Newcomer (22m, e3/e4)

Newcomer introductions, personal anecdotes, caregiver issues, lab results, and n=1 experimentation.
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armrunner551
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Newcomer (22m, e3/e4)

Post by armrunner551 »

Hello! :)

About a month ago I ordered the 23AndMe genetic test on a whim, and didn't expect to come back with an e4 variant. But it makes sense - my 83-year-old grandfather on my mom's side has been suffering with Alzheimer's for about a decade, and presumably I got it from my mom who is also a carrier (she refuses to get tested).

Admittedly, getting this information back has been really, really frightening. I listened to a podcast a few months ago with Ivor Cummins, a ApoE4 carrier & proponent of LCHF and a more ancestral way of eating, and he discussed how such a diet could be especially helpful for ApoE4 carriers (not knowing at the time that I was one).

However, now that I've been doing more research into medical studies, it seems like the information is all over the place. Apparently we shouldn't be eating animal foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol, but we also need a lot of fat, and also need to keep our glucose low, and do we eat whole grains or not..? - it's just all a bit confusing and stressful to be honest.

My grandpa did not have any bad lifestyle habits that I know of, besides having a stressful job as a police officer and drinking alcohol, so it just feels super inevitable that I'll end up as bad as he is now :/ It also feels a bit demoralizing to know that we have a gene variant that is being selected against and declining in the population because of its health disadvantages - understandably so, because of the huge difference between our current lifestyle and the hunter-and-gatherer lifestyle. I just have a fear of waking up one day and noticing that I am steadily losing my cognitive function and that it will continue to get worse and worse.

Sorry to make that such a negative post, though! Thank goodness for forums like this. It is very lovely to meet you all!! :) I guess as an introductory question, what can I do starting now as a 22-year-old male consistently throughout the rest of my life to lower my chances of developing LOAD?
Quantifier
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Re: Newcomer (22m, e3/e4)

Post by Quantifier »

armrunner551 wrote:Hello! :)
....
However, now that I've been doing more research into medical studies, it seems like the information is all over the place. Apparently we shouldn't be eating animal foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol, but we also need a lot of fat, and also need to keep our glucose low, and do we eat whole grains or not..? - it's just all a bit confusing and stressful to be honest.

.....
Sorry to make that such a negative post, though! Thank goodness for forums like this. It is very lovely to meet you all!! :) I guess as an introductory question, what can I do starting now as a 22-year-old male consistently throughout the rest of my life to lower my chances of developing LOAD?
Hello armrunner551! Welcome aboard!

I agree there is a lot of contradictory and confusing advice out there. One place to start looking for answers is The Primer, written by board member Stavia, an MD who is ApoE 4/4.

You say you are 22. If you are overall healthy and not overweight, then you have a lot of time to experiment and find out what works best for you. At this point, just focus on having best healthy lifestyle overall. The most important aspect of diet I would recommend is to avoid junk food and most ultra-processed foods as much as possible and eat lots of vegetables (both fresh and cooked) of all colors. The rest are details, especially at your age, and you will find out what you prefer.

Regarding reducing animal foods vs increasing fats - some fats are healthier than others. The consensus here is that the best fat sources for APOE 4 carriers are extra-virgin olive oil, avocado, and wild-caught fatty fish. Then come eggs (preferably from pastured chickens), and some nuts (macadamia and walnuts are among the best).

Other things you can start doing now (or do more of if you have already started) are exercising regularly - both aerobic and resistant training, reducing stress in your life, and challenging your mind on a regular basis, whether through work, studies, or hobbies.

(Oh, and don't smoke, drink very little if any alcohol, and avoid getting hit on your head!)

Take it easy!
ro.oconnor
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Re: Newcomer (22m, e3/e4)

Post by ro.oconnor »

Quantifier wrote:
armrunner551 wrote:Hello! :)
....
However, now that I've been doing more research into medical studies, it seems like the information is all over the place. Apparently we shouldn't be eating animal foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol, but we also need a lot of fat, and also need to keep our glucose low, and do we eat whole grains or not..? - it's just all a bit confusing and stressful to be honest.

