This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
Most people think of Alzheimer’s disease as an illness that afflicts the elderly. While in most cases symptoms don’t appear before the age of 65, the damage to the brain begins much earlier. Twenty to thirty years earlier, in fact.
Alzheimer’s is actually an illness that starts in middle age, between 30 and 40 years old.
What Happens in the Brain of an Alzheimer’s Patient?
Long before symptoms manifest, a substance called amyloid protein clumps together and forms plaque, which is deposited outside and around nerve cells. Much later, close to the onset of symptoms, the brain develops tangles, which are twisted fibers that build up inside the nerve cells.
Plaque and tangles, the primary hallmarks of the disease, lead to the death of brain cells. Many scientists believe the plaque triggers the subsequent brain damage; therefore, if something could be found to halt or curtail its accumulation, it could potentially prevent or delay the disease.
While clinical studies confirm there are several ways to potentially curb plaque formation in the brain, allopathic doctors insist Alzheimer’’s is the only leading cause of death that isn’t preventable. Drug treatment is of limited value because it doesn’t stop the condition’s relentless progression. Medications aim at increasing neurotransmitters that are deficient, but they don’t reverse the brain changes.
Perhaps the best approach would be prevention through engaging in holistic practices that promote brain health. The earlier in life such measures are started, the better.
Some doctors who believe in this strategy recommend exercise, intellectual stimulation and getting a full night’s sleep, as well as social engagement, taking control of diabetes and consumption of an anti-inflammatory Mediterranean diet.
In addition, research in recent years shows various natural agents hold much promise. Here are some of the findings.
A 2013 study found a compound in green tea reshapes amyloid protein, which prevents it from binding to nerve cells and disrupting function. In other words, it stops a key step in the development of Alzheimer’s.
Research in 2012 discovered the symptoms of Alzheimer’s patients “improved remarkably” with a regimen of 100 mg of curcumin per day for 12 weeks. The spice enables blood vessels to relax, a benefit that improves blood flow to the brain.
Scientists know that getting seven to eight hours sleep per night can help prevent the disease. A 2015 study expanded on the issue when it discovered side lying is the best sleeping position, as it facilitates more drainage of toxins from the brain.
In 2014, researchers found a compound in pomegranate reduced the inflammation that destroys brain cells in Alzheimer’s.
Mary Newport, M.D., of Spring Hill Regional Hospital in Florida discovered the medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil might be profoundly beneficial because they produce ketones, an energy source for brain cells.
You are never too young or too old to adopt healthy lifestyle practices that can help prevent or delay Alzheimer’s. If you’ve noticed your memory isn’t as sharp as it once was, it’s another incentive to stay active, get enough rest and eat nutritious food.