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Our First Blog Entry

June 13, 2013

Brain Healthy News for June 2013

Mind/Body Autogenic Healing And Stress Reduction

Compiled by David R. Larsen, MFHD

As you know stress kills. It’s a major inhibitor of memory, and the prolonged expression of cortisol, which it creates, can decimate memory cells, impair the immune system, accelerate aging and increase risk for dementia and a host of other ills. So learning how to relax our body and focus our mind’s healing powers can have a major impact on both physical and mental health. In this newsletter I share some fascinating insights for controlling stress, two great new CEU courses on this, and a FREE special report on how to maintain a healthy brain and prevent dementia.

• Strategies for calming your mind and healing your body and brain

• Great new CEU training opportunities

• My summer classes and schedule

• Special FREE Report on how to prevent or arrest dementia, you can share with clients, friends and family!

• New website initiative and offerings

• Try New Optimized Tryptophan for a good night’s sleep!

• Nitric Oxide update

Strategies For Calming Your Mind And Healing Your Body & Brain

One of the first cases studies I ever read about someone who overcame a serious memory problem was conducted by Dharma Khalsa, MD. Dr. Khalsa, believed stress, in addition to poor nutrition, was a major contributor to Alzheimer’s as well as other memory problems. And he advocated meditation for maintaining or improving brain function. Of course several studies have now shown the wisdom in this approach.1, 2, 3

A 2004 University of Wisconsin, Madison study showed the brains of long-term Buddhist practitioners who have meditated every day for many years generated the highest levels of gamma waves--a pattern of brain activity associated with attention, working memory, and learning--ever reported in such studies.

But one doesn’t have to be a Buddhist monk to benefit from autogenic relaxation and meditation. One of the most dramatic studies appeared in the January 30, 2011 issue of Psychiatry Research. In this study they found that Participating in an 8-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. What we pay attention to impacts the actual structure, as well as the health of our brain and body.

Another study at the University of Kentucky further demonstrated the effects of meditation on memory. In this study, subjects who took a late-afternoon test after meditating for 40 minutes had significantly better scores than those who napped for the same period. Subjects were also retested after being deprived of a full night's sleep, and again those who had meditated scored better than their study counterparts.

How could that be? According to Bruce O'Hara, PhD, a coauthor of the study, meditation, like sleep, reduces sensory input, and this quiet state may provide a time for neurons to process and solidify new information and memories. Brain scans also reveal that meditation produces a state somewhat similar to non-REM sleep (which many specialists believe is the more mentally restorative sleep phase). However, unlike when you sleep, consciousness is fully maintained in meditation, so there is no grogginess upon awakening.

In 2011 I was inspired by the story of Jeff Smith who nearly seven years after a disability retirement due to Alzheimer's was able to write an amazingly insightful and articulate article, with no apparent impairment, about “surviving Alzheimer’s” and the various things that had helped him including meditation.

But the health effects of meditation, mindfulness, and other forms of autogenic relaxation extend far beyond memory enhancement, especially when you add in affirmations and guided imagery. Lynn Johnson, PhD has been using relaxation and guided imagery in his counseling practice for many years. He cites studies showing that relaxation and imagery can reduce headaches, and an upset stomach, even nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. It can lower blood pressure and heart rate and decrease stress, pain and anxiety in anxious or depressed individuals. Carl Simonton, MD in his book Getting Well Again described how he used relaxation and guided imagery to optimize immune systems to rid his patients of various types of cancer.

If you have never been taught relaxation techniques, here are some basic instructions.

Start by finding a soft comfortable chair to it in, then do some tensing and releasing (or stretching) of muscle groups, and 3 slower deeper breaths (much like yawning). Sometimes I like to count to 4 as I breathe in and to 5 as I breathe out.

Then repeat to yourself the following self-statements. Repeat every phrase, silently, in your mind, three times. Say the phrase in a quiet, thoughtful way. Pause after and notice how you feel. Focus on your feelings for two or three breaths. Practice each until you feel their relaxing effect, at least twice a day.

I feel quite quiet. . . I am easily relaxed. . .

My right arm feels heavy and relaxed. . . My left arm feels heavy and relaxed. . . My arms feel heavy and relaxed and relaxed . . .

My right leg feels heavy and relaxed. . . My left leg feels heavy and relaxed. . . My arms and legs feel heavy and relaxed and relaxed. . . My hips and stomach are quiet and relaxed . . . My shoulders are heavy and relaxed and relaxed . . My breathing is calm and regular . . . My face is smooth and quiet . . .I am beginning to feel quite relaxed. . .

If you have time, it will also help if you can then vividly imagine yourself in some quite peaceful place or vacation site, in sensory rich detail.

The more often you return your body to this state of restful quiet, the easier and faster this process will become, and the more energy and self-control you will experience.

It’s hard to adequately explain this on paper. There are lots of different methods that work, and almost endless affirmations and imagery that can be used, with color and heat, metaphors, ethereal or imaginary guides and healing visualizations. But the best way to learn this is by experiencing this with a master – someone who really knows what they are doing. And I know just the man, and just the opportunity.

2 Autogenic Relaxation/Healing Training Opportunities

Looking for some great continuing education? I just learned Dr. Lynn Johnson, one of the top experts in autogenic relaxation techniques, will soon be offering a new online course on Autogenic Training – Meditation and Healing for professionals. The modules will include:

• Autogenic Training – overview and benefits

• Meditation How it works -- Basic Essentials plus advanced insights

• Healing and Pain Relief – The results may amaze you

• Mental Training – How to train your brain to get the most from your mind

• Sleep Skills – How to sleep deeper and longer and wake refreshed

• Love and Compassion – Healing ourselves and humanity in practical ways

Our First Blog Entry


Don’t Waste Your Money: What Really Works in Reversing Cognitive Decline & 

December 5th, 2017

So you know someone who’s not as sharp as they used to be. Maybe they’re having difficulties with their memory or mood. You want them to get better soon, but at minimal cost – you don’t want them to waste their money. What should they do? There are many options, especially with supplements. Many products and voices with fantastic claims. Which course should they choose?

The Most Common May Not Be The Best Approach

The most common approach involves conducting a little experiment on a product we’ve heard about, saw advertised or which helped a friend. Maybe we saw an ad about Prevagen, the jelly fish protein, shown to improve memory, or curcumin, that reduces inflammation in the brain, or vitamin B-12 or CoQ10, essential to energy production, and there’s a plethora of great herbs and extracts – Rhodiola, resveratrol, Green tea, Marijuana CBD & Omega-3’s, and many more. And they all, have “good” research and testimonials to support their value.

So we choose one. Take it for a month and see what it does. If we notice a difference great! We’ll stay on that. If not we’ll drop that and move on to something else. After all, that’s the approach most doctor’s take with most conditions. For each problem there is a drug, that should fix that, in relatively short order.  If they do, great! Stay on it. If not, move to something else. That works, right? Or does it?

Drugs often work quickly, and some are pretty good at disrupting chemistry to reduce things out of whack like anxiety, agitation, pain, bad bugs, blood sugar, LDL cholesterol, etc. But they don’t often build or repair tissues.  With some notable exceptions, most drugs only address symptoms. They don’t usually address the underlying issues. So while they often alleviate the symptoms they don’t often provide a cure, rebuild tissues or correct the cause of the underlying disorder.  And in Alzheimer’s they don’t even do much to control the symptoms. At least not for long. Moreover, in more than 130 trials costing billions, no drug has been shown to address root causes and significantly reverse the disease process, even in the early stages.

What Works – A Better Approach

While the one intervention at a time approach, has been the standard for a long time, researchers are now noting this may be one of our biggest obstacles to progress. Why? Because human biochemistry and systems are much more complex and interdependent than this model suggests. And while this “one at a time” approach may be necessary for potentially toxic drug interventions, that is not in line with how the body and brain work. The body with it’s brain is an incredibly complex organism with billions of nutrient dependent parts that must work in concert, with a myriad of interdependent systems.

We know the brain is a nutrient hog, that it requires a variety of fats (lipids), proteins (amino acids), vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, probiotics, antioxidants, and many other micro and phytonutrients in order to maintain its structures, create the energy, enzymes, hormones, catalysts, cofactors, neurotransmitters, signaling molecules, immune system, and other things that it needs to function properly.  Moreover, each of these actions and others requires a variety of nutrients working in harmony.

Here is one example of the complexity of this problem. One of the essential needs for the brain to make memories is energy. Every cell in our brain has tiny energy generators called mitochondria. However, as we age our mitochondria begin to deteriorate, and produce less energy and more free radicals – a byproduct of oxygen and energy generation – like the exhaust from an engine. These free radicals if not kept in check cause oxidation, a type of rusting in our body that can damage cells.

So a healthy body produces very powerful antioxidants to quench or control these free radicals. Biologists now know that mitochondrial decline and oxidative damage from free radicals are primary causes of the aging process – physical and mental decline.  People with Alzheimer’s for example tend to have a lot more oxidative damage in their brain, and much less energy production.

So what do our mitochondria need to stay healthy? To produce more energy and fewer free radicals?  Mark Hyman, MD in the Ultra Mind Solution identifies 12  nutrients essential to the function of our mitochondria. Here is a quote from his book on this subject.

“A number of basics are essential, including omega-3 fats, which make up the membrane of the mitochondria, and the two B vitamins, niacin (B3) and riboflavin (B2), which are necessary to help the enzymes involved in turning food into energy in our mitochondria. We get others from our diet or our bodies produce them. But as we age, or are exposed to any type of physical, toxic, or emotional stress, we need to replace these nutrients.

The top mitochondrial nutrients are acetyl-L-carnitine, alpha lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, NADH, D-ribose, magnesium, riboflavin, niacin, and n-acetyl cysteine (NAC).” [Also important are  thyroid hormones, Thiamine (B1) Pantothenic acid (B5), Biotin (B7), Pyridoxal (B6), folate and cobalamin (B12)]

Dr. Bruce Ames, of UC Berkley has shown that supplementing with the above noted nutrients can “reduce mitochondrial injury and the effects of aging on the brain, including memory, learning, and speed of motor function. The key he says is not to get focused on just one nutrient, but to use a whole team of natural compounds to help the body function the way it was designed.” (p. 258)

A Broader Spectrum Personalized Plan Seems Best

Energy production is just one part of the memory making process, there are at least 6 additional structures or system that have to be functioning well, all of which require a variety of nutrients and good circulation.

In fact Dr. Bredesen at UCLA uses the number 36, noting that there are at least 36 potential glitches or gaps that contribute to cognitive decline.  He compares Alzheimer’s to a house hit by a hail storm with potentially 36 holes in it’s roof.  Taking a few vitamins, minerals. herbs, going for walks, brain games, etc, may help patch some of these holes, but you will still have leakage, loss of energy, and continued cognitive decline if you don’t patch all of the holes, or at least a large majority of them.

Research on memory loss with single nutrients like vitamin E, B-12, folic acid, DHA, L-carnitine, etc., have generally been relatively ineffective in reversing cognitive decline. And often that has been interpreted to mean they are not helpful. But in the studies where these were  combined with other nutrients, significant positive effects have been achieved. And even more so, when a wider variety of nutrients are combined with other healthy foods, mental and physical activities, etc.  Taken together these can produce a powerful synergistic effect!

Moreover, the brain is pretty good at taking care of itself. It has a variety of repair systems etc., to prevent structural and functional decline. So bottom line, if you know someone experiencing significant cognitive decline, especially a senior, that means they likely have a variety of things going wrong upstairs.  A variety of holes in their roof, to use that analogy. And one or two or even 6 or 8 vitamins, or a few lipids, proteins, herbs, extracts etc., will likely not be enough to turn things around for long.

Have you ever wondered why some medications, like antidepressants, can work for a while but then stop working? One reason is because these medications require other nutrients or “cofactors” to be effective. But once these other cofactors, like folic acid and magnesium, become depleted and our body becomes deficient, the meds stop working.

This is why scientists have now come to the realization that there will never be a single pill that will consistently arrest or prevent Alzheimer’s.  And every program in the world, that is now making good progress in arresting the various forms of cognitive decline uses a combined, multifactor, synergistic approach.

For example here are quotes from articles involving two prominent traditional researchers in this field. First Dr. Reisa Sperling, director of the Center for Alzheimer’s Research at Harvard Medical School, in 2013 noted “This year is different because multiple mechanisms are being explored and there’s a tremendous revival of faith in the anti-amyloid approach.’ [Which actually never panned out, but…] She expresses hopes for “the development of several drugs that work in different ways, so they can be used together as ‘a 1-2-3 punch’ against the disease. Similar combination treatments are currently used in the treatment of cancer and cardiovascular disease.”

Dr. Ronald Petersen, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, thinks Sperling is right about the multi-prong approach. He noted, “Another 5 to 8 years down the road, even before symptoms appear, we will be treating with a cocktail of therapies.”

And in fact that is precisely how progress was achieved in the Finnish/Swedish FINGER study where they reversed cognitive decline in more than 600 Finish seniors. This is the approach  Dale Bredesen, MD  used at UCLA in reversing 9 out of 10 cases of Alzheimer’s (and now over a 100 more), Vincent Fortanasce, MD of USC, in reversing decline in more than 60 seniors in his clinic near LA, Majid Fotuhi, MD, former science director for the Alzheimer’s Association,  who turned around 127 impaired seniors with cognitive impairments, David Perlmutter, MD in Florida, who is doing the same, the American Brain Council, for whom I work, and now dozens of other practitioners and researchers around the world who are now turning around cases of cognitive decline by the hundreds. Every last one of them – who are achieving reversals – is using a similar combined personalized synergistic approach.  Because these disorders of the brain are simply too complex to effectively address in any other way.

Bottom Line

So next time you are tempted to try some new single bottle of something advertised to improve memory and reverse cognitive decline, just remember, if you are over the age of 55 and, especially if you have had this decline for a while the odds are against that single item doing much good. Because it will likely only be addressing one small piece of a much more complex puzzle.  It may do some good, but it likely won’t accomplish all that you need to achieve the success and lasting reversal that you desire. As Dr. Bredesen notes, “This is not easy.” There is likely more that needs to be addressed than a couple of pills in a single bottle will fix. One the other hand, it’s helpful to know which supplements are most likely needed, so as not to waste your money on things your body doesn’t need as well.

However, the really good news is that if you get a good analysis done to determine your likely needs and then combine an improved diet, with a variety of supplements specific to your needs, PLUS, a variety of physical and mental activities appropriate for you, improved hearing and vision, stress reduction if needed, maybe meditation, fasting, a good night’s sleep, a medication review, and maybe one or two other things (Bredesen draws from 36 possible interventions) then you have a pretty good chance of achieving success quicker, without further costly decline.

So where can you obtain this needed analysis and how do you find someone who can help orchestrate a plan that will work for you?  Unfortunately there are not yet as many clinics who provide this service as is needed. Dr. Bredesen, the Amen clinics, the American Brain Council, and others are working to provides these services throughout the US. And hopefully soon there will be one near you.  For more information now on specialists and resources in your area familiar with this approach you can call the American Brain Council at (866) 634-9880 or email me your questions or request at [email protected]

September 18, 2017

14 Doctors Reversing Alzheimer’s Now!

For the first time ever 14 of the most brilliant minds in Alzheimer’s research will come together in a Free 12-day online documentary to share almost everything they’ve learned about actually REVERSING this disease process.  This begins Thursday 21 Sept and runs through October 2nd.

And this isn’t pie-in-the-sky. Most of the doctors interviewed for this event are reversing Alzheimer’s now – today – for hundreds of patients, in more than a dozen clinics around the world.

The event is called Awakening from Alzheimer’s, and it’s an inspiring beacon of hope for the millions around the world who’ve been touched by this devastating disease.

There’s no charge to view these videos and learn from these world class experts. Trust me – you won’t want to miss a SINGLE episode.

It’s hard to describe how it feels to finally see that Alzheimer’s CAN be defeated, and hear the stories of people who have actually done it!

You’ll just have to experience it for yourself.

Take a few minutes and watch the trailer here.

Then invite your friends to  come to this site and check out these links as well.

This information could literally change their lives, and spare them much grief in the process.

