Lifestyle Works

Reducing Alzheimer’s Risk

Each of us has about six billion miles of DNA. How does our body keep it from getting all tangled up? There are special proteins called histones, which act like spools with DNA as the thread. Enzymes called sirtuins wrap the DNA around the histones and by doing so, silence whatever genes were in that stretch of DNA, hence their name SIRtuins, which stands for silencing information regulator.

Although they were discovered only about a decade ago, the study of sirtuins “has become one of the most promising areas of biomedicine,” since they appear to be involved in promoting healthy aging and longevity. Suppression of this key host defense is considered a central feature of Alzheimer’s disease, as shown in Reducing Glycotoxin Intake to prevent Alzheimer’s.

Autopsies of Alzheimer’s victims reveal that loss of sirtuin activity is closely associated with the accumulation of the plaques and tangles in the brain that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. Sirtuin appears to activate pathways that steer the brain away from the formation of plaque and tangle proteins. Because a decrease in sirtuin activity can clearly have deleterious effects on nerve health, researchers are trying to come up with drugs to increase sirtuin activity, but why not just prevent its suppression in the first place?

Glycotoxins in our food suppress sirtuin activity, also known as advanced glycation end products, or AGE’s. Our modern diet includes excessive AGE’s, which can be neurotoxic. High levels in the blood may predict cognitive decline over time. If you measure the urine levels of glycotoxins flowing through the bodies of older adults, those with the highest levels went on to suffer the greatest cognitive decline over the subsequent nine years.

As we age, our brain literally shrinks. In our 60’s and 70’s, we lose an average of five cubic centimeters of total brain tissue volume every year, but some people lose more than others. Brain atrophy may be reduced in very healthy individuals, and a few people don’t lose any brain at all. Normally we lose about 2% of brain volume every year, but that’s just the average. Although the average brain loss for folks in their 70’s and 80’s was 2.1%, some lost more, some lost less, and some men and women lost none at all over a period of four years.

Researchers in Australia provided the first evidence linking AGEs with this kind of cerebral brain loss. So, limiting one’s consumption of these compounds may end up having significant public health benefits. Because sirtuin deficiency is both preventable and reversible by dietary AGE reduction, a therapeutic strategy that includes eating less AGE’s may offer a new strategy to combat the epidemic of Alzheimer’s.

Some glycotoxins are produced internally, particularly in diabetics, but anyone can get them from smoking and eating, particularly foods high in fat and protein cooked at high temperatures. In my video, Avoiding a Sugary Grave, I listed the 15 foods most contaminated with glycotoxins; mostly chicken, but also pork, beef, and fish, which may help explain why those that eat the most meat may have triple the risk of getting dementia compared to long-time vegetarians. Note there are some relatively high fat and protein plant foods such as nuts and soy products, so I no longer recommend toasting nuts and would steer clear from roasted tofu.

-Nutrional Facts, Michael Greger M.D, December 8, 2016

Coriander - Love/Hate Relationship

Cilantro, or coriander as it may be better known, is described as one of the “most polarizing and divisive food ingredients known.” Some people love it; some hate it. What’s interesting is that the lovers and the haters appear to experience the taste differently. Individuals who like cilantro may describe it as “fresh, fragrant or citrusy, whereas those who dislike cilantro report that it tastes like soap, mold, dirt, or bugs.” I don’t know how people know what bugs taste like, but rarely are polarizing opinions about flavors so extreme.

It seems that taste preferences could well be genetic, and it comes out strongly in this particular herb. Studies done on ethnic groups, and also with identical and fraternal twins seem to indicate genetics have part to play in the taste buds.

But regardless of taste, whether of bugs or fresh and fragrant, it is good for us? Mother nature is the “oldest and most comprehensive pharmacy of all time,” and cilantro/coriander is one of nature’s oldest herbal prescriptions, credited with anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-anxiety, and anti-epilepsy properties.

A study performed in Germany of a lotion made out of cilantro seeds showing it could decrease the redness of a sunburn, demonstrating it had some anti-inflammatory effects. If the cilantro plant is anti-inflammatory, why not give it to people with osteoarthritis and see if it helps? Researchers gave about 20 sprigs of cilantro daily for two months, and reported a significant drop in the cilantro group.

-Nutrional Facts – Michael Greger M.D, December 6, 2016

Recipe - Hummus

390 gm tin chickpeas – or 1½ cup cooked chickpeas drained
8-12 sun-dried tomatoes soaked in water
1t  salt
2T tahini or 4T sesame seeds ground                                                
1 large garlic clove                    
4 T flaxseed oil
3 T lemon juice                     

Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until desired consistency. Add a little brine or cooking water if needed.

Tomatoes may be exchanged for —
    125 gm tin diced capsicum drained
    15-20 stuffed green olives
    Or flavour of your choice