In my years of writing about ways to lower the risk for Alzheimer’s, I’ve covered a long list of lifestyle habits that can improve your memory.
I’ve explained how exercise protects the brain. How various nutrients keep neurons functioning effectively. How a better night’s sleep boosts the brain.
So what if we took all those good habits, plus a few others, put them all together into a complete plan and enlisted people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s use them all? How much of a difference will it make? . . .
According to one researcher, follow such a plan would work. He believes this kind of program could save the lives – and memories – of many people threatened with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
When Dale Bredesen, M.D. the founding President and CEO of the Buck Institute, analyzed the effects of this kind of regimen on ten patients, he found indications that memory loss can be reversed by means of an individualized program that requires shifts in exercise, eating habits, vitamin supplements and other lifestyle changes.1
“All of these patients had either well-defined mild cognitive impairment (MCI), subjective cognitive impairment (SCI) or had been diagnosed with AD (Alzheimer’s) before beginning the program,” he says. “Follow-up testing showed some of the patients going from abnormal to normal.”
Dr. Bredesen describes one striking success: A 66-year-old with mild cognitive impairment (a frequent forerunner of Alzheimer’s) whose brain was running into blood sugar problems that often presage Alzheimer’s. Besides that, the man’s hippocampus, the brain’s memory center, had shrunk. After almost a year on the program, his hippocampus had regrown, as had his ability to function.
In another case, a 69-year-old entrepreneur was being forced to retire after more than a decade of declining memory. Six months on the program restored his math abilities. Two years later, he was able to expand his business activities instead of abandoning them.
Keys To The Program
There’s nothing secret or far out about most of the elements of Dr. Bredesen’s program. The majority are basic, well-known measures that support brain health. But, he says, the total effect of this constellation of lifestyle changes is greater than the sum of the parts.
His protocol includes:
- Exercise. He says do at least half an hour of brisk walking four or more times a week.
- Keep your stress under control. Meditate, Do yoga. Get more relaxing music into your life.
- Get enough sleep. Dr, Bredesen recommends eight hours a night.
- Get processed foods out of your meals. Eliminate sugar and other simple carbohydrates. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Don’t eat foods with gluten.
- Eat your last meal of the day at least three hours before bed. Eat breakfast 12 hours or more after your previous meal.
- Use supplements to improve your health: Get enough vitamin D3. Take probiotics and prebiotics. Dr. Bredesen advocates curcumin, ashwagandha, melatonin (before bed), CoQ10, vitamin C, natural vitamin E (mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols), alpha lipoic acid and resveratrol.
Dr. Bredesen’s recommendations also include medical interventions such as measuring homocysteine levels in the blood and bringing them down as well as evaluating – and dealing with – heavy metals in the body. He’s written a book called The End of Alzheimer’s that outlines his program.
Long-time readers of this newsletter also saw our interview with Dr. Bredesen in our 14-part series Awakening from Alzheimer’s.
Almost all the things he recommends are things I’ve written about. And I’ve said many times – these are the kinds of healthy lifestyle habits that should be used by anyone who wants a healthy body and mind.