June 27,  2017

While there are many factors that can affect mental health and memory, good nutrition is without a doubt the most important. Nothing else works optimally without it—not exercise, not brain games, nothing! This, in fact, is one reason why physical activity has been shown to be helpful for the brain, as it helps to improve the digestion, circulation and assimilation of nutrients to the brain.

However, as we age we tend not to eat or exercise as much or as well as when we were younger. Moreover, as we age our immune, digestive, endocrine, metabolic and other systems tend to slow down, as our cells break down and die off at a faster rate. These changes in addition to environmental toxins can put a strain and drain on our nutritional resources leaving an aging body less capable of creating adequate amounts of endogenous antioxidants and other biochemistry needed to make repairs and function properly.

These are some of the reasons why older individuals tend to have more significant deficits in key nutrients and are at much higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Conversely this is why boosting key nutrients has been shown to be one of the fastest ways to improve cognitive function, mood and memory.

Various Nutrients Are Needed

A wide variety of nutrients are essential to maintaining the structures, biochemistry and energy needed to keep our brain functioning at optimal levels.

The brain has a higher need for a more diverse array of nutrients than any other part of our body. While it’s primarily made of fatty acids, it also requires various B-vitamins, minerals, amino acid, antioxidants as well as other phytonutrients to perform it’s many functions of support, repair, neuro-signaling etc.

For example, while it is true that memory problems suggest some nutrient is lacking in the brain, there are at least seven good candidates for what that nutrient might be. So a supplement that contains only one, or even a few nutrients, may be insufficient.

Moreover, unlike drugs that can often conflict, nutrients work in concert and often synergistically with each other. Generally, several are needed in sufficient amounts simultaneously in order to make a difference. For example, a recent review of the B-vitamins in brain health concluded:

“The B vitamins represent a group of eight essential dietary micronutrients that work closely in concert at a cellular level and which are absolutely essential for every aspect of brain function.” [1]

So it’s no wonder the newest best tested brain formulations contain a variety of scientifically validated essential nutrients. And of these formulations perhaps the best has been the drink mix called Memoryze™.

The 12 nutrients and herbs in Memoryze™ provide a broader array of brain and memory supporting nutrients, at higher levels, than any other formulation I am aware of.  Each has been shown in various clinical studies to safely and effectively address a wide variety of potential problems within the brain. Below is a summary. Click on each nutrient for a link to more information. (Additionally, recently I had the privilege of presenting on this topic as part of the Integrative Health Series at Torrance Memorial Medical Center in Torrance, CA. You can view that 90 min lecture by clicking here if you’d like. Arrow down to Past Lectures.)

For example, the 3 B vitamins are critical to maintain the health of various brain cell structures, such as synapses and microtubules, that transport chemical messengers, as well energy producing mitochondria. Taken together they have been shown to improve mood, reduce inflammation and brain shrinkage as well as age related memory decline.[2],[3],[4]

 Vitamins C & E help protect the various structures of the brain from oxidative damage, widely associated with cognitive decline.[5],[6],[7] 

 Resveratrol from the skins of grapes is a powerful plant based antioxidant now shown to help protect the vascular system in the brain and memory from inflammation, age and disease related decline, and promote mental health, brain growth and longevity, so our body doesn’t outlast our brain.[8], [9] 

Curcumin from the spice turmeric plays a variety of roles in maintaining the brain. Studies in the US and India show it helps reduce inflammation from traumatic brain injuries,[10] enhances the immune system, reduces beta amyloid plaque,[11] and helps to restore brain cells function.[12]  It can also protect the brain against the devastating consequences of stroke and exposure to toxic heavy metals.[13] And more recent research suggests it may help in overcoming depression as well.[14]

These work synergistically with N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) also in Memoryze, to support and regenerate glutathione the most powerful cellular protector in the human brain.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) helps protect against Alzheimer’s in a variety of ways. It helps in the synthesis of acetylcholine, the chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) needed to make memories, plus it’s been shown to reverse damage in the receptor sites as well. This is very significant, since a loss of receptors is believed to be a significant cause of decreased function in dementia patients.  It is also required by our body to transport fats into our cells mitochondria, where they can be used to produce ATP the energy brain cells need for thinking, concentration and learning.[15],[16],[17]

A review of related clinical studies nearly 20 years ago showed that ALCAR could slow the natural course of AD.[18]  Two 2003 studies showed Alzheimer’s patients who took high amounts reported improvements in memory compared to patients receiving placebo.[19]

In an Italian study, were Alzheimer’s patients in the early phases of the disease took 2 grams of acetyl-L-carnitine daily for three months, functional response rates improved 30% with Aricept® but 50% with the addition of ALCAR.[20] Another placebo-controlled, double-blind study with younger AD subjects, conducted at Stanford University concluded, “Acetyl-L-carnitine slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in younger subjects.”[21]

This works synergistically with another  ingredient in the formula:

Alpha GPC (Glycerylphosphoryl) Choline provides the basic building block for the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine required to make memories. In one study of more than 2,000 subjects with memory impairment Alpha GPC was shown to reverse cognitive decline and forgetfulness in 71% of the patients.[22] ALCAR and Alpha GPC work synergistically in the brain with our next ingredient

Phosphatidylserine is another fatty acid essential for building brain cells and neuron networks, which store memories. This is one of the best documented nutrients for dementia prevention and memory enhancement.  In patients who had serious cognitive decline PET scans revealed that, after taking 500 mg of phosphatidylserine every day for 3 weeks, every study participant showed significantly enhanced glucose metabolism (i.e. energy production) across all brain regions, compared to baseline scans.[23] In another double-blind, placebo-controlled study, with cognitively impaired patients those who took 300 milligrams per day (mg/day) of phosphatidylserine performed significantly better on standardized memory tests at the end of the 12-week trial period.[24]

Finally Rhodiola  is a powerful herb found in Asia and Eastern Europe. It’s best known for its ability to reduce the stress hormone cortisol and thus counteract the mental and physical effects of stress on the hippocampus where memories are made and retrieved.[25],[26] This potent herb has also been shown to support healthy oxygen levels as well as key brain chemicals involved in regulating mood, and increasing mental energy for thinking and remembering.[27]

September 14, 2016

Time Magazine Article on Preventing Cognitive Decline & Calcium warning

“I felt like jumping up and down in the middle of the conference hall… Diet, exercise, sleep and stress: those are generally not considered culprits for a problem as big as dementia. But for the first time, we have evidence that levels of tau”— thought to be a marker of Alzheimer’s— “can change with lifestyle interventions such as exercise. The whole thing is coming together.”

Those were the recent words of Dr. Majid Fotuhi, former science director for the Alzheimer’s Assoc (when I started teaching for them back in 2008) after their international conference in July.  Unfortunately, not long after he left that post the Alz Assoc took a turn away from diet and lifestyle, to hang their hat on pharmaceutical interventions. However, these have, by in large, turned out to be a waste of time and money. But now we are seeing a return to these simple lifestyle practices and researchers are finding that indeed they can have a powerful impact on brain health. And that’s what this recent (Aug 22) article from Time magazine is all about.

I wish this article were available online and I could just link you to it,* but since it is not I will herein try to summarize and reinforce what I think are it’s (or Dr. Fotuhi’s) most important points. Some of these you have likely heard here before, but repetition is the mother of memory and another authoritative confirmation can be reassuring, both to you and your patients/clients, that we are on the right track.

First, they note “doctors do not have a reliable way to treat dementia with drugs.”

Second, you can take care of your brain the same way you take care of your teeth or the rest of your body – i.e. by developing brain healthy habits.

Third, A “glut of new research” shows that “reasonable lifestyle choices―including exercise and targeted brain training―may indeed protect the brain as it ages.”

Forth, Dr. Fotuhi is described as “a neurologist who specializes in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.” That’s interesting since just last year the PR director for the Alzheimer’s Assoc, chided me for suggesting Alzheimer’s could be prevented. Moreover, Fotuhi’s efforts are primarily focused on lifestyle interventions, rather than pharmaceuticals, which begs the question as to which are really the most powerful in promoting brain health.

Fifth, they note that while the amyloid cascade hy­pothesis once dominated the field, now “other factors—such as heart health, sleep quality and physical activity—are emerging as potential ways to help prevent dementia in some people.”  “Lifestyle changes” they note, “may be the best prevention we know of right now.”

They mention a 2014 article published in The Lancet Neurology, wherein researchers projected that almost a third of the cases of Alz­heimer’s disease worldwide—9.6 mil­lion of them—could be prevented by things that are within most people’s power to change: hypertension in mid­dle age, diabetes, obesity, physical activ­ity, depression, smoking and low educa­tion were all found to play a role.

Actually “a third” is likely low as the Wales Carephilly 34 year study (one of the only studies to actually measure this effect) suggested at least 60% of cases could be prevented by living a lifestyle that reduced such risk factors. That does not include the protective impact hearing aids could have in upwards of 36% of dementia cases.

The article noted six areas for intervention. These include:


“Of all the things you can do, reducing the risk of heart disease has the strongest evidence of benefits for the brain. That means treating hyper­tension, … obesity and Type 2 diabetes.”  Other recommendations they include:






Note all of these are discussed at length in our Dementia Prevention course. The one omission here being Diet and Nutrition, although the Mediterranean diet is emphasized at Fotuhi’s center. Although there is no mention of supplements, which may account for the fact that, even though Dr. Fotuhi’s course cost’s up to $7000 for three months, the results so far have not proven to be quite as good as in Dr. Bredesen’s program, or Dr. Shea’s research. As Dr. Shea has noted, it’s very difficult for older seniors to overcome their nutritional deficits with diet alone.

Nevertheless, when Fotuhi and his colleagues tallied the effects of their program in the Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease, they noted that of 127 older pa­tients with mild cognitive impairment, 84% showed significant improvement in at least three areas of cognitive func­tion. Which is a much higher percentage than the 33% “third” the above noted experts and advocates of lifestyle predicted.

The article also has a nice quote from Dr. Kristine Yaffe of the University of California, San Francisco, who is a leading researcher on predictors of dementia. She notes “Lifestyle factors are so important, even though they sound sort of soft, and a lot of people therefore think they can’t possibly be that effective. But…. They’re not expensive, they don’t have side effects, and they’re good for the rest of the body too. So why wouldn’t you make lifestyle changes?”

Additionally they note that “the earlier that people begin preventive measures, the better. That said, it’s never too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle.” A randomized con­trolled trial presented at the Alzheimer’s Association conference showed that even sedentary elderly people with mild cogni­tive impairment can improve their brains by starting to exercise.

* All in all it was a great article. I would encourage you to obtain a copy to share with your patients. To do so you can go to

But you’d have to pay at least $2.99 for a month’s subscription. Or find and copy it from your local library which is what I did.  Time will also send you the issue for $6.

“Calcium supplements tied to higher dementia risk for some women”

Such is the headline accompanying a new study recently reported online. See

I wanted to share this bit of news with you because many seniors are advised to take calcium supplements to strengthen their bones. However, as this new study suggests, if they don’t take in other nutrients to control and direct that supplement it can end up in their arteries rather than their bones. Such is said to be a significant contributor to hardening of the arteries in old age, which can affect cognitive health, as this study showed.

I have a close friend, who lives a very healthy lifestyle, who nearly died from such (a blockage in his heart due to calcium supplements and excessive calcium in his veins). In fact had he not been exercising on a regular basis he would have.

Moreover, while calcium is also used in the brain, calcium disregulation in the brain is a major contributor to cognitive decline.

So, if a person is going to take a calcium supplement, it’s important that they take magnesium and other nutrients as well. Actually magnesium deficiencies are more common in seniors than calcium deficiencies, especially in those with hearing problems, and magnesium (which has more than 300 uses in the body) helps to balance calcium in the body and brain. A tiny trace mineral called boron, is also critical for proper calcium assimilation as well as exercise and hormones particularly estrogen in women. Vitamin D3 from sunlight or supplements, and vitamin K2 from green veggies, are also important. In fact the best sources for calcium and magnesium are likely a good assortment of vegetables, which contain those other cofactors as well.

Last year we were able to turn around a case of osteoporosis in one of my clients who is now 90 years of age, with such a regimen.

Dairy is touted as being high in calcium, but it lacks cofactors and many adults have problems with dairy and lactose intolerance. Canned sardines or salmon may be an easy way to replace a large portion of dairy calcium. Tofu, bok choy, collard green, beet greens and turnip greens are examples of good veggie sources, containing important cofactors like K2 and magnesium.

p.s. At the beginning of the Time article they mention tau tangles as being a sign of Alzheimer’s. You may recall that Dr. Shea’s research at UMass showed that folate can also help to keep tau from getting tangled, and the primary source for this important nutrient, is… you guessed it ― vegetables!


August 9, 2016

Advancements in Dementia Prevention from the 2016 International Conference on Alzheimer’s

This annual Alzheimer’s Research conference, attended by thousands of researchers from around the world, was held once again during the 3rd week of July, in Toronto Canada. And once again they unveiled some very encouraging research related to early detection and prevention, as well as another drug failure. Here are a few of the more practical highlights.

Early Detection

Two new tests for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) were revealed. The first, comes from a simple eye exam. The researchers found that “if the retinal nerve that comes out of the brain is getting narrower,” then a similar loss in nerve tissue is also likely occurring within the brain.

This thinning of the retinal nerve fiber layer in the back of the eye was more prominent in people who performed more poorly in testing of cognitive skills like memory, reasoning and reaction time.

Researchers in the past have found that other eye problems like diabetes retinopathy and dancing vision are also indicators of other neurological problems deep within the brain.

The seconds method tests one’s sense of smell. As cognitive impairment develops, the brain may be less capable of identifying various smells.  So this test involved a panel of 40 scratch-and-sniff surfaces scented  with a range of familiar scents including turpentine, lemon, licorice, bubble gum and even “eau de skunk.” (If a person can’t smell skunk I would say they have a real problem.)

If you can identify 35 or more of them, it’s unlikely you have Alzheimer’s. Below 35, suggests deterioration has occurred in at least the part of the brain that identifies smells.

Helps To Prevent Alzheimer’s

On a more encouraging note, another study found computer based speed and recognition training appeared to be very helpful in maintaining a healthy brain and reducing risk for dementia. As I noted last year this has been a topic of considerable controversy over the past few years, with many “experts” expressing their opinion that computer based games are of little practical value in promoting brain health.

So in this study they did both a meta-analysis of more than 50 peer-reviewed studies examining a particular type of training called “speed of processing training;” and they conducted their own study of the efficacy of such training. .

As we note in chapter 8 of our new book How to Maintain A Healthy Brain, “as we age our brain processing speed tends to slow down, …  People with Alzheimer’s often exhibit much slower brain processing speeds ….  That’s one reason why they have a harder time keeping up with conversations, and a good reason why they should not be driving.

One way to potentially arrest this slowdown and shrinkage is through mental speed work, pushing ourselves periodically to remember or process information faster. Speed drills, if not overdone, apparently can do for our brain what weightlifting does for our muscles.”

Their study, called the ACTIVE study (Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly) then tested the validity of that proposition – that speed training could strengthen the brain. It consisted of 2,832 participants, ages 65 to 94. The sample was 74 percent white and 26 percent African-American and 76 percent women.

This randomized trial was also designed to test the long-term value of this type of brain training for preventing cognitive impairments that adversely affect one’s ability to perform activities of daily living.

The biggest criticism of brain games has been that they don’t generalize to other normal daily activities, therefore, this study was designed to test that proposition as well.

According to Jerri Edwards, PhD, from U of South Florida, who conducted this study:

“This highly specific exercise is designed to improve the speed and accuracy of visual attention or someone’s mental quickness. For example, during one task, a person must identify an object (e.g., a car or truck) at the center of a screen while locating a target, such as another car or road sign, in his or her peripheral vision. As people practice the task, the time it takes them to locate the peripheral object gets shorter and shorter even as the objects become harder to distinguish. In more difficult tasks, the peripheral target is surrounded by distracting objects, forcing the person to work harder to stay focused.”

The exercise was developed by Karlene Ball, PhD, and Daniel Roenker, PhD, at the University of Alabama Birmingham and Western Kentucky University and is exclusively licensed to Posit Science Inc. It is marketed under the name “Double Decision” on the BrainHQ <> website.

