New Member Info - 33, APOE3/4, seeking advice

Newcomer introductions, personal anecdotes, caregiver issues, lab results, and n=1 experimentation.
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lana_banana
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New Member Info - 33, APOE3/4, seeking advice

Post by lana_banana »

Hello there, APOE4 family! Long-time lurker, first-time poster checking in with some background and a question.

About me: I’m a 33-year-old woman who found out she was APOE3/4 via 23andMe. This wasn’t a huge surprise, as both my maternal grandpa and his brother passed in their 80s with (but not of) dementia. My paternal grandparents lived into their 80s with no cognitive problems, and my maternal grandma is 95 years old and very much aware of everyone else’s business as well as her own. (I say this with tremendous love.) My parents are both in their 60s and doing well, but both are unwilling to undergo genetic testing.

The discovery of my 3/4 status kicked off some deep and likely very relatable anxiety. I’m still working through that, but I take the attitude that being forewarned is being forearmed. And that brings me to lifestyle changes, inspired by many of the posts I’ve read here.

Diet: I was particularly motivated by a paper entitled Precision Nutrition for Alzheimer’s Prevention in ApoE4 Carriers, in addition to the Primer. After reading it, I’ve settled into a low-carb Mediterranean diet with lots of fatty fish, salmon roe, olive oil, nuts, berries, and veggies, some ancient grains like bulgar and buckwheat, and the occasional eggs or poultry. I fast 16H out of every 24H. I track my glucose and ketones with a Keto-Mojo, and I can typically remain in ketosis while eating 70g of complex carbs daily.

Supplements: I’ve run my genetic data through the FoundMyFitness interpretation service and discovered that I have a tendency towards disrupted Vitamin B and choline metabolism. As a result, I take an active vitamin B complex, citicholine, 2g of daily triglyceride DHA in liquid fish oil, vitamin D3, vitamin K2, and quercetin, alongside calcium and a low dose of iron from a women’s health perspective.

Exercise: I aim for 10,000 daily steps and at least 30 minutes of daily moderate-vigorous mixed cardio and weights. I know there’s some debate about what intensity is best, but I figure that anything that gets my heart pumping is a good thing.

Sleep: I’m working hard on my sleep hygiene, which was, admittedly, pretty terrible during my university and early-career years. Apparently I have a few genes that predispose me towards light sleep, but choline and melatonin are helping me get 8 hours and an average amount of REM + deep sleep.

Weight/biomarkers: I have my annual blood test coming up this summer. In previous years, all relevant numbers have been fine, and I’m excited to see whether going down from a BMI of 24.1 to 21.9 will yield any positive changes.

If you’ve made it through this long post, I’m very grateful to you! Now, a question for this wonderful community: I know many folks here are either my age or have relatives my age. What other steps would you recommend I take, either based on your experience or on advice you’ve given your family members? Thank you in advance for your insights :)
JulieMorris
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Re: New Member Info - 33, APOE3/4, seeking advice

Post by JulieMorris »

lana_banana wrote: Mon Jun 17, 2024 3:09 pm Hello there, APOE4 family! Long-time lurker, first-time poster checking in with some background and a question.

About me: I’m a 33-year-old woman who found out she was APOE3/4 via 23andMe. This wasn’t a huge surprise, as both my maternal grandpa and his brother passed in their 80s with (but not of) dementia. My paternal grandparents lived into their 80s with no cognitive problems, and my maternal grandma is 95 years old and very much aware of everyone else’s business as well as her own. (I say this with tremendous love.) My parents are both in their 60s and doing well, but both are unwilling to undergo genetic testing.

The discovery of my 3/4 status kicked off some deep and likely very relatable anxiety. I’m still working through that, but I take the attitude that being forewarned is being forearmed. And that brings me to lifestyle changes, inspired by many of the posts I’ve read here.

Diet: I was particularly motivated by a paper entitled Precision Nutrition for Alzheimer’s Prevention in ApoE4 Carriers, in addition to the Primer. After reading it, I’ve settled into a low-carb Mediterranean diet with lots of fatty fish, salmon roe, olive oil, nuts, berries, and veggies, some ancient grains like bulgar and buckwheat, and the occasional eggs or poultry. I fast 16H out of every 24H. I track my glucose and ketones with a Keto-Mojo, and I can typically remain in ketosis while eating 70g of complex carbs daily.

Supplements: I’ve run my genetic data through the FoundMyFitness interpretation service and discovered that I have a tendency towards disrupted Vitamin B and choline metabolism. As a result, I take an active vitamin B complex, citicholine, 2g of daily triglyceride DHA in liquid fish oil, vitamin D3, vitamin K2, and quercetin, alongside calcium and a low dose of iron from a women’s health perspective.

