We often link an Alzheimer’s diagnosis with genetic predisposition. However, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is more than genetics!

Most people believe you have a high likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease if it runs in your family.

Now, we know that there are six separate classifications of Alzheimer’s disease. This disease doesn’t have one homogeneous root cause.

Understanding the root causes of Alzheimer’s gives us some clues about how to treat it. Genetic predisposition plays a role but Alzheimer’s is more than genetics.

Understanding the root cause of Alzheimer’s is important when creating a care plan. This vital information can help put your symptoms into remission and even reverse some of those symptoms.

Functional medicine practitioner’s are always looking for the root cause of dysfunction and disease. Knowing the type of Alzheimer’s readily points to treatment plans that are personalized to the specific type of dysfunction. 

Type one Alzheimer’s is called inflammatory or hot Alzheimer’s.

This type of Alzheimer’s is driven by inflammation. The major cell for inflammation in the body is called NF-kappa B. Increased production in NF-kappa B increases amyloid production and deposition in the brain. Why is this a direct link to Alzheimer’s disease? These amyloid plaques are what we see in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Decreasing this inflammation helps to stop the production of amyloid plaques. 

The second type of Alzheimer’s is called cold or a trophic Alzheimer’s.

This type of Alzheimer’s is driven by inadequate amount of nutrients, hormones and trophic factors. Trophic factors are the helper molecules that help develop neurons. These molecules also help maintain the connections between its neighbours.

The body needs vitamins and minerals, adequate amounts of hormones like estrogen, testosterone and progesterone as well as other trophic factors to maintain the 5 trillion connections between cells. All of these are supremely important in the growth, development and maintenance of brain cells. Therefore, not having enough of these nutrients, hormones or trophic factors, causes decreased brain function.

The third type of Alzheimer’s disease, type 1.5 is called glycolytic or sweet Alzheimer’s.

This type is driven by glucose and is caused by insulin sensitivity issues or high fasting glucose. Type 1.5 combines factors of type one and type two Alzheimer’s disease. The insulin resistance that doesn’t allow sugar to be put into the cells is similar to type one Alzheimers. In addition, it binds to certain proteins in the brain and this creates inflammation. 

It’s very much like the trophic type two Alzheimer’s because we’re not getting the nutrients to feed the cells. The glucose that our brain cells need to be fed and nourished, as well as to function, doesn’t get into the cells.

Type three Alzheimer’s is called toxic or vile.

This type is driven by exposure to environmental toxins like mercury, toluene and mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are toxins that come from mold. For instance, there are mycotoxins that have been directly linkeed to Alzheimer’s disease.

Even though we’re all at risk for environmental toxins, those with a genetic predisposition have a higher risks. This is mostly because of impaired detoxification pathways. However, this type of Alzheimer’s is more than genetics. As it is said, genetics loads the gun but environment pulls the trigger.

Type four is called vascular or sometimes pale Alzheimer’s.

This type is driven by cardiovascular disease. When we have cardiovascular disease, we get less oxygen to certain parts of the brain. This causes brain dysfunction.

One of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease is leakiness in the vasculature or the blood vessels in the brain. When you have a genetic predisposition and you have cardiovascular disease, you are more at risk for this type of Alzheimer’s.

Type five Alzheimer’s disease is called traumatic or dazed.

This type of Alzheimer’s comes from traumatic brain injury or head trauma. It could be from small, minor head injuries or mild concussions. Similarly, it could come from many repetitive injuries or from a significant head trauma.

When these traumatic injuries occur early in life, you significantly increase chances of Alzheimer’s. This trauma causes the brain to create  and deposit amyloid plaques into the areas where there has been inflammation or the brain has atrophied. We frequently see this amyloid tissue in Alzheimer’s patients.

This is why I caution parents to make sure that children who are playing contact sports are being careful and are being taken care of immediately. Although Alzheimer’s is more than genetics, micro traumas increase your risk of Alzheimer’s. This is especially true if you have a genetic predisposition.

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