Home | About | Contact | Buy the book | Blog
Let food be your medicine
DEMENTIA AND ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE
Dementia is the word for a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain. It is not a specific disease. Dementia literally means loss of mentation or thinking. Though Alzheimer’s disease is the most common, many different diseases can cause dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological brain disorder named after a German physician, Alois Alzheimer, who first described it in 1906. Unrelated to cholesterol plaque that build-ups in the arteries and can lead to heart attack and strokes, a plaque called amyloid develops in brain tissues ofindividuals with Alzheimer's disease.
At the moment, Alzheimer's is progressive and irreversible. Abnormal changes in the brain worsen over time, eventually interfering with many aspects of brain function. Though there is, as yet, no way to eliminate Alzheimer's disease, there are several home remedies that can prevent its onset and help to prevent infections and improve the sufferer's health as well as slow the deterioration.
Symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer's disease
Memory loss is one of the earliest symptoms, along with a gradual decline of other intellectual and thinking abilities, called cognitive functions, and changes in personality or behaviour. People with dementia may not be able to think well enough to do normal activities, such as getting dressed or eating. They may lose their ability to solve problems or control their emotions. Their personalities may change. They may become agitated or see things that are not there.
Alzheimer's disease advances in stages. It progresses from mild forgetfulness and cognitive impairment to widespread loss of mental abilities.
In advanced Alzheimer's, people become dependent on others for every aspect of their care. The time course of the disease varies by individual, ranging from five to 20 years. The most common cause of death is infection.
Scientists generally agree that there is unlikely to be a single clear "cause" of Alzheimer's. It is more likely the result of a combination of inter-related factors, including genetic factors, which are passed along family lines of inheritance, and environmental influences, which range from previous head trauma to educational level and one's experiences early in life.
Each of these risk factors is currently the subject of a great deal of research. A growing body of research is also helping to identify various "lifestyle factors," such as dietary habits, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which may influence one's risk of Alzheimer's disease.
One study showed that in patients younger than 65 years old, 41% of dementia diagnoses were incorrect. Misdiagnosis occurred most frequently in patients with depression or alcohol abuse
Conditions that can cause, trigger or worsen dementia and Alzheimer's disease
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)
Dementia with lewy bodies
Hard tick-borne relapsing fever (HTBRF) Borrelia miyamotoi infection caused by a tick bite.
Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1)
Lyme disease Borrelia burgdorferi infection of the blood and tissue caused by pathogens carried by the by a deer tick.
Normal pressure hydrocephalus
Treponemal spirochetes from the oral cavity ( periodontal disease pathogens)
As ApoE4 genotype has been linked to a weakened blood-brain-barrier in some individuals with Alzheimer's disease and may explain how certain microbes are able to enter the brain and cause the damage that leads to the disease.
The chemical kynurenic acid (KYNA) accumulates with age and interferes with the activity of glutamate, a brain chemical essential for learning and memory. In humans, it has been linked to neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Lectin can cross the blood brain barrier and attach to the protective coating on the nerves, known as the myelin sheath, and is capable of inhibiting nerve growth factor, leading to neurodegenerative conditions.
The most common sources of lectin
Beans: caster, cocoa, coffee, lentils, navy beans, peanuts and soya beans.
Dairy products (when cows are fed grains instead of grass).
Grains: brown rice, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, rye, spelt and wheat.
Nightshades: ashwaganda, aubergines, blueberries, goji berries, huckleberries, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes.
Dairy and meat consumption
It has been discovered in global studies that looked into dairy and meat consumption, that countries such as Japan and others that consumed a mainly plant based diet rich in cold-pressed plant-oils had lower occurrences of Alzheimer's disease. It may be worth replacing some dairy and meat consumption with plant-based protein sources such as grains such as brown rice and legumes, nuts and seeds to both lower the risk of developing these disorders and reducing the brain deterioration that is the result..
