Alzheimer's Disease and the Copper Connection
Though the underlying cause of Alzheimer’s disease has yet to be found, there is increasing concern about the role of metals in the development of the disease, as I discuss in my video Alzheimer’s Disease, Copper, and Saturated Fat. “Iron and copper,” for example, “are strongly concentrated within the neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles that represent the hallmarks of the [Alzheimer’s] brain.”
Alzheimer’s disease victims have higher levels of copper in their blood and in the fluid that surrounds their brain, as well as inside their brain. Researchers found that in a slice of Alzheimer’s-diseased brain tissue, the amyloid plaques correspond to copper hotspots. Copper may then make these amyloid plaques more toxic, “leading to increased oxidative stress.” “Free Cu [copper] is extremely efficient in the generation of free radicals,” and when copper is removed with a chelating (metal-binding) drug, the free radical oxidation drops.
Unfortunately, when researchers gave that drug to nine Alzheimer’s patients in a pilot study, it did not seem to have any effect on slowing the clinical progression of the disease. Perhaps we need to prevent the copper buildup in the first place?