Column #8 9/4/2015
This column is about reversing, not just preventing, cognitive decline!
I’ve been ridiculed by nutritionists, medical professionals, and the media for suggesting Alzheimer's Disease (AD) victims could improve their mental function with diet. They say it’s impossible and not appropriate to give false hope to people who are already suffering.
The medical community has spent billions and has not yet developed a treatment protocol for AD. Its work has mostly focused on single pathways, and targeting one pathway can show change, but in human studies, these limited approaches do not work.
In September 2014 Dale E. Bredesen, MD released a paper titled Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program. It’s an open access article available online. Dr. Bredesen is an expert in the mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases such as AD. He is associated with both the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, Department of Neurology, University of California and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.
Studies suggesting AD is analogous to chronic illnesses like cancer, osteoporosis, and atherosclerosis inspired Dr. Bredesen to recruit ten AD patients for a metabolical approach that addressed multiple modalities. His approach addressed diet, supplements, sleep, exercise, and meditation.
Nine of ten participants showed marked improvement within three to six months. However, these encouraging results are anecdotal so controlled clinical trials are warranted.
The recommended diet requires a balanced Omega-6 (n6) and Omega-3 (n3) essential fatty acid ratio of 1:1, grass-fed meats, wild-caught seafood, n3 poultry, n3 pork, and dark green vegetables. It eliminates high glycemic foods, grains, seeds, processed foods, and most nuts.
Other recommendations include 30 minutes of exercise 4-5 days week, eight hours of sleep per night, daily meditation, fasting 12 hours between dinner and breakfast, optimized oral hygiene, and a list of supplements starting with two teaspoons a day of quality fish oil. All of the recommended supplements occur naturally in a combination of grass-fed meats, seafood, poultry, and dark green vegetables.
Numerous supplements were prescribed because it was expected that most patients would not follow every single step of the protocol. Thus the supplements improved the odds because if enough steps were followed the minimum threshold would be exceeded, resulting in improvements. The goal of the program was to address AD in a physiological way, as far upstream as possible. Since that worked so effectively, as the program continues, additional improvement is expected.
Since this metabolical approach reverses AD, it also most likely has a positive impact on other chronic diseases. If I were experiencing cognitive decline that could become AD, I’d try this no-risk metabolical approach rather than let AD slowly kill me. Why wait for science?
To your health.
Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.
A tip of the Slanker hat to Dr. John Sullivan of Lafayette, Louisiana for alerting us to Dr. Bredesen’s report.
Background on Dale E. Bredesen, M.D.
For additional reading:
An Interview of Dr. Bredesen about Reversing Cognitive Decline by Craig Gustafson