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As we age, Alzheimer's Disease is becoming more and more prevalent. In fact, under the current trend, by the time we're 85, we'll have a 1 in 2 chance of showing signs of this insidious disease. On episode 559 of the 40+ fitness Podcast, Joseph Keon shows us how we can make ourselves more resilient and reduce our risk of dementia, including Alzheimer's Disease. We discuss his book, The Alzheimer's Revolution: An Evidence-Based Lifestyle Program to Build Cognitive Resilience And Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer's Disease.
What's Your Health Blocker?
What's keeping you from losing weight, improving your health, and getting more fit?
You start out great and then bam, something comes along and derails you. Your diet was going great, but that birthday cake on Saturday fired up your sweet tooth.
You were working out every day and you hurt your foot. Your doctor told you to keep off of it for six weeks. Those six weeks have come and gone, and you're still keeping off of it.
Deep down, you know it's not the cake or the injury to blame, right?
It's a mindset block.
And like an invisible wall, each and every time you make progress, you inevitably backslide. Until you address your health blocker, you won't see the success you want and need.
[00:02:14.350] – Allan
Hey, Ras, how are you doing?
[00:02:16.050] – Rachel
Good. How are you today, Allan?
[00:02:17.720] – Allan
I'm doing all right. I got quite a bit of sun this week. Maybe just a little too much, but it's been good. I'm not going to say it's a complete vacation, but I did block time out on my calendar to do things to make sure that I went down the pool and enjoyed myself. Like I said, I got a little too much sun, but that's okay.
[00:02:35.420] – Rachel
That sounds good.
[00:02:35.970] – Allan
It's been a good week. Yeah.
[00:02:37.240] – Rachel
Good up here. We're turning to fall. Things are getting colder. We've got one camp out planned, that's where we're heading this weekend. And two races on the calendar. And then it's going to be winter before we know it.
[00:02:52.610] – Allan
And I'll be in Bocas del Toro. Maybe a little humid, but every day.
[00:02:57.850] – Rachel
That sounds nice. I might need a snowbird sometime down there. That would be awesome.
[00:03:04.700] – Allan
[00:03:05.370] – Allan
I think last week I talked about I'm going to be on that show, that summit, and so that started yesterday.
[00:03:11.470] – Rachel
[00:03:11.840] – Allan
And so if you want to go to that. It's going to be 40 plus fitness ultimate. Just check the show notes for this episode and you can find a link to that summit. It will be in our little hello section of the show notes. But it was a really good conversation I had with her. I think it's going to help a lot of people. So we'll go out there and show her a little bit of love. I think it's a free summit, so you can just go and listen to all the interviews. She should have some good people on the show. It's about longevity and health. So right up the alley of what we're going to be talking about today.
[00:03:36.920] – Rachel
[00:04:34.970] – Allan
Joseph. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:04:37.790] – Joseph
Thank you, Allan. Great to be here with you.
[00:04:40.080] – Allan
I have wanted to cover this topic for so long. When we start talking about aging and some of the bad things that happen with aging, Alzheimer's is kind of right up there. And in my mind, cancer is scary, but, man, this is freaking frightening.
[00:04:53.790] – Joseph
[00:04:54.400] – Allan
And your book is called The Alzheimer Revolution: An Evidence-Based Lifestyle Program to Build Cognitive Resilience and Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease. And just one statistic that I took from the book is that in the next 30 years, one in two people over the age of 85 will have Alzheimer's.
[00:05:13.020] – Joseph
Yes. Staggering, isn't it?
[00:05:14.590] – Allan
It is. So just look at the person sitting next to you right now. One of us has that risk if we live till we're 85. And I think every one of us wants to have a good, long, healthy life, so we've kind of got to start doing some things about it.
[00:05:27.180] – Joseph
Well, and not only that, Allan, there's new reports that have come out showing that Alzheimer's is actually trending to younger and younger populations. So 1 may not need to wait until they're 85. It really can no longer be called a disease of the elderly because it's affecting people in their 50s, in their 40s, even now. So I think a lot of times people think of Alzheimer's, they hear that word and they think old age but we need to be doing things at all ages to reduce our risk of developing it.
