There’s no single cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Most researchers believe that a combination of factors are responsible, including genetic predisposition, lifestyle choices, and environmental factors.
Although there’s no doubt that certain genes predispose a person to developing dementia, there is simply no way that the explosion in Alzheimer’s disease cases has been caused by abnormal genes alone.
After all, it takes thousands of years for the gene pool to change, while the epidemic increase in Alzheimer’s has occurred in just 20 to 30 years.
This quick rise in Alzheimer’s diagnoses rules out a genetic “cause.” However, a specific genetic mutation is linked to Alzheimer’s. APoE4 is one of the genes responsible for producing a protein called apolipoprotein E (APoE), which combines with fats in the body to make lipoproteins.
Lipoproteins are responsible for absorbing cholesterol and other fats (the prefix lipo means “fat”) and transporting them in the bloodstream.
APoE has three major genotypes: E2, E3, and E4. The E4 version of APoE predisposes a person to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
You inherit the various APoE genotypes from your parents. People who inherit one copy of e4 (from one parent) are at an increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s. Those born with two copies of E4 (one from each parent) are at an even greater risk than those with one copy of E4.
Still, it’s currently estimated that less than 5 percent of Alzheimer’s cases are caused by these genetic mutations. Fortunately, just because a person has this gene mutation does not guarantee that he or she will develop Alzheimer’s. The principal value of being tested for APoE4 is to begin a program that can lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
I have found that identifying heavy metals in the body and detoxifying is very important for lowering anyone’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, including those with APoE4 genotypes.
One more thing to note: Even though APoE testing is widely available, I don’t really recommend it. Knowing that you have a gene that increases the risk for Alzheimer’s can cause undo anxiety, which may be even worse for your health. Rather, it’s best to live a healthy lifestyle that can lower your risk for developing a chronic illness like Alzheimer’s disease.
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