Could Alzheimer’s Start in the Gut?

To Your Health
September, 2019 (Vol. 13, Issue 09)

By Editorial Staff

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia among older adults, and it also may be the most troubling.

Whenever brain cells die, causing memory loss and cognitive decline that can progressively take away your ability to perform even the simplest tasks, it’s no laughing matter. Even worse, there is currently no cure – only medication to help manage some of the symptoms.

That’s a pretty bleak picture, but there is good news: research may be getting us one step closer to identifying the potential causes of the disease. Case in point: a study published in EBioMedicine that suggests gut bacteria may play a role. Researchers performed a small pilot study and identified several chemicals produced by GI bacteria were present in study participants suffering from mild cognitive impairment … but not in participants without impairment. What’s more, according to the study these bacterial “signatures” were associated with higher levels of Alzheimer’s disease markers in cognitively impaired subjects.

The study also suggests that dietary changes that improve the gut microbiome and promote healthy bacteria (in the study, they used a modified Mediterranean-ketogenic diet) that may reduce levels of Alzheimer’s markers – both in people with mild cognitive impairment and those without any impairment. Now that’s a potential win-win in the battle against Alzheimer’s!

Can Exercise Overcome the “Obesity Gene”?

By Editorial Staff

It’s undeniable that our increasingly sedentary, technology- and processed-food-based culture is at the heart of the obesity crisis, but there’s also no denying that some people are genetically predisposed to put on the pounds – and have difficulty losing them – compared to others. Put those circumstances together and you’ve got a recipe for obesity disaster in certain individuals.

But here’s the good news: New research suggests specific kinds of exercise may help combat the “obesity gene” and help with weight loss, even in those predisposed to gain it. Published in PLOS Genetics, the study examined five measures of obesity, including body-mass index (BMI), body-fat percentage waist circumference, hip circumference and waist-to-hip ratio; and how various types of exercise impacted those measures. Researchers constructed “genetic risk scores” for each of the measures, reflecting the potential impact of genetics on each measure.

prevention - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

Among more than 18,000 study participants ages 30-70 who self-reported performing one or more of 18 different types of physical activity on a regular basis, “regular jogging consistently presented the strongest evidence to mitigate the genetic effects on all 5 obesity measures. Moreover, mountain climbing, walking, exercise walking, international standard dancing, and a longer practice of yoga attenuated the genetic effects on BMI. The benefits of regularly performing these 6 kinds of exercise are more impactful in subjects who are more predisposed to obesity.”

Can’t seem to lose the weight (or keep it off)? Talk to your doctor about how these and other exercises can help you get – and stay – on the right track for a lifetime of good health.