Now that you know what Alzheimer’s disease is and the different types, what are the basic things you can do now to help maintain your cognition and mental function? There are three major leverage points if you want to maintain cognitive health. The first thing is your diet. Your diet has to be clean and devoid of inflammatory foods, processed foods in toxic oils, processed oils, sugar, etc.
According to Dale Bredesen’s protocol, the best diet for this is a type of ketogenic diet that is almost like a paleo autoimmune/paleo ketogenic diet that also incorporates intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is a great way to improve ketone bodies, which is another way to give your brain nutrition, as well as decrease liver and gut inflammation. If you want some more details on this, please refer to Dr. Bredesen’s Ending Alzheimer’s book.
The next important thing is movement. Moving your body activates your brain. If you look at aging individuals or people who live to be older than 100, they’re actively moving outside – doing yard work, walking, etc. What tends to happen in the United States is as people get older, they like to sit around and watch TV, neglecting to engage their body.
The third thing is engaging your brain through cognitive work, such as learning a new language, doing guided imagery, meditating, participating in brain games, etc. These are things I recall my grandfather did, and he lived to be 101! He was always outside in his mid-80s and 90s doing yard work, as well as reading books. I remember he used to read the encyclopedia and dictionary. When you came over to our house, he was always using his brain. This is something that also differentiates Alzheimer’s patients. Patients that are more highly educated tend to get less severe forms of Alzheimer’s than those who are less educated.
So these are the top three things to focus on in preventing Alzheimer’s – your gut, your movement, and your brain activity. Some other things that are important, according to the Foundations of Functional Medicine, are sleep, stress reduction, and relationships. Having these things in the mix does a great job for maximizing your brain function and maintaining it.
If you want to get more nuanced and figure out what nutritional things you can do, seeing a practitioner that can do some basic testing can help guide things, but some basic nutritional recommendations include vitamin B, omega-3s, fish oil, vitamin D, probiotics, and some kind of fiber.
These basic things can help feed your gut, decrease inflammation and maintain basic nutrient status. If you want to get a little fancy, you can add in things like curcumin, which is a great anti-inflammatory. You can also add a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil or coconut oil, as well as vitamin E and digestive supports, if you have digestive issues.
Hopefully, this is a great starting point for wrapping your brain around what Alzheimers is and how you can start working on preventing it. If you want more information about this, please refer to our educational resources on our website and our blog posts. Even the books in our reading list can be very helpful to help guide you through.
Ultimately, if you or your loved ones are suffering with symptoms, getting with a practitioner who has been trained to Dr. Bredesen’s network can be very helpful. He even has set up certain resources, where they hold monthly town hall meetings so you can learn directly from him and his team about how to navigate the world of Alzheimer’s and maintain your cognitive health.
Since 2010, Richmond Integrative and Functional Medicine has been helping people to restore their health and hope with an integrative approach to conventional and alternative medicine that’s entirely science-backed. We at RIFM believe everyone is made for health. We offer a comprehensive, in-person patient membership program to ensure you get access to the care you need to thrive.
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