Alzheimers disease
May 29, 2013
 by Gabe Mirkin, MD

The most common cause of senility in North America is Alzheimer’s
disease, a horrible condition in which a person loses his capacity
to reason, think, recognize and function. Former president Ronald
Reagan had Alzheimer’s disease, as do some Nobel Prize winners and
some of the most brilliant people who have walked this earth. An
article in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed
that extraordinarily poor people in Ibadan, Nigeria are far less
likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than their relatives in
Indianapolis, further confirming that Alzheimer’s disease is
probably not genetic but is caused by something in North American
lifestyle or environment (2). One in ten North Americans develop
Alzheimer’s disease by age 65, and 5 in 10 develop it by age 85.

Alzheimer’s disease means that the brain is damaged and dying brain
cells mix with tangles of the protein beta amyloid. Ten years ago,
the Kentucky nuns study showed that nuns who have the most
ministrokes show the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, while many
with lots of beta amyloid do not have signs of that disease.
Anything that increases your chances of developing a stroke or a
heart attack also increases your chances of developing Alzheimer’s
disease. So the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease include
smoking, being overweight, not exercising, eating too many
calories, or having high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol
levels. Dietary risk factors include not eating enough vegetables;
lack of omega-3 fatty acids found in whole grains, beans, seeds and
deep water fish; and eating too much meat.

Dr. David Snowden showed in his Kentucky Nuns Study that nuns who
were most likely to suffer Alzheimer’s disease have low blood
levels of the vitamin folic acid and high levels of the protein
building block homocysteine. Not eating enough leafy greens and
whole grains can deprive you of the vitamin folic acid, and eating
too much meat provides you with too much methionine, and the
combination of these two factors raises brain levels of homocysteine,
that punches holes in arteries and causes plaques to form in them
to cause ministrokes, which damages your brain.

Methionine is an essential protein building block that your body
uses to make another nonessential building block called cysteine.
If you lack any of the three vitamins: B12, folic acid or
pyridoxine, methionine is converted to a poison called homocysteine
that damages arteries and causes strokes, heart attacks and
Alzheimer’s disease. Meat is one of the richest sources of
methionine, and leafy greens and whole grains are full of folic
acid that prevents methionine from being converted to homocysteine.
Reducing your intake of meat and poultry lowers your intake of
methionine. Folic acid is found everywhere in nature that you get
carbohydrates, because folic acid helps your body convert
carbohydrates to energy. You can help to prevent Alzheimer’s
disease by getting folic acid from all whole grains and fortified
cereals, leafy green vegetables, beans, seeds, nuts, and many other
plants; and by reducing your intake of methionine by eating less
meat. If homocysteine levels are above 100, take folic acid,
pyridoxine and B12 (readily available in combination pills such as
Foltex or Fol-B.)

A report from Sweden showed that statin drugs that are commonly
used to help prevent heart attacks may also help prevent
Alzheimer’s disease (3). Almost everything that helps prevent heart
attacks also appears to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. The
statin drugs used to treat high cholesterol may help to prevent and
treat Alzheimer’s disease by increasing blood flow and decreasing
inflammation, independent of their cholesterol-lowering actions.

An article from Columbia Medical School showed that people who
develop Alzheimer’s disease eat far more food and fat than those
who do not develop that disease (4). The researchers found that
people who have the apolipoprotein E epsilon 4 allele gene for
susceptibility for Alzheimer’s disease, and eat far more fat and
food, are at high risk for Alzheimer’s disease. On the other hand,
people who don’t have the APOE epsilon 4 gene, can eat huge amounts
disease. Several previous studies show that significantly reduced
calorie diets are associated with longer life spans in mice and
rats, presumably because eating less food produces fewer free
radicals that increase the damage done by beta amyloids, the glue-
like particles found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s

Checked 1/19/14