Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

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January 24, 2005

Alzheimer's: New Treatments But No Prevention Strategy

While we hear that the Johnson & Johnson Alzheimer's drug Reminyl is associated with higher death rates than placebo, a new "scientific breakthrough" is already in the pipeline. By removing plaques in the brains of mice, which in humans are normally associated with Alzheimer's disease, it seems that some of the nerve damage which is characteristic of the disease, may have been reverted as well. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine are claiming as much, as recently reported by BBC.

Alzheimer's is a largely age-dependent disease. According to the same BBC article, it is estimated that 2% to 5% of people over 65 years of age and up to 20% of those over 85 years of age have Alzheimer's telltale signs.

There is no advice on how to prevent the disease from developing in the first place. "The cause of the disease is not known", we are told and medicine is doing what is possible to find a cure. Huh? The cause is not known and we are talking about a cure?

This seems to be one of the cases where the cause is one of the "unspeakables", one of those things we happily go along doing, poisoning our environment and our bodies in the process.

Canadian medical geographer Dr. Harald Foster provides the goods. His most recent work "What really causes Alzheimer's disease" can be downloaded in PDF format for free from Foster's site. Anyone at risk of developing the disease or who already has it, would be well advised to get a copy and read. Foster tells us which contaminants to avoid and what options to consider for preventing and even reversing the formation of destructive plaques and neurofibrillary tangles that inhibit brain function.

While toxic aluminium does accumulate in the brain and is known to cause nerve damage, there seem to be a number of contributing factors, such as impaired detox mechanisms and missing minerals in foods, notably magnesium, which predispose us to the disease.

Foster discusses what happens in the brain to cause loss of myelin tissue, and which minerals are missing from our western diet, worsening the problem. He points to a possible preventive strategy, but in the end, it is our own choice. Is is our health going to be more important to us than industrial production including the attendant pollution?

- - -


There is currently a global Alzheimer’s pandemic involving tens of millions of victims. In the USA alone, the number of those affected is expected to reach 14 million by 2050.1 This suffering and the financial costs associated with it are unnecessary. Alzheimer’s disease is caused by aluminum and is particularly common in those carrying the APO E4 allele(s), who are more susceptible to this toxic metal because they are less capable than the general population of removing brain beta-amyloid and tau proteins. As a consequence, such individuals are at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, as these abnormal proteins build up in the brain and form neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Naturally, this process occurs more often and most rapidly in regions that promote the deposition of beta-amyloid and tau. Such “harmful” environments are those in which drinking water is acidic, high in monomeric aluminum, and lack magnesium, calcium, and silicic acid. Under these circumstances, aluminum enters the brain and impairs various enzymes, including choline acetyltransferase, calcium/calmodulin kinase II, alkaline phosphatase, and phospholipase
A2. The result of this process is the abnormal brain pathology seen in Alzheimer’s disease patients and the disrupted biochemistry associated with it. In an earlier publication,2 I called this explanation of the downward spiral, known as Alzheimer’s disease, Foster’s Multiple Antagonist Hypothesis.

Retrogenesis, the loss of abilities in cognition, coordination, behaviour, language, and feeding in the reverse order that they were acquired, occurs in Alzheimer’s disease. This is, in part, because aluminum inhibits at least three membrane-bound enzymes, Na+K+ ATPase, acetylcholinesterase, and, most interestingly, the myelin-specific enzyme 2’3’-cyclic nucleotide phosphohydrolase.3 As a result, it can cause rapid thinning of the myelin sheath4 and increase its susceptibility to oxidative stress.5 It seems very likely that these destructive processes are linked to demyelinization and so to associated retrogenesis.

