Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health
Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health

Alzheimer's disease

What is Alzheimer's disease?

Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease

Risk factors for Alzheimer's disease

Root causes of Alzheimer's disease

Prevention / remedies / treatment / recovery from Alzheimer's disease

References

What is Alzheimer's disease?

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia. It is a bacterial infection, modern lifestyle and diet-caused disease, and it is mostly preventable if treated early.

About 34 million people around the world suffer from Alzheimer's disease. It is one of the fastest-growing degenerative diseases, and its prevalence is expected to triple over the next 40 years. Conventional medicine says that dementia is just a normal part of aging or a condition for which nothing can be done other than treating the symptoms. Conventional doctors maintain the disease worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death. However, with awareness of the real causes and use of appropriate treatments, you can substantially lower your risk of developing this dreadful disease.

In Australia, dementia is the second leading cause of death and Alzheimer's is the most frequent cause of dementia. 1.8% of the entire population suffer from some form of dementia, and it is growing at a rate of more than 3% each year. Similar statistics apply in other developed countries. (19)

Alzheimer's disease is most commonly diagnosed in people over the age of 65, but it can occur much earlier. The average life expectancy after diagnosis is seven years. Less than three percent of individuals live for more than fourteen years after diagnosis.

Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease

Early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease are often mistakenly thought to be manifestations of stress or aging. Early symptoms to look out for, in order of progression, are:

  1. Impaired olfaction (reduced sense of smell).
  2. Not recognising or mis-recognising faces that should be familiar.
  3. Not remembering recent events.

Dementia normally occurs between 5 to 20 years after the manifestation of the first early symptoms.

Longer term symptoms vary with each individual, and sometimes it may not be diagnosed for years. As the disease advances, symptoms can include:

Risk factors for Alzheimer's disease

Risk factor 1 below is of overwhelming importance. In addition, a study showed that as many as half of Alzheimer's disease cases worldwide and in the USA are associated with risk factors 2-8, which are all modifiable. (1)

  1. Infection by a variety of microorganisms such as herpes simplex virus , Chlamydia pneumoniae, several types of spirochaete bacteria (such as Borrelia of Lyme disease), fungal infections and some protozoa infections. Tooth loss, tooth decay, periodontitis and gum disease are leading causes of infection. (14, 17) A study in 2015 found over a ten-fold increased occurrence of Alzheimer's disease when there is detectable evidence of spirochetal bacteria infection. (18)
  2. Cognitive inactivity or low educational attainment. Basically, mental laziness. In particular, social isolation is the major risk factor. (6) Not learning new things, or not subjecting yourself to novel situations is also bad.
  3. Lack of sleep. Sleep is a detoxification process. In particular, the brain requires a period of sleep every 24 hours.

    Beta amyloid is a pathological protein that is strongly associated with Alzheimer's disease. High levels of beta amyloid accumulation in the brain are virtually a definition of Alzheimer's. This is clearly seen in an autopsy.

    Beta amyloid builds up in the brain every day, this is a normal process. At night, these beta amyloids are flushed out of the brain. This occurs during a phase known as slow wave sleep. Slow wave sleep is a deep sleep phase which occurs early in the night. It is highly efficient at flushing out beta amyloids compared to all other phases of sleep.

    However, with insufficient slow wave sleep, beta amyloid levels in the brain rapidly accumulate. A study published on 10 July 2017 (21) showed that chronically disrupted sleep promotes amyloid plaques and inflammation in the brain. This effect was specific for lack of slow wave activity, and not for sleep duration or efficiency.
  4. Physical inactivity. (16)
  5. Diabetes.
  6. Hypertension (high blood pressure).
  7. Obesity.
  8. Depression.
  9. Smoking.

