Back in 2004 I made a trip home to see my parents in Arkansas. I had gone home to visit because my Mom was not doing well … she had an advanced stage of LUPUS. She was literally “chair bound” and didn’t walk or do much of anything.
Dad and I decided to run to the store together and pick up a smoothie for Mom, hoping this would make her feel better. Dad went the “back way” to the little restaurant that I knew when I lived there many years ago. It started out as a very pleasant ride.
The next thing I knew he had taken a few turns and everything looked different. I wasn’t too concerned as I assumed he was taking the “scenic route” and so much had changed since I left home. And then all of a sudden I realized Dad was tense. I became tense too and realized… “oh my God… we’re LOST!” Dad didn’t have a clue where we were. But he was acting as nonchalant as he could. I didn’t get too scared as I knew at least we were still in town! So I kept suggesting for us to take this turn, then that turn, etc. until I saw something familiar. Once I did, I let out a silent sight of relief… I think I saw my Dad do the same.
When we got home Mom looked at me and said, “he got lost, didn’t he”. My God… she knew!
That’s when I first realized my Dad had Alzheimer’s. Sadly, my Mom had been living with her own health issues and also living with the fact that her husband was suffering as well. But neither of us ever spoke the word or brought it up again.
A few months later my Mom passed away do to complications with Lupus, severe osteoporosis and the numerous medications she was on. She had been too scared to leave the standard medical help she was receiving and try anything natural/holistic. Dad was more confused than ever. At her funeral he tried to slap me in the face.
At home that night he tried again to hit me. I literally went to sleep with one eye open not knowing what he was going to do next. It was frightening for me. But I’m sure it was more frightening for him.
My brother, who lived in the same town as Dad, took care of him for another year and a half and had put him in a nursing home. Dad sent me emails accusing me of stealing from him and my Mom. It was confusing and heartbreaking for me. I had not come to terms with the fact that he had Alzheimer’s.
A few months later he passed away quietly in his chair in the nursing home.
For some reason, now it was ok for me to admit that he had Alzheimer’s. I did some cursory research at the start and he literally had all the signs. It seemed to have progressed fast… only a few years… but I have no idea how long Mom had noticed his “forgetfulness”.
A few years after he had passed I noticed that every time I forgot something it triggered a bit of fear that I also might have the same thing happening. The good news is that it’s been over 5 years since Dad passed and my memory is sharper and cleaner than ever!
Even though I’m fine… I still wanted to know what caused the tangling of thoughts for my Dad. How did this happen to him?
Occasional lapse of memory like forgetting a name or misplacing your keys or losing certain words are part of life. As you age and work lose hormones you might notice more or less of this type of forgetfulness happening. That doesn’t mean you have Alzheimer’s.
When things progress to the point where you can’t remember a family member’s name or you start to put things away in strange places (keys in refrigerator), now you may have a more serious issue.
We all have a fear of losing our minds. And with good reason… some studies show estimates that by the year 2050 dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can affect up to 51% of people over 61(over 13.5 million). And women have more reason to be concerned than men.
I know that sounds alarming… and it IS – if you believe that Alzheimer’s diseases is a “natural part of aging”. But here’s the good news… Dementia, cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s ARE preventable.
Take my Dad as a great example of “what not to do”. He drank alcohol every single night of his life as an adult. Just one little “toddy”. He ate chips, candy, candied nuts, etc. every single day as a normal snack. He NEVER took a multi vitamin, ever! He was overweight (not obese, but definitely had that “wheat belly” going on). He never exercised, didn’t even go for a walk ever. He was a bomb waiting to go off. His body lacked so many nutrients there was no way it could repair itself from normal daily wear and tear much less any onslaught of trauma. He’d had 1 heart attack, 1 brain aneurism, 1 gun shot to the chest, emotional trauma of losing his parents and then his wife. He literally didn’t have a chance.
We know that the disorder of dementia is a progressive one. There are usually more frequent episodes of forgetfulness and confusion that occurs as the first step. This can last for years. At this point in the disorder there is a great chance of reversal if the person takes the right steps.
There have been numerous studies showing that estrogens for women and testosterone for men, curcumin (turmeric spice), certain B vitamins, etc. could all help prevent Alzheimer’s from even developing in the aging brain.
We know that a low functioning thyroid, certain drugs, chronic infections that go unattended, ongoing inflammation, low adrenal hormones (estrogens, progesterone, pregnenolone, DHEA, cortisol), past head trauma, food allergies, can all LOOK like a dementia disorder or the beginnings of Alzheimer’s. It’s vital that an aging person get fully checked out by someone who is willing to dig and test for the true function of the thyroid and adrenal glands, look for chronic infections, etc., and who will sit and listen to the person as to their life history so a correct program can be developed.
INFLAMMATION AND TANGLES
Let’s take a look at what scientist do know about this disease.
One working theory about what causes Alzheimer’s suggests that plaques and tangles are prime suspects in cell death and tissue loss in the Alzheimer brain.
Plaques are abnormal clusters of chemically “sticky” proteins called beta-amyloid that build up between nerve cells. The most damaging form of beta-amyloid may be groups of a few pieces rather than the plaques themselves. The small clumps may block cell-to-cell signaling at synapses. They may also activate immune system cells that trigger inflammation and devour disabled cells.
Tangles form inside dying cells. Tangles are twisted fibers of a protein called tau. In healthy areas, tau helps keep the transport system on track. But in areas where tangles are forming, the twisted strands of tau essentially disintegrate the transport system so that nutrients and other essential supplies can no longer move through the cells, which eventually die.