The APO E4 allele plays a key role in promoting Alzheimer’s disease because of the inefficiency with which those possessing this genetic aberration can remove brain beta-amyloid and tau.6 Genetically, however, there is more to Alzheimer’s disease than the APO E4 gene. To date, four genes have been identified as playing a role in either early- or late-onset Alzheimer’s disease: beta-amyloid precursor protein, presenilin-1, presenilin-2, and apolipoprotein E genes.7 Workers have linked most of these variants to familial early-onset Alzheimer’s, but the apolipoprotein E4 allele is a relatively common risk factor for developing late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.8

Considerable progress has been made in interpreting the significance of such genetic variants. To illustrate, mutations in the presenilin-1 gene seem associated with increased superoxide production and greater vulnerability to amyloid beta peptide toxicity.9 Interestingly, mutations in the presenilin genes, which are linked to more than 40 percent of all familial Alzheimer’s cases, cause enhanced production of an abnormal form of beta-amyloid precursor protein.10 This protein is longer than normal, aggregates more rapidly, kills neurons in culture more effectively, and precipitates preferentially to form amyloid plaques. The same elongated protein also is produced as a result of mutations in the gene encoding beta-amyloid precursor protein.

The literature suggests, therefore, that the gene variants that predispose to both early- and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease do so because they either increase susceptibility to, or mimic, aluminum-related degenerative processes. That is, the genetic mutations involved in promoting the development of Alzheimer’s disease duplicate some of aluminum’s deleterious impacts on the brain and, in so doing, encourage at least one of the following: the growth of neuritic plaques or neurofibrillary tangles, excessive free radical formation, and/or higher neural oxidative stress. Consequently, unfortunate individuals carrying any one of the genetic variants are much more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, even if they are not exposed to the aluminum excess, or to the vitamin and mineral deficiencies, that are normally associated with its etiology.

Alzheimer’s disease incidence appears to be rising faster than the population is aging. Obviously, such an increase cannot be due to any genetic cause. One does not have “epidemics” of genetic diseases, simply because the human genome does not change rapidly enough to trigger them. If, as the evidence strongly hints, Alzheimer’s disease is becoming generally more common, it must be because the “harmful environments” that trigger it are now more widespread. There is no doubt that, globally, soils and water are becoming more acidic and, consequently, aluminum more soluble. Throughout the 20th and early 21st centuries, as a result of expanding fossil fuel consumption, ever increasing quantities of sulphur and nitrogen were emitted into the atmosphere. Here they were converted into sulphuric and nitric acids, elevating the acidity of subsequent precipitation.11 Such acid rain has caused extensive damage to the environment at local, regional, and even global scales. It has been particularly problematic in northern and central Europe, eastern North America, and eastern China where it has been associated with many health costs.12 Simultaneously, commercial fertilizers have been used with increasing frequency. These consist predominantly of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. As a consequence of heavy crop yields, agricultural soils have been depleted of several minerals that are important for human health, including calcium and magnesium.

To illustrate, Marier and coworkers,13 in Water Hardness, Human Health and the Importance of Magnesium, have pointed out how this mineral is becoming less and less common in the food we eat because of the fertilizers used in the “Green Revolution.” Food processing and cooking also remove minerals from food, and packaging and canning often add aluminum to it. As a result, most of the populations of the Western World appear to be very magnesium and often calcium deficient.14-15

Simply put, drinking water is becoming more acidic, and so aluminum is more soluble, foodstuffs contain fewer minerals as the result of commercial fertilizers, and many of the remaining minerals are removed by processing and cooking. We are creating, therefore, “harmful environments” that allow aluminum to reach the human brain more easily, where it then inhibits numerous crucial enzymes. It is not surprising that the highest known Alzheimer’s disease mortality rates in the world occur in southern Norway.16 This is because the region’s drinking water is being made highly acidic by polluted rainfall, lacks calcium and magnesium because of the local geology, and contains high levels of aluminum.17 From a scientific point of view, all these risk factors, with the exception of genetic inheritance, are relatively simple to mitigate. Alzheimer’s disease, in theory, therefore, is easy to avoid. There is no need for a pandemic, or the $100 billion annual loss that it causes in the USA alone. Theoretically, it should be a relatively simple matter to pass legislation reducing levels of aluminum in, and promoting the addition of calcium, magnesium, and perhaps silicic acid to, drinking water. It would seem to be in the best interest of every government to save the billions of dollars spent in caring for Alzheimer’s disease victims. Unfortunately, politics is rarely so logical. Not only do governments show little interest in increasing the magnesium content of drinking water, they routinely allow the use of aluminum sulfate as a flocculant by water treatment plants. This additive reduces the amount of sediment in the water supply, but simultaneously greatly increases levels of dissolved aluminum, especially if the water is acidic.18

