jump to navigation

Green Tea and Cancer September 5, 2018

Posted by Dreamhealer in best vancouver naturopath, Cancer, cancer prevention, cancer therapy, Cancer Treatment, Chemotherapy, Healing, integrative cancer care, naturopath, naturopathic, Naturopathic Doctor, Naturopathic Medicine, naturpathic medicine.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

green-tea-and-cancer-dr-adam-mcleod-integrative-oncology-vancouver

Written By: Dr. Adam McLeod, ND, BSc (Hons)

Green tea is a common beverage that can be found at any cafe yet it also has important therapeutic properties.

Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is an extract from green tea that has shown great promise as an integrative cancer therapy. The mechanism of action is complicated because it interacts with multiple molecular pathways to inhibit the growth of cancerous cells. When cancer cells are exposed to EGCG, it triggers cell death by a variety of mechanisms1,2,3,4. Not only does it inhibit the growth of cancerous cells, but it also slows down the rate of metastasis.

Although there is a wide range of EGCG content in green tea, a strong tea has about 70mg per tea bag. The therapeutic doses for EGCG (particularly in the context of cancer) is a minimum of 1500mg per day. Which means you would have to have approximately 20 green teas per day to reach this dose. Obviously this is not practical as a long term treatment plan so the best way to get the appropriate doses is through pill form. If you enjoy having green tea then you can certainly continue to do so but you will not be significantly contributing to the therapeutic effect of the EGCG.

One important characteristic of EGCG is that it acts as an anti-angiogenic substance. Angiogenesis is the growth of new blood vessels into a developing tumour. This process is necessary when cancer cells are spreading because the smaller growths need a blood supply to sustain their rapid growth. Cancer cells will often secrete chemicals that trick the human body into growing blood vessels into the tumour. EGCG helps to inhibit this process by inhibiting the viability of capillary tube formation and migration. This effect seems to be greatly enhanced by a new class of drugs called ERK inhibitors2.

Tumour samples of mice treated with EGCG clearly show that the cancerous cells have reduced ERK activity while having enhanced p38 and JNK activity. In other words, the pathways that promote growth are down-regulated and the pathways that inhibit growth are up-regulated. The net effect is that the cancer does not grow or spread as quickly. Every molecular marker that was tested indicated that the cancer was less aggressive and more prone to cell death. If you perform a quick Google scholar search, you will see hundreds of well-controlled studies that consistently demonstrate this anti-cancer effect.

When EGCG is combined with curcumin at high doses, it helps to stabilize leukemias and lymphomas. There are many well-documented cases of patients with multiple myeloma who have had long-term disease stabilization by simply taking high doses of EGCG and curcumin. These natural compounds work synergistically to reduce inflammation and promote cell death in cancerous cells. The effectiveness of EGCG in multiple myeloma is undeniable, and this has resulted in a resurgence of research into its use as an adjunctive cancer therapy6.

There are a handful of chemotherapy drugs where the use of EGCG is contraindicated such as bortezomib (Velcade). There is contradictory information about the significance of this interaction, but it is still best to avoid combining EGCG with velcade15. Some doctors focus on this one interaction while ignoring the overwhelming evidence that EGCG often acts synergistically with other forms of chemotherapy. It is difficult to argue against the use of EGCG if you take the time to actually look at the evidence. When EGCG is combined with cisplatin, it not only significantly increases the effectiveness of the drug, it also dramatically reduces the side effect profile7,8,9.

Recently in the media, concerns have been raised about the connection between EGCG and liver toxicity. These liver toxicity reactions that are potentially related to EGCG are exceptionally rare considering how regularly EGCG is consumed in the general population. There have been several documented case studies of liver toxicity that have been connected to use of EGCG. It appears that there may be a genetic predisposition to these rare reactions12. At this point in the time mechanism of action for these reactions is unclear, however, it is in many cases likely due to a immune-allergic mechanism. In other words, it could be that some of these patients were just simply allergic to EGCG.

