9 Unusual Ways to Protect Your Brain from Alzheimer’s & other Dementias
BY PUREHEALTH RESEARCH | Jul 19, 2021
Watching someone you love fade into a hollow shell that looks like someone you used to know is heart-wrenching. It can send you into an emotional tailspin. But, when it’s happing to you, you become angry, frustrated at your sudden inabilities, and terrified for your future. Not to mention the overwhelming financial and physical drain facing your loved ones to care for you. It’s an agonizingly slow death sentence because people with Alzheimer’s disease have an average life expectancy of 4-8 years.1
There are over 400 degenerative brain diseases, and they are increasing at an alarming rate.2 The most common dementia is Alzheimer’s disease (AD).3 About 6.2 million Americans age 65+ live with Alzheimer’s (11.3%). That number is projected to rise to 13 million by 2050.4 Many experts believe that number is too conservative and that everyone is wearing a RED BULLSEYE TARGET on their brain. And once you’re experiencing signs – there’s no meaningful treatment or cure.
Let’s explore how and why getting back to basics can help protect your brain from this horrific fate. But first, what sets off Alzheimer’s disease?
The brain is sensitive to inflammation. For example, a mollusk covers an invading grain of sand with alternating layers of nacre and conchiolin to make it feel better – producing a pearl. The brain reacts similarly by creating amyloid plaques as its internal band-aid. The problem occurs when inflammation continues and becomes chronic.
With chronic inflammation, too many amyloid plaques are formed, and tau proteins become tangled.
These haywire proteins interfere with message signaling, causing “senior moments” in thought processes, cognition, and memory. Beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles are the identifiers of AD. Inflammation is the cause. It starts about 30+ years before you “can’t find your keys.” And over time, the brain shrinks. But what causes the inflammation?
Inflammation in the brain can be caused by infections, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, toxins, processed and refined foods, sugar, and more.
Vitamin D3 Deficiency
As you well know, Vitamin D is essential to support Calcium and bone metabolism. But it’s also critical for your brain. Vitamin D3 is fat-soluble and acts as a hormone.5 It aids the function of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. It keeps inflammation in check and ensures that Calcium levels don’t rise too high in the brain.
Recent research shows that Vitamin D deficiency, especially in people 65 and over, is linked to increased brain infections, cognitive impairment, and dementia. It’s also been linked to psychosis and autism. Researchers discovered that Vitamin D protects the brain by clearing away amyloid plaques that lead to AD.6 And Vitamin D increases serotonin levels, improving focus, attention, and executive functions.
Studies also show that Vitamin D regulates the release of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). This molecule is essential for the survival of areas that service: long-term memory, special processing, navigation, emotions, impulse control, problem-solving, social interaction, and motor functions. That means a Vitamin D deficiency can cause anxiety, depression, and poor memory.7
The Sun’s UVB rays are responsible for triggering Vitamin D formation. But UVA rays stimulate Nitric Oxide that lowers blood pressure, also crucial for brain health.8
Blue Light & Sleep Loss
Before the invention of the lightbulb, we rose and slept with the Sun, as Nature intended. Fast-forward to the 21st century, and we’ve got bright lights available 24-7. And spending hours on end under LED bulbs and in front of cellphones, TVs, and other e-screens, bombard us with blue light. We associate light with being able to see, but blue light can affect the brain. Recent research demonstrates that the wavelength, duration, and intensity of blue light affect cognition and behavior.9
Blue light exposure before bedtime blocks the release of Melatonin and sleep. A disruption of the circadian rhythm imbalances other hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin, which regulate mood and emotional well-being. This sleep loss leads to mood disorders and depression. And it negatively affects nerve signaling and the brain’s ability to adapt (neuroplasticity).
Sleep is when your brain cleans house. That’s when it removes all the cellular waste, repairs DNA, replenishes the mitochondrial energy factories, and more. And it’s why a bad night’s sleep causes a foggy brain the next day. In addition, chronic sleep loss triggers brain inflammation and can lead to type 2 diabetes. Alzheimer’s disease is also known as type 3 diabetes.
9 Steps to Boost Brain Resilience - Naturally
CRYOTHERAPY: Jumping from a hot sauna/bath into an ice-cold shower/bathtub or wearing your skivvies on the terrace in winter is highly beneficial to your brain and longevity. This process activates ancient thermoregulatory systems. It destroys harmful senescent cells (zombie cells) that lead to rapid aging and disease, such as osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s.10 It clears a foggy brain, reduces pain, increases mental acuity, and boosts your mood.