I tried this out last week. And it’s actually quite fun. If you go to their website above and sign-up for a free trial this is one of the games you will be offered. It’s called “Double Decision.” Of course they first run you through a short tutorial on how to play the game. But I do have a tip. You have to look closely at the two vehicles presented as they can be quite similar. And identify which car was in the previous picture. The only way I was able to tell them apart was that one had whiter hub caps. There is another trial game identifying different birds that’s quite similar in function. It’s like a virtual trap shoot.

So how effective was this?  Well according to Dr. Edwards, those who completed 10 hours of this training over several weeks, had 30% fewer cases of Alzheimer’s ten years later. If they did a refresher at one and three years, there was nearly a 48 percent reduction in risk. That’s pretty amazing! Actually it’s hard to believe.  Moreover, those who completed this training were said to have improved their performance across standard cognitive (attention), behavioral (depressive symptoms, feelings of control), functional (health-related quality of life, functional performance) and real world measures (driving, predicted health care costs). Which is even more amazing, assuming these results hold up under peer reviewed scrutiny, and others are able to duplicate them.

In response to the critics and naysayers, doctor Edwards noted that, “Lumping all brain training together is like trying to determine the effectiveness of antibiotics by looking at the universe of all pills, and including sugar pills and dietary supplements in that analysis. You’ll find that some work and some do not. To then conclude that brain training does not work — or is not yet proven — is based on flawed analysis.”

Interesting. By the way. The American Brain Council, for whom I work, has now endorsed BrainHQ as their choice, for an  online brain training program. And we now provide it for all those who go through our Dementia Prevention Certification Course.  This is particularly good for anyone with hearing problems as it has also been shown to improve auditory processing.

Actually I first heard of this company more than 6 years ago, but it wasn’t near as fun or effective back then. Another nice thing is that it costs less than Cognifit, the other best validated brain training program. And only slightly more than Lumosity, which does not have nearly as much empirical support.

Social Interaction Is Also Protective

On a more human note. While some work or play on a computer may be protective, social interaction may be just as important. In one study presented by Elizabeth Boots, a researcher at the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health they found that working in a complex job that requires engaging with people instead of just data and things might also protect against Alzheimer’s disease. In  other words they found that People who work with people do better cognitively as they age.

Social connections and positive social interaction can not only help to provide stimulation for the brain, they can also help to mitigate the effects of stress on the body and brain, which we know can be a significant contributor to cognitive decline.

In Boots and colleagues’ study of 284 people, average age 60, MRI scans showed that those with more complex jobs who also had signs of cerebrovascular disease, performed just as well on tests of brain function as people with less complex jobs.

But the complex jobs had to involve interacting with people and not just working with data and things, Boots said, and included  occupations such as as physicians, social workers and school counselors.

Why Drugs Fail To Stop Alzheimer’s

Finally, as usual, their most recent drug study was NOT shown to be effective. There have actually now been more than 102 drugs targeting AD that have failed. Why is that? I believe one basic reason is that most drugs are designed to stop bio-chemical reactions in the body, by some artificial means. Drugs are by definition foreign to the human body. If they were not novel or foreign or artificial, they could not be patented. But this quality likely accounts for the fact that most cause side effects, as they try to tweek mother nature. Bottom line, drugs typically are not nutritional in nature. They, are often pretty good at stopping things but not so good for rebuilding and maintaining biological structures – like the brain.

Since Alzheimer’s or most forms of dementia are a result of a combination of damaging forces and insufficient nutrients required by the body to  counter this, nutrients that support brain functions are proving to be more efficacious than drugs, by far.

Yet right after this conference on 2 Aug the Alzheimer’s Association announced a 7 million offering, and for what? To further test the value of a brain games? How about the impact of a healthy diet and social interaction, i.e. lifestyle? All interventions proven to be helpful in numerous studies. No, this money was proposed to test the efficacy of more drugs! The never ending quest for a silver bullet.  To me it’s like the definition of insanity: Doing the same things and expecting a different outcome. When will they ever learn?

April 21, 2016

Dementia Prevention Is Now Possible With YOUR Help!

For the last 7 years I’ve been advocating my belief that Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia could be prevented.  Now it seems everyone is jumping on the band wagon, and becoming a believer.  Even the ultra conservative, “careful about not giving false hope” Alzheimer’s Association, recently posted:

“While research is not yet conclusive, certain lifestyle choices, such as physical activity and diet, may help support brain health and prevent Alzheimer’s.”

Sure it’s a cautious statement from, what I have long felt was, an overly cautious advocacy organization. But it’s a far cry from their usual pessimistic insistence that nothing can “prevent, cure or even slow [Alzheimer’s] disease progression.”

What’s caused them to make this shift? A flood of new research showing that indeed prevention is possible. (See New Hope Rising for a partial review.)  Most notably the FINGER study in Norway, which two years ago at their annual conference showed, a reversal of Alzheimer’s symptoms in more than 400 seniors. A four year update will likely be given this July at their annual International Conference on AD in Toronto, showing further progress and maintenance of the previous reversals. This is approaching the 5 year delay which they announced in 2014 could cut AD rates in half.  And all this with just  a few changes in diet and lifestyle.

Also later this year we expect a new report on Dr. Bredesen’s work at UCLA. We had hoped to include him in our upcoming documentary, but bigger fish prevailed. Our contact there noted he has achieved more amazing results and reversals with his combined lifestyle & supplement approach. Which when presented will provide good evidence of disease reversal. Hard evidence that had previously been lacking.

What does all this mean for you? One of the reasons the medical community has been so reluctant to acknowledge these new advancements is because they do not fit the medical model, which is pharmaceutical centric, i.e. our health model is centered on the concept that drugs are the only way to prevent or mitigate disease. (You may have noticed, however, that few true “cures” have ever been achieved with this approach.)

So to suggest that something as serious as Alzheimer’s can be prevented or mitigated with something as simple as dietary and lifestyle changes, seemed ludicrous, partly because it’s so… un-lucrative for the medical establishment. (For examples of past AMA reluctance with preventive health measures, namely smoking cessation, see Dr. Gregor’s fascinating review of healthy alternatives here – If you are pressed for time watch the first minute then fast forward to minute 55.)

You see you don’t have to be an MD to teach people about the impact and aspects of a healthy lifestyle – diet and physical activity, sleep and stress management – in maintaining a healthy brain. And the fear has been that if the public found out about the true potency of this fountain of youth, in contrast to the impotence and dangers involved in the traditional model for treating dementia, they would leave this drug culture in droves, and flock to their historic rivals, the “less educated” naturopaths, and other health and fitness professionals.

Nevertheless, the reality is science is showing (albeit mostly outside the US system) that brain health is not maintained with drugs and standard medical care. (See Dr. Fortanasce, MD’s statement here.)  In fact quite the contrary, as there are now more than 200 drugs found to increase risk for dementia. And standard care is the placebo – because it’s known to have little effect. What is working is what Dr. Fortanasce notes, and you have read about before on this site.

Improved diet and nutrition

Moderate Physical activity

Increased mental activity

Social interaction

Stress management

Getting a good night’s sleep

Specially designed supplements that promote brain health

The medical community has done a good job of developing a variety of life saving interventions and operations to fix things, and meds to reduce the pain.  It’s also done a good job in convincing the public and law makers that they are the ultimate authority on all matters dealing with health.

However this new science is revealing a fatal flaw in their argument and arsenal – nutrition and lifestyle. The typical MD has NO training in nutrition. Since that has not been a course required or emphasized, and often not even offered in medical school. (The one notable exception has been the Loma Linda medical school in San Bernardino, run by the Seventh-day Adventists, who are big into diet and nutrition, and some other medical programs have now introduced course in “alternative” medicine as well.) It’s been noted that the typical medical doctor knows less about nutrition than their nurse. Even doctor Oz admitted he learned most of what he knew about nutrition from his wife, and then later post grad self study.

If you have, or work with, a doctor who is pretty up in this field, like a Functional Medicine physician, unless he went to Loma Linda he likely learned most of what he knows through self-study and continuing ed courses and conferences after graduation. But now you can do the same!


If you would like to expand your practice and help your patients or clients avoid dementia you don’t need a special license to do that. All you need is the requisite education. Because you are not “treating” any disease, just promoting brain health – that’s the solution. And any knowledgeable person can do that. You just have to convince them that you know a thing or two in this area, i.e. that you’ve done special training in this field, so they will listen and heed your counsel.

Moreover, because you work with seniors you are in a good position to share that knowledge, and help those most in need and motivated to take action. And right now the American Brain Council is offering 6 to 20 hours of Dementia Prevention ASHA approved continuing education, at a nominal cost – only $135 for 6 hrs of online training at your convenience.  Although there is a live 2 hr intro and overview next Friday the 29th that you may want to catch.

If you want to become certified as a Brain Health, or Dementia Prevention Specialist more training on this topic and practice expansion is available. And health care professionals from around the country are taking advantage of this to expand their outreach. If you are not in need of CE credits or not in ASHA you can now take that course, for a limited time, for only $79. And that comes with a detailed manual for How to Maintain A Healthy Brain & Escape From Alzheimer’s.

Simply go to and click on the Professionals link to learn more. That is geared to hearing professional, but open to anyone interested. The pay button there however is down. That’s one reason I have delayed sending this, but you can call or email me and I can explain the sign-up procedure.

In 3 weeks a new documentary titled The Truth About Memory Loss, will be coming out featuring doctor Fortanasce and other doctors and researchers from around the world.  The initial viewing will be free online. It is anticipated that millions will view this, and many will then need someone to help coach them through the steps of how to develop a brain healthy lifestyle. You can be one of those coaches, and receive referrals to help these people for a decent fee, which could augment your income, and save them untold misery and money.

September 10, 2014

Could Diet Sodas Give You Alzheimer’s? Could Green Tea and Cocoa Make You Better?

Do you ever have a problem with your eyesight, blurred vision, headaches, dizziness, vertigo, neuritis, intestinal discomfort or memory problems?  Do you drink diet sodas?

In our January and February Newsletters we talked about the brain danger involved in consuming too much sugar and high fructose corn syrup. But how about sugar substitutes like aspartame (NutraSweet)?

In 1983 just after aspartame came to market I wrote G.D. Searle & Company, the makers of aspartame and asked to see their research. It was impressive. I remember thinking – “This may turn out to be a healthy ‘nutritious’ substitute for sugar” – as it’s name implied. But boy was I wrong!

The Plot Thickens

It wasn’t long before reports from doctors and parents began to surface suggesting that NutraSweet® was causing headaches and hyperactivity in some individuals. Then in 1990 we had the Desert Storm incident, in which dozens of servicemen and women became ill after drinking diet sodas that had been left on pallets in the hot  Arabian Sun. It was then that we learned that, once heated, aspartame can be converted to formaldehyde – or wood alcohol.

When I first heard that I was skeptical. This statement must have come from a rogue chemist with an axe to grind. Surely that could not be true. But it turns out I was wrong, and this doesn’t just happen in the Arab sun. A generally supportive wikipedia articles on aspartame notes:

“Upon ingestion, aspartame breaks down into residual components… The methanol produced by the metabolism of aspartame is absorbed and quickly converted into formaldehyde and then completely oxidized to formic acid, which, due to its long half life, is considered the primary mechanism of toxicity in methanol poisoning.

But then the author reassures us by the statement that “The methanol from aspartame is unlikely to be a safety concern for several reasons. The amount of methanol in aspartame is less than that found in fruit juices and citrus fruits, and there are other dietary sources for methanol such as fermented beverages.”

An Ominous Finding 

However, in 2011 an ominous study was reported at the International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles. In this study which followed more than 2,500 New Yorkers for nine or more years, they found that people who drank diet soda every day had a 61 percent higher risk of vascular events, including stroke and heart attack, than those who did not drink diet drinks. Moreover, the increased likelihood of vascular events remained even after accounting for other risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels – pointing the finger more squarely at diet drinks – which generally contain aspartame or NutraSweet® as the sweetner of choice.[1]

Then in 2012 after I mentioned this study in class I was teaching in Ohio, a nurse in the class noted that after her friend’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the doctor informed her, that it was likely due to her years of diet soda consumption. Curious! But how could this have happened. The official studies suggested the amount of formaldehyde and formic acid formed from aspartame was miniscule – less than that found in some fruit – and readily excreted.

Enter Russell Blaylock, M.D. a retired neurosurgeon and medical journal editor who has dedicated his life to researching and writing about brain health, nutrition and related issues.  For the past 8 years he has authored the exclusive Blaylock Wellness Report.

In 2007 a reader asked Dr. Blaylock

Q: I was a very heavy drinker of diet drinks that contained aspartame. Does aspartame stay in the system? Is there a way to detoxify for this chemical?— Donna H., Sierra Madre, Calif.

A: Unfortunately, Donna, far too many people share your dilemma. There is compelling evidence that aspartame is an accumulative toxin, meaning that it accumulates in the body. This is why even one diet cola a day is harmful.

One of the major toxic breakdown products of aspartame is formaldehyde, and an excellent study done in Spain clearly demonstrates that this formaldehyde attaches itself to the cell’s DNA and is very difficult to remove. Even worse, it was shown to break the strands of DNA, greatly increasing the risk of cancer. [As well as other disorders]”

In 2013 the son of one of my best friends, a long time heavy consumer of coke products, was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and later died. My friend, a retired MD, felt strongly that his years of high coke consumption was a significant contributor. But again anecdotal – who knows?

In later newsletter’s Dr. Blaylock linked this to various brain disorders through a process known as excitotoxicity. He notes, “The sweetener aspartame contains not only the excitotoxic amino acid aspartate but also toxic methanol. Studies have shown that combining aspartame and MSG greatly magnifies brain toxicity.”

Link to Depression 

A placebo-controlled crossover study led by Dr. Ralph Walton, former chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Northwestern Ohio University, examined the effect of aspartame on people with history of depression as compared to control subjects. The study found that depressed people exposed to aspartame developed more symptoms and more severe symptoms than those not exposed to the sweetener. Some even developed suicidal thoughts.

In fact, Dr. Walton’s study was halted by the Institutional Review Board when 13 of the subjects developed such severe symptoms that the board felt their lives were in danger. Meanwhile, none of the normal (not depressed) control subjects developed depressive symptoms when taking aspartame.

Another study found that aspartame altered brain neurotransmitters. Of even greater concern, it significantly reduced serotonin levels in several critical brain areas — a finding that could explain the depression found by Dr. Walton.

Link to Alzheimer’s 

Then a couple of months ago a colleague sent me a link to a video of an interview with Dr. Woodrow Monte emeritus professor of biochemistry and author of the book While Science Sleeps: A Sweetener Kills. In this interview Dr. Monte explains the links between aspartame and methanol toxicity and the formation of formaldehyde. And then notes that “a growing body of evidence links methanol and its metabolite formaldehyde to AD [Alzheimer’s disease] pathology.”

In his commentary Dr. Mercola, who conducted the interview, notes, “Aspartame is the number one source of side effect complaints to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with over 10,000 complaints filed and over 91 documented symptoms related to its consumption.”

The Wikipedia article suggests aspartame is harmless because methanol is also found in fruits and vegetables. However, Dr. Monte notes that “in these whole foods the methanol is firmly bonded to pectin, which allows it to be safely passed through your digestive tract. This is not the case for the methanol created by aspartame. There, it’s not bonded to anything that can help eliminate it from your body.”

Dr. Monte goes on to explain that in humans, methanol ends up acting as a Trojan horse, allowing toxic formaldehyde to wreak havoc in some of your most sensitive areas, such as your brain. He goes on to explain the mechanism, but it’s a bit complex for our purposes. (If interested Click here.)

In sum he notes, “methanol can slip through your blood brain barrier, and your brain is one of the areas where you find alcohol dehydrogenase, which converts methyl alcohol to formaldehyde. This causes the destruction of myelin basic protein, which is one of the triggers for MS. Demyelination also plays a role in the development of Alzheimer’s and several other brain-related diseases.”

Dr. Monte believes “many diseases can be prevented if we start avoiding methanol from any sources. And on his website he offers a methanol free diet. The following are the primary items he suggests avoiding.”

