Alzheimer's Disease: Blood Sugar, Aluminum, Bacteria and Staying Ahead of the Threat

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The occurrence and diagnosis rates of Alzheimer's disease have been on an upward trajectory for decades. There was an 89% increase in deaths due to Alzheimer’s between 2000 and 2014. More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and by 2050, it is estimated there will be as many as 16 million Americans living with the disease. Because reliable testing methods have yet to be identified for early risk measures, those afflicted with Alzheimer's are left to manage symptoms after the disease has taken hold, versus mitigating potential risks of onset and progression. This article is intended to shed light on some risk factors that have been well-researched and may hold keys to altering the course of vascular and brain tissue damage associated with the disease progression.

Alzheimer's and Blood Sugar

The notion/proposition that Alzheimer's could be diabetes type 3 has been around since 2005, but there are even more convincing arguments about poor diet and blood sugar regulation now. The link between diabetes and Alzheimer's is quite clear - it is already known that those with diabetes are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, but there are many other people who are not technically diabetic yet struggle with blood sugar regulation. 

Most of us know that high-glycemic foods are bad for us, especially when consumed in excess. Every time you eat, your blood sugar raises and insulin is signaled for release from the pancreas. So, what's the primary correlation between high-glycemic foods and insulin response? Simply put, insulin "calls" your cells, asking them to pick up glucose from the bloodstream. So, whether the blood is being saturated with excess glucose from food itself, or a person is eating and drinking too frequently, there is a risk of overwhelming the cells and leaving them resistant to insulin. This causes the insulin to be even more insistent and ultimately to incite inflammation and vascular damage. This is key. Your brain has blood vessels just like the rest of your body, and once this type of vascular damage takes place in the brain, other types of cellular changes and oxidative stress add to the serious degenerative process occurring in Alzheimer's disease.

It is important to note that insulin not only keeps the blood vessels that supply the brain healthy, it also encourages the brain’s neurons to absorb glucose and allows the neurons to adapt and strengthen. So, insulin is a healthy and necessary hormone in the brain, but low insulin levels in the brain equate with reduced brain function.

Over a century ago, Alois Alzheimer, a noted neuropathologist, discovered that an odd form of protein was taking the place of normal brain cells in those afflicted with dementia symptoms. These are beta amyloid plaques, now a major focus in the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (identified primarily by PET scan and/or biopsy of the cerebrospinal fluid). Currently, Suzanne de la Monte, a neuropathologist at Brown University, is focusing her work on the blocking of insulin in the brain. In laboratory rats, neurons in the brain deteriorate and disorientation occurs with low levels of insulin. What is becoming clear is that a lack of insulin, or insulin resistance, not only impairs cognition but appears to be implicated in the formation of amyloid plaque.

At True Nature Health Consulting, the foundation of each person's recovery process is the use of Metabolic Typing® individualized nutrition. Key to stabilizing and strengthening the body for therapeutic recovery, there is no more powerful nutritional process anywhere for regulating blood sugar, pH balance and all other metabolic functions in the body.

An important note also regarding blood sugar regulation and its role in Alzheimer’s is that insomnia and sleep disturbances are quite problematic in the disease. While we know that Beta amyloid deposits are in the deep sleep regions of the brain and need to be cleared by glymphatic drainage during the night in order to have restful sleep, blood sugar imbalances are another cause of impaired sleep. Those who address all of these aspects of health have the greatest healing responses and and the greatest reductions in insomnia and sleep disturbances. True Nature clients are provided with the most valuable tools to address all of these concerns.

Alzheimer's and Aluminum

Aluminium is a known neurotoxin.  Environmental and occupational exposure to aluminum have both been implicated in various neurological diseases, including a 70% increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

One of the biggest issues is that aluminum is a widely used material, making the risk for exposure quite high. The largest markets for aluminum metal and its alloys are in transportation, building and construction, packaging, and electrical equipment manufacturing, with transportation projects creating some of the fastest growing demands for aluminum. Aluminum powders are also used in pigments and paints, fuel additives, explosives and propellants.

Everyday exposures to aluminum happen through petroleum exhaust/inhalation, cooking, drinking, and eating from aluminum containers, vaccinations, and municipal water sources.

The body absorbs aluminum through many of its open access points, including the small intestine and colon, skin, lungs, and nasal passages feeding directly into the brain. Research has shown that proper calcium levels and channelopathy in the body can block aluminum absorption, but very frequently the presence of heavy metals (mercury in particular) alter the calcium channels and the body's ability to absorb and balance it properly. Calcium regulation also depends upon healthy thyroid and parathyroid glands, but these very sensitive glands are subject to disease in the presence of high toxicity. I often refer to the thyroid gland as the "canary in the coal mine," meaning that by the time it expresses stress and/or disease, it has long been responding to other imbalances in the body, particularly in the area of detoxification. Thus, protection from excess absorption of aluminum becomes a multi-layered problem.

