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Diabetes Ages Your Brain Five Years Faster Than Normal
By Dr. Mercola
In the United States, nearly 80 million people, or one in four, have diabetes or pre-diabetes. What’s worse, diabetes among children and teens has also skyrocketed.
The most recent data1,2 reveals that incidence of type 2 diabetes among children aged 10-19 rose by 30 percent between 2001 and 2009. The same situation exists in other developed nations.
In the UK, more than one-third of adults are now pre-diabetic,3 and British researchers warn that this will lead to a massive avalanche of type 2 diabetics in upcoming years, which will have serious consequences for health care and life expectancy.
Diabetes Linked to Faster Decline in Memory
One of many debilitating health problems associated with type 2 diabetes is a higher risk for dementia. According to one recent study,4,5,6 diabetes ages your brain about five years faster than normal.
People who are diagnosed with diabetes in their 50s are at a significantly heightened risk for mental decline by the time they’re 70.
Previous research7 has also shown that type 2 diabetics lose more brain volume with age than expected—particularly gray matter. This kind of brain atrophy is yet another contributing factor for dementia.
According to lead author Elizabeth Selvin, PhD, MPH, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health:8
“The lesson is that to have a healthy brain when you’re 70, you need to eat right and exercise when you’re 50.
There is a substantial cognitive decline associated with diabetes, pre-diabetes and poor glucose control in people with diabetes. And we know how to prevent or delay the diabetes associated with this decline…”
The Importance of Healthy Blood Vessels for Proper Brain Function
A number of different factors play a role in memory decline and dementia. One important factor is the health of your blood vessels, and I’ve previously discussed the links between heart disease and dementia. In fact, the test that predicts your future risk of heart disease is better at predicting your risk of dementia than a specific dementia-risk test.9
In the featured study, diabetics were found to suffer a 19 percent greater decline in mental acuity compared to non-diabetics over the course of 20 years. Those with pre-diabetes were also at a significantly increased risk for memory decline.
The researchers suggest the decline in memory associated with diabetes is due to damage to small blood vessels in the brain. According to co-author A. Richey Sharrett, MD, DrPH:
“There are many ways we can reduce the impact of cerebral blood vessel disease—by prevention or control of diabetes and hypertension, reduction in smoking, increase in exercise and improvements in diet.
Knowing that the risk for cognitive impairments begins with diabetes and other risk factors in mid-life can be a strong motivator for patients and their doctors to adopt and maintain long-term healthy practices.”
The best predictor of type 2 diabetes is being obese or overweight, and in the US one-third of children and teens (aged two to 19), and more than two-thirds of adults are either overweight or obese.
Obesity is usually the result of inappropriate lifestyle choices, such as eating too much processed foods (high in carbs and low in healthy fats), and not fasting enough.
It’s interesting to note that the poorest Americans have the highest obesity rate, and they also tend to eat a diet that is very high in processed foods. This is yet another indication that processed foods play a significant role in metabolic dysfunction, weight gain, and associated health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and dementia.
Diabetes Medication May Do More Harm Than Good
Diabetes is a disease rooted in insulin resistance10 and perhaps more importantly, a malfunction of leptin signaling, caused by chronically elevated insulin and leptin levels.
This is why the medical community’s approach to its treatment is not getting anywhere. Contrary to popular belief, treating type 2 diabetes with insulin is actually one of the worst things you can do, as it only exacerbates the underlying problem.
One recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine11 concluded that insulin therapy in type 2 diabetic patients—especially older diabetics—may indeed do more harm than good. As reported by Medical News Today:12
“In the US, type 2 diabetes is diagnosed when hemoglobin A1c levels reach 6.5 percent or higher. The higher A1c levels are, the greater the risk of other health problems.
Sometimes the condition can be managed through changes in diet, but other patients with type 2 diabetes may need medication – such as insulin or metformin – to help lower their blood sugar levels, and ultimately, reduce the risk of diabetes complications.
But the researchers of this latest study… claim that the benefits of such treatment – particularly for people over the age of 50 – may not always outweigh the negatives.