Fruit and vegetable juices in bottles, cans, or pouches

Jellies, jams, and marmalades not made fresh and kept refrigerated

Black currant and tomato juice products, fresh or processed

Tomato sauces, unless first simmered at least 3 hours, no lid on pan

Smoked food of any kind, particularly fish and meat

Chewing gum or other products containing aspartame

Overly ripe or near rotting fruits or vegetables

All of these products apparently contain methanol released from their binding constituents like pectin.

Clearly some people are affected more adversely by aspartame and methanol than others. And unless you are quite sensitive, an occasional diet soda or stick of aspartame gum is not likely to do much damage. But the problem is, it’s effects are so subtle and cumulative that it’s hard to determine your degree of vulnerability until it’s almost too late.

Symptoms of methanol poisoning include: headaches, ear buzzing, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, weakness, vertigo, chills, memory lapses, numbness, and shooting pains in the extremities, behavioral disturbances, and neuritis.

The most well known problems from methanol poisoning are vision problems including misty vision, progressive contraction of visual fields, blurring of vision, retinal damage, and blindness.

In summary, regarding Aspartame, Dr Oz’s neurologist David Perlmutter, MD wrote:

“Aspartame contains chemicals called excitotoxins that can cross the blood/brain barrier and overstimulate brain cells, which disrupt the normal production of neurotransmitters and promote free radicals. [Just the opposite of what we want a drink to do.]  In susceptible people, excitotoxins may trigger head aches and mood swings and may even promote the growth of brain tumors.”[2]

My best friend’s son recently died of a brain tumor. And my friend, a retired MD, felt his heavy Cola consumption was a major contributing factor.  Humm? I guess he was not the first.

Additionally colas and other soft drinks contain:

Phosphoric Acid: known to interfere with the body’s ability to use and absorb calcium, this is one of the main reasons why cola consumption is so strongly linked to osteoporosis

The University of Sheffield in England discovered that the chemical called sodium benzoate which is found in almost all colas and soft drink actually disrupts and damages DNA! The researcher reported that “And there is a whole array of diseases that are now being tied to damage to this DNA – Parkinson’s and quite a lot of neurodegenerative diseases, but above all, the whole process of aging.”

They also tend to make the body more acidic, which has been linked to a greater susceptibility to multiple diseases and ailments.

It’s no wonder that one documented review of colas noted: “cola consumption is linked to an increased risk of: obesity, diabetes, liver damage, tooth decay, chronic kidney disease, heartburn/reflux, osteoporosis, heart disease, gastrointestinal diseases, cancers, gout and so much more.”

Currently I have 4 clients with Alzheimer’s who do not have the classic precursors to Alzheimer’s, i.e. diabetes, obesity, history of cigarette usage or sleep deprivation. But what they do have in common is years of consumptions of diet sodas. Is that a coincidence?? Likely Doctor’s Blaylock, Mercola, Perlmutter and Monte would say not.

The other problem is that like alcohol aspartame is very addicting. And it’s truly sad to see the resistance in people with cognitive decline when I point out the danger  – as they search their shrinking brain for a reason not to give it up.

                 Beating The Sugar Aspartame Cravings 

So what if you or someone you love is addicted to sugar, high fructose corn syrup or aspartame products. Here a few ideas to consider:

a)      You’ve got to decide which you want more, these sweet treats or drinks, or the ability to think, reason and remember.

b)      You can’t eat it or drink it if you haven’t first purchased it. Decide not to buy it.

c)      Buy and eat something healthier instead. Focus on what you need to eat and drink more of, rather than just stopping or avoiding something.

d)      Apply Dr. Johnson’s “if-then” principle. Make a deal with yourself, that IF or when you feel tempted to eat one of these unhealthy food THEN you will make a point to eat or drink something that would be healthier for you.

Generally for sugar cravings the antidote is a healthy fat or protein snack. These will help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels., thus avoiding the blood sugar dips and crashes that lead to cravings. Nuts, peanut or almond butter snacks, cheese, tofu, beans, peas, low or no sugar yogurt or kefir, with added berries, apple, banana, cocoa or coconut chunks, may be helpful.

One supplement that may help as well is Satiereal®.  This a clinically studied, proprietary extract of saffron, a spice that’s been prized since ancient Persia as a way to enhance mood and relieve stress. Previously available only in Europe, this standardized saffron extract help reduce cravings for sweets by modulating serotonin receptors in the brain associated with improved mood, reduced anxiety and desire for simple carbohydrates. Just two 88.25 mg capsules of Optimized saffron with Satiereal® does the trick.[3]

In clinical studies,[4] women taking Satiereal® experienced:

* 100% reduction in the desire to snack

* Less hunger for carbohydrates

* Moderate weight loss

* More energy, and better mood

They experienced a greater sense of control over food cravings, reflected in a change in eating behavior, without that “jittery feeling” or other undesirable effects.[5]

Sucralose/Splenda – Unfortunately is not much better. In a new study researchers, concluded that: “exposure to sucralose may induce neurological and oxidative mechanisms with potentially important [toxic] consequences for animal behavior and physiology.”

                               So What’s Left To Drink?

The next natural question is, “So what can I drink instead?”  What should you buy to drink next time you are at the grocery store? What are some healthier alternatives?

1. Pure water with natural minerals, might not be as exciting as Coke, but it’s a whole lot healthier, and cheaper. Most municipal water, if not fluoridated, is decent, but if in doubt buy bottled water and look for natural minerals – Fiji artesian water is a good brand, also glacier water. If that is too bland, or you like the fizzy taste, you can buy seltzer water and just add some juice or a small squirt of flavoring.

2. Green tea is another great less expensive alternative. Green tea has been shown in many studies to enhance cognitive performance and in one study appeared to reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s by as much as 53%. It actually does at least 7 things that should reduce your risk for AD. You can add a touch of raw stevia for taste.

3. Brewed Cocoa is high in antioxidants like polyphenols, and catechins.[6] In fact it has a higher concentration of these by weight than red wine, acai, blueberries, goji and even pomegranates combined! It also contains a bit of zinc and theobromine – a relative of caffeine. However, unlike caffeine, theobromine can increase energy without making you feel nervous or jittery. Theobromine is gentle, mild, has a slow onset, is long lasting and non-addictive whereas caffeine is intense, strong, fast acting, short lived and addictive. It is a good source of magnesium, manganese, and chromium, important in blood sugar control. It also contain tryptophan which helps the body produce the feel good transmitter serotonin. Plus it provides an endorphin or “bliss chemical” called anadamide, that helps you feel good and phenylethylamine associated with love.[7] Cocoa has been shown in clinical studies to reduce insulin resistance, and dilate blood vessels naturally to reduce blood pressure, vasoconstriction and hypertension.[8],[9]

4. Mangosteine – XanGo® Juice contains xanthones and proanthocyanidins both of which are powerful antioxidants, which help to control inflammation and may help to protect the brain. This is also a pricey drink, and does not contain caffeine, but has been shown to be helpful in promoting intestinal health and cognitive performance in seniors.

5. Freshly juiced or blended vegetables,[10] are likely the healthiest drink. There you not only get the liquid, but also essential vitamins, minerals and other healing phyto-nutrients.  Methanol is released slowly over time or by heating. So while canned juice may not be so good – fresh juice appears to be OK, so long as it’s not too sweet.

6. Coffee in moderation may not be as good as the above noted drinks, but if your body is used to it, it’s a whole lot healthier than sodas, or even most fruit juices.

7.  Almond, rice, cow, goat or coconut milk. These are all more available now than ever before, and provide a healthy alternative to sodas.

There are numerous other healthy drinks out there, using pomegranate, acai, maqui, or wolf berries, Noni juice and many other great combinations. Most are sold by local health food stores, and even most grocery stores will have a section with healthy juices. But make sure they are 100% juices and not just juice drinks high in sugar or HFCS. And again, if you don’t need the caffeine, just plain old water has great medicinal value.

The good news is – after you stay off these sweetened drinks for a while it’s possible for ones sense of taste for healthy unsweetened food and drinks to return.

As for detoxification, Dr. Blaylock notes that one needs to first protect and repair the damaged DNA, which can be done by eating green vegetables or taking folate 800 micrograms a day, methylcobalamin (B-12) 5,000 micrograms a day, vitamin B-6 25 milligrams a day and niacinamide 500 milligrams a day. Vitamin C, magnesium, curcumin, and DHA (from fish oil and algae) also help repair the damage… [SAMe has also been shown to work with glutathione to help protect DNA, and the article on Green tea suggests it may be of considerable help as well.]

Colas and other soft drinks have had a long and profitable history, but I think the time has come for the world to wise up, ignore the hype, and make healthier choices for hydration. The quality of our later years may depend on it.

August 6, 2014

Alzheimer’s Prevention May NOW be Possible: New Study Show’s How

If you attended one of my classes in the past 5 years, you heard me talk about the various things that can contribute to age-related cognitive/memory decline, and Alzheimer’s. And you heard me advocate for a combined approach involving good nutrition and physical exercise to reduce insulin resistance and stress; plus mental and social activities to promote brain growth and reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s.

For many years there have been a number of insightful doctors and other health care professionals who have advocated such an approach. Some of us have even claimed that combination  could/should prevent the development of Alzheimer’s. But we were a bit hesitant to declare that, because…well, it had never been proven in any good, well controlled large scale study. But NOW THAT IS HAPPENING!

Last month at the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference in Copenhagen, an exciting new study was presented that is destined to change the focus of Alzheimer’s research and medical practice, and gives new hope to millions!

The study is called the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER). In this new controlled trial out of Finland, involving more than 1200 seniors, it was demonstrated for the first time (in a major study) that this type of combined approach could in fact improve mental performance. Moreover, it was dramatically demonstrated to reduce risk for, and probably “prevent” Alzheimer’s in most cases, even in those at high risk for the disease.

In this study researchers randomly assigned older individuals, ages 60-77, at high risk for developing Alzheimer’s, to a combined lifestyle intervention or to normal health care. The objective was to see if the various behaviors previously linked to better brain health could actually stave off cognitive decline. After two years the results revealed those who adhered to the healthy lifestyle, not only stopped declining, but showed improvements in their mental abilities, including memory, judgment and planning, and psycho-motor speed on a multitasking test. Instead of their brain slowing down they actually were able to think and function faster, better!

“We were surprised that we were able to see a clear difference already after two years,” noted Dr. Miia Kivipelto, one of the study directors from the Karolinska Institute of Sweden.

So now you may be wondering: What did this ‘combined lifestyle intervention’ consist of?  Well, basically it included what we talked about in class! i.e.  1. nutritional guidance to better manage metabolic and vascular risk factors i.e. obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure, 2. physical exercise, 3. cognitive/mental training, and 4. social interaction.

Unfortunately the details of the study were not revealed in their conference address, nor are they yet published. But with the help of a good contact in the Alzheimer’s Association’s library in Chicago I was able to get my hands on some of the preliminary findings they used in coaching the experimental group.

In a 2004 study in Sweden conducted by one of the teams that led this investigation, they showed the synergistic value of a combined approach involving physical and mental activity and social interaction. But what that study lacked was a good dietary component.

Numerous studies have shown malnutrition to be a main if not the main contributor to cognitive decline in seniors. The primary pathway you may recall from Dr. Craft’s research, is through “insulin resistance” which results in high blood sugar, protein damage, obesity, and high blood pressure (all documented risk factors for dementia).

So in this preliminary study they looked at what these seniors were eating and how that correlated with their scores on various cognitive tests. The strongest correlation with cognitive performance was found with the consumption of vegetables (but not fruit), and intake of vitamin E. In their words “Those with higher vegetable consumption had better performance in total score and [on a timed psycho-motor “Trail making test”]. Similarly, increasing vitamin E intake was associated with better performance in both the total score and the TMT. Furthermore, higher consumption of fish, and higher intake of folate, respectively, were associated with better TMT scores.

Of added note was the finding that higher caloric intake (which in Europe and this test they call “E” for Energy) from fat and lower caloric intake from carbohydrates were associated with better performance. Their Conclusions: “Higher intakes of energy (calories) and vitamin E, and higher vegetables consumption were associated with better cognitive performance among older adults at risk for dementia.”[1]

So what is the take home for us? Eating more nutrient dense whole foods with folate and  fiber such as green leafy and other vegetables, beans, peas, etc. plus more healthy fat, from fish (like the Omega-3’s) avocado’s, coconut and olive oil, for example, fewer carbs (bread, pasta) and sugar, and more foods or supplements high in antioxidants like vitamin E, provides the nourishment needed for maintaining a healthy brain and improving cognitive function in seniors at risk for Alzheimer’s.

Moreover, this is especially helpful when taken in conjunction with regular physical and mental exercise and social interaction. Plus, the social interaction was found of be of significant value in helping these seniors stay on course with this healthy lifestyle.

As Dr. Craft noted in her video such a plan should help to improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control, reduce damage to proteins that can harm the brain, and help people better control their weight, as well as their risk for cardio vascular events. And that was validated in this study.

Light exercise, especially after a meal helps in the digestion and assimilation of these nutrients. We also know it helps reduce insulin resistance, as well as obesity and improves circulation of these nutrients to the brain. It is also one of the best things a person can do to lower their blood pressure, without drugs.

Mental activity further improves circulation in the brain. It also puts a requirement on the brain to better utilize this good nutrition, to build new brain structures and connections.

Finally, one of the biggest obstacles to this lifestyle is building and maintaining these new habits. That’s where others come in. When we embark on such a quest with others who have similar interests the research shows we usually help each other to stay on course and persist in these healthy habits.

As Dr. Kivipelto, one of the lead researchers in this study recently stated: “These findings show that prevention is possible, and….With so many negative trials for Alzheimer’s drugs reported lately, it’s good that we may have something that everyone can do now to lower their risk.”

So are these people now insured against getting Alzheimer’s? Of course not. If they fall off the program, injure their brain, consume heavy metals, start binging on diet sodas, or contract a virus that affects the brain, they could still end up with Alzheimer’s. But for now it’s plain to see that if their cognitive health and memory is improving they are much less likely to fall prey to Alzheimer’s.  Plus, investigators are planning to follow this group for the next 7 years at least, to verify that fact. But even now from this short study, it’s plain to see, when the markers are moving in the opposite direction, that indeed prevention of Alzheimer’s is possible.

Of course you have had that formula for a couple of years now. What have you done with that knowledge? Have you applied it? Has it helped you and yours maintain a healthier brain? If not, consider this blog as a bit of social encouragement to try it!

This is now proof you can share, that this combined approach can in fact improve brain health and cognitive performance in seniors and reduce risk for age-related cognitive decline, if not Alzheimer’s.

Additionally, you will recall that I told you about a formula used in our UMass study which likewise was shown to enhance cognitive performance in a sample of  seniors. But our cohort had already been diagnosed with serioud cognitive impairment. The study on this formula, now called Perceptiv™,  will also be coming out in the near future, and once again I will be telling you, “See I told you so.” As I have already seen those outcomes.

By the way, Dr. Shea, who developed that formula has been advocating the Finland protocol for the past decade. I lament to think of all the suffering that could have been spared had more people just listened to his informed counsel back then.

But unfortunately other research, which he and others conducted, showed that once cognitive (memory) impairment has progressed beyond MCI, it may be impossible to overcome that with a change in diet and activities alone. Something more powerful is then needed to overcome those destructive deficits. And that is where a supplement like Perceptiv™ can be very helpful, and speed to recovery process.

Testimonials since our study show that Perceptiv not only improves memory and mood, it can also improve reflexes, and stamina. One 69 year old client of mine recently ran in a 5K race and eclipsed her previous best time (of the last 5 years) by 20 minutes!  As I tell people this little synergistic antioxidant formula does a lot more for your brain and body than just improve memory.

Sadly I recently learned some of you have been buying this directly from their website, where you had to pay 15-30% more than it costs through me. You see because I was one of the investigators I can now obtain bottles at a significant savings for myself, those who were in our study and others of my choosing,  like you! And what little I earn from that goes to help support this site. So if you are interested just send me an email, and I will explain the discount, and have bottles sent to you.

To learn more about Perceptiv go to.

