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Brushing Your Teeth Is Not Going to Be a Magic Alzheimer’s Remedy January 25, 2019

Posted by geoff in News.

There’s a story making the rounds that could use some context:

The Cause of Alzheimer’s Could Be Coming From Inside Your Mouth, Study Claims

…scientists are saying they’ve got one of the most definitive leads yet for a bacterial culprit behind Alzheimer’s, and it comes from a somewhat unexpected quarter: gum disease.

In a new paper led by senior author Jan Potempa, a microbiologist from the University of Louisville, researchers report the discovery of Porphyromonas gingivalis ā€“ the pathogen behind chronic periodontitis (aka gum disease) ā€“ in the brains of deceased Alzheimer’s patients.

There are a lot of factors that have been implicated in Alzheimer’s:

  • Metals: iron, copper, aluminum, mercury
  • Viruses (Herpes), Bacteria (the one above and Borrelia Burgdorferi (Lyme disease)), Fungi
  • Air pollution
  • Insulin resistance (“Type 3 Diabetes”)
  • Leaky blood-brain barrier
  • Genetics (of course)

Those are just the ones off the top of my head. But the emerging picture is that all of these may be true. It’s starting to look like:

  1. Some chronic insult to the brain occurs (as in one or more of the causes listed above).
  2. Amyloid beta accumulates as an immune response to the invasive species, as the brain clearance mechanisms become exhausted.
  3. Somehow amyloid beta encourages tau proteins to get an extra phosphate group, which causes them to leave their normal stations, mess with the nucleus, and tangle up in the neuron.
  4. Corrupted (hyperphosphorylated) tau propagates from cell to cell, and it is the infiltration of bad tau in various brain regions that correlates with impaired function in those regions.
  5. Eventually inflammation occurs, accelerating the decline of neurons and brain function.

So, sadly, just brushing your teeth and seeing a dentist regularly are unlikely to protect you from Alzheimer’s – you’ll have just dodged one of the easier bullets to dodge.

Still, that’s plenty worth the small effort it takes to steer clear of that particular bullet.

[Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or medical researcher, but I read a lot of Alzheimer’s literature. The summary above is my own best guess as to what’s going on, but incorporates the Massachusetts General Hospital theory of the amyloid beta function and disease states as well as the results of recent tau PET scan studies.]


1. Cathy - January 25, 2019

Thanks, Geoff. Since I visited with with old gals and guys in caring ministry — some in various stages of Alzheimers — this kinda thing is worthwhile reading for me.

Do you know that for some odd reason daily doses of coconut oil help fight Alzheimers? Also… gargling or rinsing your mouth out with a few tablespoons of coconut oil helps draw bacteria from your body?

Maybe the coconut oil kills that kind of bacteria.

I’m also wondering if that bacteria might get produced from gluten-protein, since gluten causes brain issues for many. (Where’s Teresa-in-FtWorth?)

I dunno… Worth watching what they come up with.

2. geoff - January 25, 2019

The whole coconut oil thing is that the brain normally uses glucose to fuel its metabolism. That process is impaired in Alzheimer’s patients, so they may benefit from an alternative fuel: ketones. Coconut oil is rich in ketones, so there’s some anecdotal evidence that coconut oil helps Alzheimer’s patients, but only for a while.

3. daveintexas - January 26, 2019

It pains me to know that you know so much about this

4. geoff - January 27, 2019

Me too.

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