There is contradictory information regarding the impact of EGCG on liver as several animal studies indicate that it actually has a strong protective effect on the liver and kidneys10. I can tell you from experience that I have literally prescribed EGCG thousands of times and I have never seen even a hint of such reaction. EGCG is a exceptionally safe supplement when used appropriately and patients should not be fearful of using it due to a handful of exceptionally rare cases of liver toxicity.

EGCG is an example of a supplement where the quality makes a significant difference. In order to obtain the desired anti-cancer effect, you must take high doses of quality EGCG. Drinking green tea may be helpful in the context of cancer prevention, but when it comes to cancer treatment, you need much higher doses. Some physicians recommend that patients get EGCG administered by intravenous therapy to get the doses as high as possible. The doses required to enhance chemotherapy and promote cell death in cancerous cells are quite high, but they are obtainable by consuming EGCG orally. It is also important to point out that this treatment is cost effective and generally well tolerated by patients.

Dr. Adam McLeod is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), BSc. (Hon) Molecular biology, Motivational Speaker and International Best Selling Author. He currently practices at his clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia where he focuses on integrative cancer care, providing the best care in integrative oncology. http://www.yaletownnaturopathic.com

Dr. McLeod will be holding two seminars in 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia and Toronto, Ontario. For more information on his seminars please visit the website: http://www.dreamhealer.com/workshop/

References:

1) Ahmad, Nihal, Sanjay Gupta, and Hasan Mukhtar. “Green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate differentially modulates nuclear factor κB in cancer cells versus normal cells.” Archives of biochemistry and biophysics 376.2 (2000): 338-346.

2) Shankar, Sharmila, et al. “EGCG inhibits growth, invasion, angiogenesis and metastasis of pancreatic cancer.” Frontiers in bioscience: a journal and virtual library 13 (2007): 440-452.

3) Hwang, Jin-Taek, et al. “Apoptotic effect of EGCG in HT-29 colon cancer cells via AMPK signal pathway.” Cancer letters 247.1 (2007): 115-121.

4) Shimizu, Masahito, et al. “EGCG inhibits activation of HER3 and expression of cyclooxygenase-2 in human colon cancer cells.” Journal of experimental therapeutics & oncology 5.1 (2004): 69-78.

5) Shah, Jatin J., Deborah J. Kuhn, and Robert Z. Orlowski. “Bortezomib and EGCG: no green tea for you?.” Blood 113.23 (2009): 5695-5696.

6) Shammas, Masood A., et al. “Specific killing of multiple myeloma cells by (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate extracted from green tea: biologic activity and therapeutic implications.” Blood 108.8 (2006): 2804-2810.

7) El-Mowafy, A. M., et al. “Novel chemotherapeutic and renal protective effects for the green tea (EGCG): role of oxidative stress and inflammatory-cytokine signaling.” Phytomedicine 17.14 (2010): 1067-1075.

8) Davenport, Andrew, et al. “Celastrol and an EGCG pro-drug exhibit potent chemosensitizing activity in human leukemia cells.” International journal of molecular medicine 25.3 (2010): 465-470.

9) Sarkar, Fazlul H., and Yiwei Li. “Using chemopreventive agents to enhance the efficacy of cancer therapy.” Cancer Research 66.7 (2006): 3347-3350.

10) Niu, Yucun, et al. “The phytochemical, EGCG, extends lifespan by reducing liver and kidney function damage and improving age‐associated inflammation and oxidative stress in healthy rats.” Aging Cell 12.6 (2013): 1041-1049.

11) Chen, Ju-Hua, et al. “Green tea polyphenols prevent toxin-induced hepatotoxicity in mice by down-regulating inducible nitric oxide–derived prooxidants.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 80.3 (2004): 742-751.

