It’s been nearly five years since the day my wife came home from an afternoon visit with her parents. There was a concerned look about her, and as we talked, she began to express a fear that something was wrong with her dad. Even though she never said anything specific, I knew what she was thinking… forgetfulness, losing things, lethargic, disoriented. All signs of aging, but the nurse in her knew there was more to it, and unfortunately, her worst fear became reality. Her father had Alzheimer’s. I could write about my father-in-law’s deteriorating life, the physical and emotional strain it puts on the family, and the care needed to deal with this disease. But the enlightening part of this story comes from the years of research my wife has done on slowing down and preventing Alzheimer’s and other auto-immune disease. The following is her story:
The first conclusion we must believe is that our bodies are designed to be healthy! Give it what it needs to thrive and it will typically regenerate itself without any outside intervention. Doctor Joseph Mercola calls it “effortless healing,” but due to our western diet consisting of high processed food and sugar, stress, toxins, lack of sleep and exercise, chronic inflammation, and lack of purposeful meaning in life, our bodies are not protecting us from chronic disease. Obesity rates are at an all-time high, and for the first time in human history, this generation’s life expectancy will be shorter than their parents.
For so long we believed that the brain was unchangeable, and even worse, we thought that once we started to experience cognitive decline, it was all downhill from there. Everyone knows someone who survived cancer, yet no one knows anybody who survived Alzheimer’s. To honor my father, who has been robbed of his dignity of the natural aging process, I have found there is hope. Dr. Dale Bredesen is at the forefront of changing the way we approach neurodegenerative disease. Dr. Bredesen reveals that Alzheimer’s is a combination of many conditions with four major causes, which are dramatically influenced by imbalances in 36 metabolic factors that can trigger “downsizing” in the brain. This could explain why billions of dollars spent by government agencies, pharmaceutical companies, and biotechnology wizards have yet to find a cure-all drug. Oddly enough, the science world is calling Alzheimer’s “type 3 diabetes,” and even odder, the research shows that most auto immune disease, cardiovascular disorders, cognitive decline, and diabetes are a result of chronic inflammation. Once I learned this, my passion turned to learning how to protect myself and family from acquiring chronic inflammation.
Were you aware that most of our inflammation starts in the gut? It’s true! It’s called leaky gut, which leads to leaky brain. Intestinal permeability causes the lining of the small intestines to leak undigested food particles, bacteria, and waste into the blood system. This creates inflammation that triggers the immune system to go into attack mode against the foreign particles. Unfortunately, leaky gut is not well recognized by most practitioners, so many people are misdiagnosed. If you suffer from gas and bloating, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, headaches, sugar cravings for refined carbs, and even depression, these could all be signs of an unhealthy gut. Since this is not generally recognized as a medical diagnosis, it must become a personal challenge to help our body heal itself. Naturally, what we eat is going to have a positive or negative effect on us.
In conclusion, I would like to leave you with a twofold message. First, if you or a loved one is showing signs of cognitive decline or is just interested in brain health, I recommend you familiarize yourself with the research of Dr. Dale Bredesen, Dr. David Perlmutter, or Dr. Valter Longo. Their research is fresh, novel, and highly informative. Secondly, if you suffer from chronic inflammation or have symptoms of a leaky gut, I recommend reading information on Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Rangen Chatterju, Dr. George Papanicolaou and Dr. Peter Attia. I have found it easier to listen to podcasts and interviews from these doctors as I go about my daily routine. My beliefs on the conventional way of eating has drastically changed and can be confusing. But to help you get started, a diet rich in eggs, nuts, oils, avocados, coconut oil, fresh fruit (especially berries), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, spinach) are all great starting points. Replacing red meat with fish as often as possible can also be a big step.
Again, I challenge you to seek your own journey to learn about the changes that need to occur in our diets that could get you on your path to optimal health!