The connection between Alzheimer's disease, diet, lifestyle, and environment
How to avoid and heal Alzheimer's naturally
Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease characterized by memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behavior. People with Alzheimer’s have difficulty doing everyday things like driving a car, cooking a meal, or paying bills. They may ask the same questions repeatedly, get lost easily, lose things or put things in odd places. As the disease progresses, some people become worried, angry or even violent.
When Alzheimer’s disease was first defined by Dr. Alois Alzheimer in 1906, it was considered a rare condition affecting only younger people. Over the past century, concepts of what Alzheimer’s disease is, who it affects, and how common it is, has undergone several dramatic shifts.
Today, Alzheimer’s has become the most common cause of dementia. For most people, the first symptoms appear while in their mid-60’s, although we are seeing more and more occurrences of early-onset Alzheimer’s in those as young as 30 or 40 years of age.
What was once a rare disease has become one of the leading causes of death in the United States. See Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet
What causes Alzheimer’s?
For the most part, Alzheimer’s is not a very well understood disease. Many believe that a combination of genetics, diet, lifestyle, and environmental factors are to blame. While it is true that those whose parents or siblings have Alzheimer’s are at a slightly higher risk of developing it, the genetic connection has yet to be proven.
Modern medicine has been focusing on the field of genetics for many years, and we are only now beginning to understand its true power from a whole new perspective through the eyes of epigenetics (Epigenetics is the study of chemical reactions, and factors that influence genetic expression). Epigenetics is demonstrating that the connection between chronic diseases and genetics is very different than was once believed. We now know that it is the internal and external environment in which we live that is affecting the expression of our genes. This understanding is significant in that we can not alter our genetic makeup, but we certainly can change our environment.
So, if our internal and external environment is the most influential factor behind Alzheimer's and other forms of chronic illness - what changes can we make in our diet, lifestyle, and environment to turn this disease around?
Diet, lifestyle, and environmental factors
Before we continue, it is important to note that when Alzheimer’s disease was first diagnosed in 1906 it was quite rare, whereas today it has become one of the leading causes of death in the western world. This fact awakens an understanding that something has shifted in the last 100+ years to create such a drastic deterioration in our health.
One significant change over the last 100 years is our diet. Over the past century, the modern western diet has shifted from one based on fresh fruits and vegetables, to one is high in meat, dairy, fat, sugar, and refined, processed junk foods. See report from the WHO.
In addition to our diet, modern-day lifestyle is also very different than it was 100 years ago, with most of the changes occurring in the past 20-50 years. In addition to transportation, communications, consumerism, and relationships, our whole healthcare system has changed dramatically.
Up until 1904, the medical community practiced multiple disciplines, such as homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, osteopathic, and herbal medicine. These schools of medicine once existed alongside allopathic medicine. Early in the 20th century, the American Medical Association (AMA) moved to standardize medical education and close schools that failed to meet determined standards. This was the beginning of the pharmaceutical monopoly on health care, which is largely still intact today but is now experiencing rapid change.
A more holistic approach to health was renewed in the 1970’s, with the beginning of the wellness movement that gained momentum during the 1980's as people began to shift their focus from “disease management” to “preventative measures”. This movement placed much emphasis on changing lifestyles as well as diet, to accommodate a more healthy way of being. In the past few years, this movement has widened to include what is now known as Spiritual Wellness. Today, spiritual wellness has become an integral part of the wellness movement, placing importance not only on lifestyle and diet, but also on a sense of purpose, life’s meaning, and heightened self-awareness.
I find spiritual wellness particularly fascinating and helpful when seeking to recover from challenging situations. Today we have proof that our beliefs and internal dialogue are no less important than dietary changes. Once we connect with a higher perspective, the power of our mind - anything is possible, for when we change our perception of the body and reality, everything in our lives shifts accordingly. A great place to learn more about this is from Dr. Bruce Lipton's work, Biology of Belief.
Other additional sources to learn more about spiritual wellness, and how to change and reprogram the subconscious, I strongly suggest looking into the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza and the Cosmic University located in Israel.
Over the past 200 years, our external environment has undergone a significant change, starting with the industrial revolution. It is shocking to learn that there are more than 84,000 chemicals on the market today, of which only 1% have been tested for safety. In addition, approximately 2,000 more chemicals are added to this staggering statistic each year. For more on this topic, see Eco Watch.
This influx in chemicals is a major factor behind the rise in all chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s. If we want to raise healthy children, grow old, and remain healthy, it is clear that we need to drastically clean up our environment.
With regards to the connection between environmental toxins and Alzheimer’s disease, the Medical Medium, as well as a number of leading physicians all see a direct connection between exposure to heavy metals and the various types of dementia. The influx of heavy metals we see in our environment is mirrored within our own bodies, and this is negatively influencing our health. The culprit behind Altzheimer’s is caused predominantly by mercury poisoning, but certain amounts of aluminum, copper, nickel, and arsenic also contribute to the deterioration of the brain and nervous system.
Mercury is a particularly heinous toxin in that it doesn’t break down in the body, or in the environment. Mercury has been used extensively in the past, both medicinally and in industry. It has contaminated many bloodlines as mercury deposits in the body are passed down from one generation to another, as older mercury binds with new mercury deposits as they enter the body, becoming increasingly more toxic as time goes by. For more on toxic heavy metals, I suggest you read Anthony William's books in depth.
