6 Studies That Indicate Alzheimer's Might Be an Infectious Disease
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Is Alzheimer’s an Infectious Disease?


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The incidence of Alzheimer’s disease is rising sharply, but our understanding of this devastating condition remains incomplete. In an effort to develop more effective treatments, researchers have begun to explore new theories of what causes Alzheimer’s. One of the latest and most promising of these is that Alzheimer’s is an infectious disease, caused by pathogenic microbes like fungi, bacteria, and viruses.

Is Alzheimer's contagious?
Alzheimer's disease has become so prevalent that it begs the question: Is Alzheimer's infectious? iStock.com/PeopleImages

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a crippling, chronic, and progressive neurodegenerative disease that is conventionally understood to be irreversible. It is characterized by memory loss, dementia, cognitive impairment, and the presence of amyloid plaques in the brain (1, 2).  Approximately 5.1 million people over the age of 65 in the United States are diagnosed with AD, along with another 200,000 under age 65. This estimate is predicted to increase by 10 million in the next 35 years (3).

In addition to those diagnosed, this disease changes the lives of more than 15 million family members and caregivers. Today, the estimated annual out-of-pocket expense plus the value of the approximately 18.1 billion volunteer caregiver hours approaches a staggering $440 billion (4). Unless there are advances in the cause and treatment of AD by the year 2050, that number will approach $1 trillion. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reports that AD is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States (4, 5). James et al. (2014) suggest that AD-related deaths are underreported and estimate that it is actually the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer (6).

The History of Alzheimer’s Research

Alzheimer’s disease was first characterized and diagnosed over 100 years ago (7). Since that time, ideas on the pathology and treatment of AD have shifted from a focus on amyloid plaques in the brain as the cause (8), to misfolded tau proteins (9), to focus on the genetic heritability of the disease, to epigenetic influences (10, 11), to inflammation as a primary culprit (2), to medication-induced mitochondrial dysfunction (12), and to metabolically influenced mechanisms (13, 14, 15).

The breadth of Alzheimer’s research speaks to how elusive this disease really is. Despite the uncertainty of specific causal mechanisms, there are currently five prescription drugs that are used to combat the symptoms of AD. The last drug approved to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease was brought on the market in 2003.

Over the decade spanning 2002 to 2012, there were 413 AD drug trials performed; nearly four out of five of those clinical trials were sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. Trials were designed to test cognitive improvement, particular disease-modifying small molecules, and immunotherapies.

The overall success rate over that period of time was measured to be 0.4 percent (99.6 percent failure) (1).

Recently, a group of 33 Alzheimer’s researchers joined forces to raise awareness about a neglected piece of the Alzheimer’s puzzle: the correlation between the manifestation of this disease and the microbial world (16).

What If Alzheimer’s Is an Infectious Disease?

An infectious disease is one that is caused by a pathogenic microbe and may be spread directly or indirectly (17). Infectious disease rates have plummeted over the course of the past century due to advances in sanitation, vaccination, and treatment (18). Historically, once a disease is identified to be infectious in origin, treatment and prevention protocols have been successful.

The idea that Alzheimer’s disease may be an infectious disease is supported by a number of observations. There have been many correlations between common infectious and immune-challenging agents and the diagnosis of AD (16).

Could Alzheimer’s be an infectious disease? Some research says yes.

“Seeding” Alzheimer’s disease in mice. Researchers have successfully created senile plaques associated with AD by infusing dilute fluid from the neocortex of Alzheimer’s patients into mice (19). These results highlight a key pathogenesis for neurodegenerative disease in mice and open up avenues for research in human subjects.

Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. A link between type 2 diabetes and AD has been suggested as both diseases present with local inflammation and amyloidosis (misfolded proteins) and are both associated with the presence of a common microbial community that includes Chlamydophyla pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, and spirochetes (20).

Periodontitis and Alzheimer’s disease. There is a correlation between the diagnosis of AD and periodontitis (21). Researchers hypothesize that the microbes living in dental plaque biofilm invade the brain via the bloodstream or peripheral nerves and promote inflammation of the central nervous system, which is known to be associated with cognitive decline (21, 22, 23).

Herpes simplex virus 1 and Alzheimer’s disease. Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1) is quite common in the general population; roughly 70 percent of people over the age of 50 have been exposed to it. HSV1 was first proposed to be associated with AD nearly 35 years ago (24). This hypothesis was made plausible when researchers discovered a technique to test for the HSV1 virus in the human brain (25). After adjusting for known risk factors (age, education, APOE status) Letenneur et al. (2008) discovered a significant correlation between patients with primary or reactivated HSV1 (as measured by immunoglobulin M) and AD diagnosis (26, 27).

Atherosclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. Atherosclerosis has been compared to AD because both diseases present with inflammation; are associated with viral and bacterial infection, including HSV1 and Chlamydophila; and are characterized by plaque formation. Researchers hypothesize that both are caused by a chronic immune challenge (infection) that induces cholesterol 25-hydroxylase expression (plaque) to protect the body locally against infectious agents (28).

Biotoxins and Alzheimer’s disease. A connection has been made between biotoxin exposure and a distinctive type of AD that affects younger people that is characterized by some combination of stroke-like speech impairment, partial Gerstmann’s syndrome, impaired ability to read, inability to interpret visual information, or impaired motor skills. This AD-type is “cortical” (14) and has now been reported in the literature as “inhalational Alzheimer’s disease” (IAD), a manifestation of chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS) resulting from biotoxin exposure (29, 30).

If AD Is Infectious, What Can You Do?

Given the vast physical, mental, emotional, and financial burden that Alzheimer’s disease places on us, there is a dire need to be proactive. If the pathogenesis of AD includes an overlooked infectious component, there are many things that you can do starting today to decrease your odds of “contracting” this neurodegenerative disease.

It is not inaccurate to say that “health” is the best way to fight infection, but more specifically, a thriving, functioning immune system and a mindful perspective (31). An immune system under constant stress will slowly and steadily begin to malfunction over time, making our bodies more permissible to strange and pathogenic ecosystems (32, 33).

The best way to support your immune system and overall health is to provide your body with the information that it needs to operate and to make sure that the information delivered is in fact received. The receipt of this information is influenced by your overall gut health (34). Once gut health is considered, the required information from your environment comes from:

  • Nutrient-dense, whole foods. Hyper-concentrated food products (sugar, flour, processed seed oils) containing preservatives and artificial ingredients crowd out nutrients that only come from whole foods.
  • Quality sleep. Reconnecting with your natural circadian rhythms to facilitate growth, repair, and cellular cleanup in your body is incredibly important immune support. (35)
  • Natural and functional movement. Frequent, low-intensity natural movement distributed throughout the day supports a dense vascular network that assists in the delivery of nutrients to your cells and the removal of waste from them. (36)
  • The sun and spending time in natural environments. Vitamin D synthesis from exposure to the sun is an important part of overall health. Spending time in natural environments is not only nutritious but can expose you to immune-supportive microbial communities and relieve you of chronic stressors that are present in indoor environments. (37)
  • Support from your community. There is a large body of evidence illustrating the importance of feeling socially connected for your overall health. Lack of connectedness and support decreases your immune function. (38)
  • Happiness and a sense of purpose. Immune stressors come in all forms, and emotional stressors play a large role. Your mindset influences the amount of perceived stress you have, which can have a profound influence on your immune health. (39, 40).
An “infectious disease” does not only manifest as an acute sickness; it may also manifest from chronic, progressive, and cumulative insults to the immune system over time.

Although I believe that Alzheimer’s (as well as most other modern diseases) is multifactorial and has several causes, the recognition that Alzheimer’s disease may be the result of a progressive, chronic infection may initiate new treatment options for this debilitating neurodegenerative disease.

  1. Alzheimer’s…. Many in my family have “died” with Alzheimer. The only one that was actually autopsied for it though, didn’t have it. My Grandmother had inflammation of the brain, which is a blaring vit b deficiency.

    There is now talk of calling Alzheimers the new diabetes type 3.

    Like in agriculture (I am a farmer and professional agronomist), there is cause and effect in disease in plants. I believe it is the same for plants, animals and humans.

    Many times the plant has to have nutritional conditions that are appropriate for “disease” to take hold. I believe this disease is the same way. High sugar lends itself to making the body have a higher propensity to this “disease”. The sterilization of the gut with glyphosate herbicide now found in everyone, leads to greater Helicobacter counts. Higher aluminum in the gut from food and non food sources also sterilizes the gut, reducing bifidus and acidophilis (the good biology that controls the bad biology). As well, greater aluminum concentrations in the system are no doubt part of the problem, only to be pushed to the extreme with the quantity of aluminum in vaccines, bread, toothpaste, salt (anti-caking agent in Morton salt for years….) etc.

    The spirochetes we know comes from root canals which are always infected, but why the root canal? I would bet on high sugar low calcium diets…. again nutrition.

