Monthly Archives: June 2010

Is Alzheimer’s Caused By a Bacterial Infection of the Brain?

As I noted earlier (http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=86), everyone gets chronic bacterial infections; infection rates are nearly 100% in the elderly.  In most people, however, the infection doesn’t progress to overt symptoms until old age. 

The first symptoms, apart from loss of athleticism and energy, often appear in the brain and nerves.  This is because neurons are a uniquely cozy home for bacteria.  Because they cannot burn fats, neurons have high levels of the energy substrates that bacteria rely on – pyruvate, lactate, and other products of glycolysis.

Loss of memory is one of the primary symptoms of bacterial infection of the brain. I myself had a chronic bacterial infection that caused loss of memory, and my memory was recovered with antibiotic treatment. (I now, thankfully, have a 100% functional brain.) The experience persuaded me that Alzheimer’s was very likely due to a bacterial infection of the brain.

Several recent findings support that inference. 

  • Alzheimer’s patients almost invariably have infections of the brain and nerves. C. pneumoniae is the most common agent.  Post-mortem autopsies found that C. pneumoniae infections in 17 of 19 Alzheimer’s brains, but only 1 of 19 non-Alzheimer’s elderly brains. [1]
  • The characteristic physical feature of the Alzheimer’s brain, clumps of amyloid-beta, are plausibly the result of the brain’s antimicrobial defenses.  It turns out that amyloid-beta is an antimicrobial peptide, part of the brain’s defense mechanisms against bacteria. [2]

These findings are consistent with a bacterial origin for Alzheimer’s. In the Alzheimer’s brain, the bacteria are parasites, stealing fuel and nutrients. This may be why the early signs of incipient Alzheimer’s are similar to the cognitive symptoms of hypoglycemia.

If Alzheimer’s is indeed caused by bacterial infection of the brain, then it is a treatable – often, curable – condition.  I’ll discuss in my next post some steps that will treat and help cure Alzheimer’s.

[1] Balin BJ et al. Chlamydophila pneumoniae and the etiology of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2008 May;13(4):371-80. http://pmid.us/18487846. Hat tip Stephanie Seneff, http://stephanie-on-health.blogspot.com/2009/12/10-evidence-that-infection-is.html.

[2] Soscia SJ et al. The Alzheimer’s disease-associated amyloid beta-protein is an antimicrobial peptide. PLoS One. 2010 Mar 3;5(3):e9505. http://pmid.us/20209079.

Gwyneth Paltrow, Osteopenia, and Diet Advice from the Daily Mail

At her health site Goop.com, Gwyneth Paltrow recently revealed that a broken leg she suffered several years ago was due to osteopenia, or brittle bone disease, possibly caused by sun avoidance and low vitamin D:

I suffered a pretty severe Tibial plateau fracture a few years ago (requiring surgery) which led the orthopaedic surgeon to give me a bone scan, at which point it was discovered I had the beginning stages of osteopenia. This led my western/eastern doctors in New York to test my Vitamin D levels, which turned out to be the lowest they had ever seen (not a good thing). I went on a prescription strength level of Vitamin D and was told to … spend a bit of time in the sun! I was curious if this was safe, having been told for years to stay away from its dangerous rays, not to mention a tad bit confused. [1]

Low vitamin D can certainly cause osteopenia and fractures. Bone density is highest and fracture rates lowest when serum 25(OH)D levels are between 32 and 45 ng/ml. [2] (As an aside, 25(OH)D levels should be tested routinely. It’s remarkable that Paltrow’s doctors waited until she had fractured a bone to measure her vitamin D levels.)

In Paltrow’s case, however, it’s quite likely that other nutritional and dietary deficiencies were also at work.

For 11 years Ms. Paltrow has avoided meat and dairy and eaten a macrobiotic diet in which most calories come from grains and legumes – two of the toxic foods that the PerfectHealthDiet counsels avoiding.

Grain consumption has long been known to damage vitamin D status and bone health. Indeed, it is difficult to induce bone frailty in laboratory animals without feeding them grain. In Edward Mellanby’s original experiments leading to the discovery of vitamin D, he induced rickets by feeding dogs a diet of oats or wheat bread. [3] In human infants, wheat bran induces rickets. [4] In addition to interfering with vitamin D, grains also contain high levels of phytic acid, which interferes with bone mineralization by blocking absorption of calcium and magnesium.

