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Thursday, September 19

Harvard's Dr. Tanzi on Diet & Alzheimer's Risk

DIET VIDEO + ARTICLE:

Harvard's Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, world-renowned Alzheimer's researcher, explores lowering risk. Topics include turmeric, vegetarianism, coconut oil and what he applies to his own daily life.


Summary of Video: (Watch the video for more details on these topics.)

“Never has diet been so important for brain health and reducing risk for Alzheimer’s. This is not a simple diet book―it’s a food bible that tells you all you need to know to start eating your way to a healthy brain, right now!" ——— Dr. Rudolph E. Tanzi, Director, Alzheimer’s Genome Project; Director, Genetics and Aging Research Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital; and Joseph. P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Do vegetarians get Alzheimer's at lower rates than meat-eaters?
We don't know that. Most vegetarians still eat dairy products, so they're still getting animal fat in their diets. It'll be interesting to see whether vegans, who eat no animal products, get Alzheimer's. That study hasn't been done yet. 
The only data about vegetarianism is with animals - old carnivores get Alzheimer's; old herbivores don't (so far).
Thoughts on turmeric?
Turmeric lowers amyloid production and aggregation…in a petri dish. The problem with turmeric (or more specifically, the 'active ingredient' curcumin), is that it doesn't get into the brain very well, and therefore can't help much with Alzheimer's pathology. There are other good things about curcumin, though - some studies say it could have anti-cancer effects.
At Cure Alzheimer's Fund, we're developing some curcumin-like compound that can get into the brain. If these can be made safe, they may be effective against Alzheimer's.
What about coconut oil?
I'd like to see a real trial. I'm intrigued by the anecdotes, but as a scientist, you get burned by anecdotes all the time. There are companies doing some trials now. Non-virgin coconut oil can have negative health effects - it raises your triglycerides.
What do you, Dr. Tanzi, do to lower your own risk of getting Alzheimer's?
I stay intellectually and socially engaged. I'm a vegetarian - we don't know for sure, but I do think that will help. The only supplement I take is called ashwagandha, which has anti-amyloid effects. Unfortunately, most of the ashwagandha you'll find online does not work. The best one comes from Douglas Labs, but you need to get it through a doctor.

Comment or Share:

  1. As Cure Alzheimer Fund(C.A.F.) has billions of dollars from grants and donations, and as professor doctor Tanzi (the main researcher from the C.A.F.) declared above that he wants to see some research with extra virgin coconut oil,then ,as a suggestion, what about if the main scientist of Cure Alzheimer Fund,as he desires ,uses some few hundred dollars from it billions of dollars of grants and donations of C.A.F. to do some very cheap,effective,fast and welsuccesful scientific research with coconut oil, and what about to develops derivatives from coconut oil ,with the same mechanisms of action of coconut oil, but with a higher effectiviness ((as he is developing fromthe spice turmeric)? For example 115 years ago, without none computers (as C. A. F.has now in 2015) researchers between the end of the XIX century and the first year of the XX century, WITHOUT none computer from the very primitive white willow bark (the salix alba),developed the Acetyl Salicic Acid (A.S.A.)so called ASPIRIN,that is reliefing pain and saving lives (from heart attacks),until these days).
    Then if Cure Alzheimer Fund wants, with it billions dollars and hardwares, softwares and with theirs prestigious researchers, they can develops powerful derivatives from coconut oil to treat dementias.It is purely a question of good will and compassion (that I'm sure that C.A.F.researchers have a lot) to develop it derivative from coconut oil as professor Tanzi wants.I understand, that probably it will not leads to huge monetary proffits, but will leads to huge health proffits to the "poor" dementia patients...But for sure, the only proffit that C. A. F. wants is for the health of dementia patients.Then, please " Hands On" with coconut oil...

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  2. Coconut is a saturated fat. All saturated fats are a cognitive hazard:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22605573

    http://www.univie.ac.at/nutrigenomics/teaching/se_hum_nutrition/Haidenthaller.pdf

    And of course, coconut oil to treat AD has been thoroughly debunked:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4202787/

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    Replies
    1. Funny. I checked the link you provided after you said coconut oil has been "thoroughyl debunked." According to the study at YOUR link:

      "an effect of coconut oil for the prevention or treatment of AD remains to be seen, as no clinical trial data is as of yet available to substantiate or refute these claims."

      And then it goes on to discuss Axona, which is a powdered MCT concentrate that seems to be a pure coconut oil extract. The study you linked to states perfectly clearly that:

      "While the benefit remains uncertain, the risks appear minimal, and this strategy is taking root in the armament of treatments many clinicians offer their patients with AD."

      Which simply means that nothing about coconut oil for dementia has been debunked, while more and more doctors are making the effort to advise their patients to try it.

      Thank you for the link to this study. It certainly helps add clarity to the topic of giving coconut oil for dementia a try.

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  3. Folks with dementia are deficient in cholesterol, which has a massive protective effect on the brain. 20% of cholesterol is used in the brain, but only 40% gets through the blood-brain barrier. In my mom's case coconut oil stopped the sugar cravings and weight loss..So many folks with dementia have sugar cravings, which is the brain screeching for energy. I can see why folks with dementia lose weight. Their brains scour the body for fat to use as energy, which is why fish (krill) oils and other omega 3 & 6 fats like flaxseed supplementation is so important. Add the avocado and olive oil. I hAve begun to realize that to get in sufficient health white oils from.plant based sources
    one has to rub MCT or coconut oil could be rubbed into the backs, arms and legs to increase absorption through the skin as the largest organ. Recently I read that it is Homosysteine levels that are a greater factor in memory loss. Finland leads the world dementia stats thanks to a low cholesterol drive started by a doctor in the early 70's to lower heart disease statistic's. Then you have anticholigenic meds and Statin drugs causing damage to our brains. Not to mention fluoride toxicity and heavy metals. There is plenty of cause and effect.

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