top of page

What You Need to Know About

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible neurological condition which causes progressive deterioration of the areas of the brain controlling thought, memory, and language.  It is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for over 80% of all cases. Unfortunately, most patients with AD die from complications within ten years of their diagnosis.

The incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) continues to grow at alarming rates, and the disease currently affects over 5 million people. This is a particularly important health issue for women because over two-thirds of all AD patients are female.  In fact, women over 60 are twice as likely to be diagnosed with AD than with breast cancer.

Here are some additional sobering statistics from The Alzheimer’s Association :

•    AD is the 6th leading cause of deaths in the U.S.

•    Between 2008 and 2018, death rates from AD increased 146%.

•    Over the next 30 years, the rate of AD is expected to triple.

•    50% of primary care doctors say the U.S. healthcare system is not ready for the growing number of people with AD.

There are two types of AD, early onset and late onset.  Early onset AD is rare (< 5%), occurs in patients less than 65 years of age, and is most commonly caused by genetic factors.  Late onset AD is much more common and occurs in patients 65 years of age and older.

What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease?

Scientists are still unraveling the complex factors which lead to the development of AD. The adult brain has about 100 billion neurons which require the ability to communicate with each other as well as a continuous supply of blood and essential nutrients to survive.  

Neurons in AD patients accumulate abnormal proteins inside the neurons (tau protein tangles) and outside the neurons (beta amyloid plaques). These proteins not only affect the function of neurons but also prevent neurons from communicating with each other.

Over time, these changes cause abnormal brain cell function and eventually death, or

atrophy, of brain tissue. High levels of inflammation, oxidation (‘internal rusting of the

cells’) within neurons, and abnormal blood sugar control also contribute to the overall


What are the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Even though increasing age is the biggest risk factor for developing AD, AD is not a

normal part of aging.

The earliest symptom of AD is memory loss, usually experienced as forgetting names,

familiar places, and the location of frequently used items (i.e. keys). As AD progresses,

patients have trouble with tasks which require more thinking and concentration, such as

paying their pills. Mood issues (i.e. depression) and changes in normal behavior are

also inevitable symptoms of AD.



The majority of AD patients typically die within 5 to 8 years of their diagnosis. Death is

usually not directly caused by AD but rather by the mental and physical limitations it


What are the Risk Factors for Developing Alzheimer’s Disease?

Increasing age, genetic predisposition, and female gender are three major AD risk

factors that can’t be controlled. But…even though you can’t change your DNA or

biological gender or turn back time, you can protect yourself against developing AD by

knowing about the risk factors you can do something about.

Many of the health conditions associated with increased AD risk are fueled by the same

three underlying problems:


1) inflammation

2) oxidation (‘internal rusting of cells’)

3) Abnormal blood sugar control.  

Therefore, the key to prevention is to avoid the ‘big three’ altogether…not only to avoid AD but also to steer clear of other conditions associated with AD, like:

1.  High blood pressure

2.  High cholesterol

3.  Type 2 diabetes

4.  Obesity

5.  Sleep disorders

6.  Depression

7.  Smoking

8.  Excessive alcohol consumption

Why are Women at Increased Risk?

As is true for most health conditions, gender matters….

Women have a greater lifetime risk of develop AD. One reason for this is because women live longer than men.  However, there is more to the story….

The primary female sex hormone is estrogen. Because of the profound protective effects of estrogen on a woman’s brain, its absence has a major negative impact on female brain structure and function.  Here are just some of the scientific studies to back this up:

1.  Surgical menopause (i.e. removal of both ovaries) has been associated with higher rates of AD, especially if done at an earlier age.

2.  A woman’s brain changes as she progresses through perimenopause as fluctuating estrogen levels cause impaired neuron communication and neuron degeneration.

3.  Women who initiate HT early in the menopausal transition or at a younger age have a lower risk of AD than women who initiate HT later.

4.  Many studies have reported significant risk reductions in AD risk linked to hormone use, some by as much as 44%.  

The good news is there are proactive things women can do to help reduce their heightened risk for developing AD.  This includes lifestyle modification, stress reduction, getting enough sleep, properly dosed and monitored hormone replacement therapy, and nutritional supplements.

Natural Supplements for Promoting Brain Health

There is excellent research supporting the use of some nutritional supplements to promote brain health and reduce the incidence and severity of AD.  These have the most scientific backing: 

1.  Omega 3 Fatty Acids.  Omega‐3 fatty acids (i.e fish oil) are essential components of neurons and play a major role in intelligence, brain health, and neurotransmitter metabolism.  This makes sense since 60% of the brain is made up of fat cells.  Supplementation with omega 3 fatty acids has been shown to reduce oxidation and increase the levels of glutathione and other protective molecules.  In so doing, they not only in prevent AD but may also be therapeutic.

2.  Vitamin D.  Vitamin D serves many functions as a vitamin AND as a hormone.  Not only is it an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory molecule, it promotes the break down of beta-amyloid, one of the two abnormal proteins found in AD neurons.

3.  B6, B12, and Folate.  Supplementation with these B vitamins improves cognitive function and reduces AD risk by improving the brain’s structural integrity, neurotransmitter function, and indirectly by reducing homocysteine levels (a toxic amino acid).

4.  Anti-oxidants.  Vitamin C, Vitamin E, CoQ-10, Quercetin, and Glutathione are all examples of anti-oxidant supplements.  Through their ability to reduce and prevent inflammation and oxidation, they have been shown to protect neurons from damage and death.

You can learn more about nutritional supplements which promote brain health HERE.

Adrenalogix _ Dr Edwards _ AD _ Alzeheimer.png
Adrenalogix _ AD.png
bottom of page