Alzheimer’s research is one of the hottest topics in medical science. As well it should be—after all, the disease affects approximately 5.3 million Americans alone, and kills a half million Americans every year. This makes it the third leading cause of death in our country, closely trailing behind heart disease and cancer.
Not so long ago, it was the sixth leading cause of death…and the disease is becoming more and more prevalent with each passing year.
Yet despite all the research focus on this neurological epidemic, relatively little progress has been made. Mainstream medical science still maintains that there is no cure or treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
Their hopeless-sounding proclamation is based on the simple fact that Alzheimer’s drugs and other pharmaceutically mediated treatment strategies usually offer little to no benefit to patients.
The results from lifestyle-based treatment strategies have been far more hopeful, however. One doctor at a mainstream aging research institution even admitted that lifestyle changes “look more promising than the drug studies so far.”
Unsurprisingly, these Alzheimer’s-fighting lifestyle changes include regular exercise, regular socialization, healthy diet, and avoidance of environmental toxins. Extra protection comes from the inclusion of certain brain-boosting foods and supplements in your diet, such as beneficial fats like medium chain triglycerides (of which coconut oil is one of the prime sources), turmeric, beet juice, vitamin D, vitamin C, adaptogenic herbs, and other detoxifying foods.
So if these superfoods and lifestyle practices work so well, why does mainstream medicine maintain that there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s?
The simple answer is that it’s incredibly difficult to prove the efficacy with which a complex set of behaviors can be used to “treat” or “cure” a disease. If they managed to create a pill that allowed Alzheimer’s patients to improve their condition without changing any other factors in their lives, this would “prove” that a treatment for Alzheimer’s does exist.
But for better or worse, the human body (and disease, for that matter) is much more complicated than that. Very seldom does targeting a single factor (and ignoring the rest) yield positive results—especially in case of a condition as astoundingly complex as neurological degeneration.
So what can Alzheimer’s research teach us?
Even though researchers haven’t been able to find a silver bullet for cognitive decline (and even though they’re as yet unwilling to fully endorse lifestyle modification as a “cure”), they’re very good at identifying the risk factors that lead to Alzheimer’s in the first place.
We’ve already mentioned some of these risk factors: environmental toxins like aluminum-containing products and vaccines, mercury (avoid dental amalgams, contaminated seafood, and vaccines), glyphosate and other pesticide components, and a whole host of endocrine disruptors.
But there’s another hugely common substance that plays an even more central role in the development of Alzheimer’s: sugar.
Some health experts have even gone so far as to call Alzheimer’s “a disease fueled by sugar” and “type 3 diabates.” It’s now accepted that our processed, sugary American diet is at the heart of the problem.
Here’s why: as we’ve discussed before, sugar is a massively destructive substance. It suppresses immune function, causes depression and other mood disorders, leads to weight gain and insulin resistance, and riddles the body with inflammation.
This inflammation extends to the brain, which accelerates the degeneration of cerebral tissues, arteries, and vessels. And the inevitable insulin resistance caused by sugar overconsumption makes matters even worse, because it cuts off the brain from the blood sugar it needs to continue functioning properly.
According to brain scans taken during one study—which examined individuals with insulin resistance who had not yet been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s—the greater the insulin resistance, the less available sugar in key parts of the brain (including the memory centers that ravaged by Alzheimer’s).
Sugar also precipitates Alzheimer’s disease in a much more direct way.
In 2005, it was discovered that your brain produces its own insulin in order to maintain the integrity of its cells. And in the same way that sugar leads to insulin resistance in the pancreas (and thus to type 2 diabetes), a sugary and inflammatory diet is a leading risk factor in the development of cerebral insulin resistance.
While the associations between all of these bodily mechanisms are incredibly intricate, what researchers do know is this: Alzheimer’s patients display a plaque-like buildup of ADDL’s (amyloid b-derived diffusible ligands), and this condition is shared by those with heart disease and diabetes (diabetics are 100% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease).
And what do all of these conditions have in common? They’re strongly linked with sugar consumption.
The way forward
While “lifestyle medicine” can certainly be a lot of work, an increasing number of health professionals are realizing that it’s absolutely essential for properly combating Alzheimer’s and other prevalent conditions of our time.
The bottom line is that there’s little hope of receiving benefit from conventional Alzheimer’s drugs and treatments if you continue to consume sugar. Conversely, adopting a low-sugar, high-fat diet while you’re still healthy is one of the best ways in which you can prevent Alzheimer’s later in life.
Replace empty carbs and sugars in your diet with organic vegetables, low-sugar fruits, and lots of healthy fats. Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy sleep schedule. Integrate detoxification practices into your ongoing routines, and consider trying some of the brain supplements mentioned above.
Alzheimer’s disease is not an inevitable result of old age. By avoiding sugar at all costs and getting serious about these lifestyle changes, it can be prevented and overcome.