BREAKTHROUGH: The liver-brain connection with the power to transform Alzheimer’s prevention

It’s truly amazing when you think about just how often those of us in the alternative medical community—whether patient or practitioner—go from being outright dismissed to being proven right.

And time and time again, we’ve had things figured out long before the conventional medical community even bats an eye at the work we’re doing… much less our results.

The latest “breakthrough” findings from the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) are a perfect example.

Why an ailing liver is the missing link

The good news is that mainstream “experts” are finally admitting that other areas of the body outside of the brain might contribute to the development of dementia.

And the sooner they learn this very important lesson, the better. Because the human body doesn’t operate in a vacuum, and neither do its individual parts. What happens in one area of the body can—and does—have serious effects on everything else.

Their latest target? The liver. And if you ask me, it’s not a moment too soon.

I’ve been harping on liver health for years—due primarily to the sharp rise we’ve seen in rates of both fatty liver disease and liver cancer. The links to our country’s raging diabesity problem and overdependence on pharmaceuticals are undeniable.

But as you may recall, liver disease is also an independent risk factor behind brain aging. In fact, it literally shrinks your brain. And not by a small amount, either.

One recent study showed that subjects with fatty liver disease suffered a degree of brain shrinkage equivalent to an extra 4.2 years of aging among subjects in their 60s. And a whopping 7.3 extra years of aging among people younger than 60.1

Even in subjects over age 75, fatty liver still contributed to an additional 1.5 years’ worth of brain aging. And that’s after accounting for traditional brain risk factors—like heart disease, diabetes, smoking, heavy drinking, excess weight, sedentary lifestyle, or menopause.

So the fact that liver malfunction may also play a role in Alzheimer’s? Well, let’s just say I’m not exactly surprised. Because when you really break it down, it makes perfect sense…

Fat is the fuel that keeps your brain cells firing

As I often explain, your brain runs on fat. These lipids are vital for communication between brain cells, and are also essential for their protection. And where do you suppose they come from?

They come from the same place where most of your body’s cholesterol originates—your liver.

This organ builds the fats that nourish your brain. And it’s no coincidence that research has identified a number of high-risk Alzheimer’s genes that deal directly with the production and transport of these fats.

This process was also the main focus of research shared at the most recent AAIC. In fact, four different presentations examined connections between lipid processing, transport, and Alzheimer’s disease.2-5

They found that lower blood levels of key brain-building fats were directly linked to a higher risk for Alzheimer’s.

But there was one surprising exception…

Why fish oil “doesn’t work”

One study found that Alzheimer’s patients who took fish oil supplements didn’t see a boost in beneficial lipids. This might lead some doctors to say that fish oil simply doesn’t work.

But that’s a dangerously oversimplified conclusion to draw.

The fact is, a healthy brain does require an ample supply of omega-3 fatty acids. But the omega-3s we eat don’t go directly to our brains. And there are a few critical factors that can stand in the way of them reaching their final destination.

Drawing the line from digestion to dementia

For starters, your lipids—including omega-3s from fish oil—need to be broken down. And this requires bile acids, which your liver produces from cholesterol, with substantial help from your microbiome.

That’s right—your gut bacteria plays a key role in lipid processing, too. And this new research uncovered key links between Alzheimer’s genes and bile acid levels, pointing to alterations in the microbiome as a potential driver of disease development.

More specifically, high levels of microbiome bile acids—and low levels of liver-based bile acids—seemed to be a recipe for disaster. And again, it’s no wonder.

Once beneficial fats are broken down, the liver generates special lipids called plasmalogens from them. Then lipoproteins—the same carriers that taxi cholesterol through your blood—transport them to the brain, where they reinforce the structure and communication of your brain cells.

So as you can see, if anything in this process isn’t working right, all the fish oil in the world won’t make a bit of difference. Because your body simply won’t be able to form and deliver brain-building plasmalogens from it.

Incidentally, this is probably why statin drugs have been shown to contribute to memory loss. Less available cholesterol means your liver can’t efficiently generate those essential bile acids. And, as this research shows, that comes with dire consequences. When will modern medicine ever see the light about these dangerous monstrosities?

One simple solution tackles ALL the biggest underlying Alzheimer’s triggers

Clearly, there are three key issues at play here if you want to fend off Alzheimer’s disease:

Your liver needs to be functioning properly.

Your microbiome needs to be in good working order.

Your cholesterol levels should be balanced, but not dangerously low.

The good news is, there’s a way to kill all three birds with one stone. And spoiler alert—it’s not a prescription drug.

I’m talking, of course, about my A-List Diet.

In fact, smart nutrition is hands down the best approach to Alzheimer’s prevention—not least of all because of its benefits to your liver.

Consider this: One recent study showed that subjects closely following a Mediterranean diet—rich in fish, lean protein, veggies, nuts, and monounsaturated fats—were more than 25 percent less likely to wind up with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.6

Low adherence, on the other hand, was linked with greater liver fat accumulation—especially among subjects at high genetic risk. But this study found that, even among this high-risk group, Mediterranean-style eating was enough to keep liver fat in check.