.....
Sorry to make that such a negative post, though! Thank goodness for forums like this. It is very lovely to meet you all!! :) I guess as an introductory question, what can I do starting now as a 22-year-old male consistently throughout the rest of my life to lower my chances of developing LOAD?
Hello armrunner551! Welcome aboard!

I agree there is a lot of contradictory and confusing advice out there. One place to start looking for answers is The Primer, written by board member Stavia, an MD who is ApoE 4/4.

You say you are 22. If you are overall healthy and not overweight, then you have a lot of time to experiment and find out what works best for you. At this point, just focus on having best healthy lifestyle overall. The most important aspect of diet I would recommend is to avoid junk food and most ultra-processed foods as much as possible and eat lots of vegetables (both fresh and cooked) of all colors. The rest are details, especially at your age, and you will find out what you prefer.

Regarding reducing animal foods vs increasing fats - some fats are healthier than others. The consensus here is that the best fat sources for APOE 4 carriers are extra-virgin olive oil, avocado, and wild-caught fatty fish. Then come eggs (preferably from pastured chickens), and some nuts (macadamia and walnuts are among the best).

Other things you can start doing now (or do more of if you have already started) are exercising regularly - both aerobic and resistant training, reducing stress in your life, and challenging your mind on a regular basis, whether through work, studies, or hobbies.

(Oh, and don't smoke, drink very little if any alcohol, and avoid getting hit on your head!)

Take it easy!
Hello armrunner551!

I am a support team intern and would like to welcome you the ApoE4.info website. Thank you for sharing your story and reaching out. I'm so glad that you found us! Discovering your ApoE4 status can be very distressing. I hope that it gives you comfort to keep in mind that your genes are not your destiny. Likewise, your destiny is not determined by your grandfather's diagnosis. This community and its members work together to support one another and help reduce the risk of cognitive decline through research based contributions. I am happy to see that you have already received a reply to your question. You may receive more from other contributors, as well.

In addition to this forum, there are several other areas of the website that you can visit to learn more about Alzheimer's and the ApoE4 gene. First, there is a helpful search tool available in the top right-hand side of the webpage that you can access by selecting the three dots next to your log-in id. There you can search for topics in the various forums. You may also find the Primer
helpful, as it includes researched-based prevention strategies. Additionally, you may want to check out the How-to Guide which includes tricks and tips for getting the most out of the discussion forums. And finally, you may be interested in visiting Our Stories. There you can browse the stories of other members and if you are comfortable, share your own.

I hope you will continue to find the site helpful on your health journey. If there is anything else you want to know and can't find it on the site, please don't hesitate to reach out!

Warmly,
Rosanne
ro.oconnor
Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach
armrunner551
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Re: Newcomer (22m, e3/e4)

Post by armrunner551 »

Hello armrunner551! Welcome aboard!

I agree there is a lot of contradictory and confusing advice out there. One place to start looking for answers is The Primer, written by board member Stavia, an MD who is ApoE 4/4.

You say you are 22. If you are overall healthy and not overweight, then you have a lot of time to experiment and find out what works best for you. At this point, just focus on having best healthy lifestyle overall. The most important aspect of diet I would recommend is to avoid junk food and most ultra-processed foods as much as possible and eat lots of vegetables (both fresh and cooked) of all colors. The rest are details, especially at your age, and you will find out what you prefer.

Regarding reducing animal foods vs increasing fats - some fats are healthier than others. The consensus here is that the best fat sources for APOE 4 carriers are extra-virgin olive oil, avocado, and wild-caught fatty fish. Then come eggs (preferably from pastured chickens), and some nuts (macadamia and walnuts are among the best).

Other things you can start doing now (or do more of if you have already started) are exercising regularly - both aerobic and resistant training, reducing stress in your life, and challenging your mind on a regular basis, whether through work, studies, or hobbies.

(Oh, and don't smoke, drink very little if any alcohol, and avoid getting hit on your head!)

