About the Bredesen Protocol
Does the Bredesen Protocol work? Yes! Although this field is currently in its infancy, it is the only intervention to date that has been effective in reversing Alzheimer’s. Whilst it might be challenging to adhere to the protocol at times, it offers the key to independence, memory and the ability to stay connected with loved ones – anything worth having is going to be hard! Read these papers which show the science behind the protocol. Paper of the 25-patient pilot study Paper on reversal of cognitive decline in 100 patients And take a look at these testimonials to see what people who have undergone the process have said first-hand.
pharmaceutical approach assumes taking pills is the only solution. While this may work for simple illnesses, it has been unsuccessful for complex chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and diabetes. In fact, drugs have only helped reduce the rate of cognitive decline, they have never reversed it, and sadly some approaches have even accelerated it. The only known approach that has resulted in a reversal of cognitive decline is the Bredesen Protocol. The Bredesen Protocol is a lifestyle change, so requires more effort than simply taking a pill, but it delivers results that justify the added effort. The Protocol requires dedicated and open-minded individuals surrounded by enthusiastic, supportive and caring people.
Currently, we do not accept Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance for the Bredesen Protocol. We hope one day the protocol will be covered by insurance once the value of avoiding hefty nursing care claims is fully appreciated.
Adjusting your lifestyle and diet is inevitably challenging and time-consuming but keeping to the protocol brings its rewards. It might take up to 6 months to see change, but with perseverance a new lifestyle becomes the new norm. Focus on the small changes and big changes will follow! The changes need to be monitored continually as patients typically improve and then plateau. This does not mean people reach their cognitive ceiling and then fail to progress. It just means the cause of the plateau needs to be identified and addressed by closely monitoring blood tests and cognitive scores. This will allow patients to retain and improve over many years.
Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future this protocol will be covered by insurance and the NHS, but for now it has to be independently funded. However, this seemingly large fee dwindles when you contextualise the value of the service. In reality, the protocol and a Health Coach is a small price to pay for your independence, memory and the ability to stay connected with others. In fact, the total cost of care for people living with dementia is typically £100,000, but can cost as much as £500,000, so the protocol is a fraction of the cost. Adopting the protocol also brings the psychological benefit of knowing every possible step is being taken to preserve or restore mental faculties that are vital to people’s health and happiness.
Yes! Whilst the protocol is more effective the sooner you act, it is never too late as the protocol can still be effective later on. If the patient is no longer independent, a carer will be able to introduce the programme by putting visual reminders of the protocol around the home (e.g., sticky notes with reminders of what can be eaten and when), organising food shops, encouraging exercise/meditation/relaxation routines and arranging meetings with the practitioner and health coach. They can also follow the same/similar protocol to make the adjustment easier for the patient. The carer is encouraged to join the sessions with the Health Coach to better record and track progress.
A healthy diet is excellent in terms of improving many facets of your life. However, you may find even eating an adequate amount of food and making sure you get your 5-a-day might result in either a deficiency or an overdose of certain elements. The Bredesen Protocol advocates the KetoFlex 12/3 diet. It is a heavily plant-based, nutrient-dense, whole foods diet which is high in local, organic and seasonal non-starchy vegetables of every colour of the rainbow, combined with an adequate amount of protein and generous amounts of healthy fats. Catherine can go through the Protocol to identify any deficiencies or excesses in your diet, and work with you to address them. She also suggests using this online Cronometer to track your meals and suggest ways to tweak your meal of choice to ensure you are hitting all your dietary targets.
No. Ketosis is a natural physiological adaptation that has helped human evolution. Our ancestors used ketones as their primary fuel, enabling them to survive periods of famine and food poverty. Ketosis is simply an alternative energy source for the brain that helps combat the reduction in glucose used in the brain, a common feature of Alzheimer’s. Catherine is able to monitor levels of glucose, starch and ketone levels and recommend the necessary adjustments to achieve an optimal diet.
The KetoFlex 12/3 diet is the one most widely advocated for Alzheimer’s prevention and reversal. It is a daily diet. Keto refers to ketosis, a diet low in carbohydrates that shifts the brain’s energy source away from glucose and towards ketones. Flex refers to:
- metabolic flexibility, as the body can use either fat or glucose as a fuel to maximise the fuel supply to the brain
- dietary flexibility as individuals can choose a heavily plant-based diet, with meat optional.
Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can be daunting, so having support from others with Alzheimer’s and those without Alzheimer’s, but wanting to help, can be very helpful. Below is a support group you might find helpful.
Dementia Talking PointDementia Talking Point, a support group founded by alzheimers.org.uk, is a platform designed to share experience with other people affected by dementia.
There are nearly 10 million new cases every year worldwide. Currently more than 55 million people live with dementia. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and may contribute to 60-70% of cases. Source: World Health Organisation
The CQ or Cognitive Quotient is a cognitive assessment devised by Dale Bredesen, MD, created specifically to detect early signs of neurological degeneration. The CQ consists of a questionnaire and also a way of evaluating executive function, speed processing, verbal and visual memory. Your CQ score is a percentile-based on how well you perform compared to age-matched peers.
A MoCA is a cognitive assessment designed to detect mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.
The ApoE4 is a gene linked to Alzheimer’s. One copy of the ApoE4 gene increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease two- to threefold. If you have two ApoE4 genes your risk is higher, approximately eight- to twelvefold, and you’ll often develop it at a relatively early age. However, genes alone do not dictate whether a person develops Alzheimer’s. It is becoming increasingly evident genetics play a much smaller role than has been traditionally thought, with environment and lifestyle carrying greater weight in the progression of the disease. In fact, environmental factors and lifestyle have an impact on genetics through a process known as epigenetics. For this reason, we consider environmental and lifestyle factors as critical factors in cognitive decline. A health coach cannot change the fact that someone has the ApoE4 gene, but they can work through the Bredesen protocol and offer advice on adjusting lifestyle and environmental factors to decrease the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s and even reversing cognitive decline. It is comforting to know that a person with the ApoE4 gene is not automatically destined to develop Alzheimer’s.
Functional medicine focuses on identifying and addressing the root causes of an illness. Its whole-body approach focuses on the person, rather than the disease and looks at your physical, mental and emotional health alongside diet, environmental and lifestyle factors. The Bredesen Protocol is an example of functional medicine.
Dementia is not a specific disease but describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory, reasoning, focus and attention. Many forms of dementia exist but Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is a specific brain disease marked by symptoms of dementia that gradually get worse over time. Alzheimer’s disease first affects the part of the brain associated with learning. This means early so early symptoms often include changes in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. As the disease progresses, symptoms become more severe and include confusion, changes in behaviour and other challenges