The Bredesen Seven

Dale Bredesen has developed a way to reverse Alzheimer's disease. You can read more about it here. The Bredesen protocol employs seven general pathways to recovery:

1. Nutrition: If your brain doesn't have enough nutrition, it downsizes. It tries to protect whatever memories it thinks it needs, and lets the rest go, letting synapses disintegrate. A healthy diet is vital for brain recovery. Enough protein, plus lots of colorful, organic vegetables. Low sugar, low starch, lots of good quality fats like nuts and olive oil.

Most people have come to rely on carbohydrates for fuel. But that ultimately causes, at least for many of us, insulin insensitivity. The cells of your body and brain become oversaturated with sugar, and start to resist insulin's command that they take in more sugar. But that means whenever you go without carbohydrates and you become hungry, your brain cells can literally starve.

Bredesen recommends you become flex fuel. That is, helping your brain become capable of burning fat or sugar interchangeably. In order to make that happen, you need to fast regularly. It stimulates your cells to develop the capacity to efficiently burn whatever fuel is available at the moment. Then your brain cells will always have enough fuel.

2. Exercise: This does your brain a lot of good. Not only do you get blood flow through your brain (more oxygen and nutrients), but it improves your body's ability to fuel itself. It helps you sleep and reduces stress. Start going for a walk nearly every day. Walk for at least thirty minutes, ideally forty-five minutes. Move your body more throughout the day. Avoid long periods of sitting. Build your muscles with some strength training or physically strenuous work. Probably the best exercise for your brain is dancing.

3. Sleep: Getting good sleep every night is extremely important for reversing Alzheimer's. The brain does its cleaning and repair while you sleep. It recovers from stresses while you sleep. It reduces inflammation. You need enough sleep (7-8 hours a night), and it needs to be good quality sleep. If you don't sleep well, there are ways to fix that. You can get tested for sleep apnea, you can make your bedroom darker and quieter, you can avoid looking at a screen close to bedtime, etc.

4. Stress reduction: Stress is normal, and it's even healthy, but not if it's chronic. If you feel stressed often, it is bad for your brain. You need to take it seriously, and do what you can to have less stress in your life. It's important. The number of ways you can reduce stress are enormous. Pick one (meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, reframing, using to-do lists to organize yourself better, forest bathing, avoiding overscheduling yourself, getting good sleep, exercising more, etc.) and start doing it regularly. Find a way that works for you to feel calmer and more relaxed more often.

5. Brain training: Anything that challenges you mentally helps you form new connections in your brain, and even more brain cells. You want your brain to be in a state of growing, not declining. Not shrinking. Expanding. 

There are websites and apps specifically designed to challenge your mental abilities. And normal life presents many opportunities to push yourself a little bit. If you've been putting off getting a new phone because you don't want to have to deal with the learning curve, change your attitude about it, and think of it as a way to grow new connections in your brain. Push yourself. Not to the point where it becomes stressful, but definitely to the point where it becomes challenging. Somewhat difficult, but not overwhelming. Stretch yourself gently.

Also, more socializing and more determined, purposeful activity, taking classes, helping others — these all challenge and stimulate your brain to grow. 

6. Detoxification: There are many possible toxins that could be causing your brain to try to protect itself. Alzheimer's is a protective response to an assault or a deficiency. And one of those assaults is toxins. If you have black mold in your house, for example, it can be more of an ongoing assault than your brain can handle, and could be contributing to the progression of Alzheimer's. Removing that source of toxins, then, becomes an important key to reversing your cognitive decline.

We are all exposed to lots of toxins. Air pollution, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides in our food, mercury in our fillings, chemicals in cleaning products and in cosmetics, etc. Your body is capable of handling a certain amount of toxins, but if you're getting too much too often, the system is overwhelmed and creates an emergency response, part of which manifests as Alzheimer's. Remove the source of the toxins so you're no longer regularly exposed, and then help your body remove the toxins from your system with exercise, regular saunas, detoxifying herbs, and fasting.

7. Targeted supplements: Nutritional deficiencies can contribute to the progression of Alzheimer's. Blood tests can reveal whether you are low on vitamin D, vitamin B1, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, etc. You can change your diet to make sure you get enough, or you can take supplements.

To find out more, read The Ruthless Progression of Alzheimer's Can Be Reversed.

Adam Khan is the author of Antivirus For Your Mind: How to Strengthen Your Persistence and Determination and Feel Good More Often and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English)Subscribe to his blog here. You can email him here.

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