8 Keys to Preventing Alzheimer’s and Dementia: A Holistic Approach to Brain Health

Written By Brady Wirick

 

Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia: A Glimpse into a Global Concern

Dementia is a broad term used to describe a range of cognitive impairments affecting memory, thinking, and social abilities. Within this umbrella, Alzheimer’s disease stands out as the most common form, accounting for an estimated 60-80% of dementia cases. The second most common form is vascular dementia, which is a disruption in blood flow going to the brain.

Alzheimer’s is characterized by the degeneration of brain cells, leading to memory loss and cognitive decline. It’s a progressive disease, starting with mild memory lapses (like walking into a room and forgetting why you are there) and evolving into severe impairments that interfere with daily life.

The first symptom of Alzheimer’s is loss of smell. 

Alzheimer’s is such an elusive disease that absolute diagnosis only comes by autopsy post mortem. 

Now, for some startling statistics:

– Global Prevalence: According to the World Health Organization, around 50 million people worldwide suffer from dementia, with nearly 10 million new cases every year.

– Rising Numbers: By 2050, the number of individuals with dementia is expected to soar to 152 million, signifying a tripling of current figures.

– Economic Impact: The global cost of dementia is astronomical, estimated at around $1 trillion annually—a figure projected to double by 2030.

– Age Factor: One in every 14 people over 65 is affected by Alzheimer’s, and this risk doubles every five years after that age threshold.

These statistics underscore the looming health crisis dementia presents. With an aging global population, the urgency to understand, prevent, and treat these neurodegenerative conditions has never been greater. With that context in mind, let’s delve into actionable keys to bolster brain health and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

PREFACE

In today’s media-saturated environment, it’s essential to be critical of the information we absorb. The influence of the pharmaceutical industry on American media can’t be overlooked. While medications certainly have their place, the narrative often leans towards treating symptoms rather than promoting holistic wellness. Turn off your TV and tune into healthier habits that not only promote physical well-being but also pave the way for a sharper, more resilient mind.

  1. Lose Weight – The Belly-Brain Connection

Weight management goes beyond aesthetic appeal; it directly impacts brain health. Interestingly, the size of one’s belly is inversely proportional to brain health. Excessive abdominal fat has been linked to increased risks of cognitive decline. However, it’s imperative to approach weight loss naturally. Resorting to drugs or surgical interventions can have counterproductive effects on brain health, potentially exacerbating risks. Recent studies have even shown increased incidents of Alzheimer’s and dementia in people who have undergone bariatric surgery.

  1. Eliminate Sugar – The Silent Cognitive Thief

A diet high in sugar doesn’t just affect the waistline; it also has profound implications for the brain. Chronic high sugar intake can lead to insulin resistance, a contributor to Alzheimer’s, often termed “Type 3 Diabetes.” Eliminating sugar will enhance insulin sensitivity, safeguarding the brain from degenerative processes. The same is also true for fake sugars, especially aspartame and sucralose.

  1. Moderate Caffeine, Alcohol, and Marijuana – Heeding Dr. Amen’s Warnings

Dr. Daniel Amen’s studies shed light on the impacts of substances like caffeine, alcohol, and marijuana on brain function. Overconsumption can impair cognition and reduce brain volume in critical areas. Moderation is key. While occasional indulgence might not be detrimental, habitual overconsumption can set the stage for cognitive decline.

  1. Bid Goodbye to Refined Grains

Refined grains, stripped of their essential nutrients and fiber, can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, fueling inflammation and oxidative stress. Both of these are enemies of brain health. Transitioning to whole grains can provide sustained energy and protect the brain from the damaging effects of refined carbohydrates.

Refined grains are also high in glyphosate, the chemical used as weed killer in modern farmers. Monsanto claims that it is safe for human consumption, however glyphosate is toxic to your microbiome, where most of your neurotransmitters are made.

  1. Ditch Industrial Oils

Many industrial oils, especially seed and soy oils, are high in inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids and contaminants like glyphosate. Chronic inflammation is a recognized contributor to many neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s. Opting for healthier oils, rich in Omega-3s, like olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil and strike a balance to protect neural integrity.

  1. Balance your hormones

Just like chronic high sugar intake can interfere with insulin sensitivity, environmental toxins can interfere with normal hormone production. Healthy hormone function is crucial for proper brain function. 

These hormones are paramount for a host of bodily functions, including cognition. A balanced hormonal environment is indispensable for optimal brain function, and steering clear of both excessive sugar and synthetic fragrances becomes an essential step in safeguarding our cognitive well-being.

Unfortunately our environment is full of “endocrine disruptors” (chemicals that block hormone production) that will ultimately make brain health worse. Sugar, refined grains, herbicides and pesticides, artificial fragrances, and EMF radiation are just the beginning of the list.

  1. RMS – Your Brain’s Nurturing Trio

– Read: Dive into good books. Reading stimulates neural connections, enhances vocabulary, and improves concentration.

– Meditate: This ancient practice is a tonic for the mind. It reduces stress, enhances self-awareness, and can even increase cortical thickness in the brain.

– Sleep: Never underestimate the rejuvenating power of sleep. Adequate, quality sleep is the brain’s detoxification time, crucial for memory consolidation and cognitive restoration. Your goal should be 7-8 hours.

  1. Muscle Up for a Mighty Mind

 

Muscle mass isn’t just for physical prowess; it also supports brain health. Muscles release beneficial molecules that support brain function, acting as a reservoir for amino acids, vital for neurotransmitter synthesis. Plus, the process of muscle-building encourages habits of discipline, regularity, and goal-setting, all essential for mental agility.

Conclusion

Preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia doesn’t rely solely on genetics or sheer luck. Lifestyle plays a pivotal role. By adopting the above keys and strategies, not only can one fortify their body against various ailments, but they can also usher in an era of enhanced cognitive longevity. The path to a vibrant mind is paved with intentional, health-enhancing choices. Embrace them and let your brain thrive.

 

2 Comments

  1. Kathleen Price

    I truly appreciate this information. I am in 100% agreement. However when I try to discuss these things with friends and loved ones they disparage my sources. Would you be able to provide references for tge various points made in your article? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Brady Wirick

      So it goes with our loved ones. I get the exact same thing from my own family! The info for this one was taken mostly from Benjamin Bikman’s book Why We Get Sick as well as Grain Brain from Perlmuttar. Both authors give plenty of references.

      Reply

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