It has been suggested for many years that many people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease have been shown to have deposits of aluminum in their brains and the connection between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease has been fairly well-discussed and generally accepted as, at least, a contributing factor. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) was unknown prior to the 20th century. The first case was published in 1907 by a German psychiatrist by the name of Alois Alzheimer. Text books on pathology up to 1938 did not mention any of the neurological changes that take place within the brain that cause Alzheimer’s disease. The epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease increased dramatically after 1950, Alzheimer’s disease tends to be more prevalent in “developed countries”. It was around 1950 that copper plumbing became widely used in “developed countries”; it is felt that the leaching of copper from copper plumbing is a major factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Many diseases have multiple factors and contributing causal agents so it may well be a combination of aluminum and copper.This potential for copper to be a contributing factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease was supported by studies with laboratory animals in which the changes in the brains of the animals, fed copper in their drinking water, were exactly the same substance called amyloid-beta that occurs in Alzheimer’s disease patients’ brains. It was also shown that these laboratory animals had twice as much copper lining their blood vessels in their brains. The brain can remove this amyloid-beta with a protein called LRP (lipoprotein receptor related protein). This substance escorts the amyloid out of the brain. It was found during this research that copper damages the LRP and it stops working. Of interest, the US EPA allows 1.3 parts per million of copper in human drinking water which is over ten times the amount used in these animal experiments.
There are two basic forms of copper. One is organic copper which is in the food we eat and is bound to food proteins. It is therefore metabolized by the liver and is safe. An inorganic copper is a salt of copper which is the kind that is typically put in nutritional supplements and leaches into drinking water. It is not metabolized by the liver and increases the body’s overall copper pool where it becomes available to cause toxicity; it generates reactive oxygen species (free radicals). Free radical damage is a major feature of the Alzheimer’s disease of the brain.
Research has also shown that many people with Alzheimer’s disease also are deficient in zinc and zinc supplementation is typically part of a comprehensive chelation therapy program.
As far as dietary sources of copper are concerned, red meat is a common source. Processed meats including hot dogs, sausage and bacon are also a source. Copper sulfate used as a bactericide and fungicide sometimes on meat and fat and meat products can also be a source. Copper sulfate has also been used as a fungicide, bactericide in crops of rice, wild rice, cherries, oranges, wine grapes, peaches, nectarines, walnuts, almonds, lemons, apricots and grapefruit. You can also have your water tested for copper. If you have your own water treatment system, reverse osmosis is about 99% effective in removing copper.
Chelation therapy chelates or removes toxic metals from the body, including minerals such as copper and aluminum. The use of chelation therapy to treat someone who has Alzheimer’s disease may be helpful, depending upon how long the condition has been obvious. It will certainly be helpful in retarding early Alzheimer’s disease and a major factor in decreasing the potential of its occurring in the first place.
Other research has shown that iron can also contribute to the brain changes that occur in Alzheimer’s disease. Damage to DNA is involved in Alzheimer’s disease and both iron and copper interfere with the activity of two enzymes that repair DNA damage.
In addition to decreasing your exposure to copper and inappropriate levels of iron, chelation therapy to remove them should be an essential part of treating existing and contributing to preventing the advent of Alzheimer’s disease. The good news is something can be done about it, and as usual, with all chronic degenerative diseases, the sooner someone commences on an appropriate program, the more effective it will be and the more long-lasting will the effect be.
Dr Conrad G. Maulfair, D.O.