Inflammation and Neurodegeneration Part 2

We know via scientific studies that inflammation plays a critical role in the aging and dysfunction of the human brain. It is absolutely vital that the fire of inflammation is suppressed so as to lessen our chances of Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and other dementias. Recent studies have shown that taking vitamin C and vitamin E could reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease by as much as 78%! But in the medical field, where big Pharma rules, we are told that the standard of care in Alzheimer’s is to prescribe Aricept, the world’s leading so called Alzheimer’s drug. The literature states that it is very effective yet every study that has shown its effectiveness was sponsored by the drug manufacturer. Then in 2004, the first independent study of Aricept showed that the drug produced no measurable reduction in the rate of institutionalization or progression of Alzheimer’s. Aricept is NOT cost effective and its benefits are below minimally relevant thresholds! The drug does not work. WE NEED TO PREVENT THIS DISEASE.

Let’s look at Parkinson’s Disease. We know that homocysteine, an intermediary in the metabolism of the amino acid methionine can cause blood vessel dysfunction and eventually heart disease when it accumulates in the body. What we are now discovering is that it is a direct toxin to the mitochondria in our cells and is thus related to an increased risk of Parkinson’s Disease. Sinemet or levodopa, the drug used to treat Parkinson’s directly elevates homocysteine levels! Drugs that deplete Vitamin B12, folate and Vitamin B6 all have the potential to raise homocysteine levels. Because homocysteine is a mitochondrial toxin, this increases the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s directly. Homocysteine levels should be monitored in everyone proactively. A study found that levels of 14 or greater doubled the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. It is vital that your homocysteine levels be at eight or lower.

Because increased risk for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s can be the result of mitochondrial toxins, it would be wise to enhance mitochondrial activity. Enter CoenzymeQ-10 (CoQ10), a very potent antioxidant. If you look at mitochondria, we know that Parkinson’s patients have low CoQ10 levels (and by the way, so do their spouses, which implicates environment and lifestyle choices!). Yes, lifestyle choices can influence CoQ10 levels and mitochondrial function. Oral CoQ10 does up regulate mitochondrial activity and hence energy levels and can potentially effect the course of neurologic diseases in which mitochondrial function is depressed and in which oxidative stress and damage are present. In yet another study, 80 people with Parkinson’s who were not receiving any other treatment were given 1200mg CoQ10 daily vs a placebo. After 16 months of treatment a 47% rate of decline in the disease was seen in the group taking CoQ10! Patients with parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s should have CoQ10 and antioxidants added to their treatment regimens.

So we have Vitamin C, Vitamin E, B Vitamins and Folic acid and CoQ10, which all offer antioxidant protection to neurons and mitochondria and quench inflammation, eventually having a mitigating effect on the development of neurodegeneration. For example, Vitamin E is very effective in slowing cognitive decline. Add glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant, to this antioxidant cocktail to maximize the anti-inflammatory effects on the nervous system.
Finally, the inescapable truth is that diet has a profound effect upon the development of neurodegenerative disease. Excess body fat predisposes to Parkinson’s. High glycemic diets, type 2 diabetes and a diet high in saturated fat predisposes to Alzheimer’s. It is essential that we all avail ourselves of the benefits of Omega-3-fatty acids. Patients with the highest intake of these, especially DHA will have at least a 78% reduction in the risk for Alzheimer’s.

In the end, the culprit certainly is inflammation. And the cure- the real cure- involves lifestyle change and proper nutrition along with antioxidant protection. This story can have a very happy ending, but it is up to you!!!!

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