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Probiotics: A New Treatment for Alzheimer’s?

In Brain Maker, we looked at the relationship between the health of the gut and that of the brain, particularly as it relates to how the gut is the origin of inflammation, a cause of Alzheimer’s disease, an inflammatory disorder. With that in mind, shouldn’t we be able to improve our gut health as a way to treat Alzheimer’s? Well, the latest science has something to say about that.

In today’s video, I’ll examine a recent study from Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience that reviewed the impact of probiotic supplements on cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The findings are absolutely astounding.

Click here to view a full transcript of this video.

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  • Bill Robinson

    Do you know what the “placebo” was
    made out of? Could it have been a
    sugar or starch pill?

    • TechnoTriticale

      The full paper appears to be here (PDF download available):
      http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnagi.2016.00256/full
      Both arms got milk. The treated arm got milk with probiotic. So there was no placebo, per se.

      • Robert Stewart

        If there was no placebo, will that not weaken the analysis and results? Consider “The placebo-controlled trial “is widely regarded as the gold standard for testing the efficacy of new treatments.” (NIH: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3601706/)

        • TechnoTriticale

          There arguably was a placebo: milk with nothing added, vs. milk with probiotic added. It was not a fully untreated arm, as both arms had to bear whatever confounding the milk itself presented.

          Carrier+X vs. carrier+0 is pretty much an ideal situation. Trial facilitators and subjects can’t tell the different. You get full placebo effect.

          Actual placebos are really challenging to choose, and most trials blow it, using pills or capsules containing things that are very far from inert: sugars, flours, calcium, “vegetable” oils, etc.

  • Robert Stewart

    Is there an OTC supplement, or combination of supplements, containing one or more of the probiotics used in the intervention?

    • Jan

      Yes, please recommend a probiotic. There are so many and they are quite expensive. I find it confusing when trying to choose.

      • Deanna

        Try Garden of Life, Dr Formulated. Dr P worked with company on formulations I believe

  • Dave Fraser

    Thanks Doc! Great info…………..

  • Paula Gunning

    V interesting.
    I always read these posts, however in this case, I notice that it looks as if in the graphs showing effects on inflammatory marker & glutathione, that the people receiving the probiotic started at a ‘worse’ or lower functioning point than the placebo group. This doesn’t invalidate results but begs the question of whether the trial was randomised in choice of who received placebo?

    • Zzzz

      Average age of the placebo group was 82, the probiotic group 77. Of course, since age and level hs-CRP would have an effect of the ability to recover from severe inflammation, I would think these factors had a significant impact on the outcome of the study. That given, there still were good numbers responding to probiotics, so the study supports that it certainly helps taking a probiotic…the sooner the better.

  • Gina

    Dr. Perlmutter. I am truly grateful for your willingness to share your incredible knowledge with people. You are changing and improving lives.

  • Martha de Buitleir

    Doctor, an absolutely facsinating study. Two questions?
    Was it probiotics or prebiotics the group had.
    Were both groups on the Mediterranean diet?

    • Yvonne Forsman

      Probiotics should be taken together with prebiotics and digestive enzymes.

  • Gary Kung

    Dr Perlmutter,
    How many billions of each strain of probiotic?

  • Rochelle

    Amazing information! Thank you.

  • Smoky Searl

    Which probiotic would you recommend for somebody that does not have a colon? Mine was removed 40 years ago due to ulcerative colitis.

  • Smoky Searl

    Dr. Perlmutter, why was the initial CRP level so much lower for the placebo group then the probiotic group?

  • Beto Svr

    Would it be viable supplementary glutathione?
    Which would indicate?

    • Yvonne Forsman

      It is an antioxidant, strengthens the immune system. I buy liquid Liposomal Glutathione on amazon. Gut and brain are related!!! I don’t take it all the time. I also take liquid Liposomal Vitamin C, sometimes. It also helps the immune system.

      • Beto Svr

        Ok. Como já uso Glutamina e também kefir, acho meio desnecessário então

  • Joseph Kish

    Thank you!

    • David Perlmutter

      Thanks for watching!

  • Ricardo Souza

    Thank you Dr Permuler. Your information has been very important to me. My foster son’s family has ataxia between the ages of 40 and 50. I have been using your information to predict this

    • David Perlmutter

      Glad to hear you’ve been able to put this to practice. Wishing you all good health.

  • Ricardo Souza

    I mean to prevent

  • sue

    What do you think of John Mcdougall who says this is all wrong and we need a grain based diet and his famous saying the fat you eat is the fat you wear. He says sugar is not the problem we need starch and carbs.. Finding his approach hard to understand when everyone else in Functional medicine is saying the opposite. Thanks for your time.

    • Ester Ford

      I followed the McDougall plan, vegan, for 7 years. I can tell you that my health declined. I even wrote him, and he suggested I eat some sugar. QUACK! I now eat ketogenic and feel awesome.

    • Yvonne Forsman

      I studied nutrition in college, 35 yrs ago. They taught us to eat 6-8 slices of bread a day, for health! Also low fat diet. I believed it and followed it and got sick! I was also a vegetarian, later a vegan and that made my health worse. Now I am on Paleo and feeling so much better! I still eat lots of veggies, I love them, but no grains any more, not beans/peas/lentils/nuts, no dairy except occasional vanilla ice cream (organic). I shop only organic. So I totally agree with you!!!

