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Neuroinflammation, Neurodegeneration & Dementia


Dr. Rodney Lopez

MBBS (Usyd) GradCertNutriMed (RMIT)

We value feedback and suggestion. We also welcome Allied Health and Medical Practitioners to join our nutrition-focused team. Please contact us

Key Points

The Activ8Health approach to brain health will be discussed in this blog


  • The abnormal Beta Amyloid and Tau proteins in Alzheimer’s have been shown in research to be prion’s which are abnormal proteins that behave like an infective agent damaging other proteins to behave in a similar manner. This understanding is coming from Professor Stanley Prusiner who won the Nobel Prize for discovering prions. Thus Alzheimer’s Disease is a Double Prion Disease278.
  • Neuroinflammation is at the crux of the degenerative changes in the brain, where the brain’s primary immune cells, known as microglial cells, play a prominent role in the neurological damage.
  • Neuroinflammation creating Prion’s. It is becoming more and more apparent that chronic brain inflammation (neuroinflammation) is a trigger for prion development279. α-synuclein the abnormal protein associated with Parkinson’s disease is one that has prion behaviour as well 280.
  • Systemic and brain inflammation can come from many sources. The main culprit is the dreadful Western diet that causes the accumulation of inflammatory visceral fat, postprandial (after eating) inflammatory processes and disruptions to the gut microbiome with every meal. These inflammatory insults are cumulative over a lifetime.
  • The Gut-Brain Axis The Western diet also causes abnormal gut microbiomes with altered gut bacteria promoting systemic and brain inflammation. Fatty meals can increase LPS that is a powerful driver of systemic and brain inflammation. So many people are consuming a low-carb, high protein and high fat diet to lose weight and this combination is highly dangerous long-term.
  • Air Pollution a powerful contributor to systemic inflammation. The air we breathe is shaping up to be a major contributor to inflammation in the body, with 2.5-micron particles from vehicle exhausts, bush fires, dust in the home environment, work environment exposures  etc., adding to inflammatory background processes.
  • Inadequate omega-3 intakes (see below) To add to our inflammatory woes, a low intake of Omega-3s will lead to low SPM production (see below), hindering the body’s efforts to resolve the chronic inflammatory processes in the body and brain. Over-consumption of Omega-6s lead to higher levels of Arachidonic Acid (AA) in the cell membranes and inflammatory eicosanoids are derived from this AA. The anti-inflammatory drugs you use from over the counter, act against many of the compounds derived from Omega-6 Arachidonic Acid

    Some background information


  • In 1907, Alois Alzheimer published the first recognized case of an illness that affected the brain that came to be known as Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease makes up 60 – 70% of all dementia’s but this can overlap with other forms like vascular dementia
  • So 114 years have passed, and we are no closer to solving the riddle, although great strides have been made in understanding molecular mechanisms in Alzheimer’s
  • The problem is that the Amyloid and Tau theory of Alzheimer’s (abnormal protein complexes) have failed to come up with a cure. What medical research looks for is that ‘magic bullet’ you can put a registered trademark on, sell and make billions of dollars. This research fails to look at the environment (diet, lifestyle, pollution) as drivers of chronic disease. Inadequate intakes of micronutrients, omega-3’s, fibre will all have a devastating effect over time thus taking a huge toll on the body.

Intensive Dietary, Lifestyle, Medication, Supplement Treatment is needed

It takes decades for Alzheimer’s to develop, and what is regarded as a standard diet of meat, animal fat, dairy, starchy grain-based carbs, processed foods, sweets and desserts are known to be damaging to the brain and other tissues and organ systems over the lifetime of an individual. It is all cumulative cellular and tissue damage. Once memory loss occurs, only intensive big-picture treatment will help. No drug exists that is effective and to think a drug alone will cure this is fanciful thinking. Prediabetes, diabetes, lipids, hypertension will all have to be tightly managed to have positive outcomes so that an individual does not follow the timeline below. This Blog is about dietary and supplement management and there are many extremely promising strategies that can be used.

The Glucose Energy Gap: The Circadian-Rhythm-Ketosis (Ketone Producing) Strategy Glucose is the predominant energy fuel of the brain and comprises 95% of the energy needs of a young healthy adult 283. This declines as we age and is lower by 9% even in cognitively healthy seniors and decreases by 12% in those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI)  and by around 18% in those with Alzheimer’s Disease 283.

Post-Menopause, brain glucose metabolism also deteriorates significantly283.  Women are at far greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease and suffer greater cognitive decline when compared to men at the same stage of neurodegeneration284.

It makes sense to allow ketosis (ketone body production) to help fuel the brain and decrease the energy gap caused by the declining use of glucose as the preferred fuel.

Ketosis Made Easy  The brain needs to fill in that energy gap and the brain cells can use ketone bodies for energy effectively.

Following Circadian Rhythm guidelines we know that insulin sensitivity is decreased by 34% in the evening than  in the morning. From early afternoon insulin sensitivity declines and is the lowest from 9 pm 263.

This is a wonderful opportunity to allow ketone body production as the fat is not locked in fat cells by insulin. Having a low starchy carb breakfast and lunch and avoiding a meal from 2 – 3 pm. What is allowed are vegetables and low carb berries along with a meal replacement such as the Slender Styles drink along with 15ml – 30 ml of Caprylic (C8) Medium Chain Triglycerides-rich liquid which can be added into the meal replacement smoothie.

This gives the body around 17 hours of ketone body formation to energise the brain for repair.


