There are plenty of cockamamie, failed theories about what causes Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. But the evidence for one particular root cause is rock solid: chronic inflammation. And if you’ve been an avid reader of Insiders’ Cures, or any health news outlet, I’m sure you’ve seen this term thrown around a lot…and for good reason.
Another concept we’re hearing more about these days is the importance of probiotic bacteria, which live in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract—otherwise known as the GI microbiome. Increasing research shows the GI microbiome is linked to every part of our body and brain, and thus, involved in all aspects of health.
Now, an exciting new study details how you can use these two vital concepts to safeguard your brain against Alzheimer’s.
This study was led by an international team of researchers and published in the prestigious journal Nature. And it found that brain inflammation is actually influenced by the GI microbiome. In other words, what happens in your gut directly influences what happens in your brain.
Later on, I’ll tell you more about this study and how you can proactively prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in your day-to-day life. But first, let’s back up and recap a bit…
Working backwards to find the real Alzheimer’s culprit
Several years ago I explained that sometimes the best way to figure out what causes a disease is to see what cures it…and work back from there. And that’s part of what’s finally happening with Alzheimer’s.
The government has spent decades and billions of dollars on failed, far-fetched theories in an attempt to explain what causes the disease.
Meanwhile, the real cause—chronic inflammation—went largely ignored. And preventing it isn’t as complicated as you’d think.
In fact, I recently came across two studies showing that ibuprofen (the popular over-the-counter drug) and curcumin (the natural powerhouse found in turmeric) both appear to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, by reducing inflammation.
Ibuprofen’s effect on cognitive decline
The first study comes from a team of Canadian neuroscientists. They found that a daily, non-prescription dose of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or aspirin can prevent Alzheimer’s disease. The drugs appear to target inflammation in the brain linked to precursors of dementia.1
Now, I know all NSAIDs tend to get lumped together as “bad” drugs. And certainly some of them deserve that reputation. But ibuprofen remains one of my “approved” drugs (like metformin), because the vast benefits can outweigh the risks.
However, the scientists discovered aspirin and ibuprofen only help prevent Alzheimer’s if you start taking them at least six months—and preferably five years—before you show any signs of dementia.
Taking a drug (no matter how “good” it might be) every day for that long doesn’t sound like a good prescription for overall health to me. And, as you know, I prefer natural approaches over drugs whenever possible.
Which leads me to a study on turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin.
The exotic Alzheimer’s-fighting spice found in your kitchen cupboard
Turmeric, the golden-orange spice that gives curry its vibrant taste and color, has an impressive track record. Population studies show that India (where curry is a dietary staple) has a shockingly low rate of cognitive disorders and dementia compared to the western world.
Here in the U.S., UCLA researchers have been at the forefront of researching natural approaches to Alzheimer’s disease. So it’s not surprising that they recently decided to dig deeper into the effect curcumin has on dementia.
Researchers gathered 40 men and women, ages 50 to 90, who had mild memory loss. The study participants were divided into two groups. For 18 months, the groups received either 90 mg of curcumin or a placebo, twice daily.2
Before I continue, I’d like to quickly note that this dose is a little below my recommended 400 to 500 mg of curcumin a day.
I also think the optimal way to take curcumin is in combination with two other powerful anti-inflammatory botanicals: boswellia and ashwagandha. You should also take 400 to 500 mg daily of each for overall health.
But back to the study…after 18 months, the curcumin group averaged a 28 percent improvement in memory compared with the placebo group, and they also displayed better brain imaging results.
The researchers said they’re unsure exactly how curcumin achieves these results. Especially since it has low bioavailability. In other words, this compound isn’t easily absorbed from your gut to your bloodstream.
Yet thousands of studies (including this one) show that curcumin offers up a host of health benefits for your entire body and brain…
So how does curcumin work if it doesn’t get into the bloodstream?
Why “biome-availability” is just as important as bioavailability
Instead of bioavailability, curcumin actually exhibits a phenomenon I refer to as “biome-availability.” Meaning, unlike most supplements or drugs, it doesn’t need to be absorbed into the bloodstream in order to effectively thwart inflammation.