The western diet promotes Alzheimer’s disease in three distinct ways. Firstly, it tends to be deficient in calcium and magnesium,19-20 making those who eat it very susceptible to aluminum toxicity. Secondly, many foods are canned, wrapped, and/or cooked in aluminum. The more acid the food, the more easily it dissolves this metal. Thirdly, maltol is added to many processed foods in an attempt to “improve” flavour. This additive facilitates the passage of aluminum through the blood-brain barrier. There can be little doubt also that the typical western diet is too low in many minerals. Consider, for example, magnesium. This occurs at relatively high levels in unrefined whole grain cereals and in green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, lentils, beans, and peas.21 However, farmers do not routinely add magnesium to soils, so its levels are often relatively depleted in their crops. Since it is fairly soluble, food processing and cooking also often can greatly reduce magnesium levels in foods.

To illustrate, the milling of whole grain lowers the magnesium content to only 20 percent of that initially present. Processing further reduces it, so that while one slice of whole wheat bread provides 24 milligrams of magnesium, a slice of white bread contains only 6 milligrams.22 For such reasons, dietary intakes of magnesium have been declining for at least 100 years in the USA, falling from about 500 mg to 175-225 mg per day. Fortunately, there is a great deal that individuals can do to reduce their chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease. For most of those reading this book, the average day will begin with a shower. If the water used is acidic and deficient in calcium and magnesium, it is possible that it will be a source of aluminum that enters the body through the pores and nose. This exposure to aluminum is more likely if the water supplier uses aluminum sulfate as a flocculant to remove sediment. Once dried off, most readers will smear their bodies with a layer of aluminum provided by antiperspirants and deodorants.23 How much of this aluminum passes through the skin into the body is unclear, but McGrath24 has argued that underarm shaving and frequent use of antiperspirants and deodorants appear to be linked to an early age of breast cancer diagnosis. British researchers25-26 have provided evidence to support the feasibility of McGrath’s hypothesis, reporting traces of parabens in every sample of tissue taken from 20 different breast tumours. Parabens are chemicals used in deodorants and other cosmetics that can mimic estrogen. The hormone estrogen is known to encourage breast tumour growth. Clearly, parabens can enter the body from deodorants and it is likely that aluminum can do the same. Deodorants with a herbal base do not
usually contain these toxins.

Then comes breakfast. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate are usually made with water from the tap. It is important not to use soft, acidic water which is likely to contain monomeric aluminum. Most water supply companies will provide chemical analyses, allowing the assessment of the aluminum, calcium, and magnesium content of their product. If not, private companies can conduct such analyses relatively cheaply. If colas or fruit juices are drunk, they are likely to have come from cans. These are typically made of aluminum. The longer the drink has been in the can, the higher the aluminum levels in it are likely to be.27 In addition to any aluminum it contains, hot chocolate is often “enhanced” with maltol, so increasing the likelihood that this metal will reach the brain. Similarly, tea brewed in acidic water or flavoured with lemon juice contains significantly higher levels of bioavailable aluminum than normal.28 After breakfast comes lunch, dinner, and a variety of snacks. Junk food, because it is so heavily processed, is usually a very poor source of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. As previously pointed out, the average British and North American diet contains less than half the calcium and magnesium required to avoid the associated deficiency illnesses, including Alzheimer’s disease. The most effective way to address this problem is to eat many of the mineral enriched foods. These include salmon, sardines, broccoli, spinach, and bok choy, for example, which are all high in calcium.29-30 Pumpkin seeds, almonds, Brazil nuts, and whole grain brown rice are good sources of magnesium.31

Certain supplements, especially mineral ascorbates, also are excellent sources of both calcium and magnesium. Alacer Corporation, Foothill Ranch, California, a company with which I have no financial associations, provides excellent mineral ascorbate products. One tablet of Super-Gram II, for example, contains 4 percent of calcium and 8 percent of
magnesium recommended daily allowance. Emer’gen-C is a fizzing drink mix that is pleasant to take when added to water. It provides 1,000 mg of vitamin C and 32 mineral complexes, including calcium and magnesium. Alacer’s products were used in the joint Committee on World Health and Russian research projects that produced a marked reversal of memory loss in the elderly.32-34

If you have been looking for the references to this text, you won't find them here.

