Stop Alzheimer’s Now!
By Bruce Fife, ND
Piccadilly Books, Ltd., 2011
I was privileged to receive a free copy of this book and became absorbed in its easy-to-understand, yet dense explanation of the prevention, and even in some cases, reversal of several of our most devastating neurodegenerative disorders.
Dr. Fife not only discusses Alzheimer’s disease, but also covers Parkinson’s, ALS, multiple sclerosis, and other neurodegenerative disorders such as epilepsy. He documents celebrities for whom help comes too late: Charlton Heston, Rita Hayworth, Michael J. Fox, and other popular personalities who have unfortunately either succumbed to or continue to face the challenges of living with these degenerative disorders. We know that neither money nor fame can bring about prevention or reversal of these frightening conditions. Dr. Fife, however, outlines a possible way out of disaster if we start early enough to intercept these diseases before they become irreversible.
To begin with, Dr. Fife addresses premature aging and neurodegeneration, covering aspects that cause these conditions. Fife presents new information for readers, including details about free radicals, Advanced Glycation End Products, and Dietary Advanced Glycation End Products. These substances, called AGEs, are everywhere in our diets, and yes, even in so-called healthy diets. Something I did not know until I read this book is that AGEs form not only inside our bodies but outside them as well. When you roast a chicken in the oven, you are creating glycated proteins in the browned chicken skin. When proteins and sugars are cooked together at high temperatures in the absence of water, AGEs are formed. This and much more on AGEs is thoroughly covered.
Dr. Fife clearly explains that abnormal proteins and plaque tangles are characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease and first develop in the hippocampus, a structure deep in the brain that helps to encode memories, and in areas of the cerebral cortex that are essential in thinking and making decisions.
We are all now aware of the devastating effects of chronic inflammation. Dr. Fife notes that in postmortem analysis, inflammation always appears to be present in the brains of those who die of neurodegenerative disorders. Chronic inflammation may even contribute to the problem, but it is not the cause of neurodegeneration. Fife challenges us with several questions: What causes inflammation? What causes oxidative stress? What disrupts glucose metabolism? He claims that while genetics may play a role in some cases, by far the major influences involve a combination of diet, trauma, drugs, stress, toxins and infection. Dr. Fife covers each of these issues and more in extraordinary detail, providing many useful visual aids to help us understand this complex subject.
The keynote portion of the book is centered on how we can prevent or reverse these disorders by using information reaped from Dr. Fife’s now famous studies of one of the most humble, yet power-packed foods known to man: coconut oil. In addition to the excellent information on this single food, Dr. Fife—otherwise affectionately known as “Dr. Coconut”—goes on to integrate its use with the many health benefits associated with the neuroprotective effects of ketones and medium-chain fatty acids in our diet.
Ketones and medium-chain fatty acids are two of the precious substances that cross the brain barrier. Dr. Fife describes the influence of ketones as potent neuroprotective substances that can ease inflammation, oxidative stress, disturbed glucose metabolism and excitotoxicity. Medium-chain fatty acids, which are plentiful in coconut oil, produce more ketones than normal dietary fat composed of long-chain triglycerides, and are more efficiently absorbed and preferentially used by the liver to produce energy in comparison to the more common long-chain fatty acids.
Finally, and quite eloquently I might add, Dr. Fife gives us a complete menu plan, charts, tasty recipes and numerous other “how to” pointers in order to start our journey into the world of prevention or reversal of many of our most dreaded illnesses. This is a wonderfully inspiring book that makes complicated disease processes and chemical interactions comprehensible for the average person. As with his many other books, Dr. Bruce Fife has once again done us a great favor.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Before our readers abandon crispy chicken skin or the occasional barbecued steak, please visit Chris Masterjohn’s blog on AGEs at http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/search/label/AGEs. The evidence indicates that AGEs in food are poorly absorbed and that a number of factors in the WAPF diet offer robust protection: adequate protein, wellrounded intake of vitamins and minerals, raw foods, fruits and vegetables and avoidance of industrial vegetable oils.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2011.