‘In many cases, insulin treatment may not do anything to add to the person’s quality life expectancy,’ says study co-author John S. Yudkin…
‘If people feel that insulin therapy reduces their quality of life by anything more than around 3-4 percent, this will outweigh any potential benefits gained by treatment in almost anyone with type 2 diabetes over around 50 years old.’ …
For example, they estimate that a person with type 2 diabetes who begins insulin therapy at age 45 and lowers their hemoglobin A1c levels by 1 percent may experience an extra 10 months of healthy life.
But for a patient who starts treatment for type 2 diabetes at age 75, they estimate the therapy may only gain them an additional 3 weeks of healthy life. The researchers say this prompts the question – is 10-15 years of pills or injections with possible side effects worth it?”
Lifestyle Changes Are as Effective as Medicine for Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
Just like obesity, type 2 diabetes is primarily controlled and prevented through diet and exercise. Avoiding sugar (and processed fructose in particular) is imperative for preventing insulin/leptin resistance. Exercise is also important for normalizing your insulin and leptin sensitivity.
I’ve often said that lifestyle changes can be just as, if not more, effective than drugs, and studies have repeatedly confirmed this view. Most recently, a meta-analysis published in Diabetologia13 found that diet and exercise lowers blood sugar levels and prevents diabetes in pre-diabetics as effectively as diabetic medications in both genders. As reported by MedicineNet.com:14
“The researchers reviewed data from more than 7,400 women and 5,500 men in 12 studies. Men and women with prediabetes who made lifestyle changes were 40 percent less likely to progress to diabetes after one year, and 37 percent less likely to progress after three years, compared to those who did not make lifestyle changes, the study found.
Men and women with prediabetes who made lifestyle changes also lost more weight and had greater reductions in blood sugar levels, the researchers said… ‘Clinically, these findings highlight an important issue.
Despite differences in age of onset, detection and burden of type 2 diabetes between men and women, the effectiveness of preventive interventions in people with prediabetes is not influenced by gender,’ the researchers explained…”
The Importance of Magnesium for Glucose and Insulin Balance
Magnesium deficiency is also worth mentioning, as it plays an important role in glucose and insulin homeostasis.15 Magnesium is also required to activate tyrosine kinase, an enzyme that functions as an “on” or “off” switch in many cellular functions and is required for the proper function of your insulin receptors. Studies,16,17,18 from around the world universally agree that in order to optimize your metabolism and keep your risk for type 2 diabetes low, you need to consume adequate magnesium.
One 2013 study involving pre-diabetics found that most had inadequate magnesium intake, and those with the highest magnesium intake reduced their risk for blood sugar and metabolic problems by a whopping 71 percent.19 Current government guidelines for magnesium intake among adults call for 300 to 420 mg per day,7 but research suggests many would benefit from a much higher intake—about 700 mg per day or more.
Type 3 Diabetes, or ‘Brain Diabetes,’ May Be Responsible for Alzheimer’s Disease
A growing body of research suggests there’s a powerful connection between your diet and your risk of Alzheimer’s disease20 via similar pathways that cause type 2 diabetes. Alzheimer’s disease was tentatively dubbed “type 3 diabetes” in early 2005 when researchers learned that, in addition to the pancreas, your brain also produces insulin. This brain insulin is actually necessary for the survival of your brain cells.
A drop in insulin production in your brain may contribute to the degeneration of your brain cells, and studies have found that people with lower levels of insulin and insulin receptors in their brain often have Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have discovered that insulin actually does far more than regulate your blood sugar. It also helps with neuron glucose-uptake, and the regulation of neurotransmitters like acetylcholine, which are crucial for memory and learning. This is why reducing the level of insulin in your brain impairs your cognition.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the same pathological process that leads to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes may also hold true for your brain. As you over-indulge on sugar and grains, your brain becomes overwhelmed by the consistently high levels of glucose and insulin that blunts its insulin signaling, leading to impairments in your thinking and memory abilities, eventually causing permanent brain damage.
Additionally, when your liver is busy processing fructose (which your liver turns into fat), it severely hampers its ability to make cholesterol, an essential building block of your brain that is crucial for optimal brain function. Indeed, mounting evidence supports the notion that significantly reducing fructose consumption is a very important step you can take to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Prevention and Treatment Guidelines
It’s becoming quite clear that to protect your brain and prevent cognitive decline, it’s important to address any underlying insulin/leptin resistance and/or type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, type 2 diabetes is curable, and in the vast majority of cases does not require any form of medication. The following nutrition and lifestyle modifications should be the foundation of your diabetes prevention and treatment plan.
