February 2, 2023

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Is the cause of Alzheimer’s related to your mouth?

More than 6 million US adults have Alzheimer’s disease. That number is expected to increase to nearly 13 million by 2050.1 Despite the increasing prevalence, the causes of this devastating disease remain a matter of debate. However, there is a growing consensus that multiple factors play a role, from your gut health2 to your oral health.

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, has been suspected as a potential risk factor for Alzheimer’s since at least 2015, when researchers at the University of Bristol noted that “periodontal pathogens may contribute to neural inflammation and SLOAD [sporadic late onset Alzheimer’s disease].”3

Patients with Alzheimer’s disease often have poor oral health, which is often attributed to poor self-care or neglect of oral health by caregivers. However, it is now recognized that periodontitis can be a factor contributing to the development of the disease.4

Pathogens of gum disease found in the brain

In 2019, University of Louisville researchers identified Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis), a pathogen implicated in chronic periodontitis, in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.5 Gingipains — toxic proteases from P. gingivalis — have also been found in the brain found by Alzheimer’s patients. Gingipain levels have been linked to two disease markers, the tau protein and another protein called ubiquitin.6

Furthermore, in mice, oral infection with P. gingivalis resulted in brain colonization of the pathogen, along with increased production of Aβ1-42 found in amyloid plaques. According to David Reynolds, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Alzheimer’s Research UK:7

“So far, the bacterium P. gingivalis, which is associated with gum disease, has been found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, but it remains unclear what role, if any, it plays in causing the disease. In this well-conducted study, researchers were able to show that when mice were given P. gingivalis, the bacterium was found in the brain alongside higher levels of the typical Alzheimer’s protein, amyloid.”

In vivo and in vitro studies also showed that gingipains are neurotoxic and detrimental to tau, which is required for normal neuronal function. When researchers designed small molecule inhibitors to fight gingipal pain, the bacterial load was reduced, as was neuroinflammation. The production of Aβ1-42 was also blocked.

Taken together, the data suggest that gingipain inhibitors target P. gingivalis in the brain and could treat the neurodegeneration caused by Alzheimer’s disease.8 P. gingivalis has also been detected in the brains of people without Alzheimer’s disease, supporting the theory that it is involved in the development of the condition and not simply a by-product of it. According to the study:9

“Our identification of gingipain antigens in the brains of individuals with AD [Alzheimer’s disease] and also with AD pathology but no diagnosis of dementia, argues that P. gingivalis brain infection is not a result of poor dental care after the onset of dementia or a consequence of late-stage disease, but is an early event that causes the pathology found in middle-aged individuals prior to cognitive decline.”

Periodontal disease associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s

A systematic review and meta-analysis that included 13 studies showed that the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment was significantly higher in patients with periodontitis than in those without periodontitis.10 This was particularly true for people with severe periodontitis.

A separate study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease found that in people 65 years and older, the occurrence and mortality of Alzheimer’s disease was consistently associated with probing for pocket depth, a measure of periodontal health, and Prevotella melaninogenica (P. melaninogenica) have been linked. and Campylobacter rectus (C. rectus), bacterial markers for periodontitis.11

According to the researchers, “This study provides evidence for an association between periodontal pathogens and AD that was stronger in older adults.”12 In addition, the risk of cognitive decline in older men increases as more teeth are lost during periodontal caries, both of which are contributing to tooth loss is also associated with cognitive decline.13

How gum disease leads to Alzheimer’s

Periodontitis likely contributes to Alzheimer’s by increasing pro-inflammatory mediators, including C-reactive protein (CRP), IL-6, IL-1β, and TNF-α.14 Three primary mechanisms have been identified, according to researchers at the University of California School of Dentistry identified how periodontitis can lead to Alzheimer’s:15

Elevated peripheral pro-inflammatory cytokines that systemically affect the brain via neural, humoral, and cellular mechanisms Ectopic migration of periodontal bacteria and related molecules via blood and/or cranial nerves directly to the brain as a communication pathway between periodontal pathogens and microglia in the brain

An editorial published in Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy explains it further:16

“In a plethora of studies, P.gingivalis…is firmly placed in the red complex as a risk factor for AD. This is because P. gingivalis is able to modify peripheral and intracerebral immune responses.

In addition, this bacterium has a number of enzymes, including cathepsin B and gingipains, that have been shown to interact with amyloid precursor protein (APP) and neuronal tau, leading to the formation of amyloid-beta (Aβ) and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). , which are the main features of AD.

