Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention with Dr. Aristo Vojdani: Rational Wellness Podcast 134

Weitz Sports Chiropractic and Nutrition
Weitz Sports Chiropractic and Nutrition
Alzheimer's Disease Prevention with Dr. Aristo Vojdani: Rational Wellness Podcast 134

Dr. Aristo Vojdani discusses Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention with Dr. Ben Weitz.

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Podcast Highlights

5:16   Dr. Vojdani explained that the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease is largely environmental with genetics only accounting for 1-5% of cases, depending upon whether the APOE 44 genetic variant gets expressed, which is also dependent upon environment.  There is an early onset form of Alzheimer’s that is largely related to genetics, but this only accounts for 1% of cases.  The key to preventing Alzheimer’s Disease is healthy lifestyle choices.

10:30  One of the potential possible causes of Alzheimer’s disease are pathogens, including oral pathogens, like Porphyromonas gingivalis.  P. gingivalis, which is the cause of gum disease, makes a toxin called gingipain, and this has been found in the amyloid plaque of the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s Disease.  We used to think that the blood brain barrier prevented bacteria and viruses and other pathogens from entering the brain, but now we know that when this barrier is leaky, like leaky gut, such pathogens and even spirochetes like Borrelia Burgdorferi, the causative agent in Lyme Disease, can get into the brain. Other pathogens that may be involved in Alzheimer’s Disease include Herpes Simplex type I, Chlamydia, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, E. coli, salmonella, and lipopolysaccharides produced by such bacteria–E. coli, salmonela, Shigella, and Campylobacter jejuni.  If these pathogens or their toxins get into the brain they cause inflammation and can contribute to a degenerative process in the brain and because of an antigenic similarity between these pathogens and proteins in the brain, this leads to immune attack on brain tissue like beta amyloid and tau proteins and this results in aggregating and clumping of these proteins.  Beta amyloid protein is really being produced as a way for the brain to protect itself against pathogens and it is thought to have an antibiotic effect.  Dr. Vojdani published a paper on this in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease:  Reaction of Amyloid-β Peptide Antibody with Different Infectious Agents Involved in Alzheimer’s Disease

17:45  This story of the function of beta amyloid protein is similar to the cholesterol story where we used to think that simply ingesting cholesterol and fat would lead to a build up of cholesterol in the arteries.  But you have to wonder why would the body lay cholesterol down in the arteries when that might kill us?  Well, because there is inflammation and oxidative stress and the body’s coating your artery wall using cholesterol. And so it’s actually beneficial. But once it builds up to a point, then it blocks the blood flow and it becomes pathological. And the same way in the brain, the brain is using the amyloid protein to protect the brain from the pathogens, but when it forms tangles, it becomes pathological and contributes to neurodegeneration.  Dr. Vojdani explained that this process can start with bacteria in the gut releasing a toxin that results in leaky gut. Then the bacterial toxin, LPS, get into the blood stream, resulting in pro-inflammatory cytokines being released which then breaks down the blood-brain barriers, causing brain inflammation. The microglia of the brain then become activated, which results in a lot of beta amyloid protein becoming aggregated, forming a plaque, which contributes to neurodegeneration.

21:38  Toxic chemicals can also be one of the triggers for Alzheimer’s Disease.  Here are a couple of quotes from the Alzheimer’s society website:  “At present, there is no strong evidence to support the fears that coming into contact with metals through using equipment or through food or water increases your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease…. It is also unclear whether reducing metals, [like aluminum] in the brain via drugs or reducing our exposure would have any beneficial effects. These metals are essential to the healthy function of our brain. So further research into changes before or during disease development is also necessary to understand if reducing the amount in the brain would actually be beneficial.”  Dr. Vojdani does not agree with these statements and believes that exposure to toxic metals like aluminum can be factors in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Consider when you cook with your turkey or chicken covered in aluminum foil at a high temperature in the oven, a significant amount of that aluminum will become part of your food and you will ingest it.  Aluminum is positively charged (AL 3+) and proteins are negatively charged, so positively charged particles are quite likely to cross link to the proteins.  And this can make it difficult for you digestive enzymes to break down these proteins, so they may trigger leaky gut and leaky brain, leading to inflammation and autoimmunity.  But aluminum has been found in the epithelial cells and in the brain.  Among the toxic chemicals that have been shown to contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease are heavy metals like lead, mercury, and aluminum, plasticizers like BPA, pthalates, and dinitrobenezenes bind to our serum albumin or to our hemoglobin and change their structure so they look like amyloid beta or tau protein.  Then the immune system will produce a new antigen against this toxic chemical that will then cross react and attack the brain cells, thus contributing to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease.

32:40  Food sensitivities (not food allergies) can contribute to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.  Dr. Vojdani has found that some of the most common food sensitivities include gluten, dairy, egg yolk, and canned tuna (more so than fresh tuna).  Of course, tuna is known to have mercury in it, but canned tuna, because it is in an aluminum canned that is lined with BPA and the tuna is cooked in the can, will have mercury, aluminum and plasticizer in it.

