When my father turned seventy years old, he was fired from the company he had worked for for many years. He was not ready to stop working and his physical and mental decline after that was rapid and heartbreaking.
In his mid-life, he was robust and energetic, whistling as he got ready to start the day. He would appear at the breakfast table with great enthusiasm, clean shaven and all dressed in a crisp shirt, suit, tie and polished leather shoes. Each day he would proclaim how he loved his work as he walked through the front door.
My father was a traveling salesman, in the true sense of the word, and his car, the vehicle of his freedom, took him to the customers he served. There was no nine-to-five desk job in his world; he got into his Buick every day and chose where he wanted to go. He sold expensive gold jewelry and all the fine jewelry stores throughout California, Nevada and Hawaii knew him as he pulled his sample cases out of the trunk of his alarmed car to display the glittery bracelets, chains, earrings and rings.
As he got older and more vulnerable, he grew more concerned about getting robbed while he was on the road. He had been hearing through the jewelry grapevine that a group of robbers were targeting gold salesmen, following their cars and then trapping them on the road, forcing them to open their trunks and hand over the expensive samples. When it was his turn, the robbers forced him off the freeway and trapped him on a quiet road out of public view. Even with an expensive alarm system in his car, they stole every piece of gold he had and the company he worked for sued him for the loss of the gold samples. By the time the case went to court, my father was deep in the grip of Alzheimer’s and so confused, he couldn’t answer any of the questions his young attorney asked him when she put him on the stand. She wept in frustration and the judge, sympathizing with the situation, dismissed the case.
After that, he and my mother, who became his caregiver, spent their days together. At one point, she was so annoyed with his constant demand for the car keys that she gave them to him and he left the house, slamming the door behind him. He had always driven, so why not now? Regretting what she had done and waiting for hours to hear from him, she finally received a call from a woman who had seen him wondering on the street miles from where they lived. Relieved, my mother picked him up as he waited for her but the car he had taken, the symbol of his life on the road, was lost and never found.
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. . .”
My father loved sugar and by the time he reached forty, he was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes - also known then as “Adult Onset Diabetes”. Until recently, Type 2 Diabetes was only known as a lifestyle condition of adults; these days, we see it in children as well as adults from eating too many sugary cereals, sodas, fruit juice and processed “non-foods” from Trader Joe’s that humans have consumed in excess for the last fifty years.
A precursor to Type 2 Diabetes is a condition called Insulin Resistance. This arises when there is so much glucose roaming through the bloodstream that Insulin stops recognizing it and becomes “resistant” to the one substance - glucose - it is supposed to bind to, pulling it out of the bloodstream to be used for energy. According to Dale Bredesen, M.D., everyone that he tested over the forty years of research he did for his book, “The End of Alzheimer’s”, was Insulin Resistant. This is important because too much Insulin in the body creates extra fat and massive, generalized inflammation in the arteries, organs and finally, the brain, leading to dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
There’s one more important thing connecting sugar, Insulin and inflammation, in relation to Alzheimer’s Disease, and that is a substance called: Insulin Degrading Enzyme. (I know I’m nerding out on you, but please bear with me.). This is important because this enzyme is a direct link to Diabetes and Dementia via a pathway that degrades both Insulin and the amyloid plaques that are prominently seen in people with Alzheimer’s Disease. Like all enzymes, this enzyme’s job is to break down a substance; Insulin Degrading Enzyme will choose to degrade Insulin first, before the amyloid plaques, creating more damage to the brain...In other words, the more Insulin you have, the more amyloid plaques...
Isis has Nothing on Our Food System
-Dale Bredesen, M.D.
As I said in my last two newsletters, (here are links, if you missed them) we now know that even if you carry the ApoE4 genes passed down from a parent or two, it is your lifestyle habits that will create either health or dis-ease. It is your choice to get busy about this now, and become the change you have been seeking...
Here is an outline of the protocol:
-Start with a baseline of tests, including the important inflammatory markers, Homocysteine, the Zinc/Copper ratio, the Omega 6/Omega 3 ratio, hormones and all the vitamins.
-Consider doing 23 and Me, or one of the other genetic tests; this is not essential, but good information.
-If you have family members with Alzheimer’s or if you are starting to have symptoms (like forgetting words), consider going on a Ketogenic diet. Dr. Bredesen calls his version the “Ketoflex Diet”. This type of eating is anti-inflammatory, makes the brain happy and, done properly, uses your own fat for fuel, instead of glucose. Purchase a ketone meter.
-Consider Intermittent Fasting - There is a lot of research now on the benefits of fasting on the brain and longevity. Eating in small, daily windows of time is a healthy practice.
-Make sure your sleep hygiene is good, that you are not interrupted by blue light from electronics for at least an hour before bedtime and you do not have Apnea. This is crucial for brain health. The brain goes through major cleansing during the night and you are also fasting during this time.
-Choose a Mindfulness practice that you do every day.
-Choose an aerobic exercise that you do for at least thirty minutes per day and resistance training two or three times per week.
-Connect with your tribe; having community increases health and longevity, along with joy and laughter.
Confused about how to begin?
**Set up a free 15 minute phone consultation to learn more about the Root Causes of dementia and how I can support you and your family to get your brain on track.
***Set up your first appointment and receive a full list of tests to order, along with key information about important lifestyle changes and a step by step schedule to create a personalized program with guidance from Dr. Potters.
“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”