Exercise: I aim for 10,000 daily steps and at least 30 minutes of daily moderate-vigorous mixed cardio and weights. I know there’s some debate about what intensity is best, but I figure that anything that gets my heart pumping is a good thing.

Sleep: I’m working hard on my sleep hygiene, which was, admittedly, pretty terrible during my university and early-career years. Apparently I have a few genes that predispose me towards light sleep, but choline and melatonin are helping me get 8 hours and an average amount of REM + deep sleep.

Weight/biomarkers: I have my annual blood test coming up this summer. In previous years, all relevant numbers have been fine, and I’m excited to see whether going down from a BMI of 24.1 to 21.9 will yield any positive changes.

If you’ve made it through this long post, I’m very grateful to you! Now, a question for this wonderful community: I know many folks here are either my age or have relatives my age. What other steps would you recommend I take, either based on your experience or on advice you’ve given your family members? Thank you in advance for your insights :)
Hi lana_banana-
Hello! I'm a support team intern, and I'd like to welcome you to this site! You have found a very supportive community here, and I'm glad you decided to post. Thank you for sharing part of your story with us! I love your attitude of "being forewarned is being forearmed" because it is so true with all the research, resources, and testing options we have available now that were not there for your grandparents. Your love of learning and self-determination are both obvious in your post. It is clear that you've learned a lot, and have successfully implemented healthier habits in several lifestyle factors: diet, exercise, sleep, biomarkers. I hope you have taken the time to celebrate all that you have accomplished toward a healthier brain and body.

Since you asked for advice, I would personally mention three areas, and I'm sure others will chime in with their ideas. First, what are you doing to challenge your brain? Examples would be learning a new language, a new craft, taking a course, brain games, etc. If you run out of ideas, a couple of easy phone app options include Duo Lingo and BrainHQ. Remember that whatever you choose should be hard for you. (By the way, combining a brain challenge with exercise, as in learning new dances, is excellent!) Second, I would mention the importance of consistent, social connection. Socialization is important for overall health, and conversations with people are challenging for our brains. Third, relaxation and meditation are important for brain health. Many people find some time for this in the morning or before bed, but forget to carve out a little time for some deep breathing or meditation in the afternoon to help keep the nervous system in a calm, relaxed parasympathetic state.

It sounds like you are already familiar with our Primer. As you probably know, it is an incredible resource of information about the biochemistry of ApoE4. It offers researched-based prevention strategies and was written by a practicing M.D. with ApoE4. Like the changes you've already made, remember that one small change can make a big difference in your health.

If you're interested, the How-To Guide will help you learn how to navigate this site. It includes topics such as navigating the forum, private messaging, and searching.

You can find other members' experiences in Our Stories. Sometimes reading the stories of others helps us realize that we are not alone.

I'm so glad you have joined us on this site, and I appreciate you taking the time to share what you are doing for brain health. Please feel free to reach out anytime with questions or if you just need support. You are not alone. We are here for you.

Take care,
Julie
PhD in Speech-Language Pathology
Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach
Interested in all things brain-related
lana_banana
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Re: New Member Info - 33, APOE3/4, seeking advice

Post by lana_banana »

Examples would be learning a new language, a new craft, taking a course, brain games, etc. If you run out of ideas, a couple of easy phone app options include Duo Lingo and BrainHQ. Remember that whatever you choose should be hard for you
Thank you for your response and excellent advice, Julie! Your point about mental stimulation is especially well-taken: my job involves a lot of verbal and written skills, and it's tempting to say that this is enough. But there's no such thing as challenging one's brain too much, so I think I'll dust off my Duolingo and get back to it. I'm lucky enough to live in a very multilingual area, so in-person conversations with other language learners are also something I'll explore.
JulieMorris
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Re: New Member Info - 33, APOE3/4, seeking advice

Post by JulieMorris »

You're very welcome, lana_banana! Keep us posted on what you're doing.

Take care,
Julie
PhD in Speech-Language Pathology
Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach
Interested in all things brain-related
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Re: New Member Info - 33, APOE3/4, seeking advice

Post by TCHC »

lana_banana wrote: Mon Jun 17, 2024 3:09 pm Hello there, APOE4 family! Long-time lurker, first-time poster checking in with some background and a question.

About me: I’m a 33-year-old woman who found out she was APOE3/4 via 23andMe. This wasn’t a huge surprise, as both my maternal grandpa and his brother passed in their 80s with (but not of) dementia. My paternal grandparents lived into their 80s with no cognitive problems, and my maternal grandma is 95 years old and very much aware of everyone else’s business as well as her own. (I say this with tremendous love.) My parents are both in their 60s and doing well, but both are unwilling to undergo genetic testing.

