The Empowering Neurologist – David Perlmutter, MD and Dr. Melissa Schilling

At this point, it’s becoming a more commonplace topic in our conversations about Alzheimer’s that the disease is, in fact, preventable. While we’re not quite there yet in terms of general acceptance of this idea, the work of Dr. Melissa Schilling reveals the key insight that blood sugar regulation plays a pivotal role in determining the health of the brain, and your risk for neurological degeneration, specifically potential development of Alzheimer’s Disease.

In today’s interview, Dr. Schilling describes the reasons for her interest in Alzheimer’s, as well as her recent landmark publication in which she reveals, yet again, this incredible relationship between blood sugar, diet, and risk for Alzheimer’s disease. For more, read the blog post I authored on her findings.

I’m hoping you’ll enjoy this interview, I sure did.

  • Lynn Dell

    I never renewed my PT license some years ago, but have been doing home health in recent years. A client I’d had full time plus recently passed. She did not have diabetes, but did consume a lot of wheat and had a penchant for sweet things. For quite some time I fed her eggs, coconut oil, vegetables, some fruit, some supplements I checked with her MD, and left off the sweets and bread as much as I could. Also tried to keep her walking and have her do whatever she was able to do on her own. The notion for diet and exercise being that high insulin levels are not good, and muscles are meant to be used to help this matter. It’s just one story, but her decline was remarkably rapid, required no medication, and she was elderly. Someone mentioned the term “compressed morbidity” recently on this site. I am interested in all things which can accomplish this. Although I have no firm idea about this case, it is causing me to suspect good nutrition and activity to tolerance are mandated even up to the end. Thanks for this discussion. I wish I could be Dr. Shilling for a day! 😉

  • Cecile

    Have you whitnessed Alzheimer patients recovering from their disease, after having made probiotic enemas?

    • Yvonne Forsman

      I am not a doctor, just a reader, I read a lot about health. I recently watched a video presentation by Dale Bredesen, MD (see my post here above) and there is a whole protocol to follow to stop and reverse Alzheimer’s so I don’t think that just one thing, a probiotic enema, would accomplish it, although probiotics are part of the program. I am guessing a “fecal matter transplant, FMT” could be helpful b/c a healthy gut microbiome will have a different effect on the brain than unhealthy one. Anybody interested can google DIY FMT and look for the motherboard link. It helps mental problems such as autism, ADD, ADHD, also ppl with gastrointestinal problems, but as always, an organic diet is needed to continue the healing process and stay out of trouble/not get sick again. But yes, probiotics have a lot to do with it. 🙂

  • ri

    your interviews are fantastic! I learn so much! thank you for sharing this wealth of knowledge with us Dr Perlmutter!

    • David Perlmutter

      Thanks for the kind words RI. Glad to know you enjoyed watching!

  • Ronna Berezin

    This Thia T This interview is woth watching.

  • Ronna Berezin

    Powerful interview

    • David Perlmutter

      Glad to know you enjoyed.

      • Ri

        Dr Perlmutter im so confused I don’t know what matters more when managing my health and weight is it calories in/calories out or hormones and regulating them is that the key? can you please do a discussion about this. Thanks!!

  • Mary

    Dr Richard Bernstein is about 83 years and Type I Diabetic since age 12.
    He definitely IS NOT demented and still has an active practice. He keeps his A1C low and is on a low carb diet.
    I wonder HOW he has avoided this possible complication? Maybe by keeping his A1C less than 5 consistently? I sent a link to this video and hope he will comment on it.

  • Bill W.

    I keep wondering if I will most likely get Alzheimer’s, mainly because of my having Epilepsy. Both of these illnesses are in the brain. I just wonder if I used to be headed towards Alzheimer’s because of my food diet. I had been eating to much sugar, in many ways, because of a “sweet tooth”, and I was having 1-3 medium seizures every week. About 20 months ago, I started to change my diet. I’m eating much healthier food now. I’m now trying to eat much healthier food. I’m now eating non-corn syrup, non-GMO, non-glucose, and non-soy as much as I can. Lots of sugar that I’m eating is in produce such as bananas. For fat, I’m now eating fish much more often than I had been. With how I’ve been eating in this way, I’m not having seizures nearly as often. I’m having some, but they now are about once every 6 weeks. Is this diet also keeping me away from anything such as Altimeter’s?

