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Dementia Prevention - How to Stack the Odds in Your Favor

podcast art: Dementia Prevention - How to Stack the Odds in Your Favor

Join Dr. James Odell for Season 2 of the Science of Self-Healing Podcast! He's the Medical and Executive Director for BRMI, as well as a practicing naturopathic doctor for over 35 years, and he's here to share with you his extensive knowledge of medicine from a different perspective.

In this eye-opening episode, Dr. James Odell, an expert in bioregulatory medicine, discusses the most common types of dementia and examines potential contributing factors from a bioregulatory perspective. He explores how our biology, environment, and lifestyle choices may influence the risk of cognitive decline.

But this isn't just about understanding the problem. Dr. Odell provides valuable strategies and practical tips on protecting brain health through nutrition, supplementation, and lifestyle modifications. Learn about the potential benefits of antioxidants, essential nutrients, and mind-body practices for cognitive well-being.

Don't miss this opportunity to gain insights from a medical professional on dementia prevention. Discover ways to potentially reduce your risk and promote a sharper, more resilient mind.

Transcript: Dementia Prevention - How to Stack the Odds in Your Favor

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Science of Self-Healing podcast. For health and wellness knowledge from a different perspective. Produced by the Bioregulatory Medicine Institute, also known as BRMI. We are your source for unparalleled information about how you can naturally support your body's ability to regulate, adapt, regenerate, and self-heal. I'm your host, Dr. James Odell, the medical and executive director for BRMI, as well as a practicing naturopathic doctor for over 35 years. And remember, this podcast is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for the direct care of a qualified health professional who oversees and provides unique and individual care. The information here is to broaden our different perspectives and should not be construed as medical advice or treatment. Let's get started.

In this episode, we’ll discuss the urgent and growing issue of dementia.  So, imagine this: by 2050, the number of people living with dementia worldwide is projected to triple, reaching over 150 million cases.  This staggering increase will have profound implications for the affected individuals and families, caregivers, and healthcare systems globally. 

To put this into perspective, back in 2019, about 3% of adults aged 70-74 were diagnosed with dementia. This figure skyrockets to 22% for those aged 85-89 and 33% for adults 90 and older. The sheer scale of these numbers highlights the critical need for enhanced research, preventive measures, and supportive care to address what is rapidly becoming one of the most pressing public health challenges of our time. 

In this podcast, I will discuss the most common types of dementia, examine possible contributing factors from a bioregulatory medicine perspective, and various strategies you can implement to protect brain health by making wise nutritional and lifestyle choices. The goal is to provide valuable insights and practical tips to promote cognitive well-being and potentially reduce the risk of dementia. 

Dementia is an acquired loss of cognition in multiple cognitive domains sufficiently severe to affect social or occupational function.

They now have classified numerous types of dementia according to their pathophysiology, but I’m just going to talk about a few of the most common ones.

Alzheimer's Disease

The one type we most hear about is Alzheimer’s disease which is the most common cause of dementia as it is the underlying diagnosis for approximately 80% of diagnosed dementia cases. It is estimated that over 5 million Americans suffer from the disease, the majority are over 65 though it can affect those younger. It is a progressive disease that causes memory loss and a decline in cognitive functioning. Memory loss and confusion are the main symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s changes the brain, which loses healthy cells and as damaged cells die the brain shrinks throughout the disease. In Alzheimer’s there are two hallmark types of brain cell damage:  Neurofibrillary tangles: These are twisted fibers inside brain cells that prevent nutrients from moving through cells. Beta-amyloid plaques: These plaques are clumps of proteins that build up between nerve cells, rather than break down as they should in healthy brains. These two types of damage harm the healthy brain cells around them, as well. 

Lewy Body Dementia

Next is Lewy body dementia which is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer's disease. Protein deposits called Lewy bodies develop in nerve cells in the brain. The protein deposits affect brain regions involved in thinking, memory and movement. People with Lewy body dementia might experience Parkinson's disease symptoms. These symptoms may include rigid muscles, slow movement, trouble walking and tremors. There is also vascular dementia which is caused by impaired blood flow or damaged blood vessels. It may be associated with post-stroke or atherosclerosis of the carotid arteries that adversely impacts behavior, memory, and thinking.  

Frontotemporal Dementia

Another common type is Frontotemporal dementia. Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is an umbrella term for a group of brain diseases that mainly affect the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. These areas of the brain are associated with personality, behavior and language. In frontotemporal dementia, parts of these lobes shrink, known as atrophy. Symptoms depend on which part of the brain is affected. Some people with frontotemporal dementia have changes in their personalities. They become socially inappropriate and may be impulsive or emotionally indifferent. Others lose the ability to properly use language.

Frontotemporal dementia can be misdiagnosed as a mental health condition or as Alzheimer's disease. But FTD tends to occur at a younger age than Alzheimer's disease. It often begins between the ages of 40 and 65, although it can also occur later in life. FTD is the cause of dementia about 10% to 20% of the time.

