For decades Alzheimer’s disease was thought to be caused by the build up of an amyloid protein in the brain. However, a Medscape article claims that “In Alzheimer’s Disease, Researchers Look Beyond Amyloid.” It turns out that there is a reason that they are looking “beyond amyloid.” The article opens with “There is no denying that efforts to solve the Alzheimer’s therapy riddle have been nothing short of disastrous: billions of dollars spent and decades of time expended with few therapies to show for it.”
The article continues, “Somehow, the idea that amyloid buildup was causing Alzheimer’s disease by kickstarting a toxic molecular cascade swayed pharma companies for decades.” When treatments just weren’t working, the attention of Big Pharma and Big Medicine turned to screening for Alzheimer’s only to find that one out of nine people over 65 has Alzheimer’s. And the biomarker research made it abundantly clear that there are many possible causes and triggers for Alzheimer’s, which means there is no “one cause” for which they can prescribe one drug; or one gene which they can excise from the genome; or one external toxin that they can remove.
Big Pharma and Big Medicine become paralyzed when they can’t find a single cause for a disease. They also become more determined to find that One Cause! That’s why it’s taken them decades to even admit that they are stumped.
Here’s what the authors in Nature Reviews Neurology wrote, “Emerging evidence [has found the existence of] axonal disintegration, synaptic dysfunction and degeneration, innate immune response and neuroinflammation, vascular and cell membrane dysregulation, and brain metabolic dysfunction.” Also “in addition to amyloid, the brains of people with Alzheimer’s often also have accumulations of other proteins, like TDP-43 and alpha-synuclein.” I don’t know that you can get more complexified than that. They call Alzheimer’s a neuroinflammatory maze. Allopathic medicine says that it can take 20 years to develop Alzheimer’s, plenty of time to slowly poison the brain.
When I attended Autism meetings in the 2000’s I learned that 10% of the population share a gene that prevents the body from detoxifying heavy metals. That 10% encompasses the autism and Alzheimer’s population. I can no longer find that reference because the whole genetic picture of alternative and autism has expanded to include dozens of genes.
I find it quite interesting to track how allopathic medicine is investigating Alzheimer’s compared to the focus of alternative medicine. Allopathic medicine says they are looking across the expanse of disciplines: clinical imaging, proteomics, biomarkers, genetics. For the individual the cost is high because extensive imaging and biomarkers are still in the research stages and not covered by insurance and there is the danger of radiation exposure.
The multidisciplinary approach of alternative medicine is completely different looking at heavy metal toxicity (especially aluminum and mercury), subclinical viral, bacteria, and fungal infections, yeast overgrowth, mold toxicity, nutrient deficiencies, drug toxicity, vaccination toxicity, and stress producing excessive cortisol. One allopathic research team crossed over into alternative medicine looking at blood levels of metabolites that are reduced in Alzheimer’s, subclinical dementia, and mild cognitive impairment. These include histamine, and several amino acids: asparagine, aspartate, and citrulline.These metabolites are all involved in metabolic pathways that regulate inflammation, a key pathologic component in Alzheimer’s.
Of course allopathic researchers try to manipulate the end products of inflammation and not limit the cause. They say that inflammation is evident postmortem in Alzheimer’s brain samples “but determining just how it starts has remained elusive.” In my world inflammation is due to calcification that occurs in the face of magnesium deficiency, and the 178 toxins from yeast overgrowth.
Investigators are also uncovering mitochondrial dysfunction and the resulting inflammation that contributes to Alzheimer’s. I say that magnesium is intimately involved in mitochondrial function since 6 of the 8 steps in the mitochrondrial Krebs cycle require magnesium in order to make ATP energy molecules. Without enough magnesium to drive the Krebs cycle the mitochondria appear to be dysfunctional. So, that’s the beginning point in treating Alzheimer’s.
