Alzheimer’s, Dementia and HP-EVOO - Blog # 67
Hello everyone and welcome back to another Friday blog. Since June is Alzheimer’s awareness month, I wanted to make sure we talked about the most expensive chronic disease in America, which is on the rise. Currently, $1 of every $5 Medicare dollars is spent on someone with AD (Alzheimer’s disease). 😳 Did you know that the $ spent from the time of diagnosis until death (roughly 3-11 years) can be as high as $350,000?
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the amount Medicare and Medicaid spent on Alzheimer’s patients was $150 BILLION, while AD research was only a measly $566 million. (0.25%) “Despite the fact that treatment of the disease itself is off the table, dementia care in the U.S. is more expensive, in terms of both direct medical costs over a 5 year span studied in and out-of-pocket costs for families, than that of heart disease or cancer.” Drugs for AD don’t work well at all and often side effects are worse than the disease itself. I’ve personally treated many patients with Alzheimer’s who have expressed this to me. Further, 2/3 of those affected are women. So, what is AD? What causes it? How does it progress and what can we DO to PREVENT this devastating disease?
“Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterised by impairments in the cognitive domains associated with orientation, recording, and memory. This pathology results from an abnormal deposition of the β-amyloid (Aβ) peptide and the intracellular accumulation of neurofibrillary tangles.” “Deposits of Aβ peptides are mainly observed in the region of the hippocampus and the neocortex as well as in the cerebrovasculature (CAA).” Check out Blog # 42
“Mitochondrial dysfunctions play an important role in the pathogenesis of AD, due to disturbances in the bioenergetic properties of cells.” Okay, this is basically saying that the problem lies or originates in our energy-production system. That means mitochondria are the key to preventing and reversing damage!!! Let’s look at some things that lead to mitochondrial dysfunction and why it would affect the brain more than the other organs.
So, what is actually happening to cause and progress this disease that slowly destroys the connections and function of the brain? The brain just happens to be more susceptible to damage from oxidative stress. Why? - high O2 consumption, low regenerative capacity, low antioxidant concentration and high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), particularly DHA (the most important omega 3 FA). PUFAs are very susceptible to oxidation. Although there can be one or several root causes that promote damage that results in multiple forms of dementia and AD. This is why cooking with vegetable oils is so damaging to us. These oils rapidly oxidize and create trans-fats. Paradoxically, the reason we switched from Crisco and margarine (hydrogenated vegetable fat), which was mostly trans-fats to PUFAs. These oils are heated repeatedly in restaurants that are frying foods.
When we consume these oxidized oils, trans-fats and AGEs (advanced glycated end products) - the crispy outer layer on that French fry - it creates massive oxidation and inflammation in the body. These AGEs stick to the outer surface of tissues, creating the same crunchy outer layer inside our body! Oxidation is the equivalent of rusting. So we are (very much like crème brûlée) heating or inflaming our tissues in such a way that destructive molecules stick or begin to form on the surface. The more this happens, the less function that organ system has. That’s terrifying. The PROBLEM is that chronic low-level inflammation is SYSTEMIC - happening to all organ systems at all times.
Damage is occurring for 20-30 years before we first forget where we left our keys. Early signs of dementia, which can be termed MCI (mild cognitive impairment), can last for some time before progression into any of a myriad of dementias or Alzheimer’s. So, this means we have time to turn this situation around. Inflammation is occurring in EVERY organ system. For example, if you have an inflamed toe from high uric acid, (check out Blog # 66) it can become hot, red and swollen. You can see the swelling and feel the pain. You may think the problem is your toe, but it started somewhere else. When this happens in your brain, you may experience mental fog, headache or fatigue. We know now that inflammation in the gut causes inflammation of the brain. Let’s look at the sequence of events leading to AD and dementia symptoms so we can understand how to prevent this destruction.
The fuel you give your mitochondria is crucial. Consuming a processed, particularly a highly processed, diet is NOT the food they need for their energy to survive, they can’t do a good job. Some die. Some stop working altogether. The others are over-worked and fatigued. Insulin comes knocking on the door with glucose trying to convince the cell to take it. However, the mitochondria reach a point they become resistant to the constant demand. They become very stressed and produce ROS (reactive oxygen species) that create massive inflammation. If we eat like this as a regular part of our diet, this widespread inflammation becomes chronic.
