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DEMENTIA AND ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE

Dementia

Dementia is the word for a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain. It is not a specific disease.  Dementia literally means loss of mentation or thinking. Though Alzheimer’s disease is the most common, many different diseases can cause dementia.

Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological brain disorder named after a German physician, Alois Alzheimer, who first described it in 1906. Unrelated to cholesterol plaque that build-ups in the arteries and can lead to heart attack and strokes, a plaque called amyloid develops in brain tissues of individuals with Alzheimer's disease.

At the moment, Alzheimer's is progressive and irreversible. Abnormal changes in the brain worsen over time, eventually interfering with many aspects of brain function. Though there is, as yet, no way to eliminate Alzheimer's disease, there are several home remedies that can prevent its onset and help to prevent infections and improve the sufferer's health as well as slow the deterioration.

Symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer's disease

Memory loss is one of the earliest symptoms, along with a gradual decline of other intellectual and thinking abilities, called cognitive functions, and changes in personality or behaviour. People with dementia may not be able to think well enough to do normal activities, such as getting dressed or eating. They may lose their ability to solve problems or control their emotions. Their personalities may change. They may become agitated or see things that are not there.

Alzheimer's disease advances in stages. It progresses from mild forgetfulness and cognitive impairment to widespread loss of mental abilities.

In advanced Alzheimer's, people become dependent on others for every aspect of their care. The time course of the disease varies by individual, ranging from five to 20 years. The most common cause of death is infection.

Scientists generally agree that there is unlikely to be a single clear "cause" of Alzheimer's. It is more likely the result of a combination of inter-related factors, including genetic factors, which are passed along family lines of inheritance, and environmental influences, which range from previous head trauma to educational level and one's experiences early in life.  

Each of these risk factors is currently the subject of a great deal of research. A growing body of research is also helping to identify various "lifestyle factors," such as dietary habits, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which may influence one's risk of Alzheimer's disease.

One study showed that in patients younger than 65 years old, 41% of dementia diagnoses were incorrect. Misdiagnosis occurred most frequently in patients with depression or alcohol abuse

Conditions that can cause, trigger or worsen dementia and Alzheimer's disease

  • Cancer

  • Chlamydia pneumoniae

  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)

  • Dementia with lewy bodies

  • Frontotemporal dementia

  • Fungal infections

  • Hard tick-borne relapsing fever (HTBRF) Borrelia miyamotoi infection caused by a tick bite.

  • Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1)

  • Huntington’s disease

  • Lyme disease Borrelia burgdorferi infection of the blood and tissue caused by  pathogens carried by the by a deer tick.

  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Spirochaete infections

  • Treponemal spirochetes from the oral cavity ( periodontal disease pathogens)

  • Vascular dementia

  • Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome

As ApoE4 genotype has been linked to a weakened blood-brain-barrier in some individuals with Alzheimer's disease and may explain how certain microbes are able to enter the brain and cause the damage that leads to the disease.

 

The chemical kynurenic acid (KYNA) accumulates with age and interferes with the activity of glutamate, a brain chemical essential for learning and memory. In humans, it has been linked to neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

 

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Latest news about Alzheimer's disease

Lectin can cross the blood brain barrier and attach to the protective coating on the nerves, known as the myelin sheath, and is capable of inhibiting nerve growth factor, leading to neurodegenerative conditions.

The most common sources of lectin

  • Beans: caster, cocoa, coffee, lentils, navy beans, peanuts and soya beans.

  • Dairy products (when cows are fed grains instead of grass).

  • Grains: brown rice, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, rye, spelt and wheat.

  • Nightshades: ashwaganda, aubergines, blueberries, goji berries, huckleberries, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes.

Read more about lectins

Dairy and meat consumption

It has been discovered in global studies that looked into dairy and meat consumption, that countries such as Japan and others that consumed a mainly plant based diet rich in cold-pressed plant-oils  had lower occurrences of Alzheimer's disease. It may be worth replacing some dairy and meat consumption with plant-based protein sources such as grains such as brown rice and legumes, nuts and seeds to both lower the risk of developing these disorders and reducing the brain deterioration that is the result..