An alternative therapy called The Bredesen Protocol self-named after a medical doctor who claims in his 2017 book The End of Alzheimer’s that he and he alone has the answer to Alzheimer’s. The protocol consists of a kitchen sink approach that includes over 40 products and a diet that is a mix of Keto and Carbs and endless, expensive medical testing! I’m not arguing the theory – certainly lifestyle changes and nutrients are the key but the treatment itself is too broad, too expensive, and there are too many pills to swallow.
Medications Cause Dementia
An article called “Frequent Sleeping Pill Use Linked to Increased Dementia Risk” highlights the negative effects of drugs on the brain. Researchers presented their findings at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2019. It appears that “older adults who reported taking sleep medications often were more than 40% more likely to develop dementia over 15 years than their peers who rarely, or never, took sleeping pills.” One in five older adults take sleeping pills regularly and there have been no long-term studies, until now, to determine their effects.
Of course they admit they “don’t know the exact mechanism underlying this association” between sleeping meds and dementia, but they “hope this research will raise caution among clinicians when prescribing sleep medications to those at high risk for dementia.” someone should tell these researchers that hope is not a strategy. They have to do much better to help the folks that are burdened with insomnia and the added risk of dementia.
In my world, insomnia is most often due to magnesium deficiency and when the proper magnesium (ReMag) and the proper amount of ReMag are taken, the body is able to relax into a restful sleep. Ergo, no sleeping pills are required; no addiction ensues; and no dementia.
Gum Disease Bacteria and Alzheimer’s
It is clear that the Alzheimer’s community is desperate to find something to treat with this latest probe “Gum Disease Bacteria a Novel Treatment Target for Alzheimer’s?” The article begins “As more disappointing results emerge from anti-amyloid drug trials in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), there is growing interest in novel treatment approaches for this condition”
The theory that a periodontal bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis (Pg) may cause AD is being floated by at least one biopharma company that is going after a toxic byproduct. You will hear the term biopharmaceutical more and more as companies develop biological drugs as opposed to chemical drugs. I’ve spoken about these drugs on my radio show and in a blog called “Marketing Migraines Without Magnesium.” It seems they aren’t going after the bacteria because antibiotics are overused and they are failing and causing drug-resistant bacteria to emerge. Apparently they will leave the bacteria alone and attack the toxic byproduct that may cause amyloid build up with unproven and potentially unsafe biological drugs. They will do this instead of looking into the properties of Pico Silver to support the immune system against bacterial overload.
This new drug research arises from the finding that people with periodontal disease are at higher risk for AD. Their mouse model, which they HOPE reflects humans, show that “if you put Pg in the mouth of a mouse, it causes all the signs of Alzheimer’s disease.” However, “Studies have also shown that most patients with AD have Pg present in the brain.” In my experience with AIDS and Chronic Fatigue patients they all show layers and layers of infections. I haven’t seen brain infection data but I would like to see how many other infectious organisms are present in AD brains. Also, they can’t overlook the fact that normal people had Pg on the brain! According to this paper “Almost 100% of the samples from Alzheimer’s patients had Pg, and about one third or maybe 40% of the control brains had Pg.“
The Medscape article ends with a disingenuous statement “No stone should be left unturned in the vigorous search for better treatments, prevention, and a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.” Why disingenuous? Because they won’t look at natural means of supporting the structure and function of the immune system with effective products like Pico Silver. They won’t support the structure and function of the whole body with well absorbed minerals in ReMag and ReMyte or use ReAline with methylated and food based B vitamins and glutathione precursors. Allopathic medicine will stay within its drugs and surgery box and exclude potentially viable therapies.
Here is what I wrote about Alzheimer’s in The Magnesium Miracle (2017):
In North America, approximately 10 percent of the population over sixty-five and 50 percent over eighty-five suffer from Alzheimer’s. It is associated with severe memory loss, impaired cognitive function, and inability to carry out activities of daily life.
