“If you don’t make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness.” ~ Joyce Sunada
The Fear of Finding Out Alzheimer’s Disease is in Your Genes
One of the many fears people express when getting their genetics tested is that they’ll find out they have the genes for Alzheimer’s disease, and they will, in turn, lose control of their minds late in life.
Through a growing body of research (mainly through the research of a neurologist named Dr. Dale Bredesen through the Apollo Health Institute), we have much more power over our cognitive health outcomes than we previously thought possible.
An estimated 80% of our long-term health relates to our lifestyle, including our cognitive health.
Alzheimer’s, we are finding out, is a preventable and treatable illness, much like many other chronic diseases.
In this article, I’ll give you a brief, high-level overview of the lifestyle factors likely to stop Alzheimer’s in its tracks, even before it develops.
For a complete prevention and treatment protocol, consult a certified health coach or functional Naturopathic or Medical Doctor to ensure you’ve been screened for genetics and lab work to tailor the protocol to you specifically.
Even before working with a practitioner, it helps to cover the basics to ensure you are on the right track in your preventative strategy.
In this article, you’ll find an overview of 3 primary sections to stack the odds in your favor:
Know Where Your Risks are
When we follow a Bredesen protocol (as directed by an Apollo Institute-trained physician or certified health coach), we’ll know precisely what testing to incorporate to determine where our risks lie in the progression to Alzheimer’s disease.
Other than cognitive tests and imaging performed by Neuropsychologists and Neurologists, there are lab tests we can either get by an Apollo-trained practitioner or another health care provider.
If you don’t have Alzheimer’s in your family and haven’t shown any signs of cognitive decline, you may wish to implement some of these suggestions on your own. However, suppose you have a particular concern about Alzheimer’s or know you have some of the risks below. In that case, you may want to work with a practitioner more focused on cognitive health.
The first step Dr. Bredesen always brings up is to check your cognition before seeking help or covering other factors.
He refers to this basic assessment as a ‘Cognoscopy’- a preventative assessment of where you’re at in terms of your cognitive health.
Tiger Medical does this and routine screening for all concerns.
The gold standard genetic test which points to the risk of Alzheimer’s is APOE. APOE4 variations put individuals at the highest risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Numerous other genes, however (including ones that point to our inflammatory profile (like IL-6), our methylation profile (like MTHFR), and our detoxification profile (like GSTM1 and GSTP1)), play a part in assessing our risks.
We must reiterate that none of these genes are definitive in whether you will develop Alzheimer’s disease or not.
If we have an idea of the risks earlier on, the proper diet and lifestyle can prevent the development of Alzheimer’s.
If someone does start developing symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and if they are properly treated and not in the late stages, recovery is also possible and even likely, according to the Apollo Institute’s growing body of research.
Labs to Discuss with a Healthcare Practitioner
The labs below are incomplete. However, they all point to factors in the complex drivers of Alzheimer’s disease.
If you work with an Apollo-trained coach, they will integrate these into their testing. However, if you are not, they are all essential factors you may wish to screen for with your primary care or other health providers.
- Serum B12
- Fasting Insuling
- Labs for hormone balance such as fT3, fT4, Estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, pregnenalone, cortisol
- Vitamin D
- Heavy metals
Optimize Your Diet and Nutrition Profile
Once you better understand your cognitive profile, genes, and some of your basic labs, you can start implementing changes that play a role in prevention.
Generally, an ‘anti-inflammatory diet’ protects against various mental and cognitive illnesses, including Alzheimer’s.
An anti-inflammatory diet can look a little different for each person, depending on their unique physiology and sensitivities (we can also test for this to a great extent).
Some of the basic principles to take into account for most individuals, however, are:
- The lower glycemic index (less simple carbs, added sugars, and no more than 1-2 servings of grain per day)
- More complex carbohydrates (like in the form of vegetables)
- Higher protein content for most individuals, or at least protein with each meal
- Limiting processed foods
- Less inflammatory seed oils like canola or vegetable oils
Optimize Your Lifestyle Factors
Sleep is a significant factor, it turns out, in optimizing cognitive function and preventing Alzheimer’s.
The majority of adults need approximately 7-9 hours of sleep a night, on most nights, for optimal cognitive function.
Make sleep a priority, and ensure you’ve done a sleep study if you have any sleep issues.
Seek professional help from a health professional if you have insomnia, and figure out the best sleep hygiene practices that help you get a good night’s sleep.
Dr. Dale Bredesen emphasizes the importance of exercise in preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease. Countless studies also highlight the importance of movement in maintaining our cognitive health.
What is the best form of exercise? Generally speaking, it’s what you will do and, ideally, something you enjoy. Exercise has been shown to improve the objective benefits as well.
Generally speaking, cardiovascular exercise has excellent cognitive benefits. Yoga and stretching are also part of an Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment protocol.
Our physical environment can play a big part in our long-term cognitive health and affect our risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Environmental exposures like mold and mercury, or a generally higher toxic burden with poor ability to detoxify (this can be genetic), can contribute to the risks of progressing to Alzheimer’s disease.
Clean water, time in nature, minimizing known toxicants (such as toxic cleaning products), body care, and highly pesticides foods can all lower our poisonous burden and ensure that our detox pathways are functioning correctly.
For more information on toxic burdens and what to avoid, consult the Environmental Working Group, where you can get consumer guides on tap water in your area, pesticides on specific crops, and ratings for your body care products.
You Have the Power to Stack the Odds in Your Favor
Regarding Alzheimer’s disease, we all know it has been on the rise. Fortunately, we have reached a time in medicine when we have the power and information to change our health trajectory and stop Alzheimer’s before it starts.
With the proper diet, lifestyle factors, and early detection and treatment, we are learning Alzheimer’s can become a preventable illness.
Like previous outbreaks of diseases we now have treatment for (such as polio and typhoid), Alzheimer’s is becoming an increasingly avoidable and treatable illness.
For further reading, view the following articles on:
- Who Should I See if Alzheimer’s Runs in my Family?
- Is Alzheimer’s Genetic or Hereditary?
- How Come I am All of a Sudden So Forgetful?
You have what it takes inside you to make a definite choice that will change the future trajectory of your health.
Our team at Tiger Medical has the experience, clinical skills, and coaching acumen to help you get your health and energy back and ensure you are on the right track to preventing Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline.
To talk to one of our professionals, click here to schedule your call!