This is an important book, almost on a par with Uffe Ravnskov's and Malcolm Kendrick's books on the cholesterol myth, and Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride's books, the one refuting the diet-heart hypothesis and the other on "gut and psychology syndrome". The author is telling us that if we continue to eat as we are doing - living on a diet of grains and carbohydrates, we will destroy our brain and develop Alzheimer's or another form of dementia. Or we may develop diabetes (because of the carbohyrates), which in itself doubles the risk of Alzheimer's.
We need to get rid of our bread and exchange it with butter and eggs. Saturated fats and high cholesterol are not the problem. We need to adopt a high-fat diet, including saturated fats. The author explains how our food choices can bring inflammation under control by changing the expression of our genes.
The two biggest myths are 1) a low-fat, high carb diet is good and 2) cholesterol is bad.
It turns out that many of us, though not suffering from celiac disease, are in fact gluten-sensitive. The author is of the opinion that this "represents the greatest and most under-recognized threat to humanity". Gluten triggers "not just dementia but epilepsy, headache, depression, schizophrenia, ADHD and even decreased libido". Gluten, and a high-carbohydrate diet, for that matter, stimulates "inflammatory pathways that reach the brain".
Cholesterol, far from being the villain of the piece, is one of the most important players in maintaining brain health and function. "Study after study shows that high cholesterol reduces your risk for brain disease and increases longevity." High levels of dietary fat have been proven to be the key to health and peak brain function.
As also pointed out in the afore-mentioned books, statins are death-bringing, since they reduce your cholesterol level, and cholesterol, also LDL, the fallaciously termed "bad" cholesterol, is a critical brain nutrient, essential for the function of neurons, and plays a fundamental role as a building block of the cell membrane.
Chapter 2 of the book is devoted to gluten's role in brain inflammation. Many people with debilitating symptoms such as migraine, bipolar disorder, uncontrollable shaking, and so on, experience great relief when eliminating gluten from their diet. The author considers gluten a modern poison.
We now know that we can grow new neurons throughout our life. Something called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) plays a key role in creating new neurons and protecting existing neurons. Calorie restriction is an epigenetic factor that turns on the gene for BDNF production. Also physical exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, targets the BDNF gene, reverses memory decline in the elderly and increases growth of new brain cells in the brain's memory centre.
The consumption of ketones, found in coconut oil, gives significant improvement in cognitive function in Alzheimer's patients (see the books of Bruce Fife). Ketosis (acquiring energy from our fat cells), instead of the process whereby we acquire it from the carbohydrates and protein we eat, is a healthful condition.
There is much valuable information in this book - life-saving information, if you follow Dr. Perlmutter's advice, that is. We are told of the power of fasting, and what fasting and ketogenic diets have in common. We are advised to take DHA capsules (DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid), reservatrol, turmeric, probiotics, coconut oil, alpha-lipoic acid and Vitamin D.
The final chapters are devoted to "A new way of life, The Four-Week Plan of Action". The focus is on food, exercise and sleep. We are provided with meal plans and recipes.
My only reservation is the author's apparent ignorance about the dangers of microwave ovens. He also recommends that we eat canned tomatoes, whereas the illustrious Dr. Mercola (my hero) warns us to stay well clear of these, since the acidity in tomatoes can provoke leaching of the harmful BPA (biphenol-A) in the lining of the can into the food.
But, notwithstanding, to sum up, I would highly recommend that you read this well-written, highly informative, ground-breaking book. The information it contains is basic, essential and perhaps live-saving.
on 12 November 2013
If you have a casual interest in brain health or wish to learn about the benefits of low carb living, this book is well worth reading. For me, with some knowledge about these topics already it was a bit disappointing:
1. 25% of us carry the ApoE 4 gene which predisposes us to Alzheimer's. I agree with Dr. P that genes do not equal destiny. But I really wish he had spent more than a few short pages on ApoE. He should have gone into the latest scientific findings etc.
2. He is definately on the extremist wing of the low carb movement. All carbs need to be omitted. This is fine but very hard to do over the long run. I have been low carb for over a year, but I need to be able to eat out and live life so give myself some wiggle room. This gives me a lifestyle I can maintain forever.
3. He talks about the evils of elevated blood sugar. Great, but I would like more considered advice on how to reduce it. When I was at virtually zero carbs, my fasting glucose was right at the top end of normal. Now I eat a few more carbs, it has fallen a bit. Clearly there is more at play here than just reducing carbs and managing protein.
4. Why do all US books have to be padded out with worthless meal plans? More science and substance please.