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Roadblocks to Brain Health

What to avoid in a dietary protocol for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is equally important as what to include. Avoid the following:

Processed foods. Processed foods present a four-pronged assault upon a brain suffering the ravages of the modern diet: they are usually high in refined carbohydrate, high in easily oxidized polyunsaturated oils, low in antioxidants, and low in vitamins and minerals.

Statin drugs. Cholesterol is an absolutely critical building block of the myelin sheath that insulates neurons and aids in the transmission of nerve impulses. The myelin sheath is what allows neurons to communicate with each other. The cholesterol-producing biochemical pathway, which is blocked by statins, also produces CoQ10, so statin drugs block production of the very substances required for brain cells to generate energy. By lowering internal synthesis of cholesterol, statins also reduce the cholesterol required by specialized proteins that transport glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. Malfunctioning of these transporters due to a lack of cholesterol could be a contributing factor in any condition related to glucose and insulin signaling, including AD. Any pharmaceutically induced disruption in internal synthesis of cholesterol—especially when combined with population-wide recommendations to limit dietary intake—would starve a struggling brain of this unquestionably necessary nutrient. In fact, high cholesterol levels later in life are associated with reduced risk of dementia; the cerebrospinal fluid of AD patients is lower in cholesterol than that of healthy controls. It should not surprise us that overly ambitious prescription of statin drugs and decades of recommendations to reduce consumption of cholesterol have paralleled the rise in AD.

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About Well Being Journal

This is our 25th anniversary year, and with our new January/February 2016 issue we present a seminal piece by Amy Berger, MS, NTP, that presents clear research showing how Alzheimer’s disease starts with consumption of too many sugars; this impairs glucose metabolism and leads to plaque in the brain. Next Katrina Blair extols the virtues of the edible “weed” purslane. Bruce Weinstein, PhD, in “Patience,” shows the remarkable benefits patience reaps. Mike Dow’s feature, “Digital Distraction & Mindfulness,” suggests that constant connection to digital devices has an overall deleterious impact, and he offers delicious mindfulness practices to help improve quality of life. Ann and Ross Rosen discuss the importance of moderate exercise in daily life, and Shannon McRae explains how energy medicine as nature’s assistant is much more powerful when the receiver’s intention is in alignment with that of the healer’s. Finally, Laura Coffey tells the story of a special nursing home companion, a loving golden retriever named Rocky, and his positive impact on the residents. We present all of this in our first issue of the year, and more than we can mention, including a plethora of scintillating research notes.