A provocative theory published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition attempts to explain the dramatic rise in Alzheimer’s disease
Dietary Theory of Alzheimer’s,
One of the great remaining medical mysteries is what’s behind the dramatic rise in Alzheimer’s disease. In a century we basically went from no Alzheimer’s to the 7th leading cause of death in the United States, currently afflicting 5 million Americans. A provocative theory was published last year in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Alzheimers has become an epidemic. 1 in 10 of us in our 60’s. 1 in 5 of us in our 70’s, and nearly 1 in 3 of us in our 80s will develop Alzheimer’s disease.
Some say it’s just because we have an aging population, but if you go back and look at the data, prior to about 100 years ago, there was no evidence of Alzheimer’s—no matter how old you were. And even now, it’s really only a major problem in the developed world. The elderly in India and Africa, for example, are spared this disease. When we look at the epidemiology we should be, shocked.
We have allowed something in our environment to steal the minds of our elderly, at a terrible cost. As a people we should be outraged—frightened, and frantically searching for what’s in the environment that’s causing this terrible onslaught. But instead the scientific community seems to be passively letting this happen. There is not much research in this area. Most efforts, frankly, are coming up with drugs to try to treat it rather than try to prevent it in the first place.
Given the link between meat eating and dementia, some scientists have suggested a prion theory, maybe Alzheimer’s is some human variant of mad cow disease. We certainly are eating more beef, but this new researcher is skeptical, believing the real cause to be something else in our developed environment, namely copper toxicity. Interestingly, that could explain any meat/Alzheimer’s connection, because meat eating may contribute to copper toxicity—remember the U.S. meat shipment that Mexico refused to let in? That was for copper contamination.
This reseracher blames three things that developed countries have done over the last half century or so: started using copper plumbing for our water supply, started taking lots of supplements—like multivitamins with copper, and started eating too much meat. So he suggests we test our water for copper, throw out any supplements with copper in them, and then, in terms of diet to prevent Alzheimers, number 3, reduce meat intake, since the copper in meat is much better absorbed. So yeah, blaming meat may actuallybe right—but, this new theory goes, it’s not prions, the damaging agent in meat may be copper.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.
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For some context, please check out my associated blog posts: Harvard’s Meat and Mortality Studies, Alzheimer's Disease: Up to half of cases potentially preventable, and Natural Alzheimer’s Treatment.