Charisma Magazine

Real Hope for the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Epidemic

Written by Don Colbert, MD

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For many of us, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia strike close to home. If that is your current reality, there is something you need to know. It is this: Alzheimer’s and dementia are not the end of the road.

I tell that to patients almost every single day. They come in with worry and fear written across their faces, and when they leave, there is a bounce in their step. They have hope again!

They have hope because they discover that there are effective answers to Alzheimer’s and dementia.

You may have heard about the “switch” that, figuratively speaking, turns these diseases on. You need to know that the same switch can turn them off as well.

That alone is great news!

In fact, I have seen Alzheimer’s and dementia symptoms often be reversed and go away completely. That means you can get your life back! I’ve seen it happen with hundreds of my patients over the years.

There Is Hope

Alzheimer’s and dementia don’t just show up. You don’t “catch it” from someone else. And it certainly is not inevitable with age. Rather, Alzheimer’s and dementia come as a result of many different underlying health issues, problems and concerns that go unaddressed for years, even decades.

Thankfully, God made our bodies in such a way that we can usually undo the damage we may have caused. And with Alzheimer’s and dementia, that is also the case.

It is important to know that people with mild to moderate levels of Alzheimer’s and dementia can improve, get their jobs back, drive again and even be “in remission” with the disease. I’ve seen it too many times to believe otherwise.

So be encouraged. Don’t let fear have another minute of your day! Grab hold of hope and never let it go.

For those with severe Alzheimer’s and dementia, I’ve had many patients experience improvement in their memory and their health. There is much hope there as well.

Of course and always, the best thing you can do is to be preventative, but the second-best plan is to treat any signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia immediately. Don’t wait until next year, as many doctors advise.

And above all, maintain your hope.

How You Can Fight Back

With any sickness or disease, once you remove the cause or source of the problem, your health improves, symptoms usually go away, and you usually get better. That’s how our bodies work.

And that holds true for Alzheimer’s and dementia as well.

How quickly can you expect to see things improve? Sometimes it’s as little as a few months, but months is about average for most patients before they begin to see improvement … but they do see improvement!

Prevention is always the best option for staying healthy and avoiding disease. With Alzheimer’s and dementia, that means providing your body now, every day, with the right environment. When your body is in that healthy environment, you literally leave no room for Alzheimer’s and dementia. That means two things:

  1. If you are currently giving your body the proper environment, you have every reason to stay Alzheimer’s- and dementia-free.
  2. If you are able to provide or return your body to the proper environment, you have every reason to expect Alzheimer’s and dementia to recede, improve and even go away.

You are no doubt wondering, “What is the right environment? How do I get there? What do I need to do?” All of that is answered more fully in The Healthy Brain Zone, but here is a snapshot of what the proper environment will include:

  • Optimal levels of nutrients, hormones and brain growth factors.
  • Minimal or no pathogens or inflammation.
  • No insulin resistance.
  • Not exposed to excessive toxins and having a low toxic burden.
  • Normal homocysteine level (7 or lower).

Most people who are experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia are living in a bad environment that includes these common factors:

  1. Chronic inflammation.
  2. Suboptimal levels of nutrients and hormones and brain growth factors.
  3. Toxins.
  4. Insulin resistance.

Do you suffer from any of these? If so, treat these factors now and you will be well on your way to a healthy environment that is Alzheimer’s and dementia free.

That is how you stay ahead of Alzheimer’s and dementia. But if you find yourself lagging behind, you know what to do. Fix your environment by fixing these common problems. That’s the immediate next step.

How serious are these four factors? Consider just chronic inflammation. It alone is the root cause of all chronic disease, and that includes such diseases as high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, sinusitis, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers, cancers, and Alzheimer’s and dementia, just to name a few.

If you have any of these health problems, then you’ve got chronic inflammation, and chronic inflammation is a direct pathway to Alzheimer’s and dementia.

It’s always about a healthy environment. That is the goal when it comes to addressing and beating these diseases.

Are Alzheimer’s and Dementia in Your Genes?

Everyone has most likely heard about the “Alzheimer’s gene,” and it has many people running scared, but consider this:

Many people without this “Alzheimer’s gene” still get Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Many people with the “Alzheimer’s gene” never get Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Clearly, there is more to it than having or not having this bad gene. Yes, genetic factors do play a part in Alzheimer’s and dementia, but that is nowhere near the end of the conversation.

This “Alzheimer’s gene” is the ApoE4 gene, and it makes it more likely that your body will produce a protein called Apolipoprotein E. This protein then joins with fats to form lipoproteins. The lipoproteins then package cholesterol and other fats and transport them through the blood, all of which causes a reduction in glucose metabolism in your brain (sluggish brain metabolism). This may eventually create much greater inflammation within your brain.

In other words, the ApoE4 gene can slow down your brain’s metabolism. The decreased fuel, energy and nutrients for your brain eventually lead to increased inflammation in the brain, and that can flip on the Alzheimer’s switch.