Mitochondrial damage and dysfunction is the primary source of oxidation in our bodies. In neurons, it initiates neurodegeneration. Astrocytes literally increase a matrix production due to disruption of calcium homeostasis or ROS release that activate capsases (enzymes) and generate apoptosis (cell death). Okay, this results in a big “traffic accident” that your immune system is cued to respond to. “Activation of inflammatory caspases results in the production of active proinflammatory cytokines and the promotion of innate immune responses to various internal and external insults.” β-amyloid (beta-amyloid) production is our immune system’s protective response to the insult or pathogen in the brain. This stimulates astrocytes, activated microglia and macrophages to speed to the “scene of the accident,” promoting oxidative stress and inflammation - we lose the regulation response due to the damage in the area. - think about this for a minute. This is WHY you want to address this early! It’s a lot easier to put out the fire in the kitchen if it’s only been going for 5 seconds vs 5 minutes, when the whole house may be on fire. ❤️ Thank You to all our 🔥 Firefighters out there!!!
β-amyloid protein decreases the cell’s ability to lower cytoplasmic calcium levels (necessary to drive transport channels) and perform calcium signaling, leading to synaptic mitochondrial impairment and thus, decreased ATP production. This happens in our cytoplasm. Our mitochondria have a similar cytoplasm that relies on the same calcium sensing and signaling, so it is compounded. We FEEL this with fatigue, low-energy, weight-gain, painful/aching joints, memory problems, brain fog and/or just feeling “crappy.” Consequently, aggregation of mitochondrial β-amyloid induces even more oxidative stress and cell death. So, these aggregated proteins act like crime-scene police used in excess to wall off the damaged area to prevent further destruction of brain tissue. It has long been thought that the way to treat AD was to somehow get rid of the “amyloid plaques” and “tau tangles”described in the brains of these individuals, thinking they were the cause of AD. WRONG.
Examining further, we need to look at our “other brain,” the gut. This is often the root or trigger. When we consume highly processed foods that are full of antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, preservatives, dyes and GMO products, we disrupt the delicate balance of our gut microbiome. You want the microbes that are producing health-promoting postbiotics (signals) that lower our blood pressure, turn off cancer genes and tell our mitochondria how much energy to make. This is your garden. You reap what you sow!! You want to grow the right things in it, give it the right compost, water and light to promote growth. It will literally throw you a heath-promoting party and make you biologically younger. All you have to do is feed it properly. However, when we don’t, it allows disease-promoting microbes to flourish, the tight junctions open, allowing harmful bacteria, viruses, sewage or even undigested food particles to escape into the body. Your immune system, 70% of which reside in the gut, is your border patrol. They see this as an invasion and begin an attack. They kill the “invader” that actually may be your own body tissue with cytokines and ROS, causing massive inflammation and cell death in the area.
In addition, pathologists frequently find gingival bacteria in the brains of AD individuals on autopsy. We now know that these pathogens and the harmful postbiotic chemicals they produce can travel from the gums and migrate into the brain. - another reason to floss - When they cross the BBB (blood brain barrier) your body mounts an attack. “Alzheimer’s diagnoses and deaths were associated with antibodies against the oral bacterium P. gingivalis, which can cluster with other bacteria such as Campylobacter rectus and Prevotella melaninogenica to further increase those risks.” Herpes simplex, for example is a common virus that also has been found to promote neurodegenerative diseases. There are three possible ways that periodontal disease can lead to AD: 1) The periodontal bacteria cause infections and damage brain cells. 2) The periodontal bacteria trigger inflammation of the brain. 3) The oral bacteria responsible for gum disease causes vascular changes that promote AD.
So, now that we have a very rudimentary understanding of who the enemy is and where they are coming from, let’s look at what we can do right now defensively to take action against dementia and AD.
- Support your mitochondria - they require polyphenols, flavonoids, alkaloids and glycosides known to exhibit neuroprotective mechanisms. HP-EVOO, rainbow of veggies and fruits
- Feed you microbiome - they like to eat fiber, polyphenols and flavonoids as well. Eat fermented foods - they not only contain the probiotic organisms but the super beneficial postbiotic messages that improve our mitochondrial function and affect our genes epigenetically to prevent disease. Include goat and sheep products - they contain the phytonutrients and polyphenols from the grass they eat, like grass-fed beef. Italian men who ate Parmesan cheese (regardless of smoking) lowered all-cause mortality by 30%! Consume cruciferous vegetables (sulfurafane), green tea for the antioxidant = EGCG - “functions as a powerful antioxidant, preventing oxidative damage in healthy cells, but also as an antiangiogenic (prevents new blood vessel formation) and antitumor agent and as a modulator of tumor cell response to chemotherapy. Much of the cancer chemopreventive properties of green tea are mediated by EGCG that induces apoptosis and promotes cell growth arrest by altering the expression of cell cycle regulatory proteins, activating killer caspases, and suppressing oncogenic transcription factors and pluripotency maintain factors.”