    We must expect toxins from microbiology, yet, why is the microbiology present? Is it the cause or is it a result?

    In the field I explain plant disease to people in this way. If you are shot and killed and they find your body on the side of the road some months later, you will be found full of bacteria, fungus, insects, etc… but what killed you? It was a bullet.

    I believe the rising incidence has a lot to do with one of the additives in vaccines that block the body from making vit D. I believe there is a major lack of calcium and silica in the diet along with zinc, magnesium, manganese, copper and selenium. Probably even more than we know. I am sure that if we injected a rat with a fungus or bacteria growing on dead cells, that rat would probably come down with a lot symptoms that come along with that biology, correct?

    I beg for the funding of more in depth research that tries to look for a cause related to nutrition. We are what we eat.

    • I was also a believer of “you are what you eat” but that is old school. Today we know that “you are what you absorb”. This is fundamentally different, since your gut may be inflamed and not able to absorb wonderful nutrients and you skin and lungs may absorb unwanted toxins.

      If you look at the 36-point Alzheimer reversal program of Dr Dale Bredesen which he has used to reverse Alzheimer in 9 out of 10 persons, you may conclude that the disease is multifactorial: i.e. many factors contribute to it and you need to ‘fix’ many factors to reverse Alzheimer.

  2. Those who are aware of having a destroyed gut microflora which affects the overall health and also the brain, would be helped by an old remedy which is gaining popularity in our time, namely the so called “fecal matter transplant, FMT”. Medical doctors are not allowed to administer it b/c it is currently under revision as a health treatment. It is allowed only for one disease. But we humans are inventive so there are of course ppl who have figured out how to do it at home, with the help from family or friend donors. Google DIY FMT and look for the link motherboard.

  3. According to health and food information from the website of Institute for Responsible Technology, also info from MIT researcher Dr Stephanie Seneff, PhD, a few medical doctors and other in the food and health industries, herbicides and pesticides in large scale agriculture, specifically the toxic herbicide Roundup/Glyphosate, which is in 80% of food in the grocery store and in our urine, even in breast milk, is causing cancer, birth defects, infertility, autism, diabetes, Alzheimer’s Parkinson and a long list of other health problems b/c it destroys our gut microbiome and affects the body on the cellular level. When the good bacteria in the gut, which is where our immune system begins, is destroyed by the herbicides and pesticides, the bad bacteria has more space to grow and cause havoc in our system, leading to various diseases, depending on the patient’s weakest link. Shopping organic is a prerequisite for health and so is cooking from scratch at home, avoiding industrial frozen, canned and dried foods, including cereals, and also cutting out grains/gluten and pulses and nuts which all have inhibitory effect on absorption of minerals and enzymes, leaving the person deficient in nutrients needed for hundreds of chemical reactions going on in the body on a daily basis. Medical cannabis heals many health problems and slows down Alzheimer’s. Vaccines contain heavy metals such as mercury and aluminum, also formaldehyde and MSG which all destroy the brain. Info can be found by googling Mike Adams the Health Ranger, on his website. Dr Mercola, M.D., also has all this info on his website. The Cleveland Clinic treats the whole patient, not only one disease symptom, also looking at diet and other life style factors contributing to disease. The movement is growing. Naturopathic doctors and chiropractors have been educating themselves about diet for a long time and have the knowledge necessary to treat all of a patient’s problems, and now other/traditional doctors who have t-w-o hours education in nutrition are opening their eyes to the possibility that maybe Big Pharma meds with side effects are not helping and diet is, and medical cannabis is. I have totally lost confidence in regular doctors, I don’t have a doctor anymore. Only a doctor with a holistic perspective can earn my respect. I am a retired nutritionist.

  4. It appears that there may exist more than one cause for the disease picture of Alzheimer…..as is the case with many other disorders.

    Viruses and bacteria are sequestered where ever heavy metals and non heavy metals are in the body. IF aluminum can cross the blood brain barrier that creates another hospitable environment to thrive.

    Therefore, my thought is to take a hard look at the overall mineral, trace mineral, and amino acid balance through urine analysis along with methylation and that may provide some insight in to the biochemical deficits and needed supports to facilitate a natural detoxification over a length of time.

    Additional organic life style, and avoidance of toxic chemicals in the environment are the best bet for all of us.

  5. It was reported in this morning’s news that Kris Kristofferson had been “misdiagnosed” with Alzheimer’s for some time, and that his doctor’s have discovered it was Lyme disease instead. When the Lyme disease was treated conventionally, the “Alzheimer’s” symptoms disappeared, and Kris is back to his old self.