Also, make sure to monitor your FASTING insulin level. This is every bit as important as monitoring your fasting blood sugar. You’ll want your fasting insulin level to be between 2 and 4. The higher your level, the greater your insulin resistance and the more aggressive you need to be in your treatment plan, especially when it comes to altering your diet.
•Swap out processed foods, all forms of sugar—particularly fructose—as well as all grains, for whole, fresh food. A primary reason for the failure of conventional diabetes treatment over the last 50 years has to do with seriously flawed dietary recommendations. Refined fructose, grains, and other sugar forming starchy carbohydrates are largely responsible for your body’s adverse insulin reactions, and all sugars and grains—even “healthful” grains such as whole, organic ones—need to be drastically reduced.
If you’re insulin/leptin resistant, have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or are overweight, you’d be wise to limit your total fructose intake to 15 grams per day until your insulin/leptin resistance has resolved. This includes about 80 percent of Americans. For all others, I recommend limiting your daily fructose consumption to 25 grams or less, to maintain optimal health.
The easiest way to accomplish this is by swapping processed foods for whole, ideally organic foods. This means cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients. Processed foods are the main source of all the primary culprits, including high fructose corn syrup and other sugars, processed grains, trans fats, artificial sweeteners, and other synthetic additives that may aggravate metabolic dysfunction.
Besides fructose, trans fat (NOT saturated fat) increases your risk for diabetes21 by interfering with your insulin receptors. Recent research22,23 also demonstrates that trans fat has a distinct adverse impact on memory, courtesy of the oxidative stress and brain inflammation these fats produce.
Healthy saturated fats do not have any of these adverse effects on your health. Since you’re cutting out a lot of energy (carbs) from your diet when you reduce sugars and grains, you need to replace them with something. The ideal replacement is a combination of:
?Low-to-moderate amount of high-quality protein. Substantial amounts of protein can be found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and nuts. When selecting animal-based protein, be sure to opt for organically raised, grass-fed or pastured meats, eggs, and dairy, to avoid potential health complications caused by genetically engineered animal feed and pesticides.
Most Americans eat far too much protein, so be mindful of the amount. I believe it is the rare person who really needs more than one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. Those that are aggressively exercising or competing and pregnant women should have about 25 percent more, but most people rarely need more than 40-70 grams of protein a day.
To determine your lean body mass, find out your percent body fat and subtract from 100. This means that if you have 20 percent body fat, you have 80 percent lean body mass. Just multiply that by your current weight to get your lean body mass in pounds or kilos. To determine whether you’re getting too much protein, simply calculate your lean body mass as described above, then write down everything you’re eating for a few days, and calculate the amount of daily protein from all sources.
Again, you’re aiming for one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass, which would place most people in the range of 40 to 70 grams of protein per day. If you’re currently averaging a lot more than that, adjust downward accordingly. You could use the chart below or simply Google the food you want to know and you will quickly find the grams of protein in the food.
Red meat, pork, poultry, and seafood average 6-9 grams of protein per ounce.
An ideal amount for most people would be a 3-ounce serving of meat or seafood (not 9- or 12-ounce steaks!), which will provide about 18-27 grams of protein Eggs contain about 6-8 grams of protein per egg. So an omelet made from two eggs would give you about 12-16 grams of protein.
If you add cheese, you need to calculate that protein in as well (check the label of your cheese)
Seeds and nuts contain on average 4-8 grams of protein per quarter cup Cooked beans average about 7-8 grams per half cup
Cooked grains average 5-7 grams per cup Most vegetables contain about 1-2 grams of protein per ounce
?As much high-quality healthy fat as you want (saturated24 and monounsaturated). For optimal health, most people need upwards of 50-85 percent of their daily calories in the form of healthy fats. Good sources include coconut and coconut oil, avocados, butter, nuts, and animal fats. (Remember, fat is high in calories while being small in terms of volume. So when you look at your plate, the largest portion would be vegetables.)
?As many non-starchy vegetables as you want
•Exercise regularly and intensely. Studies have shown that exercise, even without weight loss, increases insulin sensitivity.25 High intensity interval training (HIIT), which is a central component of my Peak Fitness program, has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity by as much as 24 percent in just four weeks. Exercise also prompts nerve cells to release brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which triggers other chemicals that promote neural health, and directly benefits cognitive functions, including learning. A number of studies have also shown that exercise can promote growth of new brain cells, enlarge your memory center, improve IQ scores, and help prevent brain deterioration associated with aging.