If you wonder if you have this ApoE4 gene, ask your doctor to test you for it. I request this bloodwork all the time for my patients. And because it’s genetic, if your parents didn’t have it, neither will you. And if you and your spouse don’t have it, neither will your children.

Statistically speaking, you probably don’t have the ApoE4 gene because only 25% of the U.S. population does. You get one copy of the gene from each parent, so you can have none, one or two copies.

Only 20% of the U.S. population has one copy of the ApoE4 gene, and a mere 5% have both copies. It’s worth repeating—having one or both copies of the ApoE4 gene is still no guarantee that you will get Alzheimer’s or dementia.

What is statistically more important is to make sure your body is in the right environment. Even if you don’t carry the gene but do subject your body to an unhealthy environment, over time your body will pay an extreme price.

In industrialized countries like the U.S., it is estimated that 30-50% of people over age 85 are affected by Alzheimer’s disease, but only 2-5% can blame it on their genes. Address both issues, but focus more on creating an environment that provides your body what it needs to remain healthy and strong for the long term.

That is something you can do, starting today, and it has nothing to do with your genes.

You Need a To-Do List for a Healthy Brain

Alzheimer’s and dementia are more the result of our choices than they are a disease, but it’s admittedly hard to make the right choices when we don’t know what we are facing. It’s like needing to know the question and the answer, and that’s difficult, especially when it’s health related.

In The Healthy Brain Zone, we break down the following to-do list completely so that you know exactly what is required for a healthy brain environment, but seeing this list now is encouraging. You can see that it’s doable.

This to-do list is my summary of hundreds of doctors looking for answers, the collective thousands of hours of research, billions of dollars spent searching for a cure and countless lives impacted along the way. It is the best of the best, a proven way to prevent, slow, manage, stop or reverse Alzheimer’s and dementia for anyone.

As you can see, it’s not beyond your reach:

  1. Avoid heavy metals (use chelation agents to remove them from your body).
    • mercury (in silver fillings, fish, cosmetics)
    • arsenic (in some drinking water and foods)
    • lead (in water, gasoline, paint, cigarette smoke, pipes, toys, city dust)
    • cadmium (in certain chocolate, smoking, tobacco)
  2. Test to see if you are part of the 25% of the population that is sensitive to mold.
  3. Treat your body and home for mold (if needed).
  4. Avoid certain antihistamines long term (Benadryl, Atarax).
  5. Avoid certain anticholinergic medications long term (fix the problem; medications are Band-Aids).
  6. Avoid too much copper (take zinc supplements to maintain a 1:1 zinc-to-copper ratio).
  7. Avoid artificial sweeteners (minimize sugar intake as well).
  8. Decrease alcohol intake (dry red wine, in small amounts, is usually OK).
  9. Stop drinking alcohol if you have the ApoE4 gene.
  10. Avoid trans-fats (often in processed foods).
  11. Avoid unnecessary anesthesia if possible; keep oxygen levels high and take glutathione supplement afterward to clear it out of your body (local anesthesia is fine).
  12. Avoid marijuana.
  13. Clear any chronic infections (cold sores, gingivitis, periodontal disease, chronic sinusitis, chronic bronchitis, Lyme disease and Lyme co-infections, and so on).
  14. Reverse insulin resistance (lose weight, follow the healthy Keto diet).
  15. Quench inflammation (fix it, don’t patch it).
  16. Restore your leaky gut.
  17. Do intermittent fasting regularly.
  18. Consistently get a good night’s sleep.
  19. Manage your stress (remove stressors if you can).
  20. Create an exercise habit (and stick to it).
  21. Balance your hormones (optimize if need be).
  22. Feed your body the right foods (a healthy Keto diet or the Mediterranean diet).
  23. Fuel your brain daily.
  24. Strengthen your brain (exercise it every day).

This plan works, and I suggest that you get started on it right away. Every step in the right direction—even if it’s just a little one—still counts toward your health and your healthy brain.

Alzheimer’s and dementia are not inevitable. With the right diet, habits, exercise and choices, you can prevent, slow, manage, stop or reverse Alzheimer’s and dementia if you intervene before you or someone you love has severe dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

There is hope, and that’s the truth.

 Don Colbert, MD, has been a board-certified family practice doctor for over 25 years in Orlando, Florida, and most recently in Dallas, Texas. He is also board-certified in anti-aging medicine through the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and has received extensive training in nutritional and preventive medicine. He is the author of three New York Times best-selling books: Dr. Colbert’s Keto Zone Diet, The Seven Pillars of Health and Dr. Colbert’s “I Can Do This” Diet, along with bestsellers Toxic Relief, the Bible Cure series, Living in Divine Health and Stress Less. He has sold over 10 million books and treated over 50,000 patients in his years of practicing medicine.

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