    • Yes, and that was after YEARS of taking medicines with bad side effects. It’s too bad that more exploration into the cause of his symptoms wasn’t done earlier. To me, it is another example of modern medicine, which is (not always, but so often) to look for the first possible diagnoses, prescribe meds, and move on to the next patient.

  6. There are interesting points being made, but I feel like many people are missing the main point: Whatever triggers or causes Alzheimer’s, there are practical things everyone can do immediately to greatly reduce their chances of coming down with it. These include regular exercise; taking vitamin D; forever ditching the low fat, high carb diet that causes so many brain disorders; eating a ketogenic diet; taking lots and lots of coconut oil and MCT oil; taking fish and/or krill oil; taking phosophatidyl serine; taking sublingual B12. Oh, and avoiding garbage foods like tofu that have been shown to correlate with the incidence of Alzheimer’s. These have been shown in study after study to have protective effects. Things like “thinking happy thoughts” or “eating a natural diet” may be good first steps, but they are NOT enough. Many people who try to just “eat natural and stay positive” succumb to Alzheimer’s and dementia. The point is that there are SPECIFIC foods and supplements that, if taken regularly, should protect you for the duration of your life.

    • The idea that tofu is garbage food is not making it a cause of Alzheimers. It is eaten a lot by vegetarians who are chronically nutritionally impaired and lack B12, so the cause of the correlation is most likely the vegetarian factor.
      I had a tofu factory and had been vegetarian for nearly thirty years. I, at 47, could not recall what I was talking about from one end of a sentence to the other. My angel asked me how senile did I really want to be and insisted I get back to eating meat. At 64 I have a far better functioning mind than I did at 47.
      One line of inquiry into Alzheimers treatment is largely focused on high doses of B12 and that has been effective in a number of cases. I was surprised not to see that mentioned.
      Would lysine help for the herpes related causes?

    • Nils, you can’t take Vit D sups you will build up unhealthy levels of calcium in the blood stream , as study’s have shown . You can’t take fat soluble Vit [ A, D, E, ] for they are not excreted” daily” like the water soluble B , C .

      And the body’s main source of fuel is carbs a” scientific” fact . A high protein 1] leeches calcium from the bones 2] is hard on the kidneys 3] makes the blood Ph acidic which is the definition of Ketosis which you do not want .

      Ketosis is terrible, it’s what you want to avoid don’t believe anything you hear today, there is no truth out there, as a great prophet of God predicted long ago for our modern time Isa 59 : 15 [Niv] bible

      • I take vitamin D3 supplements, I have never heard that this is bad and causes calcium to build in blood? Is this true?

        • Jules, if you supplement with vitamin D or if you make loads you will absorb more calcium. Vitamin D ensures we grab on to every bit of calcium. We evolved in the oceans = plenty of magnesium around but competition for calcium hence the development of the synergy between Vit D and calcium. Which with today’s diet tends to leave us deficient in magnesium and far too much calcium. Vitamin K2 (not 1!) activates the enzymatic process that guides calcium into teeth and bones where it should be. Without this activation calcium will tend to take the easier path and gravitate into soft tissue and muscle where it should not be (remember the heart is a muscle, also, heard of hardening of the arteries? not good) We need high vitamin D status for good health (certainly from the sun) and we should all be taking vitamin K2 to be sure we are getting enough. The low fat diet in populations for years has made us all deficient in K2. But if you supplement with D then you have to take vit K2. Vitamin K2 is made by bacteria during the fermentation process and is found most highly in Japanese Natto. It is also found in moderate amounts in hard fat cheeses dependant on what specific bacteria they have used – the best cheese to include in your diet to obtain K2 is Unpasteurised Brie. But unless you eat natto, you need to supplement. K2 can also remove past build up of calcium from tissue and muscle. K2 is a fat soluble vitamin and so you should take with a meal/ snack containing fat. I think Chris has done an article on this but see Kate Rheaume Bleue’s book: Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox (how a little known vitamin could save your life)
          It would be interesting if Chris had a view on whether our gut bacteria if in balance and fed the right foods actually make some vitamin K2 for us. Or is it that we used to have such a surplus of K1 from eating so many vegetables, that we had plentiful K1 to convert to K2? (the body will always prioritise K1 function to keep us alive)

      • The protein stuff is bogus bogus…actually, animal proteins build up strong bones.
        if we want to talk about science and evidence this is the right place, religions are elsewhere

  7. Hasn’t it just been reported that in experiments on mice that it has been presumed now that plaques found in the brain are formed to protect the brain?

