Today I want to talk a little about Alzheimer's. I'm not a doctor or highly medically trained but I do have an understanding of the disease and also a good understanding of functional anatomy along with how nutrition effects different parts of our bodies. Couple that with a lot of research and I'm confident there's more we can do to prevent this disease and I want to share that with you.
So Alzheimer's is a degenerative brain disease that is the main cause of dementia on the UK. It's caused by 'protein plaques' in the brain that are caused by / cause cell death. This cell death is related to loss of memory, mood swings, lack of confidence and withdrawal. Eventually the degeneration becomes so severe the person suffering can die from the disease. Some risk factors that would be used to see if you're at a higher risk of getting the disease are obesity and diabetes, along with genetics - does it 'run in your family'? There's also currently no drug that can prevent or cure the disease, despite billions of £'s that have been spent on research.
But, don't worry too much as there may be ways to prevent the diseas that don't rely on the pharmaceutical companies. What's more, it ties in with lots of my previouss advice that helps prevent other diseases and generally increases your health and fitness.
Firstly, increases sugar intake has been shown to have an impact on the onset of Alzheimer's. Increased sugar levels damage the linings of your arteries (hence links to heart disease) and your brain relies in a good blood supply to function properly. As the increased sugar levels over a lifetime does so much damage the brain cells start to die in greater numbers, increasing the levels of protein released in the brain leading to more plaque development. Reduce your sugar levels and it will reduce your diabetes and obesity risk, and therefore reduce risk of Alzheimer's.
Next, fat levels in your diet. I hope by now you've read enough articles from me to know (or at least have an idea) that fat in your diet isn't bad. It's actually vital to proper function of your body. Without going into huge detail one of the key jobs of fat is within something called the 'myelin sheath' that surrounds our nerves. This sheath acts as the plastic insulation around the outside of electrical wires, ensuring the signals get from one end to the other without disruption. Low fat diets lead to reduced fat available to protect your nerves and can lead to their death and improper function.
Finally, exercise has been shown to help improve Alzheimer's risk. The thought is here that the increased activity improves many aspects of your health and fitness - heart and lung function, metabolic function and brain cell / nerve function. All of these added together will lead to increase brain health and therefore reduction in Alzheimer's risk.
So there you have it. Help live longer with a healthy Brian by doing exactly the same things you'd do to prevent heart disease, diabetes, obesity and many other diseases. Reduce sugar, eat natural fats and get exercise. Simple as that. The key is caring enough about your future to actually do it.