June 6, 2014

Sleep – Is Your Brain Getting Enough? How to Get More

If you are having memory problems, difficulty concentrating, are stressed or have trouble losing belly fat, consider your sleep. Are you getting enough? Many of us think we can get by on less than 6 hours of sleep a night, but the research shows we may just be kidding ourselves.

Numerous studies are now showing less than 6 hours of sleep a night, for more than a week is strongly correlated with cognitive decline, poor judgment and memory problems.

Unfortunately, the resulting impairment in judgment may cause a person to believe that they are doing fine when in fact they are losing brain cells due to a lack of sleep.

A recent study in the journal SLEEP showed just one night of sleep deprivation is associated with signs of brain tissue loss, as indicated by higher blood concentrations of two molecules associated with brain damage.

In another study conducted by the University of Surrey researchers found that sleep deprivation can also have an impact on your genes — a week’s worth of not getting enough rest (fewer than six hours of sleep each night) was associated with changes to more than 700 genes, with far reaching implications.

Other studies have previously shown that a chronic lack of sleep can increase stress hormones like cortisol, boost cravings for high-calorie foods, increase belly fat, affect your skin, increase our risk for diabetes, reduce our decision making abilities and increase our risk for Alzheimer’s.

At the 2012 annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, researchers from Washington University in St. Louis revealed a study which found that individuals who had disrupted sleep — waking up repeatedly during the night — were more likely to show Alzheimer’s disease-related signs than sound sleepers.  Previous animal studies suggest that the connection is worth investigating, since mice bred to develop amyloid plaques tend to grow deposits earlier if they are sleep deprived. The study director Dr. Ju theorizes that deep sleep may slow the production of amyloid, leaving less for the brain to clear away during waking hours. That could explain why poor sleepers, who spend less time in deep sleep, tend to accumulate more of the nerve-damaging protein than those who sleep longer.

Last month I wrote about the various causes of cardio-vascular disease, strokes & dementia. As a follow up to that article I think it significant to note that according to a study reported in the December 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association,  a direct association exists between sleep and plaque in the arteries around your heart. The results showed that if you are currently not getting enough sleep one more hour of sleep per night can reduce your risk of calcification or plaque build-up in your coronary arteries by 33 percent.  This correlates with another study in 2012 on Adults who regularly slept fewer than six hours a night, which found that these individuals had four times the risk of having a stroke.

Caution: Are you taking a medication to help you sleep? Studies reported by John’s Hopkin’s university and others suggests popular sleep medications like Ambien, Lunesta and Benadryl can have serious side effects and may even impair memory.

What Can Helps?  Consider the Following 6 Steps  

1. Increase Serotonin. Melatonin is what our body uses to turn the lights out in our brain, but it is made in the brain from serotonin. Serotonin is the primary chemical messenger that calms us down. At night it is converted into melatonin which puts us to sleep. Serotonin comes primarily from the protein tryptophan. Good sources are whole milk, salmon, chicken breast, Tofu, freshly ground flax seed, pumpkin seeds, brown rice, and nuts.

The trick, however, is to separate this from the other proteins in food. In the late 80’s Dr. Judith Wurtman from MIT found if these foods were eaten earlier in the day and the evening meal consisted primarily of carbohydrates like pasta, or breakfast cereal, the body would convert more of the tryptophan from earlier meals into serotonin to calm us down at night and melatonin to enable us to sleep.

2. Exercise. 30 minutes or more of exercise during the day, like simply going for a long brisk walk, reduces stress hormones, relaxes muscles and helps the body produce more serotonin.

3. Take a Nap. If you think you may not be getting enough sleep at night, a nap during the day can be a welcome relief for you brain, which can help reduce stress and sharpen your memory.

4. Light Up Your Life. Sunlight, or bright light therapy early in the day helps the pineal gland get rid of toxins, and convert serotonin at night into melatonin to help us sleep. On the other end it’s important to make sure there are no lights visible to your eyes when you go to bed. The darker the room the better our production of melatonin.

5. Consume More Magnesium. Magnesium rather than calcium helps relax the muscles and prevents cramps at night and promotes longer, deeper sleep. Again pumpkin seeds, spinach, chard, cashews, most beans and seeds are high in magnesium.

6.  Take a Natural Sleep Supplement. Some food supplements and teas can be of great help. Those for sleep include L-tryptophan (taken before bed on a relatively empty stomach with a little fruit juice), a vitamin B-complex with a meal during the day, will also help the body better convert tryptophan to serotonin.

If stress or worry is your problem or anxiety at night or  L-theanine may be the answer. This helps to increase GABA levels, which is what our body uses to calm anxiety.

Magnesium before bed (400 mg is typically used in studies) will help to relax  nerves and muscles. This is especially helpful if a person has cramps a night. Magnesium L-Threonate is perhaps the best to calm the mind and improve memory as well.

Bioactive Milk Peptides (Lactium®) are a cutting-edge nutrient complex consisting of patented bioactive peptides found naturally in milk. Used widely in Europe to promote sustained and restful sleep, published studies reveal that these milk peptides also promote relaxation, help with stress, and support daytime cognition. A group of 63 women reporting a variety of sleep-related difficulties found more than a 65% improvement in their symptoms with just 150 mg per day of these bioactive peptides. If a warm glass of milk at night does not do the trick, you may want to try these with ashwagandha, which also reduces anxiety. (This product comes both with melatonin or without.)

Melatonin pills help some but not others. Personally I think it’s better to boost this by enhancing serotonin, but it’s also helpful in protecting the brain.  These should not be used by those under 18 years of age.

Herbs like valerian, Lemon balm, and hops; are also helpful for many.

7. Teas like Chamomile, or “Sleepy Time” tea may also be helpful.

April 24, 2014

Part II: Causes and Prevention of Strokes, Heart Attacks and Vascular Dementia

Last month we reviewed a section of Dr. Perlmutter’s new book Grain Brian, talking about the essential role of Cholesterol for the brain and body. Many were surprised to learn that cholesterol, even LDL (a cholesterol carrying low density lipoprotein) rather than being bad is really essential for physical and mental health – unless oxidized or damaged by the forces noted below.

However, the question some then asked was: “If cholesterol does not cause heart or  vascular disease, then what does?” Although Dr Perlmutter’s focus in his book is on brain health rather than heart health, he does address that question as well. (Of course vascular disorders like high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, TIA’s, etc. have long been seen as primary contributors to a variety of brain disorders including Alzheimer’s.) But as much as I admire the man, I didn’t want to take Perlmutter’s word for this alone. Fortunately, and coincidentally, one of the top senior research organizations in the world – Life Extension Foundation – just wrote a series of articles on this very subject. In fact their latest, best article (with over 140 scientific references) just came out in their May Issue, which I just received an advanced of last week (that issue is not yet posted on line, but will be in May).

So in this Newsletter/blog (perhaps my most important yet) I will share with you what the latest research and other experts suggest are the greater villains in this drama. And what you and your loved ones can do to protect you heart, and vascular system from the other, more dangerous marauders plaguing your body and brain.  

What Causes Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD)

It is interesting  to note that the Life Extension Foundation takes a more traditional stance on cholesterol than Perlmutter, agreeing with the CDC that reducing LDL should reduce the risk for adverse vascular events (despite Perlmutter’s convincing evidence to the contrary). However, they believe the traditional medical approach taken in America “understates” the facts – that lost in the commercial hype about statins like Lipitor, Crestor, etc is the fact that there are “other preventable causes of vascular disease overlooked by hurried physicians.” Moreover, several of these, research is now showing (as Perlmutter notes) are likely much greater risk factors for strokes and heart attacks than are cholesterol and LDL – cholesterol carrying proteins.

Other Critical Risk Factors 

Not the least of these risk factors is low HDL cholesterol. Some clinics only provide patients with a total cholesterol score. Not only is this meaningless, it’s confusing, as scientists long ago documented the ability of HDL (high-density lipoprotein – the “good” cholesterol carrier) to protect against LDL oxidation and accumulation, and  remove cholesterol affixed to arterial walls and trans­port it to the liver for safe disposal.1, 2, 3,  4  (Keep in mind that the LDL protein itself in not bad, in fact it is vital to carry essential cholesterol to the brain to nourish our brain cells, and high cholesterol in the brain, as previously noted, is essential to mental/brain health, especially as we age.)

HDL does more than just cleanse arterial walls of plaque however. In protecting LDL against oxidation (damage from free radicals) it also reduces chronic inflamma­tion, vascular adhesion molecules, and platelet activation-all factors that can lead to atherosclerosis.

This is why it is so important to maintain HDL levels above 50 mg/ dL of blood and follow steps outlined below to ensure optimal “reverse cholesterol transport” of lipids away from the arte­rial wall.

For HDL to perform its vital functions, an enzyme called paraox-onase-1 (PON-1) is attached to its surface.5, 6  Aging and poor diet result in a marked decline in PON-1 levels, thereby reducing the ability of HDL to protect against heart attack and stroke.7, 8 This phenomenon helps explain the onset of accel­erated atherosclerosis; where within a period of only a few years, an aging person’s healthy arteries can occlude (narrow) with plaque.9

The age-related reduction in PON-1 may also explain studies show­ing statin drugs lose their benefit in certain aging populations, since the effects of statins are no longer sufficient to protect against the multiple factors involved in the development of atherosclerosis in the elderly.8, 9,10

 Sweet & Slow Poison

Other than low HDL perhaps the other greatest risk factor for atherosclerosis or vascular disease is high sugar intake and a condition called insulin resistance (IR).18, 19 IR is  characterized by high blood sugar levels and high insulin, both of which have been proven in high amounts to increase risk for atherosclerosis.19, 20 Insulin is required to transport glucose into the cells mitochondria for energy production. However, if our cells are exposed to too much glucose or refined carbohydrates i.e. sugar and flour (which is readily converted to sugar in the body) they will begin to block insulin from entering their cells. When sugar is not metabolized for energy it can end up damaging enzymes and other protein and lipid structures in a process called glycation. Excess insulin  spikes in arteries can also cause serious damage.18-20

As Dr. Perlmutter notes: “Glycosylated proteins, which are the products of these reactions between proteins and sugar molecules, are associated with a fifty-fold increase in free radical formation.”21  These free radicals are like sparks from a bonfire, that can damage other proteins and cells they come in contact with, resulting in at least 3 adverse effects commonly suffered by individuals with vascular or Alzheimer’s disease.

1. These free radicals can alter proteins and create protein bits or peptides called oligomers, which then compete with insulin, blocking insulin receptor sites, thus preventing insulin and glucose from entering the cell and being converted into energy in the mitochondria. As a result these cells become weak and dysfunctional, rather they are in our arteries or brain.22

2. These free radicals can then oxidize and damage LDL, lipoproteins, rendering them less capable of delivering cholesterol to the brain, making it more likely that they will become stuck to arterial walls, thus creating the plaques that can lead to a stroke.21 

3. Free radicals create damaged proteins called amyloid, which have long been tied to Alzheimer’s. The latest insights suggest these are like tooth picks that prick holes in brain cells, leading to their destruction.22, 23 When quarried on this topic one leading Alzheimer’s researcher recently wrote me that refined “sugar is like poison to the brain plain and simple.”26 

So how much difference can this make for our vascular health? A recent study from JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Internal Medicine 45 suggests that a high sugar diet could significantly increase the risk of dying from cardiovascular dis­ease.

Researchers at the Center for Disease Control evaluated data from participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) of the US population. While 71.4% of adults consumed al least 10% or more of their calories from added sugar during 2005-2010, sugar counted for at least 25% of the calories among 10% of the group. When the research­ers examined the association between added sugar and the risk of cardiovascular death over 14.6 years of follow-up, subjects whose intake was among the top one-fifth of par­ticipants had an adjusted risk that was twice that of partici­pants whose intake was among the lowest fifth. In other words, if you consume high amounts of sugars (or other simple carbs for that matter) especially from beverages, reducing those could cut your risk in half. That is far better than any statin has been shown to do! Moreover, an intake of sugar that accounted for 25% or more of one’s calories was associated with a 2.75 or nearly 3 times greater risk of death due to cardiovascular disease in comparison to those whose intake comprised less than 10% of their total calories.25

Sugar substitutes are no better. A study presented early in 2011 from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine showed those who drink a diet soda a day die 61% sooner than those who do not, and the study showed those are primarily from cardiovascular complications (These usually contain aspartame or NutraSweet.)53

Bottom line, many good studies both in the US and abroad have now shown that when people eat too many sugars, sweets and simple or refined carbohydrates (flour, pasta, etc) and not enough good high fiber, nutrient dense vegetables, and fats (as from fish, olive oil, and nuts) it creates insulin resistance and other problems which we can lead to serious inflammation in the arteries as well as the brain, and more than double their risk for diabetes, strokes, neuropathy, metabolic syndrome and even Alzheimer’s.19-25

That’s why many of the top cardiologists as well as Alzheimer’s researchers, and others throughout the world are now warning against eating too many sweets, treats, bread and pastas (simple processed carbs) and not enough vegetables, nuts and beans.25, 21

Are Your Arteries Inflamed?

Another undisputable major contributor to atherosclerosis, strokes and heart attacks is inflammation, characterized by high homocysteine and/or C-reactive protein in the blood. Inflammation is part of our normal immune response, but it’s somewhat like renovating your kitchen. If it persists and becomes chronic it creates more of a mess, making it harder for our cells to function properly and eventually they die. In our arteries, chronic inflammation not only initiates injuries to the endothelium, but also accelerates the progression of existing atherosclerotic lesions caused by other toxins.

A new study published just last year (2013) dramatically documented this point. The investigators reported on a large group of older individuals who were followed for 17 years. Those with the highest levels of inflammatory blood markers were more than 3 times as likely to suffer sudden cardiac death as those with the lowest levels.27

Unfortunately there are numerous things that have been shown to contribute to vascular inflammation. Basically anything that might damage the walls (endothelium) of our arteries and blood vessels can initiate this inflammatory response, as our body flies into action to patch up the damage. As noted above, these caustic contributors include excess intake of the wrong kinds of sugars (and sugar substitutes like aspartame and high fructose corn syrup), and resulting insulin spikes, but also the wrongs kinds of fats (TRANS or fried fats), tobacco smoke, smog, excess animal protein, food additives, a sedentary lifestyle, deficiencies of the B-vitamins, genetic abnormali­ties, prolonged exposure to cortisol from stress, unabsorbed calcium, excess iron and fibrin.28  Also often overlooked is the continuous toxic exposure our arteries and kidney’s bear from cellular waste products that are released into our bloodstream for filtration and excretion primarily through the kidneys.29

In small amounts when we are young our amazing arteries can handle all of these toxins, but their effects are cumulative so as we age, these, along with the chronic inflammation they provoke, take their toll.

Two other key factors, as we age, that leaves us vulnerable to this toxic takeover are the loss of hormones and nitric oxide. 

Low Testosterone

Low testosterone in men is associated with excess abdomi­nal fat,30,31 insulin resistance or loss of insulin sensi­tivity,32,33 atherosclerosis,34,35 and increased incidence of cardiovas­cular disease.36

A review of data gathered between 1970 and 2013 provided further evidence that low testos­terone in men may be linked to a higher risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease.37

Another 2013 study confirmed the increase of metabolic syn­drome in men that are testosterone deficient.38 Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of cardiovascular risk factors that include insulin resis­tance, hypertension, elevated tri-glycerides/LDL and low HDL,39 This study found that men treated with testosterone showed across the board improvements as indi­cated by:38

• Reduced LDL.

• Reduced triglycerides.

• Reduced glucose.

• Reduced C-reactive protein.

• Reduced measures of liver damage.

• Reduced blood pressure.

• Reduced hemoglobin Alc

• Increased HDL (removes cholesterol buildup from arterial walls).

