A Flu Shot Reduces Your Risk of Alzheimer'sNovember 19, 2023
An Influenza Shot Can Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer's by 40%
No kidding. A well-done study from the U. of Texas (Houston) shows just that. The researchers took 2.6 million older adults to find 930 thousand matched pairs who did or didn't get flu shots. The risk reduction was 40%. This study has street cred because it was so large.
I would hope the reader would be able to identify the mechanism that gives this finding credibility, but let me repeat the probable mechanism so that it makes sense to you. Infections like influenza, COVID, and indeed, any other virus-like RSV, measles, etc, are oxidizing events. There is one common pathway in the brain for expressing oxidative stress. Mitochondria fail and start to spew out reactive oxygen species (ROS) which mostly get turned into peroxide as a first pass of neutralizing the ROSs. If the body's natural antioxidant defenses of glutathione are sufficient, there is no brain damage. As we get older, our defenses get less robust and we can't keep up. The peroxide makes it all the way to brain cells, be they axons or neurons, and damages the plasmalogens in the myelin or in the synapses which results in fewer synapses and impaired communication between neurons.
Alzheimer's is a disease of brain shrinkage caused by a lack of synapses. (Yale proved that last year by reporting cognitive function is a linear measure of synaptic density) We have some 200 billion neurons which are connected to roughly 4,000 other neurons by synapses, for a total of something on the order of 4 quadrillion synapses. That makes for a lot of resilience and redundancy which gives the brain leeway to take an infection or two. Alzheimer's, being a 25-year disease, presents with a very subtle loss of word finding, word replacement, or minor memory lapses that can go on for years.
Then a COVID virus takes hold and spews up a hurricane of peroxide and trillions of synapses get damaged and unhooked. Think brain fog. Many folks report brain fog for weeks after COVID or flu. Or anesthesia, or head injury postpartum, or with ADHD, CIRS, depression, anxiety....on and on.
As we age, our ability to remake replacement plasmalogens just fades away. We are short of B12, or folate, or choline or whatever, we just can't keep replacing those lost plasmalogens like we could when we were younger.
Part of what makes the plasmalogen molecule so intrinsically valuable is their vinyl ether bond that has the capacity to capture peroxide. That bond, the very possession of which by definition changes a phosphatidyl-choline molecule into a plasmalogen, sits on the surface of the membrane and is the antioxidant of first resort. It soaks up the peroxide and protects the cell beneath it. That chemical soaking up destroys the plasmalogen, but the cell is saved, as long as there aren't thousands or millions of peroxides more.
As we age, our ability to parry away oxidative stress declines. We are all losing brain volume. Do the math. The average human loses 5% of their brain volume over 10 years. If you have 200 billion neurons and lose 5% of them over 10 years, you are losing 634 neurons a second. We are all on the pathway to dementia if only we live long enough to have it afflict us. If you get repeated flu or COVID, you just get it sooner.
Once triggered, microglia in the brain get activated. The microglia are the garbage trucks of the brain. Their problem is that they are sloppy. They kill off the damaged cells they find by putting out glutamate to suffocate the cell. Unfortunately, that damages the otherwise healthy cell next to it. It's a Domino chain reaction that becomes very persistent. Hence, prolonged symptoms after head injury, COVID, etc.
That's why you need a flu shot or a COVID shot. It protects your brain. Your brain is your most precious asset. The vaccination is 1/10th the problem of the native infection.
www.What will Work for me? Well, I'm getting my COVID and influenza shots this week. You should too. I'm also taking my B Vitamins, creatine, and Egg Yolk Lecithin. I'm also of the belief that each of us should take a bottle of Prodrome Neuro and Glia after having COVID or influenza. I'm on a tear to prove that I can stop and reverse that brain shrinkage. So far, I think it's working.
1. How much do I reduce my risk of Alzheimer's by getting a flu shot? Answer: 40%
2. Is this a credible claim? Answer: Yes. Huge study with rigorous methods.
3. Explain the plausible mechanism. Answer: Influenza, like COVID and many other severe viruses, creates a storm of inflammatory cytokines. They invoke the inflammatory cascade in your brain with results in peroxide being produced. That peroxide destroys plasmalogen molecules, designed to be the last line of defense before the cell gets damaged directly.
4. What happens to synapse density in the brain with plasmalogen destruction? Answer: You lose synapses (connections between nerve cells).
5. Is there a correlation between synaptic density and cognitive function? Answer: Yes. Directly measured at Yale by PET scanning. Indirectly measured by blood plasmalogen levels.