38:54  Dr. Vojdani developed the Alzheimer’s LINX Panel for Cyrex Labs to screen for the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.  This is really the first test that can screen for Alzheimer’s Disease risk.  The first part of this panel tests for antibodies to the brain proteins, including amyloid beta, tau protein, and alpha-synuclein.  Having antibodies to these brain proteins may indicate early, pre-clinical indications of future Alzheimer’s Disease. It also measures antibodies to brain growth factors, including Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and Beta Nerve Growth Factor.  Alzheimer’s LINX also looks at antibodies to the enteric nerve, which is the nerve in the gut that communicates with the brain. This test also includes antibodies to the most common pathogens (Oral Pathogens, Enterococcus faecalis, E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni, Herpes), toxic chemicals (Aluminum, mercury, Dinitrophenyl, Phthalates) and food sensitivities (Egg Yolk, Lentil, Pea lectin, canned Tuna, Hazelnut, Cashew, Scallops, Squid, Caseins, Alpha-Gliadin, Non-Gluten Wheat Proteins) that cross react with brain tissues. This test also looks at the blood brain barrier, which if it is broken will allow these other antibodies to enter the brain.  To repair the blood brain barrier, we need to repair the gut barrier by taking a Functional Medicine approach by removing the triggers (pathogens, chemicals, food sensitivities), and then use gut healing nutrients like B vitamins, vitamins A, D, and E, cruciferous vegetables, resveratrol, etc. and also exercise. 

This Alzheimer’s LINX panel is also beneficial for Parkinson’s disease risk and other neurodegenerative diseases.  In fact, this test is a great overall health screen, since it really combines 5 or 10 different arrays offered by Cyrex Labs and it looks at the gut, the brain, the blood brain barriers, nerve growth factors and various environmental factors.  Cyrex Labs cannot be ordered directly by patients.  They must be offered by Functional Medicine practitioners like myself by going to CyrexLabs.com.  If you want to test for various pathogens like Lyme Disease, Herpes and other viruses, you can contact Dr. Vojdani’s Immunosciences Lab or call (310) 657-1077.



Dr. Aristo Vojdani is the Father of Functional Immunology, one of the most important doctors in the Functional Medicine world. Dr. Vojdani has a PhD in microbiology and immunology and he is an adjunct professor in the Dept. of Preventative Medicine at Loma Linda University. Dr. Vojdani is the Chief Scientific Advisor to Cyrex Labs and he is the CEO and Technical Director of Immunosciences Lab in Los Angeles. He has authored or co-authored over 160 scientific articles and he is actively involved in research related to autoimmune, neurodegenerative, and autoinflammatory conditions.  Dr. Vojdani has written several books, including his latest, Food Associated Autoimmunities: When Food Breaks Your Immune System.

Dr. Ben Weitz is available for Functional Nutrition consultations specializing in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and also specializing in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure and also weight loss, as well as sports chiropractic work by calling his Santa Monica office 310-395-3111 or go to www.drweitz.com.


Podcast Transcript

Dr. Weitz:                            This is Dr. Ben Weitz with the Rational Wellness Podcast, bringing you the cutting edge information on health and nutrition from the latest scientific research and by interviewing the top experts in the field. Please subscribe to the Rational Wellness Podcast on iTunes and YouTube and sign up for my free eBook on my website by going to drweitz.com. Let’s get started on your road to better health. Hello, Rational Wellness Podcasters. Thank you so much for joining me again today. For those of you who enjoy listening to the Rational Wellness Podcast, please go to Apple podcasts or your favorite podcast app and write us a review and give us a rating that way more people can find out about the Rational Wellness Podcast. Also, you can watch a video version on our YouTube page and if you go to my website, drweitz.com you can find detailed show notes and a complete transcript.

                                                Today our topic is the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease with Dr. Ari Vojdani. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, which is the loss of memory and other cognitive abilities. Seriously enough to interfere with daily life. Approximately 5% of patients have early onset Alzheimer’s disease, which occurs before age 65 and it’s more related to genetic factors, especially mutations in the following genes, APP, PSEN1, and PSEN2. The other 95% of patients with Alzheimer’s disease have late onset disease and this is generally regarded as an autoimmune disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that is marked by the progressive accumulation of plaques of amyloid beta protein in the brain and of neurofibrillary tangles of tau protein within neurons within the brain.

                                                The most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is difficulty remembering newly learned information because Alzheimer’s changes typically begin in the part of the brain that affects learning as Alzheimer’s advances through the brain, it leads to increasingly severe symptoms including disorientation, mood and behavior changes, deepening confusion about events, time and place, unfounded suspicions about family, friends, and professional caregivers. More serious memory loss and behavior changes. And finally, difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking. Obviously anything we can do to prevent such a horrible disease, we need to do as much as we can. Dr. Aristo Vojdani, is the father of functional immunology. He’s one of the most important doctors in the functional medicine world. He has a PhD in microbiology and immunology and he’s an adjunct professor in the department of preventative medicine at Loma Linda University.

                                                Dr. Vojdani developed all of the testing offered by Cyrex Labs and he is their chief scientific advice and he’s the CEO and technical director of Immunosciences Lab in Los Angeles. Dr. Vojdani has authored or coauthored over 200 scientific articles and he is actively involved in research related to autoimmune, neurodegenerative, and auto inflammatory conditions. He’s written several books, including his latest, which is Food-Associated Autoimmunities: When Food Breaks Your Immune System. By the way, this is a great book. If in case you don’t have time to lift weights, you just lift this book up and you’re going to get very strong. He’s also the recipient of the Herbert Wrinkle award from the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, the Linus Pauling award from the American College for Advancement in Medicine and the Carrick Research Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award. And I know he also received a Lifetime Award from Jeffrey Bland’s PLMI Institute. Dr. Vojdani, thank you so much for joining me today.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Thank you Dr. Weitz, and I would like to thank you for your contribution in the field of Functional Medicine. I had many time the honor, to be part of your Functional Medicine meeting and in March I’ll be your guest again, and thank you for giving me those opportunities.

