I just returned from my annual visit to Lima, Peru, and although every trip fills my heart with love from family, this year I've returned sad, broken hearted and filled with ever more purpose.
I visited grandma who has Alzheimer’s disease. I’ve avoided it for a while and I now understood why. I wasn’t prepared to see a woman who I only remember as a sassy, spunky independent pistol, who use to get on the Metro line and disappear for hours in Downtown LA, one who use to rock out in the park with her tai chi girlfriends, and one who use to hike faster than me, reduced to having the verbal and cognitive skills of a nine year old. It was devastating, watching her happiness in seeing me, only to be followed by confusion as to who I was.
I kid about my memory slips, and my 'moments' when I scramble, looking for my keys, only to find that i'm holding them, but imagine being stuck in that situation every minute of your remaining life!
Unfortunately, this scenario is a truth for many of our parents and grandparents. Dementia and Alzheimer's is a growing problem. As a society, we are not prepared to deal with the projected forecast. Researchers predict Alzheimer’s will affect 106 million people by 2050. That is over half our domestic population.
I sat there watching grandma enjoy her daily pastry. I was overcome with memories of her fantastic cooking, but the modern Limeño diet is filled with simple carbs, enriched wheat, sugar, dairy, and fried foods. It's delicious, but this has come at a price. Given the work I do now with the ever growing research on the gut-brain connection, I started to connect the dots of my grandma’s present reality and aging in general.
Many people erroneously dismiss memory problems, depression and brain fog as a consequence of aging, or bad luck in the gene pool.
They are not!
Many people are conditioned to believe that because your mama, grandma, even sister's had it, it's no surprise that you now have IT (whatever IT is for you).
Truth is, 95% of disease is a result of our lifestyle habits, excuses and stories for why we don't have to worry about aging, until we actually see the wrinkles, can't lose the muffin top, our bones aches or constantly find it mission impossible to find our keys.
Less than 5% is a result of what your mama gave you!
With ever growing advancements in medical technology and research, scientists now dubb Alzheimer’s disease as Type 3 diabetes. New research suggests that high levels of blood sugar (insulin) from eating too many carbs and sugar and not enough fat is one major factor leading to chronic inflammation in the brain and body. Having too much sugar on the brain starts the cycle of the brain literally being on fire.
Basically, it goes like this: Too many processed carbohydrates (that boxed morning cereal, pizza, chips, cookies, bread, the good stuff) and sugar and not enough good fats lead to blood sugar chaos, blood sugar chaos leads to inflammation, inflammation leads to every chronic disease you've heard about and speeds up aging.
Technically, it's called Inflammaging.
And, diabetics are four times as likely to develop Alzheimer’s, BUT you do not need to have diabetes to have blood sugar problems.
Inflammation turns on select genes that show up as diseases your parents or grandparents have.
Unfortunately, with Alzheimer’s we are watching the ramifications of generations that were led to believe low fat diets, replaced by convenient processed carbohydrates and sugar were healthy.
But, this doesn’t just magically pop up when we turn 50 or 60.
The process starts as early as you decide what lifestyle habits you're going to repeat or change and show your children.
Ultimately, this is GOOD news! Because, you have complete control of how you age.
The body and brain connection is an ecosystem that gradually destroys or mutually benefits one another. If you’re reading this with a bit of skepticism, just remember, western medicine once thought it was impossible to reverse arterial plaque (high cholesterol). I’ve personally helped hundreds of my patients eliminate their dependence on medication with acupuncture, herbs and diet.
My patient Mary was in the midst of menopause, and although she did not have transitional hormonal symptoms, she noticed her mental capability was declining. She would look for her keys, which were usually in the her other hand, she was having delayed responses, especially while driving, she could not sleep through the night, she was frequently tired but wired and did her best cleaning at 3 am. Her blood pressure was high for the first time in her life. She was startled by the fact her physician prescribed antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication with no other guidance or hope for the future.
When she came to see me, she broke down and felt as if she was ‘‘short circuiting’. She was also devastated that her children noticed changes in her mood, memory and alertness to the point that they could not trust her to watch her grandchildren.
Initially, I worked with Mary twice a week for three weeks using acupuncture. By her third session, Mary was sleeping through the night, uninterrupted and woke up refreshed and energetic. She followed an herbal supplementation and nutrition program designed to clear inflammation, balance hormones and support brain function. Within two months her blood pressure was normal, she lost belly fat, she was sharp, clear and confident. Best of all, she was back on a regular babysitting schedule enjoying her grandchildren. Mary is an exceptional example of how simple lifestyle changes and a commitment to self care can do.
If you know you have a genetic predisposition toward dementia, it can be prevented or reversed by optimizing the things we know affect brain function: Diet, stress, nutritional deficiencies, toxins and hormonal imbalances.
First and foremost, you must control your blood sugar. This will balance your mood, help boost your energy, help you focus and prevent aging related brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Here are 5 basic strategies that can prevent dementia and inflammaging:
These steps go a long way in helping your body and brain recover, heal and experience fewer memory problems.
Even if you are not suffering from memory loss, these steps help decrease inflammation.
If you are ready to achieve lifelong health and longevity, I can show you how. Schedule a FREE 30 minute discovery session with me so we can discuss your health goals, questions or concerns.
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