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Alzheimer’s Prevention

Written by Brenton Wight, researcher and LeanMachine

Copyright © Brenton Wight, LeanMachine

Doctors say there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, in spite of over 80 billion dollars in research over the last few decades.
This is partly true, as there is no drug, no “magic bullet” to slow or stop this dreadful condition.
Hundreds of studies with new drugs have shown most of the time that those on a placebo did BETTER than those on the drug!
In rare cases, those on the drug did very slightly better, but any improvement was not enough to justify bringing the drug to market.
However, we CAN identify risk factors, and we CAN in most cases prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s, and we CAN in most cases reverse the disease, or at least ease the symptoms to give the patient and the carers a better quality of life.
If the intervention is soon enough, it CAN be CURED in some, but not all cases.
There is no miracle one-shot treatment, but a combination of many factors.
The time to start treatment is not when we are 60 and forget where the keys are, but from birth!
The lifetime changes we need to prevent Alzheimer’s will also prevent heart disease, diabetes, cancer and many other diseases, and give our lives vitality.

How many people are at risk?

In the USA, over 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and around 14% of the population will eventually get Alzheimer’s, or around 45 million people.
Results in Australia are similar. Over 10% of the population over 65 have Alzheimer’s, and 30% of those over 85 have Alzheimer’s. In the decade from 2010 to 2020, deaths from Alzheimer’s has risen 20% and looks set to replace Cardiovascular disease as the Number 1 cause of death.
Many people now suffer from Early Onset Alzheimer’s, showing signs as young as 30 years of age.
In the USA, it is now the third leading cause of death, but these figures are understated. People do not actually die from Alzheimer’s – they die because the parts of the brain that control bodily functions shut down, so they die when their organs shut down.
The patient may die from pneumonia because the lungs now cannot function or some other organ fails to work and the Doctor or Coroner has to determine which organ failed.
This is a problem in every country, but some countries have very much reduced rates of Alzheimer’s, mainly due to better diets and reduced toxins.

Diagnosis

Originally, there was no firm diagnosis without examining the brains of patients after death.
Researchers found that most patients had Amyloid Plaques in the brain, and also high levels of aluminium.
PET scans (Positron Emission Tomography) are used with a radioactive tracer (which binds to amyloid plaques) to determine the amount and location of amyloid plaques in the brain.
However, this diagnosis is still not conclusive, as many people have amyloid plaques, but no sign of any dementia even into old age, although these people have a higher risk. Often symptoms do not appear for decades after the start of amyloid plaque deposits. Other patients have no sign of Amyloid plaques but still have Alzheimer’s, so drugs developed to reduce Amyloid plaques have proven unsuccessful in prevention and treatment.
Standard blood tests for glucose level, triglycerides, kidney and liver function can help determine the risk. However, those with less than optimum blood results may die of Cardiovascular, Cancer or some other disease before Alzheimer’s sets in.
So the PET scan is used with other tests for cognitive performance to arrive at a diagnosis.

Who is at risk?

Genetics plays an important part, and so does diet, exercise, lifestyle and supplements.
Here are some risk factors, in no particular order:

  • Age is the greatest risk factor. Dementia can affect about 10% of those over the age of 65, but 33% of those over 80
  • Gender – Women represent over 60% of Alzheimer’s patients, but part of this may be due to their longer lifespans
  • Gluten – Celiacs often have “Wheat Brain” causing disturbances, anxiety, depression and Alzheimer’s. Many dementia patients recover fully on a gluten free diet
  • Prescription medications such as many sedatives, hypnotics, blood pressure, hay fever, insomnia, depression and arthritis medications are linked to higher risk of Alzheimer’s
  • Anaesthetics are linked to Alzheimer’s. The more operations people have, the higher the risk
  • High Blood Pressure (systolic over 140 in mid-life) doubles the risk of Alzheimer’s and increases vascular dementia by 600%, but blood pressure medications can be just as bad, so reduce it naturally without medication
  • Sleep Apnea starves the brain of vital oxygen and increases risk of Alzheimer’s
  • B-12 deficiency increases Alzheimer’s risk. Gastric Bypass Surgery, Celiac disease, vegan/vegetarian diets, antacids (like Nexium) and many medications all reduce availability and/or absorption of B-12
  • Diabetes doubles the risk of Alzheimer’s (often called “Diabetes of the Brain” or “Type 3 Diabetes”)
  • Vision problems increase Alzheimer’s risk. Opthalmologists can detect abnormal widths of blood vessels in the retina which can indicate early Alzheimer’s
  • Tobacco – Smokers have double the risk for Alzheimer’s. Family and others breathing second-hand smoke also have higher risk
  • Living alone after a partner’s death means we have six times the risk of Alzheimer’s, and those who divorce and live alone have three times the risk.
  • Isolation is a significant risk factor for depression and dementia. Find a friend!
  • Obesity is a risk. The lower the BMI (Body Mass Index) the lower the risk. Obesity raises risk by around 75%
  • Family history increases the risk. See the Genetics section below, but environmental factors, diet and lifestyle choices can be passed on to children
  • Education improves outcome, and lack of education increases Alzheimer’s risk. Studies suggest higher education increases “cognitive reserve” which may offset dementia symptoms
  • Concussion or head trauma increases Alzheimer’s risk exponentially with the number and severity of head injuries
  • Quality sleep is essential for the ability of the body to repair itself by flushing toxins from the brain
  • Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to alcoholic dementia and higher risk of Alzheimer’s as well as many other health risks
  • Mental activities improves the brain, physically and psychologically. Learn new things strengthens and develops new nerve cells
  • Sedentary lifestyles are a large risk for the brain as well as the body. Exercise is a must for the brain and the body
  • Chronic bladder disease increases risk
  • Chronic Candida infections increase risk

Overcoming risk factors:

  • Change the diet – see below
  • Get regular, uninterrupted sleep
  • Socialising, visiting friends, joining a group
  • Crosswords, puzzles, new experiences, learning a musical instrument or another language
  • Exercise helps control blood glucose levels, keeps excess weight down, increases oxygen and circulation, and joining a gym can also help with socialisation
  • Use the many supplements available

Genetics

There is a strong genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s, but also there is a strong contribution of environment, diet and lifestyle.
Rates of Alzheimer’s disease have increased much faster than any genetic changes could have occurred.
This means that much is under our control, because even with a genetic predisposition, we can reduce risk with epigenetic (non-genetic influences on gene expression) changes.
Example: The most important genetic risk factor is the ApoE epsilon 4 allele (ApoE4), and 14% to 18% of the population has this gene.
Everyone carries two copies of the APOE gene, which makes the protein ApoE (apolipoprotein E).
There are three different types (alleles) of the APOE gene: E2, E3 and E4, and because we all have two copies of the gene, the combination determines our APOE “genotype” which can be any combination of the 2 copies: E2/E2, E2/E3, E2/E4, E3/E3, E3/E4, or E4/E4.
The majority of people have two E3 alleles (E3/E3) so this is defined as the “average risk”.
The E2 allele is the least common form, and if we have two E2 alleles (E2/E2) or one E2 and one E3 (E2/E3) we have about 40% REDUCED risk of Alzheimer’s.
The E4 allele, present in 14% to 20% of the population, increases the risk for Alzheimer’s, especially late-onset Alzheimer’s, but this does NOT mean that we will get Alzheimer’s disease if we have one or two copies of E4, as about one third of Alzheimer’s patients do not have even a single E4.
All it means is that our risk is increased, also increased is the risk of potential Alzheimer’s at a younger age.
To quantify the risk:
If we have no copies of E4, we still have around 9% risk of Alzheimer’s.
If we have a single copy of E4, our risk increases to around 30%.
If we have two copies of E4, risk is between 50% to 90% but in all cases, we CAN REDUCE the risk.
Many people are horrified to learn that they have up to a 90% risk of Alzheimer’s, but they need not be.
With some dietary, lifestyle and supplement changes, those at greatest risk can easily fall into the 10% who do NOT get Alzheimer’s.