Intestinal flora

Gut microbes can produce hormones and neurotransmitters that are identical to those produced by humans such as acetylcholine, gamma-aminobutyric acid, histamine, melatonin and serotonin. It appears that by doing this, the gut microbiome has strategic evolutionary importance by modulating stress responses and influencing behaviours that impact the survival of its host species. The vagus nerve is responsible for transporting these hormones and neurotransmitters to the brain. It has been scientifically proven that this will have an impact upon mood and other psychological aspects of the mind and, therefore, an imbalance of intestinal flora or a malfunctioning vagus nerve can have an adverse effect upon mental health and lead to addiction, anxiety, insomnia, depression  and other neurological disorders such as dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Microbial infections

Genetic material from bacteria, fungi and viruses have been found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients and viruses which cause herpes and pneumonia have been suggested as potential Alzheimer’s disease "agents". However, infections from these microbes may be the result, not the cause, as individuals with Alzheimer's may have a weaker immune response, or changes in diet or hygiene, that could leave them more exposed. Research is now taking place to find out more.

A research team from the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) at the University of Queensland have documented astounding results with using a specific type of ultrasound to restore brain function in mice. By using a therapeutic ultrasound technique to beam sound waves into the brains of the mice, they were able to safely break up the protein lesions that caused a decrease in memory function. The results showed that the scientists were able to restore the memory function in 75% of the mice they tested. These results also came with absolutely no damage to the surrounding brain tissue. The team is planning on expanding their tests and hope to enter human trials by 2017.

Coconut (Cocos nucifera) maybe a useful natural remedy for fighting the microbes that can cause or trigger dementia and Alzheimer's disease and related brain degenerative conditions. Coconut, in all its forms (flesh, oil and water), can eliminate infectious illnesses such as bronchitis,  Chlamydia, giardia, gonorrhoea, Helicobacter pylori infection, herpes, lice, Lyme disease, influenza, spirochaete ( Borrelia) infections, tapeworms, throat infections, toxoplasmosis, urinary tract infections and numerous other infections caused by microbes, bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses and yeasts due to its compounds of capric acid, caprylic acid, linoleic acid, lauric acid, monocaprin and monolaurin. It is especially effective against the Clostridium and Staphylococcus species of bacterium.

See more:Nature Cures A-Z of antimicrobial foods and remedies

Drugs

Alzheimer's disease and dementia has recently been linked with certain medications such as paracetemol, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, painkillers, anti-psychotics, drugs for incontinence, antacids and blood pressure medications. Statins are particularly harmful. In one study 90 percent of patients who stopped taking statin drugs reported improvement in cognitive problems in a matter of weeks. In some of the patients a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's was reversed. Another study showed that the sleeping pill Ambien increased the risk of dementia in elderly patients. See Medication dangers

Fatty acids

Omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory, while omega-3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect. Inflammation is essential for survival as it protects the body from infection and injury, but it can also cause severe damage and contribute to disease when the inflammatory response is inappropriate or excessive. Therefore a balanced ratio of omega-6 to omega33 is required. Most experts agree that the omega 6:3 ratio should range from 1:1 to 5:1 but the optimal ratio may vary with any particular condition or disease under consideration. Today’s diet, in the developed world, can have a far higher level of omega-6 to omega-3 and may be responsible for the rise in many conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Many foods contain both omega-3 and omega-6 but the western diet tends to have far higher omega-6 to omega-3 ratios. Hemps seeds are one of the few foods to contain the correct ratio. The other way to correct it is to consume more foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids and lower in omega-6.

Highest sources of omega-3 fatty acids in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Krill oil 36000 mg