Alzheimer’s disease should be diagnosed only when all the other identifiable brain conditions have been ruled out (e.g., brain tumor, alcoholism, vitamin B12 deficiency, vitamin and mineral deficiency, mercury amalgam poisoning, depression, hypothyroidism, Parkinson’s, stroke, excessive prescription drug use, malnutrition, and dehydration). In truth, it is only at autopsy that a definitive diagnosis can be made, as the brain will show the identifying characteristics of Alzheimer’s – plaques and tangles in the nerve fibers, particularly in the cerebral cortex and hippocampal area.
Dr. Abram Hoffer, the founder of orthomolecular medicine (along with Linus Pauling), cautions that almost half the cases of what is assumed to be Alzheimer’s may in fact be dementias caused by such treatable conditions as simple dehydration, prescription drug intoxication, severe cerebral allergic reactions to foods or chemicals, or chronic nutrient deficiencies. I would place magnesium deficiency high on that list. Allopathic medicine ignores these treatable causes and searches for a drug to “cure” the disease. Drugs that can worsen Alzheimer’s include chlorpromazine, antihistamines, barbiturates, psychotropic drugs, and diuretics with more being added every day. In fact, since prescription drug intoxication is on the list of causes, why would we use drugs that may worsen the condition?
NOTE: Some cases of Alzheimer’s are so extreme and the behavior of some patients is even violent, therefore medication in such cases becomes necessary.
Chemicals and toxic metals, particularly mercury and aluminum, are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s-mercury connection has been made by Dr. Boyd Haley, a professor of chemistry and chair of that department at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Haley proved that the tangles and plaques in the Alzheimer’s brain are identical to those produced by mercury poisoning. Mercury can be absorbed in the brain from dental amalgams; be acquired by taking flu shots (which are preserved with mercury); or come from habitually eating fish contaminated with mercury. Magnesium, when it is available in the body, will help detoxify heavy metals, even ones as poisonous as mercury.
Many Americans are exposed to aluminum through aluminum pots, aluminum cans, aluminum-containing antacids and antiperspirants, aluminum foil, and tap water that may be high in aluminum.[i] [ii] Considerable research has proven that brain neurons affected in Alzheimer’s disease have significantly higher levels of aluminum than normal neurons. The damage is compounded because Alzheimer’s patients also have consistently low magnesium levels within the hippocampus, the area of the brain most affected by Alzheimer’s.[iii] Furthermore, aluminum is able to replace magnesium in certain enzyme systems in the body, disrupting their function and causing harm.[iv] Aluminum can also become a substitute for magnesium in the brain, which leaves calcium channels in the brain nerve cells wide open, allowing calcium to flood in, causing certain cell death.[v]
William Grant, the atmospheric scientist I quoted in Chapter 2, had a personal interest in Alzheimer’s because of a strong family history. Grant already knew that people with Alzheimer’s typically have elevated concentrations of aluminum in their brains. He put that piece of information together with the fact that acid rain increases the levels of aluminum in trees and makes trees age prematurely. Grant theorized that the diets of Alzheimer’s patients might be very acidic, leaching calcium and magnesium from the body. He found that people with Alzheimer’s have elevated amounts of aluminum, iron, and zinc and have reduced amounts of alkaline metals such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium, which neutralize the acidity in the diet. A typical Western diet – high in protein, fat, and sugar – is acid-forming and may be an additional factor in creating aluminum overload in Alzheimer’s.
