Can Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia, and mild cognitive decline be reversed?
Promising research and patient evidence by Dr. Bredesen (US neurologist) using a multi-faceted approach, including diet, nutritional supplements, specific biochemical testing, lifestyle enhancements and medicine, where indicated, has been able to demonstrate a complete reversal of cognitive decline in some individuals, and much improved cognitive functioning in other Alzheimer disease patients or those with Dementia or mild cognitive decline. Naturally, if the disease has progressed too far, then it cannot be reversed, nor is it a 'cure-all' for every person, as any changes are unique to the individual.
Dr. Bredesen argues that there are three key threats to the brain;
1. inflammation from infections, diet, or other causes
2. the lack of supportive nutrients, hormones, and other brain-supporting molecules
3. the presence of toxic substances, such as metals or biotoxins
Hence, testing and assessing nutrient status and deficiencies, gut function, and specific markers of brain health are vital tools in the assessment of metabolic, nutritional, and general health status, and can be used to help slow down, prevent, and reverse disease and support patients to optimise cellular health and brain functioning for as long as possible.
Why testing for nutritional deficiencies is vital
Certain nutrients are vital for brain health, brain growth hormone, and neurotransmitter formation. Thiamine (B1) is vital for nerve functioning; folic acid also plays an important role in the synthesis of amino acids and the formation of nerve tissue. The metabolism of folic acid is highly dependent on the supply of other vitamins of the B group. Omega-3 fish oil has been shown in studies to increase Hippocampal volume and nerve connectivity. High concentrations of vitamin C are found in the brain and act to protect the brain from free radical damage. The magnesium in cell membranes is also important for the transmission of impulses. Furthermore, magnesium and calcium need to both be in ideal amounts in the body to prevent excitability of the nervous system. In addition, alterations of zinc homeostasis are seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Nutrient depletions by medications
Certain medications may also cause or contribute to nutrient depletion, e.g. statins reduce the enzyme involved in CoQ10 synthesis in some people, which is vital for energy production, without which no metabolic pathways or biochemical processes function at an optimal level. Long-term usage of PPIs can lead to magnesium deficiency and heart disease. Side-effects of medication, such as increased urination, may also increase nutrient depletion.
Pre-existing health conditions may require more nutrient support
High cholesterol and pre-diabetes indicate that you may be deficient in specific nutrients. For example, chromium is essential to glucose tolerance factor (a major impairment in diabetes - you have pre-diabetes). The same enzyme required to breakdown insulin is also required to break down beta-amyloid in the brain. A lack of fibre in your diet may also contribute to high cholesterol levels in your body.
Receptor resistance may lead to intracellular nutrient deficiencies. The fact that you have insulin resistance (pre-diabetes), the receptors on your cells that let nutrients in do not work as well. For instance, vitamin C uses the same transport mechanism as glucose. Furthermore, glucose is the main fuel for the brain, which means that your brain will not function normally without reversing this. One leading theory of Alzheimer’s disease is that it is caused by insulin resistance, and is called type 3 diabetes.
The above factors highlight the importance of diet in brain health. There are also other factors that might be contributing to your poor brain health or neurodegeneration in someone you know and love.
- Foods, environmental toxins, such as plastic residues, and other pathogens, can cross-react with brain tissue, trigger inflammation, and damage nerve tissue and brain function.
- Inflammation, a hallmark of all chronic disease, gut dysbiosis, and intestinal permeability can lead to the production of low-grade inflammatory chemicals, which can damage brain cells when they cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Comprehensive gut function analysis can help pinpoint any additional underlying causes of inflammation.
In short, assessing a person with impaired brain function on a cellular level will enable your healthcare professional to plan a patient management programme based on somebody’s biochemical individuality.
In particular, it will help identify deficiencies that are contributing to the disease and, most importantly, to correct them where possible. Biochemical testing will not only help establish deficiencies but how deficient an individual is, from which the correct nutrient dose can be recommended and improved diet and lifestyle changes can be implemented.
Please note that this approach does not advocate that you do not follow your doctor’s advice, but that you take a 'holistic' and 'integrative' approach to your health and address all areas of your health that may be impacting on your brain degeneration. It is vital to work together with your nutritionist and doctor to improve your cognitive brain function.