SAD (Standard American Diet)

Genetic statistics above apply only to average people, typically Caucasians living in the Western World and consuming a typical Western diet of processed food, sugar, MSG, hydrogenated oils, chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides, insecticides and other toxic substances.
These statistics do NOT apply to those with a healthy diet of natural, organic food living in a low-toxin environment.
In fact, many people already down the cognitive decline have recovered on a healthy diet and sustained the improvement for several years, according to Dr Dale Bredesen who has been running a program for years now.
Dr Bredesen does not know how many more years it will be, but does know that patients on the program have removed the biochemical drivers which can be measured in blood tests, so so is very optimistic about their future health for many years to come.

Should we get genetic testing?

This is up to the individual. Some people would prefer not to know. Others want to know.
My father died from Alzheimer’s at about age 72 after many years in a Nursing Home, existing but without knowing who his family members were. So did my Grandmother on my Mother’s side, so I assume I may well have inherited a high genetic risk. I am now 73 as I revise this article. For me, testing is irrelevant, because I changed to a Paleo-style diet at age 63, which turned my life around.
From obese to lean, from grey hair to brown, from allergies to everything to allergies to nothing, from high blood pressure and triglycerides to normal, from poor physical strength to strong, fit and full of energy, from frequent headaches to none, from always getting sick to never getting sick.
If I had the genetic test and it was the worst result, I would only continue to do what I am doing now, using dietary and lifestyle modifications.
Have I halted Alzheimers? I hope so, but I often cannot remember some of the thousands of medical terms I have come across in my 10 years of research.  Come back here in 27 years as I approach 100 and I will let you know how I have done.

Amyloid Plaques vs Tangles

Amyloid is a protein, normally found throughout the body. In Alzheimer’s, this protein divides improperly, creating beta amyloid which is toxic to brain neurons.
Amyloid is actually antimicrobial and has benefits for the body, but some people, especially those with the E4/E4 alleles cannot naturally break down these plaques, but there are dietary methods which can.
Not all Alzheimer’s patients have beta Amyloid plaques. About 10% of patients have neurofibrillary tangles which cause similar symptoms, but are also inclined to have more aggressive behavior.

Three Kinds of Alzheimer’s

Humans liberate amyloid as a protective response in the body to three different fundamental metabolic and toxic perturbations:

  • Type 1: Characterized by systemic inflammation. Blood tests typically reveal high hs-CRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein), low albumin:globulin ratio,
    and high cytokine levels such as interleukin-1 and interleukin-6. Imaging reveals temporoparietal reductions in glucose utilization.
    Those at risk include people with chronic infections or inflammation from other causes, and the normal antimicrobial protective response liberates amyloids
  • Type 2: Characterized by normal inflammation, but an atrophic (wasting away) profile, with reduced support from estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, insulin, and vitamin D, often with high homocysteine and insulin resistance. Imaging reveals temporoparietal reductions in glucose utilization. As NGF (Nerve Growth Factor) diminishes, amyloid production increases.
    Type 2 in particular can be CAUSED by LOW cholesterol, resulting in atrophy (brain shrinkage), reduced hormone production, poor health and eventually Alzheimer’s.
    All because we are taking statins that lower cholesterol, or we are not eating enough healthy fats.
    We prevent our cells from doing what they are supposed to do, so we end up with a shrunken brain without the lipid (fat) content we need. A fat-free diet means atrophy of the brain.
    See the Cholesterol Fraud and the Big Fat Lie sections below.
  • Type 3: Different from types 1 and 2. Still β-amyloid positive and phospho-tau positive), but a younger onset (late 40s to early 60s).
    Genotype ApoE is usually E3/E3 instead of E4/E4 or E3/E4 with little or no family history.
    Onset usually follows a period of stress, depression, sleep loss, anesthesia, or menopause/andropause.
    Memory loss is not a main symptom, instead there are cortical issues: dyscalculia (trouble with arithmetic), aphasia (trouble speaking or understanding speech – damage to the left side of the brain),
    executive dysfunction (emotional or behavioural problems from frontal lobe issues).
    Imaging studies often reveal extra-hippocampal disease, greater general cerebral atrophy and frontal-temporal-parietal abnormalities.
    Lab results often reveal hypozincemia (low zinc) and/or a high copper:zinc ratio, and can indictate adrenal fatigue
    (low pregnenolone, DHEA-S (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate), and/or AM cortisol. Chronic infections like mycotoxins, Lyme, viral infections, HSV-1 (a herpes simplex virus) are all risk factors


Some patients have “Alzheimer’s type 1.5” where a combination of symptoms of both type 1 and 2 Alzheimer’s occurs.
Glycotoxicity (too much sugar in the brain) causes an insulin resistant brain. Combine this with AGEs (Advanced Glycation End products), and we have both inflammation from AGEs, plus atrophic withdrawal response because we are now resistant to insulin.
So we have a double condition of type 1 and type 2.

Type 3 patients often have MARCoNS (Multiple Antibiotic-Resistant Coagulase-Negative Staph), a colonisation of antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus in the nasal cavity.
Also high blood levels of TGF-beta-1 (Transforming Growth Factor beta-1), high C4A (a protein that in humans is encoded by the C4A gene), and low MSH (Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone) is very common, typically with HLA-DR/DQ haplotypes shown by Dr Ritchie Shoemaker to be associated with CIRS.

Alzheimer’s from nose infections?

We have known for years that our healthy gut bacteria is essential to prevent almost every disease, and now research is looking at the rhinosinal microbiome, the healthy bacteria in our nose.
This is now becoming known as Inhalational Alzheimer’s.
The nose is the most direct route to the brain, and bad bacteria in the mucous lining of the airways can damage the brain.
Pathologists now believe there are unknown pathogens in the rhinencephalon, the “nose-smell” (olfacation) system.
Many Alzheimer’s patients start losing their sense of smell as one of the early signs of the disease, and this is probably why.
I am confident that my nasal bacteria is back to normal after having very bad allergies and taking antihistamines from when I was about 16 to when I was 63.
Allergies stopped when the bad diet stopped.

Dr. Susan Lynch at UCSF has found that the nose problem is not so much an unknown pathogen, but a lack of microbial diversity.
Beneficial microorganisms in the nose protect against many pathogens, and one of the best seems to be Lactobacillus sakei, used to make sake and kimchi.
This could explain why Japanese people have comparatively low rates of Alzheimer’s, although rates are rising in Japan because of the Western influence, with meat and dairy replacing rice as a staple food.
When Japanese people migrate to Western countries and adopt a Western diet, they have the same risk as anyone else.
So for the Japanese, it is not a genetic problem, but a diet problem, and this applies to everyone.

AGEs – Advanced Glycation End products

AGEs are formed when food cooked at high temperatures (over 120 degrees C) combines with sugar. AGEs are very damaging to the body, accelerating the ageing process and chronic disease.
AGEs worsen diabetes, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, inflammation, atherosclerosis (stiffening of the arteries), cardiovascular disease and stroke.
AGEs cause glycation of LDL cholesterol, promoting oxidation, and oxidized LDL is a major factor in atherosclerosis.
AGEs form photosensitizers in the eye lens, leading to cataract development.

To reduce AGEs, never cook at high temperatures (steaming is best, always at 100 degrees C), eat plenty of raw food (salads, and small amounts of fruit), and eliminate all sugar and processed foods.

Conventional Drugs

Drug companies have been trying for years to get rid of Amyloid plaques, thinking they are the cause of Alzheimer’s.
However, the body needs amyloid to protect the brain, so we need to look at what is causing the plaques instead of trying to get rid of them. Latest research shows that Amyloid plaques are antimicrobial, so can be both damaging and protecting!