Dr. Weitz:                           And thank you and thank you for your friendship. So what do we know about the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease?

Dr. Vojdani:                        Okay, so let’s first of all start with Alzheimer’s disease. In my article I wrote 95% and 5%. In reality right now actually, the Alzheimer is divided to two types, early onset, the late onset. Actually the early onset is only 1%.

Dr. Weitz:                           1%. Okay.

Dr. Vojdani:                        1%. And the late onset right now probably is 99% however, there is also the issue, you talked about those mutation with those genes.

Dr. Weitz:                           Right.

Dr. Vojdani:                        There is nothing you can do about that, your early onset, if you have mutation in those genes, you are going to develop it at age 30, 40, 50, before 60. The late onset of Alzheimer’s, other than APOE involvement, there is no other genes so far, leave alone what will be in the future. That’s why, and I was very careful saying five and 95.   So probably in the future more genes will be discovered. However, right now we are talking about is that 1%, 99%, the late onset. Also APOE is involved. However, APOE is the gene responsible for transport, as you know, of cholesterol into the cells because our cell membrane is made of cholesterol. And so APOE is involved in that job and of course brain, is made up 80% are made of fat.

Dr. Weitz:                           Right.

Dr. Vojdani:                        And so we need APOE also to transfer some fat to the brain cells in order to survive.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right. Which is one reason why patients with statin drugs often have cognitive dysfunction.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Exactly. So APOE is found in about 10%, APOE 44. APOE 34, and APOE 44 traveling about 10 to 15% of the population. However, having APOE or being APOE44 positive, not necessarily you are going to develop Alzheimer’s disease. The probability or the chances of developing Alzheimer’s is much higher. And that’s why the message of prevention you and I that we are giving to the audience.

Dr. Weitz:                           Right. So just to clarify, APOE 44 means you have two copies of the E4 variant of the APOE. If you have one copy, you would be APOE 43 because 33 is the most common.

Dr. Vojdani:                        So having or being positive with two copies, not necessarily so, but the chances of developing Alzheimer is 10 times higher.

Dr. Weitz:                           Right. Now is having two copies of the APOE4 gene, just a death sentence?

Dr. Vojdani:                        Absolutely not. That’s the message.  So that’s why our message is lifestyle modification.

Dr. Weitz:                            Yes.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Lifestyle modification. So please, if you did your test and you are APOE 44 positive, just listen to us and our message is going to be healthy diet, physical activity, and mental activities and that’s a huge umbrella.

Dr. Weitz:                            Absolutely. Yeah. Basically if you happen to have the APOE 44 gene, it’s not a death sentence. What it means is you just need to pay even more attention to doing all these lifestyle preventative factors than somebody who doesn’t have it.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Right. So APOE 44, about 10% of the population and only about maybe 20% of those, of the 10% will develop Alzheimer’s. If they don’t follow good lifestyle. Healthy lifestyle. These numbers, it comes to about really 5% that you were talking about. If you combine the 1% plus another three, 4% becomes like, so Alzheimer’s is 95% environmental, 5% is genetic.   Even if we count APOE 44 as genetics, which is not, but, that’s why 95 and five. So then your question was, what do I know about pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease?  I know a lot about pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.  What are the environmental factors contributing to Alzheimer’s disease? So because the word pathogenesis, I will start with pathogens.  So first pathogens, oral pathogens, Porphyromonas gingivalis.

Dr. Weitz:                           Basically you’re talking about gum disease.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Gum disease. Correct. And if you follow and read some articles that Porphyromonas gingivalis makes a toxin, called gingipain. And when they looked at the brain of Alzheimer’s patients, they found when they looked at amyloid plaque or tau protein, They found gingipain of Porphyromonas gingivalis in the plaque. So we’ll talk more about blood-brain barriers, how this toxin, which is such a huge molecule penetrated the blood-brain barriers and now is, probably bound to amyloid beta and causes amyloid beta plaque formation.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right. So what you’re saying is, is that we previously thought up until several years ago, that you couldn’t really have pathogens like bacteria and viruses in the brain because we had this blood-brain barrier that prevented it.  But now Dr. Rudolph Tanzi and others have discovered that there are bacteria and viruses and even fungi that penetrate the brain.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Absolutely. For example, I used to criticize people because I do Lyme disease, test for Lyme disease, you know ImmunoSciences Lab and I have one of the best tests which patented by us and all of that. I used to criticize people saying that Borrelia burgdorferi, this huge spirochete can cross the blood-brain barrier and goes into the brain tissue.  Until I started reading about the Alzheimer’s.  25% are facing with Alzheimer’s disease, the whole spirochete, not the toxin or antigen have spirochete. In this case Borrelia burgdorferi.  25% of them had the whole spirochete in their brain, so therefore the blood-brain barriers, the curtain, which is protecting the brain, very similar to gut barriers is not that perfect.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right. We learned in recent years how there is leaky gut, everybody’s familiar with that concept of leaky gut, meaning that’s permeable and large molecules can get through that aren’t supposed to.  Same thing with the blood-brain barrier.  Just like, you can have leaky gut, you can have leaky brain.

Dr. Vojdani:                        And these two are connected. We’ll get a little bit in few seconds also to that. So oral pathogens, spirochete including the other spirochetes. Treponema.  Then herpes type 1, and herpes the cause of a cold sore.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right. Herpes simplex.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Right. Chlamydia. To some degree, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus. But you mentioned Tanzi and other groups from UC Davis found the whole E. coli or salmonella and lipopolysaccharides produced by these bacteria–E. Coli, salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter jejuni. In the brain of Alzheimer’s patients.

