Two Exciting Alzheimer’s Advances: A Novel Early Detection Test Using Peanut Butter, and a Study Evaluating Coconut Oil


Story at-a-glance

  • At present, an estimated 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, this is expected to jump to 16 million, and in the next 20 years it is projected that Alzheimer’s will affect one in four Americans
  • The ability to smell is associated with the first cranial nerve and is often one of the first senses to be adversely affected by cognitive decline.
  • In patients with Alzheimer’s, the ability to smell peanut butter through the left nostril was found to be significantly impaired
  • Patients diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s have been enrolled in a clinical study—the first of its kind—to evaluate the effects of coconut oil versus placebo. Results are expected in about a year
  • Previous investigation suggests that ketone bodies, an alternative fuel for your brain that your body makes when digesting coconut oil, might offer profound healing benefits in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease

By Dr. Mercola

At present, some 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.1

By 2050, this is expected to jump to 16 million, and in the next 20 years it is projected that Alzheimer’s will affect one in four Americans, rivaling the current prevalence of obesity and diabetes.

Since treatments are few and rarely effective, early diagnosis and prevention become all the more important.

Interestingly, simple tools like a tablespoon of peanut butter and a ruler could potentially be used to confirm a diagnosis of the disease in its early stages. As reported by Medical News Today:2

“Jennifer Stamps, a graduate student in the University of Florida (UF) McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste, and her colleagues reported the findings of a small pilot study in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences.3

Stamps came up with the idea of using peanut butter to test for smell sensitivity while she was working with Dr. Kenneth Heilman, one of the world’s best known behavioral neurologists, from the UF College of Medicine’s department of neurology.

…The ability to smell is associated with the first cranial nerve and is often one of the first things to be affected in cognitive decline… She thought of peanut butter because, she said, it is a ‘pure odorant’ that is only detected by the olfactory nerve and is easy to access.”

The pilot study tested the ability to smell of 24 patients diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. To perform the test, the patient was asked to close their eyes and mouth, and hold one nostril closed while breathing normally through the other.

Using a ruler, the clinician measured the distance between the open nostril and the peanut butter, marking the distance at which the patient was able to detect the distinct odor. After a 90 second delay, the procedure was repeated with the other nostril.

They discovered that those diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s (which was done through other clinical testing) experienced a significant difference in their ability to detect the odor between the two nostrils. According to the featured report:

“[T]he left nostril was impaired and did not detect the smell until it was an average of 10 cm closer to the nose than the right nostril had made the detection in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

This was not the case in patients with other kinds of dementia; instead, these patients had either no differences in odor detection between nostrils or the right nostril was worse at detecting odor than the left one.”

Of course, it’s too early to tell whether this test might be reliable enough to become widely used. More research needs to be done. But according to Stamps, the test can be used to confirm a diagnosis. The team is planning to study patients with mild cognitive impairment next, to assess whether it might help predict a future diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.

Benefits of Coconut Oil Make Headlines Again

In related news, Florida researchers are also looking into whether coconut oil might be of benefit against Alzheimer’s. Three years ago, I published Dr. Mary Newport’s theory that ketone bodies, an alternative fuel for your brain that your body makes when digesting coconut oil, might offer profound benefits in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

At the time I said that, should her theory turn out to be accurate, it could be one of the greatest natural health discoveries in a long time. Now, Dr. Newport’s research is being used to launch one of the first clinical trials of its kind to test her theory. The research is being done at the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute.

Sixty-five patients diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s have been enrolled to evaluate the effects of coconut oil on the disease, compared to a placebo. Dr. Newport hopes to have the results within a year.

This issue strikes close to home for Dr. Newport, whose husband has been battling the disease for years. As reported by CTV News:4

“While there is currently no clinical data showing the benefits of coconut oil on the prevention and treatment of dementia, Newport — whose husband Steve was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 51 — said she began to see improvements after starting him on four teaspoons of coconut oil per day.

‘Before the coconut oil, he could not tie his shoes. His weird slow gait… That improved. He walked normally and he was able to start running again.

He was able to start reading again, his conversation improved dramatically and then over several months we saw improvements in his memory,’ Newport said. Prior to starting him on coconut oil, Newport said none of the existing medications were working.”

Coconut Oil Appears to Be an Ideal Brain Food

There are only two types of fuel your body can convert into energy: carbs/sugar, or fat. Again, ketones are what your body produces when it converts fat (as opposed to glucose) into energy. And a primary source of ketone bodies are the medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut oil. In fact, coconut oil contains about 66 percent MCTs.

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are fats that are not processed by your body in the same manner as long-chain triglycerides. Normally, a fat taken into your body must be mixed with bile released from your gallbladder before it can be broken down in your digestive system.

But medium-chain triglycerides go directly to your liver, which naturally converts the oil into ketones, bypassing the bile entirely. Your liver then immediately releases the ketones into your bloodstream where they are transported to your brain to be readily used as fuel.

While your brain is quite happy running on glucose, there’s evidence suggesting that ketone bodies may actually help restore and renew neurons and nerve function in your brain, even after damage has set in. Interestingly, the mechanism of this MCT-ketone metabolism appears to be that your body treats MCTs as a carbohydrate and not a fat.  This allows the ketone energy to hit your bloodstream without the normal insulin spike associated with carbohydrates entering your bloodstream. So in effect, coconut oil is a fat that acts like a carbohydrate when it comes to brain fuel.

How Much Coconut Oil Might You Need?

Therapeutic levels of MCTs have been studied at 20 grams per day. According to Dr. Newport’s calculations,5 just over two tablespoons of coconut oil (about 35 ml or seven level teaspoons) would supply you with the equivalent of 20 grams of MCT, which is indicated as either a preventative measure against degenerative neurological diseases, or as a treatment for an already established case.

While more research certainly needs to be done in this area as well, I see no reason not to incorporate coconut oil in your diet, or the diet of a loved one who is exhibiting symptoms of brain degeneration. Coconut oil has so many profound health benefits; it’s not going to do any harm.

It’s worth noting that people tolerate coconut oil differently, and you may have to start slowly and build up to these therapeutic levels. My recommendation is to start with one teaspoon, taken with food in the mornings. Gradually add more coconut oil every few days until you are able to tolerate about four tablespoons. It’s best to take it with food, to avoid upsetting your stomach.

Low-Fat Craze Has Likely Contributed to Dramatic Rise in Alzheimer’s

A number of seriously flawed nutritional guidelines have contributed to more than a few health problems in the US, and the low-fat craze (aimed at preventing heart disease) is toward the top of that list. Not only does avoiding healthful fat promote heart disease, it also promotes brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.

According to neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, fat avoidance and carbohydrate overconsumption are at the heart of the Alzheimer’s epidemic—which is an entirely preventable disease, driven by lifestyle factors such as diet. Dr. Perlmutter’s book, Grain Brain, provides a powerful argument for eliminating grains from your diet to protect your brain health. Another major factor is the development and increased consumption of genetically engineered (GE) grains, which are now pervasive in most processed foods sold in the US. Unfortunately, despite dire need, there’s little money available for research into treatments using regular food items. As Amanda Smith, Medical Director at University of South Florida (USF) Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute told CTV News:

“The pharmaceutical industry is in this — of course to make money for their companies, and of course they want to help people theoretically — but at the end of the day it is about dollars and cents, and so money gets invested in things that are new or patentable rather than things that are sitting on the shelf already.”

Intermittent Fasting Can Also Increase Ketone Production

There are two additional ways to increase ketone production: restricting carbohydrates, and intermittent fasting. Personally, I believe all three of these strategies are best applied together, as you need to replace the lost carbs with high quality fat (and coconut oil certainly fits that bill), and intermittent fasting will help your body shift to burning fat as its primary fuel. It takes about six to eight hours for your body to metabolize your glycogen stores, after which you start to shift to burning stored fat, and hence producing ketone bodies.

Contrary to more stringent and challenging fasts, intermittent fasting simply involves timing your meals to allow your body to enter the fat-burning “window.” To be effective, the length of your fast must be at least 16 hours. For example, this would mean eating only between the hours of 11am until 7pm, or noon until 8pm. You can restrict it even further — down to six, four, or even two hours if you want, but you can still reap many of the health benefits associated with intermittent fasting by limiting your eating to an eight-hour window each day.

I recommend easing yourself into this type of eating schedule. Start by not eating anything for three hours prior to bed, and then gradually extend the time before you eat breakfast each day to the point that you have skipped breakfast and have your first meal at lunch. This typically takes a few weeks to a few months. Also, this is not something that needs to be done continuously once your body has shifted to fat burning mode. However, your desire to eat will be dramatically reduced so you won’t feel the need to eat like you did before shifting your body’s primary fuel burning preference.

Tips for Maintaining Healthy Brain Function and Avoiding Alzheimer’s Disease

Knowing that Alzheimer’s is a preventable disease, predicated on your lifestyle choices, puts the power into your hands.  Diet is paramount, and the beauty of following my optimized nutrition plan is that it helps prevent and treat virtually ALL chronic degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease.

People who experience very little decline in their cognitive function up until their deaths have been found (post-mortem) to be free of brain lesions, showing that it’s entirely possible to prevent the damage from occurring in the first place… and one of the best ways to do this is by leading a healthy lifestyle. The following guidelines will help you protect your brain health well into old age:

Avoid sugar and refined fructoseIdeally, you’ll want to keep your sugar levels to a minimum and your total fructose below 25 grams per day, or as low as 15 grams per day if you have insulin resistance or any related disorders.

Avoid gluten (primarily wheat). Research shows that your blood-brain barrier, the barrier that keeps things out of your brain where they don’t belong, is negatively affected by gluten. Gluten also makes your gut more permeable, which allows proteins to get into your bloodstream, where they don’t belong. That then sensitizes your immune system and promotes inflammation and autoimmunity, both of which play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s.

Optimize your gut flora by regularly eating fermented foods or taking a high-potency and high quality probiotic supplement.

Increase consumption of all healthful fats, including animal-based omega-3. Beneficial health-promoting fats that your brain needs for optimal function include organic butter from raw milk, clarified butter called organic grass-fed raw butter, olives, organic virgin olive oil and coconut oil, nuts like pecans and macadamia, free-range eggs, wild Alaskan salmon, and avocado.

Contrary to popular belief, the ideal fuel for your brain is not glucose but ketones. Ketones are what your body produces when it converts fat (as opposed to glucose) into energy. The medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut oil are GREAT source of ketone bodies, because coconut oil is about 66 percent MCTs. In fact, ketones appear to be the preferred source of brain food in patients affected by diabetes or Alzheimer’s.

Also make sure you’re getting enough animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. (I recommend avoiding most fish because, although fish is naturally high in omega-3, most fish are now severely contaminated with mercury.) High intake of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA help by preventing cell damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease, thereby slowing down its progression, and lowering your risk of developing the disorder.

Reduce your overall calorie consumption, and/or intermittently fast. As mentioned above, ketones are mobilized when you replace carbs with coconut oil and other sources of healthy fats. A one-day fast can help your body to “reset” itself, and start to burn fat instead of sugar.

As part of a healthy lifestyle, I prefer an intermittent fasting schedule that simply calls for limiting your eating to a narrower window of time each day. By restricting your eating to a 6-8 hour window, you effectively fast 16-18 hours each day. To learn more, please see this previous article.