 

Alzheimer’s – “Diabetes Type 3”

Some researchers are now labeling Alzheimer’s as “Diabetes Type 3” because sugar causes Alzheimer’s.
Sugar also causes diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and many more diseases, mainly due to processed foods.
As with diabetes, where sugar causes insulin resistance, we have insulin resistance in the brain, causing degeneration.
When the brain becomes insulin resistant, it means that glucose cannot enter the brain cells, so those cells die.
However, all is not lost. If we switch to a Ketonegic diet, we can feed our brain with fat instead of sugar. More on this diet below.

Diagnosing the type of Alzheimer’s

Unlike cancer, where we can biopsy a tumour, we must look at historical, biochemical, genetic, imaging, and function information to determine the type of Alzheimer’s.
Of course this rarely happens except in research applications. The doctor simply says the patient has Alzheimer’s and may give a drug which in the long term will not make much difference.
This is a shame, because about half of all cases can be halted, and in some cases substantially improved, by reverting to the correct diet.
Even better would be to eat a correct diet from birth, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s to near zero, as well as preventing cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other modern diseases.

Exercise

Physical exercise is extremely important to keep the brain and body healthy.
Researchers are not sure why, but LeanMachine says it is obvious:
Exercise burns off the high glucose levels that cause “Diabetes of the Brain” and exercise boosts oxygen levels and circulation in the brain.
Any type of exercise is beneficial, such as:

  • Walking, jogging or running
  • Calisthenics
  • Squats
  • Push-ups, chin-ups
  • Skipping
  • Gardening

Exercises have the added benefit of socialisation in a group, such as:

  • Join a gym
  • Tai-Chi or Yoga classes
  • Athletics clubs
  • Dancing classes

Exercising the Brain

The body has a disturbing property: Anything not used for a while gets broken down to be used somewhere else.
If we do not use a muscle for a week, the body starts breaking it down.
But if we exercise regularly, we stop muscles wasting, and we actually build up our muscles.
If we do not use parts of the brain, the body starts breaking it down.
But if we exercise our brain, we can hang on to the parts we use, and develop new pathways to replace parts we have lost. Exercises such as:

  • Learning a new language
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Crossword or other puzzles
  • Socialising in groups or clubs

Meditation

Meditation is not normally seen as exercise for the brain, but sitting in a quiet, dark room away from all daily distractions not only promotes a calming effect, but increases various brain-saving hormones.
Meditation, like dreaming, helps the brain sort out the junk memories and recent problems by concentrating on things that have made us feel good in the past.
We may have pleasant memories like sitting on a sandy beach listening to the waves rolling in on a beautiful sunny day. By concentrating on peaceful and pleasant memories, we forget problems with out hectic daily life.

Supplements

The modern diet is lacking in vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other nutrients, mainly because of:

  • Over-farming – growing the same food in the same ground year after year, depleting these vital elements
  • Over-processing – hydrogenation, adding sugar, adding chemicals, overheating
  • Toxins from farming chemicals contaminates the environment
  • Water is contaminated by fluoride and chlorine

The supplements everyone over 50 should take are:
Organic Coconut Oil, taken several times a day, a tablespoon at a time.
LeanMachine considers this one of the best prevention and treatment methods available for Alzheimer’s.
This encourages the body to burn healthy fats instead of sugar, called the Ketogenic Diet which burns ketones, which is what our ancestors did in their natural low-carb diets. See the Ketogenic Diet below.
Coconut oil appears to break down the amyloid plaque buildup in the brain. Perhaps the plaques are no longer required when the brain is fed by healthy fats instead of glucose.
Coconut oil is also the absolute best for cooking, replacing any other fat, because coconut oil remains stable at high temperatures, and is full of MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) which go straight to the liver to be burned as fuel, and cannot be stored as fat in the body.
Coconut oil also contains Lauric Acid, which keeps our skin wrinkle-free and healthy.

PS (Phosphatidylserene) is a component of the cerebral cortex’s neuronal membrane, and can improve memory and mood, reduce stress, improve learning and more.
It does this by controlling input and production of choline, acetylcholine, norepinephrine, dopamine and glucose.

NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) which helps the body make Glutathione, the body’s natural “Master Antioxidant” that fights cancer, Alzheimer’s and many other conditions.

Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric which has been used for thousands of years for dementia, cancer and many other conditions.

Vitamin B-12 because as we age, our stomach acid levels drop, preventing the high-acid conditions required for B-12 absorption from food. Even more essential for vegans and vegetarians as B-12 mainly comes from animal products.

B-group vitamins because these are vitally important for nerves and brain health.

ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid) as an antioxidant to help remove heavy metals from the brain, reduce inflammation, and improve the effectiveness of votamins C and E.

Vitamin D3 because over half the ageing population are taking statin medication (which they should NOT) and statins halt production of 7-dehydrocholesterol, the first step in the manufacture of vitamin D3. Worse, many of these seniors are in Aged Care facilities and never see the light of day, so cannot make vitamin D3 from sunlight. If they are ever taken outside, it is only early morning or late afternoon when they cannot get vitamin D3 anyway. More info in my Vitamin D3 article.

Ginkgo Biloba is highly recommended to improve blood flow in the brain. Should not be used in conjunction with prescription blood thinners.

TMG (Trimethylglycine) is an effective methyl donor for the facilitation of methylation processes. Supports a healthy homocysteine level, which in turn supports healthy cardiovascular function and helps prevent Alzheimer’s. Homocysteine, a damaging amino acid, with the aid of TMG, is turned into methionine, a safe and beneficial amino acid. Methylation is essential for DNA repair and production of SAMe, which helps joints, lifts mood, fights depression and protects brain cells from amyloid plaques. Read more in my TMG article.

SAMe (S-Adenosyl Methionine) can help protect the brain and also help treat depression, anger, anxiety which are common symptoms in some Alzheimer’s patients.

Vinpocetine has shown mixed results but mostly beneficial in limited human trials using 10mg 3 times daily.

Vitamin E is recommended to improve the healthy fats in the brain and increase antioxidants.

Benfotiamine with Leucine can help remove glucose and improve insulin resistance.

Many other supplements can help, including:

In addition, many supplements primarily used to treat diabetes will also help prevent Alzheimer’s.

The Cholesterol Fraud

Previous research indicated that high cholesterol was a risk factor for Alzheimer’s.
Again, this was wrong. Doctors started prescribing statin drugs for those people with high cholesterol, or those with signs of dementia with normal cholesterol.
What happened? They got Alzheimer’s WORSE and got it FASTER than patients who did NOT take statins.
Researchers only looked at total cholesterol which is a complete waste of time.

25% of the cholesterol in the body is in the brain, mainly in the myelin sheath.
Around 60% of our brain is fat, mainly in the form of cholesterol.
The myelin sheath (oligodendroglia) that surrounds and protects our neurons are 70% cholesterol, 30% protein.
Starve the brain of healthy fat, and we get Alzheimer’s. Almost guaranteed.
Reduce cholesterol and what happens? The protective myelin sheaths break down as they are starved of cholesterol, allowing the brain cells to be damaged. Damage them enough, and they die. Then we have dementia. Damage enough cells, and the brain can no longer support our basic functions, like breathing. Then we die.
This is why statin drugs are BAD.
Sure, in some cases, they can slightly reduce risk of heart attacks, but they INCREASE death from all other causes, including Alzheimer’s.
The net result is that on average, we will not live a day longer on statin medication.
Statins will give us lousy final years with muscle breakdown, osteoporosis, more sickness and dementia.
We need plenty of healthy fats like coconut oil, walnuts, avocados, fish, eggs, butter from grass-fed cows, unheated olive oil.
We must NOT consume bad fats: Canola oil, margarine, anything hydrogenated, anything heated over 120 degrees C.
Cholesterol is NOT the enemy.
We NEED cholesterol, especially HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol which reduces inflammation, and helps clean up the body (like a garbage collector). Without HDL Cholesterol, we die within 24 hours.
We also need LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein), still incorrectly called “bad” cholesterol, as we die without it.
LDL has antimicrobial effects, so the idea that we should drive it down to zero is ludicrous. LDL is essential to transport nutrients around the body (and into the brain) as well as helping the body manufacture hormones and other important products. LDL was essential for our evolutionary ancestors millions of years ago, and we still need it.
The brain is mostly fat, and 40% of the brain is CHOLESTEROL.
Many things that were protective in our native environment are problems in our modern environment, but if we go back to our ancestral diet, problems are resolved.
Studies show time after time that people with low cholesterol die young, while people with normal to high cholesterol live longest.
These studies are ignored by the big drug companies. Because statin sales make them billions of dollars, of course they continue the Big Cholesterol Lie, one of the biggest frauds in medical history. Their own study showed increased deaths and terrible side effects so they stopped the study short at that time, supposedly to “save patient’s lives” when the opposite was true.

