Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s… These are all diseases that we equate with the inevitable process of aging. Sadly, it seems we as a culture have largely accepted this fact. 1 in 9 people over the age of 65 are affected with Alzheimer’s. Just with my elementary understanding of statistics, that tells me that almost every one of you reading this article are affected by this disease in some way. Either directly, or indirectly. That means, if 100 people read this, 11 of you will develop Alzheimer’s. Who is it going to be?
If you continue with the statistics, there is a rough estimation that there will be a 25% increase in overall patients with Alzheimer’s and Dementia by the year 2025. So that means, by the time you reach the age (based on the demographic that frequent this blog) at which Alzheimer’s begins to become a concern, there will be about 14 of you deteriorating from the affects of Alzheimer’s Disease…
Kind of sobering, isn’t it?
I am sort of a detached person. I didn’t cling to my family relationships like I should have. Call me the “Black Sheep” in the family. I always went against the grain and did not follow the family rules. My family aged, as families tend to do and I found myself in a situation I never really considered. I was estranged from my grandmother, and by the time I had the courage to make amends, dementia had taken its hold. When I visited her during her last days in the hospital, she looked at me as if she had never seen me before. I was there to apologize and introduce her to my then, future wife. She died shortly after that… I have no idea if she knew I was there or if she even knew what was going on. I was too late. Dementia stole my grandmother away before I could say what needed to be said.
This story will be repeated over and over again for many of you. And, statistically, it will occur from both sides of the proverbial fence.
I am currently watching my last surviving grandparent walk down the dark tunnel of not just the beginning signs of Alzheimer’s but also signs of Parkinson’s disease. She has lived a full and wonderful life, but that does not make this any easier. She is 92 years young, so some would say that this outcome was just inevitable.
This is where I disagree…
Research has shown time and time again that these diseases are all a result of brain atrophy as a result of inadequate energy production. We can get fancy and talk about mitochondria and ATP and O2 saturation and lactic acid, but that would serve us no purpose here. Just know this; the body WANTS to live. It WANTS to heal. It WANTS to operate optimally. Period.
Our body is in a state of constant energy production. If it stops for just a moment, we die. The Brain is an AMAZINGLY energy dependent organ. It uses more energy than any other organ in the body. Another unique attribute of the brain is that it does not regenerate. When a brain cell dies, it dies. So, it is important that we fix a problem as soon as it arises. This is what makes the body such an amazing miracle. It gives you warnings and opportunities… but sometimes we just don’t seem to listen.
We have come to know that the body functions on glucose for the production of ATP. Glucose is derived from sugars, starches and carbohydrates in general. Real energy… Not stimulant energy like you get from caffeine. Caffeine and other stimulants simply increase oxygen saturation which in turn ramps up ATP transport. There are better ways to ramp this up, but we will talk about that later. However, the body can only use so much glucose at any given time. The rest is stored and any over abundance becomes toxic and floats around. Also, the burning of glucose is an involved and dirty metabolic process that leaves behind a lot of residue we call free radicals. All of this gunk builds up on the outside of cellular walls, therefor creating a barrier that becomes increasingly more impenetrable.
Regular cells die off and get replaced every 6 months or so, but there are always a fair amount of cells floating around covered in this plaque. This is not the case in the brain.
Everyone here should probably be familiar with insulin. It is often referred to as the master hormone. But, basically, it is responsible for carrying glucose into the mitochondria where energy is manufactured, which is called ATP. As the neuro-tissues become covered in this plaque, the insulin eventually can not get through. This is called insulin resistance. In the body, we call this diabetes. In the brain, it is the worst thing imaginable. It has recently been referred to as type 3 diabetes in some reports, but there is not a general consensus on this yet. But, what is agreed upon is that Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Parkinson’s are all related to insulin resistance in the brain. As the atrophy worsens, so do the symptoms.
What is interesting about these diseases is that they seem to subside suddenly for some people for small periods of time. Moments of clarity or lucid moments where your loved one seems to come back. Previously, there was no explanation for these moments, but, in recent studies, these moments of clarity have been created.
For the last several decades we have been so focused on a manufactured nutritional profile, that we failed to miss the warning signs. Since the dawn of man, there have been two sources of fuel for our bodies. Glucose, which we have discussed and Ketones, which is an energy source derived from the oxidation of fatty acids. Glucose requires insulin to work, Ketones just work. Beta-hydroxybuterate, requires no hormones and produces up to 350% more ATP (energy) than glucose. It produces so much more energy that the cells go into a process called mitochondrial biogenesis. They make more energy producing facilities. As this happens, the cells repair and start functioning again. This can happen by a sudden spike in fatty acid consumption. Suddenly, there is a moment of clarity… And then, after a few hours or a couple of days, the energy production stops and everything returns to the state of atrophy we were at before. It’s heartbreaking.
BUT, some scientists and doctors have put that puzzle together. Because it is not part of the conventional wisdom equation, most mainstream doctors do not want to hear about it. There have been studies of doctors seemingly reversing the symptoms of neurological decline by initiating a state of nutritional ketosis in these patients. As long as the patient is in ketosis, they appear normal.
The problem is that most patients are not very compliant when it comes to a rigorous dietary routine. They have spent most of their lives doing what they want and they want to continue doing that, especially when cognition returns.
We all know that going to a fast food restaurant and eating a burger, fries and giant soda is detrimental to our health, but we never look at the long term picture. We just think in immediate terms. Immediate terms means we may gain some weight or feel sluggish. Long term means we are contributing to our irreversible insulin resistance of the brain. When you eat that next fast food meal, think of what you have gone through when you cared for an elderly loved one suffering from Dementia.
The problem is, we all have done what we wanted to do for too long and the thought of doing what we should never sounds appealing until it is just too late. But what if there was a less resistant way to get the brain the fuel it needs with out invoking a metabolic shift? What if there was a way we could treat our loved ones and add prevention and longevity to our own lives?
Recent developments in nutritional technology have handed us that potential in the form of exogenous ketone salts. Pure Beta-Hydroxybutrate, the master keton. It can simply be administered as a cold beverage or even in coffee. Within an hour, ketones levels rise in the blood stream to therapeutic levels, essentially defying nutritional biochemistry. The brain will use the ketones and immediately start to repair itself. The technology is new, but it is promising. It requires no special doctor or special instructions. Just drink it every day.
Now, I must say that this technology and these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, but, like many agencies, they don’t know everything. Neither do I. But what I do know is that I have seen and heard too many positive stories to not share this with the world.
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