[00:05:59.740] – Allan
Yeah. Now, one of the interesting things and you shared this quote in the book and sometimes I just like clue on a quote. I'm like, okay, this is actually a really cool and important quote. And it says “maintaining order rather than correcting disorder is the ultimate principle of wisdom. To cure disease after it has manifest is like digging a well after one feels thirsty or foraging for a weapon when the war has already begun.”
[00:06:26.470] – Joseph
[00:06:26.890] – Allan
And we're in that spot. But this is not new. This is not a new quote that someone just came up with a few days ago. This is 5000 years ago. The Yellow Emperor of China shared this wisdom with the world, with his people, wrote it down. So we have it today. But we really have to do this. We have to start maintaining water.
[00:06:44.670] – Joseph
Absolutely. Yeah. The earlier the better.
[00:06:47.890] – Allan
So when we talk about Alzheimer's disease, I think people know, okay, that's a form of dementia. Stuff happens. Can we get a little bit more technical? Okay. What are these things like amyloid plaques and tau tangles. Tangles and those types of things. What does Alzheimer's look like in the brain?
[00:07:04.680] – Joseph
So Alzheimer's is one of numerous types of dementia. It's the most common. It accounts for about 70% of all the cases that occur. And it's marked by a decline in memory, reasoning, judgment as well as spatial perception. And what happens is there are person who's developed Alzheimer's will increasingly need assistance performing things that you and I take for granted. We call them activities of daily living but these are things like bathing or showering dressing, grooming, preparing and eating a meal. Increasingly these things will be challenging and they'll need somebody to assist with it. Now, what's going on inside the brain that leads to these kinds of changes are very distinct pathological features. And a lot of people have heard about plaques and tangles but here's some more about what they actually are. Amyloid plaques are created by a protein called beta amyloid which basically just starts misbehaving. It folds over on itself sort of like deformed origami and it's very sticky. So it clumps together with other beta amyloid. And so these clumps start forming in between the neuron cells in the brain. And that's what we call the amyloid plaques. The other protein that misbehaves is the protein called tau.
[00:08:27.080] – Joseph
Tau. And tau is on the inside of the neuron and it too starts operating in a dysfunctional manner. And if you look at it microscopically it looks like little balls of thread. Now, as these plaques and tangles spread the brain's own immune system tries to eradicate them and it sends out special cells to do that. And part of that is creating an inflammatory response. And so you get neuroinflammation. And as the neurons get inflamed they enter a state of dysfunction and ultimately die off. So what you have is a loss of brain cells and a loss of synapses, which are the connections in between those brain cells. And with that loss, you have a total loss of volume of the brain, and particularly in a region of the brain we call the hippocampus. And the hippocampus is located deep inside the temporal lobe. And this is really the center of memory in the brain, and it's also part of the brain that enables us to perform spatial navigation. So that's why individuals who are afflicted will have difficulty finding their way around even in their own home at certain stages. Or often they'll get lost in the neighborhood or in a shopping mall and things like that.
[00:09:46.450] – Allan
Or worst case, driving. And there's a Silver Alert. You're driving on the road, you get a warning on your phone or a warning on the sign that you're driving under. There's a silver alert. Look for someone in this car, and we don't know where they are exactly. Yeah, I'm in Mexico right now, and I arrived here right as a 7.5 earthquake.
[00:10:05.490] – Joseph
[00:10:06.020] – Allan
Okay. And yeah, it's scary, but I'm fine. I'm in a car in the middle of the road, just bouncing around a little bit, that kind of thing. We get to the resort I'm staying at for this week, and there was a gentleman and a wife. Everybody was supposed to be outside, but this gentleman could not walk down the stairs. Okay, so the wife was outside. She was really distraught because is, okay, here was her husband of many years, and she had to leave him because she had to leave and get down and tell them they sent some guys up. But it's just that kind of concept of when you start thinking about these things is if we're not taking care of ourselves, we're kind of setting ourselves up for these types of things where we're not able to take care of ourselves, we're not able to take care of other people. Now, you mentioned something that's really important inflammation. Everybody is kind of aware that inflammation has a reasonable purpose in our body, but oxidative stress and inflammation are really kind of so the amyloid plaques and the tau tangles and all the shrinking of the brain, that's the symptom.