The dangerous cholesterol is VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein) which cannot easily be tested.
Because triglycerides contain some VLDL, labs estimate VLDL value by simply taking a percentage of triglycerides.
High triglycerides are much more of a danger signal than high cholesterol, and are almost always related to obesity, poor diet of processed foods, especially dangerous fats.

The Big Fat Lie

We have been told for decades that fat is bad for us.
Forget about “low fat” or “fat free” diets.
Another big fat lie, coming from a scientist who plucked figures out of a study to suit an argument he was proposing.
When the data was analysed completely, many decades later, it showed the complete opposite.
The largest and longest study in the world was the Framingham study which showed that those who ate the most fat lived longer than those who ate the least.
Fat is not unhealthy in general, in fact it is essential for health.
The UNHEALTHY fats are man-made artificial fats (margarine, Canola oil) and other processed fats that are hydrogenated to improve shelf life and heated to extremes during manufacture, often going rancid in the process, causing oxidised VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein), the REAL dangerous “food”.
What is REALLY bad is carbohydrates, and when manufacturers remove fats from food, they replace them with carbohydrates, causing most “modern” diseases including Alzheimer’s and Diabetes.

The Ketogenic Diet

For the first two million years of human life on Earth, carbohydrate consumption was very low.
Carbohydrates were uncommon, with the majority of food being nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, fruit and vegetables. Meat was eaten very rarely when an animal was killed.
These people did not burn carbohydrates for energy, they burned FAT. In particular, ketones, the basis of the ketogenic diet.
A ketogenic diet means maintaining a fasting state of ketosis. Ketones are produced when the body is in a state of ketosis.
Ketones fuel cells using a different pathway from glucose.
Glucose has to have insulin to allow glucose into cells, but as we all should know, our typical modern diet is loaded with carbohydrates, forcing the pancreas into overdrive making enough insulin.
Eventually our cells become insulin resistant, so the pancreas produces even more insulin to force glucose into the cells, creating even more insulin resistance.
We are now a full-blown diabetic, and when the pancreas starts shutting down, we need insulin injections for the rest of our life.
However, when we feed the cells with ketones, they simply enter the cell naturally, and do NOT require insulin or anything else to do so.
This is critically important for five of our modern diseases: Obesity, Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s, all caused or aggravated by high blood glucose, bad fats and inflammation.
Ketones are also signaling molecules as well.

Benefits of the ketogenic diet include:

  • Helps the body express new restorative and healing genes
  • Reduces inflammation (underlying cause of nearly every disease)
  • Stimulates the immune system
  • Aids weight loss
  • Stops or slows degenerative disease
  • Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Cardiovascular, Diabetes and Obesity

The Anti-Alzheimer’s diet

Spices

Add these spices to every meal possible.
Of course they will spice up any meal, but also help clear the brain of problems and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and many more modern illnesses.

  • Sage – one of the best brain-saving spices
  • Cloves – one of the most potent antioxidants
  • Curry – a blend of other great spices
  • Ginger – reduces inflammation and improves immunity
  • Turmeric – for colour, flavour and Curcumin
  • Ceylon Cinnamon – Better and safer than regular cinnamon

Ketogenic Diet – Healthy fats, intermittent fasting.
Read How Cyclical Ketosis can help combat Chronic Fatigue

Avoid Trans Fats
Read Trans Fats Linked to Increased Risk for Alzheimers

Avoid Processed Foods
Only shop in the greengrocer department at the Supermarket, preferably the organic section. Buy or grow your own real food. Nothing in a bag, box, tin because toxic ingredients are sure to be added.

Avoid AGEs
Forget fried foods. Steaming is the best way to cook. Never Microwave. Eat raw salads daily.


This section often updated. Please come back soon (if you remember!)

LeanMachine online supplements

Updated 20th January 2020, Copyright © 1999-2020 Brenton Wight and BJ&HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285

Night Terrors and Nightmares in Children

Written by Brenton Wight – LeanMachine

Night Terrors can be a very emotional event for parents, especially if they become more common.
The good news is that there are things that will help, and most children “grow out of it” eventually. The average age for Night Terrors is from 3 to 12 years, although some start sooner and finish later.
Nightmares can happen at any age, often recurring in children at a particular age.

Difference between night terrors and nightmares

Children can have both, which makes things confusing, however, dealing with nightmares may be similar to the guidelines below for night terrors.

Night Terrors

Night terrors frighten the parents, and the children have little or no recollection in the morning. During the event, they are still in a very deep stage of sleep. Children appear to be awake, but are in fact still in deep sleep as they scream or run around violently. They may not recognise their parents and usually refuse any offer of help.
Because the child is so active and seems awake but distressed, parents attempt to calm the child, but as the child does not hear the parents because of the deep sleep, they usually do not respond.
Any calming attempts fail, and trying to awaken the child may cause even more stress.
Night Terrors may last from a minute to an hour, and if they wake up during the event, they are often confused, and have no memory of the Terror.
The best approach seems to be to carefully restrain them, ensure their safety where they sleep, allowing an eventual return to natural sleep.

Nightmares

Nightmares (scary dreams) can and do frighten children.
Often they remember their nightmares, which happen during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep rather than Deep Sleep. During REM sleep, the child may more readily awaken during a nightmare.
This is the time for reassurance, and the child will respond to a hug and soft words.

What causes Night Terrors?

Night terrors can be caused by many things, including:

  • Junk food
  • Processed food
  • Dairy or Grain-based foods
  • Vitamin B group and or Niacin deficiency
  • Bad sleep quality
  • Sleep patterns out of routine
  • Sleep deprivation – bed time too late
  • Too hot or cold in bed
  • Noisy sleep environment
  • Stressful events – perhaps starting a new school, new teacher, new baby-sitter, bullying, etc
  • Listening to parents arguing
  • Watching violent TV (even the News)
  • Playing violent video games
  • Medication, especially antihistamines, decongestants, over-the-counter and prescription medication
  • Vaccinations
  • Genetics – children of Night-Terror parents are more likely to suffer
  • Fever
  • Central nervous system problems or immaturity

What causes Nightmares?

Somewhat similar to night terrors.