Gut microbes can produce hormones and neurotransmitters that are identical to those produced by humans such as acetylcholine, gamma-aminobutyric acid, histamine, melatonin and serotonin. It appears that by doing this, the gut microbiome has strategic evolutionary importance by modulating stress responses and influencing behaviours that impact the survival of its host species. The vagus nerve is responsible for transporting these hormones and neurotransmitters to the brain. It has been scientifically proven that this will have an impact upon mood and other psychological aspects of the mind and, therefore, an imbalance of intestinal flora or a malfunctioning vagus nerve can have an adverse effect upon mental health and lead to addiction, anxiety, insomnia, depression and other neurological disorders such as dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
Genetic material from bacteria, fungi and viruses have been found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients and viruses which cause herpes and pneumonia have been suggested as potential Alzheimer’s disease "agents". However, infections from these microbes may be the result, not the cause, as individuals with Alzheimer's may have a weaker immune response, or changes in diet or hygiene, that could leave them more exposed. Research is now taking place to find out more.
A research team from the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) at the University of Queensland have documented astounding results with using a specific type of ultrasound to restore brain function in mice. By using a therapeutic ultrasound technique to beam sound waves into the brains of the mice, they were able to safely break up the protein lesions that caused a decrease in memory function. The results showed that the scientists were able to restore the memory function in 75% of the mice they tested. These results also came with absolutely no damage to the surrounding brain tissue. The team is planning on expanding their tests and hope to enter human trials by 2017.
Coconut (Cocos nucifera) maybe a useful natural remedy for fighting the microbes that can cause or trigger dementia and Alzheimer's disease and related brain degenerative conditions. Coconut, in all its forms (flesh, oil and water), can eliminate infectious illnesses such as bronchitis, Chlamydia, giardia, gonorrhoea, Helicobacter pylori infection, herpes, lice, Lyme disease, influenza, spirochaete ( Borrelia) infections, tapeworms, throat infections, toxoplasmosis, urinary tract infections and numerous other infections caused by microbes, bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses and yeasts due to its compounds of capric acid, caprylic acid, linoleic acid, lauric acid, monocaprin and monolaurin. It is especially effective against the Clostridium and Staphylococcus species of bacterium.
See more:Nature CuresA-Z of antimicrobial foods and remedies
Alzheimer's disease and dementia has recently been linked with certain medications such as paracetemol, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, painkillers, anti-psychotics, drugs for incontinence, antacids and blood pressure medications. Statins are particularly harmful. In one study 90 percent of patients who stopped taking statin drugs reported improvement in cognitive problems in a matter of weeks. In some of the patients a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's was reversed. Another study showed that the sleeping pill Ambien increased the risk of dementia in elderly patients. See Medication dangers
Omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory, while omega-3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect. Inflammation is essential for survival as it protects the body from infection and injury, but it can also cause severe damage and contribute to disease when the inflammatory response is inappropriate or excessive. Therefore a balanced ratio of omega-6 to omega33 is required. Most experts agree that the omega 6:3 ratio should range from 1:1 to 5:1 but the optimal ratio may vary with any particular condition or disease under consideration. Today’s diet, in the developed world, can have a far higher level of omega-6 to omega-3 and may be responsible for the rise in many conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Many foods contain both omega-3 and omega-6 but the western diet tends to have far higher omega-6 to omega-3 ratios. Hemps seeds are one of the few foods to contain the correct ratio. The other way to correct it is to consume more foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids and lower in omega-6.
Highest sources of omega-3 fatty acids in milligrams per 100 grams
Omega-7 is a relatively new discovery, also known as palmitoleic acid, that has tremendous health benefits because it has the ability to lower an inflammation marker called C-reactive protein. Palmitoleic acid is the first fatty acid found to act as a hormone in the body and this class of hormones has been called “lipokine”. Prior to this finding, all known hormones were either proteins (like growth hormone) or steroids (like oestrogen and testosterone). Because it can also prevent the build-up of atherosclerotic plaque it is an important nutrient that individuals suffering with dementia and Alzheimer's disease should include in their diet.
Unfortunately, the natural sources of omega-7, such as macadamia nuts and sea buckthorn, also contain very high levels of palmitic acid which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke by increasing arterial stiffness, triggering abnormal platelet clumping and raising LDL cholesterol levels. Anchovies contain far more of the healthy omega-7 fatty acids than macadamia nuts and sea buckthorn and far less palmitic acid so are a good choice but they also contain a lot of sodium so are not advised when high blood pressure is an issue. Soaking in cold water for 30 minutes then rinsing well and patting dry with kitchen paper can reduce the sodium level a little.
The food additive E621 monosodium glutamate found in most processed meat products should be avoided by those suffering with Alzheimer's disease as should yeast products like torula yeast, brewer's yeast, yeast spreads etc. which contain high levels of glutamic acid.