Dr. Weitz:                            Wow. It’s a whole party up there.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Yes. So now, the research that I did, which was published in journal of Alzheimer’s disease, International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and then journal of Alzheimer’s and Parkinsonism. We looked at possibility of not only these bacteria can get into the brain, when the immune system attacks these pathogens and we produce antibody against them. Are these antibodies going to protect us against Alzheimer’s or are going to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease? So we took antibodies specifically made against lipopolysacharide or antibodies made against bacteria cytolethal distending toxin of Campylobacter jejuni. Or vice versa antibody made against amyloid beta. And we found these two react to each other. So if the patient is making antibodies against lipopolysaccharides, those antibodies can attack amyloid beta. If those antibodies cross the blood-brain barriers and there will be in the brain tissue.

Dr. Weitz:                           Now why would they attack the brain tissue?

Dr. Vojdani:                        Because of the antigenic similarity between these pathogens with the human brain.

Dr. Weitz:                           That’s cross reactivity.

Dr. Vojdani:                        We call that friendly fire. The immune system is attacking the pathogen to get rid of the pathogens, but the antibody produced against them because the amyloid beta looks like the pathogens. Now the antibodies attacking amyloid beta or tau protein causing aggregation. Therefore this is the mechanism how pathogens can contribute to autoimmune disease and in this case to Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Weitz:                            So it’s not so much just the fact that there’s amyloid protein or tau protein, it’s that these proteins become aggregated and form clumps and tangles. That’s when they really become pathological.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Absolutely both. Beta amyloid and tau protein, these are functional proteins. They do their job. In fact, amyloid beta acts like antibiotic. It prevents, it tries to get rid of, prevents some pathogens to infect the brain. Exactly like antibiotics.

Dr. Weitz:                            Yeah. You know what? It’s also very similar to the cholesterol story where we used to think that you ingest fat and because you have a lot of fat, the fat just builds up.  But now we know that cholesterol–why would the body lay cholesterol down in the arteries? Well, because there is inflammation and oxidative stress and the body’s coating your artery wall using cholesterol. And so it’s actually beneficial. But once it builds up to a point, then it blocks the blood flow and it becomes pathological. And the same way in the brain, the brain is using the amyloid protein to protect the brain from the pathogens. But then it becomes pathological.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Yes, absolutely. So here is an example. An individual is having a problem in the gut. One of these bacteria E. coli, salmonella Shigella, Campylobacter jejuni, releasing the toxin. The toxin causes leaky gut. Leaving it open. Now the toxin is going into the blood. Now the toxin because of inflammation in the blood and using immune system reaction against that releasing cytokines, pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF alpha, tumor necrosis factor alpha. Now LPS, the bacterial toxin. And TNF alpha and other pro-inflammatory cytokines. They break the blood-brain barriers, so now lipopolysaccharides, TNF alpha, antibodies, even T-cells completely get into the brain area causing inflammation. During inflammation, the microglia become activated. When microglia become activated, then also the body produces a lot of amyloid beta from the gut, goes to the brain to help. More antibiotic in the brain to help. But in the process, those amyloid beta become aggregated and then finally huge size of plaque is formed, which further contributes to neurodegeneration.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right. Or is there even a microbiome of the brain, that we have all these bacteria in there?

Dr. Vojdani:                        That’s a fantastic question. I don’t think so because we cannot teach from one hand saying that, only small molecules such as glucose and other nutrients, which are necessary under normal conditions, can cross the blood-brain barriers and feed the brain cells. If we have microbiome in the brain, like in the gut, do we have really under normal condition, E. coli in the brain, I don’t think so.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right.

Dr. Vojdani:                        But if you call microbiome of the brain under abnormal condition, E. coli salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter jejuni, H. pylori and others manage to go into the brain and causes inflammation, induce fire in the brain. If we call that the microbiome of the brain, then you may be right, but I don’t think so. No research.

Dr. Weitz:                            Okay. So let’s go on to toxic chemicals and what part they play in Alzheimer’s. And I wanted to read you something, I went to the Alzheimer’s society website and this is a couple of quotes from their website. “At present, there is no strong evidence to support the fears that coming into contact with metals through using equipment or through food or water increases your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. It is also unclear whether reducing metals, [like aluminum] in the brain via drugs or reducing our exposure would have any beneficial effects. These metals are essential to the healthy function of our brain. So further research into changes before or during disease development is also necessary to understand if reducing the amount in the brain would actually be beneficial.”

Dr. Vojdani:                        Thank you first of all, for choosing that from Alzheimer’s association. I’m extremely surprised that Alzheimer’s association is putting such a statement, their role is to help people with Alzheimer’s and many people are supporting the cause of Alzheimer’s by donating so much money to the society, to Alzheimer’s Association.  I believe this is, when I was listening to you, sounds to me more like a legal terminology rather than scientific.  Just pay attention to the wordings, to becoming in contact. What does that mean? To become in contact? Of course, if I touch something with aluminum, it’s not going to hurt me, right? I’ll take aluminum pan and cooking that aluminum or I’ll take aluminum foil, put it on top my chicken and put it at 450 degrees.

Dr. Weitz:                            Put it on your Turkey with Thanksgiving coming up.