Despite the known toxicity of mercury and other metals, they are still a common ingredient in many household items such as batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, aluminum trays and foil, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, metal amalgam dental fillings, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. In addition, due to the industrial use of toxic heavy metals, most waterways, lakes, and oceans are also now contaminated, negatively affecting agriculture, livestock, and wildlife.
How to treat Alzheimer’s and heal your brain
When seeking to improve your health or heal from Altzheimer’s, it is important to address the dietary factors that contribute to the development of the disease. As we mentioned earlier, Alzheimer’s is caused by deposits of heavy metals in the brain, mostly mercury. When these heavy metal deposits begin to oxidize, this creates a run-off that leaches into the surrounding tissue, destroying brain cells and neurons, causing neurotransmitters to die off and disappear.
- Lower fats
The most important thing one can do to slow down brain deterioration, and in some cases even reverse Alzheimer’s is to begin a 100% low-fat-plant-based diet. When we eat fats, particularly animal fat, it interacts with the heavy metal deposits in the brain, speeding up oxidation and increasing the subsequent run-off that harms the surrounding neurons, glial cells, and tissue. In addition, a high-fat diet contributes to thicker blood consistency, which further impedes the oxidation of heavy metals.
Contrary to what many believe, the brain needs only minuscule amounts of healthy fats and omega 3’s in order to function properly. These fats can be found in watermelon seeds, hemp seeds, butter-leaf lettuce, blackberry seeds, tomato seeds, sesame seeds, and a bit of avocado.
2. Make sure you are well hydrated
Most people, particularly the elderly, suffer from chronic dehydration. When we are not well hydrated it is extremely hard for the body to remove toxins, including toxic heavy metals. This can significantly slow down the healing process. To hydrate and assist the liver in safely removing toxins, it is best to drink 2 glasses of water with fresh lemon juice first thing in the morning, and then again in the evening. Cucumber juice and coconut water can also be useful in hydrating the body and providing necessary electrolyte minerals that feed neurotransmitters. To learn more see the article on Chronic Dehydration.
3. Healthy carbohydrates and mineral salts
In order to function well, our brains need a steady supply of healthy carbohydrates and mineral salts. In order to heal, Alzheimer patients need to eat a lot of clean carbohydrates found in fruit (particularly bananas, wild blueberries, apples, pears, melons, cherries, figs, mangoes, and pomegranate), as well as raw honey. Other sources of healthy carbohydrates can be found in sweet potatoes and summer squash (butternut, acorn, delicata, kabocha, spaghetti).
In addition to these foods, it is recommended to also include a good supply of mineral-salt rich vegetables such as celery, leafy greens, parsley, cilantro, barley grass juice powder, and spirulina.
Celery juice is particularly helpful in restoring good health. In addition to being an excellent source of essential mineral salts, celery juice also helps detox the liver and supports the production of hydrochloric acid and bile to improve digestion, while providing the nervous system with much-needed nutrients.
4. Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie
The Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie is critical for removing heavy metals from the brain. This smoothie contains 5 critical ingredients (spirulina, barley grass juice powder, cilantro, Atlantic dulse, and wild blueberries). These ingredients all work together to bind with the heavy metals and safely escort them out of the body, while the antioxidants simultaneously heal the surrounding tissue.
For the recipe and more information, see our article Medical Medium’s Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie.
5. Continually graze throughout the day
An additional factor in any disease is a high level of adrenaline in the blood. Adrenaline is an extremely corrosive hormone that is produced in times of stress. High levels of adrenaline also weaken the immune system leaving us more susceptible to disease. The best and most efficient way to lower adrenaline levels with food is to continually ‘graze’ throughout the day on a combination of fruits and vegetables. For more information on how to do this, see our article 'Understanding Adrenal Fatigue'.
6. What not to eat
Foods to avoid as much as possible (in addition to animal products) are most corn products, soy, processed beet sugar, canola oil, wheat, gluten, MSG, natural flavors, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, and citric acid.
7. Supplements and healing herbs
The supplements necessary to help heal the neurological system are:
B12 (it is important to use a supplement that has both adenosylcobalamin and methylcobalamin), coenzyme Q10, curcumin with turmeric, ALA, resveratrol, high doses of melatonin, L-glutamine, pharma GABA, L-lysine, glutathione, lemon balm, and a high-quality zinc supplement.
Important herbs that can be taken as a tea, in capsule or liquid form include - Lemon balm, sage, ginkgo biloba, cat’s claw, and ginseng.
Fish oil supplements (even the high-quality ones that claim to be mercury-free) contain traces of mercury in homeopathic doses that are particularly toxic and should be avoided at all costs.
8. Lower stress levels
As we mentioned earlier, adrenaline speeds up the deterioration of brain cells and weakens the immune system. In addition to eating many small meals throughout the day, it is important that we learn how to cope better with stress by redefining our reality in a manner that supports well-being and ease. There are many different ways to learn how to do this, some of which we mentioned above. Anything that works well for you is beneficial.
Alzheimer’s is rightfully one of the most dreaded diseases of our time. It steals one’s identity and often awakens feelings of anger, anxiety, depression, fear, and loneliness.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there has been a 22% increase of dementia in the past 3 years, and the expectation is that the number of people living with Alzheimer's and dementia will triple by the year 2050 - yet it need not be this way. Much can be done to prevent it.
It is time we began to clean up our environment and use food as medicine. As you learn to take more responsibility for your internal and external environment, things will turn around. New knowledge leads to new beliefs and different choices. This, in turn, will change your health for the better. Empowerment is key.
With much love,