Yesterday, I talked about some emerging science showing that amyloid plaque isn’t the cause of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Instead, it’s actually part of the body’s defense against this devastating brain condition. But it’s not just Alzheimer’s that has fallen victim to this sort of deadly misunderstanding.
In fact, evidence suggests a similar mechanism occurs with the development of heart disease and diabetes.
So, let’s start by taking a look at heart disease, the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S…
Arterial plaque contains amyloid
Atherosclerosis is a major hallmark of heart disease. It refers to the hardening and narrowing of the arteries with sticky plaque, which decreases blood flow to the heart, brain, and other organs.
As it turns out, these atherosclerotic plaques contain amyloid, the very same protein that builds up in the brains of people with AD. And some researchers now think these atherosclerotic plaques are part of the body’s defense against developing heart disease…not the cause of it.
In fact, it seems they’re formed as a cascading, “anti-inflammatory” response to infection. So, as with AD, blaming the arterial plaque for cardiovascular disease is more like blaming the firefighters who show up to control the blaze.
Now, let’s look at diabetes…
Both types of diabetes linked to infection and inflammation
As you know, there are two main types of diabetes: Type I (juvenile) and Type II (adult-onset).
When it comes to causes of Type I diabetes, there’s definitely a genetic predisposition. But risk is variable, even among identical twins. Which means there must also be an external trigger…or triggers.
In fact, most researchers believe that an infection during childhood can trigger an auto-immune response—telling the body to attack the insulin-producing pancreatic cells. And we often see the sudden onset of Type I diabetes in children following infections with enterovirus, herpes, mumps, and influenza.
Meanwhile, Type II diabetes is a completely different disease. Up until recently, most researchers attributed Type II diabetes to obesity and a diet high in processed sugar and carbs. But more recent research suggests that even Type II diabetes has an infection-inflammation link.
In fact, new research shows that people with both AD and Type II diabetes also have lesions that test positive for Chlamydophyla pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, and other bacteria. (Helicobacter pylori is also the cause of peptic ulcers, as I discussed yesterday.)
Plus, with Type II diabetes, the body responds to the infection by producing amylin, a protein with anti-microbial properties. We even know that 95 percent of people with Type II diabetes have both amylin and amyloid protein deposits.
People with AD, heart disease, and Type II diabetes (as well as other chronic diseases) also commonly suffer from periodontitis—inflammation of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth.
And do you know what causes periodontitis?
You guessed it—periodontal bacteria.
So, in all these cases, it seems the body produces and sends amyloid and/or amylin to attack and contain an initial infection. Inflammation ensues. And sometimes, sticky protein plaque also gets deposited to contain the infection. If this response isn’t enough to thwart the infection, other symptoms of chronic disease start to present themselves.
In the end, I find these new scientific findings and theories about the causes of AD, dementia, heart disease, and Type II diabetes intriguing. And certainly worth more study.
Unfortunately, it may take decades for the mainstream to catch up to the science.
In the meantime, I suggest you keep up with all the natural, science-backed approaches to reducing inflammation that I’ve been telling you about for years:
- Follow a Mediterranean-style diet. You can learn all about this sensible, enjoyable eating plan in the January 2019 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter (“Your ultimate guide to eating right in 2019—and beyond”). If you’re not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to get started.
- Get moderate exercise a few times a week.
- Get seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night.
Of course, there are many other natural approaches for controlling inflammation. And you can learn about all of them—and how to incorporate them into your life—in my brand-new online learning tool, Dr. Micozzi’s Protocol for Eliminating Deadly Inflammation.
“Rethinking the most common causes of death.” Medscape, 2/27/2019 (medscape.com/viewarticle/909445)
“Common mechanisms involved in Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes: a key role of chronic bacterial infection and inflammation.” Aging (Albany NY). 2016; 8(4): 575–588. doi.org/10.18632/aging.100921