Steve Blake, ScD

Nutrition: preventing and reversing chronic diseases

date aired: June 23, 2017

Episode Description

Dr. Steve Blake designed and helped implement the Hawaii Dementia Prevention Trial, a clinical study at the Hawaii Alzheimer’s Disease Center. His study found that changes in nutrition could affect the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is also powerfully affected by diet. Reducing protein to just the needed amount can allow much better production of dopamine with the potential to cut symptoms in half. With migraines, avoiding dietary triggers can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches. He emphasizes that we can no longer ignore the role of diet in neurologic disorders. He discusses how nutrition can reverse atherosclerosis and hypertension. He found this was a successful approach in improving cognitive functioning in persons with mild cognitive impairment, in preventing strokes, and in reversing atherosclerosis and hypertension.

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Steve  was involved in the

Dementia Prevention Study in Hawaii

At Hawaii Pacific Neuro Science

A. Study Design

  • Voluntary study over two years
  • 75 participants divided equally into three groups
    • supplement group: received 12 supplements
    • diet group hard to assess if folks are compliance
      • four food changes
    • control group

B. Study Measurement

Mini Mental State Exam   (MMSE)

  • Note, experts say MOCA exam might be better
  • 25- 30 normal
  • 20 – 25 pre dementia
  • below 20 , starting to get into dementia
  • started with people at 19; at end of study were at 29  normal

C. Supplements used in study

  • B vitamins (prevent formation beta amyloid plaques)
    • Folate
    • Vitamin B 12 methyl cobalamin
    • SAMe
  • Powerful antioxidants
  • Antioxidant enzymes that detoxify things that kill our brain cells
    • Vitamin C,
    • vitamin E containing gamma Tocopherols
    • (also found in walnuts, pecans)

D. Diet Interventions

  • Low fatty acids (including low MCT and coconut oil)
  • One once nuts and seeds daily
  • one cup any organic berries
  • No frying, broiling, barbequeing meats or fish and no hard cheese


E. Study Results

  • Supplement Group

Reversed its symptoms, better memory

  • Diet group did not get worse. Typically this group gets worse each year


F. Study Conclusions

  • Diet is very important in helping memory and thinking ability
  • Diet and supplements had best results
  • Can perk up brain
  • Found diet can reverse dementia
  • Need larger study

II. Vitamins and Supplements

  • Folate vs Folic Acid
  • Folic acid is synthetic form of folate
  • Can be turned into folate if have correct enzymes
  • Folic acid can accumulate and increase risks for cancer
  • Vitamin B12, Folate, SAMe
    • In Alzheimer’s Disease there are amyloid plaques Genes make amyloid precursor protein which is cleaved by enzymes made by genes in brain
    • With sufficent vitamin B 12 and folate, then able to epigenetically suppress these genes that make enzymes that poorly cleave amyloid plaques
    • Folate and vitamin B 12 result in production of SAMe which methylates to quench the genes to prevent amyloid plaques from
  • Vitamin E containing gamma Tocopherols
    • In walnuts, pecans
    • Store vitamin E mostly alpha tocopherols
      • are synthetic 1/8 is real. The other 7/8 are harmful to the brain
      • body does not know is not real sends to brain but cannot protect the cells
  • Supplement Recommendations for Brain Protections
  • Vitamin C 800 mg per day
  • Vitamin E (gamma tocopherol_) 400 mg per day
  • Co Enzyme Q 10 200 mg per day
    • fat soluble boost brain energy
  • Dr Blake’s developed multivitamin supplement containing most plus all essential vitamins, minerals and large amounts of antioxidants


A. Fatty Acids in Diet

           Dr Blake Recommends:

  • getting dietary fats and oils from nuts and seeds, avocados, walnuts, olives, whole intact plant foods

Dr. Blake Recommends Avoiding

  • 3 saturated  fats: myristic acid  lauric acid, palmitic acid
    • Blake recommends getting these saturated fats under 7 % of calories
    • The American Heart Association recommends keeping these fatty acids under 6 % daily calories
  • coconut oil  
    • coconut oil contains 65 % of above fatty acids
    • 2 tablespoons contains daily recommended dose of above fatty acids
    • lacks antioxidants
    • has no nutritional value
  • Coconut milk
    • 1/5 can coconut milk maximises daily amount
  • MCT oils
    • if they contain above fatty acids
    • unless they contain very short fatty acids
    • reports brain prefers glucose to ketones as fuel
  • All Oils
    • When extract oils they become rancid and contaminated
    • Lose vitamin E and fiber

B. Add berries to diet

  • One cup per day: Blueberries, strawberries, red grapes any berries
  • Contain proanthocyanidins
    • Go into brain protect against oxidation and inflammation in memory center
    • Oxidation and inflammation lead to major disease
    • Dirty dozen (most pesticide laden includes all the berries)
  • Nurses Health Study shows that this risk delayed dementia by two years
  • Use fruit for snacks
    • Antioxidants for brain
    • Even for diabetics
    • All berries, plums, peaches