    • That hypothesis or theory has been around for a while now, but it would be to protect the brain from various “insults” including infection(s), endotoxin (LPS), etc.

      • I believe the original poster is referencing the recent Science Translational Medicine article by Kumar et al. titled “Amyloid-β peptide protects against microbial infection in mouse and worm models of Alzheimer’s disease”.

  8. Please read Woodrow Monte’s superb book, While Science Sleeps. He makes a compelling case that the root cause for Alzheimer’s is methyl alcohol toxicity. So any infectious contribution would be downstream from that, following loss of integrity of the endothelial cell layer. Methyl alcohol toxicity is also the primary driver for atherosclerosis, another downstream result of endothelial cell damage.

    So the number one suggestion for preventing dementia and atherosclerosis would be to eliminate methyl alcohol toxicity.

  9. Hi,
    I’d love to share your articles on pinterest but I always get errors because there is no image to share. I’m mentioning it in the hope that someone on your web support team can figure it out. 🙂

  10. This post is an extremely important one to consider by all who are concerned about Alzheimer’s. However, none of the studies really looked at a possible toxin as the ultimate cause, other than the “biotoxins” (all mycotoxins, produced by fungi). I mean “ultimate” in that all microbes are attracted to a particular chemical habitat. Fungi are particularly attracted to chemically damaged habitats and are thus used as bioremediators. None of the studies presented, especially the ones where the CSF was injected into mouse brains and found to induce amyloid plaques, had the brains/fluids even chemically examined. These studies produced uneven results from injecting diseased brain effusions, with some mice developing plaques and some not. A close inspection of spectrograms might have revealed the chemical pattern of “successful” injections. The fact that viruses and bacteria can cross the periodontal ligament “barrier” between inside the oral cavity to inside the body should have enlightened the researchers to a possibility that inorganic toxins could easily be “inhaled,” or swallowed, making it into the interior of the body via the gingiva, without ever having to cross an epithelium. Furthermore, the brain’s interstitial fluids (CSF) should have been compared chemically with the hypodermal fluids in the same person. It might have helped to produce a clear toxin cause of Alzheimer’s that is a lot more accessible than examining a person’s CSF.

  11. I’m curious how “high homocystine levels” in the blood, which are an indication of inflammation and can be genetic, affects memory loss/dementia?

    My GP tested me for this (via blood work) and suggested I take Folate & B12 to holds it in check. I do and have kept it in the normal rage for many years.
    My mother also had this, and so did my sister who lived in Europe, where they don’t pay much attention to this. BOTH had progressive mental decline…and in the meantime have died.

    • My doctor refused to test me for homocystine levels because she said that I had borderline high B12 levels and wouldn’t need to take a supplement.

      • When I was tested, I had a high homocysteine level and a very high B12 level at the same time. My doctor did not know what to do. But after reading about the anti-inflammation properties of turmeric, I started taking it and my homocysteine level came down to normal.

        • Thanks for your reply, that’s very interesting. Could you tell me how much and how often you took turmeric please? Did you take it as a supplement? And how long did you take it before your homocysteine leves came down? I have read that Circumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and wonder if that is preferable as a supplement.

          • I would say I took at least 5 days a week for several months you can do the calculations yourself following my results below
            1/8/2014 Homo level was 15.1 ; 9/23/2014 it was 16.2. After that and when I found out my doctor was not helping me in anyway, I started taking turmeric, I took the powder form and on 7/28/2015 it was 8.3 and on 2/9/2016 it was 8.0 and my doctor said it should be below 7. I changed to a ND in 2016 and she is the one who told me that it should be below 7. The previous doctor did not say anything or ask me what I did after he saw that the result in 7/28/2015.

            I did that research as part of my research for my holistic health coaching. If you want to know more about it let me know. Send me and e-mail to get to you.

        • Can you tell me how high your level of homocysteine was please Phylo? Just wondered what your doctor considered high. I take curcumin, wondered if I ought to be more vigilant in taking

      • If B 12 is high in the blood, it means it’s not in the organs where it needs to be. Docs miss this fact. also, need lithium oratate to metabolize it.

      • Jan, high B12 levels means you are high in the inactive form and unable to convert it to the active form, which translates into a deficiency. You need to avoid enriched cereals and supplements containing cyanocobalamin (inactive B12) since they prevent you from getting the active form, and supplement with methylcobalamin (active B12.) B12 is like VitaminC – you can’t overdose. Testing high means you have a problem converting. You may have a similar problem with Folate conversion. God bless!

