Highlights from Jonathan Otto's interview with Dr. Ben Johnson, for the Depression & Anxiety Series. Dr. Johnsons talks about Alzheimer's and how to reverse it. He talks about dangers of sugar, and what happens in our body when we have a 'sugar spike'. He also shares the dietary protocols for brain health.

Ben Johnson


Ben Johnson:

Similarity b/t Longevity and Alzheimer’s Treatment

[00:00:30] [00:01:00] So a critical part of life extension is a healthy, vital, vivacious mind that's fully aware and fully active. Yes, Alzheimer's is part of that treatment. I also treat cancer patients. Interestingly enough they are a very similar pass, because longevity and getting us there, there's probably a 90% similarity between life extension and prevention of Alzheimer's and cancer treatment. It's just a matter of details in the difference.


The Role of Sugar

[00:01:30][00:02:00][00:02:30] What we've got to do is keep all the neuron connections, because each nerve fiber has a lot of different connections and cross connections, synapses and when we lose those synapses that's when we start to lose memory. And there's a lot of things involved in that process. From heavy metals to toxins, to inflammations. There's a lot involved in Alzheimer's. It's not a simple answer. It's a multi factorial disease. Atrophy of the brain is part of that process. And why is it atrophying? Is it simply a result of die off of cells and aging or is it a part of high glucose levels, because another name for Alzheimer's is diabetes type three. And so we have to strongly consider the role that sugar plays and our high sugar diet.


[00:03:00][00:03:30] And let me define sugar for you. Sugar is bread, sugar is pasta, sugar is noodles, sugar is grains, oats, wheat, rye, all of the grains. That includes corn, which of course includes corn chips and includes potatoes and other starches with of course includes potato chips, so if it's white or was white, essentially don't put it in your mouth unless it's cauliflower. That's probably the healthy white thing that we can put in our mouth. Maybe a little jicama, but essentially we need to avoid grains and starches like the plague.


Alzheimer’s is Preventable/Reversible

[00:04:00][00:04:30] If you go on the internet, Alzheimer's. Not preventable, irreversible and all of that is simply not the truth. Alzheimer's is absolutely preventable. Alzheimer's is reversible up to stage five. There's seven stages of Alzheimer's. Even stage six we can hold the line and prevent progression. Stage five, we can roll Alzheimer's back and regain some of that memory. Alzheimer's is absolutely preventable and is to a significant degree reversible.


Diet is #1

[00:05:00][00:05:30][00:06:00] Well, diet is your number one thing. Diet is critical. We briefly mentioned that when we talked about being another name is diabetes type three, so avoiding sugar and sugar spikes. Sugar spikes cause Alzheimer's, sugar spikes cause diabetes, sugar spikes cause cancer. Not singularly, but one of the factors, so what is a sugar spike? Sugar spike is when we eat a certain substance and it spikes the blood sugar more than 20 points. This is critical in my treatment for Alzheimer's patients and cancer patients and in preventing aging. Everything that I do. I actually tell my patients, "Go to the local pharmacy and get the blood sugar meter." Check your blood sugar, eat the bowl of whatever you were going to eat. Quinoa or corn or potatoes or fruit or whatever. Set your timer for 20 minutes and check your blood sugar again. If your blood sugar went up over 20 points, you can't eat that. That's causing a sugar spike. Sugar spikes cause damage everywhere from the brain, to the pancreas to our little bitty blood vessels, our capillaries, nerves, feeding cancer cells. Sugar spikes or one of the unhealthiest things that we can do in life.



[00:08:30][00:09:00][00:09:30] Fasting is a health practice. It is not just a spiritual practice, which I encourage that too, but it is an amazing health practice. So what does that look like on a daily basis? We should be fasting for 16 to 18 hours without food. On a monthly basis, a three day fast, water only and you say, "Oh I can't do it.", Yes you can, yes you can. Diabetics can do it, and anyone can do this. You have to set your mind to it and be firmly intentional. Water only fast, preferably 72 hours, but no less than 48 hours. And again, lots of fluids because you are purging things and you want to have a good wash out. Fasting is very important for keeping a healthy mind, keeping a healthy body.


Healthy Mediterranean Diet

We talked about elimination of starches and grains. Mediterranean diet? We have always wondered how the French, the Italians, the Greeks could drink like fish and smoke like fiends and have less cardiac disease than we could. Well they are eating a healthy diet.


