Alzheimer’s is a scary term, and most people think that Alzheimer’s Disease is generally a hereditary condition, and not preventable. Over the past several years, research is exposing a cause of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia to be linked to nutrition and lifestyle. The good news is just that. Nutrition and lifestyle can be improved upon to ultimately manipulate gene expression of these terrifying conditions. Eating a healthy diet targeted at normalizing insulin levels is a great beginning. The addition of a low dose lithium supplement coupled with Low Level Laser treatments may be just what the doctor ordered in the management of Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia.

Scientists began referring to Alzheimer’s Disease as Type 3 Diabetes as early as 2005 when researchers discovered that people with Type 2 Diabetes were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease as those without the disease. Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes develop abnormally high glucose levels as a result of insulin resistance, and people who develop Alzheimer’s Disease appear to have insulin resistance in the brain. According to a study published in The Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, there is growing evidence that insulin resistance may cause the beta amyloid plaques found in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Insulin is needed to transport glucose into the muscles, heart and brain. When there is not enough insulin, or insulin resistance, the brain does not get the glucose it needs to function. When an person eats a diet high in sugar content, insulin resistance develops due to overuse, and brain cells don’t get the glucose they need. Insulin resistant brain cells don’t function very well, as evidenced by poor memory, disorientation, change in personality, and ultimately Alzheimer’s Disease may result. Alzheimer’s Disease is diagnosed when the beta amyloid plaques replace normal brain cells, but unfortunately this is determined at the time an autopsy is performed. Interestingly, the same beta amyloid plaques found in the brain of those with Alzheimer’s Disease have been found in the pancreas of individuals with Type 2 Diabetes.

Strangely enough, the enzyme that is hyperactive in developing Type 2 Diabetes, Glycogen Synthase Kinase-3 GSK-3, is the same enzyme that stimulates the production of the amyloid plaque and neurofibrillary tangles found in the brains of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Several studies have linked the use of low dose lithium as a way to prevent the development of the amyloid tangles and destroy them once formed by inhibiting the production of and hyperactivity of GSK-3. It is interesting to note that the same amyloid plaques found in the brains of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease are found in the pancreas of many diabetics.

Lithium was first prescribed as a medicine for gout by a physician in London in 1859. Since that time, it has been a powerful medicine in the treatment of many medical conditions, most notably Bipolar Disorder. In 1908, the Merk Manual listed 43 different medicinal preparations containing Lithium. And, in 1949 it was first prescribe in high doses for the treatment of Manic Depression, which is now referred to as Bipolar Disorder. Substantial research supports the use of lithium in a broad spectrum of neurological conditions, including substance abuse, violent and aggressive behavior, ADHD and cognitive decline. Apparently, Lithium helps keep neurons alive by inhibiting the enzyme GSK-3 from becoming hyperactive. This inhibitory action not only benefits neurological health, but has been found to be helpful in the prevention of Type 2 Diabetes, Bipolar Disorder, cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Over the years, standard therapies using high dose Lithium have fallen out of favor due to side effects suffered, and the need to monitor blood levels closely to avoid side effects and provide safety. However, Lithium is found naturally in the environment and in low doses, lithium has been found to be safe and effective, and does not require labs for monitoring its use. In 2014, The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry published a systematic review of 24 clinical, epidemiological and biological reports assessing standard or low dose lithium for dementia along with other behavioral or medical benefits. 5 of 7 epidemiological studies established a correlation with standard lose dose lithium and low dementia rates. 4 randomized clinical trials demonstrated that low dose lithium yielded more benefit for patients with AD than placebo.

If you’re looking for a treatment that not only inhibits the production of harmful substances in the brain, but directly stimulates the mitochondria, or power house the cell and promotes healing, Low Level Laser Therapy fits the bill. Dr. Francisco Gonzalez-Lima, professor of psychiatry at the University of Austin, Texas believes that “Low Level Laser Therapy could be used as a preventive intervention in people who present risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, or a history of head trauma.” Several studies have shown that Low Level Laser Therapy significantly increases alertness, awareness and sustained attention, and improves short-term memory and reaction time; and study participants made fewer errors during tasks and tests. Interestingly, Low Level Laser Therapy was just as effective as exercise at enhancing cognition.

So, consuming a nutrient dense diet and maintaining stable insulin levels is crucial in the prevention and management of Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia. The addition of low dose Lithium and Low Level Laser therapy enhance the benefit of a good diet and provide their own protective qualities and promote healing. Email or call for more information.

Kleinen, Roberta. What Exactly is Type 3 Diabetes, ADW Diabetes, February 8, 2017.
Nunes, Viel, and Buck. Microdose lithium treatment stabilized cognitive impairment in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Curr Alzheimer Res. 10:104 – 7 (2013).
Johnstone, Daniel M; Moro, Cecile; Stone, Jonathan; Benabis, Alim-Louis and Mitrofanis, John. Turning on the Lights to Stop Neurodegeneration: The Potential of Near Infrared Light Therapy in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. Frontier Neuroscience. 2015; 9:500.