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Alzheimer’s Disease and Dietary Copper

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Though the underlying explanation for Alzheimer’s illness has but to be discovered, there’s growing concern concerning the position of metals in the improvement of the disease, as I talk about in my video Alzheimer’s Disease, Copper, and Saturated Fat. “Iron and copper,” for example, “are strongly concentrated within the neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles that represent the hallmarks of the [Alzheimer’s] brain.”

Alzheimer’s disease victims have greater ranges of copper in their blood and within the fluid that surrounds their brain, in addition to inside their brain. Researchers found that in a slice of Alzheimer’s-diseased mind tissue, the amyloid plaques correspond to copper hotspots. Copper might then make these amyloid plaques more poisonous, “leading to increased oxidative stress.” “Free Cu [copper] is extremely efficient in the generation of free radicals,” and when copper is removed with a chelating (metal-binding) drug, the free radical oxidation drops.

Unfortunately, when researchers gave that drug to 9 Alzheimer’s sufferers in a pilot research, it did not appear to have any effect on slowing the medical progression of the illness. Perhaps we need to forestall the copper buildup in the first place?

“Organ meats and shellfish are the richest food sources of copper,” however ought to we also contemplate chopping down on plant sources, comparable to nuts, seeds, legumes, and entire grains? Copper consumption only appears to be an issue when consumed with saturated fats or trans fat. In the Chicago Health and Aging Project, hundreds of elderly Chicagoans have been followed for six years. Those who have been getting the very best copper doses, largely from multivitamin dietary supplements, combined with a eating regimen excessive in saturated fats, misplaced cognition as if that they had aged 19 years in a period of 6 years, tripling their price of cognitive decline. However, copper intake “was not related to cognitive change when the food regimen was not excessive in saturated fats.”

Diet-induced excessive ldl cholesterol “has been shown to increase the formation and progression of [amyloid] plaques in the brain.” As nicely, “dietary copper may interfere with clearance of [amyloid] from the brain and may further promote [the plaque] accumulation that results from elevated cholesterol levels.” Copper has been shown to work together badly with amyloid, inflicting its clumping and the production of hydrogen peroxide, a potent pro-oxidant neurotoxin.

This might explain why the upper the levels of copper, the quicker Alzheimer’s disease might progress, notably among individuals with excessive levels of cholesterol. What do we expect may be occurring? As cholesterol and copper levels rise, cholesterol is included into the nerve cell membrane, inflicting it to stiffen. The amyloid protein within the membrane detaches to type plaques, at which level iron and copper generate neurotoxic free radicals. Inside the cell, comparable havoc is created. Finally, cholesterol-enriched diets can result in nerve cell dying, DNA injury, and blood-brain barrier disruption.

“In conclusion, the present systematic review suggests that a diet rich in [copper and iron] might aggravate the detrimental effects of a high intake of cholesterol and [saturated fat] on the risk of developing [Alzheimer’s disease].” So, diets rich in saturated fat and deficient in antioxidants appear to promote the onset of the illness, whereas extra plant-based diets would possible suppress its onset. There are compounds in plant foods that not only scavenge free radicals and forestall oxidative injury, however are also recognized to chelate, or bind up, metals, probably making them moreover protecting towards the onset of Alzheimer’s. Therefore, the practical implications might be to eat plenty of fruits and greens, avoid copper-containing supplements, and keep away from excessive intakes of saturated fat and extreme iron consumption.

Isn’t Alzheimer’s genetic? What concerning the “Alzheimer’s gene”? Just as a result of we’ve been dealt some dangerous genetic playing cards doesn’t imply we will’t reshuffle the deck with food plan. See The Alzheimer’s Gene: Controlling ApoE.

If the connection between cholesterol and dementia is new to you, see Alzheimer’s and Atherosclerosis of the Brain and Cholesterol and Alzheimer’s Disease for more.

What else can we do to guard our mind? Check out:

It’s by no means too early to start eating more healthy, as a result of Alzheimer’s May Start Decades Before Diagnosis.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you possibly can subscribe to my free videos right here and watch my reside, year-in-review shows:


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