Dr. Vojdani:                        I assure you a lot of aluminum, from that gets into the meat and aluminum. And aluminum as you know that AL3+. Proteins are negative charge. The positive charge covalently almost cross links to the proteins. And so are you surprised that why we do not digest so many proteins? I gave example in my book, for example, gluten or peanut butter. Why some people don’t digest that because if these molecules such as aluminum bind to the protein of the peanuts or to the chicken or to the gluten, they’re digestive enzyme will not be able to digest them. And therefore immune reaction in the gut, leaky gut, leaky brain, inflammation and autoimmunity. So I cannot believe that they made such a controversial statement. And also I read in many places that aluminum in the food is harmless. Right? But I gave you example right now that aluminum in the food can buy into the food proteins and therefore it is harmless. It is harmful. It’s not harmless. And interestingly that I was reading also saying that, it’s harmless because aluminum bind to the proteins of the food.

Dr. Weitz:                            Yeah, I was listening to, you had a discussion, you and Elroy and Dr. Bredesen and Dr. Bredesen was talking about why the mainstream medicine right now is having a tough time buying into his theory of the complex causes for Alzheimer’s disease. And he was saying how they go through these different stages and initially they just dismiss it as nonsense, then they attack it and then finally they accept it. And I think this is part of, mainstream medicine, coming to accept a functional medicine outlook on understanding how to diagnose and explain and treat these conditions. And so, they’re having a tough time with the idea that all these toxins in our environment are as really significant contributors to chronic disease.

Dr. Vojdani:                        I agree with you. And the statement you just read is against the articles published in their own journals. I can open files behind me and show to audience that in variety of articles, published in Alzheimer’s related journals, including the association journal related to Alzheimer’s, that aluminum is neurotoxic. So make your decision, is it neurotoxic or it’s healthy. I don’t want to be exposed to aluminum. There’re two reasons. One, first of all it is not true that aluminum is in and out. Maybe 60% is in and out, but we know that 40%, this is an article published in Journal of Mucosal Immunology, three or four years ago. 40% of aluminum from food gets into the epithelial cells in the gut. What is going to do to those epithelial cells? Inflammation, leaky gut. Small percentage gets into the muscles. Therefore, in your field, this function of musculoskeletal.

Dr. Weitz:                            Yes.

Dr. Vojdani:                        2% of aluminum goes into the brain. In fact, in one of my lectures I showed those who participate in that, they’re aluminum, they stained or they found aluminum in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients. Now you can argue having aluminum in the brain, is not going to cause Alzheimer’s. You may argue with this until next year or 10 years for a period of 10 years, but I don’t want to have Alzheimer’s in my epithelial cells and in my brain cells. If you guys want to have that, those who wrote that statement by the Alzheimer’s association, that’s up to them.

Dr. Weitz:                            Well, in 10 years they won’t remember that they said it.

Dr. Vojdani:                        So really, you know right now let’s give the right advice to, I don’t want to have Alzheimer’s in my muscles, in my gut and my brain. Aluminum. I don’t want to have aluminum. If you guys want to have that, God bless you.

Dr. Weitz:                            So what are some of the other toxic chemicals that play a role in Alzheimer’s?

Dr. Vojdani:                        So plasticizers, pthalates, mercury, other heavy metals, because here they say heavy metals in general. I don’t know. That statement is so wrong that our brain is heavy metals. The statement that you read.

Dr. Weitz:                           I know, I know.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Based on what?

Dr. Weitz:                           They say metals are essential to the healthy function…

Dr. Vojdani:                        If they mean, maybe they think of a [inaudible 00:29:48].

Dr. Weitz:                            Maybe. I mean there are metals, not aluminum, but maybe, zinc or iron.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Zinc we need. I have no problem with zinc and iron. But that’s again, that’s a legal statement. What they mean. It’s not a scientific statement.  And I’m sorry to say that.


Dr. Weitz:                            I’ve really been enjoying this discussion, but I’d like to pause for a minute to tall you about our sponsor for this podcast. I’m proud that this episode of the Rational Wellness Podcast is sponsored by Integrative Therapeutics, which is one of the few lines of professional products that I use in my office. Integrative Therapeutics is a top tier manufacturing of clinician design, cutting-edge nutritional products with therapeutic dosages of scientifically proven ingredients to help our patients prevent chronic diseases and feel better naturally. Integrative Therapeutics is also the founding sponsor of TAP Integrative. This is a great resource for education for practitioners. I’m a subscriber to TAP Integrative. There’s videos. There’s lots of great information constantly being updated and improved upon by Dr. Lise Alschuler who runs it.

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Dr. Weitz:                             So some of these other chemicals and how do they play a role in Alzheimer’s?

Dr. Vojdani:                        So some of these chemicals just like plasticizers especially-

Dr. Weitz:                            And by the way, that includes BPA as well?

Dr. Vojdani:                        BPA, pthalates and dinitrobenzene or anything with a benzene ring. These kinds of chemicals bind to human serum albumin, to hemoglobin other proteins changing their structure in such a way the treasury structure almost looks like amyloid beta or tau protein.  So when the immune system attacks the neoantigen. Neoantigen, new antigen, which is a combination of pthalates with albumin or aluminum with albumin, that antibody produced against that, if it penetrates the blood-brain barrier is going to attack the brain cells. So I explained that mechanism of action in an article that I published in journal of Alzheimer’s and Parkinsonism. So chemicals, these few definitely contribute to pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Weitz:                            And what role do food sensitivities play in a cause of Alzheimer’s?

Dr. Vojdani:                        So let’s be a little bit careful about food sensitivity.

Dr. Weitz:                           Okay.

Dr. Vojdani:                        If food sensitivity, you mean by having allergy to food? That’s completely different word.

Dr. Weitz:                           Okay.

