The Memory and Aging Center at UC San Francisco recently published an outstanding analysis on the nine most important risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Two-thirds of all AD cases can be traced directly to these risk factors. And they’re all factors you can control using natural approaches.
For this first-ever comprehensive analysis on AD, researchers looked at 16,906 published studies. But only 323 of the studies actually considered risk factors.
So, let’s stop here for a moment and ask ourselves some questions.
Alzheimer’s disease is “public enemy No. 1” of brain diseases. The government dedicated two “decades of the brain” researching AD. And there are nearly 17,000 studies altogether on AD. So why did only 323 studies actually investigate risk factors?
As I often report, big pharma and the U.S. government spent hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of studies “barking up the wrong tree.” So far–they’ve followed flawed theories about what causes the brain cell changes in Alzheimer’s patients. And they’ve developed expensive, failed drug treatments according to these flawed theories.
So–why is it so few studies “branched out” to consider real preventative factors?
Well, for one, prevention doesn’t make money. So big pharma isn’t interested in it. And prevention certainly doesn’t keep as many government workers on the payroll to study another unwinnable war and promote another “decade of the brain.”
Thankfully, this new analysis finally revealed nine simple risk factors that account for 66 percent of AD cases. Today, I’ll talk about the first three of these risk factors– and give you some practical advice for controlling them.
No. 1: Obesity
As you know, obesity results from consuming too many empty calories, sugars and carbs, and not getting enough exercise. So stay away from processed, carb-heavy foods. Instead, focus on following the Mediterranean diet with plenty of fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Make sure you eat protein with every meal. And try to get moving every single day. You don’t have to run a marathon. Just go for a nice brisk walk after eating.
No. 2: Low educational achievement
Research links low educational status with a number of risk factors for chronic diseases in general. But in the case of AD, several studies specifically show the protective effects of higher educational achievement, better grades in school, and learning new languages, both as a child and throughout life. But that doesn’t mean you have to enroll in the nearest university (unless you want to). I think there is a broader message here. And that is–keeping the mind active results in a lower risk of developing AD.
So–make time to exercise your mind. Read books. Especially non-fiction and fiction books you always wanted to read, but never got around to. Work on crossword puzzles. Play cards with friends. Take a foreign language class. Try to learn a new craft or skill, like painting or photography.
People who engage in new activities that challenge the brain are twice as likely to avoid AD and dementia. When you use your brain to solve problems, learn new information, form new memories, and recall memories, you maintain existing brain circuits. And you help create new circuits.
No. 3: High homocysteine levels
Homocysteine–not cholesterol–is a real risk factor for heart and cardiovascular diseases. Unfortunately, the medical mainstream largely ignores homocysteine’s impact on arteries and circulation. Plus, it clearly contributes to narrowing of carotid arteries, which supply the brain. So–it makes sense high homocysteine plays a role in the development of AD as well.
You can learn more about the role of homocysteine in the body in the November issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter.You’ll also learn more about what you can do to naturally lower your homocysteine levels without drugs.
As you can see, there’s nothing mysterious about the first three major risk factors for AD. And you can (and should) definitely control each and every one of them, all without using drugs!
To learn about the remaining six important AD risk factors, tune into the December issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter. If you’re not yet a newsletter subscriber, now is the perfect time to get started.
On Thursday, I’ll tell you about a few more simple steps you can take to naturally lower your AD risk.
- “Meta-analysis of modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease,” J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry (www.jnnp.bmj.com) 8/20/2015