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Alzheimer’s: a possible cure

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While medicine wrings its hands over the explosion in cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and the inability of the pharmaceutical industry to produce an effective drug to counter them, a few forward-thinking doctors here and there are quietly carrying out new research showing that medicine has it all wrong about the cause of the disease and its possible cure.

To date, most drug research has focused on the sticky amyloid beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients and now considered the hallmark of AD.

But Dale Bredesen of the University of California, Los Angeles, a well-known researcher in neurodegeneration, decided to peer a little closer – down to the molecular level of the cells.

What he discovered is nothing short of revelatory. He uncovered that a specific protein in the brain essentially has an ‘on-off’ switch, which either sends a signal to nourish neurons and their connections or sends them a suicide capsule, in the form of special death-inducing messages.

He also discovered that the suicide pill doesn’t inevitably progress to total cell death. It’s simply the body’s conservation of resources, when the brain gets overloaded and needs to trim back inessential neuronal connections.

In fact, as we’ve detailed in our Brain Health special this month (page 28), Bredesen discovered many factors – like certain pharmaceutical drugs and medical conditions – that flip the suicide switch, and many others – like vitamin D – that turn back the ‘on switch’ in those patients with anything other than the most advanced dementia.

Surprisingly, according to Dr Joseph Mercola, one of the biggest suicide capsules of all, as far as your brain is concerned, is vegetable oil (page 44).

Mercola and his fellow author Dr James DiNicolantonio stress that these vegetable oils are not ‘vegetable’ at all, but in fact derive from grains, beans and seeds, like soybeans, or sunflower or safflower seeds.

In order to extract oil from these intractable seeds, manufacturers must apply gargantuan amounts of damaging pressure and heat, then more heat to bleach, deodorize and clarify them before they are bottled. They are damaged further as they sit on store shelves for months, exposed to constant light, usually in clear glass or plastic bottles, before being heated once again for cooking.
All this heat, light and pressure wreaks havoc on these delicate and relatively unstable oils, causing a chemical change, oxidation, that triggers domino-style damage all over the body, but particularly in the brain.

Nevertheless, vegetable oils, with their damaged omega-6 fatty acids, are the staple of all processed foods, most restaurants – and many home kitchens. Mercola and DiNicolantonio report that the use of soybean oil has increased over 1,000 percent in the 1990s alone.

Small wonder that we consume 30 times more omega-6 fats than brain-healthy omega-3s.

The problem with this imbalance is that omega-6 causes inflammation, while omega-3 extinguishes it. With the entire house on fire, filled to the brim with damaged vegetable oils, we would need truckloads of fish oils to quench the fires we’re brewing inside ourselves.

The other piece of this puzzle is that dementia and AD also result from a ‘starving brain,’ which has a reduced uptake of glucose due to impaired insulin sensitivity. Small wonder that AD has been called ‘type 3 diabetes.’

The good news is that both Mercola and Bredesen have discovered ways to recondition a brain on suicide alert. In our special report, WDDTY details Bredesen’s protocol – one of the first comprehensive programs proven to reverse early Alzheimer’s in 100 patients studied by 16 researchers from clinics across the US and Australia, both on cognitive tests and also brain imaging. Bredesen claims to have reversed AD in at least 1,000 patients. Only those in advanced stages see no improvement.

Dr Mercola’s program mimics that to some extent, but focuses on the need to avoid vegetable oils at all costs and to ingest omega-3 fatty acids in far larger amounts than we’ve been accustomed to.

The bottom line, as we’re discovering, is that AD isn’t inevitable, even if you have a certain high-risk genetic profile. Keeping your marbles into old age has everything to do with what you choose to feed your body – particularly what you choose to feed your head.

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