Alzheimer’s Prevention: Protect Your Memory

June 12, 2021

By 2030 it is predicted that Alzheimer’s cases will double if we continue to follow an unhealthy lifestyle and diet that studies have shown lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In this show, we’ll take a look at lifestyle habits that may be a health risk for developing memory issues and we’ll give you a prevention plan to protect your brain, memory, and quality of life through all your years.

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MELANIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I'm Melanie Beasley and I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian with over 30 years of experience, working with a variety of clients in many different settings. And today I'm in studio with cohost Nikki Doering, who is also a Licensed Dietitian. Nikki, share a little about yourself for our listeners.


NIKKI: Good morning, Mel. It's so nice to do the show with you today.


MELANIE: I know we never see each other.


NIKKI: No, it's so nice. So yes, like you, I'm a dietitian. And I also have had a variety of work experiences, including one in an outpatient setting in a medical and surgical weight management clinic at the University of Minnesota. But I've also worked in long-term care. So it kind of is a great experience for me for our topic today, which we'll get into in a little bit. But my real understanding of nutrition came from healing my own memory.


MELANIE: That's interesting. I'm looking forward to you sharing that with our listeners today.


NIKKI: The onset of my memory loss was the result of experiencing a serious concussion due to an auto accident. So the concussion affected my memory, my concentration, and it caused many other symptoms, but by eating real food in balance several times a day, I was able to restore my memory and concentration each day and every week I experienced better moods and sharper memory and better concentration because I gave up sugar and processed foods by starting to eat those real foods. So when I say real foods, what am I talking about?


MELANIE: What are you talking about? Because to me, you're sharp as a tack from the time I've known you. So this is interesting.


NIKKI: Well, that is that's, thank you. I'll, thank you. I do struggle, but thank you. I do put it on the real food that helps me through my day; real meats and fish. Walleye and salmon are my best friends. I love them; real vegetables cooked in real beneficial fats. So since then I've learned if I get just a little sugar in, if it slips in here or there, I will struggle with those same symptoms.


MELANIE: Just a little sugar.


NIKKI: Just a little sugar.


MELANIE: Sugar’s the devil.


NIKKI: So now, yeah, it really is. I love how you put that. So I remember that, you know, starting, the start of my journey, right after my injury, I had no idea that nutrition mattered for brain health and I was a dietitian. It was not like, oh yeah, I had my concussion. And then I became a dietitian. No, I was a dietitian during that time. And I just, I would listen to Dishing Up Nutrition and I would hear brain health, brain health, brain health. And finally one day it clicked and it was like, oh, I need to heal my brain with food. Hello.


MELANIE: Well, sometimes you can't know what you didn't know, but I feel like we're always in process learning as practitioners. And today we'll spend the next hour looking at how we, as dieticians and nutritionists can help you follow a lifestyle plan and eating habits that may help you prevent Alzheimer's disease. You know, drug companies have invested huge amounts of money into developing drugs to treat Alzheimer's. But today there's really no magic bullet that's been developed. So rather than spend money trying to develop a drug treatment plan, we believe that money should also be focused on prevention efforts. Don't you agree?


NIKKI: I one-hundred percent agree. Prevention is kind of why I became a dietitian because I said, well, what about this prevention? You know, can we prevent what we're doing with the things that we do prior to disease?


MELANIE: And we absolutely can.


NIKKI: Yeah, I agree. So, excuse me. Mel, did you know that according to the Alzheimer's, that older adults with a history of moderate traumatic brain injuries had a 2.3 times greater risk of developing Alzheimer's than seniors that didn't have?


MELANIE: Wow, say that again. So if people have had a brain injury like a concussion or other kinds of brain injuries, there are 2.3 and that's moderate that's 2.3 times greater risk of Alzheimer's. And if it's a severe injury, 4.5 times greater risk.


MELANIE: Holy buckets.


NIKKI: Yeah. So that's why it's so important to me; Alzheimer's prevention, because I've had that injury and my dear grandmother passed from Alzheimer's. So this is an important topic for me. It's near and dear.


