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What You Eat Could Raise Your Risk of Alzheimer's

November 08, 2008 | 77,018 views

eating, omega-6 fatsEating the wrong diet could increase your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Scientists have found a link between the degenerative brain disease and raised levels of an omega-6 fatty acid.

Researchers compared the brains of mice bred with a condition that mimics Alzheimer's to those of normal mice. They found higher levels of the omega-6 fat called arachidonic acid in mice with memory loss and confused behavior.

The researchers believe that the substance interferes with the brain's nerve cells, causing over-stimulation, and that lowering levels would allow the cells to function normally.
 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

It has been known for quite some time that an excess of omega-6 fats is harmful. This report now linking them to Alzheimer’s is another reason to be cautious about consuming too many of them.

Omega-6 fats are found in high concentrations in factory-farmed animals as they are typically fed grains. Poultry, cereals, eggs and nuts are other sources, but the major source of omega-6 for most Americans is vegetable oil. Vegetable oils such as corn, canola, soybean and sunflower oils are largely composed of omega-6 fats.

Excessive consumption of these vegetable oils can lead to:

Asthma
Blindness
• Heart disease
Cancer

And it is difficult to avoid excessive intake if you eat processed foods, since these oils are present in nearly all of them. At the turn of the century, when heart attacks were rare, the average American consumed only one pound of vegetable oil per year. Today, the amount can exceed 75 pounds.

This seriously distorts the critical omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in your diet. Back at the end of World War II, omega-3 and omega-6 ratios were lopsided (1:2) in favor of omega-3s. Now, that ratio is 25:1 on the omega-6 side.

This is problematic not only because of the excessive omega-6, but also because of the lack of omega-3 -- one of the most important fats for your brain health.

The Importance of Omega-3 in Warding Off Alzheimer’s

Studies indicate eating a diet high in animal-based omega-3 fats (found in fish, fish oils and krill oil) may fend off Alzheimer’s.

Take one animal study that compared mice fed a diet rich in docosahexanoic acid, or DHA, a type of omega-3 fat, with mice fed a low-DHA diet. Within five months of the study, a 70 percent less buildup of amyloid protein -- which makes up the plaques in the brain famously attributed to Alzheimer’s -- was detected in mice that were fed a diet rich in DHA-fortified foods. These results coordinate with the team’s previous findings that DHA was responsible for protecting the brains of mice from synaptic damage, enabling them to perform better on memory tests.

DHA increases the production of LR11, a protein that destroys a protein that forms the “plaques” associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

LR11 is also found in low levels in Alzheimer’s patients, and since this protein helps prevent the toxic plaques that are thought to harm neurons in your brain, it is believed to be a factor in causing the disease.

Studies show that omega-3 fats also reduce the cell inflammation that triggers a decline in memory, and may even stem the chemicals that give rise to such inflammation in the first place.

But it is not enough to simply increase your intake of omega-3 fat. You need to also reduce your intake of omega-6, with the ultimate goal of evening out your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.

To get your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio closer to the ideal 1:1, simply cut back on most all vegetable oils (you’ll need to read labels if you eat processed foods) and get a regular supply of high-quality omega-3 fat, like that from krill oil, daily.

Tips for Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease

More than 5 million Americans currently have Alzheimer’s, and by 2050 that could increase to between 11 million and 16 million people in the United States alone. Further, by 2010 there will be 500,000 new cases each year, and nearly 1 million new cases annually by 2050.
 
Here is another important fact that you need to understand:

“Neither dementia nor Alzheimer's are a normal part of aging.”

Your memory and brain functioning do not have to decline simply because you are getting older. This is especially true if you follow these guidelines, which will greatly increase your chances of avoiding dementia and Alzheimer's:

• Eat a nutritious diet with plenty of vegetables based on your nutritional type, and pay special attention to avoiding sugar.

• Eat plenty of high-quality omega-3 krill oil or fish oil. Avoid most fish (high in omega-3, but often contaminated with mercury)

• Avoid and remove mercury from your body. Dental amalgam fillings are one of the major sources of mercury, however you should be healthy prior to having them removed. Once you have adjusted to following the diet described in Take Control of Your Health, you can follow the mercury detox protocol and then find a biological dentist to have your amalgams removed.

ONLY see a high-quality biologically trained dentist to remove your amalgams or your health could get ruined.

• Avoid aluminum, such as in antiperspirants, cookware, etc.

• Exercise for three to five hours per week. According to one study, the odds of developing Alzheimer's were nearly quadrupled in people who were less active during their leisure time, between the ages of 20 and 60, compared with their peers.

• Avoid flu vaccinations as they contain both mercury and aluminum!

• Wild blueberries, which have high anthocyanin and antioxidant content, are known to guard against Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases.

• Challenge your mind daily. Mental stimulation, such as traveling, learning to play an instrument or doing crossword puzzles, is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer's. Researchers suspect that mental challenge helps to build up your brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer's disease.


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