[00:11:09.150] – Allan
But the real cause of this is the oxidative stress inflammation, can you kind of talk about that and how our lifestyle because it's the title of the book, evidence based Lifestyle. What's going on? What's that cause effect thing that's going on?
[00:11:23.780] – Joseph
Yeah, I can talk about both inflammation and oxidative stress because they kind of go hand in hand, and as you said, they really ramp up. They're there from the earliest stages of Alzheimer's, even when someone is experiencing kind of the precursor, which is called mild cognitive impairment, all the way to the very end stages of the disease. And as you said, inflammation is important it's a natural defense part of our process of combating pathogens and infectious bacteria. And essentially healing accelerates healing. But that's acute short term inflammation. Lesser to think of having a cut on the back of your hand, you look down and see it gets red, it gets tender and swollen. There's inflammation in there, and that's helping restore that tissue. And ultimately, when the healing has taken place, then the inflammation is signaled to go off. It's the chronic long term inflammation that is injurious to cells that's associated with elevated risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, and certainly Alzheimer's disease. And we know we can look at biomarkers in the blood and we can measure indicators of when elevation is elevated. And when you look at people at midlife, if they have high levels of inflammation, it's often a harbinger of things that are going on in the brain already neuroinflammation, loss of neurons, and some of these characteristic changes we talked about earlier that occur that ultimately lead to dementia.
[00:12:57.840] – Joseph
So there's a way we can address both inflammation and oxidative stress. And I'll tell you a little about oxidative stress because as I say, when you have oxidative stress going on, it boosts inflammation and vice versa. Oxidative stress is a state in the body when there's the production and accumulation of too many of these very unstable molecules that we call free radicals. And they can be likened to a bull in a china shop. Basically, they're bouncing around and damaging cells and tissue, even DNA, and they're certainly contributing to risk of dementia. And our body produces free radicals just as a normal part of metabolism, but when it gets overwhelmed, it can't contend with them. So things like radiation, cigarette smoke, toxins, pesticides, things like this that we ingest or exposed to can ramp up the level of these free radicals that are produced. And eventually the body reaches the point where it says, hey, I can't contend with this. And that's when the damage starts to occur. And it's the same way with inflammation. We can handle the short term inflammation, but it's the chronic long term. So the answer to both of these things is there's a lot we can do.
[00:14:13.400] – Joseph
One of the most important is diet because we know that foods like fruits and vegetables, colorful fruits and vegetables, are loaded with these anti inflammatory substances, or antioxidants everybody's heard that word by now. And these are substances that quench or neutralize the free radicals, so they're not doing the damage to cells in the body. So foods that all these antiinflammatory and antioxidant substances concentrate in foods of plant origin. So we do well by incorporating as much of these plant foods in our diet as possible. There are other things that increase inflammation. Interestingly, if we don't sleep well, inflammation goes up. Diabetes increases systemic inflammation. Alcoholic beverages increase inflammation in the body and particularly in the brain. So we can address some of these other factors high blood pressure. And by addressing those and by making these dietary choices, we can really bring the risk of oxidative stress and excess inflammation down.
[00:15:21.660] – Allan
Yeah, kind of the way you talk about it in the book, which I really like the principle of this case. So you're talking about rust and fire?
[00:15:28.120] – Joseph
[00:15:30.830] – Allan
You could just think about any environment where you're dealing with rust or you're dealing with fire. You don't want that as a chronic existence. And that's what's happening inside our body.
[00:15:39.550] – Joseph
And it's very true. You look at the science of this, how it plays out in the brain, some scientists will actually say, they'll say this brain is on fire. It's an inferno of inflammation and oxidative stress. And so again, what we're trying to do is cool the flames and protect ourselves from the rust, from the degenerative action of these substances.
