I just had an interesting conversation with a patient of mine. Her mother is also my patient and I am treating her mother with a Functional Medicine approach to Alzheimer’s disease.
The daughter just came in to discuss a talk she just went to by a doctor for the Alzheimer’s society. He was saying that Alzheimer’s disease is increasing in epidemic proportions and they are looking for a cure but so far, no luck.
He mentioned the APO E4 gene, which makes the carrier with one copy more susceptible at an older age and 2 copies more likely to get the disease at an early age.
She mentioned that someone in the audience raised her hand and said she had the gene so what did he think of her chances of getting it. He said to her that she would probably get the disease.
She said the girl turned white and seemed dazed by the news. Alzheimer’s is one of the most feared diseases and people believe that since there is no “silver bullet” pill to cure it, that nothing can be done.
First of all, it is unfair to tell someone something like that in that setting without more knowledge of the person. But also, it is unfair not to give hope.
In fact, there is a lot we can do and a lot of of hope in a Functional Medicine approach to Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, especially when started early in the disease process because we know that by the time a person notices symptoms, the problem could be a decade in the making.
But while they are looking for the drug that will cure this, I am testing and treating based on “biomarkers”
“Biomarkers” tell us about the bioterrain of the body such as vitamin B12, folate, co-factors for making neurotransmitters and myelin for nerves, Kynurinine levels that, if elevated, can lead to a lack of vitamin B6 which can cause a high quinolinate level (an excitotoxinin the brain that is associated with neurodegenerative disease) – Magnesium levels, necessary for making energy and calming the excitotoxicity in the brain, Vitamin C levels for antioxidant support. In addition, people need to know about restricting sugar and doing a plant based ketogenic diet.
These are things that we can do to help people right now that give hope.
We test these and many more with the Genova ION panel and put people on programs to help arrest the progression of this disease
I did this for this patient’s mother 6 month ago and she is starting to see a result. Instead of getting worse, she tells me that her mother is actually seeming to be more “present” and she says her aid is seeing a difference also.
Why isn’t every doctor doing this? Asked my patient. I can only account for myself, was my answer.