Archive for December, 2015
It’s scary. The idea that Alzheimer’s could be contagious. Newspaper headlines earlier this year implied this was possible. Buried deep in these stories was the fact that it wasn’t proven yet.
But there’s enough evidence to be worth a look.
In 2014, a group of researchers from Spain suggested for the first time that fungal infections could cause Alzheimer’s. They found fungal particles in blood and brain samples of Alzheimer’s patients.
In October, 2015 their follow-up research was published. This is when the media took notice. The researchers make a compelling case for this infectious agent being at the root of the disease.
This is what they found. . .
4 Deadly Mistakes that
Kill Brain Cells and Wipe Out Your Memory
Every day, you’re probably doing four things that shrink your brain— literally! These common, avoidable mistakes kill brain cells. They cause you to lose not only your memory but also your ability to think fast and make decisions.
I know you’re probably making these four brain-killing mistakes because almost EVERYBODY makes them. And it’s easy to know you’re making these four mistakes because your body tells you.
Don’t wait till things get really bad and you can’t remember the names and faces of those you love—or even how to eat or go to the bathroom! Yes, that’s what happens when you have dementia. It’s tragic AND it’s avoidable!
If you take action when you first experience these symptoms, you can help avoid the risk of brain decay, age-related memory loss, foggy thinking and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Instead, you can hold on to your foolproof memory and “wow” your friends and family with your mental fitness for years to come.
This is all explained in the first chapter of our new Special Report, How to Save Your Brain—you can read it for FREE if you click here.
Brain tissue from eleven Alzheimer’s patients was examined together with the same number of healthy controls.
Various regions of the central nervous system (CNS) were analyzed. These included the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus. These are the areas where Alzheimer’s pathology usually begins.
In each case, fungal species of variable size and structure were found both inside and outside the cells in all Alzheimer’s patients. There were none in the control group. The researchers also found evidence of fungal infection in blood vessels of the neurovascular system in the Alzheimer’s group.
7 Reasons Why Alzheimer’s
Could be a Fungal Disease
The researchers believe fungal infections may cause Alzheimer’s for the following reasons:
1. 100% of patients in this study and in their previous research had evidence of fungal infections in blood serum and tissue. Other research groups have also found evidence for such infections.
2. In Alzheimer’s there is often vascular pathology. Fungal infections were observed in the blood vessels of these patients.
3. CNS inflammation and increased immune response are seen in the vast majority of Alzheimer’s cases. This would be expected if there was an infectious agent present.
4. Amyloid beta peptides have very strong antimicrobial activity, particularly against the yeast Candida albicans. The growth of amyloid deposits seen in Alzheimer’s disease could develop as a response to fungal infections.
5. Slow progression of the disease fits in with the chronic development of fungal infections.
6. Diversity of fungal species would explain differences in Alzheimer’s symptoms, evolution and severity.
7. Two patients reported in the medical literature saw their dementia reverse. This happened when they were treated with anti-fungal drugs for the disease cryptococcal meningitis.
Fungal infections may be an effect of the disease, not its cause. Perhaps such patients, for reasons unknown, are more susceptible to such infections. We do not know at what point they became infected. Was it before or after Alzheimer’s disease began?
As usual, everyone says it is far too early to draw any conclusions from this research, particularly considering the small sample size. Strictly as a scientific matter, they’re right. However, if I had Alzheimer’s disease, I believe I’d talk to my doctor about a course of antifungal drugs. It seems to me you wouldn’t have much to lose.
If the researchers’ theory turns out to be correct, does that mean Alzheimer’s is contagious? They do not discuss this in their medical paper.
Is There a Link Between Alzheimer’s and Cancer?
In the alternative cancer treatment community, a highly vocal segment holds that cancer is a fungal disease. It’s not a crazy idea, by any means. For more on this, you might want to look at Issue #454 of our sister publication, Cancer Defeated.
If the research from Spain and Italy leads you to wonder if someone with Alzheimer’s is more likely to suffer with cancer and vice versa, you have nothing to be concerned about.
Research published in 2013 confirmed earlier findings that those with Alzheimer’s disease are half as likely to develop cancer. Those with cancer are a third less likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
Clearly we still have a lot more to understand about both diseases.
It used to be a cliché of western movies: an old-time medicine show would feature a pitchman working to convince an audience of gullible locals that his tonic could cure practically everything. Resuscitate your sex life. Reduce your stress. Ease anxiety. Fight nasty diseases like cancer. Soothe a cranky ulcer.
If you heard that kind of talk today, you’d probably brush off the speaker as a snake oil salesman pushing a worthless product. But even though it sounds improbable, there actually is an herb from India that can do all these things, according to that country’s medical experts.
And so far, nobody in a research lab has been able to prove them wrong.
Keep reading and I’ll tell you more. . .
Read This Only if You
Want to Double Your Testosterone
Without a Prescription
Doctors won’t tell you this because they don’t know. . .
But all you need to double your testosterone level is a two-nutrient combo that you can buy over-the-counter.
Your cost per day? About two bucks.
Give your body these two foods and it will do the rest.
Compare that to about $6,000 a year — $16 a day — for doctor-prescribed testosterone that actually damages your own body’s ability to make the testosterone you need to be a man. . .
Matter of fact, studies on this herb, which has been used in traditional Indian medicine for more than 6,000 years, show it can give you impressive brain and other health benefits that scientists are only beginning to understand.
An herb from the Ayurvedic tradition
The herb, called ashwagandha, is a widely used botanical employed in Ayurvedic medicine, the ancient healing tradition of India. Also called Indian winter cherry and Indian ginseng, ashwagandha is considered a “Rasayana,” a medicinal plant known for its ability to make your mind and body function more effectively while lifting your mood.
Although more study is needed to understand exactly how ashwagandha helps the brain stay healthy, the study results so far have been impressive. When researchers gave ashwagandha to animals that suffered the kind of damage seen in Alzheimer’s patients, they found proof that the herb can restore brain function elements that are destroyed when the brain starts to break down.
In one Japanese study, scientists worked with animals that had amyloid peptide accumulation in their brains. The growth of amyloid peptide occurs when Alzheimer’s disease begins to affect memory. It makes up the brain plaques that are the main physical sign of the illness.
Just as sludge can block plumbing, amyloid peptides can gum up the brain’s neural networks. They block nerve signals and set off damaging inflammation that can eventually destroy your ability to navigate daily life.1
When these animals were given extracts from ashwagandha, the researchers discovered that the chemicals were converted into a substance called sominone that stimulated the reconstruction of brain structures. According to the scientists, it “significantly improved memory deficits… and prevented loss of axons, dendrites, and synapses.”
Ashwagandha may help treat a wide range of other brain problems. In reviewing studies of the herb, researchers at the International Institute of Herbal Medicine in India emphasized, “There are dozens of studies that show that Ashwagandha slows, stops, reverses or removes neuritic atrophy and synaptic loss. Therefore Ashwagandha can be used to treat Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and other neurodegenerative diseases at any stage of the disease, even before a person has been diagnosed and is still in the state of mild forgetfulness.”2
Also helps relieve stress, soothe ulcers and quench free radicals
Aside from these effects on the brain, a growing number of studies have shown that the natural chemicals in ashwagandha can support many other aspects of health. The herb helps protect mitochondria, the tiny structures that are often called the cell’s energy factories.3
The herb has also been shown to offset the effects of stress and soothe stomach ulcers. At least part of its power, according to Indian scientists who have studied the plant, is due to its “potent antioxidant properties that help protect against cellular damage caused by free radicals.”4
So you don’t need a pitch man at a medicine show to see the benefits of ashwagandha. Its potential protective properties are known to be far-reaching and profound.
Footnotes from article:
Japanese Art of Shinrin Yoku
Reduces Risk of Cognitive Decline
The World Health Organization rates stress as a major cause of death in the developed world and calls the prevention of stress-related diseases a priority. And in Issue #182, we wrote about how stress increases Alzheimer’s risk.
But before you start stressing out about all this, read on to discover how the ancient Japanese art of shinrin yoku can lower your stress levels and ward off cognitive decline.
This activity is free, requires no fancy equipment and can be done by everyone … but the potential benefits to your brain health and well-being are enormous.
Special Message from Lee Euler
Attention Pain Sufferers:
Are You Missing
This Little-Known Nutrient?
A recently discovered plant compound, first discovered by Native Americans, can quiet pain anywhere in your body, from head to toe.
If you or a loved one suffers from daily, long-term, chronic pain – the kind of pain that’s so bad you seldom experience a day – or a night – that’s pain-free, then you need to know about this important new discovery that can change your life.
In clinical studies, it lowered CRP (a blood test that measures your levels of inflammation) by 23 percent. It neutralizes COX-2 and IL-6 enzymes that cause inflammation.
Click here and see how this discovery can help you take a giant step towards wiping out chronic pain and inflammation – and reduce swelling and stiffness for good.
Too Much Cortisol is Toxic to Your Brain
When you’re under stress, your body releases two hormones — adrenaline and cortisol, the flight-or-fight hormones left over from the days when our ancestors had to fear wild animals and rival clans.