[00:10:00] They are eating fresh greens or lots of olive oil and they are eating fish and not so many red meats. They are eating a lot of healthy things. Peas, you know they are having nuts, they are doing healthy foods, so look up a Mediterranean diet and that is really where we should be focused as far as diet. The fresher the food, the better so you want fresh food. You want organic for sure. You don't want to eat artificial chemicals, or fertilizers, or pesticides and absolutely no GMOs. GMOs are pesticides that have been incorporated into the food to kill animals, preferably insects, but you're an animal in that sense on a physiological basis so you're taking these toxins that are made to kill animals into your body and they're damaging you, so GMOs are an absolute non-star. Avoid those like the plague also.



[00:11:00][00:11:30] Hydration is critical. People don't comprehend it. First of all, you're washing out toxins nicely but for DNA to happen ... All day long our cells are making DNA. Well, DNA looks like a rubber band wad inside of a cell and inside of a nucleus and inside of the mitochondria, and it literally has to unfold and string out for it to be copied to create new structure, to create whatever the body is creating, the cell is creating from that DNA. Then after it gets translated, it wads back up. If things are dehydrated, it's compressed in there. It can't untangle itself and so it needs ... Liquid is a medium in which everything happens in the body, so it has to be unable to untangle and then after ...


[00:12:00][00:12:30] The body is small factories. Cells are small factories so after they manufacture their stuff, there's waste products. We don't have a little blood vessel coming from every cell so that the cell throws the thrash right outside the door which is not a good situation. That's carried off by the lymph fluid. People don't understand what lymph fluid is. It's waste from cellular debris and that gets carried back into the blood system and recirculated, so we need lots of fluid for inside of the cell, for outside of the cell to dispose of waste products so hydration is critical.


[00:13:00][00:13:30] You want to hydrate with healthy water so that is absolutely not tap water. That's not water in plastic bottles which is mostly tap water if you do the research and now it's set in plastic for weeks or months with all the chemicals in plastic. Freshwater that's cleansed with activated charcoal and other substances preferably right in your own home and stored in glass. I use a glass bottle if I'm going outside or away traveling to put my freshwater in. Slightly alkaline, mineralized critical, critical. If you're going to have reverse osmosis water, you have to have re-mineralization on there because the life of the water is minerals. That's how everything works inside our body is minerals. Minerals, minerals. Muscles can't work without minerals. Electrolytes, the nerves can't work without minerals. We can't even make adrenaline, or cortisol, or mineralocorticoids, any of those without minerals so minerals is a critical element, so we've got to have all of those things.


Healthy Fats

[00:14:00][00:14:30] Healthy fats, again, I briefly mentioned EPA, and DHA, and fish. Avocados are a great source of healthy oil. I personally drink three to four ounces of extra virgin olive oil a day. In the afternoon when I start getting a little brain fog, I will take extra virgin coconut oil because it is brain food. You can feed your brain directly. Your brain can burn those medium-chain triglycerides so there's ... Healthy fats are critical. We've been told to stay away from fat and that is deadly. Fats are not only essential for life, they're primary fuel sources and there couldn't be anything healthier than healthy fats.


Diet: Vegetables, Nuts, and Low-glycemic Fruits

[00:16:30][00:17:00] The diet looks like vegetables is number one. Number two is vegetables and number three is vegetables. Then we can talk about nuts, low glycemic fruits. Just go online and look at low glycemic index fruits. So many fruits today are bred for sugar content because that's what we crave in America. We crave sugar and that's what our taste buds have been raised on. Look at a glycemic index of fruits and you can eat a low glycemic index fruits but avoid the high glycemic index fruits. Avoid sweet. Avoid corn sugar. Avoid sugars of all sorts. That's what the low carb diet looks like in a nutshell. No pun intended.



[00:17:30] Exercise is another one of those critical elements for the brain, for the body. There has never been a study done on exercise that showed it any detriment and any study that I've ever read showed an improvement in whatever it was from Alzheimer's to heart disease to arteriosclerosis to diabetes. There is nothing that exercise doesn't help.


[00:18:00][00:18:30] What does exercise look like? That looks like 30 minutes a day preferably, absolutely not less than 30 minutes three times a week, of relatively intense exercise. For instance, there was a recent study that came out that men that had prostate cancer has 60% less progression if they had vigorous exercise for 30 minutes or more for three times a week. Vigorous part of that equation so getting your heart rate up to 150 if you're under 50, 140 if you're over 60, 130 if you're 70. That heart rate goes down as we age a little bit. Getting your heart rate up nicely sustained for a significant period of time at least 30 minutes at a bare minimum of three times a week is critical.