Remedies for both conditions

Calm the child before bed. Read a story (not Ghostbusters or Friday 13th!)
A heavy blanket has a “hugging” effect which improves the sense of security. In warm weather, a light blanket with weights sewn into the corners may be helpful.
Discourage TV for an hour before bed.
Try to maintain a consistent routine and bed time each night.
Make bed time early, as children and adults tend to wake up when the sun comes up, so late bed time means less sleep.
Avoid junk food, improve nutrition
Avoid all processed food, especially those with a chemical number in the ingredients list.
Avoid all grain foods, especially wheat or wheat flour, as gluten sensitivity may be a problem. Even if the doctor says the child does not have coeliac disease, they may still have gluten sensitivity and/or Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Avoid dairy products as lactose or casein intolerance may be a problem.
Get the child to place all worries into an imaginary (or real) garbage bag, tie it up and place it in the bin (real or imagined).
Place a “Dream Catcher” over the bed – generally a wire loop decorated with string, beads, etc with “magic dream-catching” properties. The child may feel better if something in the room is their friend.
Lavender or other calming oils – a few drops on or under the pillow, or a sprig of real lavender.
Snack before bed – this may help children who have unstable blood sugar during the night (usually caused by a bad diet with too much sugar).
St.John’s Wort is a natural antidepressant (children’s dose only). Not to be used with any prescription medication as many meds use the same pathway in the body.
B Complex vitamins may help, also Niacin (Prolonged Release) if there is a deficiency.
GABA supplements have a calming effect and may help.
Vitamin D3 supplements may help, especially if the child does not get adequate direct sunshine in the middle of the day. This is a high dose, so once or twice a week is normally enough as this is a fat-soluble vitamin, not easily flushed away like the water-soluble vitamins.
White noise – such as recording of ocean waves gently rolling onto the beach can have a calming effect. Even subtle noise from running a fan or ioniser may help.
Classical music softly played during the night may help.

Uptated 16th January 2020 – Copyright © 1999-2020 Brenton Wight and BJ&HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285

RLS – Restless Leg Syndrome

Written by Brenton Wight – LeanMachine

What is restless legs syndrome (RLS)?

This is a nervous disorder, affecting around 10% of the population, but more prevalent among middle aged or older people.
Up to 40% of women experience at least some mild symptoms during pregnancy, which usually passes at end of term.
Significantly affects more women than men, even allowing for the pregnancy factor.
Often interrupts sleep, so is also considered a sleep disorder.
Stress, pregnancy, heredity, hormonal changes, diabetes, Parkinsons disease, heart, lung, circulatory problems, arthritis and kidney failure are among the many trigger factors.
Smoking, caffeine and alcohol tend to increase symptoms.
Deficiency in iron, magnesium, folate, B-group vitamins can cause or aggravate RLS.
Problems mainly occur at night, but some patients can have symptoms at any time.
Sitting, relaxing, resting, or lying down tends to bring on symptoms, and moving, stretching, or massaging the legs tends to diminish symptoms.
Some people with RLS also have PLMD – Periodic Limb Movement Disorder. This is a sleep disorder where repetitive cramping or jerking of the legs occurs during sleep.
If the condition does not improve, most patients eventually start suffering from other chronic health issues due to lack of sleep. People with sleep disorders have a 65% greater risk to develop cancer.
Symptoms vary between patients, which is why it is often difficult to diagnose, but can include:

  • Itchy feeling
  • Pins and needles sensation
  • Creepy crawly feeling, as if something is crawling on or under the skin
  • Prickling, tingling, tugging, burning or aching sensations
  • Uncontrollable need to move legs
  • Legs jumping, jerking or twitching uncontrollably
  • Uncomfortable sensations deep within the legs
  • Feeling like a fizzy soda is bubbling through the veins
  • Feeling an itch deep within the bones
  • Some symptoms occur in the arms as well as the legs
  • Some patients only have symptoms after stressful events, some have it every night

Causes of RLS

Officially, the cause is unknown and there is no cure.
Possibly an imbalance of dopamine, which transmits signals between nerve cells in the brain.
Some say that abnormal iron uptake by the brain may cause or aggravate RLS.
Around 60% of sufferers have other family members with the same condition.
Those consuming diet soft drinks have greater risk of RLS because these drinks leach potassium from the body. Potassium is imperative for correct nerve function, as well as all of the other electrolytes. Food sources of potassium include bananas, avocados, spinach, sweet potato, yogurt and more.
As well as helping with restless legs, potassium will help lower blood pressure and build strong bones.

Treatment

Prescription Medication

There is no official cure, but doctors often prescribe Ropinirole, which can make symptoms better or worse, and side effects such as dizziness, fainting, severe nausea, narcolepsy, hallucinations and addictive behaviors can be very serious.
A study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that patients with restless leg syndrome have a 40% percent higher risk of death in the next eight years.
Some prescription drugs may mask symptoms, but side-effects may make the condition worse in the long run.
Speak to the doctor about medication.
If snoring or breathing is a problem, the doctor can organise a “sleep study” as a CPAP machine may improve health, lower blood pressure, and supply oxygen that the patient may be missing.
The doctor may simply refer patients to a sleep disorder clinic, as these specialists deal with RLS regularly.
Some doctors recommend dopaminergics, benzodiazepines, or opioids.
Medical conditions such as iron deficiency, diabetes, or nerve damage may be aggravating RLS, so treatment of the underlying problem may reduce symptoms.
If there is no underlying condition and all else fails, some prescription medication may help to reduce symptoms.
Medication works for some people, aggravates it for others, and several types may have to be tried for best results.
Prescription medications which initially work may become less effective over time.
Some side effects include nausea, headache, daytime sleepiness, and may increase risk of compulsive disorders like gambling, binge eating, shopping, etc.
Parkinsons medication may help with RLS – pramipexole (Mirapex), ropinirole (Requip), rotigotine transdermal system (Neupro), Sinemet (carbidopa/levodopa), cabergoline and pergolide.
Side effects of Parkinsons medications include nausea, lightheadedness, fatigue, and an increased risk of heart disease.
Prescription painkillers like Codeine, Oxycodone, Vicodin, Percocet, etc can provide relief in severe, unrelenting cases of RLS, but these can be addictive.
Side effects include nausea, dizziness, constipation, and can cause other problems, and the effect wears off over time, often leading the patient to over-dose.
Sleep medications and muscle relaxants such as Ambien, Sonata, Klonopin may help those whose RLS keeps them awake all night, but do not help the leg twitching, and can cause daytime drowsiness.
Anti-seizure medications such as Neurontin, Tegretol, Epitol may help painful daytime symptoms, but side effects include dizziness and drowsiness.
Obviously, pregnant women should always avoid prescription medication where possible.

Medications that can make RLS worse

The doctor should review all medications you are taking. Some prescription and over the counter drugs can aggravate RLS. Some known medications to watch out for are:

  • Over-the-counter sleeping pills
  • Antihistamines – found in allergy and many cold meds like Benadryl, NyQuil, Dimetapp
  • Anti-nausea medications – like Antivert, Compazine, Dramamine
  • Calcium channel blockers (drugs for heart and high blood pressure)
  • Antidepressants such as Prozac, Effexor, Lexapro
  • Antipsychotics – used for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia

The Leg Wrap Cure

This natural treatment is more effective than any drug, according to the Lake Erie Research Institute in Pennsylvania.
Researchers created a leg/foot wrap which places pressure on two foot muscles: The abductor hallucis and the flexor hallucis brevis. The wrap was used in an eight-week clinical trial of 30 moderate RLS patients, with great results. 90% of the participants using the leg wrap experienced improvement in their symptoms, while only 63% of those taking Ropinirol found improvement. Those using the leg wrap reduced sleepless nights by 82%.
The wrap is believed to be more effective in the way it targets the two muscles known to ease RLS symptoms, and because this causes the brain to release dopamine. RLS sufferers are thought to have a dopamine deficiency.
Conventional leg wraps, physiotherapy, acupuncture or massage directed at these muscles, all appear to have the same benefits.