  • Marty

    My blood sugar runs low and I have diabetes/105-115 but I still have neuropathy I am way overweight 283 down to 247 I’ve been on a low carb higher protein and fat diet what is acceptable goal for BS and hemoglobin A1C and is there an amylase blood test available that would suggest anything regarding Alzheimer’s.I’m down 35-40 pounds in the last 4.5 months but have another 20-35 goal.I am a retired podiatrist and am trying alpha lipoic acid for the neuropathy but it’s to soon to see if it helps. I have been on it for about 1 month. My father was a diabetic his BS ran in the 160-170s excellent diet 3 home cooked meals from my mother rarely are out only negative was he ate a lot of bread but he was always thin he lived to 91 only slight dementia always to proud to use a walker.He was on metformin they say that metformin is a fountain of youth drug that prolongs life. Any research on that. Great interview

  • Tibo

    Thanks for this great video ! I’m just a bit lost about metrics now we should keep an eye on, maybe a video about it would be really good, so we can take action and measure where we are !
    Thanks !

  • Yvonne Forsman

    Thank you Dr Perlmutter! I recently watched another presentation about Alzheimer’s on functional medicine website https://www.functionalmedicine.org/ When I sign in, I can access the presentation by Dale E Bredesen, MD, with the title “Dale Bredesen, MD: 21st Century Medicine and the Reversal of Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer’s Disease” (it is under Programs and Products, Online Learning, Conference Proceedings, recorded March 15, 2016, cost $10). In the presentation he talks about Cleveland Clinic’s Alzheimer’s treatment program which works. Here is another Alzheimer’s presentation by the same doc recorded in May 2015 in California: http://calchannel.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?clip_id=2832&view_id=7&embed=1&player_width=480&player_height=360&entrytime=1623&stoptime=5041&auto_start=1

  • Pat Muccigrosso

    My husband is Type 2 diabetic, on insulin..he’s lost a lot of weight but he doesn’t exercise and now I am scared. Can the risk for Alzheimer’s be reversed?

  • Gela K

    Sometimes you have to look at data with a fresh pair of eyes. Another great interview.

  • Evalynne

    Great interview! Thanks. I have been low carb/high fat for 3 yrs. & had A1c of 5 & fasting blood sugar in low 80’s. I’ve lately had digestive issues with low levels of pancreatic enzymes along with a rather sudden increase of A1c to 5.6 & then 5.7 three months later. Blood glucose remains in low 80’s & Fasting Insulin is 3.0. Any thoughts on what could be happening? I need a “direction” for research.

    • Kristina

      Evalynne, I am on low carb, high fat as well and there’s a lot of research that says high fat can be just as problematic. I don’t know exactly how much you’re having, but you may want to consider that. But most problems begin in the gut. You are having digestive issues so you will really need to do a gut protocol to heal your digestive system. There’s a website/online series called TheDigestionSessions.com. Dr. Perlmutter may have even been one of the speakers.. I can’t remember, but there is a ton of info there to get started.

  • Dottie Nash

    I had a family history of diabetes, many relatives involved. I decided to stop all sugar, white flour and regular table salt after hearing a naturopathic doctor talk about that. That was in the 70’s. When I told my regular doctor about my decision, he said that not eating sugar would not help me avoid diabetes. I ignored him and have your book and other information just recently that confirms what I had done in the 70’s was the correct start at least. Even though I’ve been on a Paleo diet now for several months, and my diet is sugar-free, dairy-free, & gluten-free, and grain-free. I tested in the pre-diabetic area but my doctor has never suggested a fasting insulin level test. Is that something that would be beneficial? I usually eat only 1 fruit or 1 cup of low-sugar fruit so I’ve been wondering about what more I might need to do. I eat mostly greens & other salad makings, squash, yams, smoothies, with avocado, coconut milk etc. No white potatoes, corn.

    • Kristina

      Dottie, I would say that focusing on your gut health might be the answer. Drinking diluted apple cider vinegar would be beneficial and eating fermented foods as well as taking probiotics. Try not to eat too much meat, as it can really irritate the gut. A few times a week is plenty. Fish 2-3x a week is always good.