  • Flaxseed oil 22813 mg

  • Chia seeds 17552 mg

  • Walnuts 9079 mg

  • Caviar (fish eggs) 6789 mg

  • Cloves (ground) 4279 mg

  • Oregano (dried) 4180 mg

  • Marjoram (dried) 3230 mg

  • Tarragon (dried) 2955 mg

  • Mackerel 2670 mg

  • Herring 2365 mg

  • Salmon (wild) 2018 mg

  • Lamb 1610 mg

  • Basil (dried) 1509 mg

  • Sardines 1480 mg

  • Anchovies 1478 mg

  • Soya beans 1433 mg

  • Trout 1068 mg

  • Pecans, sea bass 986 mg

  • Pine nuts 787 mg

  • Bell peppers (green) 770 mg

  • Oysters 740 mg

  • Radish seeds sprouted 722 mg

  • Purslane 400 mg

  • Basil (fresh leaves) 316 mg

  • Rabbit 220 mg

  • Kidney beans 194 mg

  • Wakame seaweed 188 mg

  • Alfalfa sprouts 175 mg

  • Brussel sprouts 173 mg

  • Rocket 170 mg

  • Cauliflower 167 mg

  • Spinach 138 mg

  • Broccoli 129 mg

  • Raspberries 126 mg

  • Lettuce 113 mg

  • Blueberries 94 mg

  • Summer squash 82 mg

  • Strawberries 65 mg

  • Milk 75 mg

  • Eggs 74 mg

  • Chinese cabbage (pak choy) 55 mg

Omega-7 is a relatively new discovery, also known as palmitoleic acid, that has tremendous health benefits because it has the ability to lower an inflammation marker called C-reactive protein. Palmitoleic acid is the first fatty acid found to act as a hormone in the body and this class of hormones has been called “lipokine”. Prior to this finding, all known hormones were either proteins (like growth hormone) or steroids (like oestrogen and testosterone). Because it can also prevent the build-up of atherosclerotic plaque it is an important nutrient that individuals suffering with dementia and Alzheimer's disease should include in their diet.

 

Unfortunately, the natural sources of omega-7, such as macadamia nuts and sea buckthorn, also contain very high levels of palmitic acid which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke by increasing arterial stiffness, triggering abnormal platelet clumping and raising LDL cholesterol levels. Anchovies contain far more of the healthy omega-7 fatty acids than macadamia nuts and sea buckthorn and far less palmitic acid so are a good choice but they also contain a lot of sodium so are not advised when high blood pressure is an issue. Soaking in cold water for 30 minutes then rinsing well and patting dry with kitchen paper can reduce the sodium level a little.

Food additives

The food additive E621 monosodium glutamate found in most processed meat products should be avoided by those suffering with Alzheimer's disease as should yeast products like torula yeast, brewer's yeast, yeast spreads etc. which contain high levels of glutamic acid.

Artificial additives of all kinds may cause dementia symptoms. Studies have shown that the artificial sweetener aspartame impairs cognitive function and leads to memory loss.

See Food additives.

Heavy metals

Heavy metal toxicity may be a factor in the development of Alzheimer's disease and dementia especially mercury and aluminium. Annual flu shots are another source of these toxins. Research shows that people who took the flu shot for five consecutive years had 10 times or 1000 percent higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease than people who only had one or two flu shots due to the accumulation of mercury and aluminium in the vaccines. The following all have the ability to help the body expel heavy metals which often can contribute towards and even cause dementia. One portion of any of them should be consumed every day, especially when eating fish as many deep sea ocean fish are now contaminated with mercury.

See Heavy metals for more information about how to avoid heavy metals and eliminate them from the body.

Inflammation

The following can all be factors that cause inflammation and lead to the development of dementia. Inflammation is the body's attempt to get rid of a toxic element or organism.

Insecticides

Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) is an insecticide which was banned in many countries including the USA and UK by 1980 but some countries still use it to try to control malaria as advised by the World Health Organisation. Some foods may be imported that have been contaminated as it also degrades very slowly in the environment hence lingering in the soil. In the human body it is converted to dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) and stored in fatty tissues including those in the brain. It has been reported that high levels are often found in those suffering with Alzheimer's or peripheral neuropathy and in those who have had a stroke

Nutrient deficiencies

Deficiencies of many different nutrients can lead to developing dementia as the brain needs them to function correctly and for repair and regeneration which slows down with age. See Nutrients the brain needs below.

Mental stress and physical inactivity

Stress elevates cortisol levels, leading to inflammation and, in turn, to hormone imbalances, cognitive impairment, heightened blood sugar levels, hypertension, delayed healing time and susceptibility to disease. The body's self healing mechanisms depend on unimpeded flow of lymph, blood, and other fluids, all of which are promoted by exercise. Inactivity, by contrast, allows cellular shutdown and blockages, taxing the whole system and interfering with healing on every level. Physical exercise prevents the development of dementia and also slows the rate of decline in those that have already developed it.