MELANIE: I think it is for a lot of people that are listening out there. It touches everybody's lives. It’s like cancer.


NIKKI: It does. Yes, exactly. I don't know if you, as a listener, realize that researchers have the knowledge of a nutrition and lifestyle plan that could slash the U.S. numbers of new Alzheimer's cases in half; in half.


MELANIE: In half.


NIKKI: If people actually followed the plan and knew about it. I don't think people know about it. So if we know, what we do know is, excuse me, by 2030, that's only nine years away, by the way, but it seems maybe far, far in the future, but it's only nine years.

It is predicted that Alzheimer's cases will double if we continue to follow unhealthy lifestyles and diets, like the SAD diet, the standard American diet. With this kind of diet, we have an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer's.


MELANIE: That's pretty scary, you know, driving here today, I started noting all the senior care facilities that are popping up because it's so necessary. Well, let's look, let's take a look at lifestyle habits that could possibly be putting people at risk for developing Alzheimer's. Numerous studies have shown a correlation between high blood sugar and the high risk of dementia. High blood sugar equals a risk of dementia. And on our Dishing Up Nutrition shows and podcasts and our nutrition classes, and in our nutrition counseling sessions, we continually educate our listeners. We talk to our class participants and our clients about the risk of elevated blood sugar. You know, those numbers put us at risk for memory problems. And here's an example for you: There was a study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine back in 2013 that found that even a slight elevation of blood sugar, now we're not talking about diabetes here. But a slight elevation such as that in maybe prediabetes, like a range of a hundred to 125 or an A1C of 5.7 to 6.5, have been shown to significantly increase the risk for development of untreatable dementia; untreatable dementia; so scary.


NIKKIE: Yeah, really scary. Here's a few more details about that study: first of all, there was 2000 participants, so a pretty nice size study. The average age was 76 years old and these 2000 study participants were followed for seven years. Those who had the slightly higher blood sugar levels, kind of what you mentioned, Mel, in the prediabetes range at the beginning of the study showed a greater risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's. So again, those numbers are not that high. They're, you know, 100 to 125, 126; that's that prediabetes range. They were had that higher risk of Alzheimer's; hemoglobin A1C. You might've seen that on your lab tests from your doctors; 5.7 to 6.5. That's, that's a lot.


MELANIE: So I encourage listeners; go into my healthy, my chart and look at what was your last fasting blood sugar. Look at it. If your doctor has said it's over a hundred, but we'll watch and see, keep in mind if you're between a hundred, 125 or higher, you're putting yourself at risk.


NIKKI: Yeah.


MELANIE: So what causes higher blood sugar levels for most people or the question to our listeners this morning is what are you eating that makes your blood sugar go up over the normal range of 99 or less? Could it be crackers, chips, juice, or a high sugar coffee drink, or that piece of pie or the breakfast muffin or those French fries or that, that really sugary mocha that you just picked up? What are you having for breakfast right now? English muffin? Well, during the pandemic, more and more people returned to cooking real food in their home and their blood sugars came down. I mean, that was one of the blessings that came out of the pandemic.


NIKKI: More people cooking.


MELANIE: More people cooking and they lost weight. But it seems many of them are returning to eating out and adding back too many processed carbs into their diets. As their lifestyle gets busy, that drive-through window becomes more and more appealing. And we know no food comes through a window.


NIKKI: Yeah. It's, I'm seeing that more and more in my, in the, in clinic too. I think, you know, people have been kind of cooped up. They’re, you know, it's hard to say no sometimes because you've been cooped up and you want to go out. And it's, it, it is hard. And so a lot of people are struggling. So if you're out there kind of saying, oh yeah, I'm struggling too, a lot of people are.