Improve your magnesium levels. There is some exciting preliminary research strongly suggesting a decrease in Alzheimer symptoms with increased levels of magnesium in the brain. Unfortunately, most magnesium supplements do not pass the blood brain levels, but a new one, magnesium threonate, appears to and holds some promise for the future for treating this condition and may be superior to other forms.

Optimize your vitamin D levels with safe sun exposure. Strong links between low levels of vitamin D in Alzheimer’s patients and poor outcomes on cognitive tests have been revealed. Researchers believe that optimal vitamin D levels may enhance the amount of important chemicals in your brain and protect brain cells by increasing the effectiveness of the glial cells in nursing damaged neurons back to health.

Vitamin D may also exert some of its beneficial effects on Alzheimer’s through its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Sufficient vitamin D is imperative for proper functioning of your immune system to combat inflammation that is also associated with Alzheimer’s.

Keep your fasting insulin levels below 3. This is indirectly related to fructose, as it will clearly lead to insulin resistance. However, other sugars (sucrose is 50 percent fructose by weight), grains and lack of exercise are also important factors. Lowering insulin will also help lower leptin levels which is another factor for Alzheimer’s.

Eat a nutritious diet, rich in folate, such as the one described in my nutrition plan. Vegetables, without question, are your best form of folate, and we should all eat plenty of fresh raw veggies every day.

Avoid and eliminate mercury from your body. Dental amalgam fillings, which are 50 percent mercury by weight, are one of the major sources of heavy metal toxicity, however you should be healthy prior to having them removed. Once you have adjusted to following the diet described in my optimized nutrition plan, you can follow the mercury detox protocol and then find a biological dentist to have your amalgams removed.

Avoid aluminum, such as antiperspirants, non-stick cookware, vaccine adjuvants, etc.

Exercise regularly. It’s been suggested that exercise can trigger a change in the way the amyloid precursor protein is metabolized,6 thus, slowing down the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s. Exercise also increases levels of the protein PGC-1alpha. Research has also shown that people with Alzheimer’s have less PGC-1alpha in their brains7 and cells that contain more of the protein produce less of the toxic amyloid protein associated with Alzheimer’s. I would strongly recommend reviewing the Peak Fitness Technique for my specific recommendations.

Avoid flu vaccinations as most contain mercury, a well-known neurotoxic and immunotoxic agent.

Eat blueberries. Wild blueberries, which have high anthocyanin and antioxidant content, are known to guard against Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases. Like any fruit though, avoid excesses here.

Challenge your mind daily. Mental stimulation, especially learning something new, such as learning to play an instrument or a new language, is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s. Researchers suspect that mental challenge helps to build up your brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Avoid anticholinergics and statin drugs. Drugs that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have been shown to increase your risk of dementia. These drugs include certain nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence, and certain narcotic pain relievers.

Statin drugs are particularly problematic because they suppress the synthesis of cholesterol, deplete your brain of coenzyme Q10 and neurotransmitter precursors, and prevent adequate delivery of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble antioxidants to your brain by inhibiting the production of the indispensable carrier biomolecule known as low-density lipoprotein.

Other Natural Treatments for Your Anti-Alzheimer’s Arsenal

Finally, there are a few other nutritional recommendations worth noting for their specific benefits in preventing and treating dementia. So, although your fundamental strategy for preventing dementia should involve a comprehensive lifestyle approach, you may want to consider adding a few of these natural dietary agents to your anti-Alzheimer’s arsenal. These four natural foods/supplements have good science behind them, in terms of preventing age-related cognitive changes:

1.Astaxanthin is a natural pigment with unique properties and many clinical benefits, including some of the most potent antioxidant activity currently known. As a fat-soluble nutrient, astaxanthin readily crosses your blood-brain barrier. One study8found it may help prevent neurodegeneration associated with oxidative stress, as well as make a potent natural “brain food.”

The molecules of astaxanthin neutralize free radicals and other oxidants without being destroyed or becoming pro-oxidants themselves in the process. It’s is a unique molecule whose shape allows it to precisely fit into a cell membrane and span its entire width. In this position, astaxanthin can intercept potentially damaging molecules before they can damage your cells.

You can get some astaxanthin by taking krill oil, which is a fantastic omega-3 fat supplement. But you can boost your astaxanthin even MORE by adding a pure astaxanthin supplement to your nutritional regimen. For optimal absorption, make sure to take krill oil and/or astaxanthin with a fat-containing meal, since both are fat-soluble.

2.Ginkgo bilobaMany scientific studies have found that Ginkgo biloba has positive effects for dementia. Ginkgo, which is derived from a tree native to Asia, has long been used medicinally in China and other countries. A 1997 study from JAMAshowed clear evidence that Ginkgo improves cognitive performance and social functioning for those suffering from dementia. Research since then has been equally promising. One study in 2006 found Ginkgo as effective as the dementia drug Aricept (donepezil) for treating mild to moderate Alzheimer’s type dementia. A 2010 meta-analysis found Ginkgo biloba to be effective for a variety of types of dementia.

3.Alpha lipoic acid (ALA): ALA can stabilize cognitive functions among Alzheimer’s patients and may slow the progression of the disease.

4.Vitamin B12: A small Finnish study published in the journal Neurology9 found that people who consume foods rich in B12 may reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s in their later years. For each unit increase in the marker of vitamin B12, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s was reduced by two percent. Remember, sublingual methylcobalamin may be your best bet here.

New study confirms Alzheimer’s and aluminum link can no longer be ignored


Aluminum has been long known to be neurotoxic, with mounting evidence that chronic exposure is a factor in many neurological diseases, including dementia, autism, and Parkinson’s disease.

However, definitive scientific proof is difficult to establish due toth the lack of longitudinal studies, as well as pushback from industries that use aluminum in their products. Despite the shortage of conclusive studies, mounting scientific evidence really leaves little room for doubt.

Case in point: a new case study from Keele University in the UK1 unequivocally shows high levels of aluminum in the brain of an individual exposed to aluminum at work, who later died from Alzheimer’s disease.

While aluminum exposure has been implicated in Alzheimer’s and a number of other neurological diseases, this case claims to be “the first direct link” between Alzheimer’s disease and elevated brain aluminum following occupational exposure.2

The Aluminum-Alzheimer’s Link

The 66 year-old Caucasian man developed an aggressive form of early onset Alzheimer’s disease after eight years of occupational exposure to aluminum dust, which scientists conclude “suggests a prominent role for the olfactory system and lungs in the accumulation of aluminum in the brain.”

This is not the first time high aluminum levels have been found in the tissues of someone who died from Alzheimer’s disease. For example, in 2004, high aluminum levels were found in the tissues of a British woman who died of early-onset Alzheimer’s.

This was 16 years after an industrial accident dumped 20 metric tons of aluminum sulphate into her local drinking water. And there are many studies showing elevated aluminum levels in living individuals displaying a wide range of neurological symptoms.3

Aluminum Can Be an Occupational Hazard

Exposure to aluminum is unfortunately an occupational hazard for those who work in industries like mining, factory work, welding, and agriculture. Not to mention that you ingest aluminum vapors every time your nose catches cigarette smoke wafting by.

Inhaling aluminum dust or vapors sends aluminum particles directly into your lungs in a highly absorbable form, where they pass into your bloodstream and are distributed throughout your body, including your bones and brain. Aluminum powder has been known to cause pulmonary fibrosis, and aluminum factory workers are prone to asthma. Studies of the health effects of aluminum vapors have been grim, pointing to high levels of neurotoxicity.4

So why are most government regulators and physicians so resistant to looking at the health and environmental effects of aluminum? One filmmaker is shining a light on this issue by way of a documentary.

The ‘Dark Side’ of Aluminum Exposed

The featured documentary, The Age of Aluminum, reveals the “dark side” of this toxic metal, exploring the scientific links between aluminum and diseases such as breast cancer and neurological disorders. Also exposed is how aluminum mining and manufacturing have created acute ecological problems across the globe, leading to environmental disasters in Hungary, South Africa, and the UK. In the film, neuroscientist Christopher Shaw reports:5

“Many researchers are beginning to accept that aluminum has some sort of role to play in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Whether it does in others is still an open question, but Alzheimer’s is really coming into focus and it’s fairly clear that the body burden of aluminum from all the sources to which humans are exposed may be contributing to Alzheimer’s disease.”

Aluminum Is Everywhere

Although aluminum occurs naturally in soil, water, and air, we are contributing to the load with the mining and processing of aluminum ores, manufacturing of aluminum products, and the operation of coal-fired power plants and incinerators. Aluminum can’t be destroyed in the environment—it only changes its form by attaching or separating from other particles.

Rain washes aluminum particles out of the air and into our water supply, where they tend to accumulate rather than degrade. If you live in an industrial area, your exposure is undoubtedly higher than average.6

According to CDC, the average adult in the US consumes about seven to nine mg of aluminum per day in food, and a lesser amount from air and water. Only about one percent of the aluminum you ingest orally gets absorbed into your body—the rest is moved out by your digestive tract, provided it’s functioning well.

When tested in a lab, aluminum contamination has been found in a vast number of products on the market, from foods and beverages to pharmaceuticals, which suggests the manufacturing process itself is a significant part of the problem. Aluminum is found in a shocking number of foods and consumer products, including:

  • Foods such as baking powder, self rising flour, salt, baby formula, coffee creamers, baked goods and processed foods, coloring and caking agents
  • Drugs, such as antacids, analgesics, anti-diarrheals, and others; additives such as magnesium stearate
  • Vaccines—Hepatitis A and B, Hib, DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis), pneumococcal vaccine, Gardasil (HPV), and others
  • Cosmetics and personal care products such as antiperspirants, deodorants(including salt crystals, made of alum), lotions, sunscreens, and shampoos
  • Aluminum products, including foil, cans, juice pouches, tins, and water bottles

Does Your Frozen Dinner Come with a Side of Aluminum?

Aluminum contamination in our food supply is a more significant problem than you may think. In a study published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe,7researchers analyzed 1,431 non-animal foods and beverages for aluminum content. This is what they found:

  • 77.8 percent had an aluminum concentration of up to 10 mg/kg
  • 17.5 percent had aluminum concentrations between 10 and 100 mg\kg
  • 4.6 percent of the samples had aluminum concentrations in excess of 100 mg/kg

Aluminum compounds are often used as additives in foodstuffs. Additional contaminationoccurs when food comes into contact with aluminum equipment and other items because aluminum is unstable in the presence of acids and bases. Aluminum equipment has a protective oxide film, but this can be damaged as fine fissures develop from normal wear and tear.In the study,8 Table 3 shows the aluminum content of everything from flour and baking mixes to soup, chocolate, beer and wine, and herbal teas. Some products show a wide range of contamination levels, and others are more homogenous. Baked goods are very high because of the common practice of baking and storing foods on aluminum trays.9 The report has numerous other tables that demonstrate how prevalent this toxin is in your food.

