Hidden Cause of Memory Loss Revealed
We all know someone who has suffered through the agony of Alzheimer’s disease.
And we’ve seen the horrifying toll it takes on their brains.
They forget the names of their loved ones… they’re confused… they might not even be able to write their own names any more.
And we’re all left with the same question… “What’s REALLY going on in their brains?”
Well, what if the problem isn’t REALLY starting in their brains at all?
A secret infection… one that starts just a few inches below the brain… may be a MAJOR culprit in the development of Alzheimer’s.
The good news? This is one infection you can do something about.
Gumming Up the Works
Let’s face it… there are lots of bad things that can be happening inside the brain of someone with Alzheimer’s. Problems like:
- Brain shrinkage
- Dying brain cells
- Sticky beta amyloid plaques and tau proteins, keeping brain cells from communicating with each other.
You can see the problem that researchers are up against.
How do you tackle all of these separate issues at the same time?
But what if they’re NOT really separate issues at all? What if, in some cases, they’re ALL being caused by the same underlying problem?
If we could boil Alzheimer’s down to ONE root cause, it could be a lot easier to prevent… and maybe even cure.
Well, some very brilliant researchers believe that a bacteria called P. gingivalis… the same bacteria that causes gum problems like gingivitis… may be triggering Alzheimer’s disease.
That’s right… Alzheimer’s may be starting in our MOUTHS.
New Scientist actually ran an article in 2019 called, “We may finally know what causes Alzheimer’s – and how to stop it.”
That’s a pretty bold statement… and maybe TOO bold of a statement. As you’ll see throughout this chapter, there are plenty of other health conditions (other than gum disease) that have been linked to Alzheimer’s.
But could gum disease be causing some… and maybe even MANY… cases of Alzheimer’s?
The evidence seems pretty solid. Let’s take a look…
The Secret Infection
The connection between mouth bacteria and Alzheimer’s makes so much sense that it’s a wonder that researchers hadn’t started exploring it long before.
You see, multiple studies had shown that people with Alzheimer’s were more likely to have dental problems, like missing teeth.
Then, in 2019, an international research team looked for the presence of two enzymes produced by P. gingivalis in brain tissue from Alzheimer’s patients.
A whopping 96% of the tissue samples had one of the enzymes… and 91% had the other. These Alzheimer’s brain tissues were literally LOADED with evidence of mouth bacteria.
So how is it getting there?
There could be a few different ways, but the most likely culprit is gum “pockets,” where your gums start to separate from your teeth.
That makes it easier for bacteria like P. gingivalis to get into your bloodstream… and travel to your brain.
But what about all of those other problems we commonly see with Alzheimer’s? Well, there’s evidence that they could be triggered by this “secret brain infection” of P. gingivalis.
Let’s take a look at them…
- Inflammation: We already know that gingivalis causes inflammation in our gums. And an animal study published in the medical journal PLOS One found that P. gingivalis triggers inflammation in brain tissue, too.
- Brain shrinkage and dying brain cells: Lab studies have shown that gingivalis is toxic to brain cells.
- Sticky beta amyloid plaques and tau proteins: Believe it or not, your brain uses beta amyloid to fight infections. And a study showed that when mice were exposed to gingivalis, they started cranking out beta amyloid. Those beta amyloid plaques could be a reaction to infection. And human and animal studies have both shown that P. gingivalis may be triggering the buildup of tau, too.
The connection between mouth bacteria and Alzheimer’s is getting stronger by the day.
Again, I don’t think there’s enough evidence to say that it’s the sole cause of Alzheimer’s… but I DO believe this is the single most promising field of Alzheimer’s research today.
And we’re learning that taking care of your teeth and gums may play a HUGE role in protecting your brain.
That means brushing and flossing regularly… and making sure you keep those dental appointments.
There are some natural remedies that can help keep your gums in good shape, too. Both tea tree oil and lemongrass oil mouthwashes have been shown to help fight P. gingivalis and keep your gums healthy.
As always, if you’re experiencing any changes to your memory or cognitive function, talk to your doctor about it.
“Could Alzheimer’s Associated Amyloid Plaques Fight Bacterial Infections? – Neuroscience News.” Neuroscience News, 25 May 2016, https://neurosciencenews.com/amyloid-plaques-bacteria-4305/.
Dioguardi, Mario. “The Association between Tooth Loss and Alzheimer’s Disease: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis of Case Control Studies.” PubMed Central (PMC), 1 June 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6630622/.
Dominy, S. S., et. al. “Porphyromonas Gingivalis in Alzheimer’s Disease Brains: Evidence for Disease Causation and Treatment with Small-Molecule Inhibitors.” Science Advances, 1 Jan. 2019, https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/1/eaau3333.
Gosztyla, Maya. “Alzheimer’s Amyloid-β Is an Antimicrobial Peptide: A Review of the Evidence – PubMed.” PubMed, 1 Jan. 2018, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29504537/.
Goto, Tetsuya. “Tooth Loss and Alzheimer’s Disease.” Current Oral Health Reports, 8 Apr. 2019, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40496-019-0219-1.
Ilievski, Vladimir. “Chronic Oral Application of a Periodontal Pathogen Results in Brain Inflammation, Neurodegeneration and Amyloid Beta Production in Wild Type Mice.” PLOS ONE, 3 Oct. 2018, https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0204941.
Mackenzie, Debora. “We May Finally Know What Causes Alzheimer’s – and How to Stop It.” New Scientist, 23 Jan. 2019, https://www.newscientist.com/article/2191814-we-may-finally-know-what-causes-alzheimers-and-how-to-stop-it/.