Chronic, prolonged stress … whether it’s caused by something as minor as getting stuck in traffic or by life-changing events like losing a loved one … leads to problems with immune function, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and a host of other conditions that put your health at serious risk.
Elevated cortisol levels have been linked to cognitive decline and decreased brain volume.
According to a study published in the journal Neurology, researchers discovered a correlation between excess cortisol and smaller brain volumes in older people.1
On average, the participants with higher cortisol levels had up to 16 milliliters (over half an ounce) less brain matter than their low-cortisol counterparts.
The more alarming discovery was that older folks with high cortisol levels also performed worse on memory and thinking tests than the others.
“The theory is that cortisol has a toxic effect on the hippocampus area of the brain, which plays an important role in memory,” says Dr. Lenore Launer of the National Institute on Aging and co-author of the study.2
Another study published in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that long-term elevated levels of cortisol damage the pre-frontal cortex and the synapses (the connections between nerve cells), which also leads to memory loss over time.
In an animal study, researchers discovered that mice with too much cortisol consistently performed worse on maze tests and had 20% fewer synapses than did even older mice with lower cortisol levels.3
Spending Time in Nature Can
Prevent Cognitive Decline
Shinrin yoku roughly translates to “forest bathing,” or taking in the forest atmosphere.
It’s a healthy practice rooted in ancient history, but chronically stressed-out citizens of the West could definitely take a leaf from this old book.
In a study performed in Japan, researchers enlisted 280 participants to spend a day in either a forest environment or an urban one. They switched environments the next day and the researchers measured the change.
They took stock of the participants’ salivary cortisol level and blood pressure after each environment, and found that the time spent in the forest environment lead to lower concentrations of cortisol and lower blood pressure.4
What’s more interesting, though, is that there was no significant difference between the level of the participants’ physical activity in either the forest or the urban environment, which suggests that it wasn’t simply walking, but walking in the forest, that made the difference.
The researchers speculate that phytoncides, or wood essential oils from the trees, may contribute to the positive effects.
For example, cedrol, or cedar wood oil, has been shown to reduce cortisol levels by relaxing the sympathetic nervous system, which controls our fight-or-flight responses, and elevating the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the “rest-and-digest” activities that occur when our bodies are at ease.5
Another possible reason our bodies find forest environments so soothing is because our physiological functions evolved from forest environments.
Of the last five million years or so, we’ve only been living in the “modern” world for the last 300 years, which means the human race has spent about 99% of its existence not in cities, but in forests and natural spaces.4
The world has become predominantly urban only in the last 50 years or so. There were no cities at all until about five or six thousand years ago. In short, we weren’t “made” to live in the kind of world most people live in now.
So to keep your cognitive functioning high and ward off memory loss, I suggest you get out into the woods as often as you can.
Stroll … relax … breathe deeply.
Let your body return to its natural, resting state.
(1) Salivary cortisol, brain volumes, and cognition in community-dwelling elderly without dementia. http://www.neurology.org/content/85/11/976.short?sid=50c1a291-80e9-4a83-9e79-554749e47cf3
(2) Saliva test for stress hormone levels may identify healthy older people with thinking problems. https://www.aan.com/PressRoom/Home/PressRelease/1404
(3) Stress hormones linked to short-term memory loss as we age. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-06/uoi-shl061614.php
(4) The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing): Evidence from field experiments in 24 forests across Japan. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12199-009-0086-9
(5) Autonomic responses during inhalation of natural fragrance of “Cedrol” in humans. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1566070203001899
Computers and “smart” devices are great for helping us make our way through our busy days.
But by doing so many things for us that we used to do for ourselves, are they making our brains weaker? Some research suggests the answer is “yes” – keep reading and I’ll explain. . .
Breast Cancer Survivor was told:
“You’ll be dead in a year”
(Pssst!! That was 12 years ago!)
Doctors didn’t give Wiltrude much hope when they diagnosed her with cancer. Wiltrude, a German psychologist, never thought cancer would happen to her. But it did. And it came as a big shock.
One doctor told her, “You’ll be dead in a year.” Late stage breast cancer is virtually incurable using conventional treatments. Even M.D.s admit it. They talk about “buying you more time.” (Don’t count on it. The evidence shows you’re better off doing nothing than chemo.)
When Wiltrude told her doctor she was going to try alternative treatments, he said, “You are committing suicide with what you’re doing.” But she was determined to find a way to beat her cancer.
Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, this European woman came across a book by my good friend Bill Henderson, one of the smartest and wisest people I know when it comes to cancer treatment.