If you cook your food in aluminum foil, you are introducing your own contamination. One investigation found that cooking meats in aluminum foil increases their aluminum concentration. Researchers concluded, “eating meals prepared in aluminum foil may carry a health risk by adding to other aluminum sources.” As with many toxins, it isn’t one exposure here and there that is so concerning—it’s the cumulative effect of many smaller exposures over time that can lead to a toxic metal overload and erosion of your health. According to a 2006 study, cooking meat in aluminum foil increased aluminum levels as follows:10

  • Red meats cooked in aluminum foil showed an increase in aluminum by 89 to 378 percent
  • Poultry increased by 76 to 214 percent
  • Aluminum levels increased with higher cooking temperatures and longer cooking times

Aluminum Heads Straight to Your Brain

Aluminum is to your central nervous system as cigarette smoke is to your lungs. Scientists are clear that toxic metals damage brain tissue and lead to degenerative disease by producing oxidative stress—and aluminum is one of the worst offenders. With Alzheimer’s rates skyrocketing, today’s multiple avenues of aluminum exposure are of great concern. Just as with particles in the environment, once aluminum is in your tissues, your body has a difficult time releasing it. This toxic metal serves absolutely no biological purpose, so the less of it you ingest, the better.

Once in your body, it travels around easily, unimpeded, piggybacking on your iron transport system. It crosses biological barriers that normally keep other types of toxins out, such as your blood-brain barrier. Over time, aluminum can accumulate in your brain and do serious damage your neurological health—regardless of your age. Aluminum toxicity may be doing as much damage to our children as to our seniors.

Brain Inflammation in Both Children and Adults

Vaccines present a particularly problematic source of toxic metal exposure. Aluminum is the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant and is considered “safe” even though research shows it may induce serious immunological disorders and neurological complications in humans.

Dr. David Ayoub discusses how the aluminum in vaccines may be even more dangerous than mercury. The number of aluminum-containing vaccines children receive today11 has quadrupled over the past 30 years. In the 1970s, children got only four aluminum-containing vaccines in their first 18 months of life, but now they typically receive 17. And as children’s aluminum burden has increased, so has the prevalence of childhood neurological disorders. In one school, 90 percent of the children developed ADHD during the course of a single school year, and their toxicity profiles all revealed massive amounts of aluminum.

Aluminum is also in vaccines and is used as an adjuvant. If you go by the aluminum content on vaccine labels, the amount kids are getting is excessive, but if you add in the aluminum NOT listed on the labels—”accidental exposure” due to contamination—it’s a much more serious problem. Dr. Ayoub cites one study that found five to six times more aluminum in vaccines than what was actually listed on the labels.

When you review the signs and symptoms of aluminum toxicity, they are shockingly similar to the symptoms of autism, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurological diseases. Vaccine adjuvants can cause serious chronic brain inflammation. Aluminum targets your cerebellum and autonomic nervous system—the part responsible for biological processes over which you have no conscious control (breathing, blood pressure, balance, coordination, etc.). When you look at the MSDS sheet for aluminum, you will see symptoms strikingly similar to those in common neurological diseases, including memory problems, speech impairments and aphasia, dementia, depression, muscle weakness, motor disturbances, and other neurological difficulties. The list goes on and on.12

Researchers Claim New Blood Test May Predict Alzheimer’s

There has never been a way to accurately predict who will get Alzheimer’s, but that may be changing. Researchers at Georgetown University and University of Rochester claim they have found a blood test that predicts this with 90 percent accuracy—and incredibly, with NO false negatives. If further research confirms what researchers expect, this is a medical breakthrough of epic proportions.13

The test involves measuring the patterns of 10 specific lipids (fat-like compounds) associated with the plaques found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. These 10 lipids are highly predictive of whether or not you will become cognitively impaired. All of the people in the study were in their 70s, so the next step is to determine if the test is accurate earlier, say in your 40s and 50s. Researchers say they are still several years away from implementing the test, but they all feel very hopeful.14

Biomarkers such as lipids are tricky for Alzheimer’s because they change during the course of the illness. Some occur in high levels during the early phase of the disease and then actually decrease after symptoms appear—so they are stage dependent. There is clearly much more research that needs to be done before we have a grasp of this disease.15 Even with a test that can predict whether or not you are in the process of developing dementia, there are no good treatments once you have it—so you should be doing everything in your power to prevent it. One of the strategies is helping your body detoxify from metals, such as aluminum.

Aluminum Impairs Your Body’s Ability to Detoxify

Removing mercury from vaccines and replacing it with aluminum may be increasing the problems from BOTH toxins in your body. The reason for this is because aluminum impairs your body’s ability to excrete mercury by impeding your glutathione production. Glutathione is your most important intracellular detoxifier, required for reversing oxidative stress. So, if your aluminum load is high, your body will potentially become more toxic from the mercury from, say, flu shots and fish because you are now on “aluminum overload” and your detoxification system no longer functions well.

Your body requires sulfur to manufacture glutathione, making sulfur an extremely important dietary nutrient when it comes to metal detoxification, which can be optimized through dietary sources. Onions and garlic are good if they are grown in sulfur rich soils, but most soils are unfortunately sulfur deficient. Therefore, animal-based proteins seem to be one of your best bets. Whey protein concentrate is particularly high in cysteine, one of the two sulfur-bearing amino acids that are direct precursors to glutathione.

Please note that if you avoid consuming animal proteins, it is VERY easy to become sulfur deficient, and this may be one of the most significant risk factors for choosing an animal protein-free diet. That doesn’t mean you should go overboard on meat, however! Most people need only about one gram of protein per kilogram of lean body weight, or about half a gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. Also make sure to buy grass-fed and finished meats, as most factory farmed meat is of inferior quality and contaminated with a whole host of veterinary drugs, including antibiotics and growth hormones.

How to Detoxify Aluminum

There are a number of potent chelators you can use to detoxify aluminum. Clearly, your first step would be to avoid further exposure to aluminum. This means avoiding products such as:

  • Toothpaste containing aluminium oxyhydroxide16
  • Antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate, or aluminum-zirconium compounds
  • Aluminum laminated pouch drinks
  • Aluminum cookware
  • Aluminum espresso makers

For serious Alzheimer’s disease, the following chelating agents can be helpful:

  • Silica-rich water, such as Fiji water,17 which contains 83 Mg of silica per liter. Research18 published in 2013 showed that drinking up to one liter of a silicon-rich mineral water daily for 12 weeks effectively excreted aluminum via the urine, without detrimental effects on essential metals such as iron and copper. According to the authors: “We have provided preliminary evidence that over 12 weeks of silicon-rich mineral water therapy the body burden of aluminum fell in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and, concomitantly, cognitive performance showed clinically relevant improvements in at least 3 out of 15 individuals.”
  • Melatonin: Research19, 20, 21 shows that melatonin has a metal binding role and is a useful supplement in the treatment of neurological disorders in which oxidative stress is involved, which includes Alzheimer’s. Melatonin can travel freely across all cellular barriers, facilitating the removal of toxic metals such as aluminum. It also appears to suppress the oxidative activity of aluminum in your brain.
  • Anything that raises your glutathione. Your body synthesizes glutathione from three amino acids: cysteine, glutamate, and glycine. Raw fruits and vegetables, particularly avocado, asparagus, grapefruit, strawberries, orange, tomato, cantaloupe, broccoli, okra, peach, zucchini, and spinach are rich in the precursors glutamate and glycine. Dietary sources of cysteine include eggs, meat, red peppers, garlic, onions, Brussels sprouts, whey protein, and wheat germ. Other helpful treatments for improved glutathione metabolism include:
    • Exercise: Exercise affects your adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels needed to help produce glutathione
    • Optimizing your vitamin D levels through sun exposure: There’s some evidence vitamin D increases intracellular glutathione levels
    • Epsom salt baths
    • MSM supplementation
    • The supplement N-acetyl L-cysteine (NAC) may also be useful. NAC is the rate-limiting nutrient for the formation of the intracellular antioxidant glutathione
  • Curcumin:22 Research23, 24 suggests that curcumin has a protective effect against aluminum-induced damage by modulating the extent of oxidative stress. It also decreases beta-amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s, delays neuron degradation, chelates metals, decreases microglia formation, and has an overall anti-inflammatory, antioxidant effect. Studies have shown that curcumin can help improve memory in Alzheimer’s patients. There are some contraindications25 that curcumin is not recommended if you have biliary tract obstruction (as it stimulates bile secretion), gallstones, obstructive jaundice, or acute biliary colic.

In Summary

It can no longer be argued that aluminum does not have a role in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s—the evidence is very clear and growing. It really should not be surprising that people with aluminum toxicity display many of the same symptoms as those with dementia, Parkinson’s, ADHD, autism, and other neurological diseases, because aluminum targets exactly these areas of your brain and nervous system.

The best way to protect yourself is to be careful about your choices in food and personal products, and minimize your use of vaccines and other drugs that are often contaminated with aluminum.

Optimizing your dietary sulfur is also essential, as your body needs sulfur to manufacture its number one weapon against aluminum overload: glutathione. By taking a few steps to protect yourself, you’ll minimize your exposure while maximizing your body’s ability to rid itself of this toxic metal, which will move you toward a long and healthy life well into your senior years. For additional tips and strategies that can help prevent and/or treat Alzheimer’s, please see my previous article “Two Exciting Alzheimer’s Advances: A Novel Early Detection Test Using Peanut Butter, and a Study Evaluating Coconut Oil.”

Two Exciting Alzheimer’s Advances: A Novel Early Detection Test Using Peanut Butter, and a Study Evaluating Coconut Oil



At present, some 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.1

By 2050, this is expected to jump to 16 million, and in the next 20 years it is projected that Alzheimer’s will affect one in four Americans, rivaling the current prevalence of obesity and diabetes.

Story at-a-glance

  • At present, an estimated 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, this is expected to jump to 16 million, and in the next 20 years it is projected that Alzheimer’s will affect one in four Americans
  • The ability to smell is associated with the first cranial nerve and is often one of the first senses to be adversely affected by cognitive decline.
  • In patients with Alzheimer’s, the ability to smell peanut butter through the left nostril was found to be significantly impaired
  • Patients diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s have been enrolled in a clinical study—the first of its kind—to evaluate the effects of coconut oil versus placebo. Results are expected in about a year
  • Previous investigation suggests that ketone bodies, an alternative fuel for your brain that your body makes when digesting coconut oil, might offer profound healing benefits in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease

Since treatments are few and rarely effective, early diagnosis and prevention become all the more important.

Interestingly, simple tools like a tablespoon of peanut butter and a ruler could potentially be used to confirm a diagnosis of the disease in its early stages. As reported by Medical News Today:2

“Jennifer Stamps, a graduate student in the University of Florida (UF) McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste, and her colleagues reported the findings of a small pilot study in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences.3

Stamps came up with the idea of using peanut butter to test for smell sensitivity while she was working with Dr. Kenneth Heilman, one of the world’s best known behavioral neurologists, from the UF College of Medicine’s department of neurology.

…The ability to smell is associated with the first cranial nerve and is often one of the first things to be affected in cognitive decline… She thought of peanut butter because, she said, it is a ‘pure odorant’ that is only detected by the olfactory nerve and is easy to access.”

The pilot study tested the ability to smell of 24 patients diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. To perform the test, the patient was asked to close their eyes and mouth, and hold one nostril closed while breathing normally through the other.

Using a ruler, the clinician measured the distance between the open nostril and the peanut butter, marking the distance at which the patient was able to detect the distinct odor. After a 90 second delay, the procedure was repeated with the other nostril.

They discovered that those diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s (which was done through other clinical testing) experienced a significant difference in their ability to detect the odor between the two nostrils. According to the featured report:

“[T]he left nostril was impaired and did not detect the smell until it was an average of 10 cm closer to the nose than the right nostril had made the detection in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

This was not the case in patients with other kinds of dementia; instead, these patients had either no differences in odor detection between nostrils or the right nostril was worse at detecting odor than the left one.”