•Improve your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. Today’s Western diet has far too many processed and damaged omega-6 fats, and is far too little omega-3 fats.26 The main sources of omega-6 fats are corn, soy, canola, safflower, peanut, and sunflower oil (the first two of which are typically genetically engineered as well, which further complicates matters). Our bodies evolved for an optimal of approximately 1:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3.
However, our ratio has deteriorated to between 20:1 and 50:1 in favor of omega-6. This lopsided ratio has seriously adverse health consequences. To remedy this, reduce your consumption of vegetable oils (this means not cooking with them, and avoiding processed foods), and increase your intake of animal-based omega-3, such as krill oil. Vegetable-based omega-3 is also found in flaxseed oil and walnut oil, and it’s good to include these in your diet as well. Just know they cannot take the place of animal-based omega-3s.
•Maintain optimal vitamin D levels year-round. New evidence strongly supports the notion that vitamin D is highly beneficial for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Recent research has also confirmed the link between vitamin D deficiency and dementia. The ideal way to optimize your vitamin D level is by getting regular sun exposure, or by using a tanning bed. As a last resort, consider oral supplementation with regular vitamin D monitoring, to confirm that you are taking enough vitamin D to get your blood levels into the therapeutic range of 50-70 ng/ml. Also please note that if you take supplemental vitamin D, you create an increased demand for vitamin K2 and magnesium.
•Get adequate high-quality sleep every night. Insufficient sleep appears to raise stress and blood sugar, encouraging insulin and leptin resistance and weight gain. In one 10-year-long study27 of 70,000 diabetes-free women, researchers found that women who slept less than five hours or more than nine hours each night were 34 percent more likely to develop diabetes symptoms than women who slept seven to eight hours each night.
Sleep loss has also been linked to severe brain damage. Sleep is actually necessary for maintaining metabolic homeostasis in your brain, and without sufficient sleep, neuron degeneration sets in. Sleep deprivation causes disruption of certain synaptic connections that can impair your brain’s ability for learning, memory formation, and other cognitive functions. It also accelerates onset of Alzheimer’s disease. If you are having problems with your sleep, try the suggestions in my article “33 Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep.”
•Maintain a healthy body weight. If you incorporate the diet and lifestyle changes suggested above you will greatly improve your insulin and leptin sensitivity, and a healthy body weight will follow in time. Determining your ideal body weight depends on a variety of factors, including frame size, age, activity level, and genetics. As a general guideline, you might find a hip-to-waist size index chart helpful. This is far better than BMI for evaluating whether or not you may have a weight problem, as BMI fails to factor in both how muscular you are, and your intra-abdominal fat mass (the dangerous visceral fat that accumulates around your inner organs), which is a potent indicator of leptin sensitivity and associated health problems.
•Incorporate intermittent fasting. If you have carefully followed the diet and exercise guidelines and still aren’t making sufficient progress with your weight or overall health, I strongly recommend incorporating intermittent fasting. It’s by far the most effective way I know of to shed unwanted fat, resolve insulin resistance, and eliminate your sugar cravings. Intermittent fasting has also been identified as a potent ally for the prevention and perhaps even treatment of dementia. Ketones are released as a byproduct of burning fat, and ketones (not glucose) are actually the preferred fuel for your brain. Keep up your intermittent fasting schedule until your insulin/leptin resistance improves (or your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol ratios, or diabetes normalizes). After that, you only need to do it “as needed” to maintain your healthy state.
•Optimize your gut health. Your gut is a living ecosystem, full of both good bacteria and bad. Multiple studies have shown that obese people have different intestinal bacteria than lean people. The more good bacteria you have, the stronger your immune system will be and the better your body will function overall. Gut bacteria has been found to affect your brain function, and play a role in the development of diabetes as well. Fortunately, optimizing your gut flora is relatively easy. You can reseed your body with good bacteria by regularly eating fermented foods (like natto, raw organic cheese, miso, and cultured vegetables) or by taking a high-quality probiotic supplement.By Dr. Mercola
How Trans Fat Harms Your Memory
There are a number of dietary links between dementia and heart disease. Excessive sugar/processed fructose, grains, and trans fat consumption are three factors that promote both.
