Most of us would love to improve our memory and stave off the possibility of developing serious memory decline as we age. One severe disease which effects our memory, known as Alzheimer’s disease, is the major cause of age-related cognitive decline. Currently, approximately 30 million people are affected globally, which is estimated to reach 160 million by 2050 (Prince et al., 2016). These numbers will put tremendous strain on our already overburdened health care system, not to mention the toll on the quality of life of sufferers, and the pain that family members experience from watching a loved one lose their memory and faculties.
Previously there has been little information available to the general public on how to prevent Alzheimer’s, but you may be relieved to know there have been new developments in the research on Alzheimer’s. This new research indicates that it may be possible to prevent and reverse Alzheimer’s (Bredesen, 2014).
Research indicates that one key way of addressing memory issues is by improving neural plasticity, by reducing inflammation. This can be achieved by following a specific dietary program. Balancing mineral and hormonal systems, as well as ensuring optimal levels of vitamin D is seen to be beneficial. Dr Bredesen (2014), has detailed specific cases that show success in reversing the cognitive decline of early Alzheimer’s disease. The overall approach involves following a low refined carbohydrate diet, adding certain supplements, exercise, stress management and balancing any dysregulated hormones, such as estrogen, testosterone and homocysteine. This protocol has been shown to arrest serious disease, as well as reverse more mild memory and cognitive impairment (Bredesen, 2014).
In association to the above-mentioned program, the gut also needs to be addressed, especially if there are any bowel disturbances, such as irritable bowel disease. The 100 trillion microbes that live in our gastro intestinal system are extremely important for overall health, especially brain health. Scientists have identified some 10,000 species of these microbes (Perlmutter, 2015). Research is currently being undertaken on the importance of the microbiome, otherwise known as gut microbes, for mental health and memory. Specifically improving the balance of the microbiome has been shown to alleviate diseases ranging from diabetes, depression and anxiety, to foggy brain and obesity (Perlmutter, 2015). They live off us and in turn they provide us with some very important health benefits. They control the production of certain nutrient co factors for serotonin production and protect the intestinal wall from harmful chemicals, toxins and parasites. An average healthy person’s microbiome weighs 2 kg so we need to look after these little critters! Interestingly, the way we do this is very similar to the Bredesen protocol; following a low refined carbohydrate diet, eating lots of vegetables and fish, fasting between dinner and breakfast, managing stress, and exercising (Bredesen, 2014).
Bredesen, D. E. (2014). Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program. Aging (Albany NY), 6(9), 707.
Perlmutter, D. (2015). Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain-for Life: Hachette UK.
Prince, M., Ali, G.-C., Guerchet, M., Prina, A. M., Albanese, E., & Wu, Y.-T. (2016). Recent global trends in the prevalence and incidence of dementia, and survival with dementia. Alzheimer’s research & therapy, 8(1), 23.