Of course, it’s too early to tell whether this test might be reliable enough to become widely used. More research needs to be done. But according to Stamps, the test can be used to confirm a diagnosis. The team is planning to study patients with mild cognitive impairment next, to assess whether it might help predict a future diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.

Benefits of Coconut Oil Make Headlines Again

In related news, Florida researchers are also looking into whether coconut oil might be of benefit against Alzheimer’s. Three years ago, I published Dr. Mary Newport’s theory that ketone bodies, an alternative fuel for your brain that your body makes when digesting coconut oil, might offer profound benefits in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

At the time I said that, should her theory turn out to be accurate, it could be one of the greatest natural health discoveries in a long time. Now, Dr. Newport’s research is being used to launch one of the first clinical trials of its kind to test her theory. The research is being done at the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute.

Sixty-five patients diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s have been enrolled to evaluate the effects of coconut oil on the disease, compared to a placebo. Dr. Newport hopes to have the results within a year.

This issue strikes close to home for Dr. Newport, whose husband has been battling the disease for years. As reported by CTV News:4

“While there is currently no clinical data showing the benefits of coconut oil on the prevention and treatment of dementia, Newport — whose husband Steve was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 51 — said she began to see improvements after starting him on four teaspoons of coconut oil per day.

‘Before the coconut oil, he could not tie his shoes. His weird slow gait… That improved. He walked normally and he was able to start running again.

He was able to start reading again, his conversation improved dramatically and then over several months we saw improvements in his memory,’ Newport said. Prior to starting him on coconut oil, Newport said none of the existing medications were working.”

Coconut Oil Appears to Be an Ideal Brain Food

There are only two types of fuel your body can convert into energy: carbs/sugar, or fat. Again, ketones are what your body produces when it converts fat (as opposed to glucose) into energy. And a primary source of ketone bodies are the medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut oil. In fact, coconut oil contains about 66 percent MCTs.

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are fats that are not processed by your body in the same manner as long-chain triglycerides. Normally, a fat taken into your body must be mixed with bile released from your gallbladder before it can be broken down in your digestive system.

But medium-chain triglycerides go directly to your liver, which naturally converts the oil into ketones, bypassing the bile entirely. Your liver then immediately releases the ketones into your bloodstream where they are transported to your brain to be readily used as fuel.

While your brain is quite happy running on glucose, there’s evidence suggesting that ketone bodies may actually help restore and renew neurons and nerve function in your brain, even after damage has set in. Interestingly, the mechanism of this MCT-ketone metabolism appears to be that your body treats MCTs as a carbohydrate and not a fat.  This allows the ketone energy to hit your bloodstream without the normal insulin spike associated with carbohydrates entering your bloodstream. So in effect, coconut oil is a fat that acts like a carbohydrate when it comes to brain fuel.

How Much Coconut Oil Might You Need?

Therapeutic levels of MCTs have been studied at 20 grams per day. According to Dr. Newport’s calculations,5 just over two tablespoons of coconut oil (about 35 ml or seven level teaspoons) would supply you with the equivalent of 20 grams of MCT, which is indicated as either a preventative measure against degenerative neurological diseases, or as a treatment for an already established case.

While more research certainly needs to be done in this area as well, I see no reason not to incorporate coconut oil in your diet, or the diet of a loved one who is exhibiting symptoms of brain degeneration. Coconut oil has so many profound health benefits; it’s not going to do any harm.

It’s worth noting that people tolerate coconut oil differently, and you may have to start slowly and build up to these therapeutic levels. My recommendation is to start with one teaspoon, taken with food in the mornings. Gradually add more coconut oil every few days until you are able to tolerate about four tablespoons. It’s best to take it with food, to avoid upsetting your stomach.

Low-Fat Craze Has Likely Contributed to Dramatic Rise in Alzheimer’s

A number of seriously flawed nutritional guidelines have contributed to more than a few health problems in the US, and the low-fat craze (aimed at preventing heart disease) is toward the top of that list. Not only does avoiding healthful fat promote heart disease, it also promotes brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.

According to neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, fat avoidance and carbohydrate overconsumption are at the heart of the Alzheimer’s epidemic—which is an entirely preventable disease, driven by lifestyle factors such as diet. Dr. Perlmutter’s book, Grain Brain, provides a powerful argument for eliminating grains from your diet to protect your brain health. Another major factor is the development and increased consumption of genetically engineered (GE) grains, which are now pervasive in most processed foods sold in the US. Unfortunately, despite dire need, there’s little money available for research into treatments using regular food items. As Amanda Smith, Medical Director at University of South Florida (USF) Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute told CTV News:

“The pharmaceutical industry is in this — of course to make money for their companies, and of course they want to help people theoretically — but at the end of the day it is about dollars and cents, and so money gets invested in things that are new or patentable rather than things that are sitting on the shelf already.”

Intermittent Fasting Can Also Increase Ketone Production

There are two additional ways to increase ketone production: restricting carbohydrates, and intermittent fasting. Personally, I believe all three of these strategies are best applied together, as you need to replace the lost carbs with high quality fat (and coconut oil certainly fits that bill), and intermittent fasting will help your body shift to burning fat as its primary fuel. It takes about six to eight hours for your body to metabolize your glycogen stores, after which you start to shift to burning stored fat, and hence producing ketone bodies.

Contrary to more stringent and challenging fasts, intermittent fasting simply involves timing your meals to allow your body to enter the fat-burning “window.” To be effective, the length of your fast must be at least 16 hours. For example, this would mean eating only between the hours of 11am until 7pm, or noon until 8pm. You can restrict it even further — down to six, four, or even two hours if you want, but you can still reap many of the health benefits associated with intermittent fasting by limiting your eating to an eight-hour window each day.

I recommend easing yourself into this type of eating schedule. Start by not eating anything for three hours prior to bed, and then gradually extend the time before you eat breakfast each day to the point that you have skipped breakfast and have your first meal at lunch. This typically takes a few weeks to a few months. Also, this is not something that needs to be done continuously once your body has shifted to fat burning mode. However, your desire to eat will be dramatically reduced so you won’t feel the need to eat like you did before shifting your body’s primary fuel burning preference.

Tips for Maintaining Healthy Brain Function and Avoiding Alzheimer’s Disease

Knowing that Alzheimer’s is a preventable disease, predicated on your lifestyle choices, puts the power into your hands.  Diet is paramount, and the beauty of following my optimized nutrition plan is that it helps prevent and treat virtually ALL chronic degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease.

People who experience very little decline in their cognitive function up until their deaths have been found (post-mortem) to be free of brain lesions, showing that it’s entirely possible to prevent the damage from occurring in the first place… and one of the best ways to do this is by leading a healthy lifestyle. The following guidelines will help you protect your brain health well into old age:

Avoid sugar and refined fructose. Ideally, you’ll want to keep your sugar levels to a minimum and your total fructose below 25 grams per day, or as low as 15 grams per day if you have insulin resistance or any related disorders.

Avoid gluten (primarily wheat). Research shows that your blood-brain barrier, the barrier that keeps things out of your brain where they don’t belong, is negatively affected by gluten. Gluten also makes your gut more permeable, which allows proteins to get into your bloodstream, where they don’t belong. That then sensitizes your immune system and promotes inflammation and autoimmunity, both of which play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s.

Optimize your gut flora by regularly eating fermented foods or taking a high-potency and high quality probiotic supplement.

Increase consumption of all healthful fats, including animal-based omega-3. Beneficial health-promoting fats that your brain needs for optimal function include organic butter from raw milk, clarified butter called organic grass-fed raw butter, olives, organic virgin olive oil and coconut oil, nuts like pecans and macadamia, free-range eggs, wild Alaskan salmon, and avocado.

Contrary to popular belief, the ideal fuel for your brain is not glucose but ketones. Ketones are what your body produces when it converts fat (as opposed to glucose) into energy. The medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut oil are GREAT source of ketone bodies, because coconut oil is about 66 percent MCTs. In fact, ketones appear to be the preferred source of brain food in patients affected by diabetes or Alzheimer’s.

Also make sure you’re getting enough animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. (I recommend avoiding most fish because, although fish is naturally high in omega-3, most fish are now severely contaminated with mercury.) High intake of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA help by preventing cell damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease, thereby slowing down its progression, and lowering your risk of developing the disorder.

Reduce your overall calorie consumption, and/or intermittently fast. As mentioned above, ketones are mobilized when you replace carbs with coconut oil and other sources of healthy fats. A one-day fast can help your body to “reset” itself, and start to burn fat instead of sugar.

As part of a healthy lifestyle, I prefer an intermittent fasting schedule that simply calls for limiting your eating to a narrower window of time each day. By restricting your eating to a 6-8 hour window, you effectively fast 16-18 hours each day. To learn more, please see this previous article.

Improve your magnesium levels. There is some exciting preliminary research strongly suggesting a decrease in Alzheimer symptoms with increased levels of magnesium in the brain. Unfortunately, most magnesium supplements do not pass the blood brain levels, but a new one, magnesium threonate, appears to and holds some promise for the future for treating this condition and may be superior to other forms.

Optimize your vitamin D levels with safe sun exposure. Strong links between low levels of vitamin D in Alzheimer’s patients and poor outcomes on cognitive tests have been revealed. Researchers believe that optimal vitamin D levels may enhance the amount of important chemicals in your brain and protect brain cells by increasing the effectiveness of the glial cells in nursing damaged neurons back to health.

Vitamin D may also exert some of its beneficial effects on Alzheimer’s through its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Sufficient vitamin D is imperative for proper functioning of your immune system to combat inflammation that is also associated with Alzheimer’s.

Keep your fasting insulin levels below 3. This is indirectly related to fructose, as it will clearly lead to insulin resistance. However, other sugars (sucrose is 50 percent fructose by weight), grains and lack of exercise are also important factors. Lowering insulin will also help lower leptin levels which is another factor for Alzheimer’s.

Eat a nutritious diet, rich in folate, such as the one described in my nutrition plan. Vegetables, without question, are your best form of folate, and we should all eat plenty of fresh raw veggies every day.

Avoid and eliminate mercury from your body. Dental amalgam fillings, which are 50 percent mercury by weight, are one of the major sources of heavy metal toxicity, however you should be healthy prior to having them removed. Once you have adjusted to following the diet described in my optimized nutrition plan, you can follow the mercury detox protocol and then find a biological dentist to have your amalgams removed.

Avoid aluminum, such as antiperspirants, non-stick cookware, vaccine adjuvants, etc.

Exercise regularly. It’s been suggested that exercise can trigger a change in the way the amyloid precursor protein is metabolized,6 thus, slowing down the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s. Exercise also increases levels of the protein PGC-1alpha. Research has also shown that people with Alzheimer’s have less PGC-1alpha in their brains7 and cells that contain more of the protein produce less of the toxic amyloid protein associated with Alzheimer’s. I would strongly recommend reviewing the Peak Fitness Technique for my specific recommendations.

Avoid flu vaccinations as most contain mercury, a well-known neurotoxic and immunotoxic agent.

Eat blueberries. Wild blueberries, which have high anthocyanin and antioxidant content, are known to guard against Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases. Like any fruit though, avoid excesses here.

