Dr. Mary Newport helped turn around her husband's Alzheimer's symptoms with the addition of coconut oil into his diet. She wrote a book on the experience called 'Alzheimer's Disease: What if There Was a Cure?' Here she talks about research being done into potential causes of Alzeheimer's, including one that is in many of the foods you may be eating on a daily basis. Are you eating these potential Alzheimer's Causes?
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Interviewer: In your book you talk about causes for Alzheimer's...
Mary T. Newport, MD: Mm-hmm.
Interviewer: ...and earlier, you mentioned that a lot of times, it's 10 to 20 years prior to symptoms that things start happening. Do we know what...
Dr. Newport: Mm-hmm.
Interviewer: ...some of the causes might be yet or to have a good handle on it?
Dr. Newport: Yeah, yeah. There are all kinds of ideas out there. It could be more than one thing.
Dr. Newport: It's probably more than one thing. One that has really kind of caught my eye is a problem of nitrites and nitrates in foods.
Dr. Newport: This is something that many Americans would be eating with virtually every meal. There's a group at Brown University, and it's basically the same group that coined the term Type 3 Diabetes to describe Alzheimer's Disease. They look at what could cause this insulin deficiency and insulin resistance in the brain, and they found that nitrosamine compounds, which come from nitrites and nitrates in food and drink and tobacco do, in lab animals, at least, cause insulin resistance and insulin deficiency in the brain.
And these are compounds that are found in processed meats like deli meats. It's used as a preservative in other meats. Processed cheeses. White flower has something called thiamine mononitrate. It's a synthetic vitamin that's required, you know, thiamine is required to be put into white flour because it's been stripped of nutrients, basically. But the mononitrate is the part that's a little bit worrisome, and it's in so many packaged foods. It's in anything that contains white flour. Cookies, crackers, bread which most people will have some of that at every meal.
Dr. Newport: Sodium nitrate is used in beers. The manufacturers... not all beers, but certain beers, but you can't find that on the label. Certain hard liquors, like Scotch contain nitrates. So there's a lot of that our there in the diet, and this particular group feels that that could be, potentially, one of the causes of Alzheimer's Disease, so that's one example, and other infections.
In Steve's case, for example, people who eat Apolipoprotein E4 plus are more prone to having fever blisters, and that's a virus called the Herpes Simplex 1 virus, and you see a breakout on the mouth of a person that has this commonly. The virus lives in the nerve and just periodically, you know, there will be an outbreak. But this nerve originates deep in the brain, and it's actually close to the areas where Alzheimer's originates.
So there's a group in England, Dr. Ruth Itzhaki and her group, who have studied this for a number of years, and they feel that, for some people, a herpes simplex virus infection in the brain, you know, that could... that flares up periodically could be the cause of the inflammation and the other pathology that you see in Alzheimer's. So that's another possibility.
People talk about heavy metals, you know, aluminum, mercury...
Dr. Newport: ...different things like that, and I do think that some of these things could be causes or contributors.
Dr. Newport: You know, we're exposed to an awful lot these days...
Dr. Newport: ...in terms of what we eat and what's in the air.
Interviewer: Yeah. Breathe. Mm-hmm.