Not surprisingly, recent research1 has pointed out that heart disease also increases your odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease, which is a serious and deadly form of dementia.
According to the authors, vascular damage may predispose your brain to increased amyloid plaque buildup, which is a hallmark of this degenerative brain disease. Plaque buildup worsens with stiffer arteries, so preventing arterial plaque formation may be a critical factor in the prevention of dementia.
For decades, saturated fats have been demonized as the cause of heart disease. The food industry, responding to such health concerns replaced saturated fats with trans fats, and a whole new market of low-fat (but high-sugar) foods was born.
Americans’ health has plummeted ever since, and millions have been prematurely killed by this mistake… Making matters worse, genetically engineered soy oil, which is a major source of trans fats, can oxidize inside your body, thereby causing damage to both your heart and your brain.
Trans Fat Clogs Your Arteries, Not Saturated Fat
As it turns out, saturated fat was never the culprit in heart disease. That assumption was based on flawed research, the conclusions of which were entirely erroneous.
Dr. Fred Kummerow, author of Cholesterol Is Not the Culprit, has researched fats and heart disease for eight decades, and he was the first researcher to identify which fats actually cause clogged arteries.
Last December, The New York Times2 featured Dr. Kummerow’s research on fats, which shows that trans fats (found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils) are to blame for rising heart disease rates. Dr. Kummerow was the first to publish a scientific article on this association, back in 1957.
Preliminary study findings3 presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2014 also reveal that trans fat is linked to a higher risk of memory impairment. This isn’t surprising when you consider the links between dementia and heart disease. According to Time Magazine:4
“[T]rans fat intake was linked to worse memory in people under age 45, even after controlling for mind-influencing factors like age, depression and education. Every gram of trans fat eaten per day was linked to 0.76 fewer words recalled. Put another way? Those who ate the most trans fat remembered 11 fewer words.”
One of the authors, Dr. Beatrice Golomb, noted that since the average number of words correctly recalled was 86, a loss of about a dozen words represents “a pretty big detriment to function.”5
The research, while unable to establish cause and effect, suggests trans fats may act as a pro-oxidant, contributing to oxidative stress that causes cellular damage. This is similar to Dr. Kummerow’s earlier findings, which show that vegetable oils oxidize when heated, and when oxidized cholesterol and trans fat enter into your LDL particles, they become destructive.
Trans Fats 101
Dr. Kummerow, now 100 years old, is still an active researcher and writer. He published four papers in the past couple of years alone. Some of his most recent research6 shows that there are two types of fats in our diet responsible for the formation of heart disease:
1.Trans fat found in partially hydrogenated oil. Structurally, trans fats are synthetic fatty acids; 14 of them are produced during the hydrogenation process. (They are not present in either animal or vegetable fats.)
Trans fats prevent the synthesis of prostacyclin,7 which is necessary to keep your blood flowing. When your arteries cannot produce prostacyclin, blood clots form, and you may succumb to sudden death.
2.Oxidized cholesterol forms when polyunsaturated vegetable oils (such as soybean, corn and sunflower oils) are heated. This oxidized cholesterol (not dietary cholesterol in and of itself) causes increased thromboxane formation—a factor that clots your blood.
Two of Dr. Kummerow’s papers pertain to how these oils harden your arteries and play an important role in the development of atherosclerosis. As reported by The New York Times:8 “The problem, [Dr. Kummerow] says, is not LDL, the “bad cholesterol”… What matters is whether the cholesterol and fat residing in those LDL particles have been oxidized…
[He] contends that the high temperatures used in commercial frying cause inherently unstable polyunsaturated oils to oxidize, and that these oxidized fatty acids become a destructive part of LDL particles. Even when not oxidized by frying, soybean and corn oils can oxidize inside the body.”
Download Interview Transcript
You Need Saturated Fats for Healthy Brain Function
Our ancestral diet was very high in saturated fats and virtually void of sugar and non-vegetable carbohydrates. Today, not only do most of us eat excessive amounts of carbohydrates, these carbs are refined and highly processed.
In the last decade, we’ve also shifted over to genetically engineered (GE) grains and sugar (GE sugar beets and corn), the long-term health effects of which have never been established.