Thyroid and other hormonal imbalances

Many people diagnosed with Alzheimer's or dementia simply have low levels of the T3 thyroid hormone. However, standard thyroid tests completely miss T3 levels and it is estimated that 10 to 15% of all nursing home residents may be there because of low T3. See Thyroid gland

The organic foods to consume to counteract dementia

  • Algae and seaweed flakes

  • Blueberries

  • Brazil nuts

  • Broccoli

  • Cacao (or dark chocolate with at least 84% cacao)

  • Green tea

  • Kale

  • Oats

  • Spinach

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Walnuts

  • Watercress

Nutrients required to combat the symptoms of dementia

A deficiency of any of the following nutrients can lead to the development of dementia. Follow the blue links to find the natural sources of each one. Supplements are not advised unless a blood test has shown serious deficiencies. Drink at least six glasses of bottled mineral water to ensure the addition of essential minerals in the diet. Drinking one just before bed is essential as the brain needs water to flush out toxins when the body sleeps.

  • Fibre: Eat a diet rich in both soluble and insoluble fibre in the form of psyllium husks, brown rice, oats, rye, citrus peel and coconut flesh.

  • Probiotics and prebiotics: An imbalance of gut bacteria can cause neurological disorders and affect the immune system.

  • Vitamin A Eat foods rich in the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene with fatty foods like avocado, coconut oil, oily fish, nuts, seeds or virgin cold-pressed oils. Vitamin A is thought to increase tissue resistance to penetration by microbes.

  • Vitamin B3

  • Vitamin B6

  • Vitamin B8 (inorsitol) has been shown to be effective in treating cases of Alzheimer's disease, anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, bulimia, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder and other psychological disorders that respond to serotonin uptake inhibitors and as an analgesic for pain control.

  • Vitamin B9

  • Vitamin B12

  • Vitamin C

  • Vitamin D

  • Vitamin E rich foods must be consumed at the same time as vitamin C rich foods

  • Magnesium

  • Selenium. Consume two brazil nuts per day to ensure of sufficient selenium levels.

  • Sulphur has been found to be very low in patients with Alzheimer's disease and is known to be an effective treatment and may be because it helps to chelate (bind to) heavy metals in the body and eliminate them.

  • Zinc. Foods rich in vitamin C and zinc helps to support the immune system. Zinc is lost by drinking alcohol and through many medications.

NOTE Non-heme iron is found in tea and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale. However, tea and green leafy vegetables also contain oxalates that block the absorption of iron. To assist the body in the absorption of non-heme iron eat a couple of vitamin C-rich strawberries, a kiwi fruit or some orange, tangerine or mango at the same time.

Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is a vitamin-like nutrient found in plant foods that has been found to have an important role in the growth of new mitochondria (mitochondrial biogenesis) which helps provide energy and increases the metabolism. It also protects the brain against neurotoxicity induced by various toxins including mercury, glutamate and oxidopamine and reverses cognitive impairment caused by chronic oxidative stress and improves the memory which can protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It also protects nerve cells from the damaging effects of the beta-amyloid-protein linked with Alzheimer’s disease.

PQQ-rich foods need to be consumed every day along with foods rich in coenzyme Q10 and foods that provide the nutrients needed to increase glutathione levels. Those taking cholesterol lowering drugs or medications for diabetes need extra coenzyme Q10 in their diet as these drugs reduce levels in the body.

Natural sources of pyrroloquinoline quinone

  • Green tea (three cups per day)

  • Kiwi fruit

  • Papaya

  • Parsley

  • Peppers (green)

  • Tofu

Vitamin B15: Consuming foods daily that are rich in vitamin B15 can help with both preventing and treating dementia.

