Recent research is proving that the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are linked to something called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by a combination of poor lifestyle choices and a diet that produces increased levels of oxidative radicals and lower levels of antioxidants.
Dementia patients followed
Recently, researchers from the Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Capital Medical University in China analyzed urinary biomarkers of oxidative stress among 46 patients with vascular dementia, 24 patients with vascular disease without dementia, and 26 people without symptoms of either.
They found that patients with dementia had significantly higher levels of a urinary biomarker called 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (or 8-OHdG). 8-OHdG is associated with significantly high levels of oxidative stress. These levels were significantly higher than both of the other groups of patients.
Another recent study, this one from Qingdao University’s School of Medicine, analyzed multiple studies and two large genome studies and concluded that Alzheimer’s disease patients have significantly higher levels of clusterin, also known as apolipoprotein J. Clusterin has been found to bind to amyloid-beta (Abeta) proteins, and has the ability to reduce fibril formation.
It is now thought that in an attempt to resist the formation of the Abeta proteins and fibrils, the body produces clusterin as a defense measure against oxidative stress. This has been confirmed in studies showing that clusterin lowers cell death and levels of oxidative stress.
Perhaps this is one reason that Alzheimer’s drugs keep failing.
What causes oxidative stress?
Oxidative stress is produced with increased levels of toxin exposure, either within the diet, water or air, combined with lower levels of antioxidants and increased levels of lifestyle stressors. Toxins become oxidized and become radicals, which can damage our arteries and tissues.
Oxidative stress is a modern day issue. Our air, our water and our foods are full of toxins. These can range from heavy metals to pesticides to pollutants. These sorts of toxins push our body’s ability to cleanse these from our body. Our liver, for example, produces antioxidants such as superoxide dismutase and glutathione in order to remove toxins from our blood and lymph systems. But when there are more toxins than antioxidants, our body becomes stressed. It becomes overwhelmed with toxins, which are in effect, oxidants.
Researchers from Columbia’s University of Pontificia Javeriana studied the connection between antioxidant intake and Alzheimer’s disease in a variety of studies. They found that an increased consumption of “polyphenol-rich” foods significantly lowered the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Plant-based foods provide polyphenols.
The researchers confirmed their findings. “It has been demonstrated, in various cell culture and animal models, that these [polyphenol] metabolites are able to protect neuronal cells by attenuating oxidative stress and damage.”
Meanwhile, germinated brown rice helps slow Alzheimer’s according to other research.
Shi GX, Liu CZ, Wang LP, Guan LP, Li SQ. Biomarkers of oxidative stress in vascular dementia patients. Can J Neurol Sci. 2012 Jan;39(1):65-8.
Wu ZC, Yu JT, Li Y, Tan L. Clusterin in Alzheimer’s disease. Adv Clin Chem. 2012;56:155-73.
Perry G, Phelix CF, Nunomura A, Colom LV, Castellani RJ, Petersen RB, Lee HG, Zhu X. Untangling the vascular web from Alzheimer disease and oxidative stress. Can J Neurol Sci. 2012 Jan;39(1):4.
Albarracin SL, Stab B, Casas Z, Sutachan JJ, Samudio I, Gonzalez J, Gonzalo L, Capani F, Morales L, Barreto GE. Effects of natural antioxidants in neurodegenerative disease. Nutr Neurosci. 2012 Jan;15(1):1-9.
Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and diplomas in Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies.