Reduce chances of Alzheimer’s disease by making healthy choices now

Kali Simmonds
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Question: My mother has Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and I am wondering if there is anything I could be doing to help reduce my own chances of getting the disease?

Answer: There are several factors that increase the incidence of AD including heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Currently, one third of Islanders are obese, not just overweight, and our perception of what constitutes obesity may be skewed and many people assume ‘obese’ is reserved only for those people over 300 lbs.

A body mass index (BMI) over 30 is the classification for obesity and a waist hip ratio above 0.7 in women and 0.9 in men is considered to be above the healthy norm.

Your BMI is your weight in pounds multiplied by 703 divided by your height in inches squared. So a 210 pound person at 5 feet 9 inches is obese. So following a low glycemic index diet like a paleo or stoneage diet is very conducive to protecting yourself againstmthe above risk factors. Taking a concentrated fish oil supplement with at least 500 mg of DHA, B vitamins — especially B3, folic acid, B6 and methyl B12 — are very cardio-protective and have promising research to support their use in prevention and treatment of AD.

While not proven to be causative there is a correlation between aluminum toxicity and the plaques found in AD patients.

So I would err on the side of caution and reduce your consumption of food and beverages from aluminum cans and use deodorant instead of antiperspirant.

Lower vitamin D levels may also be a risk factor so I would recommend supplementing 2000 iu of vitamin D per day and getting vitamin D levels checked once you have been doing that for six months. Specialized form of co-enzyme Q10 known as PQQ, R-lipoic acid (timed release) and resveratrol show potential in being neuro-protective. Exercise and protecting your brain from injury with bike and ski helmets as well as continuing to learn and challenge your brain in new ways are all helpful.

Queston: My hair has been thinning generally all over for the past year to the point that my hairdresser has noticed and my husband complaining about it clogging the bathtub drain. I am very stressed about this and am wondering if you can offer any insight/solutions?

Answer: There are several things that I would rule out including thyroid hormone levels, sex hormone deficiency, low ferritin (iron stores), fungal infection on the scalp, drug side effects and stress.

Changes in texture of your hair could also provide clues as to the cause of the hair loss. Hair does take time to grow back so I think if you are seeing new growth once the loss slows down as far as what is in your brush/tub you would feel reassured.

While certain shampoos may not hurt you I wouldn’t spend too much time expecting a shampoo to fix your problem unless it is an antifungal shampoo used for fungal infections. In your case I would make the point of getting a consultation with your MD, but also an ND. While there is a commonality in the approach of an MD and an ND there are differences in their training. Most health plans cover naturopathic medicine.

Kali Simmonds, ND is a doctor of naturopathic medicine who practices in Charlottetown. The information provided is not intended to diagnose or substitute the advice of your healthcare professional. Please consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes. She welcomes questions for this column, which is published every second Tuesday in The Guardian. She can be reached by mail at 34 Queen St., Charlottetown, C1A 4A3 or by email at

Geographic location: Charlottetown, The Guardian

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