Challenge your mind daily. Mental stimulation, especially learning something new, such as learning to play an instrument or a new language, is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s. Researchers suspect that mental challenge helps to build up your brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Avoid anticholinergics and statin drugs. Drugs that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have been shown to increase your risk of dementia. These drugs include certain nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence, and certain narcotic pain relievers.

Statin drugs are particularly problematic because they suppress the synthesis of cholesterol, deplete your brain of coenzyme Q10 and neurotransmitter precursors, and prevent adequate delivery of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble antioxidants to your brain by inhibiting the production of the indispensable carrier biomolecule known as low-density lipoprotein.

Other Natural Treatments for Your Anti-Alzheimer’s Arsenal

Finally, there are a few other nutritional recommendations worth noting for their specific benefits in preventing and treating dementia. So, although your fundamental strategy for preventing dementia should involve a comprehensive lifestyle approach, you may want to consider adding a few of these natural dietary agents to your anti-Alzheimer’s arsenal. These four natural foods/supplements have good science behind them, in terms of preventing age-related cognitive changes:

1.Astaxanthin is a natural pigment with unique properties and many clinical benefits, including some of the most potent antioxidant activity currently known. As a fat-soluble nutrient, astaxanthin readily crosses your blood-brain barrier. One study8 found it may help prevent neurodegeneration associated with oxidative stress, as well as make a potent natural “brain food.”

The molecules of astaxanthin neutralize free radicals and other oxidants without being destroyed or becoming pro-oxidants themselves in the process. It’s is a unique molecule whose shape allows it to precisely fit into a cell membrane and span its entire width. In this position, astaxanthin can intercept potentially damaging molecules before they can damage your cells.

You can get some astaxanthin by taking krill oil, which is a fantastic omega-3 fat supplement. But you can boost your astaxanthin even MORE by adding a pure astaxanthin supplement to your nutritional regimen. For optimal absorption, make sure to take krill oil and/or astaxanthin with a fat-containing meal, since both are fat-soluble.

2.Ginkgo biloba: Many scientific studies have found that Ginkgo biloba has positive effects for dementia. Ginkgo, which is derived from a tree native to Asia, has long been used medicinally in China and other countries. A 1997 study from JAMA showed clear evidence that Ginkgo improves cognitive performance and social functioning for those suffering from dementia. Research since then has been equally promising. One study in 2006 found Ginkgo as effective as the dementia drug Aricept (donepezil) for treating mild to moderate Alzheimer’s type dementia. A 2010 meta-analysis found Ginkgo biloba to be effective for a variety of types of dementia.

3.Alpha lipoic acid (ALA): ALA can stabilize cognitive functions among Alzheimer’s patients and may slow the progression of the disease.

4.Vitamin B12: A small Finnish study published in the journal Neurology9 found that people who consume foods rich in B12 may reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s in their later years. For each unit increase in the marker of vitamin B12, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s was reduced by two percent. Remember, sublingual methylcobalamin may be your best bet here.

Have Researchers Uncovered the Origins of Alzheimer’s?


Researchers may or may not have found a new breakthrough for Alzheimer’s patients, but as of yet is too early to say. However, what they will find out is after years of research into the origins and treatment of Alzheimer’s, have they actually been looking in the right place?

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 5 million people just in the United States alone.  It’s caused by a build-up of the amyloid beta protein, which destroys nerve cells and starves vital areas of the brain, and so far, there has is no cure. However, researchers have just discovered that Aducanumab may hold the answer. The new hypothesis has been named the amyloid hypothesis. This drug safely lowers A-beta levels and allows the amyloid hypothesis to be put to the test.

To verify the effectiveness of aducanumab, a trial was set in place that involved 165 people receiving the drug and over the course of one year it was reported that the amyloid-beta levels in these people’s brains had declined. They also discovered that the higher the dose, the more A-beta that was cleared out. Suggestions were also made that these higher doses had cognitive improvements too, but further studies would need to be done to confirm that.

Plaques begone; In a small trial of the experimental Alzheimer’s drug aducanumab, brain scans of people receiving the drug showed reductions in amyloid-beta plaques (red). Larger trials are now testing the drug in over 2,000 participants to look for signs of mental improvement. 

Substantial evidence suggests that A-beta is responsible for the origins of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s proved to be toxic to nerve cells, by first impairing their abilities, and then killing them off entirely. John Hardy is a neurologist of University College London and is one of those responsible for the proposal of the amyloid hypothesis, and he says, “All the basic science work and natural history work supports it.”

However, it’s not all been smooth sailing, and the results aren’t as clear-cut as they first seem. It appears that cognitively healthy people have been diagnosed with having A-beta accumulations within their brain’s. So, identifying the real cause of Alzheimer’s may not be that easy after all. Even Hardy recognizes that this is one tough challenge, but he isn’t prepared to give up the fight just yet. Larger trials involving aducanumab will be carried out and will run until 2022. Hopefully, by then scientists will have enough data and conclusive evidence to determining the true origin of Alzheimer’s and hopefully begin to develop a real cure.

Top Environmental Risk Factors for Dementia Identified


“Dementia” is an umbrella term covering an array of neurological diseases and conditions that develop when neurons in your brain die or cease to function normally. The death or malfunction of neurons causes changes in memory, behavior and ability to think.

dementia risk

Story at-a-glance

  • Alzheimer’s currently affects an estimated 5.4 million Americans. By 2050, Alzheimer’s diagnoses are projected to triple
  • Experts have compiled a list of top environmental risk factors thought to be contributing to the epidemic. Vitamin D deficiency, air pollution and occupational pesticide exposure top this list
  • Alzheimer’s shares many risk factors with heart disease. This includes smoking, alcohol use, diabetes, high fasting blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, obesity and high blood pressure

Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most serious form of dementia, eventually leads to the inability to carry out even the most basic of bodily functions, such as swallowing or walking. Alzheimer’s is ultimately fatal, as conventional treatment options are few and limited in effectiveness.

Disturbingly, Alzheimer’s has reached epidemic proportions, currently affecting an estimated 5.4 million Americans.1 In the next 20 years it is projected that Alzheimer’s will affect 1 in 4 Americans, rivaling the current prevalence of obesity and diabetes and by 2050, Alzheimer’s diagnoses are projected to triple.2,3

Already, more than half a million Americans die from the disease each year, making it the third leading cause of death in the U.S., right behind heart disease and cancer.4,5 Considering there’s no known cure and so few treatments, prevention is key.

Top Environmental Risk Factors Identified

As with autism, it’s quite reasonable to suspect that a variety of factors are at play, collectively contributing to the rapid rise in Alzheimer’s prevalence.

Experts at the Edinburgh University’s Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre have now compiled a list of top environmental risk factors thought to be contributing to the epidemic.6,7,8 As reported by BBC News:9

“Dementia is known to be associated with lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure in mid-life, smoking, diabetes, obesity, depression and low educational attainment, as well as genetic factors.

But the Edinburgh researchers said a third of dementia risk was unexplained, and they want to determine whether other issues are at play, including the environment.”

Not surprisingly (if you’ve been paying attention to the research), vitamin D deficiency, air pollution and occupational pesticide exposure top this list. Living close to power lines also has “limited yet robust” evidence suggesting it may influence your susceptibility to dementia.

All Forms of Air Pollution Raise Your Dementia Risk

The risk factor with the most robust body of research behind it is air pollution. In fact, they couldn’t find a single study that didn’t show a link between exposure to air pollution and dementia. Particulate matter, nitric oxides, ozone and carbon monoxide have all been linked to an increased risk.

Aside from raising your risk for dementia, a recent World Health Organization (WHO) report10 on environmentally related deaths claim that 1 in 4 deaths worldwide are now related to living and working in a toxic environment — with air pollution being the greatest contributor to this risk. As noted by WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan:

“A healthy environment underpins a healthy population. If countries do not take actions to make environments where people live and work healthy, millions will continue to become ill and die too young.”

During the World Health Assembly, held in May 2016, WHO vowed it “will propose a roadmap to increase the global response by the health sector to reduce the effects of air pollution.”

Pollution, Diabetes and Dementia

American researchers have also warned that exposure to air pollution for as little as one or two months may be enough to increase your risk of diabetes — especially if you’re obese.11

Diabetes, in turn, is a significant risk factor for Alzheimer’s, doubling your chances of contracting this devastating form of dementia. Alzheimer’s was even tentatively referred to as type 3 diabetes at one time.

Recent research has also confirmed that the greater an individual’s insulin resistance, the less sugar they have in key parts of their brain, and these areas typically correspond to the areas affected by Alzheimer’s.12,13

Needless to say, the most significant contributor to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes is not pollution but rather your diet. More specifically, eating a diet that is excessively high in net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber) and too low in healthy fats, which I will discuss further below, can contribute to insulin resistance.

Sensible Sun Exposure Is Important for Brain Health

The Scottish Dementia Research Centre also noted there’s a very clear link between vitamin D deficiency and dementia. Indeed, studies have shown vitamin D plays a critical role in brain health, immune function, gene expression and inflammation — all of which influence Alzheimer’s.

In a 2014 study,14 considered to be the most robust study of its kind at the time, those who were severely deficient in vitamin D had a 125 percent higher risk of developing some form of dementia compared to those with normal levels. According to the authors:

“Our results confirm that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a substantially increased risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease. This adds to the ongoing debate about the role of vitamin D in nonskeletal conditions.”

The findings also suggest there’s a threshold level of circulating vitamin D, below which your risk for dementia increases. This threshold was found to be right around 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) or 50 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L). Please recognize that higher levels are associated with better brain health.

Based on a broader view of the available science, 20 ng/ml is still far too low, as the bulk of the research suggests a healthy range is between 40 to 60 ng/ml, certainly no lower than 40 ng/ml. Sadly, a vast majority of people are severely deficient, in large part because they’ve been fooled into fearing sun exposure.

Researchers have previously estimated that half of the general population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. Among seniors, that estimate reaches as high as 95 percent. This suggests vitamin D may be a very important factor for successful prevention among the general population.

A wide variety of brain tissue contains vitamin D receptors, and when they’re activated by vitamin D, it facilitates nerve growth in your brain.

Researchers also believe that optimal vitamin D levels boost levels of important brain chemicals, and protect brain cells by increasing the effectiveness of glial cells in nursing damaged neurons back to health.

Vitamin D may also exert some of its beneficial effects on your brain through its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, which are well established.

Heart and Brain Health Are Closely Linked

It may be helpful to remember that Alzheimer’s shares many risk factors with heart disease.15 This includes smoking, alcohol use, diabetes, high fasting blood sugar levels, insulin resistance and obesity.16

Arterial stiffness (atherosclerosis) is associated with a hallmark process of Alzheimer’s, namely the buildup of beta-amyloid plaque in your brain.

The American Heart Association (AHA) also warns there’s a strong association between hypertension and brain diseases such as vascular cognitive impairment (loss of brain function caused by impaired blood flow to your brain) and dementia.17

In one clinical trial, test subjects who consumed high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) developed higher risk factors for cardiovascular disease in just two weeks, demonstrating just how influential your diet can be on your heart and brain health in the long term.

Such findings dovetail nicely with the conclusions reached by neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, author of “Grain Brain,” and “Brain Maker,” who has concluded that anything that promotes insulin resistance will ultimately also raise your risk of Alzheimer’s.