Fortunately there are various effective ways to increase testosterone in men as we age. (See below)

Nitric Oxide Decline in Arterial Walls

An early step in the initiation of atherosclerosis is reduced nitric oxide bioavailabilily and the resulting endothelial dysfunction.40 Research in the last decade has shown that aging results in further impairment in our ability to synthesize endothelial nitric oxide that results in markedly accelerates atherosclerosis.41-43

In case you are not familiar with this new superstar in the fight against CVD: Nitric oxide is a gas with the chemical formula N-O (one molecule of nitrogen bound to one molecule of oxygen). In 1992 the journal Science proclaimed it “The Molecule of the Year.” In 1998, three pharmacologists were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery that nitric oxide is a major signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system, where it signals the smooth muscles surrounding our arteries to relax, thus allowing for greater flexibility, dilation and improved blood flow. But it plays other roles as well. A large and growing body of research points to nitric oxide’s broad impact on health.40-44

In the endothelium N-O works to:

Manage blood vessel dilation and constriction

Regulate blood clotting

Manage electrolyte levels

Regulate internal fluid levels

Support the immune system

Act as a gatekeeper for substances traveling between the bloodstream and the tissues

Nitric oxide and endothelial health are closely intertwined. N-O helps keep the endothelium healthy; a healthy endothelium helps produce nitric oxide. Maintaining the proper functioning of this cycle is important for those who want to maintain a healthy vascular system.

What helps? (Remedies)

Now that we have identified a few more of the key players in this saga, some of the answers will be quite obvious, others less so. But here is what the current research shows would be most helpful in the fight against cardio vascular disease.

1. Reduce sugar and simple carb consumption. This is what Dr. Perlmutter, Dr. Davis, Dr. Hyman, Dr. Fila and a host of other researchers recommend,21,25 and the above noted studies would suggest. Of course this is not talked about much in commercials because it’s free! There are no commercial interests to fund this message. But as noted above, the evidence continues to astound us on it’s profound adverse effects on our body and brain.

2.  Adopt a primarily Mediterranean diet high in vegetables, fruit, olive oil, nuts, bean  and cold water fish – like sardines or wild caught salmon. A major study out of Bern Switzerland noted more than a decade ago that consuming 10 or more servings of various vegetables and fruits per day was more predictive of not having a future stroke or heart attack than was the absence of body fat or high LDL cholesterol.46

Another study in 2011 confirmed that strict adherence to a Mediterranean diet decreased the likelihood of ischemic stroke irrespective of cholesterol levels, age, and gender.47

A even more recent article published in the Feb 2014 journal PLoS One reaffirmed the protective value of a Mediterranean diet, against the risk of cardiovascular disease in Midwestern firefighters.48 In this study lifestyle questionnaire responses of 780 male firefighters were scored on their adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet. Subjects whose adherence to the diet was greatest had a 35% lower risk of meta­bolic syndrome in comparison with men whose adherence was lowest. The group with the greatest adherence also had a 43% lower risk of weight gain over the previous five years, lower body fat percentage, greater high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels and lower low-density lipopro­tein (LDL) cholesterol.

3.  Eat pomegranates and drink their juice and or resveratrol from grape skins. As noted above PON-1 anchored to the surface of HDL is emerging as a for­midable defense against atherosclerosis.11, 12 Pharmaceutical companies would pay dearly for a drug that elevates PON-1 levels in the body. Fortunately, scientists have discov­ered pomegranate and resveratrol elevate PON-1 naturally to unleash its full antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power.13-17

In studying the effects of pomegranate alone over a one-year period, studies using human serum revealed an 83% increase in PON-1 activity and a 90% decrease in oxidized LDL. These same patients showed reversal in clinical measurements of atherosclerosis such as carotid artery narrowing.17 Again no statin has been shown to be as powerful in aiding HDL in the reversal of carotid artery narrowing. For a link to pomegranate juice and extract option Click here.

Note: I have been able to arrange discounts for my readers on most of the nutrients mentioned here. Simply click on the links provided. Purchases made from these links also help to support this otherwise unfunded website and blog.

4. Boost Nitric Oxide production with beet root lozenges or juice. N-O is abundant in the body, but it is unstable and short-lived, and thus must be renewed continuously. For years L-arginine was suggested for this purpose. However, it is not well absorbed in seniors. Beet root was found to be significantly more effective for seniors, and in recent years a product called Neo40 or Co2, a lozenge, was developed which when mixed with saliva produces a dramatic boost in nitric oxide which goes to work to open arteries within minutes. A plethora of recent research now shows these lozenges can effectively  increase blood flow, decrease blood pressure, soften hardened arteries, reduce plaque, stroke risk, and joint pain, improve digestion, brain function and elevate mood.43,44 The only problem is they are not cheap. These are a bit pricey. But if you email me at [email protected] I will tell you how you can obtain these for less.

5. Exercise on a regular basis. There is no question that physical activity plays a very important role in preventing CVD, and managing related risk factors, including elevated triglyceridelevels, lowHDL, hypertension, insulin resistance, and obesity.47,48  It is in fact one of the best ways to increase the good HDL cholesterol, reduce systemic inflammation and boost N-O levels in the body. It also improves digestion and nutrient absorption, reduces that  caustic stress hormone cortisol and of course improves circulation. The recommendation is that every US adult should accumulate at least 30 minute or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.  Not sleeping well can also increase arterial plaque, and exercise facilitates better sleep!

6. Eat fish and take a high quality fish oil or Omega-3 supplement. There are over 3,000 studies supporting the value of Omega-3’s or fish oil for the vascular system. And most Americans are dangerously low in these essential fatty acids. Fish oil is one of the few natural supplements approved by the FDA for treating CVD. It’s primary mechanisms of action are through reducing inflammation, and platelet aggregation (clotting) in the body.  A recent review of 68 ran­domized trials that examined the effects of omega-3 fatty acids in a total of 4,601 participants showed omega-3 fatty acid supplementation decreased blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), both of which are markers of inflammation..49 And the longer they took them the greater the benefits. Interestingly fish alone did not decrease CRP or tumor necrosis factor like the higher quality fish oil supplements.

Another review of research reported in 2013 found those with coronary atherosclerosis showed a 51% reduction in the risk for major cardiovascular events in those who consumed Omega-3 supplements high in DHA and EPA as opposed to those who did not.52  Moreover, Omega-3s/Fish oil are among the safest and most effective ways to reduce AFib or arrythmias.50

7. Take a low dose aspirin. In an article published recently in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, researchers from Ireland evaluated 1,476 men and women enrolled in a heart failure disease manage­ment program. Aspirin was prescribed to 892 subjects, among whom 828 were recommended a low dose of 75milligrams per day. Over a follow-up period of up to twelve years (median of 2.6 years), 464 deaths occurred.

Subjects who used low dose aspirin had a 42% lower adjusted  risk of dying over follow-up and 30% lower risk of being hospitalized for heart failure in comparison with non-aspirin users. Those who used high-dose aspirin experi­enced a risk of dying similar to those who did not use the drug.

8. Take a good B-complex to reduce homocysteine. If you are taking an aspirin* or eating a healthy diet and your homocysteine levels remain high, a simple “activated or coenzyme” B-complex supplement containing methyl-folate, methyl-cobalamine (B-12) and the active or coenzyme forms of the other B-vitamins will likely do the trick. These have also been shown to reduce the risk for strokes as well as cut the risk for Alzheimer’s by half.51, 52   * Aspirin and other pain relievers deplete B-vitamins. For a great low cost B-complex click here.

9. Consider extra niacin (B-3). If you have a family history of heart disease or find that you have high levels of the dangerous LP(a) small LDL cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol, high amounts of niacin may be your best bet for survival. High does niacin at or above 1000 mg (once you get over the flush) is better than any statin at lowering LDL cholesterol, but especially the dangerous LP(a), and unlike statins it can boost the  good HDL at the same time. Moreover, it’s been shown to be very important for mental health as well. Learn more about this therapy at:

10. Boost your hormones. As noted above it is very important for our vascular system as we age to keep our hormones at optimal levels. There are several things we can do to promote that, such as moderate and weight bearing exercise. Keeping our weight under control and avoiding excess sugar. Cholesterol is also required. That is another reason why statins can be counterproductive. Additionally, there are various “natural” supplements that can help – like DHEA and Pregnenolone. Click here to see a recent post on boosting hormones and brain health. There are also now a variety on more or less natural hormone replacement therapies. To find physicians familiar with these go to.  or

Click on Public in left side menu, then select Online Physician Referral Directory to search by location and specialty. Many of the listings are for MDs with CAM credentials. Or  and for even more go to:

If you are aware of a “compounding pharmacy” in your area they will also be able to give you the names of local physicians familiar with these. Personally I have found that just 25 mg of DHEA, for less than $5 per mo, works wonders for me and is available at most health food stores and even some grocery stores in the supplement section.

11. Take CoQ10 and foods rich in magnesium if you are at all concerned about having a heart attack.

The European Journal of Heart Failure just published a ten year study conclusively showing that CoQ10 supplementation significantly improves survival for even the most severe heart failure patients while radically reducing incidences of hospitalization.54

This new study shows that CoQ10 supplementation can restore deficient CoQ10 levels in patients with moderate-to-severe heart failure, extend lifespan, and improve quality of life.54

The compelling results from this 10-year-long study found that patients who took 100 mg of CoQ10 three times daily were…

Significantly less likely to die from heart failure,

Less than half as likely to die from any cause at all, and

Only half as likely to have a major adverse cardiac event during the study period, compared with control subjects.54

There are two forms of CoQ10 the better is called Ubiquinol. Look for that or others like Qsorb, that have enhanced absorption.

Magnesium – Several studies have shown magnesium’s ability to improve heart rate viability and arterial elasticity, as well as preventing the muscle cramp of a heart attack.

In one study magnesium or placebo was given to patients with severe congestive heart failure. The survival rate after 1 year of supplementation was 76% for the magnesium group vs. 52% for the placebo group. The authors concluded “Magnesium orotate may be used as adjuvant therapy in patients on optimal treatment for severe congestive heart failure, increasing survival rate and improving clinical symptoms and patient’s quality of life”55 Pumpkin seeds, spinach, cashews and other nuts, seeds, beans and greens are good sources. See Magnesium supplements are not always well absorbed. Magnesium Orotate, L-threonate, citrate, malate or simple oxide, however, have all been shown to help.

12. Maintain electrolytes and trace minerals like zinc, potassium & selenium  –

Zinc has been shown to play a crucial roles in the maintenance of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism and is generally low in those with CVD.56 Maintaining healthy Potassium levels is necessary to maintain normal heart rhythm and function. Diuretic use, however, can result in the depletion of these important electrolytes. Conversely ACE inhibitors and ARBs, medications prescribed for individuals at risk for heart failure, decrease the excretion of potassium, thus helping to prevent heart attacks, but may lead to elevated potassium levels. In addition to their effects on potassium, ACE inhibitors and ARBs have been shown to increase the urinary excretion of zinc, and thiazide diuretics also increase urinary zinc losses 55 For good food sources of these go to:

Selenium is also very important for the vascular system. Several studies have shown individuals with age related hypertension and coronary heart disease tend to be low in this important trace mineral.57 And a selenium free diet is associated with a higher (70%) risk of dying;57 however, in an animal model supplementation with a selenium rich food resulted in much higher survival rates of 78% and 100%, respectively.58  For a list of foods high in selenium go to:

It is likely due, at least in major part, to these various nutrients that the Mediterranean diet has proven to be so protective. 

13.  Keep you gut healthy. In studies conducted on both animals and humans, the use of probiotics decreased LDL cholesterol, and increased HDL cholesterol.59-61 In addition, recent studies suggest that supplements of beneficial bacteria can reduce cholesterol absorption in the gut and the inflammation of fat stores.62,63 These changes contribute to a significant decrease in the formation of inflammatory, cholesterol-laden plaques observed in early atherosclerosis.62,64,65.

14. Essential Oils may also reduce your risk. Oils have been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. Oils and spice were the medicines of choice in the old world. Dr. Edward Fila, who pioneered the development of ultra sound for the early detection of atherosclerosis, recently shared with me several amazing stories showing major reversal of dangerous focal plaque in arteries with a combination of several essential oils. This potent combo included: Frankincense, wild orange, Thyme, Lemon grass, and one or two others. He is currently looking for individuals with significant plaque in their arteries for a more in-depth study of this formulation.

June 5, 2014

Astounding, Affordable New DNA Repair Formula Sweeps Country, Changes Lives!

What if there was a system that could enable us to recover or heal from virtually any ailment Alzheimer’s, Acid reflux, Aspergers, bulimia, cancer, cardio-vascular disease, chronic fatigue, diabetes, depression, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, Parkinson’s, TBI’s (traumatic brain injuries), etc? Well there is!  it’s called the Human Bio – short for biological system or body. The truth is our body is amazing in it’s capacity to heal itself IF…. (See amazing examples below)

I am going to explain that “IF” in a second, but recently I listened in on an interview with an oncologist that was very enlightening. He noted there is only one thing that can cure cancer, and it’s not drugs or medications, exotic foods, or magic potions, it’s the human body it’s self. That is really the only thing that heals. And it’s amazing in its capacity to do so. It can even correct or compensate for genetic aberrations, and repair double DNA breaks, IF… it has the resources or right building blocks in the right ratios  it needs to do so.

What are those building blocks? Well we call them nutrients. They consist of vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, antioxidants and other phytonutrients that make up our bio-chemistry. When the body has adequate amounts of these it can do amazing things for itself. But when it does not, when it’s lacking even one or two of these essential nutrients, then all kinds of bad things can begin to happen. That’s the one cachink or weakness in our body’s amour. It needs those building blocks. But when it has them, especially in the right forms and ratios truly amazing things can happen.

I witnessed that this past month, with a new formulation, that you paid for! Yes you!  Shortly after 911 the Marine Corp contacted an innovative bio-research group and asked them if they could develop a formulation that could protect our men and women in combat, from the hazards and stressors of war, from the inside out. Was there some super combination of nutrients that could protect their vital organs, heart, lungs, circulatory system and brain from traumatic stress, injury and environmental toxins like radiation, bio warfare, etc?

“Well probably so,” was the answer. But this had never been done before. Never before had a supplement been developed that could supply all of the essential nutrients not always found in an American diet in the right forms and ratios to accomplish all of the above. However, an elite team of MD’s, biochemists and research scientists was assembled, and unbeknownst to you, Congress appropriated more than 15 millions $$ to make that happen. It’s a fascinating story, but after thousand of hours of research, numerous tests, trials and tweeking, and more than a 20 major studies, first with animals and then with humans, a formulation emerged that enables healing in the human body that is nothing short of astounding. 

In state of the art labs and medical centers at NASA, Walter Reed Medical Center, the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Center,  the Marine Corps Combat Training Centers at 29 Palms, CA (where I once served), and Quantico, VA; as well as various academic institutions both in the US and abroad, researchers were able to verify this formulations potent potential to reduce cellular and DNA damage, repair DNA and enable animals to protect themselves from cancer causing radiation, and humans from oxidative damage, insulin resistance, atherosclerosis, fatigue, mood and memory disorders. As well as protecting against and speeding recovery from concussions, traumatic stress and other neurological or brain injuries.

Now after several years of use by the military a group of health minded civilians have negotiates and obtained the rights and permission to provide this to civilians.

You can see and hear the story here ;

In late October an MD, PhD Biochemist friend invited me to attend the official launch of this new formulation.  It turns out they had actually started providing this to civilians on a trial basis back in February of this year. The news of this was passed by word of mouth only. The idea was, “Try this. If it helps tell others.” I’ve attended product launches before and was expecting to find a group of 30 or 40 young entrepreneurs. But I was amazed when I reached the convention center to find it packed with more than 1200 old people. The event occurred in Utah, but when I finally found an open seat near the front, I was sitting next to a couple in their 70’s who had driven there from New York. And everyone had a story.

The husband told me his wife had been informed of this by a friend, and found after taking it only 2 weeks that the pain in her feet had completely disappeared, and the ringing in his ears has also ceased, and they both had more energy and vigor than they’d felt in years.

At the lunch break I asked the people around me in line if they knew of anyone who had been helped with neurological or Memory problems. One woman told me of a neighbor who had suffered a stroke, and pretty much lost his ability to speak. After just a few weeks on the formula, she said he had regained his speech, and could carry on a fairly normal conversation. 

Another woman told of a friend whose 94 year old mother was in an assisted living facility but the family was planning to move her to a dementia care ward, as she could no longer remember who her daughter was or other family members. But after a month or so on this formula, the daughter noted that her mother called her on the telephone and even asked about her husband by name. She said, “We’ve got Mom back!”