Dr. Vojdani:                        I eat something, I eat egg or strawberry and immediately I’m going to have anaphylactic basophil release and other mediator release. That has nothing to do with Alzheimer’s.  But if you eat peanut butter, which is loaded with aluminum or gluten, also loaded with some aluminum, this is just example. And you cannot digest it. And particles, parts of that proteins or peptide gets into the blood and the immune system attacks it and makes antibody against that. Then that antibody due to similarity between gluten, especially gluten toxic peptide, or even dairy, alpha beta- casein. There’s similarity, antigenic similarity with the human brain cells. Now antibodies are getting into the brain, attacking neurons causing aggregation of amyloid beta and tau. Therefore, food through these mechanisms can contribute to pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.

                                                And the food that we found, gluten, dairy, because again, remember Dr. Bredesen in his book recommended gluten free and dairy free. Now we are supporting his theory of gluten free and dairy free by showing that cross reactivity between these, with human brain cells. Egg, especially egg yolk, cross reacted with amyloid beta. Some lectins and agglutinins very interesting. Canned tuna but not tuna, fresh tuna.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right.

Dr. Vojdani:                        We found with fresh tuna, 20% cross-reactivity with canned tuna, more than 50%. 60% cross-reactivity and asked why? Can ask why? Because in canned tuna, first of we have raw versus cooked. I published and again in my book there was a chapter about that. [inaudible 00:35:36] says cooked are complete two different worlds.

Dr. Weitz:                            So what you want to know if you have a sensitivity to a food, which a lot of it has to do with whether or not you’re able to break down the proteins, but if you cook a food as opposed to eating it raw, when you cook it, you change the protein confirmation. So somebody who has a sensitivity to a raw food may or may not have a sensitivity to a cooked food or vice versa.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Absolutely. Thank you so much. That’s why I wrote that book because I got tired of throughout the years all these laboratories are doing wrong testing and providing wrong test results. There are certain foods we don’t eat them in a raw [inaudible 00:36:21]. And so you may react to raw food but not to the cooked food. And this example.

Dr. Weitz:                            And by the way, for people don’t know it, tuna fish is cooked in the can. They stick it in the can, seal it and then heat it up.

Dr. Vojdani:                        And it goes into through sterilization, right? So what happened then, the plasticizers, the aluminum-

Dr. Weitz:                            The plasticizers are coating the inside of the can.

Dr. Vojdani:                        All goes into the… I was extremely surprised. How come? We got reaction with canned tuna but less reaction with the raw tuna. So that’s exactly the explanation. All the chemicals get into the, proteins bind to them covalently and make them completely new antigens and therefore react to them. We make antibody against them and those antibodies turning against us, in this case, turning against our brain eventually causing Alzheimer’s in the future.

Dr. Weitz:                            Interesting. Now it depends on a person though, right?

Dr. Vojdani:                        Of course. Many years ago, Ben, I read this fantastic article by one of the famous toxicologist from New York. And the phrase was this, you and I maybe exposed to same levels of chemicals. You may not be harmed, but I’ll be harmed by the same levels. The reason is… And that’s why personalized and lifestyle medicine, right? Personalized medicine.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right.

Dr. Vojdani:                        You have a good enzyme. Metabolizing enzymes can metabolite the chemicals, change them to metabolites and clear them from your system. I may not have that. Some people are slow metabolizer, some are medium metabolizer, and some are fast metabolizer. For each one of these there is advantages and disadvantages. So you and I may be exposed to the same levels of chemicals. One completely will stay healthy, the other one may become sick.

Dr. Weitz:                            Correct.And some people have sensitivities to one food versus the other as well. Right? Like some people-

Dr. Vojdani:                        Of course. Of course, yes.

Dr. Weitz:                            So now let’s get into this, our term is links panel that you developed for Cyrex. Can you explain exactly what does it measure? Who should get this test and you know, how can this test benefit patients and how can clinicians use to assess patients and guide care?

Dr. Vojdani:                        Absolutely. So the Alzheimer links is the results of more than 30 years of work.

Dr. Weitz:                           And by the way, the background is, there’s really no one test that can assess your risk of Alzheimer’s probably this test.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Absolutely. There is no one test and there is no one treatment. So as far as testing is a combination of tests where we look at immune system attacking the brain cells and the brain proteins including amyloid beta, tau protein, alpha-synuclein and other brain proteins.

Dr. Weitz:                            So what does that part of the test tell us?  And what if it’s positive and what if it’s negative?

Dr. Vojdani:                        That part of the test is telling us that whether or not there is amyloid beta plaque in the brain, tau aggregation and the microglia trying to break it down and get released into the spinal fluid as well as in the blood. When they are released and they are in the blood, immune system react against them and make antibody against them.

Dr. Weitz:                            Okay.

Dr. Vojdani:                        So in this particular case, there are two choices, you measure directly amyloid beta, tau protein, alpha-synuclein or neurofilaments. But as an immunologist, I came to the conclusion that the half life of these proteins, is only a few hours as if you measure, for example, tau protein in the blood, in the morning and in the afternoon you are going to get two different results.  You measure antibody against that. Today or tomorrow or next week you are going to get same results plus minus 10% and so because the half life of antibodies about 21 to 30 days.

Dr. Weitz:                            Okay.

Dr. Vojdani:                        More stable. That’s why the choose and I’m doing research comparing also the levels versus antibodies. I’m going to publish it in the future.

Dr. Weitz:                           Okay. Okay. And so are you finding the-

Dr. Vojdani:                        So I decided to do the antibodies.

Dr. Weitz:                           So far are you finding the antibody and the protein level, that they have a correlation?