12) Church, Rachel J., et al. “Sensitivity to hepatotoxicity due to epigallocatechin gallate is affected by genetic background in diversity outbred mice.” Food and Chemical Toxicology 76 (2015): 19-26.

New study sheds light on why cancer often strikes those with healthy lifestyles August 21, 2018

Posted by Dreamhealer in Cancer, cancer prevention, cancer therapy, Cancer Treatment, oncology, Research.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Most cancer mutations are due to random DNA copying ‘mistakes,’ not inherited or environmental factors, Johns Hopkins researchers say.

A new study by scientists at Johns Hopkins provides evidence that random, unpredictable DNA copying “mistakes” account for nearly two-thirds of the mutations that cause cancer.

The researchers say their conclusions are supported by epidemiologic studies showing that approximately 40 percent of cancers can be prevented by avoiding unhealthy environments and lifestyles. But among the factors driving the new study, they add, is that cancer often strikes people who follow all the rules of healthy living—nonsmoker, healthy diet, healthy weight, little or no exposure to known carcinogens—and have no family history of the disease, prompting the pained question, “Why me?”

“It is well-known that we must avoid environmental factors such as smoking to decrease our risk of getting cancer. But it is not as well-known that each time a normal cell divides and copies its DNA to produce two new cells, it makes multiple mistakes,” says Cristian Tomasetti, assistant professor of biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “These copying mistakes are a potent source of cancer mutations that historically have been scientifically undervalued, and this new work provides the first estimate of the fraction of mutations caused by these mistakes.”

Adds Bert Vogelstein, co-director of the Ludwig Center at the Kimmel Cancer Center: “We need to continue to encourage people to avoid environmental agents and lifestyles that increase their risk of developing cancer mutations. However, many people will still develop cancers due to these random DNA copying errors, and better methods to detect all cancers earlier, while they are still curable, are urgently needed,”

Tomasetti and Vogelstein’s research will be published Friday in the journal Science.

Current and future efforts to reduce known environmental risk factors, they say, will have major impacts on cancer incidence in the U.S and abroad. But they say the new study confirms that too little scientific attention is given to early detection strategies that would address the large number of cancers caused by random DNA copying errors.

“These cancers will occur no matter how perfect the environment,” Vogelstein says.

In a previous study authored by Tomasetti and Vogelstein in the Jan. 2, 2015, issue of Science, the pair reported that DNA copying errors could explain why certain cancers in the U.S., such as those of the colon, occur more commonly than other cancers, such as brain cancer.

In the new study, the researchers addressed a different question: What fraction of mutations in cancer are due to these DNA copying errors?

To answer this question, the scientists took a close look at the mutations that drive abnormal cell growth among 32 cancer types. They developed a new mathematical model using DNA sequencing data from The Cancer Genome Atlas and epidemiologic data from the Cancer Research UK database.

According to the researchers, it generally takes two or more critical gene mutations for cancer to occur. In a person, these mutations can be due to random DNA copying errors, the environment, or inherited genes. Knowing this, Tomasetti and Vogelstein used their mathematical model to show, for example, that when critical mutations in pancreatic cancers are added together, 77 percent of them are due to random DNA copying errors, 18 percent to environmental factors (such as smoking), and the remaining 5 percent to heredity.

In other cancer types, such as those of the prostate, brain, or bone, more than 95 percent of the mutations are due to random copying errors.

Lung cancer, they note, presents a different picture: 65 percent of all the mutations are due to environmental factors, mostly smoking, and 35 percent are due to DNA copying errors. Inherited factors are not known to play a role in lung cancers.

Looking across all 32 cancer types studied, the researchers estimate that 66 percent of cancer mutations result from copying errors, 29 percent can be attributed to lifestyle or environmental factors, and the remaining 5 percent are inherited.

The scientists say their approach is akin to attempts to sort out why “typos” occur when typing a 20-volume book: being tired while typing, which represents environmental exposures; a stuck or missing key in the keyboard, which represent inherited factors; and other typographical errors that randomly occur, which represent DNA copying errors.

