(Homocysteine, Vitamins B6, B12, and Folate)
Elevated levels of homocysteine can indicate inflammation and problems in optimal methylation and nutritional support. Homocysteine buildup in the brain can also damage blood vessels. Healthy levels of vitamins B12 and B6, folate, and betaine can insure that homocysteine is recycled and does not build up causing damage to the circulation.
(Insulin, HgA1C, and fasting glucose)
High insulin and high glucose are known contributors to Alzheimer’s. Insulin supports neuronal survival but high levels of insulin blunt its ability to send survival signals. The other issue is that IDE (Insulin Degrading Enzyme) also degrades amyloid-beta plaques. High levels of insulin mean that IDE is too busy degrading insulin that it can’t help control the amyloid-beta plaques. They begin to slowly build up contributing to Alzheimer’s. Glucose can also alter proteins and create free radicals. These altered proteins and free radicals can damage neuro supporting molecules, DNA, and blood vessels which all contribute to the disease.
(C-reactive protein, Sed rate, IL-6, TNF-alpha)
Inflammation is important in the body’s defense against harmful substances or infections. However, chronic infections, food allergies, toxic exposures, and a host of other things, can chronically activate the body’s inflammatory responses. Chronic inflammation can then lead to the body damaging its own tissues and cells and slowing the natural turn over of dying cells leading to premature or accelerated aging. Inflammation in the brain can damage neurons and leads to Alzheimer’s. Here are a few important markers that can tell us if the body’s inflammatory responses are activated.
- C-Reactive Protein (CRP): a protein made by the liver that is sent into the bloodstream in response to inflammation.
- Albumin/globulin ratio: high levels of albumin to globulin can be signs of infection or an inflammatory response
- Omega-6/Omega-3 ratio: both fatty acids are important for health, however omega-3s are anti-inflammatory while omega-6s are pro-inflammatory
- Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (TNF𝜶): elevated levels of these cytokines can also indicate inflammation
(Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone, DHEA-S, Pregnenelone, Cortisol, TSH, T4free, T3free)
- Hormones can contribute to cognitive function by supporting synapse formation and maintenance. We perform several tests to determine hormone status within the patient.
- Thyroid function: The thyroid controls the body’s metabolic
processes. Suboptimal thyroid levels bring slower reflexes and
lowered mental sharpness. Many people who suffer from dementia and cognitive issues also have lowered thyroid function.
- Estrogens and progesterone: There is strong evidence of the role
estrogens play in the prevention of dementia. The ratio between estrogen and progesterone is also associated with brain fog and memory problems.
- Testosterone: Present in both men and women, testosterone is important for neuronal survival.
- Cortisol, Pregnenolone, Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA): Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal glands in response to stress. This hormone, in high levels, can damage neurons, especially those associated with memory. Pregnenolone is converted into all other hormones. During periods of high stress, pregnenolone is converted into stress hormones instead of sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen, etc.). This leads to decreased levels of sex hormones which are important for brain health and cognition. DHEA is a “neurosteroid” that supports brain health and the body’s response to stress. Low levels of DHEA can hurt cognition.
(Copper, Zinc, Magnesium, Selenium)
Some metals are necessary for metabolic processes and cellular function within the body. Other metals can cause inflammation and damage to tissues and cells. We can run tests to determine if a patient is deficient in beneficial metals or determine if they need to “detox” themselves from any harmful ones.
- Copper/zinc ratio: Levels of copper and zinc in the body are inversely related. High levels of copper mean low levels of zinc and vice versa. Higher levels of copper and lower levels of zinc are associated with dementia and other neurological issues. Copper can produce free radicals which can damage brain tissue. Zinc deficiency has been linked to increased autoantibodies and oxidative damage, reduced hormonal and neurotransmitter signaling, and enhanced sensitivity to toxins. These symptoms of zinc deficiency can all contribute to cognitive decline and dementia.
- Magnesium: an important micronutrient in brain function and health
- Selenium: This metal is critical in regenerating the peptide glutathione. Glutathione is needed to fight free radicals and inflammation. Low levels of either leads to inflammation, toxicity, and loss of neuronal support.
(Vitamin D 25[OH])
This vitamin is crucial for activating genes that affect a host of important things including creating and maintaining brain synapses. Suboptimal levels can be a hindrance for improving cognition and brain health in Alzheimer’s patients.
Cholesterol and lipid particles
Low cholesterol is associated with cognitive decline. Cholesterol is an important part of cell membranes and lowered cholesterol can lead to brain shrinkage. We’ll test for lipid particles from damaged cholesterol molecules to determine if there are any issues.
This vitamin is an important antioxidant that protects cells from free radicals. It is one of the few monotherapies, in clinical trials, to have shown any effect on cognitive decline.
This vitamin has been linked to healthy memory formation. Sufficient levels are required to support healthy cognition.