Stop Alzheimer’s Disease! Here’s How

Considered the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease is estimated to effect at least 6.7 million people who reside in the United States. Women have a lifetime risk of Alzheimer development  of 1 in 5 and men have a lifetime risk of 1 in 10.  Researchers are still exploring gender risk correlates. Emerging theories include the natural longevity in women. If you live long enough, you are more likely to experience dementia. Another possible correlate relates to women who experience a hypertensive pregnancy crisis such as eclampsia. 

Racial correlates for Alzheimer’s among a large Veteran’s Hospital Administration (VHA)  population of older adults indicated significant differences between race and ethnicity. Incidence rates remained higher for Black and Hispanic participants than for White participants.  The Kaiser Permanente of Northern California study also reported higher age -adjusted dementia among Blacks. In addition, they found similar rates among  American Indians or Alaska Native patients. 

The doleful reality of Alzheimer’s has been that it was an inevitability of living.  However, the question remained, why was it that some people lived to their 90s and above without evidence of dementia? Is it just luck of the draw? Or are their factors which increased the risk of development? Exciting new research regarding the effect of lifestyle on both the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease is offering hope for one of the most feared diseases of seniors. 

Findings published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, report that mixing sugary snacks, starchy food, and processed meat may significantly increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. Further, researchers contend that people who developed dementia more likely combined highly processed meats with starchy food like potatoes, alcohol and snacks like cookies and cakes.  Samieri, author of the study, added that despite not being consumed in higher quantity, processed meat appeared to be central in their diet. Processed meats include ham, sausage, hot dogs, bacon, pepperoni, beef jerky, deli meats inclusive of roast beef and turkey. These meats have been preserved by smoking or salting, curing, or adding chemical preservatives. 

While many are aware of the World Health Organization classification of processed meats as a Class 1 carcinogen, few realize the association between processed meats and the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. Group 1, Class 1 carcinogen means that there is enough evidence to conclude that processed meats cause cancer in humans. Note that cigarettes and red meats are also classified as Class 1 carcinogens. 

Researchers agree that  those who didn’t develop dementia were more likely to have diversity in their diet such as inclusion of fruits and vegetables. Thus far, it appears that reduction of highly processed meats, sugary snacks like cookies and cakes and alcohol may offer some protection against Alzheimer’s. 

Physiologically, Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that results in neurodegeneration. It is characterized by cognitive decline and the presence of the pathologies of amyloid β plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. These tangles and plaques all result in and/or from inflammatory processes in the brain. Numerous studies provide evidence that immune function or inflammation has a significant role in dementia. Blood or cerebral spinal fluid  of people who have Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment reveal higher inflammation. The question begs:  Can brain inflammation be reduced and/or prevented ? An affirmative answer to that question would provide a significant key to one’s prevention and reduction of Alzheimer’s. 

Please examine Table 1.