        • Thanks Joj

          From what you say maybe the reason why I tested quite high for B12 is because I had been taking a B complex tablet containing cyanocobalamin, which is probably the form put in cheaper formulations perhaps (it is not specified on the labels which form it is). If I haven’t been absorbing it that would account for this higher reading.
          I have subsequently stopped taking anything with B12 because my doctor said she wouldn’t like to see my levels go any higher. However, from what you say then I would be fine to take the active form of B12, methylcobalamin and this could very well help me, especially since you say it is difficult to overdose on it.
          Thanks for the information, I will look into it.
          It does seem to be important to think about the form you take something in. I used to take Magnesium Oxide until I discovered that Magnesium Citrate was far better absorbed, also that magnesium oil was absorbed better through the skin as well.

    • Homocysteine at the cellular level damages endothelial cells by decreasing Nitric Oxide bioavailability and increasing oxidative damage: a leading cause of heart disease, Alzheimers, Vascular Dementia and Stroke. N.O. a powerful anticoagulent. Healthy endothelial cells produce lots of NO. Stressed and damaged cells do not, leading to narrower and constricted arteries and the blood within them more likely to clot. NO relaxes smooth muscle in artery walls, opens up surrounding artery. NO appears to increase endothelial progenitor cells made in the bone marrow which form the repair of injury to endothelial site and breakdown of clots. If this functional process is compromised, as in a variable heart beat strength – small eddies of blood collect and form clots. The small clots break off from the Atria, travel into the brain and get jammed. B12 converts Homocysteine back into methionine. High Homocysteine levels are indicative of heart disease and potential stroke and will also be a far better indicator of true active B12 status in the cell as serum B12 can be affected by variables such as folate. Normal low lab ranges of B12 are not satisfactory even though within range. Japanese levels of 550 are considered minimum normal. Try explaining this to your doctor. For further information google Dr Malcolm Kendrick – blog – The true cause of heart disease

  12. My mother had Alzheimer’s, so did 3 of her sisters. 2 sisters haven’t got it. Her mother (my grandmother) didn’t have it. My other grandmother did have it although my father didn’t. So the inheritance factor is not straight forward. Just why did she and so many of her sisters have it and why did others not get it.
    My mother exercised a lot, walked miles every day. She lived in Spain for many years and sunbathed so lots of vitamin D. She ate fish regularly. She liked puzzles like Scrabble and wrote poetry. None of her sisters followed any particular diet and the ones who didn’t get it are now in their 90s, her mother lived to be 99 without Alzheimer’s.
    This is a truly complex disease and who gets it and who doesn’t seems a bit random.
    Does anybody think that stress and worrying predispose you to it? I know that the older I get the more I wonder about it (I’m 69 and fine at the moment but my mother displayed the first signs at about age 74).

    • Hi Jan, I like your post and agree that there are no guarantees. And your point is well taken that someone can appear to do most things “right” but still get Alzheimer’s.

      But in terms of the specific factors you mentioned, eating fish regularly could actually be problematic, unless the person is taking supplemental selenomethionine, to protect against mercury. (Taking fish oil, which has had the mercury removed, is a better choice)

      Getting enough sun to get vitamin D is great, but relies on the body’s ability to create vitamin D from sunlight, which stops working as we age, meaning it’s time to start taking vitamin D supplements. (Side note: if the person showers right after being out in the sun, they wash off the oils that help in the conversion, and no vitamin D is absorbed.)

      And what you avoid is just as important as what you eat. If someone eats lots of fruit, which is high in fructose, and any sugar at all, they are preventing ketosis, and may be more likely to get Alzheimers and dementia. The brain thrives on ketone bodies in circumstances in which it has stopped being able to utilize glucose – which some researchers think is the essence of Alzheimer’s.

      So let’s say someone does many things right: They take fish oil, and eat only fish which is low in mercury. They exercise. They get sun. They don’t bathe for 24 hours after getting sun, helping with vitamin D conversion. They take a little supplemental vitamin D just in case. They also take sublingual B12, because the body stops being able to absorb it as they age. They take coconut oil and MCT oil to provide the brain with lots of ketones. AND they avoid fructose and other sugars. I’d say their odds of getting Alzheimer’s will be greatly reduced.

      The point being, life isn’t fair, and doing 9 out of 10 things “right” doesn’t always work. Sometimes you have to do 10 out of 10, if you can figure out what the 10 are.