You must download the book or order a paper copy from the links provided on Harald Foster's site.

See also:

Alzheimer's in America: The Aluminum - Phosphate Fertilizer Connection

Scan to reveal brain disease clue
A high resolution x-ray scanning technique can look inside a single brain tissue cell. Scientists say it will help to pin down the role of iron and other metals in neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

No "Magic Pill" for Alzheimer's
A recent study reported that many of the commonly used drugs to treat symptoms of patients in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's are ineffective. Results of the study found that antidepressants such as Prozac and mood stabilizers such as Tegretol provided little to no relief for the behavioral problems related to Alzheimer's.

Concerns over Alzheimer's drug
A drug used to treat patients with Alzheimer's disease could actually make their condition worse, a study says. Quetiapine (Seroquel) is commonly used in nursing homes to combat agitation, a common symptom of Alzheimer's. But research by Institute of Psychiatry experts in the British Medical Journal online suggests it could significantly speed up the rate of patients' decline.

Marijuana may block Alzheimer's
The active ingredient in marijuana may stall decline from Alzheimer's disease, research suggests.

Gene study suggests vitamin E helps block Alzheimer's

Drugs Found Not to Work for Alzheimer's

Folic acid 'cuts dementia risk'
Eating plenty of folic acid - found in oranges, lemons and green vegetables - can halve the risk of Alzheimer's disease, a study has suggested. US National Institute on Aging experts monitored diets over seven years. They found adults who ate the daily recommended allowance of folates (B vitamin nutrients) had a reduced risk of the disease.


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Monday January 24 2005
updated on Friday September 26 2008

URL of this article:


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Mercury: Toxic Amalgam 'Unsuitable for Dental Restoration'
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Here's some indication that alzheimer's disease may have causation from Chlamydia pneumoniae bacteria. I figured sooner or later, they would find some type of bacterial or viral underpinning (or both). Hopefully these findings will incite additional research on this condition. Best wishes, Char Common Bacteria Linked To Alzheimer's Disease 3-22-4 (HealthDayNews) -- There's a link between the common respiratory bacteria Chlamydia pneumoniae and amyloid plaques found in the brains of... [read more]
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Readers' Comments

Thank you for this information. Just wondering -- has anyone ever tried electroshock therapy as a treatment for Alzheimer's Disease? I know that there has been success with this for depression.

Thank you!

Marybeth Greifendorf (daubhter of Alzheimer patient)

Posted by: Marybeth Greifendorf on December 11, 2007 11:00 AM


Hello Marybeth,

there are three other articles on this site that deal with various nutrients that may help in Alzheimer's:

Tryptophan, Niacin Protect Against Alzheimer's

Vitamin B12 Prevents Alzheimer's, Depression

Something definitely to avoid seem to be statin drugs (cholesterol lowering drugs):

Lipitor Neurological Side Effect: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Alzheimer's

I have not heard of anyone using electroshock on Alzheimer's. It would seem strange to do so, because electroshock is known to cause memory trouble, and I don't think that people with Alzheimer's need that. Also, I am personally opposed to electroshock as a violent mode of treatment. Here is an article on that as well.

Coercion As Cure: A Critical History Of Psychiatry

Posted by: Sepp on December 11, 2007 04:42 PM


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The Individual Is Supreme And Finds Its Way Through Intuition


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

These articles are brought to you strictly for educational and informational purposes. Be sure to consult your health practitioner of choice before utilizing any of the information to cure or mitigate disease. Any copyrighted material cited is used strictly in a non commercial way and in accordance with the "fair use" doctrine.



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