The Bredesen Protocol, also known as ‘the anti-Alzheimer's diet’, is the ﬁrst programme designed to reverse and prevent cognitive decline. Designed by Dr Dale Bredesen, an internationally recognised expert in the mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases, the Bredesen Protocol is a comprehensive personalised program designed to improve cognition and reverse the cognitive decline of (early) Alzheimer’s disease by addressing the underlying contributing factors.
Dr Andrew Greenland is a fully qualiﬁed medical doctor, with a unique proﬁle of twenty five years of conventional medical experience combined with extensive training in complementary therapies including Herbal Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine, Medical Acupuncture, Osteopathic Medicine (non practising) and Functional Medicine. As an expert in the Bredesen Protocol, he shares his thoughts and experience on this whole-body approach to Alzheimer’s Disease.
The diagnostic workup for the Bredesen protocol aims to identify all potential root causes and triggers for the condition and therefore inform highly targeted and precise treatment.
Anyone has the potential to beneﬁt from treatment with the Bredesen protocol. However those patients who present earlier, with milder cognitive impairment are likely to have better outcomes than those with end stage Alzheimer’s.
No - the Bredesen Protocol is bespoke and the treatment recommendations are highly targeted to address patients’ individual metabolic imbalances, And based on genetic factors, root causes, triggers and mediators.
The process begins with a thorough clinical assessment during which we will explore all aspects of the medical history, current cognitive symptomatology, past medical history, dietary intake, exercise, stress, sleep, and environmental factors. We also conduct a brief cognitive assessment to obtain a baseline. From this we will establish a plan of investigation and suggest some preliminary treatment interventions. Next follows a thorough diagnostic work up, and neuroradiological volumetric MRI imaging. When all the results are back, we will upload the results into the Recode algorithm and produce an individualised treatment plan known as the ReCode report.
At the very least we aim to halt further disease progression. However, it has been possible to reverse the disease process for some patients.
Absolutely. There is a version of the programme called PreCode, which is focussed on prevention in those with a strong genetic predisposition to cognitive decline / Alzheimer’s. In fact everyone of us needs to be following a version of PreCode which establishes a healthy way of living that prevents many chronic disease processes.
Inﬂammation, glycotoxicity (blood sugar dysregulation), nutritional and endocrine disturbances / imbalances, genetic factors, neurotrauma, toxicity, and vascular compromise.
Amyloid plaque deposition is in fact a perfectly normal pathophysiological and protective response to brain inﬂammation. Unfortunately, however it is these plaques that contribute negatively towards neurocognitive impairment.
Inﬂammation is a key player here and there are many possible sources, some of which are subtle and insidious. For instance poor dental hygiene / gum disease or a leaky gut can create chronic low grade inﬂammation setting the brain ‘on ﬁre’. Further, there is good evidence that oral pathogens can cross the blood brain barrier.
There is an adage in functional medicine that ‘genetics load the gun, but environment pulls the trigger’, and this is just as relevant to Alzheimer’s. There are many things we can do to inﬂuence environmental triggers using a holistic dietary and lifestyle approach, which can positively manipulate gene expression.
All contributors have the potential to be modiﬁable - it is all a matter of degree and the extent to which a patient can embrace and implement the treatment recommendations.
It is a wild goose chase. No single drug will ever have the capacity to inﬂuence the numerous biochemical and endocrine imbalances that are implicated in Alzheimer’s.
I believe that a modiﬁed Mediterranean, ketogenic diet without grains or dairy is best suited for optimising brain health. However there is no one size ﬁts all and we often have to make adaptations to suit individual needs.
Frequent clinical and neurocognitive assessments, tracking of laboratory biomarkers, and interval volumetric MRI brain scans.
The Bredesen protocol should be regarded as a plan for life, and continued indeﬁnitely. One can not expect to preserve brain health by reverting to a toxic, nutritionally depleted, inﬂammatory, sleep deprived, stressful life.
I would strongly encourage them to take an active interest. There is going to be an exponential rise in cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s cases in our lifetimes, and this work provides the tools for our patients (and society in the wider sense) to limit this massive disease burden and the inherent socioeconomic consequences.