      • Thanks for taking the time to reply Nils, your post is very helpful and encouraging. Try to reduce the risk, it will take effort (and money) but if you don’t get Alzheimers then it will have been worth it and if you weren’t going to get it anyway then you’ll be a lot healthier in various other ways. Life is complicated, but I certainly feel better taking a proactive approach than just waiting and wondering.

  13. Keep your mind active. Avoid stressful situation. When you are stress, that is when your brain plays up.

    • Thank you for the link Marcus, the article looks to be very interesting and I shall read it in depth

    • Yes, thank you for a sharable link to the entire study. I’ve read it three times since its publication and am following many of the methods used with the 10 study participants. It’s potentially life changing.

    • Dr. Bredesen will be a guest on my podcast in a week, and the interview will be live in July some time.

      • Excellent recommendations in this article; this was the patients’ regimen: “As noted above, and following an extended discussion of the components of the therapeutic program, the patient began on some but not all of the system: (1) she eliminated all simple carbohydrates, leading to a weight loss of 20 pounds; (2) she eliminated gluten and processed food from her diet, and increased vegetables, fruits, and non-farmed fish; (3) in order to reduce stress, she began yoga, and ultimately became a yoga instructor; (4) as a second measure to reduce the stress of her job, she began to meditate for 20 minutes twice per day; [5] she took melatonin 0.5mg po qhs; (6) she increased her sleep from 4-5 hours per night to 7-8 hours per night; (7) she took methylcobalamin 1mg each day; (8) she took vitamin D3 2000IU each day; (9) she took fish oil 2000mg each day; (10) she took CoQ10 200mg each day; (11) she optimized her oral hygiene using an electric flosser and electric toothbrush; (12) following discussion with her primary care provider, she reinstated HRT (hormone replacement therapy) that had been discontinued following the WHI report in 2002; (13) she fasted for a minimum of 12 hours between dinner and breakfast, and for a minimum of three hours between dinner and bedtime; (14) she exercised for a minimum of 30 minutes, 4-6 days per week.”

  14. Acellular carbs, processed food and gluten triggers pathogen bacteria overgrowth associated with chronic inflammation and all the correlated diseases. They most likely enter into the bloodstream through leaky gut provoked by overexpression of zonuline, triggered by gliadin, bacteria overgrowth itself, etc.. when they enter into the bloodstream, they are free to wreak havoc everywhere in our body, no wonder if Alzhaimer is intimately connected to this stuff.

  15. Another suspect is fungus:
    Some of the identified strains are, perhaps not coincidentally, sugar metabolizers.

    Prophylactic advice would be the same, starting with optimizing microbiome (multiple distinct things need attention). If you’ve got a leaky gut, you’ve probably got a leaky blood-brain-barrier too.

    It’s also worth noting that for older people, it’s usually not possible to get a decent titer of Vitamin D from sunlight. So supplement.

  16. The medical and pharmaceutical research community focuses heavily upon investigating symptoms and trying to find ways to mitigate them and so considering an unknown infectious agent, in their minds, borders on foolish. Perhaps this is why this latest activity is almost a last resort. However once minds are opened up progress has a chance. In this case one thing to look at is the possibility that the infectious agent is normally present but kept under control by other agents, say in the biome or an immune system factor. This normal defense could become compromised by many lifestyle choices, diet for example. The advice in the column would be a good start if this were in fact what we are dealing with. This sort of thing is not new, one scientist researching bat colony devastation has discovered that the rampant fungus killing the bats is normally present in the bat’s environment but kept under control by a bacteria normally present in the bat. However in the case of a diseased bat this bacteria is missing from the bat’s biome indicating that this could be the cause. Healthy bats have the bacteria, sick ones don’t; a bit like removing the brakes form your car.

  17. This is an interesting article, but the list of things people can do to prevent Alzheimers and dementia is woefully incomplete. There are many more, and more specific things you can do to avoid getting Alzheimers.

    To protect your brain and mind for the rest of your life:

    1) Avoid grains. Keep carbs below 50 grams per day. Eat moderate protein. Get most of your calories from healthy fats.

    2) Do intermittent fasting. (At a minimum, skip breakfast, and limit yourself to no more than 8 hours a day during which it’s allowable to eat.)

    3) Eat a high quality ketogenic diet made up of paleo or primal (ancestral) foods.

    4) Eat lots of healthy saturated fats, including coconut oil and MCT oil and meat from grass-fed animals.

    5) Eat fish at least twice a week. Take high quality krill oil or fish oil.

    6) STOP eating sugar.

    7) Exercise regularly.

    8) Take PS (phosphatidylserine) and ubiquinol.

