Addressing the Gut-Brain Axis in Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease has long been thought of as incurable. In my earlier blog, “Thinking Outside the Box on Alzheimer's” I referred to neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga discussing possible cures. (1) In recent years, significant changes in the gut microbiome have been reported in patients with Alzheimer’s disease compared to mentally healthy individuals of similar ages. This disease is shown to affect 10% of 65-75 year olds and 32% of the elderly aged 80 and above. In Japan, which was the focus of the study for the article quoted, it was recognised that once processed food was introduced to the population, the statistics increased proportionately.
The bacteria - Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus - are actively involved in the production of GABA - aminobutyric acid. This is the most important inhibitory mediator of the central nervous system involved in neurotransmitter and metabolic processes in the brain. They are equally distributed between the intestines and the central nervous system and the former are regulated by the latter.
On the other hand, the gut microbiome is highly sensitive to negative external lifestyle aspects, such as:-
a) Compromise in a healthy diet.
b) Sleep deprivation.
c) Circadian rhythm disturbance.
d) Chronic background noise.
e) Sedentary habits.
All these factors are also considered as important risk factors for the development of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease. (2)
During the pandemic and resulting lockdowns, one can recognise that all these pointers have been severely impacted by the restrictions imposed and the resulting deep sense of isolation instilled in the population. I will now differentiate between remedies with affinity to the individual characteristics listed above:
a) It is a well known factor that artificial foods aggravate the Alumina patient, as well as those responding to the bowel nosode - Gaertner. Natrum Carbonicum has a very delicate and weak digestive system, like Gaertner, and this can severely affect the mood as a result. Lycopodium lies between Natrum Carbonicum and Alumina with its ability to absorb aluminium, which could be the undermining factor in triggering the decline in the patient’s cognition. Also, the Lycopodium patient fills up very easily. Both Alumina and Calcarea Carbonica desire to eat pica, sand, slate, earth, etc. Anacardium Orientale is well known as a gastric remedy with great relief to the patient after eating.
Moving on to other remedies, the digestion may be disordered due to the consumption of alcohol over the years.This could point to Nux Vomica, as well as Sulphur, and the bowel nosode Morgan. In fact, the combination of Morgan and Gaertner (Morgan Gaertner) can act to clear not only medicinal drugs, but also the alcohol layer and, at the same time, tonify the microbiome as a whole in the same process.
b) Remedies which portray an aggravation from loss of sleep include Carcinocin and Cocculus Indica (often from night watching, i.e. care of relatives). Hyoscyamus, the state of which often comes about after a history of mania, or from the use of alcohol, like Nux Vomica, Opium, and Secale. Baryta Carbonica, Phosphorus, and Syphilinum are also remedies to consider here. Natrum Muriaticum is affected by long lasting grief, like Carcinocin. Aurum Metallicum may suffer heart issues alongside their entrenched sadness. Ambra Grisea is included in the rubric ‘insomnia, retiring after, but sleepy before’ as the only remedy in black type (this remedy is a major one to consider in treating Alzheimer’s disease). Melatonin is reduced in these patients so the remedy - Melatonin - can be given in potency until the simillimum for the case is found. The remedy - Pineal Gland - is also a consideration here to replace long-standing reliance on melatonin as a supplement.
c) The main nosodes, i.e. Carcinosin, Medorrhinum, Psorinum, Syphilinum, and Tuberculinum, can all be indicated in circadian rhythm disruption, especially where there are inherited miasmatic indications in the case, and/or the sleep disruption dates back to early life. Remedies such as Calcarea Carbonica, Mancinella Venenata, Phosphorus, and Stramonium, are all remedies very much affected by frightening images. Androctonus (Scorpion) is very much drawn to exposure to screens. With their strong syphilitic affinity, the circadian rhythm can be completely destroyed in this remedy. This relates to Aurum Metallicum, Helleborus Niger, and Lithium Carbonicum which can all have the precursor of seasonal depression in their picture. (3)
d) A rare black type remedy in the rubric ‘sensitive, noise, to’ is Conium Maculatum. This remedy has a big affinity for erosion of faculties in older people, alongside remedies such as Kali Carbonicum, Nux Vomica, Opium, Phosphorus, and Zincum Metallicum.
e) Alumina is included in the rubric, ‘sedentary, habits, aggravate’, alongside Calcarea Carbonica, Cocculus Indica, Conium Maculatum, Lycopodium, Natrum Muriaticum, Nux Vomica (in black type), and Sulphur (also in black type).
In my blog ‘The Elephant in the Room - Vitamin D and Malabsorption - Butyric Acid’ (4), I pointed out my surprise to learn that the remedy - Butyric Acid - is so closely related to Nux Moschata - a major remedy for Alzheimer’s disease. It made me realise that the dryness which runs through this remedy, as well as Alumina, the quintessential remedy for Alzheimer’s disease, is such a key factor in the onset of the marked decline in memory seen in cases needing these remedies. By restoring the gut with this adjunctive remedy - Butyric Acid - one could create a significant degree of amelioration in the cognition and remove the strong maintaining cause of compromise in the gut. This is even before the indicated constitutional remedy is given. The core issue here is that butyrate can penetrate the blood brain barrier, where it quite remarkably acts as an antidepressant. One can appreciate how much depression can be a precursor or/and concomitant of Alzheimer’s disease. Butyrate achieves this by modifying certain genes in the brain, encouraging cellular repair and potentially leading to better mental health. (5)
On reflection, there is so much more to learn about the microbiome - it must always be remembered that the physical symptoms can so often dictate those of the mind and emotions. After all, it was Hippocrates who is reputed as saying all those centuries ago that all disease is seated in the gut. Now we understand the latter’s significance as the ‘second brain’, there is so much more to study to support our cases. This exploration literally goes from the inside out. It is no coincidence that Michael Gershon called his seminal book on the subject ‘The Second Brain - Your Gut Has a Mind of its Own’’. (6)
Adalian, E., Jan 27, 2017, “Thinking Outside the Box on Alzheimer’s” https://www.adalian.uk/post/2017/07/31/thinking-outside-the-box-on-alzheimers
Askarova et al, 18th March 2020, The Links Between the Gut Microbiome, Aging, Modern Lifestyle and Alzheimer’s Disease, Front. Cell. Infect. Microbiol., 18 March 2020
Adalian, E., Winter 2011, Restoring Disrupted Circadian Rhythms: A Portal to the Inner Self, Homeopathy in Practice.
Adalian, E., May 26 2021, The Elephant in the Room - Vitamin D and Malabsorption - Butyric Acid, https://www.adalian.uk/post/the-elephant-in-the-room-vitamin-d-and-malabsorption
Anderson, Scott C., with Cryan, John F., PH.D., and Dinan Ted, M.D., PH.D., 2017, The Psychobiotic Revolution - Mood, Food, and the New Science of the Gut-Brain Connection, National Geographic.
Gershon, Michael, 1999, The Second Brain - Your Gut Has a Mind of its Own, Harper Collins.