It’s worth noting that it’s not just the omega-3s from fish that make Mediterranean-style diets like the A-List Diet unique. In fact, high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids—from sources like extra virgin olive oil, macadamia nuts, and avocados—are probably the key distinguishing feature here.

So while regular servings of wild-caught fish and a high-quality omega-3 supplement (featuring 3,000 mg of DHA/EPA) are necessary, it’s obviously vital to fill up on other healthy fats as well.

In fact, I always do a test on each one of my patients to assess their fatty acid consumption so adjustments can be made accordingly. To figure out your levels, ask your doctor for an Omega-3 Index Test.

Optimal blood omega-3 concentrations among adults should range from 8 percent to 12 percent. Anything less than 4 percent is considered high risk. If you’re deficient, you’ll want to get tested every three to six months to make sure your levels are rising and the interventions you’ve chosen to implement are effective.

The bottom line: Don’t be afraid to indulge in macadamia nuts, avocados, almonds, walnuts, olives and their oils, as well as flax and chia seeds. A healthy brain requires all of these fats.

For more diet, nutrition, lifestyle, and medical recommendations for preventing, treating, and even reversing dementia, I encourage you to consider enrolling in my Drug-Free Protocol for Reversing Alzheimer’s and Dementia. This comprehensive course looks at ALL the contributing factors of these devastating diseases… and helps you address them with simple, science-backed solutions that will improve the health of your brain—and your entire body.

You can learn more about it or enroll today by calling 1-866-747-9421 and referring to order code EOV3UC00.

Supplements for foolproof liver support

While diet will always be the foundation of good health, there are also a handful of supplements that can help support your liver even further. Here are my top picks:

  • Benfotiamine – This is a special form of the B vitamin thiamine. It’s essential to buffer your body from the damaging effects and toxic reactions resulting from excess sugar in your body. I recommend 150 mg per day.
  • Glucevia – Glucevia™ is a standardized extract of Fraxinus excelsior—the European ash tree. This is by far one of the newest and most exciting supplements for liver support out there. It can help your body eliminate stored fat in the liver (which in turn helps with toxin removal). I’ve written about this supplement a lot, but it really is a crucial part of this fight. A good dose is 1,000 mg per day.
  • ME-3 – To further support your microbiome and liver’s lipid processing function, I recommend a specific strain of probiotic called Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3, which I refer to simply as ME-3. It’s the only supplement proven to promote the production of glutathione. This is critical, as glutathione is the main detoxifying agent in your liver, and one of the body’s most important antioxidants. I recommend 60 mg per day, which you can get through a product called RegActiv™.
  • Milk thistle – This is an “oldie but goodie” in the liver support category. And to this day, it still remains a favorite. I recommend taking 500 mg of silymarin (that’s the active component of milk thistle) twice per day.
  • Mulberry – This powerful antioxidant does double duty for blood sugar support. It doesn’t act directly on the liver like some of the nutrients on this list. But keep in mind that liver damage in the U.S. is being largely fueled by sugar. So you need both antioxidants and blood sugar balancers in your arsenal in order to effectively fight this battle. I recommend 200 mg per day.
  • N-acetyl cysteine – This amino acid is a precursor to glutathione. Your body needs N-acetyl cysteine as a building block in order to form that all-important antioxidant. I recommend 1,200 mg per day.
  • A high quality probiotic – I also recommend taking another high-quality probiotic to really get your microbiome in working order. I prefer Dr. Ohhira’s formulas—which delivers prebiotics, probiotics, and post-biotics all wrapped up in one easy-to-take pill. Because, as I’ve said many times before, when you support your microbiome, you support all of your bodily processes. You can find these at www.DrOhhiraProbiotics.com. I recommend taking one softgel capsule twice a day, on an empty stomach.

Don’t forget to detox, too

Of course, one critical—and often overlooked—aspect of liver health is clearing out the toxins that have accumulated in this vital organ. Which is why I recommend a bi-quarterly (or at the very least, bi-annual) detox.

And as we enter into another new year—especially after the feeding frenzy of the holidays—it’s the perfect time to consider doing one.

The detox program I recommend only requires a two-week commitment—that’s it. I outlined all the specifics in detail in the September 2013 issue of Logical Health Alternatives (“Two weeks to a leaner, cleaner body”), which is available with all of my back issues in the archives. Simply log in to the Subscribers section of my website, www.DrPescatore.com to access it.

References:

  1. Weinstein G, et al. JAMA Neurol. 2018 Jan 1;75(1):97-104.
  2. Mitchel A. Kling, MD, et al. Serum Indices of Ethanolamine Plasmalogens and Phosphatide Metabolism in the Combined Adni-1/GO/2 Cohort: Does the Liver Contribute to AD Risk By Failing to Supply Key Lipids to the Brain?
  3. Kwangsik Nho, PhD, et al. Altered Bile Acid Metabolites in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease: Relation to Neuroimaging and CSF Biomarkers.
  4. Shahzad Ahmad, MSc, et al. Circulating Metabolites Association with Alzheimer’s Disease Associated Genetic Variants.
  5. Dinesh Kumar Barupal, PhD, et al. Association of Serum Lipids with Alzheimer Disease in the Adni Cohort – an Untargeted Lipidomics Study.
  6. Ma J, et al. Gastroenterology. 2018 Mar 28.

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