Lymphatic System

[00:19:00][00:19:30][00:20:00] I mentioned lymph a few minutes ago. People don't understand what lymph is. We have a vascular system. We have arteries and veins and that's one continuous system. Then we have lymphatic vessels. Well, okay. What is that? Lymphatic vessels are actually an open-ended vascular system. It just ends out there in the tissues, the muscles, the glands. Then it forms into vessels. It has no muscles in the wall so lymph doesn't move unless you move. Remember what lymph is? Lymph is waste material. If you've ever been in a city with a garbage strike, it only takes about three days for everybody to cave in because it really becomes a health hazard very rapidly. Our cells are throwing the garbage right outside the cells. It's being carried off by the lymph. You do not want that garbage right around the cells. It's toxic stuff. Nice medical term, stuff. That lymph only gets carried away with adequate amounts of hydration and movement because it's the muscles, it's the organs. When you move, it squeezes the lymph. Now, the lymph vessels do have valves to prevent it from backflowing into the tissues, but you've got to squeeze it up to the next valve and up to the ... Motion is critical. Exercise is critical to health in every realm from the brain to the heart to the organs to the muscles, and so exercise absolutely cornerstone.



[00:21:00] Supplements; let's go over some supplements, because there are a number of supplements to help prevent aging of the brain and the body, keeping things fresh, alive, new. We talked about DHA, EPA, and that's essentially fish oil. If you're eating a fish or two every day, then you're probably getting enough. That presents its own set of problems because of all the mercury that we've dumped into the water, so if you're eating that much fish, you need to be taking EDTA or DMPS or DMSA to help remove heavy metals.


[00:22:00][00:22:30][00:23:00] Then, as far as nutraceuticals, so I talked about DHA, APA. Then, there's benfotiamine, which is pretty amazing at removing heavy metals and as a longevity agent; EGCG, which is green tea extract, Alzheimer's prevention, cardio preventive, prevention of diabetes, a truly significant agent for anti-aging; magnesium L-threonate, the form of magnesium that crosses the blood-brain barrier much easier, because we are mostly magnesium deficient in our society; N-acetyl cysteine; alpha-lipoic acid, amazing ACDC antioxidant. It can be water soluble or fat soluble. Most antioxidants are either fat or water soluble, but this is a go anywhere, do anything antioxidant. PQQ. Hormones, as we age, our hormones diminish, so testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, bioidentical only and probably in lesser doses than we're frequently getting. The body can do a lot with a little, always. Berberine, which is, I think, Oregon grape root, another one of those amazing basic substances. B vitamins, of course. We all need those in significant quantities.


[00:23:30][00:24:00][00:24:30] As we age, if you're over 50, if you're over 60, certainly, probably at the end of the meal, you should be taking betaine or hydrochloric acid, because we lose digestive, a lot of digestive ability because we don't have enough acid in our stomach to help digest the protein. We do need that temporarily ... People don't understand why we have acid. One of the reasons we have acid in the stomach is it's actually a waste product. As we metabolize all day long, we're making acid. The stomach is actually an organ of excretion to dispose of excess acid waste, because it's making bicarbonate to buffer the acid in our systems all day. If you make alkaline substance, you have to make an acid substance, so the pancreas makes alkali and puts it in the bloodstream and then secretes the acid through the stomach, and so this is a, it's a dual organ, but it's also useful in the initial phase of digesting food. Then, it has to go out. We've got to have a lot of alkalinity there.


[00:25:00][00:25:30][00:26:00] Other things, especially for Alzheimer's, like lion's mane, a great nutraceutical; huperzine A, which is an extract; avena sativa, which is a wild oat extract; curcumin. Back to that anti-inflammatory thing, so many of the processes that cause Alzheimer's, that cause cancer, that cause plaque in the arteries ... The problem with plaquing in the arteries, coronary arteries leading to heart attacks and carotid arteries leading to strokes, the problem has never been cholesterol. Lowering the cholesterol is the wrong thing. It's putting out the fire after the fire's lit. Let's stop the fire. The fire is inflammation. What we've got to do is stop inflammation. Then, cholesterol, we need cholesterol. If you don't have enough cholesterol, your liver will literally make cholesterol. Cholesterol is not the problem, and by lowering your cholesterol too much, you can get aging of the brain, and you can cause your sex hormones to be lower, because cholesterol is a primary building block, structural block for cell, so we do not want to lower cholesterol too much.




[00:26:30][00:27:00] What we want to do is stop inflammation. Your natural agents for doing that are curcumin and SAMe, capital S, capital A, capital M, small e; berberine, that I'd already mentioned; honokiol. There's a number of great agents for lowering inflammation naturally, and I take all of those every day, because inflammation is a key cause of disease and aging. Blueberry extract, and I eat wild blueberries most every day. Phosphatidylserine is an amazing substance to help prevent brain aging and Alzheimer's. Pregnenolone is another one of those key substances, vinpocetine, ashwagandha, an Indian Ayurvedic herb, super, super important.