Jan 24 2021

Keep your Gut Healthy to Prevent Dementia

Published by at 12:25 pm under Alzheimer’s,Dementia

Keep your gut healthy to prevent dementia*

As scientists continue to explore the gut-brain connection as it relates to Alzheimer’s disease, develop your own smart habits to keep your brain sharp and healthy.*

During our last blog, we shared with you the exciting research involving the gut-brain connection made by European researchers in which they were able to connect the dots between how gut bacteria is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. While strides are being made in this area of science and health, more needs to be done before any kind of preventative treatments can be established that may help in slowing the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.1*

To recap, researchers discovered that “…certain bacterial products of the intestinal microbiota are correlated with the number of amyloid plaques in the brain. High blood levels of lipopolysaccharides and certain short-chain fatty acids (acetate and valerate) were associated with both large amyloid deposits in the brain. Conversely, high levels of another short-chain fatty acid and butyrate were associated with less amyloid pathology.”…”1*

This research shows the clear connection between particular proteins found in gut microbiota and cerebral amyloidosis “…through a blood inflammatory phenomenon…” Now, the next step for scientists and researchers is to identify specific bacteria, or a group of bacteria, at the core of this phenomenon.1*

Researchers believe that with this discovery comes the possibility of developing a prevention strategy to ward off the development of Alzheimer’s by minimizing the suspect bacteria that lead to the development of amyloidal plaque. The goal would be to determine those bacteria that would be most beneficial and create a ‘bacterial cocktail’ to administer to patients as part of preventative therapy. This would require an early diagnosis. People need to be treated way before the appearance of obvious symptoms. Once the symptoms are present, the disease has already progressed.1*

In the meantime…

Because so little is still known about preventing and treating Alzheimer’s, we can only work with what we know. First of all, Alzheimer’s has a genetic factor. Possessing certain genes makes it more likely for individuals to develop the disease. Genes control how the cells in our bodies function, with some determining such basic characteristics as the color of one’s hair and eyes, while others can make us more likely to develop certain diseases, including Alzheimer’s.2*

According to the Mayo Clinic, “…Researchers have identified a number of genes associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Some genes increase your likelihood of developing the disease (risk genes). Others guarantee that you will develop a disease (deterministic genes), though these are rare. However, genetic risk factors are just one of the factors involved in getting Alzheimer’s disease….”2*

Genetic testing is available to determine if you are at risk of developing Alzheimer’s, though it is not necessarily recommended and doesn’t always mean you will actually develop the disease. The worry it brings could far outweigh any benefit of knowing. This would be a conversation between you and your health care provider, but it is most likely only recommended in rare cases. For a detailed look at genetic testing and the genes that predispose you to Alzheimer’s, visit resource 2 below. 2*

So how do you best protect your brain? Until researchers know more, we need to protect our guts. When you research the advice for maintaining good brain health, you will see it is very similar to what is recommended for maintaining good gut health. According to neurosurgeon Dr. Sajay Gupta, it is important to do the following:  

Exercise to keep the red blood cells in your body and brain open and oxygenated

Sit as little as possible…keep moving

Eat lots of fruits and vegetables (30 different kinds each week is optimal)

Eat berries that are full of antioxidants. Any kind will do!

Sleep well

Engage in social activities (while moving is best)

Challenge and stimulate the brain with new activities

Learning new skills(3,4)*

Another thing that can help the brain is Fasting.

Intermittent Fasting is also known as Intermittent Metabolic Switching (IMS),  has shown to be beneficial for neurodegenerative disorders to include Alzheimer’s because it causes the body to experience autophagy, which is the process by which the body cleans out damaged organelles, encouraging the development of healthy new cells. “…During fasting and extended exercise, adaptive cellular stress-response signaling pathways are activated and autophagy is stimulated, whereas overall protein synthesis is reduced…”4*

Additionally, when we give the digestive tract, liver, stomach, and kidneys a rest, it also gives these organs a break from the pro-inflammatory proteins, lectins, and toxins that we are taking in and does the cleaning of the brain.”… IMS occurs when eating and exercise patterns result in periodic depletion of liver glycogen stores and the associated production of ketones from fatty acids. …”  When we fast, the proteins carried by bacteria from the gut to the brain are not present, so it gives the brain a chance for rest and rejuvenation.4**

Intermittent fasting or IMS occurs rarely or sometimes never when we eat three or more meals per day and are fairly sedentary. In order to do it, avoid eating for 16 hours at a time and keep your body moving. Our bodies were actually made to handle this fasting, and it is good for us, according to Rahul Jandial, MD, Ph.D., “…Intermittent hunger clears the mind, awakens the senses, and improves brain functioning. Plus it lowers your blood sugar, reduces your insulin levels, and helps you lose weight by reducing total calories…”4*

Don’t forget the Body Biotics™

The positive effect that a diverse microbiome has on brain health has been well established through various research studies. If a more diverse gut is at the core of this theory, then we know we need to work on keeping our guts healthy and diverse. This includes reducing antibiotic use which changes the microbial environment of the gut, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, along with fermented foods, and taking Body Biotics Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia.5*

Because the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and blood barriers of the gut can become leakier with aging and illness, we become more susceptible to dysbiosis. By keeping the gut healthy, we can ward off these types of illnesses.   As we age, the food and lifestyle choices we make are all the more important. *

Maintaining a healthy gut is so important for systemic health, and for good brain health. The lifestyle choices you make will make you feel better and you will position yourself for a disease-free life. Eliminate processed foods, eat right, sleep well. Yes, genetics and heredity can predispose you to diseases, but how you live your life can alter the course of your health.*

Healthiest wishes,

Kelli

Resources:

  1. https://theconversation.com/your-gut-microbiome-may-be-linked-to-dementia-parkinsons-disease-and-ms-144367
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/in-depth/alzheimers-genes/art-20046552#:~:text=Because%20you%20inherit%20one%20APOE,your%20risk%20is%20even%20higher.
  3. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/sanjay-gupta-prescription-for-fighting-off-dementia-keep-sharp/
  4. https://youtu.be/a1A05ql6Yyw
  5. https://www.health.com/nutrition/brain-health-intermittent-fasting

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