MELANIE: People are struggling. So, and as activities amp up summer activities, maybe for your children that are involved in, maybe you're, you're rushing around and you're thinking just this once. And suddenly you're in that habit again. So you want to take a look at what did I do before? Was I cooking real food? And how can I do that? And we can help you with that. But I think it's time for our first break. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Today, Nikki and I are discussing steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. And we'll be right back.




NIKKI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. On previous Dishing Up Nutrition radio shows and podcasts, we have cautioned listeners to avoid cooking on aluminum pans. In an article published in Integrative Psychiatry, 1991, reported that there is an increasing body of evidence indicating that aluminum is more than just an innocent bystander in the cerebral neurons, so think brain, of Alzheimer's. To be safe err on the side of caution and avoid cooking with aluminum pans and replace your aluminum foil with parchment paper.


MELANIE: And for the love of Pete, no Tums; Tums, Tums, Tums: you’re just chewy aluminum.


NIKKI: Yes, Mel; agreed. So before break, we were kind of talking about processed carbs and you know, them sneaking back into the diet and how we both are kind of seeing that people struggle with that in clinic. But I just want to say that the relationship between poor blood sugar control and Alzheimer's disease is so strong that researchers are now calling Alzheimer's type three diabetes. And so what does that really mean? You know, what does that mean? It means the higher the blood sugars, the more it affects the brain and memory.


MELANIE: A host of symptoms and problems come from high blood sugars. It's a big deal. Now I want to share a study from the Mayo Clinic published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. This study looked at 1,230 Minnesota residents in Olmsted county and found that those who got most of their calories from pasta, rice, bread and other processed carbs had the higher risk of Alzheimer's, while people who loaded up on protein, I'm talking protein, anything with a face. People who loaded up on protein had a 21% lower risk than those following a… than those I'm sorry. Let me reiterate that. While people who loaded up on protein had a 21% lower risk and those following a high-fat diet were at a 42% lower risk.




MELANIE: Yep. The lead epidemiologists said, “All fats seem to be good for the brain, but excess carbs and sugar may affect blood vessels in the brain, or even increase the development of amyloid plaque.”


NIKKI: Well…


MELANIE: What is that Nikki?


NIKKI: Yeah, what is that? So I actually Looked that up cause I, I mean, I kind of understood, but I wanted to kind of be able to tell our listeners: what's an amyloid plaque? So those are plaques that form in the spaces between nerve cells and they're thought to play a central role in Alzheimer’s disease. So think it's like they kind of clog up your brain space nerves, your nervous system brain spaces.


MELANIE: Like plaque in the brain.


NIKKI: Yeah. 


MELANIE: Nobody wants that.


NIKKI: Yeah, so it's, and it first develops in areas in the brain concerned with memory and cognition.


MELANIE: Scary. You know, and Nikki, as dietitians at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we recommend using only natural fats, such as butter.


NIKKI: My favorite.


MELANIE: Ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, organic nuts, and omega-3 fatty acids from fish or algae for better brain health. And we recommend avoiding refined oils like soybean, canola, corn and vegetable oils. So listeners go to your refrigerator, pull out your salad dressing, pull out your mayo, roll it over, read the ingredients for canola oils, soy oil, and see, am I fueling my brain or am I harming my brain?


NIKKI: I know the food labels always shock me still. And I'm a dietitian.


MELANIE: And you can shop at some of the healthiest places and still find those inflammatory oils.


NIKKI: Exactly. If you're experiencing some memory loss, you might be asking “Why isn't my brain working.” I've been there. I've asked that exact question. That is a good question. So why isn't your brain working? If I were working with you as your dietitian, I would help you balance your blood sugars. I have quite a few clients that mark memory issues on their health questionnaires when they come and see, see me. And one of the first things we work on is blood sugar balance by eating real food in balance.


MELANIE: Perfect.


NIKKI: So your fasting blood sugar should be a hundred or less. Out of balance blood sugars or high glucose numbers tell me that you may be eating too many processed carbs for your body and your brain. Some of us, unfortunately, need to be more careful than others as well. So here are a couple of questions I might ask you. Do you eat breakfast cereal in the morning or maybe for a nighttime snack? Now that question, I want to just pause for a second because I have actually pulled that experiment on myself. I have taken out my little blood glucose monitor because I was curious. I'm like, I wonder what cereal does to my blood sugar.  