Natural sources of B15

  • Apricot kernels

  • Beef blood

  • Brown rice

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Whole grains

Vitamin D is essential to assist the immune system therefore 20 minutes’ skin exposure to midday sunshine as often as possible is vital. Sunscreens and windows block the skins ability to utilise the sun’s rays to make vitamin D and during the winter months, October to April in the northern hemisphere of the planet, the sun's rays are too weak to allow this process to take place. Because the body only stores vitamin D for up to 60 days it is important to have a blood test in December and consume extra natural foods that are rich in vitamin D. Oily fish and eggs can provide vitamin D in the diet and taking one krill oil capsule of 1000 mg per day will help to provide vitamin D as well as the other vital nutrient for brain health, omega-3 fatty acids.

Highest sources of vitamin D per serving listed

  • Krill oil - 1 teaspoon: 1000 IU

  • Eel - 85 g or 3 oz: 792 IU

  • Maitake mushrooms - 70 g: 786 IU

  • Rainbow trout - 85 g or 3 oz: 540 IU

  • Cod liver oil - 1 teaspoon: 440 IU

  • Mackerel - 85 g or 3 oz: 400 IU

  • Salmon - 85 g or 3 oz: 400 IU

  • Halibut - 85 g or 3 oz: 196 IU

  • Tuna - 85 g or 3 oz: 228 IU

  • Sardines - 85 g or 3 oz: 164 IU

  • Chanterelle mushrooms - 85 g or 3 oz: 155 IU

  • Raw milk - 1 glass or 8 oz: 98 IU

  • Egg yolk - 1 large: 41 IU

  • Caviar - 28g or 1 oz: 33 IU

  • Hemp seeds - 100 g or 3.5 oz: 22 IU

  • Portabella mushrooms - 85 g or 3 oz: 6 IU

NOTE: One IU is the biological equivalent of 0.3 μg or 0.3 micrograms.

Recently, a compound was found in grape seeds which activates a protein called JNK, which regulates apoptosis. To assure that the cell cycle - the cell's process of duplicating itself to make more cells - goes smoothly, a large network of proteins tells other proteins what to do and when to do it. When any of these layers of protein regulation fail, cell growth can get out of hand. On the molecular level, JNK influences cellular functions by tagging other proteins with a phosphate chemical group (a process known as phosphorylation), a common mechanism cells use to turn enzymes on and off.

Phosphorylation is so important that when JNK goes awry, a number of different disorders can result, such as cancer, diabetes or neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. This JNK activating compound cannot be found in seedless grapes (obviously) or grape seed oil as the process to make the oil removes it. Grape seed extract can be found as a supplement but if you can find grapes with the seeds intact it is perfectly safe to chew and swallow the seeds. It may be worth grinding the seeds (which do taste bitter) into a powder and adding to meals and drinks daily to see if there is any improvement.

Zeolite can remove common heavy metals like aluminium, arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury from the body. It is a negatively charged, crystalline structure formed from the fusion of volcanic lava and ocean water. The molecules in zeolite contain a magnetic energy that attracts and holds several types of toxins at a molecular level which, taken orally, pull metals out of body tissues and into the zeolite itself. It is then passed safely through the urinary tract, without depleting the body of essential electrolytes.

Zeolite also blocks viral replication, does not disrupt the electrolytes in the body and naturally establishes an optimal pH level (between 7.35 and 7.45), which activates healthy brain, immune and liver function and supports the elimination of pesticides, herbicides and xeno-oestrogens. This can potentially help to heal a range of toxicity-related inflammatory diseases, including dementia, while supporting (not burdening) the body’s excretory systems. Zeolite is available in powdered or liquid form. The liquid zeolite is up to 10 times more efficient than the powdered form. 

Natural remedies for dementia and Alzheimer's disease

The malvidin found in the followings foods is a powerful antioxidant that can slow down age-related motor changes such as those seen in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Staple diet

The following foods should become a staple part of the diet but must be natural, unrefined and organically grown. Follow the blue links to find out more about each one.

Medicinal herbs that can help to treat dementia

The following herbs have properties that may help with the symptoms of dementia. As everyone is so unique it is not yet possible to say which ones will work best. Therefore try different ones for a month each to see if there are any improvements. Some may take longer to work. Follow the blue links to find out more about each one.

Try the following to add high concentrations of vital nutrients to the diet.

Associated articles

References

"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC

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