Mid-Life Health Fights Alzheimers

August 5, 2009
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

friesFore go those fries!

High blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes in middle age play a huge role in the later risk for dementia, a four-decade-long study of close to 10,000 Americans now reports. Elevated total cholesterol (240 milligrams per deciliter) raises the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) 66 percent. Even people with borderline to moderately high cholesterol levels have significantly higher likelihood of dementia later in life.

Smoking ups the odds for Alzheimer’s to 70 percent. Anyone with high blood pressure at 40 is 60 percent more likely to develop dementia, and middle-aged adults with diabetes have twice the risk as healthy people their age.

Currently more than five million Americans suffer from AD, an incurable brain disorder that’s probably most people’s greatest fear. No one, including physicians making the diagnosis, likes to talk about Alzheimer’s. Living longer isn’t the most appealing prospect for anyone with this mind-robbing disease.

Now the good news: Changing your diet, taking the right supplements, exercising regularly, and managing stress can improve your health at any age. “What’s good for your heart is good for your brain,” explains Rachel Whitner, PhD, senior author of this new NIH-funded study.

The Mayo Clinic recommends a Mediterranean-style diet, emphasizing fruits and vegetables, fish, whole grains, olive oil, and nuts. And 65 years of accumulated evidence points to the benefits of omega-3 fats including EPA and DHA. Scientists believe these fatty acids work from inside the cell membrane to support the heart’s electrical activity.

Dr. Ann Louise’s Take:

I totally agree with the American Heart Association (AHA) which advises two servings of fatty fish a week, or about 500 milligrams of EPA and DHA daily – for most individuals. For those of us with a history of either heart disease or Alzheimer’s, I recommend anywhere from 2 to 3 softgels of Super EPA daily (a total of 2 – 3,000 mg).  Super EPA is free from heavy metals (mercury) and contaminants like PCBs.

* Please Note: For those of you who have signed up to receive Dr. Ann Louise’s Advisor e-letter, you will now be receiving her new Edge on Health Blogs three times a week.  Dr. Ann Louise will be giving you her take on the latest cutting edge news and information on the hottest topics in health!  If you would prefer to not receive blog updates by email, please change your subscription settings at the bottom of this message.


Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Kelly

    Whole foods are the way to go but leave out the supplements. Our bodies are designed to brake down our foods to absorb the nutrients from whole foods and take out the vitamins in which we need. Has anyone read the Book The China Study if you haven’t do so. It has a world of GOOD information about Nutrition It will change your whole out look on food. It will teach you how to eat the right foods and what foods to avoid that could cause cancers heart disease and Alzheimer.

  2. Ann Louise Gittleman

    In general, I would have to agree EXCEPT when it comes to fish vs. fish oil. Every fish on the planet has some degree of mercury – a known neurotoxin. Therefore, to safely supply daily essential EPA and DHA fatty acids, minus the mercury, a purified fish oil is the only way to go.

  3. Christina

    Ann Louise — Thanks for your new blog which makes it easy for us to keep up on what is important for our health. A question, though…. In your 1996 book, Your Body Knows Best, you talk out customizing our diet based on ancestry/genetic heritage, blood type, and metabolism. Although I haven’t read all of your most recent books, I don’t remember that The Fat Flush Plan (which I did read and successfully used) talked about any ‘customizing’ based on any of these three factors. In the article above, the Mediterranean Diet is recommended. What is your current understanding on how blood type and/or ancestry affect what diet is best for each of us? Is there a link, book, article you recommend about this?

  4. Ann Louise Gittleman

    Thanks for your post. Your Body Knows Best is still the best bet for those who wish to go to the next level and tailor diet to blood type, ancestry AND metabolism (fast, slow, and mix-oxidizers), Another route would be a TMA (tissue mineral analysis) which can identify your current rate of metabolism. Ask Liz at UNI KEY, 1-800-888-43453, about this test or check it out in the Store on my site.

  5. Ann Louise Gittleman

    The focus of Fat Flush has a different approach to eating than Your Body Knows Best. It is a more generalized detox/diet plan for those who are more interested in basic cleansing, support of the liver, and lympth and are not as concerned about custom tailoring a diet according to blood type, ancestry, and metabolic rate. Good question and again, thanks for your post.

  6. Eileen

    If I test my metabolic rate and it is slow what should I do?

  7. Ann Louise Gittleman

    The TMA readout will tell you everything – from supplements to diet to environmental concerns.

  8. chelley

    I loved the FF plan but am having trouble keeping the weight off whenever I eat the slightest bit of grain carbs. AND menopause has finally kicked in. Any suggestions? I’m a healthnut- exercise 10-12 hours/week etc. etc.

  9. Ann Louise Gittleman

    Sounds like a metabolic/hormonal slowdown to me. If you take the TMA as noted above, and find out your thryroid and adrenal mineral ratios, the numbers will tell the story and you will get back to your slimming self in no time. LIz awaits your call; 1-800-888-4353.

  10. Liz Beck

    You can really learn why you have symptoms when you know your mineral levels. There is so much you can do with foods and sometimes supplements.
    Knowledge is power !

  11. Ann Louise Gittleman

    Dear Friends:
    I would love to answer each and every single one of your queries, as I have done to the best of my ability, in the past. The popularity of this Blog has grown to the extent that I can no longer provide that service but I am in the planning stages of an Internet – TV show where you can call in and get those questions answered by me in person! Please stay tuned for this exciting development. I first must complete a new manuscript and then will make some exciting announcements. In the interim, may I suggest that if you have questions about products, call UNI KEY at 1-800-888-4353. The folks there are helpful and will direct you accordingly. If you are concerned about a particular health condition, then by all means check out the Testing Kits on my site which will help you to determine underlying causes. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and interest!

  12. Story Time

    the item reminds me personally of men and women that seek advise from his or her notion in advance of people hop in anything.


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