- Consume an anti-inflammatory diet - Give yourself an oil change - Consume HP-EVOO, grass-fed butter and ghee, Eliminate processed and ultra-processed foods, sugar, vegetable oils, fried foods, foods treated with glyphosate, pesticides/herbicides, additives and dyes. When we eat an inflammatory diet, it not only DIRECTLY causes inflammation, but INDIRECTLY through mitochondrial metabolism produces ROS! - It is a double-whammie!
- Supplement - Most of us are deficient in vitamin D3, K2, zinc, magnesium. If you aren’t consuming enough vegetables (5-9 C/day) you need to boost your nutrition. A good multivitamin = grass-fed beef liver.
- Vitamin D3 - Get plenty of sunshine to stimulate your body’s production of vitamin D3, which most of us are very deficient in. We are indoors so much nearly everyone needs to supplement. Vitamin D3 is really a hormone extensively involved in multiple organ systems of the body. Vitamin D3 receptors are found in the brain. Low D3 levels double your chance of Alzheimer’s. Get your vitamin D3 levels checked. Ideal blood level range is 60-70
- Vitamin K2 - don’t forget to take or consume K2 with D3. They work together to move calcium from your arteries to your bones!! High source of K2 is grass-fed Ghee. Grass-fed butter, goat and sheep cheese and dairy products are other sources. We get K1 in dark leafy greens that require microbes in your gut to convert to the active form K2. If our microbiome is off, we don’t do this very well. Also, if we don’t consume enough dark leafy veggies we don’t get it either. Consequence = HTN and deposition of calcium ANYWHERE there is inflammation - like your brain, arteries, blood vessels to kidneys, heart, micro-vessels all over the body. Calcium is the body’s natural bandaid. Trust me, we are depleted and becoming calcified.
- Alpha-lipoic acid - taken as a supplement 600-1,800mg- very helpful with neuropathy following chemotherapy and in diabetic neuropathy - “α-LA presents a neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory molecule profile with the ability to revert cellular damage in the central nervous system; thus, it is considered an epigenetic modulator in mechanisms associated with oxidative stress and inflammation. Therefore, α-LA protects against the progression or even the establishment of the toxic tissue environment resulting from the pathogenesis of AD.” Found in spinach, broccoli, yams, yeast, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, beets, grass-fed beef liver
Omega 3s - The three main omega-3 fatty acids are
alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and. DHA and EPA are from animal sources. Your brain is mostly fat. DHA accounts for 60% of the fat in the brain and is the most important. ALA is from plant sources. Your body has to convert ALA to DHA. It does this very poorly with an 85% loss and ending up with a mere 15% conversion. You can supplement with quality sourced wild salmon oil or krill oil if you aren’t consuming enough. You want your omega 6:3 ratio to be 1:1. The typical SAD (standard American diet) ratio is 20:1 - so SAD… docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- Lower insulin - Insulin is a fat-storing signaling hormone. Your mitochondria become resistant to insulin as we discussed earlier. If you are eating a high carbohydrate diet, your insulin stays elevated too long causing widespread damage. You will not be able to mobilize your fat for metabolism until your insulin level is low. Fasting insulin should be <3. ASK YOUR MD TO INCLUDE FASTING INSULIN ON YOUR BLOODWORK! It is more telling than a fasting glucose. - it is also a very cheap test ($15) if you pay for it yourself.
- Sleep - when we sleep, our clean-up crew in the brain goes to work. This is basically taking out the garbage - It’s the equivalent of scraping the plates, loading and turning on the dishwasher and going to bed. You wake up and the cycle has ended and the dishes are clean. The cerebrospinal fluid level increases and literally washes the debris, bacteria, viruses as well as β-amyloid plaques out of the brain. This our glymphatic system. Very much like the lymphatic system of the body. When we don’t sleep well or don’t get into deep delta-sleep, we feel it. - THINK ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF DEHYDRATION 😳 - New recommendation is drink your body weight in oz/day. Add electrolytes - you want the inside of the cell to get hydrated.