MELANIE: Wonderful.


NIKKI: Yeah. I, I ate a bowl of cereal. Ooh, it was sugary and I waited an hour and I checked my blood sugar and my blood sugar was 150, Mel.




NIKKI: So yeah. So when you are in the doctor's office will say, well, it should be about 140 or less after eating; an hour after eating. Well, for me, many times when I eat and balance, I'm backed onto 110, 100, I'm already, almost back down to normal after eating an hour after eating. So for me, that 150 was really high.


MELANIE: And just so our clients know our and our listeners know is two hours after you eat your blood sugar should be under 100.


NIKKI: Yup, yup; back to normal.


MELANIE: So that's interesting information. I also want to point out it's a processed food, right? There is no cereal tree. There is no cereal bush. So it’s a processed food.


NIKKI: So, you know, in one cup of Wheaties, let's say, there are 30 grams of carbs, which convert to seven and a half teaspoons of sugar. And that's only one cup. So a lot of people won't eat just one cup of cereal. They might eat a one and a half or two cups. And it's important to think like, okay, that's why my blood sugar was 150 because I was eating sugar.


MELANIE: And that doesn't even count the teaspoons of sugar that you put on the Wheaties. So for healthy brain function, cereal is gone for good. Get rid of it. Give it to the birds. The next question I ask is how many slices of pizza do you eat for a meal? And how often? Back in the day I could eat a half a pizza.


NIKKI: Oh yeah.


MELANIE: Full disclosure. You may be thinking pizza is not sweet, so it cannot possibly contain any sugar. But actually it's quite the opposite. One slice of pizza contains nearly 40 grams of carbs, which convert into 10 teaspoons of sugar. Now think about eating three slices of pizza because you can definitely eat one slice? Not me.


NIKKI: Nope.


MELANIE: Three slices equals 30 teaspoons of sugar load on that brain and your fasting blood glucose number; it goes up and up and up putting the brain at risk.


NIKKI: Yeah. So then I think about maybe people that have that diagnosis of type two diabetes. They're under a lot of metabolic stress because our bodies cannot transport that glucose, that sugar that we've eaten into their cells, you know, successfully from the bloodstream into their cells. And parts of their body where glucose is not going into the cell of their nerves or their brain, this can result in damage to the nerves, which can cause neuropathy or it can cause damage to the blood vessels in the brain, which can cause dementia.


MELANIE: Yeah; scary. That's you wrapped that up really well. Well it's time for our next break. So when we come back, let's talk some more about that and some solutions, because this is scary, scary information. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. In 2014, there was a five-year study published in the Journal of American Medical Association that found an intensive vitamin E therapy resulted in 19% improvement in clinical symptom progression for people with Alzheimer's disease. I would recommend taking one to two softgels of an E Complex-1:1 from Metagenics. And this vitamin E is a clean supplement. It contains a mix of tocopherols to provide a broader range of antioxidant protection for your brain.




NIKKI: …an educator, Marianne who's amazing, will to your questions about those unique vegetables that you will find when shopping at the farmer's market. This fun cooking class is a virtual Zoom class and it only costs $25; so no excuses. Sign up today by calling 651-699-3438.

MELANIE: It's so fun to have somebody else tell you what to cook and then show you how to do it.


NIKKI: I need all the help I can get.


MELANIE: You do. I do. I need ideas. Everybody needs ideas.


NIKKI: Exactly.