“You can reduce your chance of typographical errors by making sure you’re not drowsy while typing and that your keyboard isn’t missing some keys,” Vogelstein says. “But typos will still occur, because no one can type perfectly. Similarly, mutations will occur, no matter what your environment is, but you can take steps to minimize those mutations by limiting your exposure to hazardous substances and unhealthy lifestyles.”

Tomasetti and Vogelstein’s 2015 study created vigorous debate from scientists who argued that their previously published analysis did not include breast or prostate cancers, and it reflected only cancer incidence in the United States.

Tomasetti and Vogelstein now report a similar pattern worldwide, however, supporting their conclusions. They reasoned that the more cells divide, the higher the potential for so-called copying mistakes in the DNA of cells in an organ. They compared total numbers of stem cell divisions with cancer incidence data collected by the International Agency for Research on Canceron 423 registries of cancer patients from 68 countries other than the United States, representing 4.8 billion people, or more than half of the world’s population. This time, the researchers were also able to include data from breast and prostate cancers. They found a strong correlation between cancer incidence and normal cell divisions among 17 cancer types, regardless of the countries’ environment or stage of economic development.

Tomasetti says these random DNA copying errors will only get more important as societies face aging populations, prolonging the opportunity for our cells to make more and more DNA copying errors. And because these errors contribute to a large fraction of cancer, Vogelstein says that people with cancer who have avoided known risk factors should be comforted by their findings.

“It’s not your fault,” says Vogelstein. “Nothing you did or didn’t do was responsible for your illness.”

In addition to Tomasetti and Vogelstein, Lu Li, a doctoral student in Tomasetti’s laboratory in the Department of Biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, also contributed to the research.

Article retrieved from: https://hub.jhu.edu/2017/03/23/cancer-mutations-caused-by-random-dna-mistakes/

Annual North Trip! July 23, 2018

Posted by Dreamhealer in Dreamhealer, Flickr, summer, Travel.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

I have posted photos from our annual father-son trip. This year we travelled up to Whitehorse, Yukon. The first night was a bit rough because all accommodation in Whitehorse was fully booked so we had to spend a night on a park bench! On the trip we enjoyed a scenic drive to Dawson City and followed some moose tracks in Spirit Lake.

Felt great to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature in the Yukon Territory, Canada. Photos can be seen here:

https://flic.kr/s/aHskF1VeUN

 

 

Live on Conscious Living Radio May 30, 2018 May 30, 2018

Posted by Dreamhealer in Dreamhealer, Energy Healing, Healing, Interview.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

dreamhealer radio interview vancouver

I am very excited to be invited back on Conscious Living Radio tonight, Wednesday, May 30, 2018 to talk about my recent work, research and upcoming workshops. The interview will air live at 6PM PST on 100.5FM or you can listen on your computer or mobile phone. For more information on how to listen :

On your FM Dial:

Tune in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 100.5 FM

Live Streaming from your computer:

Choose 128Kbps stream – this is for listening to what is being broadcast on the radio in real time.

If the stream is not working and there is no problem report on this page, please try troubleshooting by clicking on this FAQ page.  If your question is not answered there, please report here

On your Mobile Device:

iPhones/iPad:  Did you know that you can just click the listen link on your iPhone and itunes will play your stream on your phone or iPad?  And the best part is that you can use other apps while the stream is running.

Or get Co-op Radio on your iPhone, Android Phone, and computer via TUNEIN!

Here is the URL for Co-op Radio on TUNEIN: http://tunein.com/radio/Co-op-Radio-1005-s31144/

Get TUNEIN for your phones and other devices here: http://tunein.com/get-tunein/

Android:  You will need to download an app.