AIR QUALITY: About 52% of Americans live in polluted cities with poor air quality. Research shows that fine airborne particles smaller than 2.5 μm can penetrate your bloodstream through your lungs and pierce your Blood Brain Barrier (BBB). Studies show it increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 10-24%.11 Indoor air quality might be just as bad, so consider a quality air filter for your home and office. Perfumes, colognes, and air fresheners are also brain toxins – you can swap these for essential oils instead, which have multiple health benefits.
ALUMINUM: Foil paper, antacids, and shampoos all contain aluminum, which is harmful to the brain. Aluminum alters and compromises the BBB’s function, integrity, and physiology. It “opens the gates,” allowing more “bad stuff” access to sensitive tissues.
This can alter the levels of nutrients, hormones, toxins, and medications that can impair central nervous system functions throughout the body.12 This image shows how aluminum (orange) promotes amyloid plaques (bright green) formation.13 So, slip some parchment paper between aluminum foil and your food to prevent contamination. And swap out synthetic chemical-laced personal care products for safer plant-based options.
GETTING BACK TO NATURE: Scientists have found that reconnecting back with Nature has a profound impact on the brain and behavior, reducing anxiety, brooding, and stress. It increases your attention capacity, creativity, and your ability to connect with people.
So, get outdoors and hike through woods or walk barefoot on the grass, enjoy park picnics, and spending time in the fresh air. Communing with Nature resets your body to something we’ve lost living in this modern world.
SUNSHINE: Get at least 30 minutes of bright sunlight first thing in the morning to anchor your sleep clock. This helps establish a proper sleep cycle, enhancing your sleep that night. In addition, regular outdoor exposure of about half an hour of sunshine between 10 am and 2 pm a few times per week helps you sustain optimal levels of Vitamin D. People living in Northern climes or people with darker skin may need a little more.14 Another option is a quality Vitamin D3 supplement. The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommends about 600 IU (15 mcg) for ages 1-70. And for over age 70, 800 IU (20 mcg). However, people with absorption issues, medical conditions, and digestive issues may require more.
MAGNESIUM: Magnesium is a cofactor for all the enzymes that convert Vitamin D to its active form. It’s necessary for DNA repair and ATP energy production. It alleviates migraines, constipation, anxiety, and insomnia. So, make sure you also get a daily intake of about 420 mg for men and 320 mg for women over age 30. It’s best to consult your health provider for your specific needs if you have a medical condition.
STOP EATING 3 Hrs BEFORE BED: Late dinners or munching on a snack before bed disrupts brain functions. Studies show this severely disrupts your sleep-wake cycle and generates physical changes in the hippocampus involved in learning and memory.15
It also disrupts energy and hunger metabolism, promoting weight gain, which is another trigger for inflammation, including in the brain. And eating late at night makes you hungrier the following day by increasing ghrelin, the hunger hormone. And it reduces good leptin, which regulates energy, reduces hunger, and has anti-inflammatory properties.
REDUCE/ELIMINATE ULTRA-PROCESSED FOODS: Processed foods are packed with artificial preservatives, artificial colors, artificial flavors, GMOs, and more. Your liver must detoxify all these toxins. As you get older, this continual exposure overwhelms your liver, and it can’t complete its duties, so these toxins end up stored in your fat.
That means these toxins are clogging your metabolism, making you fat, and feeling lousy. And that triggers inflammation.
Processed foods are also stuffed with sugars and refined carbs, which are significant drivers of brain inflammation. They do this in 2 ways, including negatively affecting growth hormones to create new cells. And by disrupting the way the brain conducts its housekeeping duties because of an interaction with Insulin Degrading Enzyme (IDE) that breaks down the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
EXERCISE: Adding muscle (resistance training) provides an outlet for utilizing excess starch, glucose, and energy. It also promotes a neurochemical called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), nicknamed by experts as Miracle Grow for the brain. It helps proliferate dendritic cells and increases the connections between cells.
Aerobic workouts promote the growth of the memory center hippocampus. The most effective exercise is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which requires a fraction of the time for comparable benefits to other workouts.
THE BOTTOM LINE: By eating a rainbow of colorful veggies and fruit, lean protein, including fatty fish, and making these lifestyle changes will go a long way to promoting a resilient brain with a steel-trap memory for life!