    9) Take a high quality sublingual B12 supplement every day. As we age, we stop being able to absorb B12 from food.

    10) Eat wild Pacific salmon (relatively free of contaminants) and eat sardines (extremely nutritious and low on the food chain).

    • re: 5) Eat fish at least twice a week. Take high quality krill oil or fish oil.

      If the target DHA+EPA intake is in the 2 to 6 grams/day range, Krill is a spectacularly uneconomic way to get it, unless you accept the claims of spectacularly high absorption for Krill (which I don’t). Stick with FO or actual fish.

      One of Chris’ references also strongly hints:
      11) Keep an eye on iron titers (perhaps via periodic ferritin testing).

      • Hi Bob, The product I have had the best results from is a supplement called “Enhanced Krill” put out by Doctor’s Best. It’s actually a combination of krill oil, anchovies, sardines and tuna. This makes it high in phospholipids (a main benefit of krill), but also high in EPA and DHA. It’s not just that the omega 3s in krill oil may possibly be better absorbed than those in fish oil; like you, I’m not convinced that this is true; but that phospholipids have additional benefits of their own, particularly for brain health and preventing dementia.

        • re: “Enhanced Krill” put out by Doctor’s Best.

          It’s an interesting formulation. The EPA:DHA ratio on that is an unusually low 1:4, which might be too low. On dose, to get to, say, 3200mg of DHA+EPA per day (which is what I take) would require 10 caps. ConsumerLab dot com has not tested this product (but that’s not uncommon).

          Because Krill is so low in DHA&EPA, I’m wondering if that product is actually mostly fish oil (which isn’t a problem, but doesn’t seem to be the impression that the package is trying to get across).

    • A high fat ketogenic diet fosters more insulin resistance.
      [Refs: Hancock, 2008; Jornayvaz, 2010; Lark, 2012]

      • Hi Carol,

        please see this article for a contrary opinion:


        From the article: “After the intervention, the 10 subjects experienced a mean energy intake decrease from 3111 kcal/day to 2164 kcal/day- representing a 30.4% decrease. This resulted in a weight-loss of 1.65 kg. More significantly, insulin sensitivity improved by approximately 75%- a dramatic increase. [5] Additionally, hemoglobin A1c levels decreased from 7.3% to 6.8%, mean triglyceride levels decreased by 35% and cholesterol decreased by 10%. [5]”

        In my own case, I’m extremely hypoglycemic (too much sugar, I even in the form of a fruit salad, can send me into insulin shock.) This condition has greatly improved since I went ketogenic. No plans to go back 🙂

        • Insulin triggers vary widely among individuals, and at different times in their lives, different diets, and following different lifestyles. I don’t think there’s one kind of diet that’s best for all, or for all persons with Alzheimers or at higher risk for Alzheimers. I think ketogenic diets are currently being overhyped, generally oversold, and are not suited to everyone.

          Weight loss by any method will tend to lower glucose, but there are exceptions, and also a point at which no more weight should be lost.

          While I’m a fan of intermittent fasting where all food is eaten within an 8 hour window (my preferred window being 10 am – 6 pm), here’s some food for thought from 2015 on how skipping breakfast increases postprandial glucose after lunch and dinner, and how eating breakfast can help normalize glucose over the day in diabetes 2:

          • Carol, I agree, eating breakfast shortly after waking improves blood glucose levels for the rest of the day. It’s worth trying.

            My experience has been that the low carb ketogenic diet is the diet of choice for most type 2’s, though as you pointed out, not for all. It works beautifully for me and I have severe insulin resistance. Last A1c was 5.4%, no medication.

            Do you have type 2 diabetes? If you do, why are you opposed to the low carb ketogenic diet?

    • My dad was diagnosed with alzheimers. His mom also had it. They were not careful about their diets. I, on the other hand am a personal trainer who has kept my diet clean for years, but have had no knowledge until recently that I had an auto-immune that set off a list of things I now have inherited. Learning through some testing I am doing the reversing the auto-immune diet for a year now. Also Detoxed a lot of mercury from my body and still have to get my fillings taken out. My body is not metabolizing histamines, vit. A, folic acid and B12 and I am now taking supplements to keep me healthy. Just recently I suffered a severe allergic reaction from Essential Oils and went through 4 months of healing. When this happened I broke out with a the Herpes Simplex virus. After reading this article, and if I keep my diet clean of carbs and sugars, will it be less of a chance for me to get AD?
      I had a bad case of the virus when my body stressed from the allergy. Imagine if I didn’t eat healthy and clean.