6 Tips for Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is a Progressive Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a cognitive disorder that progresses slowly over-time, and is the leading cause of dementia in the United States.   The disease may progress slowly.  And currently affects millions of Americans.  Alzheimer’s disease makes up over 60% of diagnosed cases of dementia.

The risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease include, aging, genetics, traumatic brain injury, diabetes and blood sugar dysregulation.  Chronic use of pharmaceutical medications, exposure to toxic substances, chronic disease, heart disease, infection, and stress, are also considered risk factors.

The Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s Disease

Many people become more concerned about developing Alzheimer’s disease as they age.  Namely, because the risk for developing the disease increases with age.  However, we now have a fairly good idea of what the risk factors are.  And even people at high risk—need not fear that they will develop the disease later in life.

The Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

The signs and symptoms of Alzheimers disease, depend on the individual. But, the disease is known to progress in predictable ways.   For example, the symptoms may begin when the affected person starts to have difficulty forming new memories.  And from there, it may progress to changes in speech, or a difficulty in forming words.  Eventually, the afflicted person may lose his or her ability to recognize people or places.  While some medications can reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, there is currently no cure.

Lion’s Mane mushroom is one of the first products I prescribe to anyone concerned about being at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.  Used for centuries in Chinese medicine, Lion’s Mane is a mushroom currently being researched for improving brain function.  There is also ongoing research on its’ anticancer and immune boosting properties. I usually choose Lion’s Main by Host Defense, because of the high-quality of this company.  And the many clinical research studies that this company has participated in.

Treat the Cause

From a naturopathic perspective, all health challenges are treated with the same systematic approach. The practitioner first begins treatment by trying to find the root causes of the disease process. Secondly, the practitioner attempts to remove any obstacles to cure. And finally, she attempts to offer safe and non-invasive treatment options.

When it comes to treating Alzheimer’s disease, I always talk to patients about chronic disease as a risk factor.  This is because we know that there are several types of chronic disease that can increase a person’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

For example, we know that what is good for the heart, is also good for the brain.  In fact, we find that when people engage in activities that are good for heart-health, Alzheimer’s disease risk fall dramatically. And we also know that maintaining a stable blood sugar is vital to healthy brain function.  In fact, there is such a strong correlation between blood sugar dysregulation and Alzheimer’s disease.  This relationship is referred to as, “diabetes of the brain.”

Poor Quality Food Is Bad For Brain Health

The link between poor quality food choices, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease risk, is one of the main reasons I focus so much time on developing good diet plans with my patients. Remember, simply eating more nutritious foods on a daily basis can have a dramatic impact on our health.

There are two products I prescribe often to people that seem to help support heart health and brain health.  The first is, DHA Xtra by Nordic Naturals.  DHA is an omega-3 that is important for brain health.  Our brains require DHA to create healthy grey matter.  DHA Xtra by Nordic Naturals is also high in EPA: a form of omega-3 important for heart health.

Because Alzheimer’s disease is such a growing concern for Americans, I have uploaded a YouTube video that further discusses some of the recommendations I make to patients.  You can find that video now by clicking here.

Some Basic Diet Tips

I encourage people to maintain, a diet with optimal nutrition.  The diet you choose should be mostly plant based; with about 50% of the vegetables consumed raw.  This is because high cholesterol and heart disease are risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.

When consuming a diet that is nutrient dense, minimally processed and plant-based, you are consuming a diet high in Antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances found in plants that help reduce the risk of oxidative stress and early aging.

A nutrient dense diet is also high in fiber, which slows gastric emptying and decreases spikes in blood sugar, which may also help reduce Alzheimer’s disease risk.  An exercise program that includes plenty of cardio,  is also suggested.

Some Basic Supplements For Support

Two vitamins that I do prescribe often to aging is patients is vitamin D3 and a good B12 Complex.  I never give B12 by itself, but always as a complex with other vitamins.  My favorite Vitamin D and B12 Complex are from Thorne Research.  I advice having your doctor check your vitamin levels to find out what the right dosage is for you.  I often prescribe Vitamin D 5000IU and B Complex #12 daily, for improved health, brain function and mood.  Thorne Research is one of my favorite companies.  And I prescribe their products often.  Namely, because they maintain some of the highest quality standards in the country.  They are triple tested for purity: making them the most favored line of supplements with most naturopathic doctors.

Herbal Formulas May Also Be Helpful

Some herbal supplements are currently being researched for their possible health benefits, like ginseng, astragalus, gingko biloba, and turmeric.  

I have been very impressed by some of the Chinese formulas currently on the market.  One of my favorite remedies is Super Adaptogen by Dragon Herbs.  This is one of those products that I see results with fairly quickly. I think one of the reasons this product works so well, is because it addresses some of the fatigue we see in seniors.  

I also prescribe a good quality turmeric for brain health.  In my opinion, the best on the market is, Meriva by Thorne Research.  I prescribe this product often because it is a form of turmeric that is easy to absorb.  And crosses the blood brain barrier. This can be a challenge when taking a powdered turmeric, or a juiced turmeric, as very little of the active constituents are absorbed.

As I have mentioned in previous articles, turmeric is also being researched for its ability to reduce risk for strokes:  An added benefit to taking turmeric daily.

Of course, please speak to your doctor before taking any supplements suggested in this article; as some supplements may be contraindicated with certain medications.

Please Reach Out to Me If You Need Additional Support

To find out more about my work, please check out my website at http://www.doctorwhimsy.com/.

Dr. Whimsy Anderson, ND

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