At lunch I sat with a 71 yr old woman who told me she had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2001. And with chronic osteoarthritis in 2009. She had a hip replacement in 2012, and had chronic herpes, severe ringing in her ears. She’d been on Oxycodon with Gabapentin for pain since 2009. She was also on Xanax to deal with her relentless depression and anxiety, which she described in some detail. The following is her description (I asked her to send this to me) of what happened next.

“Began taking Micronutrients Oct 7, 2014 (4 capsules) the next morning I didn’t need to take any pain meds to get around. NO PAIN I didn’t take any oxycodon until 1:30 pm and then I only took 1/2 pill which was enough. I took the other half in the evening. A friend called me that day and remarked…”What are you doing?  Your voice sounds different, …”.  I said, ” I do feel different, like a cloud has been lifted off me”.  It was then I realized I didn’t feel depressed. On day 3 I went for a walk…8 blocks no cane, no PAIN meds. …the ringing in my ears has diminished greatly. I’m slowly getting off the PAIN meds. Still taking 1/2 pill twice a day. Completely off Xanax. I have great energy am now doing yard work and other things I haven’t done in years!”  Amazing!

Despite all of these stories I’ve been taking a “wait and see attitude.” I guess I’m a bit of a skeptic, but I also like experiments, so I now have 14 clients trying this. A couple of weeks ago, a doctor friend asked me what I thought might help one of his friends with Parkinson’s I suggested he might try this. Sunday he called me with his friend and wife on the other line. They just wanted to tell me that after just 3 days this man felt his strength had improved, and his mind was “clearer”.

I asked how many he took ea day. He reported – “only one.” (4 are recommended) So after just 3 pills he was claiming improvements!  That to me is near unbelievable, especially for a nutritional supplement. I’m usually thrilled if I hear of such improvements in a few weeks, let alone a few days.

In summary here’s what this little wonder formula has been shown to do:

* Safeguard DNA = Preserves cellular blueprints

* Repair and optimize mitochondria = greater energy for physical and mental tasks

* Protect, repair and strengthen cells throughout the body = promotes healthier heart, brain, liver, lung, and other organ function

* Reduce oxidative stress = Slows tissue damage and functional decline

* Extinguish inflammation = Reduces discomfort, promotes healing and enhances well-being

* Improve endothelial function = Enhances blood flow to cells throughout the body

* Increase immune function = Minimize down time, reduced illness

* Increase cellular strength = Improved function throughout the body, faster recovery

* Boost anti-aging processes = Feel, think and move about better

Lots of supplements claim some of these benefits. But none deliver like this. That’s why the word is spreading by personal witness not just promises.

It appears able to penetrate and positively affect every organ in the body.  Symptom improvements reported include:

Greater strength and energy, improved sleep, improved clarity of thought, focus, and memory, elevated mood, depression & anxiety gone, Aspergers reduced. pain in back, legs, hips, etc greatly reduced or eliminated, better able to hold my bladder, improved digestion, reduced acid reflux, improved circulation and feeling in hands and feet, improved vision and hearing, hair stopped falling out, male sexual performance enhanced – ED no longer a problem, digestion improved, skin blotches gone, Eczema disappeared, fat loss enhanced, blood sugar levels reduced nail appearance improved, fungus gone, no more nightmares.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to what this doctor has experienced and witnessed:

On this site you can see summaries of some of their studies.

If that’s not enough here are some miscellaneous other reports on different conditions.

If you want to learn more here is my portal to their members website.

I want to be clear, I am not claiming that this will prevent, mitigate or cure any disease or physical malady. But it does provide the nutrients our body needs, in effective forms and ratios to accomplish what it was designed to do – and the results are simply astounding!

March 8, 2014

The Cholesterol Hoax: The Forbidden Fat Now Shown to Be Essential To Both Physical and Mental Health

Late in 2013 a new book hit the market talking about the impact of carbohydrates on brain function. The book Grain Brain, was written by one of the most famous neurologists in the world, David Perlmutter, MD. As a brilliant board certified Neurologist and Nutritionist, for the past decade Dr. Perlmutter has been on the cutting edge of brain science – and usually a decade ahead of his peers.

Two year ago I listened to a lecture of his on Celiac disease and the impact of gluten on brain health, so I felt I already understood the point he would make in his book, I didn’t need to read it. Last month, however, one of my clients, a retired physician, gave me a copy and made me promise I would read it. I was blown away by what he had to say.  No wonder it’s now a New York Time Best Seller.  In this book he sets the record strait on several of the biggest myths in mainstream medicine.

Consider the following quotes regarding one of the heretofore most malevolent villains in all of medical practice and prime time commercials – cholesterol.

“Cholesterol is a critical brain nutrient essential for the function of neurons, and it plays a fundamental role as a building block of the cell membrane. It acts as an antioxidant and a precursor to important brain-supporting ele­ments like vitamin D, as well as the steroid-related hormones (e.g., sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen). Most important, choles­terol is looked upon as an essential fuel for the neurons. Neurons them­selves are unable to generate significant cholesterol; instead, they rely on delivery of cholesterol from the bloodstream via a specific carrier protein. Interestingly, this carrier protein, LDL, has been given the derogatory title of “bad cholesterol.” In reality, LDL is not a cholesterol molecule at all, good or bad. It’s a low-density lipoprotein (hence its acronym), and there is absolutely nothing bad about it. The fundamental role of LDL in the brain, again, is to capture life-giving cholesterol and transport it to the neuron, where it performs critically important functions.

And now we have the evidence in the scientific literature to prove that when cholesterol levels are low, the brain simply doesn’t work well; individuals with low cholesterol are at much greater risk for dementia and other neurological problems. We need to change our attitudes about cho­lesterol and even LDL; they are our friends, not foes.” (pg 41)

But what about cholesterol and coronary artery disease? Is here such a thing as dangerously high cholesterol? Perlmutter responds by noting:

“Cholesterol is at most a minor player in coronary heart disease and represents an extremely poor predictor of heart attack risk. Over half of all patients hospitalized with a heart attack have cholesterol levels in the “normal” range. The idea that aggressively lowering choles­terol levels will somehow magically and dramatically reduce heart attack risk has now been fully and categorically refuted. The most important modifiable risk factors related to heart attack risk include smoking, excess alcohol consumption, lack of aerobic exercise, over­weight, and a diet high in carbohydrates.”

Ok so that’s a pretty radical claim. What evidence does he present to back that up? You may be thinking – Well that must be pretty shallow evidence right? Wrong! Consider this. (I know you are going to want to share this with colleagues, friends and family who will likely be skeptical, so I’m quoting liberally and including a significant amount of evidence for you to share.)

“In 1994, the Journal of the American Medical Associa­tion published a trial that compared older adults with high cholesterol (lev­els above 240 mg/dl) to those with normal levels (below 200 mg/dl).9 Over the course of four years, researchers at Yale University measured total choles­terol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in almost one thousand partici­pants; they also tracked hospitalizations for heart attack and unstable angina and the rates of death from heart disease and from any other cause. No differences were found between the two groups. People with low total cholesterol had as many heart attacks and died just as frequently as those with high total cholesterol. And reviews of multiple large studies have rou­tinely failed to find correlation between cholesterol levels and heart dis­ease.10 Mounting research like this has prompted Dr. George Mann, a researcher with the Framingham Heart Study, to go on record stating:

The diet heart hypothesis that suggests that a high intake of fat or cholesterol causes heart disease has been repeatedly shown to be wrong, and yet, for complicated reasons of pride, profit, and prejudice, the hypothesis continues to be exploited by scientists, fund-raising enterprise, food companies, and even governmental agencies. The public is being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century.11 

Nothing could be further from the truth than the myth that if we lower our cholesterol levels we might have a greater chance of living lon­ger and healthier lives. In a recent report appearing in the prestigious medical journal the Lancet, researchers from the Netherlands studied 724 elderly individuals whose average age was eighty-nine years and fol­lowed them for ten years.12 What they found was truly extraordinary. During the study, 642 participants died. Each thirty-nine-point increase in total cholesterol corresponded to a 15 percent decrease in mortality risk. In the study, there was absolutely no difference in the risk of dying from coronary artery disease between the high-versus low-cholesterol groups, which is incredible when you consider the number of elderly folks who are taking powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs. Other common causes of death in the elderly were found to be dramatically associated with lower cholesterol. The authors reported: “Mortality from cancer and infection was significantly lower among the participants in the highest total cholesterol category than in the other categories, which largely explains the lower all-cause mortality in this category.” In other words, people with the highest total cholesterol were less likely to die from cancer and infections—common fatal illnesses in older folks — than those with the lowest cholesterol levels. In fact, when you compare the lowest-and highest-cholesterol groups, the risk of dying during the study was reduced by a breathtaking 48 percent in those who had the highest cholesterol. High cholesterol can extend longevity.” (pg 78-79)

In a French study of individuals with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) it was shown that “those individuals with considerably higher cholesterol ratios lived, on average, one year longer than patients with lower levels, when compared with normal controls. As the authors stated: “Hyperlipidemia (high levels of cholesterol) is a significant prog­nostic factor for survival of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This finding highlights the importance of nutritional intervention strategies on disease progression and claims our attention when treating these Patients with lipid lowering drugs.”

In 2010, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published an astonishing study that revealed the truth behind urban legends about fat, especially the saturated kind, and heart disease.14 The study was a retrospective evaluation of twenty-one previ­ous medical reports involving more than 340,000 subjects followed from periods of five to twenty-three years. It concluded that “intake of saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, or cardiovascular disease.” In comparing the lowest to the highest consumption of saturated fat, the actual risk for coronary heart disease was 19 percent lower in the group consuming the highest amount of saturated fat.

So why is fat consumption so important for our body and brain? Among other things he notes  “Certain vitamins, notably A, D, E, and K, require fat to get absorbed properly in the body…, Because these vitamins do not dis­solve in water, they can only be absorbed from your small intestine in combination with fat. Deficiencies due to incomplete absorption of these vitally important vitamins are always serious, and any such deficiency can be linked to brain illness, among many other conditions.” For example, “Without adequate vitamin A, your brain won’t develop properly; you will go blind and become exceptionally vulnerable to infections. [Without vitamin K we are more prone to macular degeneration] A lack of vitamin D is known to be associated with increased susceptibility to several chronic diseases, including schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression, seasonal affective disorders, and a number of autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes.”

So are there studies that support the value of high cholesterol for the brain? I bet by now you can guess the answer to that one. Perlmutter notes that: “In a recent report published by the National Institutes of Health, researchers compared memory function in elderly individuals to cholesterol levels. They found that the people who did not suffer from dementia had much better mem­ory function if they had higher levels of cholesterol. The conclusion of the report crisply stated: “High cholesterol is associated with better mem­ory function.” In the discussion that followed, the researchers indicated: “It is possible that individuals who survived beyond age eighty-five, espe­cially those with high cholesterol, may be more robust.”6 

In the fall of 2012, a report in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease published research from the Mayo Clinic revealing that older people who fill their plates with carbohydrates have nearly four times the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI), generally considered a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease…This particular study found that those whose diets were highest in healthy fats were 42 percent less likely to experience cognitive impair­ment.” (p. 72)

He notes a study in the Neatherlands which demonstrated that Parkinson’s is also associated with lower levels of cholesterol. In fact a more recent study in 2008 showed that people with the lowest LDL cholesterol (the so called bad cholesterol) had nearly a 350 percent higher risk for developing Parkinson’s disease.

Makes ya feel like going out and eating an egg, right? (Egg yolks are high in cholesterol as well as memory building choline.) Especially those from free range chickens or those fed a diet high in Omega3’s, like algae or flax.

This also helps explain why Dr. Shea’s UMass formula – Perceptiv, and Suncrest’s Memoryze are so helpful, as they contains Vitamin E, which protects fats from oxidation, L-carnitine that helps break them down for energy, and SAMe that helps convert them into neurotransmitters for memory.

What are other sources of good fats? Those from healthy cold water fish are among the best like wild caught salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines. Chicken, turkey and even beef may also contain healthy fats. (Eat red meat in moderation, however, as too much red meat, especially fried or grilled has also been linked to Alzheimer’s and cancer.) In the plant world coconuts, avocados, olives, and olive oil, most nuts and seeds like flaxseed or pumpkin seeds, as well as leafy greens contain healthy oils needed by the brain to succeed.

“In one study they found in those who never ate fish, the risk of dementia and Ahheimer’s disease during the four-year follow-up period was increased by 37 percent. In those individuals who consumed fish on a daily basis, risk for these diseases was reduced by 44 percent. Regular users of butter had no signifi­cant change in their risk for dementia or Alzheimer’s, but people who regularly consumed omega-3-rich oils, such as olive, flaxseed, and walnut oil, were 60 percent less likely to develop dementia than those who did not regularly consume such oils. The researchers also found that people who regularly ate omega-6-rich oils — typical in the American diet— but not omega-3-rich oils or fish — were twice as likely to develop dementia as  people who didn’t eat Omega-6 oils – found in corn, canola, cottonseed, safflower, sesame, soybeans and sunflowers.”

By the way fried or hydrogenated fats are still terrible for your brain and body. That fact has not changed. And they are especially bad in the absence of good fats as the body will try to use any fat it finds to feed your brain cells. But these make for weak easily diseased and dysfunctional cells.

So how on earth did our medical community fall for and perpetuate such misinformation?

The authors of the above noted “retrospective” review went on to note: “’Our results suggested a publication bias, such that studies with significant associa­tions [between cholesterol and heart disease] tended to be received more favorably for publication.’ What the authors are implying is that when other studies presented conclusions that were more familiar to the mainstream (i.e., fat causes heart disease), not to mention more attractive to BigPharma, they were more likely to get published. The truth is we thrive on saturated fats. In the words of Michael Gurr, PhD, author of Lipid Biochemistry: An Introduction, “What­ever causes coronary heart disease, it is not primarily a high intake of saturated fatty acids.”15  “(pg 80)

And what about statins Lipitor Zocor etc.?  Needless to say he doesn’t have much use for these as they tend to create the very state that we are trying to avoid –  diabetes, impaired neurotransmission, reduced energy production, depression and dementia.

So what should we be looking at in  research?

“In a subsequent report from the American Journal of Clinical Nutri­tion, a panel of leading researchers in the field of nutrition from around the globe clearly stated: “At present there is no clear relation of saturated fatty acid intake to these outcomes [of obesity, cardiovascular disease, incidence of cancer and osteoporosis].” The researchers went on to say that research should be directed at “biological interactions between insu­lin resistance, reflected by obesity and physical inactivity, and carbohy­drate quality and quantity.”16 “(pg 80)

So too many simple carbs, refined or modified wheat and sugars are still the villains and maybe worse than we previously thought, but at least my boiled eggs have now been eggsonerated! : )  Pass the word!

February6, 2014

New Self-Test For Brain Function Now Available

Have you ever wondered if your brain was working normally or sub-par? Are you or someone you love at risk for or beginning to experience some degree of cognitive decline?  Well a new self-test is now available from Ohio State University that can help you or others you know determine if you/they are doing OK or beginning to slip. And it’s free!

If you work in health care and use the Mini-Mental, SLUMS or a similar cognitive assessment tool, this may be of professional value for you as well.

The test is called the e Self-Administered Gero-cognitive Examination test, or SAGE. As an Alzheimer’s researcher I learned of this nearly 4 years ago. It seems to take a long time for scientific discoveries to make it to mainstream. But this is finally here, and as the name implies, it’s designed to be a “do-it-yourself” type of test that you or the patient can complete in about 15 minutes in the privacy of your/their own home.

Often people with memory problems do worse on tests in a foreign or public setting like a doctor’s office, or clinic. This university validated and standardized self-test can help avoid that typical skewing factor, while maintaining personal privacy and validity. And it can help a person determine if indeed they need to see a doctor.  Plus, with it’s 4 different versions it’s a good test for identifying where a person is at and/or to measure treatment related outcomes and progress over time. 

According to the research published Feb 5th in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, this a 15-minute at-home test may be able to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, and cognitive decline.