[00:16:01.860] – Allan
Now to kind of go back to the advice that the Yellow Emperor gave 5000 years ago, prevention is really kind of the key here. Once you have the disease, it moves. It moves at a certain pace. And yes, you might be able to slow the progression, but once you have the disease, you're a little behind the game. So if we're someone who's right now feeling cognitively, okay, but we know we need to do something. We're not living the lifestyle that's necessary for us to live that long, healthy, non-dementia life. I want to talk about some of the prevention. So let's talk about food. Let's dive a little bit deeper into food and how can we approach our food to protect ourselves?
[00:16:38.150] – Joseph
Yeah, there was a really important study that's called the Chicago Health and Aging Project. And what these researchers do is they went into three neighborhoods in Chicago, diverse neighborhoods. And they sat down with the subjects and said, we want to know what you're eating, how much exercise you're getting, how you're living. And they made careful records of that and followed them for a number of years and then watched to see who developed Alzheimer's disease. And they discovered something really important. They found that the people that ate the most of something called saturated fat had more than twice the risk that they'd go on to develop Alzheimer's compared to the individuals who were consuming the least saturated fat. And they also found that those who were consuming the most trans fat had more, almost three times the risk of going on to develop Alzheimer's. So these are two things that everybody can address because saturated fat is really concentrated in foods from animal origin. So meats and dairy. And in the US. When you look at the way we eat, our number one intake of saturated fat comes from cheese and then it's followed by chicken.
[00:17:49.320] – Joseph
So plant foods, fruits and vegetables and legumes are all very low in saturated fat. The exception, of course, is tropical oils. But if we focus on these foods, we're going to slash the amount of saturated fat we're getting. The trans fats used to be in a lot of packaged foods that had something called hydrogenated oil, but that was banned. And so now they're really relegated to foods that have been fried. Things like fried chicken, french fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, donuts, things like that.
[00:18:19.920] – Allan
All the delicious stuff.
[00:18:20.910] – Joseph
Yeah, all the delicious stuff.
[00:18:23.090] – Allan
But honestly, honestly, I say that. I joke. But the reality is, once you start eating a whole food diet, you actually start changing your palate.
[00:18:31.430] – Joseph
[00:18:32.000] – Allan
And strawberry might be one of the most delicious things you've ever eaten when you just start eating whole food and you rediscover the palate that doesn't want the fried stuff.
[00:18:42.970] – Joseph
Exactly. We acclimate to diets that aren't overloaded in sodium or sugar. And discovering new foods, discovering these different flavors that we might not be accustomed to. It can be a wonderful experience just experimenting and learning to prepare some of these meals at home with these protective foods. So we know, studies show that people who consistently get three to four servings of colorful fruits and vegetables in their diet see about a 40% reduction in that age related decline, that cognitive decline, and are much more resilient cognitively and stay sharp. But beyond that, we want that day to day cognitive function, but we want to be also doing everything we can to minimize the likelihood that these pathological changes are going on in the brain. So there are hundreds of anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, and some of these substances actually have been shown to reach in and protect neurons in different ways in the brain. So packing as much of that into the diet is critical.
[00:19:49.860] – Allan
Yes. And one of the cool things about putting more good stuff in, it doesn't feel like you're depriving yourself, because most people will look at a diet and it's saying, well, cut this out, cut that out, cut this out. But the way you're talking about it right now, which I think is a really important thing, is, no, just put more of the good stuff in there and then you don't have as much room for that stuff.
[00:20:11.590] – Joseph
Exactly. And all of the great big long term studies that have been breaking in the last seven to 8, 10 years that are showing these dramatic reductions in risk, it's the same thing. The more plants that are in the diet, the more exercise people are getting. It's very clear what's happening. And so the more that we add in, the more that we populate the diet with color and leafy greens and these protective foods, the better off we're going to be.
[00:20:44.790] – Allan
So let's take that step into exercise. How does exercise help us prevent Alzheimer's?
[00:20:51.170] – Joseph
I was thinking about this the other day just because it's still remarkable how many things exercise addresses with regard to risk for Alzheimer's disease. I mean, it prevents or can reverse, like, ten different risk factors related to dementia. And I devote an enormous chapter to it in the Alzheimer's Revolution.