Dr. Vojdani:                        Yes. Yes. Yes.

Dr. Weitz:                           Okay.

Dr. Vojdani:                        To some degree. And again, because I explained the half life of levels is much shorter than the antibody. So the correlation is okay, but it’s not 100%, probably about 80% or 60%.

Dr. Weitz:                            Okay. So let’s say we find out that you do have antibodies to these brain proteins. What does that tell us?

Dr. Vojdani:                        That tells us that your immune system, there is inflammation in the brain. The brain cells are dying. They’re releasing these antigens and the immune system attacking them, making antibodies. So if we detect antibodies against these brain cells, meaning, possibly you are at preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease. In my article I wrote, and this is based on publications, a publication of an article by scientists from different universities who made calculations claiming that 47 million Americans are at preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease. And I believe, sincerely believe that these antibodies are going to tell us whether or not you are brewing some kind of reactions. I’m not calling this is reaction. When we find reaction, we can do something about it and reverse the course of the disease.

Dr. Weitz:                            Let’s say those are negative. What does that tell us?

Dr. Vojdani:                        Okay. If the test is completely normal.

Dr. Weitz:                           No, I mean just the antibodies to the proteins in the brain. Just that part.

Dr. Vojdani:                        If there are positive first.

Dr. Weitz:                           No. If they’re negative.

Dr. Vojdani:                        If they’re negative, at least you will believe that there is, you know, there is no pathological reaction right now going in the brain.

Dr. Weitz:                           Okay. Okay.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Okay, so number one was that that group of proteins.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Number two-

Dr. Weitz:                            And then if they’re positive, then we want to see what might be causing it, right?

Dr. Vojdani:                        Right. Yes.

Dr. Weitz:                            Which is where some of the other parts of this test can be helpful right?

Dr. Vojdani:                        Yes. Because, firstly I’m looking at the brain proteins.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Now there are growth factors.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Many people do not pay attention to the nerve growth factors, beta NGF and all of that, and because some people may not have enough nerve growth factors.  As you know, physical exercise, increasing the level of nerve growth factors, helping regrowth of neurons.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right and brain BDNF also.

Dr. Vojdani:                        So if you are lazy, you don’t exercise and now your nerve growth factor is low or for some reason your immune system is attacking the nerve growth factors, your neurons dying and because you don’t have enough nerve growth factor, they’re not going to regenerate and therefore much faster Alzheimer’s is going to be difficult. For that reason, we included also the nerve growth factors in this panel.  So the next, the three environmental factors that we talked about, pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease, the pathogens. The pathogens that cross react with amyloid beta and tau proteins such as herpes, oral pathogens, chlamydia spiral kits, and then especially E. coli, salmonella, Shigella and bacteria cyto-lethal distending toxins.

Dr. Weitz:                           Which is part of SIBO and IBS. Right?

Dr. Vojdani:                        Right. By the way, before that, I forgot also to talk about the enteric nerve, the gut.

Dr. Weitz:                           Okay.

Dr. Vojdani:                        That’s the third component. So brain proteins, the growth factors, the enteric nerve and its communication with the brain.

Dr. Weitz:                            So if the part with the growth factors, if those are low, is that what we’re looking for?

Dr. Vojdani:                        Yeah, if there’s antibody against them-

Dr. Weitz:                            Antibodies to growth factors. Okay.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Meaning they’re not going to function.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right.

Dr. Vojdani:                        And therefore they are not going to help. Even if you have them at normal level, they’re not going to help regeneration of [inaudible 00:46:56]. So brain proteins, the growth factors, the enteric nerve and it’s communication with the brain. Now the environmental factors, the pathogens, we measure antibody against those, the toxic chemicals and the foods that I mentioned. All of these are a part of the panel. And finally, let’s say if you make antibodies against brain proteins, the nerve growth factors, the enteric nerve. Then the pathogens, the chemicals, the foods, you can have those antibodies circulating in the blood. As long as the blood-brain barriers are not broken, you may be okay, your patient may be okay, but in the context of broken blood-brain barriers, these antibodies against these six components now also antibodies against blood-brain barriers such as S100, the water channel proteins, claudins.  If also you make antibody against that, they help to open the blood-brain barriers. So in the context of broken blood-brain barriers, the antibodies which are circulating in the blood, we may not call them pathogenic, but when the blood-brain barriers are broken, they could become pathogenic by going after the neurons, attacking the neurons, contributing to neuro-degeneration. That’s the mechanism.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right. So you’re saying to really get an accurate assessment of what might be going on. If they have some positives with this test, we should also run a Cyrex panel that looks at the blood-brain barrier?

Dr. Vojdani:                        That components are part of the Alzheimer links.

Dr. Weitz:                            Oh, okay. So that’s part of it. Okay.

Dr. Vojdani:                        You want a little bit more information, more complete. You could go also to different arrays by Cyrex.

Dr. Weitz:                           Okay.

Dr. Vojdani:                        But here, we picked about 30 different items. Which includes the brain proteins, the growth factors, the enteric nerve and other factors in the gut, the pathogens, the toxic chemicals, the food, and then the blood-brain barriers. If any components of these seven groups are abnormal. Well let’s talk about at least the environmental factors, the food, the toxic chemicals, and the pathogens are elevated. The BBB is broken, and the antibody against growth factors and brain proteins are elevated. The only choice we have in here is to repair the gut barriers, to repair the blood-brain barriers and stop from entering or from those antibodies made against environmental factors plus inflammatory cytokines, and everything to get into the brain and add to the fire in the brain.