Developed by Douglas Scharre, M.D., of the Division of Cognitive Neurology at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, it’s a surprisingly simple 12-question pen-and-paper questionnaire which comes in four versions, to assesses:

•    Orientation (in time, for example)

•    Language and verbal fluency

•    Reasoning and computation

•    Visuospatial skills

•    Executive problem solving and memory

To access or learn more about this test go to:

January 4, 2014

The Multi-Vitamin Controversy

Over the past few years I’ve been traveling around the country extolling the virtue of vitamins like the Bs, C, D, E etc, as essential elements in a brain healthy diet.  However, in mid December an editorial from the Annals of Internal Medicine cited 3 studies which suggested that multivitamin supplements did no good and were basically “a waste of money.” So who’s right here? Me or them? …Well me of course! : )

But that’s not just my opinion. Dr. Gladys Block, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the University of California Berkeley, points out that none of the studies noted in the editorial accurately represented the American population. There is lots of good evidence for the importance and efficacy of good vitamin supplements. And the supplements used in these studies may not have been the best.

That brings us to the nasty reality that many popular multivitamins sold in grocery stores, like Centrum Silver®, contain artificial vitamins, minerals and other ingredients that are hard to absorb.  Even though they are called “natural.”  Some of these vitamins are synthesized from petroleum and coal tar, some of the minerals from rocks. The FDA just requires that they’re made from something with a hexane ring (molecule shape) which is in anything that was once living – including petroleum and coal tar. Yuck!  They appear to be the same but the body treats them differently. For example:

Natural vitamin E (d-alpha or gama tocopherol) has been shown to be helpful as an antioxidant in protecting cells, while dl-alpha tocopherol, the synthetic form is much less effective and may even cause oxidation or other cellular damage.

Natural vitamin E is distributed through the body much better than the synthetic form. The reason is that specific carrier proteins in the liver selectively bind to natural vitamin E and transport it through the blood to cells throughout the body. These carrier proteins only recognize a portion of synthetic vitamin E and ignore the remainder. As a result when Japanese researchers gave natural or synthetic vitamin E to young women to measure how much vitamin E actually made it into their blood. It took only 100 mg of natural vitamin E to produce blood levels that required 300 mg of synthetic vitamin E. (See references here)

While natural vitamin E has been shown to inhibit oxidation, some cancers, and reduce  cerebral and cardiovascular risk, synthetic forms of vitamins A & E may shorten one’s life.

(See studies here)

Seniors who care about their brain may also want to avoid supplements containing extra iron or copper (common in senior formulas) as these may increase risk for oxidation and cognitive decline. (If researchers want to give mice dementia they feed them iron.)  Other potential toxins commonly used in vitamins include: aluminum,  selenite, selenate, selenium dioxide, Titanium dioxide, and hydrogenated oils. If your supplement contains synthetic vitamin E or any of these best buy something else.  

We do know good nutrition is essential to human health and malnutrition is a primary cause of aging, both of the body and brain. As we age we often don’t eat as well. Many don’t digest or assimilate their food as well. As a result our protective enzymes, antioxidants, and antibodies decrease, as free radicals, oxidation, inflammation and various diseases increase – ultimately leading to our demise.

Supplementation with natural vitamins and minerals, however, have been shown in numerous studies to be very helpful in overcoming these deficits and improving health.

You may recall the Cache Senior study at Utah State University in the 90’s, where they found those seniors who supplemented with healthy forms of vitamins C & E were more than 75% less likely to develop dementia than those who lacked these nutrients in their diet.(1) The Oxford Study showed a simple pill containing folic acid, B-6 and B-12 was (30-50% more) effective in staving off brain shrinkage and preserving memory then placebo. (2) Vitamin D has been shown in numerous studies to boost the immune system and promote brain health.(3) And various minerals like magnesium, selenium and zinc have also proven helpful in arresting and in some cases even reversing cognitive decline.(4)

Unfortunately it’s become increasingly apparent that those who write such editorials are more than just biased. Dr. Edgar Miller, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins and co-author of the “The (vitamin and supplement) industry is based on anecdote, people saying ‘I take this, and it makes me feel better… But when you put it to the test, there’s no evidence of benefit in the long term.” To come to such a conclusion based on 3 flawed studies alone, while ignoring many more suggests an agenda – likely driven by other financial interests. For an annotated rebuttal to such bullony click here.

Literally thousands of university studies – primarily from biology departments, have proven vitamin and mineral supplements help reduce oxidation, inflammation and related deterioration in the body and brain. For example a 2010 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that multivitamins can keep you younger, longer. It showed people who take a good daily multivitamin had longer telomeres (a predictor of long life) and younger DNA. For a more comprehensive listing of studies showing the value of supplements in reducing risk for more than 100 common ailments go to: and pick a disorder.

Choosing a Multi-Nutrient Formula

The the market is flooded with multi-nutrient formulas, few stand up to a careful analysis of purity and potency.  Many formulas contain only the US government’s recommended dietary allowance (RDA). While the RDA may be sufficient to prevent diseases such as scurvy, extensive studies have demonstrated that promoting optimal health requires nutrients in form and amounts that far exceed the RDA, especially as we age.

Research also shows, as noted above, that the body more readily uses certain forms of vitamins and minerals than others. Many vitamin combinations on the market today use the cheapest available forms.  These, typified by synthetic vitamin E, are difficult for the body to absorb and use, and thus provide only marginal nutritional support, if any. And may even do harm. When choosing a multi-vitamin product, it is advisable to seek not only adequate potencies of nutrients, but also formulations designed for optimal absorption and use by the body. 

January 4, 2014

A New Year Resolution Re: Sugar – This Simple Step Promotes Both Brain Health and Fat Loss

Would you like to lose some extra pounds this year, improve your memory, mood and vascular health, and reduce your risk for diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer?  If so here is one simple step you can take to help you achieve all of these. This isn’t very hard (if you put your mind to it), won’t cost extra money and it doesn’t even require exercise. All you have to do is stop eating extra sugar!

Recently I saw the wife of old friend of mine in her mid 60’s. I knew she’d been struggling with some depression and weight issues. So I was glad to see her out in public looking great!  I noticed she had lost a considerable amount of weight, so I asked how that had happened. Her secret: “I just stopped eating sugar, and within just a few weeks I’d lost more than 10 lbs. Now after 3 months I’ve lost more than 35 lbs.”

Wow, think of that, simply by avoiding just those spoonfuls of sugar, she was able to make her scale weight go down, and see her energy levels go up, in a most delightful way! (Why yes I did see Saving Mr. Banks New Years Eve, why do you ask? :)

Last month in my article on diabetes and Alzheimer’s I noted that this month I would share a number of ways to reduce insulin resistance, which we now know increases risk for Alzheimer’s. Well, again the first and perhaps easiest step to take there, is to simply cut excess sugars (and empty calories) out of your diet, anywhere you can. And just yesterday I received some new insight into why this is so important.

You may recall that when we have too much sugar in our system, and it can’t get into our cells, it roams around until it can be stored as fat. But in that process, if it comes into prolonged contact with proteins it can cause mutations and fragmentation is a process called glycation. Not only does this process render that protein or enzyme incapable of performing it’s job, but this process results in a myriad of floating fragments or dangerous rogue peptides, that may include beta amyloid.  At least we know these can block insulin absorption leading to more free radicals and cell damage.

Now I always thought of beta-amyloid (or A-beta) as the basic material in Alzheimer’s  plaque. And we now know that plaque is not as bad as we once thought. In fact it can have a protective effect. But prior to this plaque formation these beta amyloid bits are like tiny tooth picks or tacks that actually puncture holes in our brain cells, causing leaks, cellular disruptions, dysregulations, and eventually cell death or Alzheimer’s.

Fortunately, our body can protect itself against this damage if it has the right tools (nutrients). Two of the most important protectors are carnosine or gastrodin. Carnosine is an amino acid proven to protect other proteins from glycation caused by sugars. Click here to read more about it.

For those who want to have their cake and ice cream too, Life Extension has a product called Mitochondrial Energy Optimizer. This contains high levels of carnosine, as well as benfotiamine a form a B-1 that’s especially effective in helping the body handle sugar and alcohol, and also helps prevent damage to proteins. Plus several other nutrients found to help in the repair and regeneration of brain cells. The only problem is that it’s a bit pricey – but you can learn more about it by clicking  here.

As note, this is a fairly expensive formula, but if you know someone who has lost cognitive abilities due to this process – a diabetic for example, who is now having memory problems, cataracts or neuropathy, this product/combination is extraordinarily effective, not only for preventing damage from glycation, but also for promoting nerve cell growth and mitochondrial regeneration.

One client of mine, after trying many other therapies noted this was the first thing to ever effect an improvement in his neuropathy. And generally we have found that seniors with a “sweet tooth,” seldom make much improvement in their memory with other formulas, until they first address the underlying damage with this product. And of course, if that can save them from further decline and institutional care it’s certainly worth that price.

The other new product is called Brain Shield. It contains an extract from the root of orchids called gastrodin. For thousands of years, Chinese doctors have used gastrodin, to treat a range of cognitive problems ranging from vertigo and headaches to paralysis and seizures.

We are learning that issues with blood flow are critical for brain health. And as I noted last year, vascular issues and insufficiency are likely a much greater contributor to dementia than is Alzheimer’s (AD). In fact new evidence shows it to be a significant contributor to AD. (More on that in my next blog in a couple of weeks.)  But many do not realize that brain blood flow is also reduced by elevated blood sugar.

There are several new findings regarding gastrodin that have researchers excited. The first is the finding that gastrodin improves insulin sensitivity. This enables glucose to enter our cells mitochondria to be converted into energy, thus ridding the blood of excess glucose (which also reduces body fat), thus improving both blood flow and energy production. But it also has been found to protect the brain from strokes, rebalance neurotransmitters, and facilitate the regeneration of brain cells. All of these of course contribute to renewed brain health improved memory and mood. And oh yes, it also reduces the risk for migraine headaches as well as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.  In short, gastrodin provides unparalleled, multi-factorial brain protection in both extreme and everyday conditions. And it only costs $25!  If you know anyone concerned about TIA’s or strokes, or vascular dementia this seems like a wise investment to me. 

But again the easiest and least expensive measure to take is to simply cut back on sugars, both natural and artificial. Now that the holidays are over you can cut out the soft drinks, the evening ice cream, cakes, cookies, pies, syrups, milk chocolate, jelly beans, etc. and just see what a difference that can make. You’ll save money and you might just save your brain in the process! Try it, you may like it!

Oh, so what if you “crave sugar?” As many do. Well Life Extension has another product , made from Saffron, that’s not expensive, but it can help take care of that as well.

June 13, 2013

Brain Healthy News for June 2013

Mind/Body Autogenic Healing And Stress Reduction

Compiled by David R. Larsen, MFHD

As you know stress kills. It’s a major inhibitor of memory, and the prolonged expression of cortisol, which it creates, can decimate memory cells, impair the immune system, accelerate aging and increase risk for dementia and a host of other ills. So learning how to relax our body and focus our mind’s healing powers can have a major impact on both physical and mental health. In this newsletter I share some fascinating insights for controlling stress, two great new CEU courses on this, and a FREE special report on how to maintain a healthy brain and prevent dementia.

• Strategies for calming your mind and healing your body and brain

• Great new CEU training opportunities

• My summer classes and schedule

• Special FREE Report on how to prevent or arrest dementia, you can share with clients, friends and family!

• New website initiative and offerings

• Try New Optimized Tryptophan for a good night’s sleep!

• Nitric Oxide update

Strategies For Calming Your Mind And Healing Your Body & Brain

One of the first cases studies I ever read about someone who overcame a serious memory problem was conducted by Dharma Khalsa, MD. Dr. Khalsa, believed stress, in addition to poor nutrition, was a major contributor to Alzheimer’s as well as other memory problems. And he advocated meditation for maintaining or improving brain function. Of course several studies have now shown the wisdom in this approach.1, 2, 3

A 2004 University of Wisconsin, Madison study showed the brains of long-term Buddhist practitioners who have meditated every day for many years generated the highest levels of gamma waves--a pattern of brain activity associated with attention, working memory, and learning--ever reported in such studies.

But one doesn’t have to be a Buddhist monk to benefit from autogenic relaxation and meditation. One of the most dramatic studies appeared in the January 30, 2011 issue of Psychiatry Research. In this study they found that Participating in an 8-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. What we pay attention to impacts the actual structure, as well as the health of our brain and body.

Another study at the University of Kentucky further demonstrated the effects of meditation on memory. In this study, subjects who took a late-afternoon test after meditating for 40 minutes had significantly better scores than those who napped for the same period. Subjects were also retested after being deprived of a full night's sleep, and again those who had meditated scored better than their study counterparts.

How could that be? According to Bruce O'Hara, PhD, a coauthor of the study, meditation, like sleep, reduces sensory input, and this quiet state may provide a time for neurons to process and solidify new information and memories. Brain scans also reveal that meditation produces a state somewhat similar to non-REM sleep (which many specialists believe is the more mentally restorative sleep phase). However, unlike when you sleep, consciousness is fully maintained in meditation, so there is no grogginess upon awakening.

In 2011 I was inspired by the story of Jeff Smith who nearly seven years after a disability retirement due to Alzheimer's was able to write an amazingly insightful and articulate article, with no apparent impairment, about “surviving Alzheimer’s” and the various things that had helped him including meditation.

But the health effects of meditation, mindfulness, and other forms of autogenic relaxation extend far beyond memory enhancement, especially when you add in affirmations and guided imagery. Lynn Johnson, PhD has been using relaxation and guided imagery in his counseling practice for many years. He cites studies showing that relaxation and imagery can reduce headaches, and an upset stomach, even nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. It can lower blood pressure and heart rate and decrease stress, pain and anxiety in anxious or depressed individuals. Carl Simonton, MD in his book Getting Well Again described how he used relaxation and guided imagery to optimize immune systems to rid his patients of various types of cancer.

If you have never been taught relaxation techniques, here are some basic instructions.

Start by finding a soft comfortable chair to it in, then do some tensing and releasing (or stretching) of muscle groups, and 3 slower deeper breaths (much like yawning). Sometimes I like to count to 4 as I breathe in and to 5 as I breathe out.

Then repeat to yourself the following self-statements. Repeat every phrase, silently, in your mind, three times. Say the phrase in a quiet, thoughtful way. Pause after and notice how you feel. Focus on your feelings for two or three breaths. Practice each until you feel their relaxing effect, at least twice a day.

I feel quite quiet. . . I am easily relaxed. . .

My right arm feels heavy and relaxed. . . My left arm feels heavy and relaxed. . . My arms feel heavy and relaxed and relaxed . . .

My right leg feels heavy and relaxed. . . My left leg feels heavy and relaxed. . . My arms and legs feel heavy and relaxed and relaxed. . . My hips and stomach are quiet and relaxed . . . My shoulders are heavy and relaxed and relaxed . . My breathing is calm and regular . . . My face is smooth and quiet . . .I am beginning to feel quite relaxed. . .

If you have time, it will also help if you can then vividly imagine yourself in some quite peaceful place or vacation site, in sensory rich detail.

The more often you return your body to this state of restful quiet, the easier and faster this process will become, and the more energy and self-control you will experience.

It’s hard to adequately explain this on paper. There are lots of different methods that work, and almost endless affirmations and imagery that can be used, with color and heat, metaphors, ethereal or imaginary guides and healing visualizations. But the best way to learn this is by experiencing this with a master – someone who really knows what they are doing. And I know just the man, and just the opportunity.

2 Autogenic Relaxation/Healing Training Opportunities

Looking for some great continuing education? I just learned Dr. Lynn Johnson, one of the top experts in autogenic relaxation techniques, will soon be offering a new online course on Autogenic Training – Meditation and Healing for professionals. The modules will include:

• Autogenic Training – overview and benefits

• Meditation How it works -- Basic Essentials plus advanced insights

• Healing and Pain Relief – The results may amaze you

• Mental Training – How to train your brain to get the most from your mind

• Sleep Skills – How to sleep deeper and longer and wake refreshed

• Love and Compassion – Healing ourselves and humanity in practical ways