MELANIE: So as dietitians and nutritionists, we realize that it can be challenging to reduce eating your favorite foods, which usually involves some type of processed carb and sugar. However, if you look at how much sugar people ate 200 years ago and how rare it was for people to have Alzheimer's disease, we can reach some of the same conclusion that if we want to keep our memory and not develop Alzheimer's, we must change our nutrition. We understand that for most people, it's a slow process. It's an educational process, and it's a change your behavior process. And it takes time. We didn't get this way overnight. It takes a team to help you change that process and that habit. And we move you away from eating man-made processed foods to preparing and eating real food, real meat and fish, real vegetables, real beneficial fats. And you'll see your blood sugar number normalize. You'll have more energy and you'll have less pain. And the number on the scale goes down. High blood sugar and insulin resistance is often a cause of inflammation. A frequent cause of Alzheimer’s is inflammation in the brain. And, you know, I pulled some information. I really like Dr. Perlmutter, the author of Grain Brain. And he states that the most fundamental message that he's trying to convey to the listening audience is to do everything possible to reduce inflammation overall. Well, that means a diet rich in inflammation, fighting foods like healthy fats, minimizing those processed carbohydrates and interesting enough, he says gluten restricted. I thought that was interesting, because even a slight blood sugar elevation raises the binding of glucose to protein called glycation. And this process profoundly increases the production of inflammatory chemicals. And the tracking of an A1C measures this process. So the bottom line is if your A1C is elevated, you're placing your brain at risk. So what does that mean? What's that look like on a plate, Nikki?


NIKKI: Oh, that's a great question, Mel. So I would say one I'm and I've said this before on the radio, but I want to repeat it, that my favorite brain boosting meal, cause I actually feel like I get something from it is like four ounces of salmon, a big pile of broccoli and butter, like cups of broccoli. I'm saying like two or three, four cups. It's a lot. And then, you know, a good two, one to two tablespoons even of butter.


MELANIE: That healthy fat is brain food.


NIKKI: Yes. It just, my, with my history of my injury, fat is my friend. I need it.


MELANIE: Here's a little tip too. I just recently realized that you can take salmon. Let's say you buy wild caught salmon and it's in their little individual sleeves; maybe from Costco I pick up.


NIKKI: Yeah.


MELANIE: And you get home. You're like, I haven't thawed it; shoot. You can take frozen salmon; one of those frozen salmons, put it on your cookie sheet, season it and cook it at like 375 until it's cooked.




MELANIE: If you didn't have time to thawed dinner, you can still cook frozen to a meal.


NIKKI: Yeah.


MELANIE: It works. So it just depends on a smaller piece of meat. So the individual packets are kind of nice.


NIKKI: I love those. Yes. So you've been hearing inflammation, inflammation. So I like to point out a lot of people don't realize, you know, we think of inflammation in our joints.

That's that pain we get if we have inflammation in our joints or inflammation in our gut, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, inflammation in our gut. Our brain can kind of go there. A lot of people, I don't think, cause I certainly didn't think about inflammation in our brain. And that's that dementia, Alzheimer's risk; the more inflammation we have in our brain.


MELANIE: So if you think of inflammation kind of an umbrella term for something is not right in the body and the body's trying to correct. It might be sleep deprivation.


NIKKI: Exactly.


MELANIE: It might be stress. Maybe you're going through stressful divorce. Maybe you have elderly parents. That's a form of inflammation overall that can affect your brain health.


NIKKI: Exactly. So I think this is a great time to talk about another important part of an Alzheimer's and dementia prevention plan, which is intestinal health. I knew we'd get there. At Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we believe it is important to keep your small and large intestinal tract healthy for good brain health. I'm just going to say that one more time, because I think that might be a new message for some people. You're, it's important to keep your small and large intestinal track healthy for good brain health. If you're experiencing diarrhea, constipation, or heartburn, it may indicate that you need to heal your gut. And that's to heal your gut for your brain. A study published February 25th, 2021, so that's this year, in the journal Scientific Reports, found a correlation between the composition of the gut microbiome and behavior and cognitive performances of mice carrying genes associated with Alzheimer's. So I work with a lot of clients that have gut issues and a lot of them complain of memory issues at the same.