[00:21:14.280] – Allan
I read the book. I know.
[00:21:15.560] – Joseph
I want to get people excited. When somebody says exercise is good for you, it doesn't get you very excited, right? But when you read about all these different things that are happening, that are protecting, that are serving to protect the brain, it gets exciting. It's like, I want this. I want a dose of this every day. So we know exercise lowers blood pressure and lowers cholesterol levels. It reduces inflammation, it increases our sensitivity to insulin. So we're less concerned with insulin resistance and the risk of developing diabetes, which is a major risk factor for dementia. It actually builds brain matter so people can increase the volume of their hippocampus, the center of memory, in just months of performing regular aerobic exercise. It increases the number of blood vessels that are feeding the hippocampus and other parts of the brain. So you're getting more oxygen, more nutrients to the brain cells. And something that is seldom discussed is that as we age, if we aren't taking these proactive protective steps, generally, by age 65, the average Americans lost about 20% of the oxygen flow to their brain. And so it's like a slow motion kind of choking effect. So anything that we can do to dilate blood vessels, increase blood flow, increase oxygen, transport to the brain is going to be really critical.
[00:22:43.270] – Joseph
There was a study conducted by researchers at Rush University Medical Center, and this is really compelling. They took a group of about 700 people and they fitted them with these little devices called actographs. And it's just something that measures how much activity somebody's getting. And then they sent them out just to live their life as they normally do. They check in with them periodically, and about three and a half years later, they sat down and looked at the total amount of activity all of them were getting. And the people who were in the bottom 10% for physical activity had more than two and a half times the risk that they would go on to develop Alzheimer's compared to those who are in the top 10%. So clearly this is really powerful medicine in terms of preventing dementia.
[00:23:28.570] – Allan
Absolutely. So let's talk about and I want to put these together because in my mind, like brother and sister, if you will, so stress management and sleep. If you're stressed, you don't sleep well. If you don't sleep well, you're stressed. And it's this back and forth thing that just seems to happen. How is stress management and good quality sleep going to help improve our chances against Alzheimer's?
[00:23:51.650] – Joseph
Well, when we're stressed, obviously we don't feel well. One of the things that happens is our levels of a stress hormone called cortisol go up and cortisol constricts blood vessels. So then you have reduced blood flow and oxygen transport to the brain and other parts of the body, but you push blood pressure up as a result. So blood pressure goes up and it's a major risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia. Anything that we can do to help us feel less stressed out. And as you know, we're never going to avoid stress because there are going to be stresses in all of our lives.
[00:24:28.430] – Allan
And you can't stress about stress. That's kind of one of those things, right? You can't lay there in bed like, I can't go to sleep. I got to make myself go to sleep. So this is a harder puzzle for a lot of us to fix, but there's a lot of benefit to really taking the time to structure your life in a way that does manage your risk manage your stress and also help you sleep better.
[00:24:48.570] – Joseph
Yeah, and it's interesting because when we think about it from the standpoint, it's how I'm going to react to the inevitable stressors. I get on the freeway and there all the cars are stopped and I know I've got a 40 minutes trip home that I'm going to sit in this traffic, how am I going to respond? I have Cortisol levels shoot up and my blood pressure go up and these deleterious things happen inside my body and my brain. Or am I going to put on some relaxing music and say, hey, I'm not in control of this?
[00:25:15.210] – Allan
Or 40 plus fitness podcast.
[00:25:17.280] – Joseph
There you go. I learned something on that terribly slow drive home. There are lots of things we can do, and the research is really compelling around things like yoga and tai chi meditation. Each of these things is actually supporting what we call cognitive reserve. It's building and supporting the retention of brain cells and connections to those brain cells, more synapses, so we have a higher level of cognitive function. And so when we practice these things, we know we feel good in the moment. We know we feel good when we're doing them. But the idea is that with practice, it spills over into the periods of time when we're not doing it. So when we do encounter the terrible news, the terrible traffic, whatever the trigger is, we're more likely to remain calm, to not have that negative response. So just making these a part of our program weekly, joining a yoga class, learning how to meditate, studying tai chi, whatever it is, you can do it online, you can do it at your own home, you can do it anywhere. But the science is really showing that it has a tremendous effect in helping protect us from cognitive decline and dementia.