Other treatments

  • Exercise every day – walk, swim, aerobic, yoga, pilates, tai chi, but avoid very strenuous exercise
  • Calf stretch – with hands against a wall, bend the right knee, step the left leg back with foot flat on the floor to stretch the calf muscle, hold for 20 seconds, switch legs and repeat
  • Front thigh stretch: grab an ankle and pull toward the buttock, keeping the other leg straight, hold for 30 seconds, switch legs and repeat
  • Hip stretch: place the left foot on a chair with the knee bent, keeping the back straight, press the pelvis forward to stretch the top of the right thigh, hold for 30 seconds, switch legs and repeat
  • Cut back or give up caffeine, smoking and alcohol
  • Wear warm socks to bed
  • Wearing compression stockings to bed
  • Get sunlight during the day and sleep in a pitch-black room or wear a mask – helps the circadian rhythm required for a good sleep
  • Leg massage, any time through the day, but most important before bed
  • Acupuncture (do not be afraid of needles – it might just work!)
  • Avoid intense exercise before bedtime
  • Losing excess weight will reduce symptoms – cut back on carbohydrates, processed foods and trans fats
  • Change ergonomics, changes such as working from a high stool allowing legs to dangle
  • Let co-workers, friends and family know why you must keep moving so they can help create a healthy environment at work and home
  • Sit in an aisle seat during movies, meetings, aircraft etc, allowing periodic walking around
  • Get adequate sleep – always a problem when sleep is interrupted
  • Improve sleep patterns: try a consistent bed time, or sleep later in the morning
  • Aromatherapy: Lavender, eucalyptus or other oils in the bedroom can help sleep
  • Drink plenty of water, sipped slowly throughout the day and evenings to prevent dehydration of muscles
  • Take a hot (hot as you can stand it) shower just before bed, scrubbing legs vigorously
  • Have more sex! Orgasm releases natural dopamine and opioids which can help calm the legs
  • Slowly slide the leg back and forth on the bed for a few minutes and repeat with the other leg. May help relieve jumping
  • Leg lunge exercises at bedtime, but be careful not to overdo it. More intense lunges are better earlier in the day
  • Menthol creams such as Tiger Balm or Vicks Vapor Rub, rubbed into the legs before bed
  • Balance electrolytes: sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, phosphate. Read the electrolyte section in my Blood Tests article
  • A hot soak in the bathtub with Epsom salts, apple cider vinegar or baking soda, before bed
  • Relaxation, meditation, deep breathing and other stress-reducing activities
  • Apply hot or cold packs to the legs. Alternating between hot and cold can help
  • Sleep with a pillow between the legs to help prevent compressing leg nerves
  • Keep a sleep diary for RLS symptoms – this will help determine which foods or activities aggravate symptoms
  • Muscle relaxation, deep breathing and meditation at bedtime – see below

Muscle relaxation and breathing

Breathe deeply for a few minutes to oxygenate the lungs (breathing out fully is just as important as breathing in).
Tense the muscles in the feet and hold for a few seconds.
Breathe deeply again, and do the same with the calf muscles, and repeat with the thigh muscles.
Repeat with the other muscles all the way up to the neck.
The major muscle groups should now be more relaxed and oxygenated.

Lifestyle Changes

Fatigue can worsen the symptoms of RLS, so getting enough sleep is vital.
Regular exercise: If push-ups or squats do not appeal, then tennis, swimming, bowls, dancing, zumba, tai-chi, pilates, yoga, walking are a few more pleasant options.
Hit the sack at the same time every night, (or try warm baths before bed, or reading in bed) allowing plenty of time for winding down.
A warm bath with half a cup of Epsom Salts in the water can increase magnesium intake through the skin, avoiding diarrhea which can be the result of taking too much magnesium in supplement form. Magnesium also helps lower blood pressure, improve the cardiovascular system, and improve all nerve conditions.
Avoid TV, bright lights, etc for an hour or more before bed time.
Get support from family members. It will not hurt them to follow the same routine.
Reduce stress. Engage in a hobby, craft, or any pleasing activity can help calm down the nerves, and help forget the stressful events of the day, preferably something not involving sitting for long periods.

Supplements which can help RLS

  • A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in water at bedtime (or ACV capsules if the taste is a problem)
  • 5-HTP before bed can help calm the legs and improve sleep quality
  • Magnesium supplements 400 to 600mg daily – also helps diabetes, blood pressure, etc
  • vitamin D3 also builds bones, improves immunity
  • vitamin K2 to keep calcium in bones and out of blood vessels
  • MSM – (Methylsulfonyl Methane) – to reduce inflammation and pain, improve nerves, increase pain tolerance
  • Vitamin B-Group for nerve health
  • Active Vitamin B12 for extra nerve health
  • Active Folate essential for nerve function
  • Iron – ONLY after a blood test showing deficiency, and NEVER overdose!
  • Valerian may help get a better night’s sleep
  • Vitamin E may improve symptoms
  • D-ribose 5 grams powder once daily for prevention, 3 daily for treatment
  • Potassium and Iodine Potassium deficiency is not uncommon, especially in hot weather. Many prescription drugs deplete potassium

Pain Medication

Over-the-counter pain relievers may reduce symptoms temporarily, but long-term make the body more sensitive to pain.
Paracetamol (Panadol), known in the USA as Tylenol or Acetaminophen all deplete Glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant. Even small doses may damage the liver.
The recommended 8 pills per day (500mg each) has now been reduced to 6 per day, but anyone in severe pain invariably overdoses, so it is best not kept in the house!
It is estimated that 90% of those on the liver transplant waiting list are there because of Paracetamol overdose!
If you have children, note that in Cuba, where Panadol/Tylenol cannot be bought off-the-shelf, Autism cases are less than 1 in 12,000 compared to the USA at 1 in 45, and Australia becoming very close to the USA.
A few decades ago, Autism cases were 1 in 100,000. Perhaps some were not diagnosed, but the increase is still alarming. If one were to include cases of ADD, ADHD, hyperactivity, etc in with the Autism count, it is 1 in every 5 new births and predicted to be 1 in 2 if the alarming increase proceeds over the next 1 or 2 decades!
No double-blind studies have been carried out to prove or disprove the relationship, but LeanMachine requires no further evidence to make a logical conclusion.
More info at www.leanmachine/catalog/articles/autism-spectrum-disorder.php
Aspirin is now proven to cause deadly side effects such as intestinal bleeding.

Supplements to NOT take

Surprisingly, Melatonin supplements (well-known for improving sleep) may aggravate leg movements in those with restless legs syndrome.
Caffeine, alcohol, SSRI antidepressants, antihistamines, and most antipsychotic and antinausea medications can potentially increase symptoms.
Also be aware that RLS can occur as a result of kidney or liver disease. People with these conditions should consult with a healthcare professional before taking supplements

Important

All information here is for education only.
There is no intention to provide medical advice.
LeanMachine no longer sells supplements, but links to the best suppliers are available in our LeanMachine Supplement site.
The information provided is completely independent. Most products can easily be purchased world-wide at health stores, chemists, supermarkets, etc.
LeanMachine cannot take responsibility for any consequences from any treatment, supplement, procedure, exercise, diet, etc resulting from reading or following this information.
This information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. It is only intended to aid the reader to arriving at a better understanding so that a better outcome with the health provider may be hopefully achieved.
The reader should seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider before undertaking any course of treatment, supplementation or medication.

LeanMachine supplements

Disclaimer

LeanMachine is not a doctor, and everyone should consult with their own health professional before taking any product to ensure there is no conflict with existing prescription medication.
LeanMachine has been studying nutrition and health since 2011 and has completed many relevant studies including:
Open2Study, Australia – Food, Nutrition and Your Health
RMIT University, Australia – Foundations of Psychology
Swinburne University of Technology, Australia – Chemistry – Building Blocks of the World
University of Washington, USA – Energy, Diet and Weight
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Health Issues for Aging Populations
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – International Nutrition
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Methods in Biostatistics I
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Methods in Biostatistics II
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Principles of Human Nutrition
TUFTS University, USA – Nutrition and Medicine
TUFTS University, USA – Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease I and Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease II
Technical Learning College, USA – Western Herbology, Identification, Formulas
Bath University, England – Inside Cancer
WebMD Education – The Link Between Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation
WebMD Education – High Potassium: Causes and Reasons to Treat
Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands – Anatomy of the Abdomen and Pelvis
MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) – A Clinical Approach to the Human Brain

LeanMachine has now examined thousands of studies, journals and reports related to health and nutrition and this research is ongoing.