MELANIE: Yes, it can be, it can really affect your overall body. It just affects everything. So this study suggests a relationship between microbes and the digestive track and the expression of the genes that trigger Alzheimer's like symptoms in mice. The findings are the first to demonstrate a direct connection between gut microbiome and cognitive health and behavioral changes. So we have to make sure that that gut is healthy from stem to stern.


NIKKI: I kind of joke with my clients, I kind of joke with my clients a lot that I'm going to talk a lot about gut health and I think it's really important. So just wave at me if you're like, I've heard it, Nikki.


MELANIE: No, it's good.


NIKKI: So the research, this research is basically saying what we were just talking about that the brain health begins in the gut; might be a new concept for some. So if you are struggling with IBS, we believe it's important to work with a dietitian or nutritionist to remove irritating foods such as gluten and sugar, and maybe rebalance the microbiome with beneficial probiotics. So gluten, we mentioned a little bit earlier that it's an inflammatory food and so inflammation in the body can go to your brain because your brain’s in  your body obviously, and that can put you at higher risk for dementia, Alzheimer's, memory loss.


MELANIE: So Nikki, are you saying that we should run out and buy gluten-free crackers, gluten-free bread, gluten-free cookies?


NIKKI: That's a great point because the cereal, you know, I kind of, we kind of laughed earlier about the cereal is actually a lot of them are gluten-free now. So I know it's like, oh, I can do it if I'm sensitive to gluten, but it's the sugar.


MELANIE: So we circle back the real food message, real food.


NIKKI: Yep. So if you're experiencing acid reflux or heartburn, it's important for the long-term brain, for your long-term brain health to restore normal digestive function. It is not healthy for the brain to take an acid type medication for weeks and months or even years. I don't know about you Mel, but do you have clients that actually have been on them for, for years? I have several. I have actually more than several, probably. I have quite a few. And needing to take those antacid type medications only indicates that your digestive track is out of balance. And over the long-term it could easily affect your brain health and nervous system. Long-term use of these antacid blocking medications can lead to a B12 deficiency, which is a critical vitamin for your nerves in your brains. And I think, you know, food first, what has great B12 in the, in the foods? I think meat, you know, meat from animal sources, sardines, chicken eggs. Clams are high. It makes me think about when I worked in long-term care. There were a lot of folks that had reflux. There were a lot of people on antacids regularly, and there were a lot of people with memory issues as well. So it just kind of brings me back to a past life a little bit. And I think about all the residents I worked with.


MELANIE: Yeah. It's heartbreaking. And we want to take care of our seniors for sure.


NIKKI: Exactly.


MELANIE: So Nikki, let's give our listeners a little quick recap. If you are concerned with getting Alzheimer's disease in the future, and you want a prevention plan, I suggest you carefully monitor your blood sugar level daily. You can get a glucometer at Walgreens. You can get it on Amazon. And if your blood sugar level is higher than normal, make an appointment and get on a good blood sugar control plan. That's what we're here for.


NIKKI: Yes. And full disclosure. I take my blood sugars daily because of that. I've had the brain injury. I have a high risk. I've had familial history. I have a risk. It's, it's so important. And so I do it. I know, and I suggest to my clients and see if they're open to that too. So I do think that's a really important preventative plan.


MELANIE: And why live in fear? Why not live in knowledge?


NIKKI: Exactly. Yeah. You know, I still have eye opening experiences of what certain foods will do to my blood sugars. So also if you have any type of digestive issue, know that the health of your microbiome is important for future brain health. Having a healthy gut and good blood sugar control are two important steps in following an Alzheimer's prevention plan. And it's all about prevention. That's what we want to do.


MELANIE: So you can keep it, you know, keep it really simple. What you put on a plate might look like salmon, broccoli, butter, handful of cherries. Or possibly for a breakfast it might be eggs, bacon, stir fries, and peppers and onions, or make an omelet.


NIKKI: You're making my mouth water.