Author (s) Findings Lifestyle Implications
National Institutes of Health Inflammation is a central mechanism in Alzheimer’ disease Know inflammatory factors in one’s life
Medical News Today Inflammation is associated with Alzheimer’s Be aware of inflammatory factors in one’s life
Newcombe, E.A, Camat-Perna, J., Silva, M. (2018). Inflammation: the link between comorbidities, genetic, and Alzheimers. Journal of Neuroinflammation ,15, 276. Inflammation is cited as a significant factor in the link between comorbidities, genetics, and Alzheimer’s’ Disease Lifestyle issues can lead to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. These include Traumatic Brain injury, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and other metabolic syndromes, in addition to aging.
Novoa, C., Salazar, Pl, Cisternas, P. et al (2022). Inflammation context in Alzheimer’s disease, a relationship intricate to define. Biol Res, 55 (39). Diseases related to systemic or local inflammation, including infections, cerebral vascular accidents, and obesity are proposed risk factors for the development of Alzheimer’s Reduce lifestyle related inflammatory factors in one’s life. If obese, reduce the weight in a safe manner, reduce all lifestyle related causes of cerebral vascular accidents (Stroke), and infections due to reduced immunity.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC.GOV
Brain Health is Connected to Heart Health
Reveal that what is good for the heart is good for the brain. Indicate that diet and lifestyle changes could potentially prevent millions of cases of Alzheimer’s a year. Make a lifestyle commitment to eat more vegetables, legumes, fruits, and whole grains . These should replace meat and dairy products as primary staples of the diet. What is Vascular Dementia? Autopsies of persons with Alzheimer’s consistently reveal significant arterial blockage of arteries in the brain that impact memory centers. Recognize factors that clog arteries. Chief among these are diets high in saturated fats. Reduce the saturated fat intake. These items include but are limited to: butter, ghee, lard, coconut and palm oil, cakes, biscuits, fatty cuts of meat, sausages, bacon, cured meats, pastries such as pies, quiches, sausage rolls and croissants, cream, sour cream, ice cream milk shakes
Mathuranath, PS., George, A., Ranjith, N., Justus, S., Kumar, M.Suresh, Menon, R. , M, Sarma, P. Shankara, & Verghese, J. (2012). Incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in India: A 10-year follow up study. Neurology India, 60 (6), 625- 630. The lowest validated rates of Alzheimer’s Disease are found in rural parts of India where people eat primarily a vegan diet consisting of whole grains and vegetables. Strong implications for adoption of a whole -food plant based vegan diet.
National Institute of Aging
Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet
Like heart disease, Alzheimer’s develops several decades before the emergence of symptoms. Begin changing dietary habits before the emergence of symptoms may serve to ward off symptoms of Alzheimer’s. That’s good news! You can stay ahead of the development of Alzheimer’s Disease by incorporation of good lifestyle dietary changes. Heart healthy is also Brain healthy.
Devoree, EE, Kang, JH, Breteler, MM, Grodstein,F. (2012). Dietary intake of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline. Ann Neurol. 72 (1). 135- 43. Found that women who consumed at least one serving of blueberries per week and two servings of strawberries showed demonstrated slower rates of cognitive decline . Be intentional in eating blueberries and strawberries. These are found to be brain protective.
National Institute of Health Fruit and Vegetable Juice and Alzheimer’s Dz: The Kame Project Drinking fruit and vegetable juices regularly appeared to have a 76% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Pure fruit juices appear to be a retardant to developing Alzheimer’s disease
West, R., Moshier, E., Lubitz, I., Schmeidler, J., Godhold, J., Cai, W., Uribarri, Jl, Viassara., Hl, Silverman, J>, and Berri, M. (2014). Dietary advanced glycation end products are associated with decline in memory in young elderly.
Mech Ageing Dev (2014). Sept: 140: 10-12.

Older adults with high levels of Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in their blood or urine seem to suffer an accelerated loss of cognitive function over time. Elevated levels of AGEs are found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. Meat, cheese, and highly processed foods have the highest AGE content.
Whole grains, beans, breads, vegetables, fruit, and milk have the least amount of AGE Content.
Haeger, A., Costa, A., Schulz, J., and Reetz, K. (2019). Cerebral changes improved by physical activity during cognitive decline: A systematic review of MRI studies. Neuroimage Clin, 23, 101933.
MRI scans found that aerobic exercise can reverse a degree of age-related shrinkage in the memory centers of the brain in those with mild cognitive impairment. Can help improve cerebral blood flow. Engage in aerobic exercise 45 to 60 minutes/day, four days/week.

Summary and Conclusions

Compelling research suggest that Alzheimer’s disease is primarily attributed to embracement of the infamous Western lifestyle. The combination of the Standard American Diet (SAD), physical inactivity and probably high stress greatly increase the risk of Alzheimer’s development. In rural areas in Indian and elsewhere where individuals eat primarily a vegan-vegetarian diet, Alzheimer’s disease proportions are significantly less and, in some cases, non-existent. What is encouraging is that if one commences timely corrective lifestyle behaviors, these actions may slow down or even prevent the development of Alzheimer’s. The adage is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Considering the burden in terms of human and emotional suffering, health care costs, and loss of productive years, one pays a very small price to embrace a healthier lifestyle. 

Lifestyle Works, LLC is more than happy to help you get started and to cheer you along on your health journey. We offer consultations in English, French and Spanish. Choose your consultant now to design an evidence-base personalized lifestyle plan that if followed, guarantees reduction in your risk of chronic disease. Your body will thank you for it. It is as easy and following the link below 

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