Instead, it goes to work in your GI microbiome. And as a result, it cools the inflammation taking place in both the body and brain.
Which leads me to the Nature study I mentioned earlier…
Your brain’s immune response can spark inflammation
Despite mounds of evidence, medical specialists (particularly those focused on the immune system) had generally regarded the brain as a “no-man’s land” when it comes to understanding the roles of the immune system and chronic inflammation in brain health…
Traditionally, these specialists believed that immune cells simply “avoid” the brain. And they haven’t viewed it as a very promising avenue of research.
This is another huge reason why the mainstream has been overlooking the real causes (and cures) for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia all these years.
The fact is, the brain actually hosts vigorous immune-system activity. And there are two main types of cells in the brain with immune system functions: microglia and astrocytes.
There’s one catch though: This immune activity (thankfully) remains dormant until the brain is injured or attacked (like with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia).
The Nature study shows that microglia and astrocytes are actually controlled by probiotics in the GI microbiome.
Essentially, the probiotic bacteria in the GI tract can send signals to your brain’s immune cells. These brain cells can either increase or reduce the immune response to brain inflammation.
And this is the point when diseases of the brain have the chance to develop. Of course, an overactive immune response within these brain cells can lead to the chronic brain inflammation responsible for cognitive issues.
The key here is to regulate this brain cell immune response, which is influenced by factors like stress, environmental toxins, illness, and—most importantly—diet and nutrition.
The kitchen secrets to a stronger gut-brain connection
When it comes to your diet, there are three types of foods that directly impact this gut-brain connection—aside from anti-inflammatory herbs like turmeric, of course:
• Brassica. This vegetable family is particularly potent in regulating the immune response in the brain.
Brassica vegetables include foods like arugula, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and turnips.
• Short-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids—activated by probiotic bacteria—can control brain inflammation.
Foods that promote the natural production of short-chain fatty acids in the body include apples, asparagus, artichokes, bananas, beans, carrots, garlic, and leeks.
• Tryptophan. Probiotic bacteria use tryptophan, an amino acid from food proteins, to produce the GI microbiome molecules that travel into the brain and help regulate the immune response, which mediates inflammation.
Tryptophan is best known as the substance in turkey that makes you sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner. But it’s also found in a variety of other foods, including beans, cheese, chicken, eggs, fish, nuts, oats, seeds, and shellfish.
Putting it all together
The team of researchers who conducted the Nature study suggest that this probiotic pathway from the gut to the brain might be able to repair brain degeneration—like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Of course, through clinical research at UCLA and elsewhere, integrative medicine is already aware of over a dozen nutritional approaches and natural remedies to help prevent or reverse these cognitive diseases.
Any guess which problem most of these natural approaches have in common?
You got it—they target chronic inflammation.
The discovery of this new pathway between the GI microbiome and the brain further explains how this cognitive domino effect happens.
While (sadly) these researchers note that their microbiome study may be useful for drug development, they also hope that diet’s role in neurological diseases will be formally examined.
Well, guess what? I’ve already done that myself.
In fact, in my online learning protocol, Dr. Micozzi’s Complete Alzheimer’s Cure, I offer detailed, step-by-step guidance on dietary interventions, lifestyle tips, and natural treatments clinically shown to prevent and reverse Alzheimer’s disease.
You can learn more about this comprehensive protocol—or enroll today—by clicking here or calling 1-866-747-9421 and asking for order code EOV3U801.
1“Alzheimer’s Disease Can Be Spared by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs.” J Alzheimers Dis. 2018; 62(3): 1219–1222.
2“Memory and Brain Amyloid and Tau Effects of a Bioavailable Form of Curcumin in Non-Demented Adults: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled 18-Month Trial.” Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2018 Mar;26(3):266-277.
3“Brain inflammatory cascade controlled by gut-derived molecules.” Nature 557, 724–728 (2018).