Prospective, retrospective, population-based, and nested control studies have shown that the risk of developing the sporadic form of AD doubles when periodontitis persists for approximately 10 years.”

Because deposits of amyloid beta in the brain can begin one to two decades before cognitive decline and the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, and periodontitis can also take about 10 years to trigger Alzheimer’s disease, early positive oral health can help prevent disease.17

This is important not only for older adults, but also for middle-aged and younger adults who may be able to protect their brain health by maintaining good oral health. Even in young, otherwise healthy adults, episodic memory and learning speed are improved in those without good oral health compared to those with aggressive periodontitis18 – suggesting that brain health damage can start early.

Proper oral hygiene, including regular brushing, flossing and tongue scraping, and regular dental cleanings by a mercury-free biological dentist, go a long way to keeping your teeth and gums healthy. A lifestyle that includes a diet based on fresh, whole foods is also essential for a naturally clean mouth and good oral health.

What else contributes to Alzheimer’s?

With a complex disease like Alzheimer’s, oral health is just one contributing factor. Gut health is another. A team of Swiss and Italian researchers found a link between an imbalanced gut microbiota and the development of amyloid plaques in the brain.19

The researchers used PET imaging to measure amyloid deposition in their brains, and then measured inflammatory markers and proteins produced by gut bacteria, such as lipopolysaccharides (LPS) and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), in their blood.

The study found that high blood levels of LPSs and SCFAs acetate and valerate were associated with large amyloid deposits in the brain. Other SCFAs, namely butyrate, appeared to have a protective effect; high butyrate levels were associated with less amyloid.

“Our results are indisputable: certain bacterial products of the gut microbiota correlate with the amount of amyloid plaques in the brain,” explains Moira Marizzoni, study author at the Fatebenefratelli Center in Brescia, Italy.20 This is not surprising. Probiotics have been shown to be protective.

A 2016 study of 60 Alzheimer’s patients found that those who drank milk with probiotics experienced significant improvements in cognitive function.21 Incidentally, probiotics are also useful for treating periodontitis.22

Electromagnetic pollution from wireless technologies is another critical component that needs to be addressed. This type of radiation activates the voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) in your cells, and the greatest density of VGCCs is in your brain, your heart’s pacemaker, and your male testicles.

A 2022 study summarizing 18 different findings found that they “provide strong evidence overall for EMF causation of AD.” Further: “The author is concerned that more intelligent, more pulsed ‘smart’ wireless communications could cause widespread, very, very early onset AD in human populations.”23

In my opinion, excessive microwave exposure and mitochondrial dysfunction are among the most important contributing factors to Alzheimer’s, along with exposure to the herbicide glyphosate, which also has negative neurological effects.24

Alzheimer’s Prevention Tips

Overall, the best way to boost brain health is to adopt an overall healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet. Not only does what you eat affect your oral and gut health, it also affects cholesterol levels, and cholesterol also plays an important role in forming memories and is vital for healthy neurological function.

As lead research scientist Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D. found that not having enough fat and cholesterol in your brain plays a critical role in the process of Alzheimer’s disease, detailed in her 2009 paper APOE-4: The Clue to Why Low Fat Diet and Statins. May cause Alzheimer’s.”25

A time-restricted diet is another important strategy, as is reducing your intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids, also called PUFAs, found in vegetable oils, cooking oils, seed oils, trans fats, and vegetable oils. For a more targeted approach, natural options are available.

Animal and laboratory studies show, for example, that the spice saffron has a neuroprotective effect. The data also show that it is as effective as the drug memantine in treating moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease.26 One of the most comprehensive assessments of Alzheimer’s risk is Dr. Dale Bredesen assessing 150 known factors including biochemistry, genetics and historical imaging contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.

In his book The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline27, which describes the full protocol, you can also find a list of recommended screening tests and the recommended ranges for each test, along with some of Bredesen’s treatment suggestions. By using 36 parameters for a healthy lifestyle, Bredesen was able to reverse Alzheimer’s in 9 out of 10 patients.

These included the use of exercise, the ketogenic diet, optimizing vitamin D and other hormones, improving sleep, meditation, detoxification, and eliminating gluten and processed foods. For more details, you can download full text of Bredesen’s case paper online, which includes the full programme.28