Take it easy!
Hi, thank you for your reply! :) I will definitely go ahead and check out the Primer. Figuring out a healthy lifestyle overall has been rough, I can err on the side of being a hypochondriac and limiting my diet excessively, but then also rely on sugar and refined carbs sometimes to deal with depression and anxiety, so it's definitely a balancing act. Something that does give me hope is the fact that medicine and technology are always evolving. Hopefully in a few decades' times, we'll have actual proven ways to treat Alzheimer's or slow it down, especially in ways tailored for ApoE4 since we make up more than half of total cases.

The saturated fat topic has always been super fascinating to me too. I have always noticed that too much saturated fat made me feel bloated and tired, as well as made my blood pressure go up. But I'm still confused about the mechanism for why this happens, since we have the oldest allele for the APOE gene which (presumably) meant we would be most adapted to eating a hunter/gatherer diet high in animal fats.

Regardless, thank you, thank you again for the quick bits of advice! It's a lifelong journey we are on but it helps to know there's others going through it too. :-)
armrunner551
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Re: Newcomer (22m, e3/e4)

Post by armrunner551 »

Hello armrunner551!

I am a support team intern and would like to welcome you the ApoE4.info website. Thank you for sharing your story and reaching out. I'm so glad that you found us! Discovering your ApoE4 status can be very distressing. I hope that it gives you comfort to keep in mind that your genes are not your destiny. Likewise, your destiny is not determined by your grandfather's diagnosis. This community and its members work together to support one another and help reduce the risk of cognitive decline through research based contributions. I am happy to see that you have already received a reply to your question. You may receive more from other contributors, as well.

In addition to this forum, there are several other areas of the website that you can visit to learn more about Alzheimer's and the ApoE4 gene. First, there is a helpful search tool available in the top right-hand side of the webpage that you can access by selecting the three dots next to your log-in id. There you can search for topics in the various forums. You may also find the Primer
helpful, as it includes researched-based prevention strategies. Additionally, you may want to check out the How-to Guide which includes tricks and tips for getting the most out of the discussion forums. And finally, you may be interested in visiting Our Stories. There you can browse the stories of other members and if you are comfortable, share your own.

I hope you will continue to find the site helpful on your health journey. If there is anything else you want to know and can't find it on the site, please don't hesitate to reach out!

Warmly,
Rosanne
Hi Rosanne! :-)

Thank you for the warm welcome, I really appreciate it. It is very distressing to learn about being an ApoE4 carrier, but on the plus side now it makes sense why genetic counselors exist! Lol, but there is hope in knowing that what my grandfather and his brother (who also had Alzheimer's) unfortunately didn't have access to information- and research-wise about this condition and our genetics, we now have and are continuing to build upon.

I'll absolutely check out the Primer and How-to Guide, and browse some user stories. It's a lot to take in, but starting as soon as we can with preventative measures is important and having a community eases some of that anxiety and stress too :)

Thank you again!

Best,
Ashton
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Re: Newcomer (22m, e3/e4)

Post by Quantifier »

armrunner551 wrote: Hopefully in a few decades' times, we'll have actual proven ways to treat Alzheimer's or slow it down, especially in ways tailored for ApoE4 since we make up more than half of total cases.
Yes, there has been much progress, and I expect more in the decades to come. But we don't need to just wait for miracle drugs, we know lifestyle can have big effects. The classical example is the difference in development of AD in ApoE 4+ individuals of Italian descent in Italy vs in the US. It can't be all up to genetics - there must be either environmental or lifestyle effects as well.
The saturated fat topic has always been super fascinating to me too. I have always noticed that too much saturated fat made me feel bloated and tired, as well as made my blood pressure go up. But I'm still confused about the mechanism for why this happens, since we have the oldest allele for the APOE gene which (presumably) meant we would be most adapted to eating a hunter/gatherer diet high in animal fats.


Just remember that neither the plants nor the animals that most humans eat nowadays are similar in nutrient composition to those that our ancestors ate. Even grass-fed beef is way fatter than wild ruminants. I'd say wild-caught fish are the common food least changed by civilization, simply by being wild. (And you still have the effects of ocean pollution, alas.)

Anyway, good luck on your journey!
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