Improve Your Odds Against Alzheimer's Disease

The thought of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) fills my heart with sadness…I saw my grandpa slowly lose his memory, judgment, ability to take care of himself, and eventually his life to this horrible disease. At the same time, I have become very interested in this disease. What causes it? Is it genetic? Is there a cure or any way to reduce your/my risk?

What is Alzheimer's Disease?

It is a degenerative disorder which damages brain cells, causing memory loss, impaired mental processing, behavioral changes, and more. 

What Causes Alzheimer's Disease?

Scientists don’t yet fully understand what causes AD, but there are dozens of potential contributors. Many experts believe one contributor to AD are plaque deposits called amyloids, which progressively build over time and hinder neuron communication. Additional risk factors include aging, head trauma, diabetes, hormone disruption, toxin exposure, and genetics.

What Role Does Genetics Play in Alzheimer's Disease?

From a clinical standpoint, the ApoE4 gene is involved in multiple biological processes related to AD development. Zero copies of ApoE4 gives someone a 9% lifetime risk of AD. If a person's has 1 copy of ApoE4 (heterozygous), the lifetime risk increases to 30%, and if a person has both copies of ApoE4 (homozygous), the lifetime risk of developing AD increases to 50-90%.

According to Dr. Dale Bredesen, an expert in Alzheimer's Disease, there are several different metabolic syndromes called "Alzheimer's disease," which can be broken down into six subtypes:

  • Type 1: Inflammatory (“Hot”)
  • Type 2: Atrophic (“Cold”)
  • Type 1.5: Glycotoxic (“Sweet")
  • Type 3: Toxic (“Vile”)
  • Type 4: Vascular (“Pale”)
  • Type 5: Traumatic (“Dazed”)

Type 1 (aka: early-onset AD) occurs in people age 30 to 60. It is rare, representing less than 5% of all people who have Alzheimer's. Some cases of early-onset Alzheimer's have no known cause, but the ApoE4 gene is an important risk factor. Overall inflammation also plays a major role. this includes diet, exposure to heavy metal toxins, gut leak, AGEs, poor oral hygiene and many other factors that contribute to inflammation in the body.

Type 2 (aka: late-onset AD) more often develops after age 60, and ApoE4 is also a risk factor. This type of AD typically presents as memory loss but patient protests nothing is wrong. The causes of late-onset Alzheimer's are not yet completely understood, but they likely include a combination of genetics, changes in hormone levels, vitamin D status, vitamin B12 status, thyroid health, and BDNF levels to name just a handful.

Is There A Cure or Any Way to Reduce Your Risk?

Yes!! Although it's critical to identify symptoms early, removing toxins from your brain, and reducing your exposure to sugars and grains is a very important piece. The following steps may also improve your odds against the disease.

Add Antioxidants.

Free radicals can exacerbate AD because they cause oxidative stress to brain cells. To counteract free radicals, the body must have access to antioxidants. 

Glutathione is a very important antioxidant which our body's cells produce naturally. It has been called the “Master Antioxidant”, the “Mother of all Antioxidants,” and the “Superhero of Antioxidants.” It's difficult to overstate its importance in brain health. Glutathione is the most important intracellular and intra-mitochondrial antioxidant. It fights off cellular invaders, repairs cellular damage, boosts the power and life of other antioxidants, and plays a very important role in cellular detoxification.

Glutathione also binds and transports mercury out of cells and the brain. It neutralizes oxidative damage from mercury and POPs. On the contrary, glutathione levels are depleted by oxidative stress, heaavy metals, poor nutrition, stress and alcohol.

Glutathione is comprised largely of three amino acids: glutamine, glycine, and cysteine. Taking N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC) is a great way to support normal production of glutathione. I take this brand every day. 

Another important way to add antioxidants is to fill at least half of your lunch and dinner plate with antioxidant-rich foods. The brighter-colored the food, the higher it is in antioxidants. Good choices include leafy greens like kale and spinach, crucifers such as broccoli and brussels sprouts, and bright vegetables like red peppers, carrots, and roasted beets. These specific six antioxidants are crucial for cellular support and overall brain health.

Boost Vitamin B12.

Research connects low vitamin B12 blood levels to accumulation of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to AD. Older adults should seek 2.4 mcg vitamin B12 per day through foods like lean meat, eggs, low-fat milk, and cheese. As you age, you don’t absorb B12 as well, so consider asking your doctor for a homocysteine blood test to determine your levels. I prefer this B-complex by Seeking Health. It's very high quality and reputable. 

Decrease Saturated and Trans Fat Intake.

A diet high in saturated and trans fats has been found to be associated with cognitive decline. Take steps to reduce your intake of these two fats and protect your heart by infusing your diet with more omega-3’s. Decrease your intake of red meat and consider eating fatty fish such as salmon and tuna at least twice per week. A handful of nuts or seeds every day is also a good healthy fat source.

Drink Tea.

Observational studies suggest tea drinking is associated with lower risks of cognitive impairment and decline, and the protective effect was not limited to a particular type of tea – both black and green tea are shown beneficial.

Try Lipoic Acid. 

Studies show when people with mild AD take lipoic acid, they experience slower cognitive decline. Lipoic acid boosts production of acetylcholine, a primary neurotransmitter released by nerve cells to send signals to other cells. In the brain, acetylcholine plays an important role in cognitive function, including arousal, attention, memory and motivation. Ask your health provider about taking 600 mg lipoic acid per day.

Try Phosphatidylcholine (PC).

I recently wrote about phosphatidylcholine because it's one of the top selling products on our website. People often use phosphatidylcholine for their cognitive health. Researchers hypothesize PC may help people with Alzheimer’s disease, but clinical studies have not yet supported this theory 100%. Still, people with mild to moderate dementia may benefit from a phosphatidylcholine supplement.

Take Acetyl-L-Carnitine.

This bioavailable amino acid improves energy sources in cell mitochondria, which boosts antioxidant levels. Plus, studies suggest acetyl-Lcarnitine can optimize AD prescription drugs such as donepezil or rivastigmine by as much as 50 percent. A standard dose is 2-3 grams acetyl-L-carnitine per day.

Get Moving.

Research overwhelmingly shows that physical activity both reduces disease risk and slows cognitive decline in people exhibiting mild symptoms. You don’t have to go to the gym for strenuous exercise; try walking, cleaning, or doing yard work every day.

Stay Mentally Active.

Adopting a spirit of lifelong learning can reduce Alzheimer’s risk. Consistent mental stimulation strengthens existing brain cell connections and may help generate new neural pathways. Take a course at a local college, attend lectures or plays, paint, or read.

Be Social.

There is a lot we still don’t understand about Alzheimer’s, but having an active social life may reduce risk. Access community resources to join a book club, schedule weekly coffee with friends, or volunteer. If you are diagnosed, find a support group in your area on

Early identification and treatment (presymptomatic or symptomatic) could potentially have a major impact on the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease-mediated cognitive decline. It is possible to tackle this horrible disease!

In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods


National Institute on Aging.

Nan Hu, Jin-Tai Yu, Lin Tan, et al.  Nutrition and the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.  BiomedRes Int. 2013.

Joseph Pizzorno, MD. Glutathione! Integr Med (Encinitas) 2014 Feb; 13(1): 8–12.

Dale Bredesen, MD. Toxins and the reversal of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's. Aging. 2016 Jun; 8(6):1250-1258.

The best way to test heavy metals.

Featured product

Hair Mineral Analysis Kit

Healthy Goods

Hair Mineral Analysis Kit


Recently viewed