So, let’s talk about some factors associated with an increased risk of dementia. 

Age and Genetics: Age is a much-talked-about risk factor, with the odds of developing dementia increasing significantly as we get older. Having a close relative with dementia raises your likelihood of developing the condition. Specific genetic mutations,

such as those in the APOE gene, particularly the APOE ε4 allele significantly predispose a person to Alzheimer's disease. This genomic trait can be tested for but does not mean dementia will occur if you have it. Toxins and trauma trigger these genomic traits and are modifiable with nutritional intervention.

Medical Conditions: Heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and Type 2 Diabetes all raise dementia rates due to their impact on blood vessels and brain health. Chronic inflammation, both systemic and in the brain, is another factor linked to increases in

dementia cases. Some researchers believe Alzheimer’s may be linked to insulin resistance in the brain, a concept referred to as "Type 3 Diabetes," which can lead to neuronal damage and cognitive decline. 

Infections and Immune Response: Chronic infections and inflammatory responses have been implicated in the development of dementia. 

Diet and Nutrition: Poor dietary habits, especially diets of highly processed foods and sugar, compound the chance of dementia. Low consumption of essential fatty acids can impair brain cell repair.

Brain Health and Injuries: Severe head injuries and repeated traumatic brain injuries, such as those sustained by athletes in contact sports, can raise the rates of developing dementia. Hearing loss is another related factor. 

Environmental Exposures: Exposure to air pollution – chemtrails full of aluminum, and toxins in food such as pesticides and herbicides as well as fluoride in water are all environmental

toxins associated with a rise in dementia. Smoking and secondhand smoke, which contains over 7,000 chemicals harmful to the brain, causes inflammation, damage blood vessels, and harm brain cells. Metal toxicity from exposure to metals like mercury, aluminum, and reduced iron in fortified wheat products can also compound the problem. 

Hormonal and Gender Factors: Experiencing early menopause and being female, both are associated with a higher chance of developing dementia, possibly due to a combination of genetic, and hormonal factors. Making sure hormonal balance is achieved can help.

Mental Health and Cognitive Engagement: Depression is linked to dementia, although the association is still unclear. Limited mental stimulation and engagement in brain-challenging activities, like reading, puzzles, and learning new skills, are also connected to dementia. Long-term stress and high cortisol levels may also be a factor. 

Medications: Certain medications, including antidepressants, beta-blockers, statins, Statins and opioids, are associated with more cases of dementia. A Harvard Health study found that people taking medications with anticholinergic activity, like many antidepressants, were 11% more likely to be diagnosed with dementia, with those taking drugs with the most anticholinergic effects having a 30% greater risk. 

Sleep Disorders: Chronic sleep disorders, such as insomnia and sleep apnea, are associated with cognitive decline and dementia.  

Social Factors: Social isolation is associated with a higher probability of developing dementia.

So, now let’s talk about preventive measures you can take to lessen the risk of dementia. 

Considering that most chronic diseases, including dementia, are deeply linked to the overconsumption of ultra-processed foods, let’s focus on what you should be eating instead. 

  • As most of us are aware, the Mediterranean diet has long been linked to longevity and better overall health. This connection is not surprising when you consider that the Mediterranean diet emphasizes nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables, berries, nuts, olive oil, and fish. These foods provide a variety of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and antioxidants that may offer protective effects for the brain.  

  • The brain-focused (MIND) Mediterranean Intervention Diet for Neurodegenerative Delay diet had almost 40% lower odds of having plaques and tangles in the brain to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s according to a study of autopsied brains.  Research shows that consuming 7 grams of olive oil a day was associated with a significantly lower probability of dementia- related death. And figs are known to help with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, and ALS. 

  • It’s important to limit seed oils. If you already haven’t listened to the podcast on this, please do. 

  • Interestingly, recent studies have shown coffee to have a protective effect on brain health and might reduce dementia rates. 

Now that it appears that diet can have a positive effect on preventing dementia, let’s take a deeper look at specific vitamins and supplements. 

But remember all supplementation should be supervised by your health care provider. Everyone is individually biochemically unique so dosages should be individually tailored.

  •  A lack of vitamin D is linked to dementia, so get out in the sun - especially the mid-day sun from mid-March to mid-September.  Monitor your vitamin D level The test is known as the 25-OH vitamin D test  Keeping the blood level of Vitamin D above 60 nmol/L is ideal.

  •  Magnesium has been shown to reduce age-related brain shrinkage, improve cognitive function, and prevent symptoms of dementia. An excellent magnesium that targets the CNS is Magnesium Threonate, if the threonate form is too expensive the next best form of magnesium for the brain is magnesium orotate.

  • Another amazing mineral for cognitive function is lithium. Lithium is an important trace mineral – it may be supplemented as 5 mg as Lithium orotate.