Early Bird discount ending soon! April 18, 2018

Posted by Dreamhealer in Dreamhealer, Energy Healing, Healing, Workshops.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment
adam dreamhealer workshop vancouver toronto naturopathI am looking forward to reconnecting with everyone again at the two Dreamhealer workshops this year, Vancouver and Toronto.
The discounted early bird price will be ending on May 1, 2018 for both workshops. 
Registration is open for both workshops and tickets are selling quickly!
Toronto, Ontario – Sunday, June 3, 2018

Vancouver, British Columbia – Sunday, June 10, 2018

Due to my busy clinic schedule I will not be adding any additional dates in 2018, there will be no workshops in 2019 or 2020
Tickets are selling quickly and these workshops are guaranteed to sell out! Don’t forget the discounted early bird rate will only available until May 1, 2018. Only regular price tickets will be available after May 1, 2018.
We have received several emails inquiring about the focus of the workshops. The workshops are not limited to solely cancer patients and does not focus only on cancer. Everyone is welcome to these workshops!
The workshops will cover a wide range of topics, Dr. McLeod has added new material drawing from recent studies that connect quantum physics to biology and both workshops include two powerful group healing sessions.
Dreamhealer Workshop Schedule

Holiday Book Sale! December 20, 2017

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine, Books, Dreamhealer, Healing.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

We are having a holiday book and DVD sale! For a limited time only the DVD’s, Intention Heals and Integrative Oncology book will be over 15% off on the online bookstore only!

Dreamhealer Bookstore

2018 Workshop Announcement! December 18, 2017

Posted by Dreamhealer in Dreamhealer, Energy Healing, Healing, Naturopathic Doctor, Remote Healing, Workshops.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

Dr. Adam McLeod is very excited to announce that he will be holding two Dreamhealer workshops in 2018, Vancouver and Toronto. More information can be found on my website:
http://www.dreamhealer.com/workshop/

Registration is open for both workshops at the discounted early bird price (available for a limited time only):

Toronto, Ontario – Sunday, June 3, 2018
https://dreamhealertoronto2018.eventbee.com

Vancouver, British Columbia – Sunday, June 10, 2018
https://dreamhealervancouver2018.eventbee.com

For those who need accommodation in Vancouver or Toronto, we have been provided a discounted rate for all workshop attendees at the hotel where the workshops are held. There are limited rooms available at the discounted rate and the room block is guaranteed to sell out as it does every year. To book at the discounted rate you must book under the ‘Dreamhealer group’. 

Discounted hotel rate for Vancouver 2018: Hilton Vancouver Metrotown

Discounted hotel rate for Toronto 2018: Please call 1-800-905-2811 (the online link will be posted shortly!)

Due to Dr. McLeod’s busy clinic schedule he will not be adding any additional dates in 2018 so we hope you can make it to Toronto or Vancouver in 2018. There will be no workshops in 2019. These workshops and discounted hotel room rates are guaranteed to sell out so registered soon! Hope to see you all there!

If you have any questions please send an email to questions@dreamhealer.com

Six Steps To Boosting Your Immune System! October 20, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine, Healing, Health, immunity, vitamins.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

How-to-fight-the-flu

Cold & Flu Season is Here!
Six Steps To Boosting Your Immune System

Written By Dr. Kaleigh Coolsaet, ND

With fall officially here, it’s now time to prepare ourselves for the inevitable cold and flu season. With back to school and fall routines back in place we tend to spend more time indoors and in close quarters with others, which can easily lead to picking up the latest cold or flu virus.

The good news is we can support our immune systems early to keep healthy, and reduce the severity and duration of the common cold. Follow these six steps in order to keep your immune system in tiptop shape for this fall and winter season.

Six Steps to Enhancing your Immune System

1. Eat a balanced diet with reduced sugar intake

  • Sugar is known to wreak havoc with our immune system, so best to avoid any unnecessary sugar. Make sure to eat lots of colourful fruits and vegetables full of vitamins and minerals to support your immune system.
    Tip: Root vegetables are in season and are full of vitamins and minerals – try them roasted or in a delicious warming soup.