MELANIE: Just keep it very simple. Maybe you're rushed. Instead of the drive-through you pick up a roasted chicken and a bag of steamer vegetables and some good healthy butter. And you've got a brain protection meal right there, and you don't have to feel like you did anything that was too stressful; wasn't hard to do. I think it's really important for people to be able to put it down in practical terms of how am I going to do this if you're busy.


NIKKI: Exactly. And I don't know, there's a lot of research around coconut oil and MCT oil for brain health. I know that one of my prevention plans or just brain healing plans is I do MCT oil pretty regularly. And I just put it right in my tea.


MELANIE: That's fantastic. How much do you put in your tea?


NIKKI: About a tablespoon. I kind of just squirt it to be perfectly honest because I'm not afraid of fat.


MELANIE: Yes. You want to start slowly, you know, if you’re using MCT; maybe you started a teaspoon a day.


NIKKI: Even a half a teaspoon because it can cause GI upset, meaning you can have diarrhea from it.


MELANIE: So you want to start slowly, but you do build up a tolerance threshold. We're about ready to go to break. So we'll talk more when we get back, but you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. I believe one of the biggest fears people have as they grow older is that they will lose their memory. It certainly is a scary thought. Perhaps it is time for you to get serious about your brain health and brain function. Our clients tell us this over and over: “As soon as starting, as soon as I started eating real food and stopped eating my fast food and my junk food diet, my memory got better and my mood has been so much better too.” If you need a nutrition plan for a better memory or mood, I invite you to set up several appointments to get your brain functioning again. Call us at (651) 699-3438. And we will get you started on a path to better, better brain health. We'll be right back.




NIKKI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Throughout today's show, we've given you many different factors that can result in dementia and Alzheimer's. Poor sleep also raises the risk of Alzheimer's. If you're not sleeping at least seven and a half hours most nights, I encourage you to make an appointment with a Weight and Wellness dietitian or nutritionist. We are very successful helping clients get sufficient sleep for better brain function. I don't know about you, Mel, but I feel like I have a lot of clients that say, “I'm sleeping and my brain fog has gone.”




NIKKI: I have. I feel like that's, should be on a quote on a wall or something.


MELANIE: Many, many clients come in and they say I'm sleeping, but then I wake up. It's so frustrating.


NIKKI: Yes, really frustrating. Lack of sleep has been found to spur the development of beta amyloids. So again, those are those little forming plaques in the brain that can lead to or cause Alzheimer's disease. So getting sufficient sleep is just one more lifestyle habit that is important to maintaining a good memory. Give us a call at (651) 699-3438 to set up your appointment.


MELANIE: Nikki, when we, when we went to break, you were telling us about digestive issues. So tell us more about that.


NIKKI: So the, again, it's the type, a type of digestive issues known that it, our health comes around our microbiome, the, you know, the health of our gut.


MELANIE: I think of the microbiome as a garden.


NIKKI: Yeah.


MELANIE: It's your garden of bugs that you want.


NIKKI: Yes; the good healthy stuff. Yes. And the good healthy stuff fights the not so great stuff. And it protects us. I always use the word protection with my clients. It’s protecting us.


MELANIE: I love that.


NIKKI: So it's important for your future brain health to have that good, healthy microbiome. So having that healthy gut and good blood sugar control, again, is a great Alzheimer's prevention plan.


MELANIE: We have some additional information to share about a new drug for Alzheimer's and this new drug was approved last Tuesday, June 8th, 2021 by the FDA. And this was the first new drug approved for Alzheimer's in the past 20 years and was developed by the company Biogen. And based on the results of studies, it seems that it is reasonably likely to benefit Alzheimer's patients. That's exciting. One study indicated it would help. And another study showed no improvement. It is the only drug therapy that treats the underlying disease rather than just managing the symptoms.


NIKKI: This new drug, Aduhelm, did not reverse mental decline. It only slowed mental decline, which I don't have a big understanding of Alzheimer's drugs, but that's pretty much what they've been, you know, it's, it's kind of helps with symptoms, rather. So, which is, I mean, I think that's important to note that it's not reversing; it's slowing, which is important.


