Ask a doctor about what causes Alzheimer’s disease, and most will answer that the medical industry does not fully understand what causes this disease.
https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-causes-alzheimers-disease. Two days ago, the National Institute for Health – National Institute on Aging stated Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is probably a combination of age, genetics, environmental and lifestyle factors. To fix a problem, you must treat the cause.
AD is diagnosed when amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary (tau) tangles kill neurons. Dead neurons lead to memory loss. What causes amyloid plaques and tau tangles? That is described in my book, Longevity Secrets for Healthy Aging, which can be found on my website. Today, I want to develop another aspect of the causes of AD.
https://www.neuroscientificallychallenged.com/blog/know-your-brain-blood-brain-barrier. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a barricade or obstruction that selectively filters molecules that can enter the brain. This protective mechanism keeps harmful substances out. Scientists do not know much about the BBB, even though it has been known since the 1800s.
They know that small, blood-borne materials (cellular level) circulate through a tightly fused restriction providing the brain with the nutrients it needs. Astrocytes are protrusions extending from the walls of the blood vessels that are part of the BBB structure.
The BBB does not encompass the entire brain. Some functions of the brain require the immediate delivery of hormones to meet the demands of the body. For example, the pituitary gland releases an adrenocorticotrophic hormone that stimulates cortisol. Additionally, this gland regulates human growth hormone production, prolactin, thyroid-stimulating hormone, and more.
Another BBB component is a pericyte, which is a cell along capillary walls that stabilize and regulate blood flow.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210318142530.htm. The University of Washington School of Medicine studied over 150 articles about the BBB and aging. Growing older has a lot of health issues. Some can be addressed if you know about them. Others are part of life. The issue at hand is whether aging causes the BBB to leak.
Leaking is defined as losing pericytes. The journal Nature Aging, 15MAR21, https://www.nature.com/articles/s43587-021-00043-5, has the published results. Is the loss of pericytes part of normal aging, or is it the detection of early disease? That is still unknown.
Patients with small openings or leaks in their BBB have problems with memory. These memory problems are initially considered normal and associated with aging. Could they also be early signs of AD? It is interesting that people with AD also have fewer pericytes!
Some scientists speculate that the loss of pericytes allows the accumulation of beta-amyloid in the brain. Moreover, as the level of pericytes decreases, there appears to be an increase in astrocytes. Is this the response of the brain for self-protection? Research is still ongoing to learn more.
Options to improve and maintain a healthy BBB are regular exercise (keeping oxygen flowing to the brain), caloric restriction (cutting out 30% of the calories required to maintain a healthy weight), and the drug rapamycin, a drug used to coat coronary stents to prevent organ transplant rejection.
https://zyto.com/8-ways-to-support-blood-brain-barrier-health. Regardless, there are simple ways to achieve and maintain a healthy BBB. Caloric restriction was mentioned earlier. Most of us eat by habit and generally eat more than we should daily. That extra layer of fat is an example. Cut back on the quantity of food you eat daily. I suggest using a salad plate rather than a dinner plate to gauge the amount of food you eat at a meal. No seconds!
Nicotine and alcohol can lead to BBB damage. Eliminate smoking and control the level of drinking daily. Quality sleep is an absolute requirement. The BBB requires time to perform its daily duties. Disrupt this cycle, and problems develop down the road. The body needs sleep for many repair mechanisms to function properly.
I am an advocate for eating nutritionally balanced meals. I routinely recommend the Wahls Protocol as a source of knowing what foods provide the thirty-plus nutrients the body needs daily. As part of a healthy diet, we must avoid and eliminate foods that create problems in our bodies – fried foods, sugar, trans fat, processed foods, and more.
We live in a world of electronics. When I was much younger, everything had to be plugged into the wall socket. Nowadays, the air supports the transmission of signals to various electronic gadgets that make our lives much more accessible and enjoyable.
Computers, cell phones, and Wi-Fi are engulfed in electromagnetic radiation (EMF). Prolonged exposure and the nearness of these devices can influence your brain’s health. EMF can influence metabolic processes and disrupt molecular structures in the body.
Some scientists believe that EMF causes neuronal damage and dysfunction. Reduce your exposure! You can turn off your Wi-Fi at night, ensure your cell phone is not emitting radiation (the newer ones have this feature), listen via the speaker rather than putting your cell phone to your ears, and many more options.
Stress affects our bodies in many ways. We see extra layers of fat around our middles as a perfect example. Cortisol levels increase when we do not control stress regularly. Cortisol loves to store fat. Most of us do not recognize low-level stress in our lives. However, it is there. Adopt any one or more of dozen-plus stress-reducing practices daily.
Although prescription drugs were not mentioned in any of the articles I researched for this topic, it occurs to me that when a person is on multiple medications, there is an unknown about the side effects associated with three, four, or more drugs. Doctors treat symptoms with drugs, not the cause of a disease.
Talk to your doctor about a plan to eliminate a drug from your daily regimen of pills. There probably are some changes that can be made in your lifestyle that will negate the need for chemical dependence to treat specific symptoms.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com