Let's look at a landmark case in which environmental/occupational exposure to aluminum was studied following the death of a man in his 50s diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. This man had no previous medical history of note. Ten years prior to his diagnosis in 2003, this man from northeastern England began to work with the preparation of a novel material (DARMATT KM1), used as insulation in the nuclear fuel and space industries. The work exposed him to aluminum sulphate dust on a daily basis over 8 years. An ordinary dust mask was supplied to protect against inhalation of the materials. Within a short time of starting this work the man complained of headaches, tiredness, and mouth ulcers. By 1999 he started to become symptomatic with memory loss and depression, two of the most common expressions of Alzheimer's disease development.

Following his death in 2011, a neuropathological examination confirmed advance stage Alzheimer's disease. What followed this discovery was the most comprehensive investigation ever of the aluminum content of the frontal lobe of a single individual, with 49 different tissue samples being measured for aluminum.

Professor Chris Exley, of The Birchall Centre, at Keele University, said: "The results showed unequivocally that the frontal lobe contained an average aluminium content which was at least four times higher than might be expected for an age-matched control brain."

As part of any True Nature Health Consulting package, one of my standard health evaluations is a hair and tissue mineral analysis. It is a simple, non-invasive and affordable test that allows insight into aluminum levels and excretion capacities. As a "light" metal, aluminum is one of the more easily excreted, but when testing reveals levels lower than expected given our constant exposure, we have to look at risks of retention and potential toxicity. Fortunately, we also have the opportunity to utilize some very effective therapeutic measures to correct such problems.

Alzheimer's and Bacteria

In a study published in the July 2018 issue of the journal Cell Host & Microbe, UC Davis researchers report that both amyloid plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients and structures made by some gut bacteria likely elicit the same response by human immune cells.

“Alzheimer’s disease may be a case of mistaken identity,” said Andreas Baumler, a professor of microbiology and medical immunology at UC Davis. Baumler and his colleagues showed that the immune systems of mice injected with E. coli and salmonella are triggered by curli fibrils, fiber-like structures consisting of curli proteins that allow bacteria to stick to host tissue and to each other and form colonies.

Curli fibrils are morphologically identical to the amyloid fibrils found in Alzheimer’s plaques. When the team presented human cells with the two kinds of fibrils, they saw the same immune response — even though the two have nothing in common in their amino acid sequences. Amyloid plaques are the sticky buildup of proteins that accumulate outside nerve cells. They are characteristic of several illnesses, including Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, type 2 diabetes, secondary amyloidosis and prion diseases like Creutzfeldt-Jakob (the human form of mad cow disease). These diseases all involve marked inflammation at the sites of amyloid deposition, resulting in tissue injury.

The immune response to curli fibrils is controlled by a protein called TLR-2 (Toll-like receptor 2). TLR-2 is expressed on the surface of certain cells that recognize foreign substances and then passes on appropriate signals to cells of the immune system which are designated for attack.

The team used cultures of human immune system cells to see if synthetic versions of the major curli fibril protein (CsgA) and the major protein found in amyloid plaques (beta-amyloid) would trigger the TLR-2 response. They used cultures of macrophage cells, immune cells that engulf and digest cellular debris and pathogens. They also used microglia, which are essentially macrophages of the brain.

The team found that the mechanism involving TLR-2 was triggered by both CsgA and beta-amyloid but only when these proteins were allowed to aggregate into amyloids. "Our study indicates that there is some structural feature of amyloids that triggers the innate immune system,” Baumler stated. When he and his team destroyed the ability of the proteins to aggregate, the inflammatory response was halted.

This discovery both indicates that the development of therapies to alter the amyloid immune response may help people with existing Alzheimer's disease and points to the critical nature of monitoring and resolving bacterial conditions on a regular basis. This is also a keystone of my work at True Nature. Many people are asymptomatic with bacterial imbalances in their digestive tracts, expecting to feel very sick, feverish, etc. Unfortunately, not all bacterial infections produce symptoms such as these and can be very effectively hidden in biofilm. Regular stool testing and the use of natural remedies can make a measurable difference in the health of the gut and the prevention of the structures that appear to mimic amyloid plaque immune responses.

Disease and Inflammation

Virtually every major disease of our time has been associated with inflammation. Inflammation occurs in response to poorly modulated systems in the body which are agitated or damaged by toxins and pathogens. In the end, each of us will respond with systems that return us to homeostatic function, or we will continue to respond with stress and imbalance. We each respond individually. What is key to the prevention of any major disease is the use of intelligent testing and practices that are designed for our own unique biochemical individuality. I recommend for all people to be tested at least twice annually in order to monitor their status and mitigate their risks. Also key to the recovery process are the use of intelligent manual therapies for drainage and the development of intuition and awarness. Whether you are new to or experienced with functional health care, I invite you to contact me at Julie@truenaturehealthconsulting.com for comprehensive, smart, targeted, and effective health investigation.