[00:26:36.430] – Allan
Now, last one, I want to talk about, at least from the perspective of prevention, is I kind of feel like there's this tsunami that's starting to really build and more and more people are talking about it. So that's a good thing. But we have these toxins and heavy metals that have been pumping into our environment for a long time now. And despite regulations, despite everything else, it's not going away anytime soon. So we're getting more and more exposed. New stuff is coming on the market. They get rid of an old thing and they're like, okay, we got to get rid of this old thing because we know that's killing people and then they introduce something else. Actually, we find out 10,15 years later was actually even worse. Toxins and heavy metals, let's talk about those.
[00:27:16.150] – Joseph
Yeah, you're absolutely right in that regard. It's actually getting worse. You may have seen just a couple of weeks ago, some assessments found that 85% of Americans are excreting glyphosate in their urine. That's the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup that is in so much of our food today. And pesticides in general are designed to destroy the nervous system of living creatures. So we shouldn't be ingesting them. But unfortunately, they're used rapidly in conventional agriculture. So I always recommend to people, when you have the opportunity to choose organically produced foods, you're going to really minimize your exposure to these kinds of substances. We know that when pesticides get in the body, they trigger inflammation, they trigger oxidative stress and move us more in the direction of risk. So the good news is that studies have consistently shown when people are put on an organic foods diet, their levels of pesticides that are measured in their blood precipitously within two weeks. So the more opportunities we have to make those choices for organics, the better off we are. With regard to the metals, again, this is a huge problem that we don't see them, we don't taste them, we don't smell them.
[00:28:34.570] – Joseph
They're getting in the food chain, they're in our water and some of our supplements and things like that. And a big one for brain health is, of course, mercury. And mercury is a neurotoxin at any level. It creates oxidative stress in the brain, it kills neurons, ramps up inflammation, and the number one source of it today is fish. Unfortunately, fish and shellfish, virtually all of them have some degree of mercury in them and some have very high levels. The predator fish have very high levels of mercury in them. So need or want mercury in the body at all, the best thing we can do is minimize our exposure. Another one's copper. Copper, we need just a tiny amount in our body for our health. And when you exceed that level, this is something that can promote free radicals. And the interesting thing is copper is showing up embedded in those amyloid plaques. And it's unclear whether they're part of instigating them or they have an affinity for the plaque once they're formed. But since they are a promoter of free radicals, we want to minimize our exposure to copper. And a good way to do that is to put a filtration system on under your kitchen sink, your ice cube maker, et cetera, wherever you're drinking water and using it to cook.
[00:29:58.550] – Joseph
Because when water sits in copper pipes, which it does all night long while we're sleeping, the copper leaches into the water, and then when we use the water the next day, we're getting little amounts, but over time it adds up. So copper also was historically added to supplements, but now many supplement manufacturers have come to understand the risk of added copper and they're eliminating it just like added iron, which is being reduced or eliminated from many supplements as well. Another one is aluminum. Aluminum is a neurotoxin. We have no reason to have that in our body. It's coming from water again, so we can filter it from water. There are some things like antacids, which tend to contain aluminum. You can select aluminum free antacids, aluminum free antiperspirants, not deodorant, but the antiperspirants that contain typically choose aluminum free baking powder if you're a baker, because that has it as well. And be cautious about things like frozen pizzas and pancake mixes and muffin mixes because they often contain something called aluminum phosphate. Another source aluminum in the diet. And we got another one that we all read too much about right in the press, lead.
[00:31:16.410] – Joseph
And lead typically comes from drinking water from all lead pipes, and so filtration can get that out. And oddly enough, calcium supplements are contaminated with lead. So you might want to rethink that as well. And there's lead in fish, all these heavy metals, you show up eat fish, cadmium, leg, mercury. So, yeah, that's the metals.
