Dayan Goodenowe, PhD

Preventing Heart Disease and Cognitive Decline

Aired on: June 30, 2023

Episode Description

Over 50 % of adults and children in some Western countries have chronic diseases. Prominent among these diseases are heart disease and cognitve decline. Dr. Goodenowe discuses measurment of health status and steps towards optimal health. Progress can be measured and the risks for chronic diseases can be reduced. Plamalogens are a class of membrane glycerophospholipis and are a potential therapeutic target for neruodegenerative and cardiometabolic diseases. He will discuss this. Further information can be found at

Preventing heart Disease and cognitive decline. June 2023

Dayan Goodenowe, PhD


Book: Breaking Alzheimer’s

Optimal health is not measured by the lab values because these values are determined by 95 % of the population who tend to be unwell

  • Life span has increased because of the reduction in premature death
  • 58 % of children have a chronic disease vs 18 % previously
  • The age of optimal health (around age 27) has been decreasing
  • All these diseases are multi factorial

Dr. Goodenowe has studied tens of thousands of blood samples for biochemical imbalances that occur before disease onset

  • He discovered plasmalogens

Deviation from health v. risk adverse health condition v symptoms of a disease conditions

  • The medical system has been designed from looking at sick people and identifying what is wrong
    • How serious is it
    • what can be done about it
    • What could have caused this disease
    • This is like driving waiting for a flat tire.
      • Don’t need to get a flat tire to learn that the tire is bald
        • Bald tire – a deviation from health
        • Creates susceptibility for disease
        • Flat tire is the disease
      • So look at bald tire
      • Allopathic model is to put a patch on the bald tire; still likely to have a flat
      • Preventive model : preventing bald tires take to long to show the benefits
    • Ultimately, disease comes from a deviation from health
    • optimizing disease is not about fighting disease
      • fighting disease is a losing game
      • removing a negative such as preventing a death is not the same as adding a positive (living longer)
      • we need to understand what health is
      • aging is not relevant; it is function
        • people don’t tend to do routine maintenance
    • people want to know about health in advance, and don’t want to wait to get sick
      • biomarkers don’t need to wait for health
        • tells if you have a deviation from disease
      • we can look at the healthy and learn why they are so healthy


  • stored in every body membrane: are membrane phospholipids
  • critical building material for every membrane especially in brain, myelin, heart, lungs, kidneys
  • half phosphatidyls in heart are plasmalogens
  • A person with high plasmalogens lives 30 years longer
  • Our plasmalogens peak in our 50s then decrease
  • We use plasmalogens to neutralize acids in body
  • Allows body to fight inflammation
  • When one eats plasmalogens, are taken up by HCl in stomach
  • He developed plasmalogen precursors
    • Same molecules as in human breast milk
    • Survives the gut
  • Can measure levels and know how far towards dementia
  • Phospholipids in every membrane (especially brain, myelin, heart and lungs
    • Water loving head, fat loving tail
    • Make membranes fluid
      • So cells can communicate, and things can exit and enter the cell
  • He invented advanced mass spectrometry to measure biomarkers in blood called (non targeted metabolomics)
    • When he studied people with people with cognitive impairment, he found that blood plasmalogens were decreased
      • These correlated with level of cognitive impairment
      • It was clear that the decrease in plasmalogen’s preceded the cognitive impairment
  • These plasmalogens appear to cause dementia
    • These are becoming depleted because they are dependent on endogenous metabolism
    • Are digested in stomach and not absorbed
    • He had designed a  supplement that could be absorbed

Plasmalogen deficiency

  • is linked to poor cognition, mortality
  • certain deviation from health are linked to certain diseases
  • Plasmalogen is critical element to restore myelination
    • Plasmalogen high in breast milk (colostrum)


  • Cognitive impairment is caused by reduction of acetylcholine system
    • This is the same neurotransmitters that run all muscles
  • Dementia is not Alzheimer’s
  • Alzheimer’s Disease is a pathological state
    • “library designation of whether one has amyloid plaques or neurofibrillary   tangles
    • These molecules are not toxic and are not causing brain degradation


  • 1930s and 1940s. rate one in 300,000 ; children were born with it
    • Genetic features or mitochondrial disorders
    • Rates have increased
  • Autism is multifactorial
    • Some linked through maternal mitochondrial mutations
    • toxins
    • Adverse conditions in environment
  • He states all causes of autism are caused by impaired myelination of brain
  • All autistic kids suffer impaired mitochondria
    • Inflammatory, diet, hi omega6, gut infection, TBI
    • All diseases have two components
      • Susceptibility
      • Trigger component
      • More susceptible, trigger can be smaller
      • The environmental pressure has increased
  • There are three times as many boys with autism as girls
    • Levels of beta estradiol protects the girls
      • Boys are always the weaker sex til they reach teens
      • Is why when girls get autism, it is more severe as it overcame the girl’s natural protection
  • To him, “curing” autism has two components
    • Restoring mitochondrial function
      • Improve environment; reduce mitochondrial stressors
    • Then recovery
      • Is difference in “curing a disease” v. recovery from disease
      • Eg building muscle mass is important in diabetes
        • Changes ability process FFA and process glucose
        • Now they need to recover
      • Eg broken foot fixed, need to learn how to walk on good foot
      • For autism, once neurological inflammation is reduced, children need to learn how to live with a healthy brain
        • Eg social interaction, they developed stereotypic protection to protect them from this stress
        • They readapt to an environment that is not as stressful to them
          • Need to bring in lipids , phosphatidyl choline
    • Restoring myelination
      • Is harder part
      • He worked in this area
        • Inflammation such as in autistic children burn through vitamins faster
        • Increases mitochondrial capacity
          • NAC to retain glutathione
          • acetyl L carnitine
          • Co Q 10
          • Curcuminoid (anti inflammatory)
        • Front end of mitochondria
          • Riboflavin
          • Niacin, nicotinic acid
          • Vitamins B 1, B 2, B 3
        • Autistic children often difficulties with methyl transfer system
        • Creatine for restoring brain function (eg AD, PD)
          • Brings down homocysteine levels
            • High homocysteine levels system has excessive methyl transfer activity
            • Two main drivers of homocysteine levels
              • Making phosphoryl choline for memory
              • And creatine for muscles
              • Taking creatin lowers homocysteine levels
  • Plasmalogen is critical element to restore myelination
    • Plasmalogen is in breast milk (colostrum)
    • Breast mile meant to supplement myelination
      • breast fed babies. v Formula fed vs better brain myelination,
      • higher cognition, lower rates autism
        • not all mothers will have good breast milk

Bipolar Illness

  • biomarkers are available through his advanced technology
  • it is a myelination disease but is different
  • can be differentiated from schizophrenia and depression
  • a lot of these neurological diseases have impaired myelination process but for different reasons but for different reasons
  • caused by overactive cell type and rapid turnover
    • these folks are hypersensitive and hypercognitive