She tried Bill’s top, number one recommendation — a gentle treatment you can do at home for just $5.15 a day. What’s more, the cost goes down to $3.50 after six weeks because you just need a maintenance dose. And it even tastes good.
Not only has Wiltrude passed the five-year cancer survival mark, she’s survived for 14 years. We just interviewed her recently for this publication. The radiologist who tests her every year told her, “You’re the only one with this kind of result.”
You can find out more about Bill’s proven cancer treatment plan if you click here.
When I ask him about some of the treatments that top alternative doctors use, Bill sort of shrugs and says, “They’re fine, but why bother? My treatment works, you can do it yourself, and it costs practically nothing.”
He’s coached thousands of cancer patients with all different types and stages of cancer. Most of the people who follow the detailed, specific plan in this Special Report get over their cancer and live for years.
“Almost any kind of cancer is reversible,” says Bill. “I never give up on anyone.”
Research shows there’s potential harm from a handy labor-saving gadget. It may be setting you up for memory problems as you get older.
I’m talking about the GPS navigational systems that so many of us use to help us find our way on the road.
Navigating Your Own Way Stimulates Your Brain
Of course a GPS device is great for making sure you get where you want to go, especially in an unfamiliar locale. But by relieving your brain of the need to decipher how to get from here to there, it may reduce “spatial navigation” activities in your brain.
If you embark on your journeys the old-fashioned way – find your destination on a map, figure out the best route, and stay on the designated roads – your challenged neurons may form stronger connections.
And there’s plenty of evidence to show that this can keep your brain bigger and its performance more robust.
A series of studies on the brains of London taxi cab drivers performed before GPS systems were available shows that the occupational necessity of learning how to travel around a large, complicated city increases the gray matter in the hippocampus – the brain section devoted to memory. (Gray matter is where all the synapses – connections between neurons – are located.)1
The British research also found that extra years behind the wheel – without a GPS – meant a larger, better connected hippocampus.2
That extra hippocampal tissue devoted to finding your way around could possibly lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease: Research at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience in Germany demonstrates that the ability to navigate your way from one place to another is one of the first mental capacities that start to slip when Alzheimer’s begins.3
Stretch Your Brain with a Video Simulation
Your navigational workouts don’t even have to be on a real road. A study at Carnegie Mellon University shows that merely learning how to maneuver through a route on a video driving game can also improve your brain and neuronal connections.4
The researchers say the folks in their study developed heightened interconnections between the hippocampus and other parts of the brain involved in spatial navigation when they learned a video travel route.
In addition, the video games helped boost the proper synchronization of neural activity in the brain.
“The hippocampus has long been known to be involved in spatial learning, but only recently has it been possible to measure changes in human brain tissues as synapses become modified during learning,” says researcher Tim Keller.
In this test, people spent about 45 minutes operating a video game that simulated driving. Even this short amount of time was enough to produce significant structural changes in the hippocampus and benefit connections among neurons.
And all of this raises the question – If we start to rely on our gadgets like GPS to help us find where we’re going, how much harm are we doing to our memory? The brain and the body generally follow the “use it or lose it” rule. Your muscles can shrink if you stop using them and so, apparently, do unused parts of your brain.
So if you’re worried about your memory as you age, I’m not saying don’t carry a GPS at all. But you’re probably better off having your GPS as a backup system to turn on if you truly get lost. Don’t use one as your primary tool in finding your way around.
I was very slow to start using GPS – it’s become a habit only recently – and I still like to figure out where I’m going without it. My main GPS use is in dense urban areas where I don’t have a detailed map – the “last half mile” problem.
In the bad old days, you’d have to ask someone for directions, or start out ahead of time with a set of written instructions from the person you’re visiting.
It might be useful to check the GPS’s directions against a map before you start your trip, just so you know where you are in space and have a mental picture of the road network. One of the odd things about GPS, in my opinion, is that it reduces space to a series of “turn left, turn right” instructions, and you really don’t have any context for where you are.
If you’ve ever navigated your own way with a map, you know it can be quite challenging. And, depending on the quality of the map and your own savvy, you can get lost a time or two on the typical road trip. But it’s good to make our brains do some work problem-solving work. If we have no problems to solve, eventually we’ll have no brains to solve them with.
That’s why so much of the research we review in these pages indicates we need to exercise our brains by doing things like learning a musical instrument or a new language, reading challenging books, or taking up a hobby like knitting or painting. Use your head!
As a Natural Health Insider reader, you know antioxidants play an important role in keeping cells healthy by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, a major factor in dozens of health problems including cancer, dementia, arthritis and cardiovascular disease.