Root causes of Alzheimer's disease

  1. Intra-cellular infection with small spirochaete bacteria. Usually a small bacteria, and most commonly a Borrelia species that causes Lyme disease. Over time they will co-infect with other bacteria, viruses, fungi or protozoa. Borrelia and other small bacteria live inside cells, and some shed their own cellular walls to better hide from the immune system. Thousands of these microorganisms can live inside a single cell; eventually the cell walls burst and they spread to a new cellular host. Outside of cells, they also build biofilm for protection. B. garinii mostly affect the brain and central nervous system, although B. burgdorferi which are associated with Lyme disease also have a near universal association. (10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18)

    There is little agreement that Lyme disease occurs in Australia, but Alzheimer's is as prevalent as it is in America. In Australia, ticks often carry Rickettsia bacteria. So it seems that a variety of other bacteria, particularly those with a spirochaete structure, affect the brain, nerves and immune system. For example, Toxoplasma gondii infection is associated with schizophrenia, mood disorders and cognitive impairment. (3) Chlamydia pneumoniae has been found in the brains of nearly all multiple sclerosis patients and the majority of Alzheimer's patients. (4, 5, 14, 17, 18)
    A 2016 study (8) found a strong relationship between periodontitis (gum disease) and Alzheimer's. Gum infection is more common in the elderly, and the problem is self-reinforcing causing a reduced ability to take care of oral hygiene as the disease progresses. (17)
  2. Toxins. Accumulation of a wide variety of toxins to which the brain and nervous system are exposed.

    Research published in July 2017 (21) showed that lack of slow wave sleep, is a deep sleep phase which occurs early in the night, is strongly associated with the accumulation of beta amyloids, a pathological protein which accumulates in the brains of all those with Alzheimer's disease.

    Foods are a common and major source of toxins, usually accompanied by a variety of digestive problems. Sugar and artificial sweeteners are a direct cause of Alzheimer's (20), and also feed the above spirochaete bacteria.

    A range of estrogen-like hormones and chemicals (xenoestrogens) in the environment cause a wide variety of hormonal problems.

    A huge range of other toxic pollutants in our homes, everyday environment, personal care products and water are so diverse and so unique to each person, that it is difficult to connect the dots between the toxin and the ailment.
  3. Brain / mental inactivity and lack of stimulation.

Prevention / remedies / treatment / recovery from Alzheimer's disease

Here are some changes that you can make to your diet and lifestyle that will substantially reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer's. As I explain in Grow Youthful, this type of lifestyle will also make you look younger, feel younger and more energised, will slow your aging, and prevent many other degenerative diseases.

References

1. Barnes D.E., Yaffe K. The projected effect of risk factor reduction on Alzheimer's disease prevalence. Lancet Neurol. 2011 Sep;10(9):819-28.

2. Bijal Trivedi. Eat Your Way to Dementia. New Scientist, 1 September 2012.

3. Fekadu A. et al. Toxoplasmosis as a cause for behaviour disorders - overview of evidence and mechanisms. Folia Parasitol (Praha). 2010 June; 57(2):105-13.

4. Balin BJ. et al. Chlamydophila pneumoniae and the etiology of late-onset Alzheimer's disease. J Alzheimers Dis. May 2008; 13(4):371-80.

5. Christine J Hammond, Loretta R Hallock, Raymond J Howanski, Denah M Appelt, C Scott Little, Brian J Balin. Immunohistological detection of Chlamydia pneumoniae in the Alzheimer's disease brain. BMC Neuroscience 2010, 11:121 doi:10.1186/1471-2202-11-121.

6. Michelle Carlson et al. Civic Engagement May Stave Off Brain Atrophy, Improve Memory. Meaningful activities experienced with others may reverse the normal brain shrinkage associated with the aging process. Retrieved online 14 Apr 2015. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

7. Kazuki Hyodo, Ippeita Dan, Yasushi Kyutoku, Kazuya Suwabe, Kyeongho Byun, Genta Ochi, Morimasa Kato, Hideaki Soya. The association between aerobic fitness and cognitive function in older men mediated by frontal lateralization. NeuroImage, Volume 125, 15 January 2016, Pages 291-300.

8. Mark Ide , Marina Harris , Annette Stevens , Rebecca Sussams , Viv Hopkins , David Culliford , James Fuller , Paul Ibbett , Rachel Raybould , Rhodri Thomas , Ursula Puenter , Jessica Teeling , V. Hugh Perry , Clive Holmes. Periodontitis and Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer's Disease. Published 10 March 2016. PLoS ONE 11(3): e0151081. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0151081.

