The brain has a glymphatic system that clears out toxic wastes from the brain. This system is activate during sleep. It is 10 times more active during sleep than awake. That is why one of the main tenants of preventing Alzheimer’s is to get enough quality sleep so that the brain can clear out wastes including the beta amyloid that is associated with Alzheimer’s.
Paper Sleep drives metabolite clearance from the adult brain says that …
“… convective fluxes of interstitial fluid increased the rate of β-amyloid clearance during sleep. Thus, the restorative function of sleep may be a consequence of the enhanced removal of potentially neurotoxic waste products that accumulate in the awake central nervous system.”
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by abnormal amounts of beta-amyloid plaques.
In article Brain’s ‘Garbage Truck’ May Hold Key to Treating Alzheimer’s and Other Disorders, Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc. says …
“Essentially all neurodegenerative diseases are associated with the accumulation of cellular waste products”
The cerebral spinal fluid flushes through the brain and is controlled by glia cells known as astrocytes. In the course of doing so, it helps remove harmful proteins and waste products. Albert Einstein’s brain does not have more neurons than average. However, his brain does have more glia cells than average.
In order for free flow of cerebral spinal fluid, the channel structures must not be blocked by injury. The book Healing Pain and Injury tells of how trauma can pollute the environment of the brain and how restoring proper structural alignment and flow can correct neuro problems. Author Maud Nerman, DO, writes…
“I am convinced that the impairment of the brain’s fluid systems — the venous system and the system of cerebral spinal fluid — can cause a backup of toxic debris and prolong brain damage, stoke the fires of inflammation, and set in motion a vicious cycle of increasing damage and decline.”
She also writes that …
“researchers are identifying static CSF flow as a primary contributor to the neurodegenerative diseases of aging — Alzhheimer’s deses, Parkinson’s disease, ALS (amyotropic lateral sclerosis), and multiple sclerosis. We know that the flow of CSF slows down as we age, as does the brain’s ability to clear harmful substances.”
She can feel with her hands the health of the brain by noting the cerebral pulsations that should happens six to 14 times a minute and with good amplitude.
Sleep Necessary to Detox the Brain
More and more articles are saying the same thing: sleep is needed to detox the brain. Article “Sleep is for brain detoxification” explains how sleep is essential for brain health primarily because it is needed for brain detoxification.
NPR.org has at least a couple of articles on this …
Brains Sweep Themselves Clean Of Toxins During Sleep (audio program available)
Lack Of Deep Sleep May Set The Stage For Alzheimer’s (audio available)
For mice, the brain cell shrinks so that fluids can wash away waste protein. It has to do it during sleep because the brain can not clean and do daytime thinking at the same time. Beta amyloid increases during the day and it decreases during sleep.
Alzheimer’s patients often have problem sleeping. This may be that sleeping problem may lead to Alzheimer’s.
Some videos showing the glymphatic system at work …
TED Talk about sleep …
Concussions and brain trauma can increase risk of Alzheimer’s many years later. It may be that these injuries damages the glymphatic system so that brain can not clear beta amyloid efficiently.
Heavy Metals in Brain
People with Alzheimer’s tend to have more aluminium in the brain. Could it be that a factor in Alzheimer’s is heavy burden of toxic metals or a deficiency in the body/brain detoxification system? And could improving the body’s natural detoxification help reduce risk of Alzheimer’s and/or reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms?
The article Alzheimer’s and Autism: The Common Link writes …
“It’s not just aluminum that can harm the brain. Other heavy metals such as mercury and lead are also linked to both Alzheimer’s and autism.”
The article mentions that detoxification is important for brain health. While it does mention DMSA chelation for removal of heavy metals, it is controversial and there is a risk with chelation that you need to be careful. The body’s own elimination system, digestive, liver, kidneys must be in good shape before chelation. Otherwise one chelation pulls the metal out, the body is not able to eliminate it. Chelation can also rob (chelate) healthy minerals.
The book The Autism Revolution writes …
“Deaths from chelation have been reported… the safety and effectiveness of chelation is still in question.”
The author prefers supporting the body’s own detox system with optimized nutrition and other natural supports. Some natural products she mentions includes chlorella and cilantro and others.
Sleep is when autophagy throughout the body occurs (including the brain). Autophagy is cleans up cellular debris by orderly degradation and recycling of cellular components. If you doubt the importance of autophagy,
read the book Avoiding the First Cause of Death which is about life-extension. It writes on page 11, …
“Mice genetically engineered to lack either of the autophagy genes, Atg5 or Atg7, in neuronal cells during later states of embryogenesis develop signs of neurodegeneration and eventually show inclusion bodies akin to those seen in various human aging-related neurodegenerateive disorders”