The only real treatment is to tackle of the main causes of AD which are inflammation/oxidation, glucose dysregulation, obesity, gluten sensitivity, stress (excess cortisol), vitamin deficiency, toxins, and abnormal gut flora. A novel and very powerful approach is to improve the micro-anatomy and circuitry of the brain by enhancing neuroplasticity.
The best and safest anti-inflamatory for the brain is Aspirin (81 mg twice daily), and Omega 3s particularly DHA (2,400mg daily) Some of the biologic drugs used for Rheumatoid Arthritis such as Embrel or Humira may be used in extenuating circumstances. The NSAIDs like Ibuprofen also work, but the side effects outweigh the good. Increasing our natural anti-oxidant Nrf2 will be discussed later. To improve the brain sugar, Actos (45 mg/day) and perhaps Metformin (1500 mg of ER/day) is prescribed. To fuel the brain more, Medium Chain Fatty Acids (3000 mg/day) or less expensive, 3 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil which causes a nutritional ketosis, makes the brain work better. Inositol (3000mg/d) can also be added for this purpose.
To protect itself, the supporting cells, the microglia, for the brains neurons make a super antioxidant, Nrf2, which is activated by a variety of natural things. Nrf2 both reduces inflammation and increases the antioxidation in the brain, particularly, the Hippocampus that is the part that suffers the earliest and the most in AD. There are other compounds including Garlic, Green Tea, NAC/Glutathione, Curcumin/Tumeric, Pterostilbene and Sulforaphanes. is chemically related to resveratrol. It is found predominantly in blueberries and grapes that exhibit anti-cancer, anti-hypercholesterolemia, anti-hypertriglyceridemia properties, as well as fight off and reverse cognitive decline. It is believed that the compound also has anti-diabetic properties. Additionally, it is also touted as a potent anti-fungal. I recommend 100mg two times daily. Sulforaphane is in broccoli sprouts, which, of the cruciferous vegetables, have the highest concentration of sulforaphane. It is also found in brussel sprouts, califlower, bok choy, kale, collards, chinese broccoli, broccoli raab, kohlrabi, mustard, turnip, radish, arugula, and watercress. One can also buy what is thought to be the active chemicals in this compound, which is DIM (200 mg/d) or I3Carbinol (400 mg/d).
The Vitamins that have been shown to improve Brain function and perhaps protect the neuron are Vitamin D (20,000 u/d), Vitamin C (3,000 mg/d), Vitamin E (Gamma E 1,000 mg/d) and Co Q 10 (200 mg/d). Other natural nutritionals that work in concert with these are Acetyl Carnitine (400 mg/d) and Alpha Lipoic Acid (600 mg/d). The supplements that work like the FDA approved drugs (Areceipt etc.) that increase the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, are DMAE (300 mg, 2xs/d), Phosphytlserine (300 mg/d), and Phosphytlcholine (500mg/d). Lecithin Granules (2 t/d) is another good source of Phosphytlcholine. Staying away from all grains should be a matter of good health for all, but in particular gluten does play a detrimental role in not only AD, but in MS. Stress causes release of cortisol from the adrenal glands. This is accumulative over ones lifetime. When too much, too often occurs, destruction of brain cells, principally in the memory/retrieval bank of the sensitive hippocampus happens.
The bacterial flora in the gut is important in AD. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) function in the brain as immunomodulators that control the release of neuro-cytokines and play a role in the formation of the amyloid plaque. Candida, certain species of E. coli, and S. fecalis have been show to influence the neuronal health. To take a good grade of probiotic with the prebiotic Xylitol could be helpful. Of course losing fat with the destructivness of adipokines that cross the blood-brain barrier is literally a no brainer! In that viruses like Herpes Simplex have been linked to AD, one might take the long acting Valtrex indefinitely. Having a history of a fever blisters gives one twice the risk of AD. Detoxing for removal of both fat and water soluble pollutants should also be considered.
The brain not only can but does grow new cells. There are at least 8 neurotrophic stimulating chemicals described. The best studied is BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor). This endogenous molecule is released by vigorously contracting muscles, crosses over into the brain and grows news cells! Also learning new words, movements or paradigms, develops and remodels the dendrites, the fine root-like connections at the end of our axons. This allows them to connect to other dendrites in other areas of our brain. Hence there is an augmentation of Neuroplasticity, which allows the brain Connectome to increase. NIH has dedicated $40 million in research to elucidate the neural pathways that underlie brain function. Deciphering this complex wiring diagram reveals what makes us uniquely human and what makes every person different from all others. This comprehensively maps the human brain circuitry giving us information on the aging and regeneration of our brain.
Using our non-dominant hand for writing, writing our name upside down and inside out (mirror image) and reading upside down also increases the brain volume. Cross-word puzzles, Sudoku, surfing the internet, learning a new instrument to play or dancing also grows new brain cells and improves the dendritic connections of the old ones. It also may raise the IQ by 10-20 points. This plus some of the supplements noted above should keep us out of harm's way if we were destined to get AD.
So what is a person who has a family history of AD, an ApoE-4, and a few other risk factors to do? Taking Aspirin, Omega 3s, using coconut oil, losing fat and doing both mental and physical gymnastics should be done as minimal protection. However, it is a very personal decision as to how much and hard one should try. It is one thing to die suddenly after a relatively productive life, but quite another to have AD with all the negatives that only a devil could invent to suffer beyond one's imagination without hope except for death!! The choice is yours, but make it soon. Every day of delay is a step closer to ending up in irreversible disaster.