2. Reduce and Manage Stress

  • When we are stressed we produce a hormone called cortisol which helps us adapt to stress, but over the long run it can suppress the immune system leaving us vulnerable to picking up every virus we come across. Managing your stress and cortisol levels goes a long way in supporting your immune system. Read more about stress & your immune system here. 
    Try: Yoga, Meditation, Breathing Exercises

3. Obtain sufficient sleep

  • Proper sleep routines help with repair and regeneration of the body and improving the immune system.
    Tip: Get into a routine of sleeping and waking at the same time each day. Make sure your room is quiet and dark.  Try meditation or breathing exercises before bed to improve sleep quality.

4. Regular Exercise

  • Getting adequate exercise is a great way to boost the immune system and also great for overall general health. Whether its brisk walking or going to your favourite exercise class, keeping up this routine throughout the fall and winter season is going to help you stay healthy and improve your immune system.
    Tip: Set time aside each week for exercise so you don’t accidentally overbook yourself. Try exercising with a friend to increase your accountability.

5. Immune Support Naturally

  • There are lots of natural remedies to help support your immune system including but not limited to: garlic, echinacea, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin A, and zinc.  Best to see your Naturopathic Doctor to ensure these remedies are safe for you and when is the best time to take them.

6. IV Therapy and Immune Boosting Injections

  • IV Therapy is a great way to get a high dose of Vitamin C and other immune supporting vitamins and minerals straight into your system. These can be administered as a preventative measure and/or when you are actually sick to help your recovery time.
  • Immune Boosting Injections are another great preventative measure and best taking at the beginning of the cold/flu season to help boost your immune system before you come in contact with a virus.

Now that you have some great tips in supporting your immune system, make some time to implement at least one or more of these to help get you through this upcoming cold and flu season.

Best in Health,

Dr. Kaleigh

Natural Health Products (NHPs) Are Not Drugs. October 13, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in Healing, Health, Supplements.
Tags:
add a comment

natural-supplements-710x400

Written by: Dr. Reuben Dinsmore

I know that I’m preaching to the choir here – if you have been to see a naturopathic doctor, there’s a very high chance you’ve benefitted from the recommendation of certain nutraceutical supplements along your treatment journey. And so I invite you to take a moment to add your voice to the ongoing consultation with Health Canada over whether or not NHPs should be regulated in the same way that drugs are.

I wholeheartedly agree that there needs to be clear regulations over any product that is being marketed for its health benefits. However, there are various reasons why it’s impractical and unnecessary to require manufacturers of NHPs to go through the same procedures as drug manufacturers.

First, drugs are typically single ingredient formulations, with a single or occasionally dual purpose – for example, acetaminophen for pain relief, and also for fever reduction. When combinations are marketed, as in a cold formula, each of the single ingredients undergo their own clinical trials to prove their efficacy in whatever health claim that ingredient is aimed at.

Many supplements, particularly herbal formulations, are designed to take advantage of the synergy between the various ingredients. Less often do we recommend a single remedy for a single purpose, as a main tenet is treating the patient as a whole instead of simply a symptom in a body system.

This becomes difficult, even impossible, to prove efficacy of a formula, as clinical trials are designed around single ingredients, to exclude all possible variables. In addition, supplements are intended to work over a longer time period than drugs – helping the body return to its natural state of health rather than pharmaceutically forcing it into an unnatural place. I’ve often asked patients to be patient – that they’ve often spent decades getting to their current state, so they shouldn’t expect me to fix them in a few weeks. The expense of running a clinical trial is difficult at best, for a product that typically can’t be patented and charged drug company prices for – this onus becomes even more difficult when a clinical trial needs to run over many months to determine efficacy.

Bottom line, changing the regulation requirements will increase prices of NHPs and would likely make access much more difficult – and for what purpose?

