Cognitive decline: The Bredesen RECODE protocol


Using Functional Medicine to treat Alzheimer’s Disease

The search for a magic bullet has failed to reveal any monotherapy capable of yielding sustained improvements in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This failure leaves the diagnosis as one of the most feared conditions of the modern age and dementia is now the leading cause of death in the UK.


A breakthrough for Alzheimer’s patients

However, with his truly ground-breaking research, Dr Dale Bredesen has demonstrated that the use of precision-medicine, with a Functional Medicine approach to the symptoms of cognitive impairment, can result not only in a halt in the cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s Patients but can even reverse the symptoms. This is a demonstration of the real power of understanding the pathophysiology, the WHY, behind the symptoms we call Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia.

In his book ‘The End of Alzheimer’s’, Dr Bredesen discusses his research and its eventual transfer from the lab to the clinical coalface – helping to heal patients with dementia. In 2018, he published details of the reversal of cognitive decline in 100 patients using his RECODE protocol. We recommend both the book and the paper as foundation reading for families wishing to embark on the programme.

With these powerful insights and case studies, his research and approach offer hope to patients and families facing this condition and to those for whom the genetic dice are loaded in favour of developing the condition.

Dr Sarah is a keen advocate of this approach and is happy to see patients and families wanting support with the RECODE protocol and a precision-targeted Functional Medicine approach. Sarah is currently working on a research project in association with the University of Central Lancaster on a UK-based trail of multimodal approaches to Dementia and Cognitive decline.

We recommend patients wishing to start the protocol to take our full new patient intake screen and a NutrEval test (the Advanced New Patient Package), and then discuss other necessary screening with Dr Sarah on an individual basis after assessment.


What is the ‘Bredesen Protocol’?

Dr Bredesen’s research has demonstrated that there are multiple metabolic factors (including disturbances in micronutrients, hormone levels, and sleep), which can trigger the changes seen in the brain in Alzheimer’s. Each patient is carefully screened for:

  • Insulin resistance
  • Inflammation / infections
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Toxins (chemical, biological, and physical)

Through careful screening, the probable mediators of brain injury can be identified and tackled using well-established Functional Medicine therapies involving:

  • Dietary optimisation for maximal micronutrient benefits, blood sugar stabilisation and the induction of ketosis (in which state the brain is able to heal and repair due to increases in Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor /BDNF).
  • Reduction in inflammation and infections identified with antimicrobial therapies and immune system support.
  • Support for safe and effective detoxification of environmental toxins and heavy metals.
  • Hormonal optimisation with replacement therapy where indicated
  • Brain training
  • Targeted nutritional support for any methylation deficit or other metabolic imbalance detected.
  • Lifestyle changes to support brain healing through sleep, mindfulness / meditation and exercise.

This is by no means a simple undertaking and patients will usually require ongoing support from family members and perhaps extra input from our Health coaching team.

If you would like to discuss our approach to dementia and cognitive decline further, please contact the clinic or book an appointment with Dr Sarah.