Highlights from Jonathan Otto's interview with Dr. Ben Johnson, for the Depression & Anxiety Series. Dr. Johnsons talks about Alzheimer's and dementia, how to test for it, and how to use science to our advantage. He recommends getting blood panels done to know your current standing. He believes in a strong lifestyle intervention to reverse/prevent Alzheimer's and dementia, including fasting and exercise.
[00:08:00] We do want to be scientific, so there is testing that we should do, especially if you've got a relative that has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, with dementia. So there are some tests that we should be doing. So we should all know if we have the APOE3 gene. And so if you've got that, then you really need to be paying attention. We need to be watching inflammatory markers. So looking at those and blood work. We need to know our vitamin D levels, vitamin B levels, especially B-12. So there are things that we need to know that we can get a scientific reading on. And so just … we don't want to ignore science. We want to use the science that we have available to us and get those blood markers so that we can know where we're at.
[00:08:30] But truly, what we need to do for Alzheimer's and dementia is what we need to be doing for life extension, what we need to be doing if we have cancer, if we have diabetes. So it's a life-extension lifestyle is what it truly is. And so a lot of those things are really simple. We need to be fasting for at least 14 hours overnight daily. So figure out when you eat dinner or when you eat breakfast, and 16 hours would be better, but at least a minimum of 14 hours without food. That allows your body to balance out the blood sugars. It allows your bowel to rest, to restore, because it needs down time, too.
[00:09:30] Fasting. And then recommend fasting for at least 48 hours monthly. So I just set aside the first and second day every month, otherwise my fasting gets lost someplace in the month, and I don't get it done. So wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, the first and second day of every month, I fast for 48 hours. And that's a water fast only, not a juice fast. A water fast. And yes, you can do it. I don't care if you're diabetic. I don't care if you're what. You can fast for 48 hours. You have to, number one, decide that you're going to do that.
[00:10:00] [00:10:30] Number two, fasting. I kind of do that in the Biblical day, if you would. So evening, breakfast, dinner is one day. So sundown was the end of a day Biblically, and started the next day. And so I'll skip dinner, breakfast, lunch, and then dinner, breakfast, lunch. And then I'll eat on the second day. So that's my fast. My 48 hour fast. Longer fasts are beneficial. You need to pay attention and understand fasting, stomach shrinkage, and how to break a fast if you're going to go longer than 48 hours. But you can fast for 48 hours without changing much of anything.
[00:11:00] So water only. Lots of water because your body's going to be detoxing, breaking down cells, a normal process that we call apoptosis where it's getting rid of cells that need to die off.
[00:12:00] Exercises. 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. I just get it done. Every morning I roll out of bed, I do 30 minutes of exercise, try to get my heart rate up to 150 at least 4 times during that 30 minutes. If you're a little older, you may want to shoot for a target of 130. You can certainly check with your physician and see what's appropriate for you. But that daily exercise, critical in slowing aging, reversing aging.
[00:12:30] [00:13:00] And don't forget to exercise your mind. We know that crossword puzzles, reading, studying, learning, new learning, critical because you're trying to create those pathways. So think of trails in the woods or out in the grasslands. If you don't walk on a trail, it grows over, and you lose it. But if you keep using that trail, then it stays clear. And so we have to keep using those pathways in our brains to keep them working. And the more we use them, the more connections they have. There are also supplements, things we can add to our diet to help those connections stay strong. But using them is the first and foremost thing in keeping those pathways active. And we can actually create pathways.
[00:13:30] When I went through medical school, I was taught you're going to have all the brain cells you're ever going to have. Can't grow new brain cells. Absolutely not true. We grow new brain cells every day.