Another crucial factor in bone health is vitamin K2. Since dairy fats are the leading source of vitamin K2, it’s likely Ms. Paltrow was deficient in this crucial vitamin. Most people are deficient in vitamin K2 – let alone those who avoid meats and dairy.  In clinical trials, vitamin K2 supplementation reduced non-vertebral fractures by a remarkable 81%. [5]

Given Paltrow’s avoidance of animal fats, it’s likely that omega-6-rich vegetable oils were an outsized share of her diet, and fatty seafood a small share. But a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio reduces bone density. [6]

The long and the short of it is that Ms. Paltrow would benefit from more meat, more fat, more fat-soluble vitamins, and fewer grains and legumes.  A commenter in Britain’s Daily Mail quipped:

Maybe if she started having a nice juicy steak for dinner each day instead of the poached peelings from half an apple … [7]

Hyperbolic, no doubt, but good advice!

[1] Gwyneth Paltrow, June 17, 2010, http://www.goop.com/?page=newsletter_vn&id=177. Hat tip Frank Hagan, http://www.lowcarbage.com/2010/06/27/gwyneth-paltrow-and-osteopenia/.

[2] Bischoff-Ferrari HA et al. Positive association between 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels and bone mineral density: a population-based study of younger and older adults. Am J Med. 2004 May 1;116(9):634-9. http://pmid.us/15093761.

[3] Mellanby E. (March 15 1919) An experimental investigation on rickets. The Lancet 193(4985):407-412.

[4] Zoppi G et al. Potential complications in the use of wheat bran for constipation in infancy. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1982; 1(1): 91-5. http://pmid.us/6310074.

[5] Cockayne S et al. Vitamin K and the prevention of fractures: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arch Intern Med. 2006 Jun 26;166(12):1256-61. http://pmid.us/16801507.

[6] Watkins BA et al. Dietary ratio of n-6/n-3 PUFAs and docosahexaenoic acid: actions on bone mineral and serum biomarkers in ovariectomized rats. J Nutr Biochem. 2006 Apr;17(4):282-9. http://pmid.us/16102959. Watkins BA et al. Dietary ratio of (n-6)/(n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids alters the fatty acid composition of bone compartments and biomarkers of bone formation in rats. J Nutr. 2000 Sep;130(9):2274-84. http://pmid.us/10958824.

[7] “Gwyneth Paltrow:  I’m suffering from brittle bone disease,” Daily Mail, June 26, 2010, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1289644/Gwyneth-Paltrow-Im-suffering-brittle-bone-disease.html.

Tyler Cowen Advises His Enemies

Paleo diet advocates sometimes wonder if knowledge of grain toxicity is reaching the general public. I have good news in that regard. Tyler Cowen explains “How to Eat Well In Berlin”:

Here are my tips for a good eating life in Berlin:

  1. Find a steady source of innovative rolls, buns, and dark breads. These are the glories of Berlin …
  2. Find a source for good spreads, such as cherry, raspberry, etc. and stock up. Repeatedly apply the spreads to the breads, until death of the researcher intervenes.

It is gratifying that even economists now know the likely outcome of a bread-and-jam diet!

Spilled Milk Soon to Cause More Tears

Via Alex Tabarrok comes remarkable news:

New Environmental Protection Agency regulations treat spilled milk like oil, requiring farmers to build extra storage tanks and form emergency spill plans.

Local farming advocates says it’s ridiculous to regulate a liquid with a small percentage of butter fat the same way as the now-infamous BP oil spill.

“It’s just another, unnecessary over-regulation by the government just lacking any common sense,” said Bill Robb, dairy educator for Michigan State University Extension….

The EPA regulations state that “milk typically contains a percentage of animal fat, which is a non-petroleum oil. Thus, containers storing milk are subject to the Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Program rule when they meet the applicability criteria …”

When a container of milk or yogurt spills in a supermarket, is the HazMat team to be called in?

It was bad enough when the government subsidized and promoted toxic omega-6-rich soybean, corn, and canola oils, to the point that we can hardly find a supermarket food without them. Now they want to treat healthy animal and dairy fats as toxins.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)

One should not discount the possibility that a special place in hell has been prepared for the US government.