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It’s the Aging, Stupid

Alzheimer’s Results More from Aging, Not Age

Though genetic-modifiation of mice, Salk Institut researchers show that Alzheimer's forms more as a result of aging, not getting older.

Through genetic-modification of mice, Salk Institute researchers show that Alzheimer's forms more as a result of aging, not getting older.

Alzheimer’s disease, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, is a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a mystery.  Sure, doctors have come a long way in unraveling why it affects as many people as it does, but its prevalence remains somewhat of a mystery.

One thing we do know is that Alzheimer’s overwhelmingly affects older people.  In fact, as the nation progressively grows older, the incidence rate is set to jump from its current rate of 35.6 million affected to 115.4 million affected in 2050.

So the question a lot of us have on our minds is whether Alzheimer’s is a risk because we’re growing older, or is it a risk because we’re aging?

Well, according to researchers from the Salk Institute, it’s more a result of the latter.

This is good news, because aging is something we can work at delaying.  But before I get into how that can be worked at, the study broke down thusly:

Researchers from the Salk Institute used a mouse model to slow down the function of what’s called the IGF-1 pathway.  According to the study’s lead author Dr. Ehud Cohen, this pathway in the brain plays a crucial role in how quickly someone ages.

A series of tests were then employed to see how plaque buildup formed in their brains.  This plaque, known as amyloid plaque, is believed to be the growth that sets off the progressive chain of events that leads to full-fledged Alzheimer’s disease.

But interestingly—and happily—the mice whose IGF-1 pathway had been tinkered with formed less plaque buildup compared to the mice whose brains were left unaltered.

This is a very exciting find because it indicates that it’s not the getting older per se that influences the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, it’s the aging process.  So if you’ve been living an all-natural lifestyle for several years, you’re already ahead of the curb.

But in case you haven’t been or are a new convert to the holistic way of life, there are several things you can do to help slow the aging process.

One of them is through supplementation with nutrients that are essential to maintaining the fountain of youth.  Coenzyme A is chief among those vital nutrients.  Aging is highly influenced by what toxins and chemicals we’ve been exposed to, and Coenzyme A helps detoxify the body of many of these substances when taken regularly.

Another crucial nutrient is glutathione, particularly for brain health.  Glutathione is a natural mood enhancer (studies show that the perpetually happy live longer and don’t age as quickly as the perpetually perturbed) and destroys ammonia, which interferes with brain function.  You probably don’t think you’re at risk for ammonia exposure, but you’re around it every day, as ammonia is used to produce every day plastics, pharmaceuticals and fibers.

And while we’re on the topic of keeping your brain young, ginkgo biloba helps with that as well.  It enhances brain function by supplying the brain with a greater dose of oxygen.

Another thing you should do that goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway:  Lifestyle changes that are anti-aging.  These include avoiding stimulants and chemical food additives; eating a balanced diet that’s rich in raw vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds; getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night; and remaining as stress-free as possible.

No one is perfect, which is why we all age to varying degrees.  Where you fall short, though, is where the aforementioned supplements and nutrients pick up the slack.

Sources:
alz.org
sciencedaily.com
Balch, Phyllis.  “Prescription for Nutritional Healing.”  4th Ed.  2006.  New York:  Avery
en.wikipedia.org

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