I am not a doctor nor am I responsible for your health! Please consult a physician before implementing any of the suggestions below for dementia prevention eating. If you are already having symptoms of memory loss I strongly recommend you seek help through Dr. Bredesen’s website. (We are not affiliated in any way and he has not endorsed my website.) His company, AHNP uses the latest technology to develop customized plans of the Bredesen protocol for people with SCD (subjective cognitive decline), MCI (mild cognitive impairment) or Alzheimer’s. There are several options based on your cognitive status.
Alternatively, you could go to Dr. Bredesen’s website and scroll down the page to “Contact” to find out if there is a Bredesen-trained functional medicine practitioner near you who can customize the Bredesen protocol for you. Most Western medical doctors are not yet familiar with dementia prevention protocols and may just tell you there is nothing they can do. Finally this website is neither endorsed nor subsidized by Dr. Bredesen and I receive no financial benefits from recommending his products.
Up close and personal for the Bredesen protocol
If you read the Home page or About Me sections of the website, you know that my mother has vascular dementia and my father recently passed away with Alzheimer’s. At age 67 I have no symptoms of cognitive decline. Nevertheless, when I first saw the book, The End of Alzheimer’s I realized how vulnerable I felt–to these diseases and to the odds I have inherited. The most striking change occurred, however, as I finished the book–I no longer feel powerless. I now have research-based, detailed information about preventive measures to take. Although many researchers are studying various preventive approaches, the one I am the most familiar and the one this website is focused on is the Bredesen protocol. Since I have no symptoms I am choosing a DIY approach rather than subscribing to one of Dr. Bredesen’s programs. Yes, I still feel vulnerable but I believe I can change my odds in favor of retaining a bright mind for life. So that is my commitment.
Our test results will show us the way
Hopefully you have worked your way through the extensive testing protocol as described in Testing Matters for Dementia Prevention: Part One, Dementia Prevention Testing Notes for DIYers, Blood Testing for Dementia Prevention: Part Two, Blood Testing Matters: Part Three, and Dementia Prevention Testing Matters: Part Four.
If you have filled in the spreadsheet I provided you will be able to see the brain health substances for which your values are not optimal. To clarify, it’s important to insert a note here from The End of Alzheimer’s by Dr. Dale Bredesen:
… in people who already have symptoms of cognitive decline we almost always find between ten and twenty-five blood chemistry values that are suboptimal. In contrast, in people without such symptoms, we typically identify only three to five.The End of Alzheimer’s by Dr. Dale Bredesen, p. 173
Principles of the Bredesen protocol
So before we attempt to map out a detailed plan, let’s look at the most important principles of the Bredesen protocol, known as RECODE.
- As we assess our blood and other test values, keep in mind that the goal is to bring suboptimal values to optimal levels. This, of course, requires periodic retesting. If this seems burdensome, remember that the internal and external factors that lead to dementia do not take time off. Therefore, we cannot afford to take time off. Get set up with the closest, lowest-cost labs so that you can do regular quarterly or semi-annual blood testing. All the better if you can get your doctor on board since, presumably they know your whole health picture and can help you integrate the protocol with other health strategies. Even if you can’t convince your PCP (primary care physician) that this is important, it’s okay because many labs now do testing without prescriptions.
- Plan to work on as many of the suboptimal values as possible. This means getting to the root problem, not just treating the symptoms.
- Plan to make adjustments along the way based on regular blood testing.
- As you can imagine, each person’s particular protocol will be different. However, if you care to share by emailing or commenting (anonymously, if you prefer) we can compare notes and offer each other support.
- We now know that dementia diseases often start brewing decades before observable symptoms. It is never too early to start prevention practices. So let’s get on with it!
Elements of the Bredesen protocol
NOTE: Future blogs will cover each of the elements listed below in great detail.
Follow the ketoflex 12/3 way of eating. Details coming in future blogs.
For those with related suboptimal values
- Lower homocysteine if your value is above 6 micromoles per liter. Use the ketoflex 12/3 diet and supplements.
- Lower insulin resistance if your fasting insulin value is over 4.5 milli-international units per liter, your fasting glucose over 93 milligrams per deciliter or your hemoglobin A1C is over 5.5%. Follow the ketoflex 12/3 diet.
- Take supplements as needed.
- Exercise four or five times per week for 45 to 60 minutes. Exercise to an aerobic level whereby it is difficult or impossible to talk for at least 20-30 minutes each session.
- Sleep deeply for seven to eight hours a night; treat sleep apnea if you tested positive.
- Minimize stress through meditation (I use and love Insight Timer), low-key exercise, schedule adjustments, emotionally safe socializing, enjoying nature or other activities.
- Do brain training three times a week (I use BrainHQ and Lumosity).
- Reduce inflammation if your hs-CRP is greater than .9 milligrams per deciliter, or your albumin to globulin ratio is less than 1.8. Use the ketoflex 12/3 diet and supplements.
- Heal your gut if your Cyrex 2 is positive. (If you did not have that test done, note that other symptoms are stomach aches, bloating, constipation, excessive gas, or loose stools.) There are many causes of leaky gut and many cures. Look for details in future blogposts.
- Balance your hormones if ranges are suboptimal (see Blood Testing for Dementia Prevention: Part Two for detailed values).
- Address suboptimal values for beneficial and toxic metals. If your copper to zinc ratio is outside of the range of .8 to 1.2; your mercury is above 5 micrograms per liter, lead is above 2 micrograms per liter, arsenic is above 7 mcg/L or cadmium is above 2.5 mcg./L you need to take corrective action (details in future blogposts.)
- Lastly, detoxify from other toxins (details in future blogposts.)
I know this is a lot of information and might seem rather daunting to think about implementing strategies for each element. Remember though, you won’t need to be concerned with every item–just those for which your values are suboptimal. Also, we’ll take it step by step like learning a foreign language but much easier! And we can reach out to each other for support.
Up close and personal
I am still in the process of testing, but so far, five of my values have been suboptimal or borderline. In future blogposts I will share the remediation steps I’ve taken to correct those. I’ll also share other steps I have taken as precautions even though my blood or other values are optimal.
Over the course of the next ten blogposts, we’ll examine each element of the Bredesen protocol. Firstly, why is it significant? Secondly, what is the root cause of the suboptimal value? Thirdly, what is the corrective action and lastly, how can I implement the corrective action? Each of our maps will start to take shape, making the path clearer. And always we’ll keep the destination in bold print–a bright mind for life!