- Detox - we all have heavy metals such as mercury, lead, arsenic, etc. It just depends on how much is there and how good your body is (based on genetics) at detoxifying. Sweat, exercise, consume detoxifying foods such as parsley, oregano, rosemary and many other herbs that bind heavy metals and remove them from your body. However, cilantro can drag heavy metals into the brain. So, important to detox first, then use cilantro. You may need to avoid tuna if you suspect your mercury levels are high. Get your heavy metals tested - ask your MD - Utilize activated charcoal or chlorella -
- Lower chronic stress - This keeps your body in a fight or flight mode. This literally shrinks the size of the brain. Very much like when we had to ‘shelter in place’ during Covid. It is a protective mechanism to downsize in order to survive. Cortisol shuts down digestion, elevates blood pressure and heart rate, raises blood sugar by turning on gluconeogenesis (production of glucose) - This is like being in a pressure cooker with no pressure valve. We MUST combat this through mindful meditation, performing breathing techniques, chanting, yoga, tai chi, journaling, creating practices that lower stress and calm the mind and body.
- Community - Relationships and community are crucial for good mental health. People need other people! isolation kills more than all diseases combined. If you are in a bad relationship, change it. Foster healthy relationships. Get involved. Find a passion. Help others.
- Avoid Dementagens - dementia-inducing products: allergens - gluten, dairy - metabolism of these foods produce gluteomorphins and casomorphins: “Food-derived opioid peptides include digestive products derived from cereal and dairy diets. If these opioid peptides breach the intestinal barrier, typically linked to permeability and constrained biosynthesis of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4), they can attach to opioid receptors.” - they attach to receptors in the brain and alter brain function causing anxiety, depression, mood changes… - food additives, preservatives, herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics sprayed on food (glyphosate) as well as animal sources, environmental toxins - think plastics, household cleaning products and even the makeup you put on daily, latent infections, heavy metals and more… These create a stress on the body, activate the immune system and can initiate autoimmune issues.
- Exercise - one of the BEST things to improve brain health, prevent and reverse dementia and AD. Increases blood flow, oxygenation of tissues, delivery of nutrients and elimination of waste products with systemic broad benefits. Exercise, particularly HIIT (high-intensity interval training), stimulate your mitochondria to respond by trying to keep up with the energy demand. This stimulates them to divide and make MORE mitochondria to do the work. It also makes them get rid of the ones that aren’t pulling their weight and replace them with newer upgraded ones. The more consistent your are with your exercise, the better they will get at making energy for you!!! In addition, muscles have the ability to absorb glucose without the need for insulin. This goes a long way toward lowering your insulin levels and turning on fat-burning, improving metabolic flexibility.
- Hormesis - This is a short-duration stress to the body that has a beneficial effect and makes it stronger afterward. This can be use of hot, cold and even oxygen-deprivation therapies that can stimulate heat-shock proteins - that have a protective effect. For example, creating a short-term deprivation of oxygen followed by perfusion of blood flow can protect tissue from a more prolonged deprivation. This is a fantastic “hack” that we can use to upgrade our biology. Take a hot bath - as hot as you can stand - stretch while you’re in there - start sweating - Now jump into a full-cold shower x 1 min. - it takes your breath. You feel like you might die if you don’t turn off the water - you won’t. Suck it up buttercup - stay the whole minute. This literally causes your mitochondria to increase their forces - get rid of the ones that aren’t pulling their weight and replace them with NEW upgraded ones that can rise to the challenge. Try it. You’ll find improved mental clarity just after one time. I’m on my third week of doing this practice daily -
- Hydrate - The latest recommendation is to drink your body weight in oz/day. Don’t forget electrolytes - you want the inside of the cell to get hydrated. You can be like Tom Brady and put them directly in your water, or you can squeeze fresh lemon in your water. You can take a pinch of Himalayan sea salt under your tongue…Make sure you are getting enough magnesium and potassium
- Intermittent Fasting - Time-restricted eating is where you eat within a period of hours allowing your body time to go into rest and repair mode. You can start with an 8 hour eating window such as eating your first meal at 10:00am and your last at 6:00pm. This gives your body 14 hours to begin autophagy (self-eat) that will remove old, misfolded proteins, get rid of bad bacteria, viruses, waste and debris. Progress to an 18 hour fasting period, or even 24 hour. This is a way to lower insulin, allow your body time to start burning stored fat and produce ketones. Ketones tell mitochondria to throw away energy!!! WHAT???? It simultaneously tells them to multiply! So, you’ve effectively gone from a 1-horse carriage moseying along to a 6-horse carriage flying down the road. 6 horses eat more than 1. HA HA! You’ve effectively increased your metabolism - THIS IS PHENOMENAL!!! The result is improved mental clarity, a feeling of well-being and a new-found level of energy to bring our best self to the world.
