls and also that those with heart disease often had high levels of blood cholesterol and so the heart disease and cholesterol became linked despite the fact that the fatty deposits found only contained cholesterol.
In 1981 240 risk factors were listed for heart disease. Today there are over 300, including such things as wearing tight pants and eating Mackerel.
Telling people who feel fit and well they are not and if they do not make changes to their life they can drop dead at any moment not only worries them unnecessarily it can have a profound effect upon their lives, to the degree that they become more concerned with death than life.
Post mortem examinations in a British university hospital showed that of the patients who died of a diagnosed specific heart disease over half had actually died of something else.
Doctors in Britain are reporting more and more cases of nutritional disorders, normally found in severely malnourished children in Africa, such as Kwashiorkor, Marasmus, and Rickets, and are blaming these on food fads, such as the ones triggered by the Cholesterol scare.
Health fanatics often advocate Mediterranean diets as they claim they are low in fat, but this is not true. Northern Italians love butter, the French cook with cream and butter as a preference and have pates made of goose fat, and Mediterranean’s are famous for their sausages, salamis and cheeses. It may be healthier than an American or British diet, but not lower in fat. One thing that the Mediterranean diet is high in, is foods that contribute to the lowering of Cholesterol, such as garlic, onions and red wine.
In regards to cholesterol testing, cholesterol levels can rise very fast, one of the effects of “fight or flight” is raised blood cholesterol levels. If you rush to your doctors clinic your cholesterol will be higher than if you walk calmly. If you are anxious about what your doctor says, and the idea of a needle concerns you, cholesterol levels will rise. Cholesterol testing levels are not accurate – and laboratory tests have shown that levels can change as much as 1.3mmol/l with different testing methods.
An example of this is let’s say you are 30 years old, your cholesterol levels are a respectable 6.0 mmol/l. You hurry to a surgery and are anxious about the result. This could raise by more than 25% to 7.5mmol. If it is sent to a lab giving the high reading, it could raise by a further 1.3mmol/l, so your 6.0mmol/l is now 8.8mmol/l.
The Tecumseh Study attempted to correlate cholesterol levels one day with the amount of fats eaten the previous day but found none. People who ate the least cholesterol had the highest levels of blood cholesterol.
Also the study found that blood cholesterol levels were quite independent of whether the dietary fat was saturated or unsaturated.
A Finish trial published in 1975 recommended that a “healthy diet” was recommended as cholesterol levels were lowered with this, however, 10 years later a follow up trial was done and it found that those people who continued to follow the carefully controlled diet were twice as likely to die of heart disease.
Recent US studies show that heart disease worsened in those who switched from butter to polyunsaturated rich margarine. Research published in March 1993 confirmed this in a study that involved 85,000 nurses, women who ate just four teaspoons of margarine per day had a 66% increased risk of coronary heart disease compared to those who ate none. The Frammingham Study published in 1995 concluded “intake of margarine may predispose to development of coronary heart disease in men.” According to the MAFF National Food Survey the amount of fats in our diet today is almost the same as it was at the beginning of the century yet heart disease is significantly higher. At the turn of the century we ate mainly animal fats that are largely saturated and monosaturated. Now we are tending to eat more polyunsaturated fats, because of advice given to us, yet such things as margarine were supposed to reduce heart disease.
This information certainly rocks the cholesterol boat and shatters many fixed ideas about this condition that worries so many and fills the bank accounts of many. In conclusion it seems cholesterol is not quite the villain it has been made out to be and that much of the source of fatty degeneration of arterial walls and chronic heart disease is more to do with the unnatural diets we are exposed to from processed foods, such as margarine.
Come and see me for personalized recommendations. There is a homeopathic formula I like to give many of my clients to help with this condition, and there are other more specific recommendations too that are beneficial, depending on the underlying factors from person to person.