Artificial additives of all kinds may cause dementia symptoms. Studies have shown that the artificial sweetener aspartame impairs cognitive function and leads to memory loss.
See Food additives.
Heavy metal toxicity may be a factor in the development of Alzheimer's disease and dementia especially mercury and aluminium. Annual flu shots are another source of these toxins. Research shows that people who took the flu shot for five consecutive years had 10 times or 1000 percent higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease than people who only had one or two flu shots due to the accumulation of mercury and aluminium in the vaccines. The following all have the ability to help the body expel heavy metals which often can contribute towards and even cause dementia. One portion of any of them should be consumed every day, especially when eating fish as many deep sea ocean fish are now contaminated with mercury.
See Heavy metals for more information about how to avoid heavy metals and eliminate them from the body.
The following can all be factors that cause inflammation and lead to the development of dementia. Inflammation is the body's attempt to get rid of a toxic element or organism.
Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) is an insecticide which was banned in many countries including the USA and UK by 1980 but some countries still use it to try to control malaria as advised by the World Health Organisation. Some foods may be imported that have been contaminated as it also degrades very slowly in the environment hence lingering in the soil. In the human body it is converted to dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) and stored in fatty tissues including those in the brain. It has been reported that high levels are often found in those suffering with Alzheimer's or peripheral neuropathy and in those who have had a stroke
Deficiencies of many different nutrients can lead to developing dementia as the brain needs them to function correctly and for repair and regeneration which slows down with age. See Nutrients the brain needs below.
Mental stress and physical inactivity
Stress elevates cortisol levels, leading to inflammation and, in turn, to hormone imbalances, cognitive impairment, heightened blood sugar levels, hypertension, delayed healing time and susceptibility to disease. The body's self healing mechanisms depend on unimpeded flow of lymph, blood, and other fluids, all of which are promoted by exercise. Inactivity, by contrast, allows cellular shutdown and blockages, taxing the whole system and interfering with healing on every level. Physical exercise prevents the development of dementia and also slows the rate of decline in those that have already developed it.
Thyroid and other hormonal imbalances
Many people diagnosed with Alzheimer's or dementia simply have low levels of the T3 thyroid hormone. However, standard thyroid tests completely miss T3 levels and it is estimated that 10 to 15% of all nursing home residents may be there because of low T3. See Thyroid gland
The organic foods to consume to counteract dementia
Algae and seaweed flakes
Cacao (or dark chocolate with at least 84% cacao)
A deficiency of any of the following nutrients can lead to the development of dementia. Follow the blue links to find the natural sources of each one. Supplements are not advised unless a blood test has shown serious deficiencies. Drink at least six glasses of bottled mineral water to ensure the addition of essential minerals in the diet. Drinking one just before bed is essential as the brain needs water to flush out toxins when the body sleeps.Eat a diet rich in both soluble and insoluble fibre in the form of psyllium husks, brown rice, oats, rye, citrus peel and coconut flesh.
Vitamin A Eat foods rich in the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene with fatty foods like avocado, coconut oil, oily fish, nuts, seeds or virgin cold-pressed oils. Vitamin A is thought to increase tissue resistance to penetration by microbes.
Vitamin B8 (inorsitol) has been shown to be effective in treating cases of Alzheimer's disease, anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, bulimia, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder and other psychological disorders that respond to serotonin uptake inhibitors and as an analgesic for pain control.
Vitamin E rich foods must be consumed at the same time as vitamin C rich foods
Sulphur has been found to be very low in patients with Alzheimer's disease and is known to be an effective treatment and may be because it helps to chelate (bind to) heavy metals in the body and eliminate them.
Zinc. Foods rich in vitamin C and zinc helps to support the immune system. Zinc is lost by drinking alcohol and through many medications.
NOTE Non-heme iron is found in tea and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale. However, tea and green leafy vegetables also contain oxalates that block the absorption of iron. To assist the body in the absorption of non-heme iron eat a couple of vitamin C-rich strawberries, a kiwi fruit or some orange, tangerine or mango at the same time.
Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is a vitamin-like nutrient found in plant foods that has been found to have an important role in the growth of new mitochondria (mitochondrial biogenesis) which helps provide energy and increases the metabolism. It also protects the brain against neurotoxicity induced by various toxins including mercury, glutamate and oxidopamine and reverses cognitive impairment caused by chronic oxidative stress and improves the memory which can protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It also protects nerve cells from the damaging effects of the beta-amyloid-protein linked with Alzheimer’s disease.
PQQ-rich foods need to be consumed every day along with foods rich in coenzyme Q10 and foods that provide the nutrients needed to increase glutathione levels. Those taking cholesterol lowering drugs or medications for diabetes need extra coenzyme Q10 in their diet as these drugs reduce levels in the body.
Natural sources of pyrroloquinoline quinone
Green tea (three cups per day)
Vitamin B15: Consuming foods daily that are rich in vitamin B15 can help with both preventing and treating dementia.
Natural sources of B15
Vitamin D is essential to assist the immune system therefore 20 minutes’ skin exposure to midday sunshine as often as possible is vital. Sunscreens and windows block the skins ability to utilise the sun’s rays to make vitamin D and during the winter months, October to April in the northern hemisphere of the planet, the sun's rays are too weak to allow this process to take place. Because the body only stores vitamin D for up to 60 days it is important to have a blood test in December and consume extra natural foods that are rich in vitamin D. Oily fish and eggs can provide vitamin D in the diet and taking one krill oil capsule of 1000 mg per day will help to provide vitamin D as well as the other vital nutrient for brain health, omega-3 fatty acids.
Highest sources of vitamin D per serving listed
Krill oil - 1 teaspoon: 1000 IU
Eel - 85 g or 3 oz: 792 IU
Maitake mushrooms - 70 g: 786 IU
Rainbow trout - 85 g or 3 oz: 540 IU
Cod liver oil - 1 teaspoon: 440 IU
Mackerel - 85 g or 3 oz: 400 IU
Salmon - 85 g or 3 oz: 400 IU
Halibut - 85 g or 3 oz: 196 IU
Tuna - 85 g or 3 oz: 228 IU
Sardines - 85 g or 3 oz: 164 IU
Chanterelle mushrooms - 85 g or 3 oz: 155 IU
Raw milk - 1 glass or 8 oz: 98 IU
Egg yolk - 1 large: 41 IU
Caviar - 28g or 1 oz: 33 IU
Hemp seeds - 100 g or 3.5 oz: 22 IU
Portabella mushrooms - 85 g or 3 oz: 6 IU
NOTE: One IU is the biological equivalent of 0.3 μg or 0.3 micrograms.
Recently, a compound was found in grape seeds which activates a protein called JNK, which regulates apoptosis. To assure that the cell cycle - the cell's process of duplicating itself to make more cells - goes smoothly, a large network of proteins tells other proteins what to do and when to do it. When any of these layers of protein regulation fail, cell growth can get out of hand. On the molecular level, JNK influences cellular functions by tagging other proteins with a phosphate chemical group (a process known as phosphorylation), a common mechanism cells use to turn enzymes on and off.
Phosphorylation is so important that when JNK goes awry, a number of different disorders can result, such as cancer, diabetes or neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. This JNK activating compound cannot be found in seedless grapes (obviously) or grape seed oil as the process to make the oil removes it. Grape seed extract can be found as a supplement but if you can find grapes with the seeds intact it is perfectly safe to chew and swallow the seeds. It may be worth grinding the seeds (which do taste bitter) into a powder and adding to meals and drinks daily to see if there is any improvement.
Zeolite can remove common heavy metals like aluminium, arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury from the body. It is a negatively charged, crystalline structure formed from the fusion of volcanic lava and ocean water. The molecules in zeolite contain a magnetic energy that attracts and holds several types of toxins at a molecular level which, taken orally, pull metals out of body tissues and into the zeolite itself. It is then passed safely through the urinary tract, without depleting the body of essential electrolytes.
Zeolite also blocks viral replication, does not disrupt the electrolytes in the body and naturally establishes an optimal pH level (between 7.35 and 7.45), which activates healthy brain, immune and liver function and supports the elimination of pesticides, herbicides and xeno-oestrogens. This can potentially help to heal a range of toxicity-related inflammatory diseases, including dementia, while supporting (not burdening) the body’s excretory systems. Zeolite is available in powdered or liquid form. The liquid zeolite is up to 10 times more efficient than the powdered form.