Neurosurgeon, Dr. Blaylock, reports that when scientists study the soil of regions that have a high incidence of neurological diseases, they find high levels of and low levels of magnesium and calcium. The neurons from victims of the disease also show high levels of aluminum and low levels of magnesium. On the island of Guam the areas with the lowest levels of magnesium and calcium in the soil are also the areas of highest incidence for all neurological diseases. Fortunately, magnesium plays a vital role in protecting neurons from the lethal effects of aluminum.[vi]
A study published in Magnesium Research found alterations in magnesium levels using Ionized Magnesium testing in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.[vii] Similar findings were reported in the PATH Through Life Project, which published “Dietary Mineral Intake and Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment.”[viii] A report on autopsy studies of brain tissue concluded, “Magnesium values are found to be significantly decreased in brain regions of Alzheimer’s patients compared to controls.”[ix] Animal research shows that magnesium is a positive agent in the treatment of Alzheimer’s by protecting cognitive functions and synaptic plasticity.[x] [xi]
It’s much easier to view the tangible and structural benefits of magnesium—the bones, proteins, and even the energy it produces—but much more difficult to contemplate its effects on the brain. Research at MIT, however, produced a study in 2004 that elevates magnesium to the position of memory enhancer.[xii]
Particular brain receptors important for learning and memory depend on magnesium for their regulation. The researchers describe magnesium as an absolutely necessary component of the cerebrospinal fluid in order to keep these learning and memory receptors active. The term they use for this activity, interactivity, and changeability is plasticity.
Of course, no one likes to hear they have a plastic brain but it’s really a good thing to have. It’s the loss of plasticity in the region of the brain responsible for storing short-term memories that causes forgetfulness in the elderly.
Magnesium is instrumental in opening brain receptors to important information, yet at the same time being able to ignore background noise. The MIT researchers were quite struck by their findings and concluded, “As predicted by our theory, increasing the concentration of magnesium and reducing the background level of noise led to the largest increases of plasticity ever reported in scientific literature.”
A 2011 study, “Effects Of Elevation of Brain Magnesium on Fear Conditioning, Fear Extinction, and Synaptic Plasticity in the Infralimbic Prefrontal Cortex and Lateral Amygdala” concludes that “elevation of brain magnesium might be a novel approach for enhancing synaptic plasticity in a regional-specific manner leading to enhancing the efficacy of extinction without enhancing or impairing fear memory formation.”[xiii] In English, that statement simply means that magnesium reduces the physical reaction to fear, which can only be a good thing!
Magnesium Deficient Dementia
Dementia may be caused by magnesium depletion alone.[xiv] Several studies show that severe neurological syndromes can result when conditions cause extremely low levels of brain magnesium that can occur with the chronic use of diuretics, which millions of people take to control high blood pressure. These neurological conditions can present as seizures, delirium, coma, or psychosis, which are quickly reversed by administering large doses of intravenous magnesium.
The body’s ability to absorb magnesium declines with age, so at particular risk are elderly people who do not eat an adequate diet and who use drugs that deplete the body’s magnesium. Studies show that senior citizens take on average six to eight medications regularly and there is no research to show what deficiencies and side effects are created by this blind polypharmacy. Add to that the effects of OTC antacids, which many elderly people take to cover up symptoms caused by a bad diet. Antacids suppress normal stomach acid and can lead to incompletely digested food, which causes gas, bloating, and constipation. As previously noted, another hidden danger is the use of aluminum in most antacids.
Aspartame and MSG (glutamate) are regularly used as sweeteners and flavor enhancers. As taste buds decline, the elderly gravitate to more sugar and spice to stimulate their appetite. However, aspartame and MSG are neurotoxins and we don’t know how much is too much especially in an elderly, vulnerable brain. Therefore, I recommend that they be entirely avoided since they can cause brain irritability that is magnified in magnesium deficiency.
Chilis for the Brain
I got into a slow burn about a series of studies that culminated in “Chilis Not So Hot for the Brain After All?” Why? Because it seems like money can be wasted on what I consider to be silly, senseless, trivial, meaningless research and not on something as crucial as magnesium in brain health. As I often mention, it is up to you to take magnesium and prove to yourself and maybe eventually to your doctor that importance of magnesium. Below are my recommendations.
In my blog to here “Magnesium Treats The Disease of Aging” I include recommendations for treating aluminum toxicity and dietary advice for longevity. You can consult that blog for that information. I will attach the list of Completement Formulas that can help support the structure and function of the brain:
Completement Supplements For Longevity
· ReMag: With picometer, stabilized-ionic, non-laxative magnesium you can reach therapeutic amounts. Start with ¼ tsp (75 mg) and work up to 2-3 tsp (300-900 mg) per day. Add ReMag to a liter of water and sip all day to achieve full absorption. See Chapter 18 for more advice about magnesium supplementation.