9. Raji CA, Merrill DA, Eyre H, Mallam S, Torosyan N, Erickson KI, Lopez OL, Becker JT, Carmichael OT, Gach HM, Thompson PM, Longstreth WT, Kuller LH. Longitudinal Relationships between Caloric Expenditure and Gray Matter in the Cardiovascular Health Study. J Alzheimers Dis. 11 March 2016, viewed online.

10. Miklossy, Judith. Alzheimer's disease - a spirochetosis? Neuroreport. 1993 Jul;4(7):841-8.

11. Judith Miklossy. Alzheimer's disease - a neurospirochetosis. Analysis of the evidence following Koch's and Hill's criteria. Journal of Neuroinflammation. 20118:90. DOI: 10.1186/1742-2094-8-90. Published: 4 August 2011.

12. MacDonald A B. Plaques of Alzheimer's disease originate from cysts of Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease spirochete. Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(3):592-600. Epub 2006 May 3. PMID: 16675154.

13. MacDonald A B. Alzheimer's disease Braak Stage progressions: reexamined and redefined as Borrelia infection transmission through neural circuits. Med Hypotheses. 2007;68(5):1059-64. Epub 2006 Nov 17. PMID: 17113237.

14. Itzhaki, Ruth F.; Lathe, Richard; Balin, Brian J.; Ball, Melvyn J.; Bearer, Elaine L.; Bullido, Maria J.; Carter, Chris; Clerici, Mario; Cosby, S. Louise; Field, Hugh; Fulop, Tamas; Grassi, Claudio; Griffin, W. Sue T.; Haas, Jurgen; Hudson, Alan P.; Kamer, Angela R.; Kell, Douglas B.; Licastro, Federico; Letenneur, Luc; Lovheim, Hugo; Mancuso, Roberta; Miklossy, Judith; Lagunas, Carola Otth; Palamara, Anna Teresa; Perry, George; Preston, Christopher; Pretorius, Etheresia; Strandberg, Timo; Tabet, Naji; Taylor-Robinson, Simon D.; and Whittum-Hudson, Judith A. Microbes and Alzheimer's Disease. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. Published online 8 March 2016. doi:10.3233/JAD-160152.

15. MacDonald AB, Miranda JM. Concurrent neocortical borreliosis and Alzheimer's disease. Hum Pathol. 1987 Jul;18(7):759-61.

16. Muscari, A., Giannoni, C., Pierpaoli, L., Berzigotti, A., Maietta, P., Foschi, E., Ravaioli, C., Poggiopollini, G., Bianchi, G., Magalotti, D., Tentoni, C. and Zoli, M. Chronic endurance exercise training prevents aging-related cognitive decline in healthy older adults: a randomized controlled trial. (2010),Int. J. Geriat. Psychiatry, 25: 1055-1064. doi:10.1002/gps.2462. Published 23 December 2009.

17. Deborah K. Shoemark, Shelley J. Allen. The Microbiome and Disease: Reviewing the Links between the Oral Microbiome, Aging, and Alzheimer's Disease. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease 43 (2015) 725-738. DOI 10.3233/JAD-141170.

18. Maheshwari P, Eslick GD. Bacterial infection and Alzheimer's disease: a meta-analysis. J Alzheimers Dis. 2015;43(3):957-66. doi: 10.3233/JAD-140621.

19. Alzheimer's Australia website, news item dated 31 March 2015.

20. Matthew P. Pase, Jayandra J. Himali, Alexa S. Beiser, Hugo J. Aparicio, Claudia L. Satizabal, Ramachandran S. Vasan, Sudha Seshadri, Paul F. Jacques. Sugar and Artificially Sweetened Beverages and the Risks of Incident Stroke and Dementia. Stroke. 2017;STROKEAHA.116.016027. Published 20 April 2017.

21. Yo-El S. Ju Sharon J. Ooms Courtney Sutphen Shannon L. Macauley Margaret A. Zangrilli Gina Jerome Anne M. Fagan Emmanuel Mignot John M. Zempel Jurgen A.H.R. Claassen David M. Holtzman. Slow wave sleep disruption increases cerebrospinal fluid amyloid-B levels. Brain, awx148. Published: 10 July 2017.