Natural remedies for dementia and Alzheimer's disease
Grapes (red and black)
Maqui berries (richest source of anti-oxidants)
The following foods should become a staple part of the diet but must be natural, unrefined and organically grown. Follow the blue links to find out more about each one.
Apples: Eat one red apple every day.
Apple cider vinegar (one tablespoon first thing in the morning in warm water before eating or drinking anything else. Add a teaspoon of honey and the juice of half a freshly squeezed lemon)
Barley grass (powder or juice. Barley grass is one of the rare plants to contain vitamin B12 and many other essential nutrients so is a useful addition to the diet of those that limit meat intake)
Beetroot has many nutrients that are effective in protecting the brain and improving its function. Consume 500 grams of beetroot or 500 ml of beetroot juice per day.
Brazil nuts (two nuts per day)
Celeriac is a root vegetable that should be consumed regularly by those with dementia or Alzheimer's disease or dementia as it contains properties that protect the neurones in the brain.
Citrus fruits (one fruit freshly squeezed and half the zest grated should be consumed each day.)
Coconut oil has been successful in reversing Alzheimer's disease, resolving depression and reducing triglyceride levels in some people. Take two tablespoons per day with a dark berry fruit and yoghurt with live cultures. Kefir is best from unpasteurised milk. Cooking with cold-pressed coconut oil is also good as it has a high temperature threshold.
Garlic (four cloves crushed or chopped and left to stand for ten minutes before consuming or cooking)
Grapes (black or red)
Green tea (three cups per day)
Hemp seeds are a super food which has high nutritional content (rich in fatty acids, minerals and all essential amino acids) and has properties that invigorate circulation and metabolism and protect and feed the brain cells. It also has the correct balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which is rare in foods consumed by the developed world. Usually foods are too high in the inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.
Herbs are not just for taste and aroma. They also have amazing health properties and nutrients that can help to prevent and treat dementia. Use the following as often as desired or drink as teas three times a day. Basil, cardamom, coriander, cloves, dill, lemongrass, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, safflower, sage, tarragon and thyme.
Honey (use instead of sugar. Raw local honey or Acacia or Manuka are the best for health)
Maqui berry is a 'super berry' from the Chile and Argentinean regions of South America which contains the highest amount of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds than any other known natural food. Regular consumption can help to prevent and treat the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Nettles are a good remedy to prevent and relieve the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. They can be taken as a tea three times a day or eaten lightly steamed like spinach.
Peppercorns (all colours ground generously onto meals)
Pineapple is a useful addition to the diet as it can help to rehydrate the brain and remove heavy metals and toxins from the body as well as reduce inflammation and aid with digestion.
Pomegranate juice (one litre of unsweetened pure juice consumed daily can help to clean plaque from blood vessel walls)
Pumpkin seeds (one small handful consumed daily with meals)
Sea salt (pure unrefined) or Himalayan pink salt crystals can provide amany minerals that are missing in normal refined table salt and the land-based crops where the minerals have been leeched through intense farming techniques.
Spices should be added to as many meals as possible and in teas: Anise, cardamom, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves (three ground), cumin, coriander, fennel, ginger, nutmeg, paprika and turmeric.
Walnuts (five halves per day)
Turmeric (A teaspoon of turmeric should be consumed daily due to its powerful healthy compounds. Sprinkle on to egg, fish and vegetable dishes or on brown rice and other grains)
Medicinal herbs that can help to treat dementia
The following herbs have properties that may help with the symptoms of dementia. As everyone is so unique it is not yet possible to say which ones will work best. Therefore try different ones for a month each to see if there are any improvements. Some may take longer to work. Follow the blue links to find out more about each one.
Try the following to add high concentrations of vital nutrients to the diet.
"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC
Subscribe to the monthly newsletter
Like on Facebook
Follow on Linkedin
Search Nature Cures for an ailment, health disorder or disease
Nature Cures health articles
Disorders of the human body
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not intended to diagnose medical problems, prescribe remedies for illness, or treat disease. Its intention is solely educational. If you are in any doubt about your health, please consult your medical or health professional. Nature Cures does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of the information provided here or the outcome of using it. Nature Cures is not responsible for, and does not endorse, any content or items purchased from any external websites linked to this website.
© Copyright 2010 - 2018 Nature Cures.® All rights reserved.
Email: [email protected]