Please consider expressing your views, hopefully in opposition to this attempt to fix a system that isn’t even broken. You can read more and find contact information at the following site:

https://chfa.ca/en/natural-health-products/nhps-not-drugs/index.html

In health,

Dr. Reuben Dinsmore, ND

Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia September 29, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in Aging, best vancouver naturopath, Healing.
Tags: , ,
1 comment so far

Alzheimer-disease-natural-treatments-vancouver-710x400

Alzheimer’s Awareness Day is September 21st , so I wanted to take this opportunity to talk a bit about Alzheimer’s disease and how naturopathic medicine may provide the answer that has thus far eluded the pharmaceutical world.

There are many potential causes of dementia, which affects more than half a million people in Canada, and that number is forecast to double in the next 20 years. Alzheimer’s Disease accounts for approximately 60% of dementia patients, and has been called the “second-most feared disease in Canada”. This description will come as no surprise to anyone who has been personally involved in caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, as it can be heartbreaking to watch their personality vanish before one’s eyes.

When it comes to conventional treatment options, there are at least 4 different drugs approved for Alzheimer’s in Canada, which target either of the neurotransmitters acetylcholine or glutamate. These drugs do not cure the disease or slow its progress, but merely alleviate some of the symptoms. However, this can provide an improved quality of life for patients for several years, until they lose their efficacy.

As usual, prevention is still the best option. Research has long indicated that Alzheimer’s was associated with diabetes. However, new research is now indicating that Alzheimer’s may be related specifically to elevated insulin levels, as is seen in type 2 diabetes. Whereas type 1 diabetes (aka juvenile diabetes, as it is most commonly diagnosed in childhood) is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition associated with cells becoming less sensitive to the action of insulin. This forces the body to produce more and more insulin until the pancreas simply gets burned out. While insulin levels are high, this puts people at significant risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Simply put, the enzymes that process excess insulin are the same ones responsible for breaking down amyloid-beta, the protein that forms the plaques and tangles seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

When you take in foods that are high in simple refined carbohydrates (sugar and starches), they are rapidly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. Your body responds by quickly pumping out insulin to bring these blood sugar levels down. However, your pancreas evolved to operate in more of a slow and steady way, producing a trickle of insulin to carefully balance a gradual blood sugar increase. In time, forcing it to break into a sprint over and over takes a serious toll.

At the same time, your cells are becoming resistant to the signal from insulin telling them to take in sugar from the bloodstream. This is caused by a few things that are all related – obesity, increased fats circulating in the blood, and a diet high in fructose (yes, that wonderful sugar seen in things like pop, candy – and anything else that contains high-fructose corn syrup). As insulin resistance develops, more and more insulin is put into circulation to get the same effect. This is where the risk of developing Alzheimer’s increases, as those enzymes are being diverted away from breaking down amyloid-beta in favour of dealing with the elevated levels of insulin.

So what can you do about this? Type 2 diabetes is one of the most preventable and even reversible conditions out there, simply by following the basic diet and lifestyle advice that’s been around for decades. Diet-wise, you want to prevent blood sugar spikes that come from high-glycemic foods and drinks. The Mediterranean diet – promoted for years for its cardiovascular protection – is ideal for this purpose as well. More fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and limited simple carbohydrates; lean protein like fish, chicken and legumes with each meal slows digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, as do healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, and fish oils. Regular cardiovascular exercise is also critical to restoring insulin sensitivity.

Naturopathic medicine may also have the best options out there for treatment of Alzheimer’s. At least one doctor in the US has reported significant improvement in patients following his protocol – in some cases, symptoms improved by 70-80%, even allowing some formerly severely debilitated patients to return to work. Although results are still preliminary – considering the lack of other options, these developments are really exciting.

As we learn more about prevention, and treatment options become more promising, Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t have to be the frightening prospect it has been. If you have questions about how you can reduce your risk, make an appointment with one of our doctors at Yaletown Naturopathic Clinic.

%d bloggers like this: