Breaking The Alzheimer’s Stigma

Addressing inflammation is a vital step that may help prevent the development and worsening of Alzheimer’s. Everything from diet, lifestyle, oxidative stress, exposure to environmental toxins, inflammation, mental and social interests can all play a part in preventing or causing Alzheimer’s. This is because, contrary to common opinion, Alzheimer’s is not synonymous with ageing. Indeed the brain changes of normal ageing have been shown to be distinctly different from those with Alzheimer’s. At the Murthy Clinic we urge you to not be afraid to seek help if you have been given a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, we are here to help you understand what you can do to improve your Life.s

The Murthy Clinic approach To Alzheimer’s

The development and progression of Alzheimer’s is multifaceted, therefore requiring the highly personalised approach taken by The Murthy Clinic, where the team take time to understand and create a plan based on each individual’s complex needs. Time and testing is what distinguishes a Functional Medicine approach from the conventional medicine route. At The Murthy Clinic we treat everyone as an individual not a diagnosis.

Ayurveda, herbs and Alzheimer's

Although there has been notable development in the conventional world around Alzheimer’s treatment, it is largely aimed at addressing the degenerative characteristics associated with the disease, Amyloid β (Aβ) and tau protein. While it is as yet unclear if these approaches are sufficient, researchers generally agree that diet & exercise are the sole proven methods as yet known to help prevent cognitive decline and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Ayurveda has always recommended dietary & lifestyle changes alongside the use of neuroprotective phytonutrients in rejuvenation treatments called Rasayana. These include regular self-care practices and body therapies alongside appropriate cleansing and detoxification known as Pancha Karma to help in both preventing and managing Alzheimer’s.

Dr Vijay Murthy may decide to include a class of herbs known as Medhyas from Ayurveda in the treatment programme, these have the potential to enhance memory and rejuvenate cognitive function when used appropriately. They do so by modulation of the neuroendocrine and immune systems and are rich sources of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Ayurveda also uses a class of herbs known as adaptogens including ashwagandha, bramhi, shankapushpi, turmeric and gotu kola to reduce brain ageing & induce antioxidant, anti-amyloidogenic and anti-inflammatory effects through nutrition.

Key factors that help The Murthy Clinic team create a personalised holistic diagnosis include conducting a detailed health history, understanding current dietary, lifestyle & stress management practices, investigating genetic variations, ruling out (via testing) environmental factors such as heavy metal burden, understanding the current gut microbial status, as well as the bodies current capacity for detoxification.

Understanding the Root cause
of Alzheimer’s

As inflammation in the brain is the key underlying cause in Alzheimer’s, Dr Vijay Murthy using Functional Medicine and Ayurveda will investigate all the potential contributing factors towards any inflammation.

The bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain, known popularly as The Gut-Brain Axis plays an important role. Imbalances in gut bacteria (dysbiosis) and increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut) may contribute to inflammation and systemic issues that can impact brain health.

The most commonly discussed cause for Alzheimer’s is the development of Amyloid plaques in the brain affecting communication between brain cells, plus an accumulation of abnormal tau protein, which can form a tangle in neurons.

In familial Alzheimer’s, genetic variations such as the amyloid precursor protein (APP), presenilin 1 (PSEN1), presenilin 2 (PSEN2) genes or apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene variant have been attributed as risk factors.

Exposure to environmental toxins, such as heavy metals, pesticides and/or air pollutants can promote oxidative stress and neuro-inflammation, making them a potential risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.

In some cases, insulin resistance and blood sugar dysregulation can speed up the development of Alzheimer’s. Dysfunctional mitochondria (the energy-producing structures within cells) can also trigger neurodegenerative processes in the brain.

Poor diet and/or an unhealthy lifestyle can also play an important role in causing oxidative stress. Nutrient deficiencies such as low levels of Omega 3, Vitamin B and D, can also contribute towards the development and/or worsening of Alzheimer’s.

Other metabolic and chronic health issues including high blood pressure, heart disease or strokes, can also result in poor blood flow to the brain causing more damage to the neurons.

Functional Medicine and Ayurveda also emphasise the protective potential of intellectual stimulation, social connections, and mental resilience in preventing and managing Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s Vs Dementia

It is important to understand that not all dementias are Alzheimer’s, although Alzheimer’s is the more common form of dementia.

Dementia is a broad term referring to various conditions causing cognitive impairment affecting memory, thinking and social abilities. Memory loss, impaired reasoning, communication, difficulties and inability to manage daily functioning are some of the more common features of dementia.

When infections, nutritional deficiencies, metabolic disorders (eg. diabetes) are the causes of Dementia, they may be reversed. If brain tumours and head injuries causing brain damage are the underlying causes, they need a strong conventional approach alongside complementary approaches using nutrition, lifestyle, Functional Medicine and Ayurveda.

The difference in the treatment of Alzheimer’s from other forms of Dementia, is in assessing the extent of oxidative stress and inflammation, and to correct these where possible.

Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative condition needing lifelong management, whereas some forms of Dementia can be reversed. It is important to note that this differs on a case by case basis.

When taking a Functional Medicine & Ayurvedic approach, the key strategies for addressing the root causes can seem similar in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, however, as with everyone visiting The Murthy Clinic, each person will be treated as an individual with a unique set of needs.

Dr Vijay Murthy

The Murthy Clinic

Harley Street Dr Limited

23 Harley Street