This mistaken fat phobia has undoubtedly played a significant role in the dramatic rise in dementia and other neurological disorders, because your brain cannot function properly without fats. In fact, most people benefit from up to 50-85 percent of their daily calories in the form of fats for optimal health (for listing of healthy fats, see end of article) while they are seeking to resolve their insulin resistance.
For comparison, the American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to between five to six percent of total calories!9 There’s no doubt in my mind that this grossly sub-optimal recommendation level is contributing to the poor health of Americans, and promoting both heart disease and dementia.
While trans fat consumption decreased by about one-third between 1980-2009,10 many are still getting far too much trans fat in their diet. The problem is that it’s oftentimes hidden. Even products boasting a “zero trans fat” label can contain trans fat, because food manufacturers are not required to list trans fat if it falls below a certain amount per serving. Using ridiculously tiny serving portion is a legal loophole that permits food manufacturers to mislead you about the trans fat in their products. As a general rule, to avoid trans fats, you need to avoid any and all foods containing or cooked in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, so be sure to check the list of ingredients.
Two Additional Concerns: Cyclic Aldehydes and Acrylamide
Besides the damage from trans fats, vegetable oils such as peanut, corn, and soy oil degrade into highly toxic oxidation products called cyclic aldehydes when heated, and these byproducts may actually do more harm than trans fat. But because this is so new, very few are aware of this problem. In animals, even low levels of cyclic aldehydes oxidize LDL cholesterol and cause high levels of inflammation associated with heart disease. Cyclic aldehydes have also been shown to cause toxic shock in animals through gastric damage, which is consistent with the rise in immune problems and gastrointestinal-related diseases in the human population. To learn more about this, please listen to my interview with investigative journalist Nina Teicholz.11
Acrylamide12, 13 is another highly toxic byproduct produced when starchy or carbohydrate-rich foods such as potatoes and grains are fried or cooked at high temperatures. French fries, chips, cookies, crackers, and cereals tend to have some of the highest levels of acrylamide, courtesy of the processing they’ve been put through. Acrylamide is a known neurotoxin, and animal research has revealed clear evidence of carcinogenic activity.14
While there’s no official data on what cooking oils may contribute to or prevent acrylamide formation, I believe it’s quite clear that processed vegetable oils increase the health hazards of foods processed or cooked at high temperatures. Speaking of acrylamide, on November 7, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved genetically engineered varieties of potato,15 engineered to generate less acrylamide when cooked than regular potatoes. In my view, this madness is only going to make matter worse.
The problem of trans fats and cyclic aldehydes can largely be addressed by reverting to using saturated fats like butter, coconut oil and lard—the latter two of which are very stable and excellent for high temperature cooking. The problem of acrylamide is solved by cooking foods at lower temperatures. This, of course, would be a severe blow to the processed food industry. So instead of making some much needed changes to our food system (such as reverting away from processed foods and promoting more whole foods), a potato is genetically engineered that will not develop as much acrylamide—this way the food industry can continue making chips and French fries cooked in heart-, brain-, and gut-damaging vegetables oils, most of which are also genetically engineered (corn, soy), while pretending—and probably boasting—that they’ve “done something” to make our foods safer…
Avoiding Processed Food Is the Easiest Way to Protect Your Health
According to Dr. Kummerow, your body can eliminate trans fats in about a month, which is encouraging. The tragic reality, of course, is that 95 percent of the food that most Americans eat is processed—and processed food is where all this trans fat lies—and the cyclic aldehydes, and the acrylamide, and the genetically engineered ingredients, and the pesticides… So, if you want to protect your health, particularly your heart, brain, and gut, you need to avoid as many processed foods (including most restaurant food) as much as possible, and start cooking at home, using fresh, whole, unadulterated ingredients. In summary, I recommend:
1.Avoiding sugar, processed fructose, and grains if you are insulin and leptin resistant. This effectively means you must avoid most processed foods
2.Eating a healthful diet of whole foods, ideally organic, and replacing the grain carbs with:
?Large amounts of vegetables
?Low-to-moderate amount of high quality protein (think organically raised, pastured animals)
?As much highly quality healthy fat as you want (saturated and monounsaturated from animal- and tropical oil sources). Again, most people need upwards of 50-85 percent of their daily calories in the form of fat for optimal health until their insulin resistance is resolved. Sources of healthful fats to add to your diet include:
Avocados Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk Raw dairy Organic pastured egg yolks
Coconuts and coconut oil Unheated organic nut oils Raw nuts, such as almonds, pecans, macadamia, and seeds Grass-fed meats
Additional Dietary Guidelines for Maintaining Healthy Brain Function
When it comes to protecting your brain and preventing memory loss and dementia, your diet and lifestyle are your most important allies. My optimized nutrition plan can set you on the right path in this regard. As explained by neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, author of the book, Grain Brain, Alzheimer’s is a disease predicated primarily on lifestyle choices; the two main culprits being excessive sugar and gluten consumption.