- HP-EVOO - High-Polyphenol Extra-Virgin Olive Oil - This amazing green-golden liquid from nature is a major weapon in our armory against disease. Here are just some of the benefits:
- Preserves memory and learning - interfering with tau and β-amyloid proteins. A recent study at Temple University looked at mice engineered to develop “tau tangles” - deposits that are similar to β-amyloid - Tau deposits disrupt connections, block neuron communication, thereby impairing thinking and memory and resulting in frontotemporal dementia. “Tau mice were put on a diet supplemented with EVOO at a young age, comparable to about age 30 or 40 in humans. Six months later, when mice were the equivalent of age 60 in humans, tauopathy-prone animals experienced a 60 percent reduction in damaging tau deposits, compared to littermates that were not fed EVOO. Animals on the EVOO diet also performed better on memory and learning tests than animals deprived of EVOO.”
- Prevents aggregation of tau and β-amyloid proteins. Another study published in Nutrients 2021 showed that administration of oleocanthal (one of the polyphenols in EVOO) improved memory deficits and exhibited significant attenuation of the accumulation of Aβ plaques and tau phosphorylation in the brain of female mouse model. Oleocanthal, specifically, has been found to be “capable of altering the fibrillization of tau protein” and interfering with aggregation of these proteins!! As more research comes out, we will find out that the POLYPHENOLS in EVOO go a long way to prevent the accumulation of both tau and β-amyloid proteins.
- Promotes blood flow - We know from previous research that OA (oleic acid) in EVOO dramatically affects the endothelial lining of all the blood vessels supplying the brain, improving vascular pliability. OA is so crucial to the brain, it the only fatty acid made by astrocytes!
- Capable of growing new neurons - It also functions as a neurotrophic factor for neurons and has a role in astrocyte-neuron crosstalk. This means it can literally assist in growing new neurons!!!! Check out Blog # 61 -
- Promotes Autophagy - EVOO has also been shown to enhance autophagy (self eat) and mitophagy (same for mitochondria), which is our body’s clean-up and repair system. Check out Blog # 41 -
- Anti-microbial - EVOO is selectively anti-microbial and disrupts membranes of harmful microbes. This goes a long way at combatting P. gingivalis found not only in the oral cavity, but in upper gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, colon and even in women with bacterial vaginosis. FYI, it kills many other harmful microbes as well.
- Provides vitamins E and K - EVOO has 80 times the amount of vitamin E and 200 times K found in coconut oil. It also provides pigments, namely, β-carotene, lutein, pheophytin A, and pheophytin B with bioavailability over that of eating fruits and vegetables.
- Powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-hypertensive, anti-dementia properties - Polyphenols, phytonutrients and flavonoids in HP-EVOO are crucial in combating the inflammatory lifestyle we lead. They affect everything from the tiniest mitochondria and bacteria in our cells to the bacteriophages that are controlling them!!! We think we are in control of our bodies? Our bacteria outnumber our cells by a factor of 10:1. Bacteriophages (viruses that selectively ‘eat’ kill bacteria) outnumber our bacteria by a factor of 10:1. We are not mostly human. LOL 😝 this explains a lot.
Okay, so this is a LOT of information. However, it is SO EMPOWERING! We know damage is happening for years depositing these harmful and destructing proteins that form plaques. This means we actually have time to do something about it before it gets too bad! Start today to reverse and disassemble these plaques in your brain. Eat whole foods. Give yourself an OIL CHANGE. Upgrade your power supply. Eliminate frankenfoods - they turn you into Frankenstein -
So, until next time my friends, take action NOW to protect your brain!!! Drink, Drizzle, Digest HP-EVOO 2-4T raw daily, eat the rainbow of veggies (5-9 C) and low-glycemic fruits (to get the rainbow of gut microbes!) organic or wild-sourced, eat wild-caught, pasture-raised, grass-fed, get plenty of sunshine + supplement magnesium, zinc, vitamin D3 + K2, get your trace minerals and electrolytes with good sea salt *Himalayan was formed before plastics, eat foods high in lutein, drink 1/2 your body weight in oz of water, get a good pre/probiotic (if you have wiped out your gut microbes with antibiotics), eat some adaptogens and methylation donors (kale, beets, lion’s mane…) to detox, enhance overall health and reverse aging and disease, exercise your body and mind, add a few minutes of mindful meditation to your day to combat stress, take a hot bath and follow with a cold shower or plunge, remove EMF (electromagnetic frequency) devices and blue light, use IR (infrared) from candles (check for toxic chemicals), fire or incandescent lights in the evening to enhance sleep and...turn off the light!! #HP-EVOO