  • Yvonne Forsman

    Ultrasound treatment for Alzheimer’s

    Australian researchers have come up with a non-invasive ultrasound technology that clears the brain of neurotoxic amyloid plaques – structures that are responsible for memory loss and a decline in cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients.
    If a person has Alzheimer’s disease, it’s usually the result of a build-up of two types of lesions – amyloid plaques, and neurofibrillary tangles. Amyloid plaques sit between the neurons and end up as dense clusters of beta-amyloid molecules, a sticky type of protein that clumps together and forms plaques.
    Neurofibrillary tangles are found inside the neurons of the brain, and they’re caused by defective tau proteins that clump up into a thick, insoluble mass. This causes tiny filaments called microtubules to get all twisted, which disrupts the transportation of essential materials such as nutrients and organelles along them, just like when you twist up the vacuum cleaner tube.
    As we don’t have any kind of vaccine or preventative measure for Alzheimer’s – a disease that affects 343,000 people in Australia, and 50 million worldwide – it’s been a race to figure out how best to treat it, starting with how to clear the build-up of defective beta-amyloid and tau proteins from a patient’s brain. Now a team from the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) at the University of Queensland have come up with a pretty promising solution for removing the former.
    Publishing in Science Translational Medicine, the team describes the technique as using a particular type of ultrasound called a focused therapeutic ultrasound, which non-invasively beams sound waves into the brain tissue. By oscillating super-fast, these sound waves are able to gently open up the blood-brain barrier, which is a layer that protects the brain against bacteria, and stimulate the brain’s microglial cells to activate. Microglila cells are basically waste-removal cells, so they’re able to clear out the toxic beta-amyloid clumps that are responsible for the worst symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
    The team reports fully restoring the memory function of 75 percent of the mice they tested it on, with zero damage to the surrounding brain tissue. They found that the treated mice displayed improved performance in three memory tasks – a maze, a test to get them to recognise new objects, and one to get them to remember the places they should avoid.
    “We’re extremely excited by this innovation of treating Alzheimer’s without using drug therapeutics,” one of the team, Jürgen Götz, said in a press release. “The word ‘breakthrough’ is often misused, but in this case I think this really does fundamentally change our understanding of how to treat this disease, and I foresee a great future for this approach.”
    The team says they’re planning on starting trials with higher animal models, such as sheep, and hope to get their human trials underway in 2017.
    You can hear an ABC radio interview with the team here.

  • Kristina

    For me, it all just always goes back to the fact the the beta amyloid is actually there to protect the brain from inflammation and toxins, no? And so perhaps the amylin is acting in the same manner? But when there are chronically high levels of insulin then there would also be more of a build up of the beta amyloid and/or amylin in the brain. So the issue just always go back to needing to clear out the inflammation and toxins and then the body will stop secreting or using the beta amyloid and/or amylin to protect itself. Insulin obviously being inflammatory and toxic when chronically high. So the research that Dr. Schilling mentioned and the fact that the amylin was helpful in protecting the brain, but in deseased humans it was clumped, makes clear that it is helpful, it just builds up too much in a chronic situation. Same thing with cholesterol levels raising to protect the arteries from inflammation. But when we block these things that our body uses to protect us then the toxins and inflammation are still able to damage and kill us. So blocking them is Not the answer. The answer is clearing the root of the problem, which is inflammation and toxins. That can be a wide range of things, also considering the root of much inflammation begins in the gut.

  • Elizabeth Lavet

    Thanks you for bringing us this interview/video.

    • David Perlmutter

      Happy to be able to share Dr. Schilling’s work!

  • E. Call

    I was curious about whether there are statistics on Type I diabetes vis-a-vis the study you discussed with Dr. Schilling. Since Type I diabetics usually have high blood sugars as a result of not giving themselves enough insulin to counteract their carb intake, does a high A1C in and of itself predispose one for alzheimers, or is it more a factor of too much insulin? Lumping diabetics into one camp is hard for those of us who are Type1 and unable to sift out relevant information. I give myself very modest insulin, eat no gluten or sugar, and still struggle with an A1C of around 6.7. I’m probably under-dosing my insulin to avoid lows…..so, the contradiction is confusing. I don’t give myself enough insulin, and I have higher blood sugars as a result. Which is worse? Too much insulin or slightly elevated blood sugars?
    Any thoughts?

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  • Carroll H Hoagland III

    People suggest insulin because it is “Patentable” and they can make money … nutrition is not patentable and hence the Chemical industry can not make money … Keep up the good work and the pressure on the FDA, AMA, and NIH … they have failed the patient …

    70 Going On 100

  • Gayle Geer

    Dear Dr Perlmutter,
    Thank you so much for this video…and so much more. You have given me hope and guidance and encouragement for the future.
    God bless you and your family and those who help you in your work.

    • David Perlmutter

      Thanks for watching, and best of health!

  • Hollie

    Watched this fascinating video after it was mentioned in your book Grain Brain Whole Life Plan. You mention in here A1C levels and fasting glucose levels. I have an A1c of 5.2 but a FGL of 103. I’m not quite sure what to think, as the A1c seems to be at a very good number but the FGL is high according to what I’m gleaning. Any thoughts??

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