Most scientists and specialists agree that Alzheimer's is caused by one of two proteins:
Researchers from the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA reported in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease that eating too much red meat, which raises brain levels of iron, might heighten the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Iron is vital for cell function. However, too much of it encourages oxidative damage, something to which the brain is particularly susceptible.
Iron helps your body:
• Produce hemoglobin, the protein within red blood cells that binds oxygen for delivery to your organs
• Produce myoglobin, whose job is to trap oxygen within muscle cells for use in the metabolic processes that generate energy for muscle contraction.
• Synthesize DNA
Foods high in iron
• Mollusks (clams, mussels, oysters
• Liver (port, chicken, turkey, lamb, beef
Please note that other foods high in iron such as green, leafy vegetables, and lentils were left off this list because those foods contribute other valuable and necessary nutrients.
A new study on mice by researchers from the University of Rochester, N.Y., suggests that high levels of dietary copper — which comes via red meat, shellfish and water from copper pipes — caused a build-up of a protein associated with Alzheimer's disease. According to research leader Dr Rashid Dean, "it is clear that, over time, copper's cumulative effect is to impair the systems by which amyloid beta is removed from the brain."
Copper helps your body:
• Utilize iron, reduces tissue damage caused by free radicals
• Helps your body produce melanin
• Support a healthy thyroid gland
• Maintains healthy bones and connective tissues
• Preserves the myelin sheath surrounding the nerves
Foods high in copper
• Goose liver
At some point we can drive ourselves crazy trying to follow all recommendations in order to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other diseases. The jury is still out on these studies, so, in the meantime, use common sense. If Alzheimer’s disease runs in your family, if you have a history of diabetes or heart disease, or if you are overweight, focus on eating a Mediterranean diet. Don’t totally eliminate foods that contain iron and copper, but it might be a good idea to reduce your consumption of meat and mollusks.
- Erika P. Raven, Po H. Lu, Todd A. Tishler, Panthea Heydari and George Bartzokis. "Increased Iron Levels and Decreased Tissue Integrity in Hippocampus of Alzheimer's Disease Detected in vivo with Magnetic Resonance Imaging" Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, Issue Volume 37, Number 1/2013, Pages 127-136, DOI: 10.3233/JAD-130209
- Rashid Dean, Itender Singh, Abhay P. Sagare, et. al, "Low levels of copper disrupt brain amyloid-B homeostasis by altering its production and clearance" PNAS, 2013: 1302212110v1