But so many antioxidants are being touted these days, it can get noisy and confusing if you’re not a full-time nutrition expert.
Let me help clear up the confusion a little bit: There’s ONE antioxidant that will help you for sure. Keep reading and I’ll explain. . .
Oncologists have known about this for 30 years!?
We now know researchers discovered a cancer-crushing vitamin that can help kill cancer cells while reducing the toxic effects of chemotherapy.
In vitro studies show this natural and incredibly affordable substance can sabotage the growth of tumors and disrupt cancer cells from prostate, colon and even mesothelioma cancer cell lines. It’s been estimated there is 100X more real evidence for its anti-cancer effects than any other natural substances tested.
So why aren’t oncologists telling you about it? Now a former senior investigator at the NIH has penned a 28-chapter medical tell-all that will do just that–and he’s giving it away for FREE today. Discover how to get all of the details on this cancer-crushing vitamin and over 101 other medical secrets here.
An Antioxidant Like No Other
Just looking at it, n-acetyl-L-cysteine sounds like a mouthful. Not to worry: Most people just call it NAC.
In chemistry terms, NAC is the “acetylated” (ah-see-tull-ated) form of L-cysteine, an amino acid that contains sulfur.
What you really need to know is that your body can more easily absorb the acetylated form than the pure L-cysteine base. And that’s a good thing, because NAC is a powerful antioxidant — a hungry free-radical scavenger – and a detoxifier too boot.
One study from the journal Cerebellum showed NAC protects against oxidative-stress-induced neuronal death even in granule neurons, tiny cells found throughout the brain.2
As you may know, if enough neurons are damaged or killed by oxidative stress, cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s are just around the corner … which is why getting enough NAC can help on all fronts.
NAC also plays another important role: helping your body synthesize glutathione, another essential antioxidant that fights for healthy, stress-free neurons. Although the body makes its own glutathione, many people – especially older people – are deficient.
It’s generally not effective to take glutathione by mouth, because it doesn’t survive stomach acid. The strategy nutritionists recommend is to take supplements like NAC that help your body make glutathione. There aren’t many such nutrients, and they’re priceless for boosting your health and extending your life.
NAC stimulates enzymes within neuronal cell membranes that increase glutathione production at the cellular level. This, in turn, restores the neuron’s ability to fight damage caused by free radicals — even in smokers who tend to have high levels of inflammation.5
In one study, performed in China, mice were injected with amyloid beta-peptides to produce Alzheimer’s disease. (Interestingly, researchers found lower glutathione levels in these subjects — another piece of proof that this is a key antioxidant in Alzheimer’s prevention.)
After inducing Alzheimer’s disease in the mice, the scientists observed them as they ran through different mazes.
Some of the subjects were then given a dose of NAC.
The mice given NAC showed significantly greater memory retention and shorter latencies when they went through the mazes again.
These findings lead the researchers to conclude that NAC could be used as a potential neuroprotective agent against Alzheimer’s disease.3
There’s more: Besides being a powerful antioxidant and precursor to critical glutathione, NAC has been shown to downregulate genes responsible for inflammation … yet another contributing factor to degenerative diseases of the brain and nervous system.4
Getting the Right Amount of NAC
Animal protein from pork, chicken, turkey and duck contains cysteine, the precursor amino acid for NAC. Vegetable sources of cysteine include garlic, onions, brussels sprouts and red peppers. You can also find it in fermented milk products like ricotta cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt.
Unfortunately, NAC itself is not found in food sources, which means a supplement is the way to go.
Most people will benefit from 600 to 1800 mg per day, with recent studies showing it’s safe to consume up to 2000 mg per day.4
We’ve seen reports that NAC also prevents cases of avian and seasonal flu, reduces the frequency of COPD attacks, blocks cancer development in nearly every step of the disease, improves insulin sensitivity in metabolic disorder … and more.4
It’s a great, broad-spectrum antioxidant to have working for you in the long-run.
- N-Acetylcysteine–a safe antidote for cysteine/glutathione deficiency. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17602868
- N-acetylcysteine and neurodegenerative diseases: basic and clinical pharmacology. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17853088
- Protective effect of N-acetyl-l-cysteine on amyloid β-peptide-induced learning and memory deficits in mice. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006899306018671
- The overlooked compound that saves lives.
- De Flora S, Izzotti A, D’Agostini F, Balansky RM. Mechanisms of N-acetyl cysteine in the prevention of DNA damage and cancer, with special reference to smoking-related end-points. Carcinogenesis. 2001 Jul;22(7):999-1013.