Exercise Is Important for Alzheimer’s Prevention

The good news is that lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise and sleep can have a significant impact on your risk. As previously noted by Dr. Richard Lipton of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine — where they study healthy aging — lifestyle changes “look more promising than the drug studies so far” when it comes to addressing neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s.18

Exercise, for example, has been shown to protect your brain from Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and also improves quality of life if you’ve already been diagnosed.19 In one study,20 patients diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s who participated in a four-month-long supervised exercise program had significantly fewer neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with the disease (especially mental speed and attention) than the non-exercising control group.

Other studies21 have shown that aerobic exercise helps reduce tau levels in the brain. (Brain lesions known as tau tangles form when the protein tau collapses into twisted strands that ends up killing your brain cells.) According to co-author Laura Baker:

“These findings are important because they strongly suggest a potent lifestyle intervention such as aerobic exercise can impact Alzheimer’s-related changes in the brain. No currently approved medication can rival these effects.”

Cognitive function and memory22 can also be improved through regular exercise, and this effect is in part related to the effect exercise has on neurogenesis and the regrowth of brain cells. By targeting a gene pathway called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), exercise actually promotes brain cell growth and connectivity.

In one year-long study, elderly individuals who exercised grew and expanded their brain’s memory center by as much as 2 percent per year, where typically that center shrinks with age. It’s also been suggested that exercise can trigger a change in the way the amyloid precursor protein is metabolized,23 thus slowing the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s.

Exercise also increases levels of the protein PGC-1alpha. Research24 has shown that people with Alzheimer’s have less of this protein in their brains, and that cells that contain more of the protein produce less of the toxic amyloid protein associated with Alzheimer’s.

Eating for Brain Health

Reducing your net carbs and increasing healthy fat consumption are another important part of the equation, and my optimized nutrition plan can set you on the right path in that regard.

Research25 from the Mayo Clinic reveals that diets rich in carbohydrates are associated with an 89 percent increased risk for dementia while high-fat diets are associated with a 44 percent reduced risk. Perlmutter places most of his patients on a ketogenic, high-fat and low-net-carb diet that is gluten-free, along with prescribed exercise.

One of the easiest ways to optimize your diet is to make sure you’re only eating real food. Avoid processed foods of all kinds, as they contain a number of ingredients harmful to your brain, including refined sugar, processed fructose, grains (particularly gluten), genetically engineered (GE) ingredients and pesticides like glyphosate (an herbicide thought to be worse than DDT, which has already been linked to Alzheimer’s). Opting for organic produce will help you avoid toxic pesticides.

Also choose organic grass-fed meats and animal products, as animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are routinely fed GE grains contaminated with pesticides, along with a variety of drugs. Some researchers have even suggested Alzheimer’s may be a slow-acting form of mad cow disease, acquired by eating contaminated meats. It’s a rather compelling theory, considering mad cow disease originated in the CAFO system, where herbivores are forced to eat animal parts.

To Protect Your Heart and Brain, Trade Sugar for Healthy Fats, and Other Helpful Tips

Ideally, keep your added sugar levels to a minimum and your total fructose below 25 grams per day, or as low as 15 grams per day if you already have insulin/leptin resistance or any related disorders.

Healthy fats to add to your diet include avocados, butter made from raw, grass-fed organic milk, organic pastured egg yolks, MCT oil, coconuts and coconut oil (coconut oil, and to an even greater degree MCT oil, show particular promise against Alzheimer’s) and raw nuts such as pecans and macadamia, both of which have a near-ideal ratio of protein and healthy fats.

Avoid all trans fats or hydrogenated fats that have been modified in such a way to extend their longevity on the grocery store shelf. This includes margarine, vegetable oils and various butter-like spreads. It’s also advisable to:

  • Avoid gluten. Research shows that your blood-brain barrier is negatively affected by gluten. Gluten also makes your gut more permeable, which allows proteins to get into your bloodstream where they sensitize your immune system and promote inflammation and autoimmunity, both of which play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s.
  • Optimize your gut health by avoiding processed foods, antibiotics and antibacterial products, fluoridated and chlorinated water and by regularly eating traditionally fermented and cultured foods, along with a high-quality probiotic if needed.
  • Optimize your vitamin D. This is ideally done through sensible sun exposure, but as a last resort, vitamin D3 supplements are better than nothing. Just make sure you also increase your intake of vitamin K2 if you take an oral vitamin D supplement. As for dosage, the “right” dose is one that will keep your blood level between 40 and 60 ng/ml.
  • Improve your magnesium levels. Not only does magnesium work in tandem with vitamin D and K2, preliminary research also suggests higher levels of magnesium in the brain help decrease Alzheimer symptoms. Magnesium threonate is one of the few magnesium supplements that appears to be able to actually cross the blood brain barrier, making it my first choice.
  • Increase your intake of animal-based omega-3. I prefer krill oil to fish oil here, as krill oil also contains astaxanthin, which appears to be particularly beneficial for brain health.

Other Alzheimer’s Prevention Strategies

Besides exercise and the key dietary instructions just mentioned, the following suggestions may also be helpful for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease:

Fasting

Ketones are mobilized when you replace nonfiber carbs with healthy fats. Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool to jumpstart your body into remembering how to burn fat and repair the insulin/leptin resistance that is a primary contributing factor for Alzheimer’s.

A folate-rich diet

Vegetables are your best form of folate, and you’d be wise to eat plenty of fresh raw veggies every day. Avoid supplements like folic acid, which is the inferior synthetic version of folate.

If you enjoy black coffee, keep the habit

While I would not encourage you to drink coffee if you’re not already a coffee drinker, if you enjoy it, there’s good news. Caffeine triggers the release of BDNF that activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, thereby improving your brain health.

In one study, people with mild cognitive impairment whose blood levels of caffeine were higher (due to coffee consumption) were less likely to progress to full-blown dementia compared to those who did not drink coffee.26 In another study, older women whose coffee consumption was above average had a lower risk of dementia.27

Just make sure your coffee is organic, as coffee tends to be heavily sprayed with pesticides. For more details on making your coffee habit as healthy as possible, please see my previous article, “Black Coffee in the Morning May Provide Valuable Health Benefits.”

Avoid and eliminate mercury from your body

Dental amalgam fillings, which are 50 percent mercury by weight, are one of the major sources of heavy metal toxicity. However, you really should be healthy prior to having them removed. Once you have adjusted to following the diet described in my optimized nutrition plan, you can follow the mercury detox protocol and then find a biological dentist to have your amalgams removed.

Avoid and eliminate aluminum from your body

Sources of aluminum include antiperspirants, non-stick cookware and vaccine adjuvants, just to mention some of the most common ones. For tips on how to detox aluminum, please see my article, “First Case Study to Show Direct Link between Alzheimer’s and Aluminum Toxicity.”

Avoid flu vaccinations

Most flu vaccines contain both mercury and aluminum.

Avoid statins and anticholinergic drugs

Drugs that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have been shown to increase your risk of dementia. These drugs include certain nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence and certain narcotic pain relievers.

Statin drugs are particularly problematic because they suppress the synthesis of cholesterol, deplete your brain of coenzyme Q10, vitamin K2 and neurotransmitter precursors, and prevent adequate delivery of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble antioxidants to your brain by inhibiting the production of the indispensable carrier biomolecule known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

Get plenty of restorative sleep

Sleep is necessary for maintaining metabolic homeostasis in your brain. Wakefulness is associated with mitochondrial stress; without sufficient sleep, neuron degeneration sets in. While sleep problems are common in Alzheimer’s patients, poor sleep may also be contributing to the disease by driving the buildup of amyloid plaques in your brain.

While you sleep, your brain flushes out waste materials, and if you don’t sleep well, this natural detoxification and clean-out process will be severely hampered.

Challenge your mind daily

Mental stimulation, especially learning something new, such as learning to play an instrument or a new language, is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s. Researchers suspect that mental challenge helps to build up your brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Cooking with Aluminum Foil Puts You at Risk for Alzheimer’s?


Sensationalist stories about how cooking with aluminum foil will give you Alzheimer’s rely on a number of untested assumptions that sometimes strain credulity.

For decades, scientists have alleged a connection between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease, and it has been a long-standing debate within the scientific community.

The specific claim of cooking with aluminum foil often pops up in viral news stories, like the one published on clickbait site awm.com (“Doctors Now Have Warning: If You Use Aluminum Foil, Stop It Or Face Deadly Consequences”) which made this argument:

Simply put, if you cook with aluminum foil, you are playing with your health. The first thing you need to know is that aluminum is bad for your brain. It is a neurotoxic heavy metal that has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease for years.

This claim rests on three assertions. First, that cooking with aluminum foil will liberate aluminum and be transferred to your food in a form that can be ingested; second, that this aluminum will reach your brain in concentrations high enough to be significant; and third, that high concentrations of aluminum in your brain put you at increased risk of Alzheimer’s.

Will cooking with aluminum foil liberate aluminum? Yes, acids typically dissolve metals, and aluminum is no exception. A 2012 study published in the International Journal of Electrochemical Science that is often cited in viral news stories because of its more alarmist claims about Alzheimer’s, investigated how much was liberated by cooking food in foil. Not surprisingly, they found that it varied depending on things like temperature and acidity, but that aluminum did, in fact, leach into food:

Aluminum foil used in cooking provides an easy channel for the metal to enter the human body. The increase in cooking temperature causes more leaching. The leaching is also highly dependent on the pH value of the food solution, salt, and spices added to the food solutions.

How much of that leached aluminum would stay in your body? Not much. Most research on the topic agrees that it’s much less than 1%. A 2011 report in the journal Neuroscience stated that “healthy humans and laboratory rats absorb between 0.06% and 0.4% of ingested Al”.

Could that ~0.4% of leached aluminum make it to your brain? Based on studies that directly injected rats with high doses of aluminum, the answer is yes, but not much. According to the World Health Organization, once the aluminum does make it into your bloodstream, a very small percentage (of an already small percentage of ingested aluminum) actually ends up in your brain:

Approximately 60, 25, 10, 3 and 1% of the aluminium body burden is in the bone, lung, muscle, liver and brain, respectively.

Ultimately, the amount of aluminum you would need to eat on a regular basis to get a buildup in the brain is unrealistically large. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say you do get some of that leached aluminum in your brain. Will it increase your risk factor for Alzheimer’s?

The debate about the connection between aluminum and Alzheimer’s has gone on for decades, originally inspiredby the observation that the brains of Alzheimer’s patients had high concentrations of aluminum compounds and that a major symptom of the disease is the buildup of plaque that contains aluminum compounds.

At the moment the field remains mixed on the role of aluminum as a possible risk factor for Alzheimer’s. Both the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada and the international Alzheimer’s Association’s official stance is that aluminum is not a risk factor for the disease. A 2008 CDC toxicology report describes the scientific consensus in this way:

Although a possible association was proposed over 40 years ago, this association is still highly controversial and there is little consensus regarding current evidence. A number of studies have found weak associations between living in areas with elevated aluminum levels in drinking water and an increased risk (or prevalence) of Alzheimer’s disease; other studies have not found significant associations.

In contrast, no significant associations have been found between tea consumption or antacid use and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease; although the levels of aluminum in tea and antacids are very high compared to drinking water, aluminum from these sources is poorly absorbed. The available data do not suggest that aluminum is a causative agent of Alzheimer’s disease; however, it is possible that it may play a role in the disease development.

More recent studies have come to light that may end up re-invigorating the debate, but both the connection to Alzheimer’s and its mechanism for causing the disease are far from settled science. That being said, it’s incredibly unlikely you are exposing your brain to high concentrations of aluminum by cooking with aluminum foil in the first place.

