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How To Help Prevent Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's Disease is characterised by loss of neurons and synapses in the cerebral cortex and certain subcortical regions of the brain. This loss results in gross atrophy of the affected regions. It is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and gets worse over time. The most common early symptom is short term memory loss (Wikipedia).
There is no conclusive evidence on the cause of this disease but certain factors will place you at a higher risk. These are (in no particular order):
- A genetic predisposition (a particular gene has been found in sufferers but there is again no evidence of this being conclusive as not all groups studied and found to have the gene went on to develop the disease).
- Heavy Metal Toxicity
- Poor nutrition
- Lack of exercise
- Social and mental inactivity
- High Blood Pressure
Again, little research has been done on preventative treatments or cures for Alzheimer's, even though in 2010, there were between 21 and 35 million people worldwide with AD and it affects 6% of all people over 65 years of age. Once diagnosed, decline will happen over the next 7 - 10 years ultimately leading to death from lack of body functioning. Most leading nutritionists agree that Alzheimer's is a relatively modern lifestyle disorder with poor diet being a major cause. There has been some research to date but more is needed to show the possible health benefits of some alternative medicines. Unfortunately, most research is done by drug companies who do not want to find an easy, cheap natural medicine for Alzheimer's Disease than can't be patented.
However, there are promising results from the following for prevention and treatment in the early stages:
- Gingko Biloba - research suggests Gingko may improve memory and cognitive function in people with memory problems or dementia and some clinical trials report it to be as effective as currently approved treatments for Alzheimer's.
- Coconut Oil - some people have reported positive results with using coconut oil because of the caprylic acid it contains. Caprylic acid is a medium-chain fatty acid which breaks down into a substance called ketone bodies which provide an alternative energy source for brain cells that have lost their ability to use glucose as a result of Alzheimer's.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids - some studies have shown a slight improvement in symptoms of Alzheimer's with the use of these fats. Considering how beneficial they are for many different ailments where inflammation is apparent in the body, I would recommend their use for Alzheimer's prevention.
- Lecithin - which contains a substance called phosphatidylserine, has traditionally been used for enhancing memory and brain function. It is said to improve the myelin coating of nerve cells and thereby protect them from degeneration.
Some other healthy tips for Alzheimer's Prevention:
- Avoid all processed foods and take-aways. Include fresh organic fruit and vegies in your diet. Bananas, high in potassium, are particularly helpful to help lower blood pressure. Eat small amounts of protein from fish, organic eggs, nuts and dairy products. Avoid polyunsaturated oils which contribute to cell degeneration.
- Avoid all refined carbohydrates and sugar in your diet (breads, pastries, biscuits, pasta, rice, fruit juice etc.)
- Consider a detox diet if you suspect heavy metal poisoning in your body - consult your local naturopath for guidance.
- Socialise more - brain scans show that an interesting conversation with someone will light up more areas of the brain than any other activity. Take on new interests of study, learn a new language or musical instrument, play chess or other good mind games.
- Have some time in the sun every day for Vitamin D, exercise regularly and get sufficient, good quality sleep.
As always, a healthy lifestyle will reduce your chances of getting any degenerative disease as you age. Positive thinking, meditation and gratefulness will also help to keep those pesky genes from switching on. More and more, quantum science shows us that we have control of our lives by right eating, right activity and right thinking.
Suzanne Staples, ND DBM Naturopath Herbalist Homoeopath Email firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright Suzanne Staples