  • At 12 hours from the start of fasting there is a 5-Fold increase in ketone body production (acetoacetate)286.
  • 30 grams of ketogenic MCT (kMCT) like Caprylic (C8) Acid doubled the brains ketone production 285. Glucose was unaffected
  • Brain ketone production increased by 230% on the ketogenic MCT supplement (kMCT) 285


Let our Activ8Health Dietitians guide you. Search for one using the sidebar links.

The Gut Microbiome (Gut-Brain Axis)

  • The gut microbiome (microbiota-gut-brain-axis) is now shaping up to have a critical role in the development of the changes seen in Alzheimer’s Disease such as increasing Beta-Amyloid and Neuroinflammation 275. For Parkison’s Disease, bowel dysbiosis (abnormal bowel organisms) can cause mucosal damage and cross the mucosal barrier to create abnormal α‑synuclein that then makes its way to the brain via the Vagus Nerve. Ignoring the gut microbiome in neurodegenerative disorders is not prudent but taking care of the bowel and the gut microbiome over a lifetime is even wiser. 

Omega-3’s and other Anti-Inflammatory Compounds

Omega-3s Dampening Inflammation

Specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators (SPMs)

Omega-3s (A DHA + Choline formulation exists)

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) makes up 40% of all the polyunsaturated fatty acids in the brain117. This DHA is metabolised to Resolvins that dampen down inflammation. The earlier you can get to a disease state the better the outcome. A lot of research use very low doses and not in combination with other micronutrients that work as a symphony for cell and molecular health. A lack of one or an insufficiency of another will be weak links in the whole network of nutrients that need to work together.

It is the philosophy of Activ8Health that we want to ensure micronutrient sufficiency and not use a nutrient like a drug. Any deficiency or insufficiency will never be a good thing for the body and no researcher in their right mind will suggest that the body should run on insufficient or deficient nutrient resources. There are many multivitamin and mineral formulations that can be used in certain clinical circumstances. An Activ8Health practitioner will put one in context for you.

Discuss the full spectrum of anti-inflammatory compounds and products available with an Activ8Health practitioner. Simply use the Contact Us button on the www.a8h.com.au home page or the 'Find a Practitioner' button

Specialised pro-resolving mediators (SPM—lipoxins, resolvins, protectins, and maresins)

Are produced via the enzymatic conversion of essential fatty acids, including
the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid and n-3 docosapentaenoic acid. These mediators exert potent leukocyte directed actions and control vascular inflammation. SPMs naturally occur in human tissues
(mainly immune and endothelial cells), fluids and exudates including the brain, cerebrospinal fluid, adipose cells, synovial fluid, lymph nodes, plasma, serum and breast milk. The SPMs are compounds that act as "strong anti-inflammatory agents 277" and can be used in a wide range of inflammatory conditions.


Click to enlarge

The Gut Microbiome 


Is an imbalance of gut organisms where bad organisms take over to create inflammation that can affect the whole body.

Causes for dysbiosis are

  1. Antibiotics and Medications
  2. Overweight and Obesity
  3. Diabetes
  4. High fat diets increasing LPS (Endotoxin)
  5. Fast foods
  6. FODMAPs and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  7. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis)

The Gut Microbiome’s Effect on the Brain

The gut microbiome may be riddled with pathogenic organisms that can increase inflammation that affects not only the brain but all cells, tissues and organ systems.

The human genome consists of around 25,000 genes but it is estimated that there are 9,000,000 bacterial genes in the human gut a staggering 360 times more genes and this is also thought to be an underestimate276. These bacterial genes are producing a huge number of metabolic products that include neurotransmitters like GABA, Seratonin, Dopamine and Histamine along with Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs) and a range of other metabolites that can affect the brain.

Prebiotics and Probiotics 

The Activ8Health practitioners can provide science-based prebiotics like Lactobacilli reuteri subtypes along with diverse prebiotic fibres to help your microbiome function as optimally as possible. This will have the effect of treating the bowel and the brain simultaneously.

The Gut Microbiome 

Gut Beta-Glucuronidase releases toxic compounds

Gut organisms produce Beta-Glucuronidase, and this is an enzyme that likes to undo things metabolically. Some individuals may have an abundance of these organisms that produce this counterproductive enzyme whose job is to break bonds between a toxic compound or hormone destined for excretion in the stool, allowing it to be absorbed back into the circulation.

These toxic insults are rarely discussed by mainstream medical researchers who have a blinkered view of disease causation looking for that one target to fix, and voila, the problem is solved. If only life was this simple. Multiple factors like air pollution or toxic loads from herbicides or pesticides, or plastics in food will have their individual impacts on cellular function and health.

At Activ8Health, we use a broad diversity of dietary fibre blends, with many of the fibres having a significant impact on decreasing this damaging Beta-Glucuronidase enzyme and the other benefit of fibre is that it can bind ot many toxic compounds in the bowel to help get rid of them.

Gut Microbiome Analysis 

This test is highly recommended as it may show some surprises and interesting targets that can be dealt with through dietary interventions (Precision Nutrition) including finding Beta-Glucuronidase producing organisms

Dietary Management

Dietary Management should be Personalised

Here are some factors that will increase the risk for Alzheimer’s or Vascular Dementia.
A high Anthocyanin/Polyphenol mix made up of Premium New Zealand Purple Carrots + Premium Australian Blue Berries + Premium Turkish Pomegranates exists. 


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