C. Add nuts and seeds

  • One ounce of ground up walnuts, sunflower seeds
  • Supply vitamin E

D. Foods to Avoid


  • Contains high amount of sugar with a glycemic index higher than a snicker’s bar
  • Wheat flour is defined as “white flour: which is highly processed
  • Excess calories from sugar and flour change to palmetic acid
  • If eat toast, eat golden brown as blackening and browning toast contains acrylamides
  • Advanced glycation end (AGE) products do not occur in toast as AGE will not form in presence of water


  • High in saturated fat as are dairy products
  • Organochlorine pesticides accumulate in fat, and accumulate in butter and cheese
  • This does not matter if the meat is organic
  • These Organochlorine pesticides accumulate in the brain dopamine producing in Substantia Nigra
  • Organophosphates attack nervous system accumulate in brain and should be avoided


  • Consume low levels of meat
  • The Monk Study in China showed that eating meat once a week resulted in changes in arteries.
  • He recommends organic tofu products: although they are processed they cause less damage than regular meat.
  • Childhood leukemia increased nine times in children who eat hot dogs

          White Rice

  • Avoid white rice turns to sugar as does flour
  • Brown rice increases a little sugar but releases it slowly over time
  • If ate just brown rice blood sugar is normalized and insulin not needed


  • Excess calories from sugar and flour change to palmetic acid


E. Ketotic Diet

  • He recommends ketosis
  • After several days of fasting, glycogen storage is depleted
  • When glycogen is depleted, the brain, heart, kidney are damaged
  • Is difficult to produce ketosis
  • Ketogenic diet is used for epileptic children who have not responded to three other medications
  • Brain cells can be perked up with short chain fatty acids (never over ten carbons in length)
  • Ketosis is not a solution. It does not block  oxidation and cell death as it is like feeding cells  in a drug like manner to keep them a little brighter


  • avoid broiling. Frying, barbequeing meats, cheese, and fish
  • Sugar combined with cooking ether fats or proteins cause damage


Advanced Glycation End Products (AGE)

  • The signature feature of Alzheimer’s Disease is amyloid plaques which clump between nerve cells and the brain.
  • Malformed proteins (Advance Glycation End Products or “AGEs”) are formed when sugars and fats are cooked together
  • AGEs can get stuck in there showers brain with almost  radiation free radical damage
  • AGE damage with brain


  • Sugar react with proteins to form lipotoxins


A. Pain reduction

  • Ginger
    • ¼ t ginger as effective for migraine is as effective for pain   sumatriptan ( a prescribed medication)
    • half people lost all pain
    • The other half had reduced pain
    • Ginger does not have adverse side effects
  • Magnesium helps reduce migraine frequency and pain
  • Vitamin B 2 riboflavin reduces frequency and pain
  • Coenzyme Q 10
  • Feverfew
  • Butterbur (best research
  • Get PA 3 butter burr as substances need to be taken out for relief


B. Reduce triggers

  • skipped meals
  • lack of rest
  • wine cheese, coffee
  • coffee helps early stages when vessels are open but hurts when vessels closed

C.  Dr. Blake’s Book:  Mastering Migraines


  • Pain killers Block FA arachidonic acid from becoming painful postaglandins and inflammatory leukotrienes
  • Another option is to avoid consuming arachidonic acid just right amount rather than too much
  • Large amounts of arachidonic acid are found in turkey, chicken, and eggs
  • Blake’s book Arthritis Relief


  • Whole food plant based diet
  • No junk food laden with sugar
  • Beans two meals per day
  • Vegetables added nuts and seed
  • Omega 3 flax seed, chia
  • Avoid saturated fat
  • reduces the number of insulin receptors to half
  • Reduce ability to clear blood
  • Increases glucagon liver makes sugar all day and night


  • Vascular dementia is related to clogging arteries
  • Related to saturated fats in diet
  • It is easier to add foods than drop them from the diet
  • Eat more fruit, vegetables, whole plants can reduce strokes by 32-65 %
  • Increased fiber can reduce fiber by 65 %
    • Consider fiber in oatmeal apples, any fruit, vegetables, and beans
  • Change white rice to brown rice: 63 % less risk for stroke
  • Soy products 80 % reduction of risk in China

Once the plaque is gone

  • no ischemic stroke (plaque, break off go to brain
  • No ischemic heart attack either.


  • He calls 144 perfect as we make cholesterol in every cell mostly liver need for stiffening cell membrane, hormone
  • Body make saturated fats and cholesterol
  • Natives south America have low cholesterol
  • Other experts disagree


  • Eat lots fruits vegetables
  • Eat beans
  • Eat nuts and seeds
  • Avoid oils and processed foods
  • Nutrition does not work by itself
  • Exercise in what ever way you can fit into your life
  • Reduce stress
  • Get good sleep