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Brain Health

Persistent memory and cognitive decline are becoming an ever-growing problem. 

In 2022 the Alzheimer’s Association estimated 6.5 million Americans ages 65 and older were living with Alzheimer’s and by 2050 that number will double to 13 million. 

According to Dementia Care Central, “When a person has Alzheimer’s disease or another related dementia, there are noted changes that occur within the brain. These changes are both structural and chemical, and they impact one another to reinforce the damage to the brain.” As the disease progresses, many changes will impair the person’s ability to function, including speech, memory, reasoning and potentially mood/personality.

Alzheimer’s disease is caused by amyloid plaques, tangled bundles of fibers called neurofibrillary, or tau, and tangles, which cause a loss of connections between neurons in the brain. Inflammation in the Alzheimer’s brain is excessive, counter-productive and causes increased tangles and cell death. When the neurons, (think of as electrical wiring) which carry signals to the brain, are destroyed, signals transmitted between brain cells are disrupted and connections between nerve cells of the brain become interrupted (somewhat like short circuiting the system).

As the neuron’s function is reduced, less of the neurotransmitters are produced and communication between neurons is decreased. Tau tangles found inside the neurons block cells from receiving needed nutrients. Eventually, brain cells die due to the damage caused by beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles. The greater the inflammation, the greater the negative impact.

Amyloid also builds up inside the walls of brain blood vessels. Research shows Amyloid damages blood vessels endothelium and may interfere with blood flow in the brain. 

Published in the November 2022 Annals of Clinical and Translation Neurology, Dr. Rawan Tarawneh, M.D, director of the Cognitive Neurology Section and of the Memory & Aging Clinic at the University of Mexico identified a new protein in the cerebrospinal fluid that can reliably detect endothelial injury (damage to the lining of tiny blood vessels in the brain) in Alzheimer’s disease. Using this biomarker, the researchers found that endothelial injury is an important contributor to cognitive impairment in even the earliest pre-symptomatic stages of the disease.

Aged Garlic Extract has been shown to prevent and reverse damage of the endothelial lining of blood vessels and reduce Amyloid Beta.

A study published in Phytotherapy Research, 2009 discussed the anti-amyloid activity of aged garlic (AGE), “It was seen that not only could the compound prevent amyloid aggregation, but it could also defibrilize previously formed fibrils.”    

Published October 18, 2013, another study states “Ethyl acetate fractions from aged garlic extracts showed protection against (Aβ) Amyloid Beta-induced neurotoxicity. Pre-administration with aged garlic extracts attenuated Aβ-induced learning and memory deficits in both in vivo tests. Our findings suggest that aged garlic extracts with antioxidant activities may improve cognitive impairment against Aβ-induced neuronal deficit and possess a wide range of beneficial activities for neurodegenerative disorders, notably Alzheimer’s disease (AD).”  

A study published in the January 2017 journal, Nutrition, shows Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) is protective of brain neurons by reducing neuro-inflammation. Also published in Current Medicinal Chemistry researchers found “S-allyl-L-cysteine, an active compound in AGE, can prevent the neuroinflammation that leads to the death of synapses. Keeping synapses healthy is essential to preventing memory loss and cognitive decline. Moreover, treatment with AGE or S-allyl cysteine has been shown to prevent the degeneration of the brain’s frontal lobe, improve learning and memory retention and extend lifespan.” 

In the January 2013 issue of Journal Ethnopharmacology research suggested supplementation with aged garlic extract (AGE) has been shown to restore impaired endothelium-dependent vasodilator response in subjects and in patients with chronic coronary artery disease.

February 19, 2020, a study in Experimental Therapeutic Medicine concluded, “On the whole, this study demonstrates that AGE has a positive impact on endothelial function in patients with T2DM (type 2 diabetes) and may play a role in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. .

Over 350 scientific studies have shown that Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) is safe and effective in providing health benefits in humans. Its neuroprotective effect has also been evaluated in an animal model. AGE has the potential to protect the brain against neurodegenerative conditions by preventing brain injury following ischemia, protecting neuronal cells against apoptosis, and preventing Beta-amyloid-induced oxidative death.