  •  Having a B12 and folate deficiency can cause brain fog, and depression, and long-term deficiencies can lead to dementia. B12, B6, and folic acid may slow brain volume shrinkage, so consider supplementing B12 and folate they are best taken in methylated forms.

  •  Omega 3 supplements can help support healthy brain function these can either come from fish oil or algae oil.  

  •  Vitamin C can help support brain health owing to its antioxidant effect. 

  •  One of my favorite mushrooms for cognitive decline is Lion's Mane. It is available in capsules as an extract.

  •  Ginkgo biloba also shows promise for cognitive decline and may protect neurons from plaque build-up. 


And of course, we all know that exercise is good for us, so let me go over that for a moment. 

Regular exercise improves blood flow to the brain which delivers oxygen and nutrients that brain cells need to function properly. Exercise also stimulates the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus, the area of the brain that helps with memory and learning. And it helps to reduce inflammation throughout the entire body including the brain, which is a root cause for dementia.  Lastly, exercise improves cognitive function including memory,

thinking, and reasoning skills.  Resistance training is gaining recognition to prevent dementia. Strengthening legs reduces the chances of dementia by at least 30%. Research shows that middle-aged men and women at a higher level of fitness are more protected from developing dementia.  It is recommended to take 10,000 steps a day. However, research supports the idea that taking even 4,000 steps a day can reduce

dementia odds.  

Here are some other ways you can reduce your risk of dementia. 

  • Do you have access to a sauna? Taking 4-7 saunas a week lowers the incidence of developing dementia by 66%. This is probably because saunas are great at reducing toxins.  

  • Be sure to socialize and build social connections. Research shows that loneliness can change the brain.

  • Consider owning a dog or a pet. This has been shown to lower the chance of getting dementia by 40%. 

  • Find purpose in life. Having goals and envisioning a compelling future helps to improve personality traits and attitudes associated with stronger cognitive health.

  • Keep a positive attitude and be optimistic. Depression at any age has been associated with dementia in late life.

  • Alzheimer’s and Dementia Journal stated that a negative outlook is associated with dementia. People who are positive, conscientious, and extroverted are less likely to develop the condition. 

  • Get out into nature. Go hiking and walking barefoot on the earth.

  • Keep learning!  Study a new language. There is evidence that a lack of cognitive demand is a significant driver in dementia and late-onset Alzheimer’s.  

  • Writing, playing cards, and doing crossword puzzles and board games are all good activities to stave off dementia.  

  • Try Aroma Therapy. Rosemary can help cognitive functioning, while peppermint, ylang-ylang, and frankincense all help to promote comfort and feelings of peace. Lastly, lavender, bergamot, and lemon balm help to calm those with dementia.

  • Get enough sleep.  It is recommended that adults aim for 7-8 hours of sleep for it to count as restorative sleep according to the CDC. Not getting restorative sleep is correlated with obesity, heart disease, mood disorders, anxiety, depression, and dementia. 

  • Avoid TV news before sleep. The negative and traumatic media is damaging to the hippocampus of the brain.  

  • Most importantly check your prescription drugs for side effects of dementia. Drugs may impair cognition indirectly via metabolic effects, such as hypoglycemia, by alterations of immunological factors within the CNS, and by actions that interfere with synaptic transmission. Drug-induced dementia falls under the broad category of pseudo-dementias, which differentiates them from dementias associated with degenerative neurologic disorders. Ask your pharmacist about the meds you take; they may know better than your prescribing physician regarding their side effect potential. Several drugs can induce dementia, but significant categories are anticholinergic drugs, antiepileptics, antineoplastic drugs, and sedative-hypnotics. Statins are associated with dementia. The brain needs cholesterol. Many antidepressant drugs such as SSRIs are associated with dementia.

We need to do everything we can to keep our cognitive health intact and support those we care about, including those with dementia, in ways that treat them with dignity and make sure they live with the highest quality of life.  Well, that’s all for now. Please tune in in two weeks for another episode of the Science of Self Healing. Be well.

Thank you for your time today, and remember that this podcast is made possible by the Bioregulatory Medicine Institute, also known as BRMI, a nonprofit, global, non political, non commercial institute to promote the science and art of bioregulatory medicine. We extend our gratitude to each and every one of you for listening today, and if you haven't already, make sure to visit us at A treasure trove of invaluable information awaits you there. Connect with us across various social media platforms as well. Come and become a member of our thriving tribe. If you've enjoyed today's episode, we invite you to show your support by rating us, leaving us a review, or sharing the podcast within your circle. Our podcast and mission flourish through sharing, and your participation means the world to us. Our organization is sustained by donations, each of which is tax deductible and fuels projects like this. Visit our website,, to contribute or simply to explore the wealth of uncensored and impartial information we offer. No contribution is too small. In just two weeks, we'll be back delving into another captivating topic. Until then, we thank you once again for listening. May wellness and wisdom be your path. Be well.


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