Sep 6, 2017
Posted by: Monique Parker
Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common cause of dementia and according to the Alzheimer’s Society there are more than 520,000 people with this disease in the UK. Since 2011 there has been a 56% rise in the number of people diagnosed with dementia[i].
In their report ‘Dementia prevention, intervention, and care’[ii] (July 2017), The Lancet Commissions state that dementia is the greatest global challenge for health and social care in the 21st century. One of their key messages in the report is prevention.
According to The Lancet Commissions, a third of all dementia cases could be prevented if the modifiable risk factors would be totally eradicated: less education in early life, hypertension, obesity, hearing loss, smoking, depression, physical inactivity, social isolation and diabetes. To my surprise nutrition was not mentioned. And this is where Dr Bredesen comes in.
Dr Bredesen, an American expert in the mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, has done a lot of research on Alzheimer’s Disease. One of his conclusions is that nutrition and lifestyle have a major impact on the many underlying causes of Alzheimer’s Disease, and could reduce the risk of getting the disease[iii]. However, the risk reduction is less for carriers of specific genes, such as APOE4.
What to eat (and not to eat) to beat cognitive decline?
In short, the best diet, if you would like to support your brain function and reduce the risk of dementia, should contain:
One of the many underlying causes of Alzheimer’s Disease is excess inflammation[vii], so foods that are inflammatory should be avoided:
Insulin Resistance is also associated with Alzheimer’s Disease[xi] [xii] so avoiding sugar, refined carbohydrates, and excess caffeine and alcohol is recommended.
There are many supplements to support cognitive health. But as every person is unique, supplements need to be tailored to the individual, based on assessment of diet and lifestyle and personal circumstances.
If you are interested in working on your cognitive health with a nutritional therapist, check out https://www.action-against-alzheimers.co.uk/. I am a licensed AAA practitioner.
The Action Against Alzheimer’s programme is a diet and lifestyle programme to optimise brain health, based on Dr. Bredesen’s approach.
[iii] Bredesen, D.E. (2014). Reversal of cognitive decline: a novel therapeutic program. Ageing, 6 (9), p707-717.
[v] Fotuhi M. et al (2009). Fish consumption, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and risk of cognitive decline or Alzheimer disease: a complex association. Nat Clin Pract Neurol. 2009 Mar;5(3):140-52. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19262590
[vi] Sears B. & Bell S. (2004). The zone diet: an anti-inflammatory, low glycemic-load diet. Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2004
[vii] Wyss-Coray, T., & Rogers, J. (2012). Inflammation in Alzheimer Disease—A Brief Review of the Basic Science and Clinical Literature. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine, 2(1), a006346. http://doi.org/10.1101/cshperspect.a006346
[x] Nicolle, L. & Bailey, C. (2013). The Functional Nutrition Cookbook. London & Philadelphia: Singing Dragon. P209
[xi] Willette, A. A. et al (2015). Association of insulin resistance with cerebral glucose uptake in late middle-aged adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. JAMA Neurology, 72(9), 1013–1020. http://doi.org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.0613
[xii] Bitra, V. R., Rapaka, D., & Akula, A. (2015). Prediabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 77(5), 511–514. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4700701/