A healthy digestive tract / gut microbiome is increasingly an important factor for preventing Alzheimer’s Disease. The gut microbiome communicates through a bi-directional network of signaling pathways called the gut-brain axis, which consists of multiple connections with the central nervous system. New research is showing an imbalance or dysbiosis of the microbiome (community of microorganisms) in the digestive tract increases inflammation and damages the gut-brain axis.

Archived in the NIH Library of Medicine, a study published January 25, 2019, in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility states, “Disturbances along the brain-gut-microbiota axis may significantly contribute to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most frequent cause of dementia characterized by a progressive decline in cognitive function associated with the formation of amyloid beta (Aβ) plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Alterations in the gut microbiota composition induce increased permeability of the gut barrier and immune activation leading to systemic inflammation, which in turn may impair the blood-brain barrier and promote neuroinflammation, neural injury, and ultimately neurodegeneration. A growing body of experimental and clinical data confirms a key role of gut dysbiosis and gut microbiota-host interactions in neurodegeneration.” 

 “In post-mortem studies in AD patients, the blood-brain barrier damage and accumulation of blood derived products in the brain were demonstrated. This process was confirmed by MRI studies of the living human brain, which showed age-dependent blood-brain barrier breakdown in the hippocampus associated with learning and memory.”  

“The results of numerous studies confirm the beneficial effect of probiotics by enhancing intestinal epithelial integrity, protecting against barrier disruption, reducing pro-inflammatory response, and inhibiting initiation or propagation of neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration.”

A new study published March 31, 2023, in Scientific also states, “Observational studies indicate that AD patients have reduced microbiome diversity, which could contribute to the pathogenesis of the disease, via neuroinflammatory processes across the microbiota-gut-brain axis.”

Depleted Glutathione levels in the body have also been associated with oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and neurodegeneration. Oxidative stress (OS) occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to counteract their damaging effects through neutralization with antioxidants. Oxidative damage is the harm sustained by cells and tissues that are unable to keep up with free radical production. 

Glutathione (GSH) is often referred to as the body’s master antioxidant. A primary function of glutathione is to alleviate oxidative stress and protect neurons against free radical damage in the brain (Ross et al., 2012). One unique thing about glutathione is that the body can make it in the liver and can be imported from the blood into the brain through the blood-brain barrier.

The level of glutathione in your body can drop with age. It can be affected by a poor diet, a lack of exercise, chronic diseases like diabetes and sleep apnea, a weaker immune system, infection, toxin exposure and stress. 

According to a study in the 2019 Journal Alzheimer’s Disease, glutathione is depleted significantly in the hippocampal regions in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease patients compared to healthy old subjects.

Published in the January 16, 2018, issue Journal of Neuroinflammation: “In disease states, a reduction in brain glutathione occurs with aging, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. This provides a biological explanation for our observations of the association between glutathione and cognition.”

The BIG take aways for improving Brain Health and preventing Amyloid Beta Plaque in the brain and potential Alzheimer’s disease are:

  1. Improve circulation, decrease inflammation, and protect and repair the endothelium of blood vessels throughout the body, particularly the brain.
  2. Maintain a balance healthy microbiome through healthy eating habits, decrease stress and supplementing with an effective specialized probiotic.
  3. Decrease oxidative damage by increasing glutathione levels and decreasing inflammation and toxin exposure.

Every Alzheimer’s patient is unique and should be treated as such. There are some foundational supplements that can be helpful in addressing these key points.

Kyolic® (Wakunaga of America) is the only manufacturer of Aged Garlic Extract and have a wide variety of formulas including:

Kyolic® Aged Garlic Extract Formula 100 for Cardiovascular Health contains 600 mg of AGE per serving.

Kyolic® Brain Memory is a proprietary, triple-extract herbal blend containing a combination of Aged Garlic Extract, Ginseng Extract and Ginkgo Biloba Extract to support healthy brain function and memory.

Kyolic Curcumin contains Curcumin and Aged Garlic Extract. Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory flavonoid compound that is the principal curcuminoid of the Indian spice turmeric. It is highly lipophilic and crosses the blood-brain barrier enabling it to exert a multitude of different established neuroprotective effects.

Wakunaga’s garlic crop is cultivated with time-tested procedures to enhance its beneficial constituents. The unique aging process applied in manufacturing Aged Garlic Extract distinguishes Kyolic from other garlic products available on the market. 

For more information go to

Dr. Ohhira’s Original Probiotic Formula® (Essential Formulas) 

Since its origin over 30 years ago, Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics® has prided itself on purity and the pristine process that creates this perfect whole food supplement. Dr. Ohhira’s nourishing prebiotic culture medium is fermented with live cultures comprised of EXCLUSIVELY pure spring water, fruits, wild vegetables, mushrooms, and seaweed. 

October 28, 2020, Editors at Better Nutrition Magazine selected Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics® as a 2020 “Best of Supplements” Award Winner in the Probiotic Category. This win was the 10th for the world-renowned supplement, a distinction no other probiotic supplement has ever received. 

Dr. Ross Pelton, RPh, CCN, Essential Formulas Science Director, explains why Dr. Ohhira’s is considered the premier probiotic supplement, “The key is the 3-year fermentation process at a natural temperature that allows the beneficial bacteria to produce a multitude of “Postbiotic Metabolites.” Dr. Pelton states, “Postbiotic Metabolites are the new frontier in microbiome science. Scientists are learning that postbiotic metabolites are master health-regulating compounds in the body. They play a role in regulating every organ system, including the immune system and the brain.”

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REG ́ACTIV® Essential ME-3 (Essential Formulas)

Taking glutathione as a supplement has unfortunately been proven to be not effective. One study gave healthy people 500 milligrams twice a day for a month, however due to the digestive process they were unable to raise the glutathione level in the blood.

A unique option for promoting better glutathione levels comes from the regular use of REG ́ACTIV® products – especially the newly introduced Essential ME-3 formula which offers the best option the best option for preserving healthy glutathione levels in the body. In 1995, award-winning microbiologist Marika Mikelsaar, MD, PhD and her team of research scientists at the University of Tartu, Estonia isolated this distinctive probiotic strain. The unique strain ME-3 stimulates glutathione production naturally in the human body and works as a glutathione-activating agent. Daily supplementation ensures the most effective availability of this key nutrient for optimal health.

For more information go to

Watching a loved one slip away mentally and physically from Dementia / Alzheimer’s is so difficult!

Knowing that it could be happening to you is terrifying!

Posted on the Alzheimer’s Association website: “Half of primary care physicians reported that they do not feel adequately prepared to care for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. More than 25% reported being “only sometimes” or “never” comfortable answering patient questions about Alzheimer’s or other dementias.”

Being proactive and taking care of your brain now, before it becomes too late to repair is imperative. Your daily lifestyle, including the foods you eat, plays a role in keeping your brain healthy and can improve specific mental tasks, such as memory and concentration. The Mediterranean diet is highly recommended by most nutritionists.

According to the NIH Sleep is important for numerous brain functions, including how nerve cells (neurons) communicate with each other. In fact, your brain and body stay remarkably active while you sleep. Recent findings suggest that sleep plays a housekeeping role that removes toxins in your brain that build up while you are awake.

Studies have shown that exercise increases the size of a certain brain structure and improves circulation that’s important to memory and learning. Therefore, incorporate daily exercise even if it’s only for 15 minutes!

Generally, you should try to eliminate as much refined sugary and white flour, and chemical additive processed foods as possible. Incorporate more complex grains, a wide variety of fresh vegetables and fruits, healthy proteins and stay hydrated. Your brain uses omega-3s in fatty fish, flax oil, and olive oil to build brain and nerve cells essential for learning and memory. The Mediterranean diet is highly recommended by most nutritionists.

Two main components in coffee and green tea — caffeine and antioxidants — can help support brain health. Blueberries and other deeply colored berries deliver anthocyanins, a group of plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that can help prevent brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases.

If you start making small changes now, you will be starting on the path for better brain health while aging.

Jane Jansen Holistic Practitioner 

Host of Holistic Healthline Radio 

Tree of Life Wellness Center for telephone or in-office appointments call 508-336-4242