You want to be especially wary of genetically engineered ingredients, as they are heavily contaminated with glyphosate—a herbicide thought to be worse than DDT, and DDT has already been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s. In terms of your diet and other lifestyle factors, the following suggestions may be among the most important for preserving your brain function as you age:
•Avoid sugar and refined fructose. Ideally, you’ll want to keep your sugar levels to a minimum and your total fructose below 25 grams per day, or as low as 15 grams per day if you have insulin/leptin resistance or any related disorders
•Avoid gluten and casein (primarily wheat and pasteurized dairy, but not dairy fat, such as butter). Research shows that your blood-brain barrier is negatively affected by gluten. Gluten also makes your gut more permeable, which allows proteins to get into your bloodstream, where they don’t belong. That then sensitizes your immune system and promotes inflammation and autoimmunity, both of which play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s
•Optimize your gut flora by regularly eating fermented foods or taking a high-potency and high-quality probiotic supplement
•Increase consumption of all healthy fats, including animal-based omega-3. Healthy fats that your brain needs for optimal function include organically-raised grass-fed meats, coconut oil, olives and olive oil, avocado, nuts, organic pastured egg yolks, and butter made from raw grass-fed milk. High intake of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA are also helpful for preventing cell damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease, thereby slowing down its progression, and lowering your risk of developing the disorder.
•Reduce your overall calorie consumption, and/or intermittently fast until insulin resistance resolves. Ketones are mobilized when you replace carbs with coconut oil and other sources of healthy fats. Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool to jumpstart your body into remembering how to burn fat and repair the inulin/leptin resistance that is also a primary contributing factor for Alzheimer’s. To learn more, please see this previous article.
•Improve your magnesium levels. Preliminary research strongly suggests a decrease in Alzheimer symptoms with increased levels of magnesium in the brain.
•Eat a nutritious diet, rich in folate. Vegetables, without question, are your best form of folate, and we should all eat plenty of fresh raw veggies every day. Avoid supplements like folic acid, which is the inferior synthetic version of folate.
•Exercise regularly. It’s been suggested that exercise can trigger a change in the way the amyloid precursor protein is metabolized, thus, slowing down the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s. Exercise also increases levels of BDNF (brain derived neurotropic factor) and a protein PGC-1alpha. Research has shown that people with Alzheimer’s have less PGC-1alpha in their brains and cells that contain more of the protein produce less of the toxic amyloid protein associated with Alzheimer’s. I would strongly recommend reviewing the Peak Fitness Technique for my specific recommendations.
•Avoid and eliminate mercury from your body. Dental amalgam fillings, which are 50 percent mercury by weight, are one of the major sources of heavy metal toxicity, however you should be healthy prior to having them removed. Once you have adjusted to following the diet described in my optimized nutrition plan, you can follow the mercury detox protocol and then find a biological dentist to have your amalgams removed.
•Avoid and eliminate aluminum from your body: Sources of aluminum include antiperspirants, non-stick cookware, vaccine adjuvants, etc. For tips on how to detox aluminum, please see my article, “First Case Study to Show Direct Link between Alzheimer’s and Aluminum Toxicity.”
•Avoid flu vaccinations as most contain both mercury and aluminum, well-known neurotoxic and immunotoxic agents.
•Avoid anticholinergics and statin drugs. Drugs that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have been shown to increase your risk of dementia. These drugs include certain nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence, and certain narcotic pain relievers. Statin drugs are particularly problematic because they suppress the synthesis of cholesterol, deplete your brain of coenzyme Q10 and neurotransmitter precursors, and prevent adequate delivery of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble antioxidants to your brain by inhibiting the production of the indispensable carrier biomolecule known as low-density lipoprotein