Are You at Risk for Alzheimer’s? Ask Your Bones...

Doctor Frank Shallenberger

Dr. Frank Shallenberger, MD

July 8, 2024


One challenging aspect of Alzheimer’s disease is predicting who it will affect.

While some genetic risk factors have been identified, genes are currently the clear culprit in only about 5% of cases.

Therefore, identifying other risk factors is an important part of spurring people on to take preventative measures to avoid the disease.

Researchers at Northeast Ohio Medical University believe they have identified one such factor.

This line of research investigates the link between the brainstem and bone health. The team found that when degeneration occurs in the area of the brainstem that makes the neurotransmitter serotonin, bone mineral density also decreases. This finding is significant because early signs of Alzheimer’s can include reductions in serotonin levels, affecting mood and sleep.

While accurately monitoring serotonin levels isn’t possible at this time, evaluating bone mineral density is. This research indicates that a bone mineral density screening could actually do double duty in providing information about both osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s risk. It also gives researchers a new area to investigate for creating therapies for both diseases.

I believe strongly that all women should have a DEXA bone mineral density test done every five years starting at the age of 40 years. As long as a woman has a good diet, exercises regularly, and restores her hormone levels after menopause, it’s unlikely that she will ever get either Alzheimer’s or osteoporosis. But if the bone density testing indicates that a woman is steadily losing bone, that either indicates that she’s not taking the precautions I just mentioned or that she needs some extra help.

In that case, take a good bone formula that includes strontium, K2, D3, boron, and hops.

For optimal brain function, I like a formula that includes bacopa, phosphatidylserine, luteolin, and blueberry.

Yours for better health,

Frank Shallenberger, MD


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