[00:31:39.250] – Allan
Yeah. Now, I didn't put this on the show plan, but I just want to get your opinion. More and more I'm hearing experts and individuals out in the field saying that they feel like Alzheimer's is kind of like type three diabetes. And predominantly because type two diabetes tends to be like almost like not as a precursor, but a very high risk driver. What are your thoughts about is Alzheimer's related to diabetes? Would it be type three diabetes?
[00:32:09.320] – Joseph
I understand why people are making that statement because the association is very strong. We know that when the brain can't access glucose, the brain is an energy hog. It uses 20% of all the energy produced, and if it can't access the glucose, then there's dysfunction, the cells can't function. And so that may be a problem. We know that a lot of people in their seventy's and eighty's who are tested, who have dementia often have blood glucose and insulin levels that are very high, so they're not metabolizing glucose well. I would also say this. There's a lot of ways to arrive at the same place. You can go be a combat veteran, participate in combat and be exposed to an IED, and you can double or triple your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. You can play a few seasons of pro football, and you could substantially increase the risk that you're going to develop Alzheimer's or some form of dementia. And so I don't think we can say that Alzheimer's itself is just entirely focused on our ability to metabolize glucose and sensitivity to insulin. But I think it definitely plays a big role.
[00:33:27.200] – Joseph
We see about doubling of risk for Alzheimer's and people who have diabetes, type two diabetes.
[00:33:32.590] – Allan
Joseph, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are the three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:33:41.870] – Joseph
definitely eating a diet that's chock full leafy greens and fruits and vegetables and legumes and nuts and seeds. That's critical. The exercise we talked about getting 150 minutes of real robust aerobic exercise, critical for all the reasons we touched on. And I also tell people with the exercise, find some other way to inoculate yourself from a negative response to stress, whether it's tai chi or yoga or meditation or a stretching program. Find a way to express yourself creatively. Because we all have those creative juices and we feel better. And when we're being creative, we have positive feelings. We're less likely to experience feelings of anxiety or depression. And so whether it's joining a photography class or painting, sculpting or studying music, taking up a musical instrument or something, and then the final piece I always say to people, we're social creatures and we thrive physically, emotionally, mentally, immunologically when we feel connected, when we have community. And so find ways to get out of your silo, where we all are working and living, and even if it's just getting on the phone or having a zoom call with friends or family members, going out on a walk a couple of times a week, find ways to connect with people.
[00:34:59.950] – Joseph
Join a book club, a choir, go to volunteer.com, just find ways to be with people and feel that connection because it really makes a difference in our long term health.
[00:35:09.860] – Allan
[00:35:10.360] – Allan
So, Joseph, if someone wanted to learn more about your book, The Alzheimer's Revolution and more about you, where would you like for me to send them?
[00:35:18.540] – Joseph
[00:35:30.140] – Allan
You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/559, and I'll be sure to have links there. Joseph, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
[00:35:38.530] – Joseph
Thanks, Allan. It's been a pleasure.
[00:35:46.770] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.
[00:35:47.950] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. What an interesting conversation about Alzheimer's. That is another situation that's certainly getting out of control. I can't believe how fast Alzheimer's is growing in popularity.
[00:36:01.210] – Allan
[00:36:03.090] – Rachel
I know. Yes. And the demographics.
[00:36:05.500] – Allan
Yeah, it's just happening. Like you said, it's happening to younger and younger people.
[00:36:08.950] – Rachel
[00:36:09.440] – Allan
And more people. So it is really our face, and it's just going to get worse. And it's really about us adjusting our lifestyle. And I talk about commitment. I talk about why you start thinking about getting older. I've always said the joke, I want to be able to wipe my own butt when I'm 105. This is a part of it. This is a big part of it. I don't want my kids or brothers or sisters or anybody to have to care for me. I want to be independent. I want to be there. So it was food for thought having this conversation with Joseph because he did his research. This was maybe the most researched book I've ever read. He had over 1000 references in this book and I had some that have been up to 800. There's over 1000 references. So if there was a study about Alzheimer's, this dude read it.
[00:36:58.830] – Rachel
[00:37:00.330] – Allan
So there's a lot in the book, a lot of advice. But you mentioned it on pre-shows. We were talking through this. It really goes back to the basic tenets of health.
