Is the Low-Fat Fad Causing the Alzheimer's Disease Epidemic?

Folks, we are in the midst of a full-fledged epidemic of Alzheimer's disease.

Don't believe the pundits and apologists who try to play this down by saying that we're seeing more Alzheimer's because our population is aging. This is pure baloney.

Alzheimer's barely existed before 1960

Although Alzheimer's is now one of the most common diseases of the elderly, the condition barely existed before 1960.

"I looked everywhere. I looked on three continents and in every medical library I could find, including the Library of Congress and the British Museum library," said Alzheimer's specialist Murray Waldman, MD, from St. John's Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto, Canada.

"No matter where I looked, I couldn't find anything that indicated there was very much Alzheimer's prior to the 1960s."

Epidemiological data collected over a 25-year period shows the incidence of Alzheimer's in the 1960s was 2% in people over the age of 85 years. Today, it's incidence in this population is 50% or more. It's incidence in people over 75 is 20% - and 10% in individuals over the age of 65.

This increase is definitely not due to our aging population

To prove it, Dr. Waldman compared the incidence of Alzheimer's with femur fractures in the elderly. (Femur fractures make a good comparison because both conditions increase with age - and treatment for both has not changed significantly in the past 40 years.)

The incidence of femur fractures rose from 1706 to 3730 between 1996 and 2000, while the incidence of Alzheimer's and other dementias shot up from 1274 to a stunning 21,569 during the same time period.

"This dramatic spike over 40 or so years, he said, cannot be accounted for by an aging population, because what we were looking at was incidence, not prevalence," Dr. Waldman points out.

All the characteristics of a true epidemic

The pattern and rise in the incidence of Alzheimer's is similar to that of AIDS, Dr. Waldman notes. "Both patterns seem to fit the conditions of an epidemic."

Dr. Waldman has his own theory to explain this spike in Alzheimer's. In his book, Dying for a Hamburger (Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart, 2004), he argues that Alzheimer's is due to prions, extraordinarily rare and extremely infectious protein agents. You may recall, it was prions that caused an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as Mad Cow Disease, which killed 166 people in Britain in October, 2009.

BSE is a fatal neurodegenerative disease in cattle that causes a spongy degeneration in the brain and spinal cord. The disease is transmitted to humans (called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) by eating meat contaminated with prions, which result when the animal has been fed the remains of infected cattle in the form of meat and bone meal. (Yes, this actually happens!)

What's truly scary is that prions are virtually indestructible, being unaffected by heat (cooking) or denaturation by chemical and physical agents

In the human brain, prions induce the formation of amyloid plaques, the same signature of dementia and Alzheimer's.

If Dr. Waldman is correct…

Your best protection is to either give up red meat or make sure the beef products you purchase are from free range pasture-fed cattle that have been fed organically. The latter is a good strategy, regardless.

One of my readers, Michael Cawdery, a retired veterinarian and an avid devotee of medical research, who brought Dr. Waldman's theory to my attention, posits that the Alzheimer's epidemic is due to low cholesterol in the brain caused by the widespread use of statin drugs and the popularity of low-fat diets.

In searching the web, I found a number of studies confirming Michael's observations. A WebMD report describes research tying dementia and memory loss to low HDL cholesterol levels.

Drs. Joe and Teresa Graedon (PhDs), authors of The People's Pharmacy books, link a number of brain problems to low cholesterol, and statins in particular.

And the popular UK blog, makes an even stronger case, stating that "The low cholesterol we are all supposed to strive for is a likely cause of this increase in Alzheimer's disease."

MIT researcher, Stephanie Seneff, provides a fascinating and very detailed explanation on her blog - of why extremely high-fat diets have been found to improve cognitive ability in Alzheimer's patients. You may also want to revisit my earlier article on Doctor Reverses Alzheimer's with Coconut Oil, which contains an amazing account of how Doctor Mary Newport is reversing her husband's Alzheimer's simply by adding coconut oil to his diet.

The sugar connection

Last week I wrote about research that's been piling up about Alzheimer's and sugar consumption. The connection is becoming so strong that Alzheimer's is being referred to as "Type 3 diabetes."

Ongoing research and recent studies indicate that diabetes and Alzheimer's have origins in the same problem: the overconsumption of sugar, sweets, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), refined carbohydrates, starches and processed foods.

The sugar problem has gotten so bad that the US is expected to experience a 44 percent increase in individuals with Alzheimer's disease by 2025, with the Western and Southeastern states to be hit the hardest.

This is in addition to the predictions that Type 2 diabetes will affect more than 30% of the US population by the end of this decade. This means that a huge percentage of Americans will be fighting for their lives on two fronts: the brain and the body.

How to protect yourself and your loved ones

Alzheimer's is the most feared medical condition among seniors - even more so than cancer. But this news about its connection to sugar consumption may actually be hopeful because it indicates that you actually may have more control over avoiding it than doctors previously believed.

Here are five steps you can take right now to reduce your carb consumption to protect your brain.

For extra protection, make sure that you're consuming enough healthy fats, such as coconut oil, omega-3, and extra virgin olive oil. These are beneficial for the health of your body and your brain.

Till next time…