Diet and Alzheimer’s Disease

By Dr. Jo Lee, MS, DC


Alzheimer’s disease affects 10% of adults by the age of 65, and 30% over the age of 85, in the United States. Diet and nutrition imbalances are found to be involved with the development of this disease.

A relationship with cardiovascular disease risk factors, diabetes, and the increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease has been observed in some studies, indicating that a healthy diet and physically active lifestyle may the lower risk of these conditions.

In a dietary study including more than 2,100 New York City residents aged 65 and older, over the course of approximately four years, 253 developed Alzheimer’s disease.  Those whose diets included the most salad dressing, nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, cruciferous vegetables (such as cauliflower and broccoli), dark and green leafy vegetables, and the least red meat, high-fat dairy, organ meat and butter had a 38 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s than those whose diets included fewer fruits, vegetables and poultry and more red meat and high-fat dairy.

Found to be protective against Alzheimer’s disease is the diet that is high in these nutrients: saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin B12 and folate. These nutrients are also found to protect against heart disease and diabetes.

There is a link between food sensitivity and brain dysfunction!

Many decades ago, Dr. Walter Alvarez, a physician at the Mayo clinic, provided a personal perspective on food/mind interactions in his book, Allergy of the Nervous System:

“For years I knew I was highly sensitive to chicken. I suffered from what I called “dumb Monday,” when I was too dull to do much constructive work like writing. Finally, I discovered that bad Mondays were due to the Alvarez family’s habit of having chicken for Sunday dinner… My most remarkable personal experience with brain dulling due to food allergy came many years ago when… I ate a whole broiled chicken. Next day I had severe diarrhea and with this I became so dulled I could not read with comfort. And that night I had a hallucination of sight, such as I had never had before and haven’t had since.”

Dr. Alvarez was not alone in reporting about food allergy and its mental effects. Many doctors in his day implicated food allergy as the cause of depression, anxiety, hyperactivity in children, epilepsy, migraine, Meniere’s syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, and Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Unfortunately, this wisdom—shared by many old-time doctors for many years—has been lost to subsequent generations of physicians. It is time to relearn the importance of proper nutrition and detecting hidden food allergies to prevent and to manage the deterioration of the mental functions of our population.

Dr. Josephine Lee practices at Nutrition Clinic in Ballwin, Missouri.  She specialized in whole food nutrition to help patients to resolve many diet and nutrition-related conditions. Her passion is nutrition education, which she believes is the only way to improve the health and increase the prosperity of a nation.  She is an instructor of nutrition at Logan College of Chiropractic.

Please call Nutrition Clinic for further information.  636-386-3333.