Updated 10th January 2020, Copyright © 1999-2019 Brenton Wight and BJ & HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285

Why we need B12, B6, Active Folate and TMG

Written by Brenton Wight – LeanMachine, Health Researcher
Updated 2nd December 2019, Copyright © 1999-2019 Brenton Wight and BJ & HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, or Cobalamin, is part of the B group of vitamins, but is different in three respects:

  • The B12 molecule is the largest and most complex vitamin known.
  • B12, like the rest of the B-group vitamins, is water-soluble, but B12 is the ONLY water-soluble vitamin which can be stored in the liver for months, or even years
  • B12 is generally formed in the high-acid stomach, but those with low acid levels cannot form B12.

Benefits of B12

  • Protects brain cells, improves nerve growth and conduction, increasing speed of messages to and from the brain
  • Protects the myelin sheath surrounding nerve cells.
  • Protects against Alzheimer’s and other brain-degenerative diseases
  • Mental clarity, concentration, memory, nervous system
  • Circulation
  • Aids in turning food carbohydrates into glucose for energy
  • Fat metabolism, digestion
  • Helps produce DNA and RNA, the genetic material in our cells
  • Increases iron utilisation to build red blood cells, preventing anemia
  • With B9 (folate), helps the manufacture of S-adenosylmethionine to reduce depression and boost the immune system
  • With B9 (folate) and B6, B-12 inhibits homocysteine production, an amino acid linked to heart disease.
  • Adrenal hormone function
  • Energy – physical, emotional, mental

B12 is only found in animal products, apart from mushrooms, which are the only vegetable (actually a fungus) containing B12, but the B12 exists only in the skin of the mushroom which is often peeled off and discarded, and in any case, this is a poor food source of B12.
This is why vegetarians, and especially vegans should take additional B12 supplements.
The elderly are also at risk for B12 deficiency, because as we age, the level of stomach acid tends to drop, and once it drops below a certain point, this ends the conversion process that generates the B12 that can be absorbed.
Many diets recommend that we limit protein from animal products, but this is very wrong. LeanMachine has been a vegetarian for over 40 years, but regularly eats eggs and fish for B12 intake. Even so, B12 levels were low the first time they were checked at around age 64. Since then, daily B12 supplements have built B12 levels to around five times the normal amount. We cannot overdose on B12, unlike Folate and other vitamins.
Unfortunately many doctors never test for B12, and if we are deficient in B12, doctors typically misdiagnose this deficiency, resulting in prescribing drugs that do not help the condition, but may even create side effects that only make us feel worse!
Some PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitor) medications such as Nexium, prescribed for reflux, heartburn and other digestive issues, deliberately lower stomach acid, and there are many off-the-shelf antacids which do the same, and all result in knocking out our Vitamin B12. Note also that microwaving food also knocks out all B12.

Symptoms of B12 deficiency

  • Anaemia
  • Macrocytosis (larger than normal red blood cells)
  • Hypersegmented neutrophils (Nuetrophil blood cells with more lobes than normal)
  • Fatigue, lack of energy
  • Weak legs
  • Forgetfulness, mental fogginess
  • Mood swings, lack of motivation
  • Depression, paranoia, delusions
  • Yellow colour
  • Feelings of apathy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hair loss
  • Rapid heart rate (Tachycardia)
  • Shallow breathing, short of breath
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Bleeding or bruising more than normal
  • Persistent constipation or diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Incontinence
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Sore tongue or mouth
  • Bones which easily break, even if a DEXA scan says they are dense
  • Tingling in fingers or toes
  • Strange nerve sensations
  • Muscle Tenderness

Untreated, a severe B12 deficiency may lead to permanent nerve damage.
Not everyone with low B12 will have all symptoms, but having a few of these suggests testing for B12 and Folate.

Who is at Risk?

  • Those aged over 50
  • Vegans, vegetarians
  • Those taking antacids
  • Those on PPI (Proton Pump Inhibotor) medications, e.g. Nexium
  • Diabetics taking Metformin (Diabex)
  • Those having surgery where part of the stomach is removed
  • Those with Ceoliac Disease
  • Those with bacterial overgrowth, stomach and intestines
  • Alcoholics
  • Those taking some anti-seizure medications
  • Those drinking too much water

Research suggests that in the over-50 age group, more than 20% of the population are low in B12, and a fifth of those are seriously deficient.

Recommended Daily Allowance for B12

Official recommended dietary amounts (RDAs) are:

  • Infants 0-6 months, 0.4 mcg
  • Infants 7-12 months, 0.5 mcg
  • Children 1-3 years, 0.9 mcg
  • Children 4-8 years, 1.2 mcg
  • Children 9-13 years, 1.8 mcg
  • Adults: 2.4 mcg daily for ages 14 years and older
  • Pregnant Females: 2.6 mcg daily
  • Breastfeeding Females: 2.8 mcg daily
  • Adults over 50 years old: 20 mcg daily

However, LeanMachine has the opinion that these amounts are way too low. If anyone has any symptoms of deficiency, testing and subsequent supplementation may be required, but beware of cheap supplements containing cyanocobalamin (an artificial chemical made from cyanide) and only use methylcobalamin which is the active form of Vitamin B12. Even though the cyanide in cheap B12 is fairly harmless, and easily excreted into urine, the methyl version can be used directly by the body without conversion, and contributes to the important methylation process, which occurs over a billion times per second in the body.
LeanMachine recommends Active B12 1500mcg 60 vcaps

Testing Vitamin B12

It is important to test Folate at the same time as B12, because a deficiency in one can mask a deficiency in the other.
Blood Test for B12 deficiency:
For a long time, the reference range in Australia has been 135 to 650 pmol/L (pica moles per litre) but this is way too low.
In the 1980’s, Japan lifted their low end of the range to 500, and for those people with the defective MTHFR gene (up to 40% of the population), even this can be too low.
LeanMachine recommends 750 to 1500 as a more desirable range. LeanMachine uses B12 supplements, and tests at the top end of this range.
However, a high B12 reading does not always mean a satisfactory level.
When B12 is low, two enzyme substrates will increase: tHcy (total homocysteine) and MMA (methylmalonic acid). If deficiency symptoms do not go away, these should also be tested.

Treating Low Vitamin B12

Memory loss is a significant symptom, and if diet and/or supplementation is improved within one to two years, full memory can often be restored, but after two years, permanent memory damage may have occurred.
Ideally, we should look at the diet first, and if this does not improve B12, then B12 supplements are essential. If deficiency symptoms are severe, immediate supplementation or a B12 injection is advised.
Because B12 can be stored in the body, B12 injections are only required every 3 months to maintain healthy levels.
Here are some food sources of vitamin B12, arranged from highest to lowest:

Type of Food mcg of B12/serving % of RDA
Shellfish (Clams) 85g/3oz 84 1400
Liver, beef 85g/3oz 70.0 1178
Shellfish (Oysters) 85g/3oz 84 408
Crab, raw, 85g/3oz 9.8 163
Trout, rainbow, wild, cooked, 85g/3oz 5.4 90
Salmon, sockeye, cooked, 85g/3oz 4.9 80
Red Meat (Beef) 85g/3oz 5.1 85
Yogurt, plain, 1 cup 1.4 25
Haddock, cooked, 85g/3oz 1.2 20
Egg (chicken), one extra-large 0.5 20

Chicken is missing from the table above, because one egg has as much B12 as nearly half a chicken. Another case for the egg coming before the chicken!

