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Helping Alzheimer’s Patients with Cognitive Decline: Plugging the Metaphorical Holes in the Roof - Blog Image

Helping Alzheimer’s Patients with Cognitive Decline: Plugging the Metaphorical Holes in the Roof

BY: Andrea Nakayama

DATE: 2021-10-05

A few years ago, I attended the Cleveland Clinic Grand Rounds where Dr. Dale Bredesen spoke about the reversal of cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Even if you’re not interested in dementia and it does not or has not affected your life or your work, read on. There was something poignant that the good doctor said that speaks directly to practitioners who work with diet and lifestyle modification.

My ears perked up, and I think yours will too!

Alzheimer’s is One Disease with Many Holes

Dr. Bredesen spoke about the mistake the medical community has been making in regards to Alzheimer’s—trying to target the disease with one single agent.

Just like the reversal of AIDS requires a “cocktail” therapy, he said Alzheimer’s also requires a many-pronged approach.

That’s because Alzheimer’s is multifactorial. It has many underlying causes, and we need to take a personalized approach to target all of the underlying root causes of the condition.

Understanding Alzheimer’s Risk Factors to Repair the Holes in the Roof

In other words, we need to take a Functional approach!

Dr. Bredesen went on to compare Alzheimer’s to having 36 holes in a roof…

You can’t just plug one hole and expect the problem to resolve.

Instead, we have to plug multiple holes.

In fact, what he found in his research was that essentially plugging even half the holes can lead to complete reversal of symptoms.

What is the Role of Functional Nutrition in Helping Those With Neurodegeneration?

One hole isn’t enough. Many holes make a difference!

It’s when Dr. Bredesen said this that my ears perked up. Do you know why?

Because this means that we all have a role. We can all feel confident that when we work together (practitioners in partnership), we’re plugging multiple holes and making a bigger difference.

I went and looked up Dr. Bredesen’s published research and his therapeutic protocol. Each step is based on the following:

  • GoalWhat is contributing to the disease, and the goal to eliminate the culprits (Ex: Sugar and other inflammatory foods contribute to the disease, so the goal is to reduce or eliminate those foods.)

  • ApproachHow to achieve the above goal (Ex: Educate the client on how sugar impacts her health, and offer her action steps to remove it from her diet)

  • RationaleWhy the above actions need to be taken (Ex: There are several biological pathways impacted by sugar)

And when I looked at the actual list I just had to share it with you, the functional practitioner community.

Dr. Bredesen's therapeutic research protocol | Holistic Nutrition Lab

Look at how much can be done to help alzheimer’s patients improve their cognitive decline with the help of a qualified functional nutritionist.

Seriously, look what a role you can play in helping to reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Print out this table, get out your highlighter, and draw a big circle around the areas that are within your scope and feel comfortable to you to address.

If you’re overwhelmed by the language or the appreciations, just search for the words and things you can do.

I bet there’s more than one. And remember, every hole matters, even though no single one will do the trick alone.

And this isn’t just for dementia!

There are 36 (or more!) holes in the roof for every chronic condition.

The holes you can plug matter. All you have to do is learn the right approach.

Please plug them with confidence and the best know-how you can.

That’s how we #dochange in healthcare.

Your first step to join the Resolution as a coach that’s thinking Functionally is easy. Download my ebook—Roadmap to Resolution: Your Blueprint for Thriving in Practice by Addressing the Root Causes of Chronic Illness—and see just how important you are in this new healthcare paradigm. You can also become a part of the free training series to see how you can become a valued nutrition coach to people that need your help.

Bredesen, D. (2014) Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program. AGING, Vol 6, No 9 , pp 707-717

Read more from the Functional Nutrition Alliance

What is Neurodegeneration?

Andrea Nakayama

By: Andrea Nakayama, FxNA Founder & Functional Medicine Nutritionist

Functional Nutrition Alliance provides the comprehensive online Functional Nutrition training in the Science & Art of the Functional Nutrition practice. Learn to address the roots of your clients’ suffering with client education, diet & lifestyle modifications.


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