  • Sharon Lee

    Thank you so much Dr Perlmutter. I am a 71 yr old retired RN in Phoenix, Az. on a Ketogenic diet mostly for weight loss, getting rid of belly fat. I have provided several folks I know, with your youtube videos on diabetes and alzhiemers. You are a god send for many people who have had the wrong information for years. Thank you !

  • Echo Wentz

    This worries me. My family is rife with Alzheimer’s. My aunt (15 years older than me) has early-onset and is in a nursing home. My mother was diagnosed a couple of years ago. My grandfather and two of his siblings had it, and my great-grandmother was senile for many years (before diagnosis was common). I recently had surgery after having a chronic sinus infection for a year and a half and the doctor found my sinuses just packed with strep infection. So I have taken a couple of rounds of serious antibiotics recently. Now I am on a 6-month prophylactic antibiotic because every time I stop using antibiotics I start getting the infection back. I eat lots of probiotics, femented foods, healthy foods, little to no sugar or artificial sweeteners or flours of any kind. But taking the antibiotics worries me so much. Should I be worried? Any suggestions?

    • Yvonne Forsman

      I would be very worried about the antibiotics! That is what is killing you!!!!! I have bought liquid Liposomal Vitamin C on amazon, many times, also liquid Liposomal Gluthatione (I am 61 yrs old, Glutathione production in the body diminishes with aging), both vit C and Glutathione help the immune system! Btw, many ppl make their own, youtube videos show how to). I have also tried Liposomal Turmeric b/c I read about a village in India where they cook all food in oil with turmeric and they have zero Alzheimer’s, the only place in the world!! Very impressive, but the turmeric did nothing for my brain, sadly. Now I read about lecithin, it helps brain and the nervous system. It comes in caps to swallow and in powder to mix when making homemade vegan butter (of oils). I am waiting for amazon delivery any day now, will see how that will help my brain..?? I am also taking probiotics, Kombucha, and sometimes Bubbies sauerkraut (but my IBS doesn’t like the sauerkraut, causes diarrhea). I watched a video with Dr Dale Bredesen, M.D., about Alzheimer’s, he has worked with research for decades and has an extensive brain recovery program which is sucessfu but involves many different things and so it is demanding. Here is a website: https://www.mpicognition.com/

      • insightz

        Yvonne, you need to check this out: http://www.noamalgam.com
        The Cutler protocol, by Andrew Hall Cutler, PhD, PE (Princeton U).
        Your posts seem to point to mercury toxicity from dental amalgams or industrial exposure yrs ago. My symptoms didn’t go away untill I followed the recommendations of Dr. Cutler to the letter. His research saved my life, it can save yours too.

    • Art Huntington

      Dr Perlmutter can correct me if I am wrong, but antibiotics work against probiotics. I used to have repeated sinus infections. All I do is irrigate (flood) my sinuses with a saline solution of distilled water and the buffered salt packets you can get at CVS, Walgreens, etc. (one packet per 8 oz. of water). Don’t use the nasal spray you get already bottled in the 1 1/2 or 3 oz. bottles. It will burn. I use the same bottles (you can also use a NeilMed Neti Pot, but the bottles work for me), but empty them out and remove the spray tube and fill them with the solution described above. I do this once or twice a day, tilting my head back and filling both nostrils, pinch the nostrils with thumb and index fingers, lower my head all the way down, raise up and slosh around up and down and side to side and empty into the sink. It may drip for a little while, so have a tissue handy. I’ve suggested this to a friend and he said it works great for him, too. You should check with your doctor before you try this. Hope this helps.

  • Yvonne Forsman

    What a great info, thank you so much Dr Perlmutter!!! I love all your information!!!

    I do suffer from memory problems, not remembering words, but I am taking probiotics. I do have a compromised gut, I know that. Have not done any lab tests but have IBS (self diagnosed), which I am treating with diet. I also have a bladder inflammation (so called Interstitial Cystitis), and Candida (thrush on tongue), so obviously all this is connected. I was a vegetarian, then a vegan, then I switched to Paleo and stopped eating grains at the time I bought your book. I am trying to quit dairy ice cream (make my own berry ice instead), my own vegan butter, I shop only organic. But it is not easy to get health back once it is lost!!! Even though I do Paleo, no grains, dairy only as an occasional vanilla ice cream (organic), I drink Kombucha and take probiotics pills, I still am very sick. I do eat fruits though, so maybe I should stop that, I know there is a lot of sugar in them. My dad died in diabetes at the age of 54! So upsetting! No, I don’t have a doctor (despite insurance), I am sorry to say I have no confidence in conventional treatment with Big Pharma toxic meds with side effects. I follow functional medicine doctors, online, all their advice. I have not tried Ketogenic diet, yet. I have tried to get rid of Candida several times, followed prescribed cures, always unsuccessfully, unfortunately. I got chemo treatment for cancer almost 20 yrs ago, that destroyed my immune system and maybe caused Candida, I don’t know. I am trying to get well, working on it all the time. I have hope!

  • Doris Carpenter

    Where can I buy the supplement coffee flower extract? Is the use of this for real?

  • Richard James Yeager

    Dr .Perlmutter, after reading Brain Grain, I immediately started a gluten-free diet. I have been fanatical and only eat organic, uncured, and grass-fed foods. Today I just got the results of some blood work and I am deficient in Thiamine. I was 60 and normal is 70 to 180. Can you discuss this or make recommendations. Thank you
    Maureen Yeager

  • Frank Peacham

    Thank you.

  • Isabel Church

    How much probiotic should be taken daily and what are the best forms to get it? How about prebiotic?

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