Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. It is progressive and debilitating and is characterized by the loss of memory and other intellectual abilities that are serious enough to interfere with daily life (Alzheimer’s Association, 2013). Sufferers no longer have the ability to think or communicate clearly, lose the awareness of self and environment and therefore, control over their lives.
Alzheimer’s is characterized by the accumulation in the brain of a protein called beta amyloid (Perlmutter, 2004). Beta amyloid is a substance that is normally found in the body, but as one ages, it is possible that it can accumulate in plaques within the brain. It has been said that this protein has the potential to choke brain cells which can promote the production of free radicals, killing neurons and resulting in memory impairment, loss of bodily functions and then ultimately, death.
Question is if beta amyloid is a “normal” substance found in the body, we owe it to ourselves to ask this question: what causes it to begin accumulating in plaques within the brain in the first place? There is a reason and a big clue is that Alzheimer’s is being referred to as Type 3 Diabetes. The Standard American Diet (SAD) consists of refined sugars: white sugar, white breads, white pasta, cold cereals, cookies, sodas, the list continues. Consuming these types of foods on a regular basis sets in motion an entire inflammatory cascade within the body and brain. We are made to believe that the body and brain are separate. That there is a wall that keeps the brain separated from the activities of the body. Well, there is certainly a barrier, but it’s definitely not a brick wall. As Mark Hyman states in “The UltraMind Solution”, the barrier is more like cheese cloth. He raises the question “How can we really believe that our brains could tolerate half a pound of sugar a day on average and be healthy?” Excess sugar in your diet is linked to brain diseases (Hyman, 2009). Over the years, the continuous burden of excess carbohydrates in our diet, specifically process sugars, directly increases the amount of beta amyloid plaque in the brain. Beta amyloid plaque promotes inflammation which intensifies free radical production. When the amount of free radicals (damaging molecules) outnumbers the amount of antioxidants (repairing molecules) in the body, we have a situation called “oxidative stress”. It is at this point when aging and age-related diseases begin to take over.