Dr. Mehmet Oz spoke to legendary model and restaurateur B. Smith about her early onset Alzheimer’s disease on the Oct. 14 episode of the Dr. Oz Show.
Dr. Oz’s guests were B. and Dan Gasby, her husband of 22 years. Smith, 64, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s in 2010 and recently went public with her diagnosis.
Smith, who was the first African-American model to appear on the cover of “Mademoiselle” magazine, has been called the “black Martha Stewart,” thanks to her thriving lifestyle empire, which includes three restaurants, a housewares line and several books.
A few years ago, B. noticed she began forgetting things and was unable to multitask. She was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease after seeing her doctor. Smith was initially afraid to tell her husband about her diagnosis.
Fortunately, Dan is very supportive and reads the newspaper with out loud with B. every morning and does crossword puzzles with her to keep her mind sharp.
Today there are about five million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. African-Americans are twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s, which is why Smith wanted to go public with her condition, so she could raise awareness.
Dr. Oz said it’s important to get early testing to diagnose Alzheimer’s sooner rather than later. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but on previous episodes, Dr. Oz said the low carb, high-fat Paleo, Atkins and ketogenic diets can prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
According to neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, a high-carb, grain-heavy diet causes neurological breakdown and leads to Alzheimer’s, dementia, weight gain, diabetes and cancer.
Perlmutter said a high-carb diet fuels blood sugar surges, which cause inflammation, which in turn has a catastrophic impact on brain cells and the entire body. “Carbs are devastating for the brain,” Perlmutter told me in an exclusive interview.
Perlmutter said we can prevent — and in some instances can reverse — Alzheimer’s by following a low carb, high-fat diet like the Paleo, Atkins or ketogenic diet. He detailed his research findings in his book, Grain Brain. Dementia should not be something we accept as a natural consequence of getting older, he said.
“Even slight elevations in blood sugar have been shown to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Perlmutter, citing an August 2013 report in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Perlmutter said high-quality saturated fats (such as wild salmon, extra-virgin olive oil and avocados) have neuroprotective properties that have been shown in numerous studies to prevent dementia and other brain diseases.
“Fat is your friend,” said Dr. Perlmutter, who himself follows the high fat ketogenic diet. “The brain thrives on a fat-rich, low carb diet.”
While we have come to accept physical and mental deterioration as the norm as we age, Perlmutter said we can prevent such breakdowns simply by controlling what we put into our mouths. “The fate of your brain is not in your genes; it’s in the food you eat,” he said.