Dr. Weitz:                            So how do we repair the blood-brain barrier?

Dr. Vojdani:                        First of all, you remove the triggers you find based on Alzheimer’s links in one person, the trigger could be food, in another person could be toxic chemicals. The third person could be pathogens and the fourth person could be all three of them. together. You have to find those and remove them. If your patient is reacting to canned tuna, I’m sorry, you have to remove that from the diet. This is not food sensitivity, Ben, that wrongly done. Here we are talking about specific cross reactivity between cook tuna or canned tuna with brain cells. When you react against that or you react against egg yolk or lectins, this is the only time I agree with removing the lectins, not like the book that they recommend. The gentleman, the doctor recommends that, everybody should be avoiding lectins.

Dr. Weitz:                           You are talking about Dr. Gundry.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Yes, Dr. Gundry. I disagree with him but in this case I agree. If you react to certain food in the case of Alzheimer’s, you have to remove that food from your diet. Otherwise, for some reason you could be stressed, your blood-brain barrier can get open and those antibodies can get them to the brain and attack the brain cells, and after a few years you may develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Weitz:                            So if we run this panel, we find out that there is positives on tuna and some of these other foods, we’ve got to remove those foods.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Yes.

Dr. Weitz:                            If there’s positives on some of these toxins, obviously we have to try to reduce our exposure to those toxins. But now a lot of those toxins are stored in our body. So we need to reach into our functional medicine bag of tools and put them on a proper detox and make sure that we bind those toxins and make sure that they leave the body, make sure we have a healthy gastrointestinal tract so we’re pooping them out and peeing them out and that we’re sweating and doing the things that facilitate the removal. If they have positives on the pathogens, then we have to figure out where those pathogens might be.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Exactly the simplest will be in the oral pathogens. Very…

Dr. Weitz:                           Like P. gingivalis. Right? So you have to-

Dr. Vojdani:                        Okay functional medicine tools.

Dr. Weitz:                           Yep.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Functional medicine tools.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right.

Dr. Vojdani:                        And then how to repair the gut and blood-brain barriers.  Almost the same.  Remember that regulatory T cells in the gut need vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, B complex, cruciferous vegetables. There was a chapter, the last chapter in my book is written about this. In addition to that, resveratrol.  Many years ago an article was published in Scientific American that can repair the blood-brain barriers and nothing is cheaper and better and walking and physical activity.

Dr. Weitz:                            Yes.

Dr. Vojdani:                        That can help to repair the blood-brain barriers. And so if your test is abnormal, very, very simple, first detect, remove, and repair. Detect, remove and repair.  And earlier I mentioned that physical activity, mental activity, lots of, whenever comes part of that and then you remove the environmental factors. So healthy diet, healthy diet, healthy lifestyle, organic diet, everything inclusive and then physical activity and mental activity. I think that would be the best way to remember. Healthy lifestyle, physical activity and mental activity.

Dr. Weitz:                           It would be interesting to see if their results in few tasks correlate with neurocognitive assessment.

Dr. Vojdani:                        I think you know that my son is practicing functional medicine.

Dr. Weitz:                           Yes.

Dr. Vojdani:                        And he has done that on at least 20 patients.

Dr. Weitz:                           Right.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Excellent correlation with that and regarding this whole panel and pricing, Ben, originally because the material used in the testing, for example, amyloid beta can go online and you find that one milligram of amyloid beta cost more than few thousand dollars.

Dr. Weitz:                            Wow.

Dr. Vojdani:                        And the same thing tau protein, the same thing nerve growth factor, the same thing alpha-synuclein and very, very expensive, pure raw material. Maybe food is cheap, but the others are extremely expensive.  So we’re thinking even about introducing this panel for a price of about $2000 and honestly, after thinking and thinking that in this particular case we are here to help and I’m assuring you that with the kind of pricing Cyrex is charging, they’re not going to make much money considering the costs of the panel plus the overhead.  The goal here is to help people.

Dr. Weitz:                            Right.

Dr. Vojdani:                        And they are happy to be part of that. That’s why they decided I think close to $600 is really the cost and plus the overhead and therefore our goal is to help people to prevent Alzheimer’s in the future.

Dr. Weitz:                            Great. Is this test beneficial for Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases?

Dr. Vojdani:                        100%. Why? Because again, don’t forget that alpha-synuclein is synecleinopathy. It’s part of the Parkinson’s and there is a lot of overlap between Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. So these tests not only is good for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, I’ll use that even for health screen because, if you look at, actually this panels combination of five or 10 different arrays offered by Cyrex. It looks at the gut, it looks at the brain, the nerve growth factors, and then the environmental factors. The blood-brain barriers. It’s a fantastic screening for assessing overall health of an individual.

Dr. Weitz:                           Awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much Dr. Vojdani.

Dr. Vojdani:                        My pleasure. Thank you. Thank you for your contribution again.

Dr. Weitz:                           Yes, this was a wonderful discussion and can you give the contact information for those who’d like to find out? I guess practitioners are the ones that order the Cyrex and Immunoscience panels.

Dr. Vojdani:                        Yeah. Cyrex, they go online under cyrexlabs.com I believe. Yes. Immunosciences Lab if you are interested in a good and reliable Lyme test, to exclude or include possibility of Lyme disease because there are many, many bad tests out there, unfortunately, or viral panels, EBV, CMV, herpes one, herpes two, type six, all of that at Immunosciences Lab. Also you can go online. Our telephone number is (310) 657-1077. Thank you.

Dr. Weitz:                            Awesome. Thank you.


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