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Alzheimer's Disease and Inflammation:The potential advantages of the anti-inflammatory and the anti-aging diet

Posted on August 23, 2014 at 12:30 AM




Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a disorder where abnormal brain proteins collect and disrupt normal thinking is recognized as having inflammatory components. (1-3) Remember, inflammation happens when you get a thorn or splinter under your skin—and it happens because the thorn or splinter isn’t supposed to be there—inflammation is one of the ways the body gets rid of foreign objects or proteins. In AD, the “thorn” is the collection of abnormal proteins (beta amyloid and tau protein) and the inflammation is one way the body tries to take care of that thorn.

We don’t completely understand how Alzheimer’s disease develops—the signs, including memory loss, confusion, problems with completing familiar activities, changes in mood or personality or difficulties in forming thoughts or full sentences can start very slowly and be thought of as simply the price of getting older. We all sometimes forget where we left the car keys or what we came into the room for. In AD, however, these moments begin to be more and more common. In early-stage AD, often only those people who know you best might begin to think something is wrong. A physician, taking a very careful history and asking a number of specific questions may also begin to suspect AD.

Alzheimers disease, epigenetics and the anti-inflammatory and anti-aging diet

There are some risk factors in AD that can’t be changed—you can’t change your genetics, your family history or your age. But—you CAN potentially change the way your body responds to very early AD. There is a relatively new and exciting area of study called epigenetics—where it has been shown that diet and lifestyle can change your risks because these lifestyle changes alter the control of your DNA—allowing some genes to be “silent” and some to be “active”—and these differences can affect the way your body responds to inflammation, AD, cancer and to chronic disease. Recent studies are indicating that a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can help protect you from diseases such as AD, cancer and can help protect you from the signs ofo aging. (4-6)

So, what are these anti-inflammatory foods? What are the anti-aging foods?

First of all- we’ve used the terms anti-inflammatory and anti-aging diet. Are they different? Not really—because anti-inflammatory foods are also anti-aging foods. The opposite is true as well, because any food that fights the signs of aging is also an anti-inflammatory food and should be part of your anti-aging diet. Here is a (partial) list of the best anti-aging foods and the best anti-inflammatory foods.

Vegetables are the first choice- raw or lightly cooked will give you the highest nutrient yield.

• Broccoli (yes…. broccoli, just like your wise momma told you)

• Cauliflower,

• Brussel sprouts

• Asparagus

• Leafy green vegetables

o Swiss chard,

o the greens from mustard, collard and beets,

o kale, spinach, field greens and the variety of lettuces

• Fruits and berries—the more brightly colored they are, the better.

• Many herbs and spices are anti-inflammatory as well. Here is a small sampling-

o green tea

o onions and garlic,

o ginger and turmeric

• Fish—especially fish like salmon, sardines, smelt and anchovies are high in the anti-inflammatory omega-3 oils.

All these foods can help reduce inflammation and reduce your risk of a number of different conditions(4) –including AD, cancer, arthritis and the signs of aging. Eat a selection of each of these foods at least 2-3 times a day, and you’ll be glad you did!



1. Ricci S, Fuso A, Ippoliti F, Businaro R. 2012. Stress-induced cytokines and neuronal dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease 28:11-24

2. Klatz RR. 2012. Literature Review: Inflammation as a Mechanism of Aging. Townsend Letter:34-5

3. Ferretti MT, Bruno MA, Ducatenzeiler A, Klein WL, Cuello AC. 2012. Intracellular Aβ-oligomers and early inflammation in a model of Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiology of Aging 33:1329-42

4. Dauncey MJ. 2012. Recent advances in nutrition, genes and brain health. The Proceedings Of The Nutrition Society 71:581-91

5. Kwok JBJ. 2010. Role of epigenetics in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Epigenomics 2:671-82

6. Migliore L, Coppedè F. 2009. Genetics, environmental factors and the emerging role of epigenetics in neurodegenerative diseases. Mutation Research 667:82-97




Categories: Alzheimer's Disease and Dementias, Anti-inflammatory Diet

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