...these classifications of Alzheimer's give patients, families, and doctors powerful information and a road map for prevention and treatment. The days of palliative care for Alzheimer's are numbered. Herein lies hope.
Diet & Alzheimer’s: Ketones Over Carbs or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Ketogenic Diet*
The ketogenic diet induces ketosis and that’s a good thing because ketosis brings with it a raft of health benefits. It’s a diet in the sense that what you eat is important, but how much you eat isn’t that important. Also there’s the whole weight loss thing, but that’s more of a side note. The importance of this diet lies in its mechanisms to prevent and possibly even treat Alzheimer’s.
Moving from Glycolysis to Ketosis
Most diets include a high percentage of simple carbs (bread, rice, pasta, etc.). Those carbs along with sugar (in all its forms) are quickly converted to glucose. This glucose is stored in the liver as glycogen and the rest used by mitochondria as the substrate for making energy. This assumes that one is not eating excessive amounts of carbs and sugar as that would produce chronic stress on the system and lead to weight gain on the way to full blown diabetes.
The ketogenic diet is high in fat and has few or even zero carbs. In response to the lack of dietary glucose, the body taps the glycogen stored in the […]
Fasting is a simple way to initiate autophagy and thus to clear out cells, improve health, and extend lifespan.
Aspirin changes the metabolism of omega-6 fatty acids such that more anti-inflammatory compounds are produced. Aspirin also changes the metabolism of omega-3s such that even more anti-inflammatory compounds result. Fasting activates PPAR alpha which upregulates TFEB which results in new lysosomes in brain cells. Lysosomes eat the misfolded proteins in cells that cause amyloid-beta plaques and tau tangles. Aspirin appears to produce the same result without fasting. What if we fast and take aspirin? It stands to reason that aspirin may enhance the positive effects of fasting when it comes to brain health.
Sugar is bad so how about artificial sweeteners? When it comes to dementia you should dump that diet soda down the drain.
April 2017 – Stroke (a journal published by the American Heart Association) ran a prospective cohort study using data from the Framingham Heart Study. The researchers studied nearly 3,000 participants over the age of 45 and found that those who consumed artificially sweetened beverages were at significantly increased risk of both stroke and dementia.
The two graphs below show A. Risk of all stroke types and B. Risk of all-cause dementia. Green = zero diet sodas / Red = 1 to 6 per week / Blue = 1 or more per day
The study concludes that the risk of stroke and dementia increases in each of the 10 years (left to right in the graph) for each group (Green, Red, and Blue).
The graph clearly shows that the more diet sodas you consume and the longer you continue to drink them, the greater your risk of stroke and/or dementia.
image source Stroke a journal of the […]
The oil you drizzle on your salad or use to cook foods can have a profound effect on inflammation and in some cases specifically on brain inflammation.
Trans fats: Also called trans fatty-acids. Strongly correlated with systemic inflammation. Years of research has led to policy changes that have banned and/or phased out trans fats in an increasing number of markets.
- Inflammatory Markers Are Positively Associated with Serum trans–Fatty Acids in an Adult American Population
Olive Oil: Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). Use this at every opportunity. This is probably a large reason the Mediterranean Diet has been shown to protect against Alzheimer’s.
Temple University in the U.S. found the following about EVOO:
- EVOO reduced inflammation in the brain
- EVOO improved Alzheimer’s related behavioral deficits
- EVOO increased levels of synaptophysin, a protein found in healthy synpases
- EVOO reduced the levels and deposition of insoluble Aβ peptide
- EVOO lowered the amounts of phosphorylated tau protein
- EVOO activated cell autophagy
EVOO also contains omega-3 fatty acids shown to be neuroprotective:
Canola Oil: May contribute to Alzheimer’s.
- The mouseheimer’s study comparing memory […]
Grade: Very mixed
Milk, yogurt, and cheese are either bad neutral or beneficial depending on who you ask, what study they believe, and what fat content is being considered. I’ve read more than I care to remember and the answer still isn’t clear. This blogger had the same conclusion in 2012 and goes into much more detail.
I love nearly all dairy, so with great personal bias I will go out on a limb and say that it’s probably ok to have moderate amounts of each so long as you opt for the fattest grass-fed version you can find. Also, it’s probably best to avoid skim and low fat dairy which have been linked in at least one study to Parkinson’s.
Grade: mostly good
As expected vegetables are good for you. Most colorful vegetables are low in carbohydrates (corn is an exception), while starchy vegetables can actually be a rich source of carbs. Because the body can readily convert the starches in potatoes and corn into glucose and cause a spike in glucose levels, they should be eaten sparingly.
For more information on why a glucose spike should be avoided click here.
The Glycemic Index was created to rate foods for their effect on glucose levels.
Generally speaking fruit is good for you, but when it comes to Alzheimer’s the sugar content of the fruit can tip the scales. Eat sparingly and avoid the sweetest ripest fruits.
Carbohydrates come in simple and complex form. Complex carbs are generally ok (e.g. most vegetables). Simple carbs (e.g. white rice, corn chips, pretzels) are quickly converted into sugar which is problematic.
For a more in depth article on carbs and glucose try this page from the American Diabetes Association.