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ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE

This is noted by deterioration in brain function due to the degeneration of the nerve cells in the brain. Currently, more than 5 million Americans suffer from this ailment and it is predicted by the year 2020 more than 20 million people will be suffering from it.

In the beginning, forgetfulness and the loss of short term memory start to occur. Gradually this worsens and the ability ot remember such things as the previous days events become more obvious. In the more advanced stages the individual is likely to be disoriented and confused. Difficulty remembering numbers and words become more apparent. This leads to mood changes and frustration. The final stages may include hallucinations, delusions, incontinence, extreme forgetfulness and possibly violence.

The main cause of this degenerative disease appears to be free radical oxidation. This is analogous to iron rusting. Because the brain is comprised of primarily fatty tissue and utilizes an enormous amount of the body’s oxygen (approximately 20-25%) to function, it produces many free radicals as part of its normal metabolic processes. Unfortunately, brain tissue has only a moderate amount of anti-oxidants. These are compounds that eliminate free radicals. When the relative balance between the free radicals and the antioxidants favors the free radicals, the destruction of brain cells is accelerated.

Major causes in Alzheimers:

Long term stress: High cortisol levels will affect parts of the brain involved with memory, cognition and behavior. It slowly changes the brain tissue function and leads to brain cell destruction.

Low levels of acetylcholine: This is a brain chemical directly involved with memory recall. As its levels go lower, the ability to remember events, names, numbers etc. decreases. This usually occurs because the body is unable to manufacture the compound choline, the main substrate involved in the production of acetylcholine. Whenever this happens, it is imperative to examine all aspects of digestive function because choline is produced in the gut. Impaired gut function decreases choline production. This can lead to low levels of acetylcholine.

Anecdotally, there are indications that metal toxicity is involved. It is important to examine one’s history regarding exposure to metals i.e. occupation, hobbies, place of residence, dental history.

Detoxification capacity is crucial. This is the primary function that eliminates free radicals.

Nutrient deficiency and dietary habits: This is responsible for causing the imbalances in the previously mentioned causes than any other influence.