The discovery of my 3/4 status kicked off some deep and likely very relatable anxiety. I’m still working through that, but I take the attitude that being forewarned is being forearmed. And that brings me to lifestyle changes, inspired by many of the posts I’ve read here.

Diet: I was particularly motivated by a paper entitled Precision Nutrition for Alzheimer’s Prevention in ApoE4 Carriers, in addition to the Primer. After reading it, I’ve settled into a low-carb Mediterranean diet with lots of fatty fish, salmon roe, olive oil, nuts, berries, and veggies, some ancient grains like bulgar and buckwheat, and the occasional eggs or poultry. I fast 16H out of every 24H. I track my glucose and ketones with a Keto-Mojo, and I can typically remain in ketosis while eating 70g of complex carbs daily.

Supplements: I’ve run my genetic data through the FoundMyFitness interpretation service and discovered that I have a tendency towards disrupted Vitamin B and choline metabolism. As a result, I take an active vitamin B complex, citicholine, 2g of daily triglyceride DHA in liquid fish oil, vitamin D3, vitamin K2, and quercetin, alongside calcium and a low dose of iron from a women’s health perspective.

Exercise: I aim for 10,000 daily steps and at least 30 minutes of daily moderate-vigorous mixed cardio and weights. I know there’s some debate about what intensity is best, but I figure that anything that gets my heart pumping is a good thing.

Sleep: I’m working hard on my sleep hygiene, which was, admittedly, pretty terrible during my university and early-career years. Apparently I have a few genes that predispose me towards light sleep, but choline and melatonin are helping me get 8 hours and an average amount of REM + deep sleep.

Weight/biomarkers: I have my annual blood test coming up this summer. In previous years, all relevant numbers have been fine, and I’m excited to see whether going down from a BMI of 24.1 to 21.9 will yield any positive changes.

If you’ve made it through this long post, I’m very grateful to you! Now, a question for this wonderful community: I know many folks here are either my age or have relatives my age. What other steps would you recommend I take, either based on your experience or on advice you’ve given your family members? Thank you in advance for your insights :)
Hi lana_banana

I think you're doing an amazing job, you're covering lots of the bases. the only things you haven't mentioned (which may mean that you're already doing well in those areas too), that I'd be looking at are:
* Stress management - you're already working out which will help - but perhaps some restorative movement? eg yoga? or something a little more chilled?
* I'm not sure what you're doing stimulation-wise - ie learning new things or challenging your brain every day. I love BrainHQ - as far as I know it's the only brain training game with evidence backing it up. I love that there's a lot of variety in the games and that it learns how far to push you, a little more each time.
* I wonder how you're getting on with detoxing your world, to minimise the contact with toxins: what you're breathing in, putting on your skin and eating. I love the YUKA app, you scan barcodes on any food products or personal care products and it lists the ingredients, if any are bad it tells you why (citing research papers) and best of all, it recommends alternative, better products.
* and... how's your oral health?

I hope that's helped.
Just take one tiny thing at a time, at your age, you have plenty of time to make tiny tweaks - before you know it, you'll be back on here asking what else you can do!

Really well done, on everything you're already doing!

Lindsey
TCHC - Lindsey Byrne - The Cognitive Health Coach - UK
Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach (FMCHC)
Certified Re:CODE 2.0 Health Coach
lana_banana
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Re: New Member Info - 33, APOE3/4, seeking advice

Post by lana_banana »

Hi lana_banana

I think you're doing an amazing job, you're covering lots of the bases. the only things you haven't mentioned (which may mean that you're already doing well in those areas too), that I'd be looking at are:
* Stress management - you're already working out which will help - but perhaps some restorative movement? eg yoga? or something a little more chilled?
* I'm not sure what you're doing stimulation-wise - ie learning new things or challenging your brain every day. I love BrainHQ - as far as I know it's the only brain training game with evidence backing it up. I love that there's a lot of variety in the games and that it learns how far to push you, a little more each time.
* I wonder how you're getting on with detoxing your world, to minimise the contact with toxins: what you're breathing in, putting on your skin and eating. I love the YUKA app, you scan barcodes on any food products or personal care products and it lists the ingredients, if any are bad it tells you why (citing research papers) and best of all, it recommends alternative, better products.
* and... how's your oral health?

I hope that's helped.
Just take one tiny thing at a time, at your age, you have plenty of time to make tiny tweaks - before you know it, you'll be back on here asking what else you can do!

Really well done, on everything you're already doing!
Lindsey - thank you so much for your generous response and encouraging words! Lots of great points here! I'm especially grateful for the YUKA app recommendation. I hadn't heard of it at all before you mentioned it, and I spent yesterday evening going through my medicine cabinet and scanning all of my hygiene products and cosmetics. On the downside, I'm going to need to switch up makeup brands. On the bright side, a little retail therapy may be in order :lol:
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