· ReMyte: Picometer, 12-Mineral Solution: ½ tsp three times a day or in a liter of water with ReMag and sipped through the day.
· ReAline: 1 capsule twice per day (Contains: Food-based B1, 4 Methylated Bs: B2, B6, Methylfolate, B12, plus L-Methionine (precursor to glutathione) and L-Taurine, which supports the heart and weight loss).
· Whole C ReSet: Vitamin C Complex: 200 mg 2x/da from a food-based source
· Vitamin D3: 1,000 IU or 20 minutes in the sun daily. Blue Ice Royal provides vitamin A, D, K2 from fermented cod liver oil and butter oil. Dosage: 1 capsule 2x/da.
Carolyn Dean MD ND
The Doctor of the Future®
RESOURCES: Along the borders and in the links of my web site you can find my books, writings, and my call-in radio show. Email your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
[i] Rondeau V et al., “Aluminum in drinking water and cognitive decline in elderly subjects: the Paquid cohort.” Am J Epidemiol, vol. 154, no. 3, pp. 288–290, 2001.<
[ii] Rondeau V et al., “Relation between aluminum concentrations in drinking water and Alzheimer’s disease: an 8-year follow-up study.” Am J Epidemiol, vol. 152, pp. 59–66, 2000.
[iii]Durlach J. Magnesium depletion and pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. Magnesium Research (1990) 3, 3, 217-218.
[iv] Foster HD. How Aluminum Causes Alzheimer’s Disease: The Implications for Prevention and Treatment of Foster’s Multiple Antagonist Hypothesis. J Ortho Mol Med Vol. 15, 1st Quarter 2000. http://www.orthomolecular.org/library/jom/2000/articles/2000-v15n01-p021.shtml
[v] Andrasi E et al., “Disturbances of magnesium concentrations in various brain areas in Alzheimer’s disease.” Magnes Res, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 189–196, 2000.
[vi] Durlach J, “Diverse applications of magnesium therapy, in Handbook of Metal-Ligand Interactions in Biological Fluids—Bioinorganic Medicine, vol. 2, Marcel Dekker, New York, 1995. http://www.mgwater.com/seelig_calcium_and_magnesium_deposits.pdf
[vii] Barbagallo M, et al. Altered Ionized Magnesium Levels in Mild-to-Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease. Magnes Res. 2011 Sep;24(3):S115-21.
[viii] Cherbuin N, et al. Dietary Mineral Intake and Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment: The PATH through Life Project. Front. Aging Neurosci. 2014, Feb 4;6:4.
[ix] Andrási E., Igaz S., Molnár Z., Makó S. Disturbances Of Magnesium Concentrations In Various Brain Areas In Alzheimer’s Disease. Magnes. Res. 2000;13:189–196.
[x] Xu ZP, et al. Magnesium Protects Cognitive Functions And Synaptic Plasticity In Streptozotocin-Induced Sporadic Alzheimer’s Model. PLoS One. 2014 Sep 30;9(9):e108645.
[xi] Li W, et al. Elevation Of Brain Magnesium Prevents Synaptic Loss And Reverses Cognitive Deficits In Alzheimer’s Disease Mouse Model. Mol Brain. 2014 Sep 13;7:65.
[xii] Liu G, Slutsky I, “Magnesium may reverse middle-age memory loss.” MIT Tech Talk, vol. 49, no. 12, December 8, 2004.
[xiii] Abumaria N, et al. Effects of elevation of brain magnesium on fear conditioning, fear extinction, and synaptic plasticity in the infralimbic prefrontal cortex and lateral amygdala. J Neurosci. 2011 Oct 19;31(42):14871-81.
[xiv] Blaylock RL, Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, Health Press, Sante Fe, NM, 1997.