Though most people develop some plaques and tangles as they age, those with Alzheimer’s tend to develop far more. The plaques and tangles tend to form in a predictable pattern, beginning in areas important in learning and memory and then spreading to other regions.
The question then becomes… what causes all THAT to happen… most believe it can be summed up in one word: INFLAMMATION!
Chronic inflammation caused by eating too many sweets (sugar) and grains and having an imbalanced body chemistry does contribute to Alzheimer’s developing. This has been proven over and over again in numerous studies. With long term chronic inflammation that has been left unattended for years (decades)… by the age of 60, 70 or 80 there is now much destruction and deterioration in the body.
EVOLUTION OF DISEASE AND DEATH
Here’s the good news: We aren’t dying from infectious diseases anymore. Now onto the long, unfurling scroll of bad news: We’re eating ourselves to death and our brains are dying long before tiny invaders cause our bodies to break down.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers some eye-opening data regarding the most common causes of death in the United States, beginning with the turn of the 20th century and ending a tenth of the way through our current one. (see graph) Cancer and heart disease jump out before anything else as the current cause of death. Both have been proven medically and holistically to be due to poor dietary habits. Long story short: We’re living longer, but we aren’t necessarily healthier.
Infectious diseases have pretty much ceased to be a major issue. We developed vaccines and antibiotics to ward those off. In the meantime, we shirked manual labor jobs for idea-driven careers that just demand we have fingers for typing and an index finger for mouse-clicking. Our waistlines expanded, and our hearts paid the price. Where infectious disease made up 53 percent of deaths in 1900, it now makes up only three percent. Our diets changed from “home cooked meals” with fresh ingredients to “Drive-Through – Fast Foods”. Our digestive system and immune systems changed drastically for the worse. The result: Cancer and heart disease now make up 65 percent of all deaths.
Now frailty and accidents (from lack of strength enhancing exercise and proper nutrition), along with Alzheimer’s and Diabetes are the leading causes of death. That’s the bad news… the good news is that they are all PREVENTABLE to a large degree. The majority of people with Diabetes DEVELOPED it through improper diet. In other words they “did it to themselves”. Frailty and accidents due to poor balance and lack of strength is also DEVELOPED. Lack of full body movement, proper exercise, poor diet, medications, etc all contribute to both frailty and accidents happening. That leaves Alzheimer’s disease… this is also something that DEVELOPS over time. Based on statistics… it’s very likely and most probably PREVENTABLE.
Dr. Bredesen is internationally recognized as an expert in the mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Bredesen’s research has led to new insight that explains the erosion of memory seen in Alzheimer’s disease, and has opened the door to a new therapeutic approach.
Based on his research he has postulated that Alzheimer’s comes from an imbalanced in nerve cell signaling not the build up of sticky plaques in the brain as most have thought. Bredesen believes the amyloid beta peptide, the source of the plaques, has a normal function in the brain — promoting signals that allow some of the nerve connections to lapse. His research suggests that the increase in the peptide that occurs in Alzheimer’s disease shifts the memory-making vs. memory-breaking balance in favor of memory loss.
“A broader-based therapeutic approach, rather than a single drug that aims at a single target, may be feasible and potentially more effective for the treatment of cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s,” Bredesen has said.
It’s interesting to note that this researcher is one of very few, if any, that is thinking HOLISTICALLY in an effort to solve the Alzheimer’s dilemma.
He developed a plan and put it into execution in a small study. His approach, again, was very holistic and was personalized to each of the patients he worked with.
Let’s take a look at the components of his suggested program:
- Eliminate all simple carbohydrates, gluten and processed food from her diet, and eating more vegetables, fruits and non-farmed fish
- Meditate twice a day and beginning yoga to reduce stress
- Sleep seven to eight hours per night, up from four to five
- Take melatonin, methylcobalamin (B12), vitamin D3, fish oil and coenzyme Q10 each day
- Optimize oral hygiene using an electric dental flosser and electric toothbrush
- Reinstating hormone replacement therapy, which had previously been discontinued
- Fast for a minimum of 12 hours between dinner and breakfast, and for a minimum of three hours between dinner and bedtime
- Exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes, four to six days per week
The results suggest that memory loss may be reversed and improvement sustained with the therapeutic program.
No single drug has ever been found to stop or even slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, and drugs have only had modest effects on symptoms. In the past decade alone, hundreds of clinical trials have been conducted for Alzheimer’s, without success, at an aggregate cost of over $1 billion. Dr. Bredesen’s results are intriguing. For those of us in the holistic field we’re overjoyed to see someone in the medical community take on a holistic approach to such a devastating disease and prove great results.
I suggest that the next $1 billion be directed to applying this program’s steps to hundreds of Alzheimer’s patients.
For those who have this disease in their family trees, for those who are worried about Alzheimer’s… this program is the perfect one to start NOW to PREVENT this disease. If you have a loved one with this disease… getting them onto this program just might help turn things around…
I can tell you that I personally follow every step on this program and have been for the last 7 years of my life… the results speak for themselves. I have more energy, better memory, improved strength and endurance and more peace of mind than I ever had in my whole life. This program is 95% of what I preach and teach to my clients every day.
If you are interested in preventing or helping to alleviate Alzheimer’s disease in your life or family… give us a call… we’re here to help.
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