Who should NOT take Vitamin B12
In those with Leber’s Disease (Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy, or LHON, a rare eye disease affecting less than 1 in 50,000) B12 can seriously damage the optic nerve, so B12 should never be taken.

Homocysteine – an inflammatory marker

Homocysteine levels in the blood are a marker of inflammation and cardiovascular disease, and low levels of Vitamin B12 and Folate can raise Homocysteine levels.
High homocysteine levels usually lead to cognitive decline in advancing years, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and many other ageing-related diseases.
Homocysteine is produced in the body as a result of demethylation of methionine utilisation of fats and proteins.
In Australia, doctors seldom order a Homocysteine blood test unless we ask for it. This test can also check for a rare inherited disorder called homocystinurina. The risk for homocystinurina is low, but it is best to rule it out.
If there is a family history of high homocysteine, children should be tested from birth.
The main purpose of the Homocysteine test is to determine if you have increased risk for heart attack or stroke, and a deficiency in B12 and Folate, and all should be tested at the same time.

What is Homocysteine?

Homocysteine is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of proteins. We can not get homocysteine from the diet.
Homocysteine can only be made from methionine, another amino acid that is found in meat, fish, and dairy products, and this reaction can only happen with enough Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), Vitamin B12 and folate.
Foods containing methionine are transformed into homocysteine in the blood, and then Vitamin B6 helps convert homocysteine to cysteine. Vitamin B12 related enzymes can also recycle homocysteine back into methionine.
Cysteine is a very important protein, involved in how proteins in cells are folded, maintain their shape, and link to each other, and cysteine is a source of sulfide, taking part in metabolism of iron, zinc, copper and other important minerals. Cysteine also acts as an anti-oxidant. If homocysteine cannot be converted into cysteine or returned to the methionine form, levels of homocysteine in the body increase. Elevated homocysteine levels have been associated with heart attack, stroke, blood clot formation, and perhaps the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Homocysteine Test

Laboratories generally say that normal homocysteine serum levels are between 4 and 15 micromoles per litre, with anything above 15 considered high.
However, the OPTIMAL level of homocysteine is less than 10 or 12 in good labs, but many doctors will ignore readings unless they are flagged on the report (above 15).

CRP  (c-Reactive Protein)

C-Reactive Protein is another important marker for inflammation and risk for strokes, and should be tested if homocysteine results are inconclusive.
Healthy people should ask for the High-Sensitivity test, hs-CRP.
Those in poor health should ask for the regular CRP test, which is not as sensitive, but has a much wider range of values.

Folate, Folic Acid, Folinic Acid, Active Folate

These all sound similar, but most forms have to be converted in the body to the active form that the body can use: MTHF or (6S)-5-MethylTetraHydroFolate, commonly calles Active Folate.
Up to 40% of the population have a MTHFR gene polymorphism. The MTHFR gene helps make  methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, an enzyme involved in processing amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.
Unfortunately, consumption of Folic Acid can aggravate this MTHFR gene polymorphism, making the problem worse, blocking the real folate, increasing cancer risk and causing other health problems.

Treating High Homocysteine

Because homocysteine is missing CH3 (the methyl group), the best way to lower homocysteine is to add a methyl donor, which will aid the breakdown of homocysteine into methionine.
The following are all methyl donors:

Studies

In a 2-year study of people aged over 70 with elevated Homocysteine levels over 11.3 micromoles/litre, patients were given either a placebo or Folic Acid 800mcg, Vitamin B12 500mcg, and Vitamin B6 20mg daily.
Most of those on the placebo showed distinct cognitive decline. Those on the supplements showed no decline or much more moderate decline.

  • A 2-year study of people aged 60 to 74 with symptoms of depression using smaller doses and only Folic Acid 400mcg and Vitamin B12 100mcg taken twice daily, showed small but significant improvements in short-term and long-term memory
  • An 8-year study of several hundred people in their seventies showed that those having the lowest levels of B12 in their blood (under 257 pmol/l), 40% of the group, had the highest rates of cognitive decline. Formerly, the official danger point for B12 was set at 148 pmol/l (picomoles per litre), but this study confirms that this level is too low, and that most people aged 50 or over should either consume foods fortified with B12 or take supplements
  • A 2-year study showed that B12 and Folic Acid supplements significantly reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • A study found that although bone density remained the same in the B12 and Folate group as well as the placebo group, the number of bone fractures was 80% less in the supplement group.
    It appears that high homocysteine levels interfere with the way collagen works to strengthen bone

Food Sources of B Vitamins

All B-group vitamins come primarily in meat and eggs, the only exception being mushrooms as the only “vegetable” with B-group vitamins).
ALL vegetarians and especially vegans should supplement with Active B12 and Active Folate.
Almost all seniors need B12 because of reduced stomach acid as we age, and anyone taking statin drugs (e.g. Simvastatin, Lipitor, etc for Cholesterol) or heartburn medication (Nexium) (or off-the-shelf remedies) MUST supplement with B12 because stomach acid will not be strong enough for the body to produce any B12 at all.

As we age, we also lose our ability to absorb B12, B6 and Folate from foods, so most people over 50 should supplement.
Many younger people are also deficient in B-group vitamins due to diet, health, lifestyle, genetic makeup or illness, so annual blood tests are recommended for everyone.

Around 20% of the population suffer from Folate deficiency, but too much Folate (over 1000mcg or 1mg daily) can be toxic to the liver.
However, we cannot overdose on B6 or B12. No side-effects have ever been observed at extremely high doses.

TMG – TriMethylGlycine

The TMG molecule consists of three methyl groups (CH3) and one glycine group (C2H5NO2).

The advantage of TMG is that it can donate all three methyl groups, leaving pure glycine.

Glycine is very important for body functions, including:

  • Build lean muscle mass
  • Preventing sarcopenia (muscle loss, muscle wasting)
  • Producing human growth hormone
  • Improving memory and mental performance
  • Reducing risk of strokes and seizures
  • Protecting skin from aging and cell mutations
  • Increasing collagen in joints, reducing joint pain
  • Improving flexibility and range of motion
  • Lowering blood glucose, reducing risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Reducing inflammation and free radical damage
  • Increasing glutathione production
  • Reducing risk for some cancers
  • Building gastrointestinal tract lining
  • Producing bile salts and digestive enzymes
  • Reducing allergic and autoimmune reactions
  • Increasing energy levels, fighting fatigue
  • Increasing red blood cell production
  • Reducing stress,  anxiety
  • Controlling symptoms: seizures, schizophrenia, mental disorders

The following are my recommended supplements:

LeanMachine Supplements

Disclaimer

LeanMachine is not a doctor, and everyone should consult with their own health professional before taking any product to ensure there is no conflict with existing prescription medication.
LeanMachine has been studying nutrition and health since 2011 and has completed many relevant studies including:
Open2Study, Australia – Food, Nutrition and Your Health
RMIT University, Australia – Foundations of Psychology
Swinburne University of Technology, Australia – Chemistry – Building Blocks of the World
University of Washington, USA – Energy, Diet and Weight
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Health Issues for Aging Populations
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – International Nutrition
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Methods in Biostatistics I
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Methods in Biostatistics II
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Principles of Human Nutrition
TUFTS University, USA – Nutrition and Medicine
TUFTS University, USA – Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease I and Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease II
Technical Learning College, USA – Western Herbology, Identification, Formulas
Bath University, England – Inside Cancer
WebMD Education – The Link Between Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation
WebMD Education – High Potassium: Causes and Reasons to Treat
Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands – Anatomy of the Abdomen and Pelvis
MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) – A Clinical Approach to the Human Brain

LeanMachine has now examined thousands of studies, journals and reports related to health and nutrition and this research is ongoing.

Updated 2nd December 2019, Copyright © 1999-2019 Brenton Wight and BJ & HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285