New study confirms Alzheimer’s and aluminum link can no longer be ignored.


Aluminum has been long known to be neurotoxic, with mounting evidence that chronic exposure is a factor in many neurological diseases, including dementia, autism, and Parkinson’s disease.

However, definitive scientific proof is difficult to establish due toth the lack of longitudinal studies, as well as pushback from industries that use aluminum in their products. Despite the shortage of conclusive studies, mounting scientific evidence really leaves little room for doubt.

Case in point: a new case study from Keele University in the UK1unequivocally shows high levels of aluminum in the brain of an individual exposed to aluminum at work, who later died from Alzheimer’s disease.

While aluminum exposure has been implicated in Alzheimer’s and a number of other neurological diseases, this case claims to be “the first direct link” between Alzheimer’s disease and elevated brain aluminum following occupational exposure.2

The Aluminum-Alzheimer’s Link

The 66 year-old Caucasian man developed an aggressive form of early onset Alzheimer’s disease after eight years of occupational exposure to aluminum dust, which scientists conclude “suggests a prominent role for the olfactory system and lungs in the accumulation of aluminum in the brain.”

This is not the first time high aluminum levels have been found in the tissues of someone who died from Alzheimer’s disease. For example, in 2004, high aluminum levels were found in the tissues of a British woman who died of early-onset Alzheimer’s.

This was 16 years after an industrial accident dumped 20 metric tons of aluminum sulphate into her local drinking water. And there are many studies showing elevated aluminum levels in living individuals displaying a wide range of neurological symptoms.3

Aluminum Can Be an Occupational Hazard

Exposure to aluminum is unfortunately an occupational hazard for those who work in industries like mining, factory work, welding, and agriculture. Not to mention that you ingest aluminum vapors every time your nose catches cigarette smoke wafting by.

Inhaling aluminum dust or vapors sends aluminum particles directly into your lungs in a highly absorbable form, where they pass into your bloodstream and are distributed throughout your body, including your bones and brain. Aluminum powder has been known to cause pulmonary fibrosis, and aluminum factory workers are prone to asthma. Studies of the health effects of aluminum vapors have been grim, pointing to high levels of neurotoxicity.4

So why are most government regulators and physicians so resistant to looking at the health and environmental effects of aluminum? One filmmaker is shining a light on this issue by way of a documentary.

The ‘Dark Side’ of Aluminum Exposed

The featured documentary, The Age of Aluminum, reveals the “dark side” of this toxic metal, exploring the scientific links between aluminum and diseases such as breast cancer and neurological disorders. Also exposed is how aluminum mining and manufacturing have created acute ecological problems across the globe, leading to environmental disasters in Hungary, South Africa, and the UK. In the film, neuroscientist Christopher Shaw reports:5

“Many researchers are beginning to accept that aluminum has some sort of role to play in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Whether it does in others is still an open question, but Alzheimer’s is really coming into focus and it’s fairly clear that the body burden of aluminum from all the sources to which humans are exposed may be contributing to Alzheimer’s disease.”

Aluminum Is Everywhere

Although aluminum occurs naturally in soil, water, and air, we are contributing to the load with the mining and processing of aluminum ores, manufacturing of aluminum products, and the operation of coal-fired power plants and incinerators. Aluminum can’t be destroyed in the environment—it only changes its form by attaching or separating from other particles.

Rain washes aluminum particles out of the air and into our water supply, where they tend to accumulate rather than degrade. If you live in an industrial area, your exposure is undoubtedly higher than average.6

According to CDC, the average adult in the US consumes about seven to nine mg of aluminum per day in food, and a lesser amount from air and water. Only about one percent of the aluminum you ingest orally gets absorbed into your body—the rest is moved out by your digestive tract, provided it’s functioning well.

 When tested in a lab, aluminum contamination has been found in a vast number of products on the market, from foods and beverages to pharmaceuticals, which suggests the manufacturing process itself is a significant part of the problem. Aluminum is found in a shocking number of foods and consumer products, including:
  • Foods such as baking powder, self rising flour, salt, baby formula, coffee creamers, baked goods and processed foods, coloring and caking agents
  • Drugs, such as antacids, analgesics, anti-diarrheals, and others; additives such as magnesium stearate
  • Vaccines—Hepatitis A and B, Hib, DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis), pneumococcal vaccine, Gardasil (HPV), and others
  • Cosmetics and personal care products such as antiperspirants, deodorants(including salt crystals, made of alum), lotions, sunscreens, and shampoos
  • Aluminum products, including foil, cans, juice pouches, tins, and water bottles

Does Your Frozen Dinner Come with a Side of Aluminum?

Aluminum contamination in our food supply is a more significant problem than you may think. In a study published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe,7researchers analyzed 1,431 non-animal foods and beverages for aluminum content. This is what they found:

  • 77.8 percent had an aluminum concentration of up to 10 mg/kg
  • 17.5 percent had aluminum concentrations between 10 and 100 mg\kg
  • 4.6 percent of the samples had aluminum concentrations in excess of 100 mg/kg

Aluminum compounds are often used as additives in foodstuffs. Additional contamination occurs when food comes into contact with aluminum equipment and other items because aluminum is unstable in the presence of acids and bases. Aluminum equipment has a protective oxide film, but this can be damaged as fine fissures develop from normal wear and tear.In the study,8 Table 3 shows the aluminum content of everything from flour and baking mixes to soup, chocolate, beer and wine, and herbal teas. Some products show a wide range of contamination levels, and others are more homogenous. Baked goods are very high because of the common practice of baking and storing foods on aluminum trays.9 The report has numerous other tables that demonstrate how prevalent this toxin is in your food.

If you cook your food in aluminum foil, you are introducing your own contamination. One investigation found that cooking meats in aluminum foil increases their aluminum concentration. Researchers concluded, “eating meals prepared in aluminum foil may carry a health risk by adding to other aluminum sources.” As with many toxins, it isn’t one exposure here and there that is so concerning—it’s the cumulative effect of many smaller exposures over time that can lead to a toxic metal overload and erosion of your health. According to a 2006 study, cooking meat in aluminum foil increased aluminum levels as follows:10

  • Red meats cooked in aluminum foil showed an increase in aluminum by 89 to 378 percent
  • Poultry increased by 76 to 214 percent
  • Aluminum levels increased with higher cooking temperatures and longer cooking times

Aluminum Heads Straight to Your Brain

Aluminum is to your central nervous system as cigarette smoke is to your lungs. Scientists are clear that toxic metals damage brain tissue and lead to degenerative disease by producing oxidative stress—and aluminum is one of the worst offenders. With Alzheimer’s rates skyrocketing, today’s multiple avenues of aluminum exposure are of great concern. Just as with particles in the environment, once aluminum is in your tissues, your body has a difficult time releasing it. This toxic metal serves absolutely no biological purpose, so the less of it you ingest, the better.

Once in your body, it travels around easily, unimpeded, piggybacking on your iron transport system. It crosses biological barriers that normally keep other types of toxins out, such as your blood-brain barrier. Over time, aluminum can accumulate in your brain and do serious damage your neurological health—regardless of your age. Aluminum toxicity may be doing as much damage to our children as to our seniors.

Brain Inflammation in Both Children and Adults

Vaccines present a particularly problematic source of toxic metal exposure. Aluminum is the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant and is considered “safe” even though research shows it may induce serious immunological disorders and neurological complications in humans.

Dr. David Ayoub discusses how the aluminum in vaccines may be even more dangerous than mercury. The number of aluminum-containing vaccines children receive today11 has quadrupled over the past 30 years. In the 1970s, children got only four aluminum-containing vaccines in their first 18 months of life, but now they typically receive 17. And as children’s aluminum burden has increased, so has the prevalence of childhood neurological disorders. In one school, 90 percent of the children developed ADHD during the course of a single school year, and their toxicity profiles all revealed massive amounts of aluminum.

Aluminum is also in vaccines and is used as an adjuvant. If you go by the aluminum content on vaccine labels, the amount kids are getting is excessive, but if you add in the aluminum NOT listed on the labels—”accidental exposure” due to contamination—it’s a much more serious problem. Dr. Ayoub cites one study that found five to six times more aluminum in vaccines than what was actually listed on the labels.

When you review the signs and symptoms of aluminum toxicity, they are shockingly similar to the symptoms of autism, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurological diseases. Vaccine adjuvants can cause serious chronic brain inflammation. Aluminum targets your cerebellum and autonomic nervous system—the part responsible for biological processes over which you have no conscious control (breathing, blood pressure, balance, coordination, etc.). When you look at the MSDS sheet for aluminum, you will see symptoms strikingly similar to those in common neurological diseases, including memory problems, speech impairments and aphasia, dementia, depression, muscle weakness, motor disturbances, and other neurological difficulties. The list goes on and on.12

Researchers Claim New Blood Test May Predict Alzheimer’s

There has never been a way to accurately predict who will get Alzheimer’s, but that may be changing. Researchers at Georgetown University and University of Rochester claim they have found a blood test that predicts this with 90 percent accuracy—and incredibly, with NO false negatives. If further research confirms what researchers expect, this is a medical breakthrough of epic proportions.13

The test involves measuring the patterns of 10 specific lipids (fat-like compounds) associated with the plaques found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. These 10 lipids are highly predictive of whether or not you will become cognitively impaired. All of the people in the study were in their 70s, so the next step is to determine if the test is accurate earlier, say in your 40s and 50s. Researchers say they are still several years away from implementing the test, but they all feel very hopeful.14

Biomarkers such as lipids are tricky for Alzheimer’s because they change during the course of the illness. Some occur in high levels during the early phase of the disease and then actually decrease after symptoms appear—so they are stage dependent. There is clearly much more research that needs to be done before we have a grasp of this disease.15 Even with a test that can predict whether or not you are in the process of developing dementia, there are no good treatments once you have it—so you should be doing everything in your power to prevent it. One of the strategies is helping your body detoxify from metals, such as aluminum.

Aluminum Impairs Your Body’s Ability to Detoxify

Removing mercury from vaccines and replacing it with aluminum may be increasing the problems from BOTH toxins in your body. The reason for this is because aluminum impairs your body’s ability to excrete mercury by impeding your glutathione production. Glutathione is your most important intracellular detoxifier, required for reversing oxidative stress. So, if your aluminum load is high, your body will potentially become more toxic from the mercury from, say, flu shots and fish because you are now on “aluminum overload” and your detoxification system no longer functions well.

Your body requires sulfur to manufacture glutathione, making sulfur an extremely important dietary nutrient when it comes to metal detoxification, which can be optimized through dietary sources. Onions and garlic are good if they are grown in sulfur rich soils, but most soils are unfortunately sulfur deficient. Therefore, animal-based proteins seem to be one of your best bets. Whey protein concentrate is particularly high in cysteine, one of the two sulfur-bearing amino acids that are direct precursors to glutathione.

Please note that if you avoid consuming animal proteins, it is VERY easy to become sulfur deficient, and this may be one of the most significant risk factors for choosing an animal protein-free diet. That doesn’t mean you should go overboard on meat, however! Most people need only about one gram of protein per kilogram of lean body weight, or about half a gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. Also make sure to buy grass-fed and finished meats, as most factory farmed meat is of inferior quality and contaminated with a whole host of veterinary drugs, including antibiotics and growth hormones.

