I was recently reminded of a concept that I first learned from Dr. Dale Bredesen in his book The End of Alzheimer’s. As he explains in detail in his book, Bredesen is having great success helping those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, helping them recover and return to leading full lives.
In his book, Bredesen makes an analogy between someone with Alzheimer’s and a roof with holes, or what I like to call a leaky roof.
He determined a total of 36 health markers that can compromise the brain, causing it to degrade. These markers include those that can be measured, such as brain-related peptides, hormones, and neurotransmitters, as well as lifestyle factors like quality of sleep and stress levels. (See details below.)
He equates these 36 markers to a roof with 36 holes or leaks. A person with Alzheimer’s may have as many as 36 leaks in their roof, all of which may be compromising their brain. The good news is that you do not need to correct all 36 of these “leaks” or problems in order to improve the brain.
Amazingly, after many success stories, Bedesen has found that usually only half of these 36 leaks need to be “repaired” or corrected! It is just a matter of determining the biggest leaks, which means that even Alzheimer’s, a multifaceted and devious disease, can be reversed!
How can we apply what Bredesen has learned to other health issues?
The Key Health Markers
Turns out that many of the health markers that Bredesen found, the ones that are used to identify and correct brain deficiencies and Alzheimer’s, are the same ones that can be applied to a wide variety of health-related issues – things like digestive problems, allergies, ADHD, skin problems, asthma, sleep issues, infertility, menopause, aging issues, and much more.
These markers can be grouped into the following categories:
- Food Sensitivities and Diet – correcting the diet by reducing sugar (including sweet drinks) and processed foods, replacing bad fats with healthy ones, reducing gluten and dairy, eating pesticide-free and GMO-free foods (including meats), limiting alcohol, etc. are all good but ketosis and fasting may also need to be incorporated
- Homocysteine Levels – which can often be corrected with supplements and diet
- Insulin Resistance – which can usually be corrected with an effective combination of diet, exercise, sleep, and stress reduction although toxins and infections can also be a factor
- Hormone Imbalance – includes the thyroid, adrenals, and sex hormones. Certain supplements and bio-identical hormones can help but you want to find and correct the source of the imbalance such as stress, infection, toxins, lack of sleep, etc.
- Mitochondrial Damage – can occur from chemical damage due to antibiotics, Acetaminophen (Tylenol), NSAIDs (aspirin/ibuprofen) and other medications as well as environmental toxins, so finding and removing the source and correcting the damage is necessary
- Metal Homeostasis – determining if there are amalgam fillings in the mouth and your copper to zinc ratio is a start but there are many other possible toxic metal exposures that may need to be resolved, including radioactive metals
- Toxin Levels – there are many possible toxin exposures, some of which naturally leave the body when the source is removed. Others are stored by the body and need to be resolved, such as pesticides, chemicals in plastic, cleaning products, body products, and tap water, mold, second hand smoke and even Wi-Fi and EMFs. Elimination and detoxification is critical.
- Body Weight and Fat – the amount of visceral fat is a good indicator of metabolic status but typically not easy to correct with diet alone. Other factor such as toxins, hormones, sensitivities, sleep, stress also need to be addressed
- Exercise Regularity – should include aerobic as well as strength training and stretching several times a week. There are also exercises available specific to brain training.
- Sleep Quality – getting at least 8 hours of quality sleep by using good sleep hygiene and making sure there are no physical hindrances
- Stress Levels – depending if the stress is physically, mentally or emotionally related, a wide variety of factors may need to be addressed some of which include diet, exercise, and sleep as well as toxin reduction, trauma healing, schedule changes, etc.
- Gut Health – which can be improved by eating the right combination of quality foods that are optimal for you personally with the possible addition of certain probiotics/prebiotics and/or digestive enzymes
- Inflammation – certain supplements can help relieve inflammation but the source needs to be removed and can include leaky gut, bad diet, chronic infections, mold exposure, high toxin levels, poor oral hygiene, etc.
- Neurotransmitters – including dopamine, serotonin, and GABA. If these are not balanced the brain and the gut can not function optimally.
- Nutrient Levels – although different for each person, B-vitamins and fat soluble vitamins like D3, E, A and K2 are often necessary. Certain herbal supplements can also be very beneficial.
What Should You Work On?
When too many of the health markers described above are out of balance, health problems occur. These could be brain related issues, like memory loss or brain fog, but these imbalances could just was well result in health problems in other parts of the body. In fact, these other health problems can also point to problems in the brain.
I often speak about how our bodies are made to heal themselves. If we remove the blocks to healing and add back what it is lacking, miracles can happen. It is a matter of finding your particular blocks and your unique needs.
Use this list as a starting point, striving to make as many improvements as possible.
Each of us will be different. If we go back to the leaky roof analogy, one person may have more holes than another and some holes may be larger than others. It will depend on your own particular health history – toxic exposures, nutrient deficiencies, food sensitivities, traumas, generational weaknesses, past and current infections, past surgeries, exercise regimen, quality of sleep, and other lifestyle factors.
The key is to find which “holes in the roof” need the most repair.
Each person will have their own story, their own journey, and their unique path back to health. Let me help you determine which roof leaks you need to fix so you too can heal your body. . . and your brain. Contact Life Design for Health for more information.
Note: If you are concerned about Alzheimer’s Disease I would highly recommend this book, The End of Alzheimer’s by Dale E. Bredesen, MD. It not only gives you hope but it also provides a direct path to start making changes to optimize your brain and your overall health.