[00:37:08.620] – Rachel
It does, doesn't it?
[00:37:09.920] – Allan
Real food, sleep, stress management, movement. It's the same. And avoid toxins. It's the same five things that you would think. 350 plus interviews, all of them saying the same thing eventually click.
[00:37:25.660] – Allan
[00:37:26.750] – Rachel
[00:37:27.320] – Allan
This is a thing. Yeah.
[00:37:29.500] – Rachel
Well, you mentioned you mentioned that this is scarier for you in later life than cancer. And it is true. And you mentioned it's the same statistic. Didn't they say it was one in two people will end up with Alzheimer's over if you live to be over 85.
[00:37:44.710] – Allan
If you're over 85, yes, about 30 years. So about the time because I'm 56 right now. I'm 56 right now, so 30 years.
[00:37:52.450] – Allan
Half the people that are standing around me my age are going to have Alzheimer's.
[00:37:56.790] – Rachel
[00:37:57.260] – Allan
Worst part of that statistic is that there are people in their family that are now going to be suffering as well because of the caretaking and the losing the person before you lose the person. So this is a really big deal. And that needs to be a part of your why, not just what you're doing for yourself, what you're doing for the people around you.
[00:38:16.850] – Rachel
Oh, it is. People with Alzheimer's require so much extra care and you can't literally live on your own at that point. You need to be in the assisted or even a memory care facility. You need round the clock care because like Joseph was saying, you lose certain synapses and you just don't think about it. We have a loved one that suffers with Alzheimer's and one of the things that goes is the ability to make your own decisions. So when we go out to eat, the restaurant waiter or wait staff will ask what you're going to eat and someone will say something and our loved one can't make a decision. So she'll just eat whatever the person before her ordered. And I'm not even sure she's capable of reading at this point, but she can't make those types of decisions and it's very difficult and it just requires around the clock care and it's really hard to watch your loved ones suffer like that.
[00:39:11.120] – Allan
Yeah, it is. And so if you have a loved one in your life, because the reason he kind of got into all of this was he had members of his family that had Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, so they're like, oh, well, we're all bound to get it because it's genetic.
[00:39:24.970] – Allan
And so he did his research. He said, well, there's a little bit.
[00:39:27.440] – Allan
Of a genetic component, but that's not what's causing it. You have a predisposition towards Alzheimer's, and then you're not caring for yourself, and then you enter the disease state. So you don't have to go down that path. There's a different choice.
[00:39:42.130] – Rachel
Well, that's fascinating. And like you mentioned, it's the same thing that we've heard before. It's eating the good food so that these plaques don't develop in your brain. It's exercising so that you're continuing to build those capillaries instead of breaking them down so that your brain can function. And the sleep component, I mean, that's when your body fixes itself. It's in the sleep when all the good things happen to repair functions and whatnot. So it is something that we all should spend a little bit more time focusing on. And like you had said too, just make that simple swap if there's something you're not doing right in your life. Too many desserts. Well, switch it. Maybe add some fruits to your life or some happier, fun to eat vegetables or something and get some more time outside. There's those spots that we just have to be diligent about making, and we're not as active like in the winter up here in Michigan, it's harder to be outside in the cold, but we could push ourselves a little harder to spend a few more minutes outside than we might normally do. Get a little fresh air, get a little sunlighy.
[00:40:51.020] – Allan
and you're going to move. Because standing still in the cold is a lot worse than moving in the summer.
[00:40:55.240] – Rachel
Yeah, you have to move. No standing still in the winter. It's just these little simple things that could really make a big difference over time. And you're right. As we age, we want to be independent and doing things for ourselves that makes a high quality of life. So why not start setting some good habits now?
[00:41:13.520] – Allan
I completely agree with you.
[00:41:16.450] – Rachel
That sounds great.
[00:41:17.850] – Allan
All right, well, I'll talk to you next week.
[00:41:19.960] – Rachel
Right, Allan, take care.
[00:41:21.290] – Allan
You too. Bye.
[00:41:22.300] – Rachel
Thanks. Bye bye.
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