MELANIE: Absolutely; more moments.


NIKKI: Exactly; exactly. So the drug is given as an infusion every four weeks and will cost about $56,000 per year.




NIKKI: That's expensive. That's a lot, but again, it's your brain. So I understand that.


MELANIE: It’s a family member.


NIKKI: Exactly.


NIKKI: The new drug, Aduhelm, was approved by the FDA, even though the study suggested in 2019, 2 studies, excuse me, in 2019, suggested that the drug would not slow mental and functional decline in Alzheimer's patients. So it sounds like this drug is kind of controversial.




NIKKI: It's, you know, has some benefits and maybe shown not benefits. So that's interesting to note.


MELANIE: It is; jury’s out. And even groups representing the Alzheimer's patients push for approval of this new drug. Say it, I can't say this word.


NIKKI: Aduhelm. I had to look it up. Oh, we should spell probably for people: A D U H E L M.


MELANIE: Good idea. So even if only a small benefit occurred, it's important, right? Currently there are over 6 million people in the U.S. struggling with Alzheimer's disease. This new medication may be helpful for those who have the beginning signs of memory loss, but not for those who have those advanced stages of Alzheimer's.


NIKKI: I remember, oh, go ahead.


MELANIE: No, so we still want that prevention plan. What were you going to say?


NIKKI: I was just going to say, I remember sitting in care conferences with residents when I worked in long-term care and it would be talked about, okay, well they've, the term ‘bumped along’, which I have no idea if that's even a good term to use, but just kind of moved along in their disease process. And they would take them off the meds because that advanced disease was not, nothing was helping it anymore, basically. So, but I like that 6 million people, because earlier in the show we mentioned in, by 2030, we're going to have double if we don't do something.




NIKKI: So 6 million could turn to 12 million in just nine years. So…


MELANIE: Progress is progress.


NIKKI: Exactly. So as dietitians and nutritionists, we wonder what would the result be if we took that $56,000 a year and spent it on a solid prevention plan, including nutrition education and counseling, physical fitness, substance abuse reform, concussion or other traumatic brain injury prevention and healing and mental health support? I think that makes a really, really good point. And I just think this is a really timely topic considering, you know, we're learning, you know, the new drug has been released. So Alzheimer's is obviously going to be on the forefront of a lot of people, you know, topic of discussion. And, you know, with my history, with a brain injury, it's so important to me, my losing my mother just, or my mother. Sorry, mom, you're still here.


MELANIE: No you didn't do that.


NIKKI: My grandmother about a year ago to Alzheimer's, you know, it's, it's a very important topic.


MELANIE: So listeners, you have to ask yourself, you've been, many of you have cared for elderly. Many of you have raised children. Many of you have careers. Ask yourself, am I worth protection? Do I deserve protecting my brain? Not just for yourself, but also for your family members. I think you are listeners. And I think it's time for you to get on a prevention plan to take care of that. And that starts with real food. Check your vitamin D if you can, and make sure that it's at a good level. Make sure that you are exercising, getting enough sleep, getting enough sunshine, but it starts with what are you putting in your mouth? Is it harming you or is it benefiting you? Because every bite you take at this point in your juncture of life matters.


NIKKI: Exactly. I think nutrition is key. Eating real food is for your brain. It's for your body, but it's for your brain too. And it's just, it's critical to prevention and it's crucial to your today health as well. I think of all my clients that start eating in balance, you know, that, that meat, that chicken, that steak with, you know, a big, big old green salad and olive oil and vinegar dressing and nuts on top or other olives on top thrown on there. And I just think they're healing their body and they come back to me at their follow-up and they say, “I don't have that brain fog.”


MELANIE: Yeah, which says the inflammation in the brain is coming down. So that means you're on the right track, but we are here to help you at Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's simple. It's powerful. And it makes a difference. Eating real food is life-changing. Thank you so much for joining us today. Make it a great day.

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