Alzheimer’s prevention - practical advice from a medical practice

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Published:
September 17, 2020

Alzheimer’s Disease has shown a dramatic increase in cases the past couple of years. For the most part, people seem to accept cognitive decline as a natural part of growing older. Indeed, we are almost expected to lose our memory as we age.

However, the integrative medicine way of thinking says that there are options to help prevent disease like Alzheimer’s. For this reason, the Golding Institute, of which I am a proud member, has launched a course for practitioners to help them treat Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of cognitive decline.

We believe in taking control of your own health journey and helping your loved ones. Therefore, I want to share some of the preventative strategies that we share with practitioners. You can implement many of these in your own home.

5 ways of helping to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

We will look at 5 approaches to practically help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

  1. Nutrition and diet
  2. Exercises
  3. Sleep
  4. Detoxification
  5. Supplementation

1. Nutrition

As always, we start with what we put in our mouths. The effects of Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of cognitive decline can be addressed by being aware of the effect of food on the brain.

Of course, we must keep in mind that there is no silver bullet and that each person will react to eating programs and diets in different ways. It is always a good idea to develop your health strategy with a healthcare provider that has an integrative approach.

Ketogenic diet

Rather than using sugar or glucose as the main source of energy, the ketogenic diet prompts the body to burn fat for energy. Basically, this diet is low in carbohydrates with moderate protein and high in good fats.

This diet can be safely followed for six to twelve weeks whereafter some cycling might be a good idea. Some people stay on the diet for longer without any negative effects.

Generally, our brain uptake of glucose lowers as we age. Secondly, uptake of glucose for the brain is even lower for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease. In contrast, the uptake of energy from ketosis is not affected by age.

Also, when the body is in ketosis, it may help encourage more nerve growth factors and synaptic connections between brain cells, and result in increased mental alertness, sharper focus, and improved cognitive capabilities.

Blue Zones

There are five areas in the world known as the blue zones. Compared to other areas, people are remarkably healthier and live longer lives.

These areas are found in:

  • Two provinces in Italy, Nuoro and Ogliastra
  • The Greek island of Ikaria
  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Nikoya peninsula in Costa Rica
  • Loma Linda, California

What do these areas have in common?

  • They also have very limited chronic diseases as well as living longer
  • They have remarkably similar lifestyles
  • Low-stress levels, slow pace of life, they take time out to relax
  • Strong family and social connections
  • Strong sense of life’s purpose
  • They move a lot, physical activity like gardening or walking, farming, manual harvesting and even shepherding livestock
  • Grandparents play an essential role in the upbringing, education, and caring of grandchildren
  • The word retirement doesn’t exist is the traditional Okinawan dialect
  • Similar diets
  • Largely plant-based diet
  • Moderate caloric intake
  • Smaller portions
  • Ideally, eat till 80% full
  • They typically have a high carb diet with moderate-low levels of protein and fat
  • Legumes such as beans are a staple dish
  • Meat is consumed rarely. On average 5x a month and very small portions
  • Alcohol intake is modest, no more than a small glass or two of wine usually

Indian curries

India has a low incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease. Interestingly, one of the most used spices in India is turmeric. In fact, we wrote an in-depth article on this amazing spice here.

Antioxidant diet

Antioxidants fight off harmful free radicals. If we increase the foods and nutrients with antioxidant potential, we can lower our risk of oxidative stress in the brain. For the most part, we can look at oxidative stress like rust. Of course, we do not want that to be a chronic part of our lives. Therefore we need to oil the system.

Antioxidant foods include:

  • Blueberries
  • Cranberries
  • Artichokes
  • Blackberries
  • Apples
  • Pecan nuts
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Black beans
antioxidant food

Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting improves genetic repair mechanisms and therefore can help the brain regenerate.

2. Exercises to help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

In the same way that our food influences our brains, what we do with our bodies can also help. Of course, we will find different forms of exercise and exercises will work better for some than others.

  • Physical exercise
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Gardening
  • Soduko and other math problems
  • Studying a foreign language
  • Playing an instrument
  • Brain training applications
  • Reading books
  • Yoga

3. Sleep to help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

I covered the importance of sleep in a previous article that focused on sleep and the new parent. However, the importance of sleep for brain restoration and protection against Alzheimer’s Disease cannot be emphasized enough.

Try to get at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep and practice good sleep hygiene:

Nutrition

  • Avoid caffeine for at least six hours before going to bed
  • Warm milk has shown to help one doze off easier
  • Eat a small, light meal at dinner.

Be practical

  • Don’t do stressful stuff at night that will keep your mind active
  • Lie down even if you can’t sleep, you do get a measure of rest!
  • Avoid screen time.  Taking that set of photos of sleeping baby, while worth documenting,  might just be keeping you awake. with the stimulating light of your device screen.
  • Pump.  Having milk at hand open up the possibility for someone else to help with feeding
  • Ask for help.  It is not a sign of weakness so ask friends to watch your little one while you take a nap in the next room.
  • Place the crib near your bed so that you can attend to your baby and get back into bed without too much stimulation
  • Avoid bed-sharing.  If you share your bed with your baby, you might lessen your chances of a good rest.

Environment

  • You will find most rest in a dark, quiet room.
  • It might seem impossible, but try to stick to a sleep schedule and waking up at more or less the same time every day
  • Morning walks can have some good rejuvenating effects after a long night - even if just around the block!

4. Detoxification to help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's prevention includes detox

In the first place, detoxification is not a myth. In fact, there are several types of toxins that have been linked to Alzheimer’s Disease. We look specifically at heavy metal toxicity and mould toxicity when we discuss cognitive decline.

Generally, it is a good idea to remove environmental toxins from your environment.

Some detoxification therapies include:

5. Supplementation to help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Of course, every person has their own unique needs when it comes to supplementation. Here is a list of general brain protecting and boosting supplements that are used in practice to help protect against and treat Alzheimer’s Disease:

If you are interested in seeing a physician to help customize your approach or treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease - feel free to head on to the site of Dr Craige Golding and make an appointment.

Dr. Carel-Piet van Eeden
About The Author

Dr. Carel-Piet van Eeden

Dr van Eeden completed his Ph.D and qualified in Holistic Life Counselling in December 2012 through the University of Sedona.  He is currently pursuing an MBAM through the same University.

After experiencing the trauma of cancer first-hand, Carel-Piet decided to leave his corporate position as legal business analyst and focus on the field of integrative medicine.  Together with Dr. Craige Golding, he works in the Golding Institute to provide evidence based integrative solutions and training for healthcare providers and patients alike.

As a practitioner, Dr. van Eeden focuses on a wide array of challenges people face.  Because of his diverse training, the challenges addressed in sessions are many and include:

  • Lifestyle management
  • Genetic testing
  • Emotional counseling
  • Mindfulness
  • Life Coaching