How to Detoxify Aluminum

There are a number of potent chelators you can use to detoxify aluminum. Clearly, your first step would be to avoid further exposure to aluminum. This means avoiding products such as:

  • Toothpaste containing aluminium oxyhydroxide16
  • Antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate, or aluminum-zirconium compounds
  • Aluminum laminated pouch drinks
  • Aluminum cookware
  • Aluminum espresso makers

For serious Alzheimer’s disease, the following chelating agents can be helpful:

  • Silica-rich water, such as Fiji water,17 which contains 83 Mg of silica per liter. Research18 published in 2013 showed that drinking up to one liter of a silicon-rich mineral water daily for 12 weeks effectively excreted aluminum via the urine, without detrimental effects on essential metals such as iron and copper. According to the authors: “We have provided preliminary evidence that over 12 weeks of silicon-rich mineral water therapy the body burden of aluminum fell in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and, concomitantly, cognitive performance showed clinically relevant improvements in at least 3 out of 15 individuals.”
  • Melatonin: Research19, 20, 21 shows that melatonin has a metal binding role and is a useful supplement in the treatment of neurological disorders in which oxidative stress is involved, which includes Alzheimer’s. Melatonin can travel freely across all cellular barriers, facilitating the removal of toxic metals such as aluminum. It also appears to suppress the oxidative activity of aluminum in your brain.
  • Anything that raises your glutathione. Your body synthesizes glutathione from three amino acids: cysteine, glutamate, and glycine. Raw fruits and vegetables, particularly avocado, asparagus, grapefruit, strawberries, orange, tomato, cantaloupe, broccoli, okra, peach, zucchini, and spinach are rich in the precursors glutamate and glycine. Dietary sources of cysteine include eggs, meat, red peppers, garlic, onions, Brussels sprouts, whey protein, and wheat germ. Other helpful treatments for improved glutathione metabolism include:
    • Exercise: Exercise affects your adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels needed to help produce glutathione
    • Optimizing your vitamin D levels through sun exposure: There’s some evidence vitamin D increases intracellular glutathione levels
    • Epsom salt baths
    • MSM supplementation
    • The supplement N-acetyl L-cysteine (NAC) may also be useful. NAC is the rate-limiting nutrient for the formation of the intracellular antioxidant glutathione
  • Curcumin:22 Research23, 24 suggests that curcumin has a protective effect against aluminum-induced damage by modulating the extent of oxidative stress. It also decreases beta-amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s, delays neuron degradation, chelates metals, decreases microglia formation, and has an overall anti-inflammatory, antioxidant effect. Studies have shown that curcumin can help improve memory in Alzheimer’s patients. There are some contraindications25 that curcumin is not recommended if you have biliary tract obstruction (as it stimulates bile secretion), gallstones, obstructive jaundice, or acute biliary colic.

In Summary

It can no longer be argued that aluminum does not have a role in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s—the evidence is very clear and growing. It really should not be surprising that people with aluminum toxicity display many of the same symptoms as those with dementia, Parkinson’s, ADHD, autism, and other neurological diseases, because aluminum targets exactly these areas of your brain and nervous system.

The best way to protect yourself is to be careful about your choices in food and personal products, and minimize your use of vaccines and other drugs that are often contaminated with aluminum.

Optimizing your dietary sulfur is also essential, as your body needs sulfur to manufacture its number one weapon against aluminum overload: glutathione. By taking a few steps to protect yourself, you’ll minimize your exposure while maximizing your body’s ability to rid itself of this toxic metal, which will move you toward a long and healthy life well into your senior years.

Alzheimer’s could be spotted 20 years before the first symptoms appear.


Changes in the brain can give an early indication that Alzheimers's will develop

Spotting the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s Disease could lead to new treatments for preventing the onset of dementia, scientists believe

Alzheimer’s could be spotted in people 20 years before the first symptoms appear, scientists have found.

Researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and the Uppsala University discovered that inflammation occurs in the brain decades before the condition shows any other signs.

It means that in future doctors could predict which people will go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease when there is still time to make lifestyle changes or take drugs to slow down the condition.

Treatments which can put the brakes on dementia are currently undergoing trials and could be available within a few years, so tests which can pick up the disease early are likely to be crucial in future care.

Researchers followed families who were known to carry genes which made them more susceptible toAlzheimer’s. Most of them will develop the condition by the time they are in their mid-50s.

All participants underwent memory tests and brain scans.

The mutation carriers were found to have inflammatory changes – known as astrocyte activation – almost twenty years before the estimated debut of memory problems. Astrocytes are a type of brain cell which increase following an injury to aid repair.

Pensioner having dinner

The researchers also found a crucial window, around seventeen years before symptoms develop, where the sticky amyloid plaques which cause dementia began to increase.

“Inflammatory changes in the form of higher levels of brain astrocytes are thought to be a very early indicator of disease onset,” explains principal investigator Professor Agneta Nordberg at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Centre for Alzheimer Research at the Karolinska Institute.

“Astrocyte activation peaks roughly twenty years before the expected symptoms and then goes into decline, in contrast to the accumulation of amyloid plaques, which increases constantly over time until clinical symptoms show.”

There are currently 850,000 people living with dementia in Britain, most of whom have Alzheimer’s disease. That number is due to rise to one million by 2020 and two million by 2050.

Sir Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld novels

“Our research aims at understanding especially the earliest phases of the disease”
Dr Elena Rodriguez-Vieitez, Karolinska Institute

The researchers say that targeting the initial cause of inflammationcould prevent amyloid plaques ever forming.

“As of today, no therapeutic strategy has succeeded at changing the course of the disease,” said first author Dr Elena Rodriguez-Vieitez.

“The current therapies are only symptomatic, that is, they mitigate symptoms but they don’t change the course of the disease. So, an early diagnosis today would not help prevent dementia using with the currently available drugs.

“Our research aims at understanding especially the earliest phases of the disease. Clinical trials aimed at clearing amyloid plaques have not yet succeeded at curing the disease, and therefore it is necessary to find new therapeutic targets.”

The research was published in the journal Brain.

It comes as a second study appears to confirm the possibility that Alzheimer’s can be transmitted from person to person.

In September, a landmark study by scientists at University College Londonfound Alzheimer’s disease may be transmissible through blood transfusions and medical accidents in the same way as Creuzfeldt Jakob Disease (CJD).

Now a study – published in in the Swiss Medical Weekly – by researchers in Switzerland and Austria have reported autopsy results that suggest Alzheimer’s disease might occasionally be transmitted to people during certain medical treatments

Marijuana Compound Found Superior To Drugs For Alzheimer’s


Marijuana May Be Far Superior To Drugs For Alzheimer's

Could the active ingredient in marijuana, responsible for its characteristic “high,” help turn the tide against the accelerating Alzheimer’s epidemic?

A remarkable study published in the journal Molecular Pharmacology in 2006, found that this long vilified plant contains a compound with not one, but two therapeutic properties ideal for addressing both the surface symptom (memory problems) and root cause (brain plaque) of Alzheimer’s disease.[i]  This is an ironic finding, considering that the prevailing stereotype is that using marijuana “fries” the brain, leading to debilitating memory issues.

Researchers discovered that the psychoactive component of marijuana, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), both “competitively inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE) as well as prevents AChE-induced amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) aggregation.”

On the first account, THC’s ability to inhibit the AChE enzyme, is not unlike the mechanism of action behind most Alzheimer’s drugs on the market today. Drugs like donepezil (trade name Aricept), for instance, by targeting and inhibiting the brain enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE), result in an increase in brain levels of this neurotransmitter, which in turn, results in symptom reduction, i.e. improved memory. Donepezil, however, is riddled with controversy due its well-known association with seizures, which likely reflects its intrinsic neurotoxicity.  It is, in fact, a chemical in the same general chemical class as venom, insecticides and chemical war agents, such as nerve gas.

On the second account, THC’s ability to prevent the acetylcholinesterase-associated amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) aggregation, i.e. brain plaque, indicates that it may, as the researchers noted, “directly impact Alzheimer’s disease pathology.” In fact, they found “Compared to currently approved drugs prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, THC is a considerably superior inhibitor of Aβ aggregation, and this study provides a previously unrecognized molecular mechanism through which cannabinoid molecules may directly impact the progression of this debilitating disease.”

What is so encouraging about this research, and which the researchers described as “noteworthy,” is the following:

THC is a considerably more effective inhibitor of AChE-induced Aβ deposition than the approved drugs for Alzheimer’s disease treatment, donepezil and tacrine, which reduced Aβ aggregation by only 22% and 7%, respectively, at twice the concentration used in our studies.7 Therefore, AChE inhibitors such as THC and its analogues may provide an improved therapeutic for Alzheimer’s disease, augmenting acetylcholine levels by preventing neurotransmitter degradation and reducing Aβ aggregation, thereby simultaneously treating both the symptoms and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

A fungal infection in the brain could be linked to Alzheimer’s, study suggests


A simple brain fungus could be behind some forms of Alzheimer’s, a controversial new study suggests, after the same type of fungal infection was found in brains affected by the degenerative disease. While the results are intriguing, and anti-fungal treatments are now being explored, critics are saying it’s too soon to tell if this could be one of possibly many underlying causes of Alzheimer’s.

“The possibility that AD [Alzheimer’s Disease] is a fungal disease, or that fungal infection is a risk factor for the disease, opens new perspectives for effective therapy for these patients,” concludes the report, published in Scientific Reports. “The slow progression of the disease fits well with the chronic nature of fungal infections if they remain untreated. Moreover, inflammation and activation of the immune system may be due to an infectious fungal agent.”

A team of molecular biologists led by Luis Carrasco from the University of Madrid in Spain examined the brains of 25 cadavers, 14 of which had the degenerative disease. All 14 brains were found to have the same fungus, whereas the other 11 healthy brains showed no trace of it at all. Even with such a small sample size, that’s a strong correlation, and the team is trying to figure out what it means.

At this stage, it’s not clear whether the fungus could be causing the disease or vice versa – but it has the potential to give doctors a clear target for treatment. There are already many anti-fungal drug treatments available for various conditions, and one of these could be adapted in order to treat or slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s.

Scientists have already come to understand how misshapen proteins can kill off nerve cells in the brain, creating pockets of dead tissue that are responsible for the effects of Alzheimer’s. Whether these rogue proteins are just a natural consequence of getting older, or whether there’s some external cause remains to be seen, and the body of research amassed so far has yet to conclude the matter one way or the other.

As other researchers have pointed out, it seems unlikely that the fungus explanation is behind all cases of dementia – previous studies have found hereditary links, suggesting that a gene defect, rather than something external, is to blame. As The Economist explains:

“John Hardy, a neuroscientist at University College, London, points out that one (albeit rare) cause of Alzheimer’s is well-understood. In a few unlucky families the disease appears to be an inherited disorder, caused by mutations of one of three genes. If a fungal infection were the ultimate cause, then those genetic mutations would have to make their carriers so susceptible that 100 percent of them end up infected – something he believes is unlikely. And the very clarity of Carrasco’s result also makes Hardy suspicious.

If that result is right, though, it is still possible that the correlation runs the other way, with Alzheimer’s opening the brain to fungal infection.”

It’s hoped that further research will identify the influence – if any – of fungal infection on the development of Alzheimer’s. Carrasco’s team now wants to trial anti-fungal drugs to see if they have an effect on the onset of the disease in living organisms.