I recently met with Dr. Kelly Miller, founder of Health Restoration, to talk about his practice and his Amazon bestselling book Saving Your Brain: Causes, Prevention, and Reversal of Dementia/Alzheimer’s. In today’s interview Dr. Kelly shares practical strategies that demystify brain disease and help people proactively prevent and reverse dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Miller’s educational background in acupuncture, chiropractor, naturopathy, functional diagnostic medicine, aging, and regenerative medicine allow for a multifaceted analysis and insight into the body’s anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry to help patients restore their lost health, or develop a strategy for functional longevity. His understanding of how to combine these disciplines produces outstanding outcomes for his patients.
Phil: Thank you so much for being on the show, Dr. Miller.
Dr. Kelly Miller: Thank you, Phil, for having me. I’m looking forward to this. I’m really excited about this book.
Phil: You have practices in Missouri and Florida. Can you tell us a little bit about the practices and the type of people that you help?
Dr. Kelly Miller: Sure. What we moved to through the years is, we’re now using a brain-based protocol for treating people. If we look at the so many different illnesses today or related to brain dysfunction, at the beginning of life, we have ADHD. You have one in seven boys now have ADHD. We have one in 68 children have autism spectrum. We have post-traumatic stress disorder. We have a lot of problems with the veterans coming over from that. We have a traumatic brain injury. It’s very significant for our veterans and people with a sports injury.
As we become more aware of the scope of the issue, we realize that we have 50 million Americans with anxiety disorders and 60 million Americans have insomnia. Alzheimer’s is the fastest-growing cause of death now in the United States. We have a lot of problems with our brains these days.
Phil: Your newest book focuses on dementia and Alzheimer’s. What motivated you to address this specific health challenge?
Dr. Kelly Miller: Well, many selfish reasons. We talked about this before. We both played rugby. I played for 21 years and had multiple injuries to my head, facial lacerations, head lacerations, and I’ve also been in a couple of car crashes. What I started noticing, I’m 62 now, is probably in the last five years, I just really noticed my brain wasn’t functioning … my recall, the memory of different events, especially people’s names.
I used to be a movie buff. I could tell the scenery, the name of the movie, the actors, and I was just kind of grasping at that. I started looking for solutions for myself, and I had my first EEG in 2016, which confirmed that I had some areas of the brain that had been injured. I started a quest to fix my brain. Along the way, were able to help a lot of people’s brains as well.
Phil: Based on your research and your studies, maybe you can share some of the causes of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Kelly Miller: Yeah, there are many. One of the challenges with Alzheimer’s in using the drug therapy is that drugs … people may not realize that, but drugs work by inhibiting or stimulating a single pathway. The challenge with Alzheimer’s is that there are multiple pathways that will create this problem. You are limited by the drug. You might have six different pathways. Well, each of those six different drugs would create their own side effects. It’s very challenging.
The biggies on this are, some people have called Alzheimer’s as type 3 diabetes. Blood sugar regulation is a very major player in this because it creates inflammation, it creates problems in the blood vessels itself, it creates something called advanced glycation end-products, which are damaging to tissue.
That’s a big deal, and we have a lot of people with blood sugar regulation, a lot of type 2 diabetes, a lot of metabolic syndrome, and the other is cardiovascular disease. We have increased problems with hypertension, or we’re just getting plaque in the arteries, or having peripheral arterial problems, we have a decreased circulation to the brain, so that when the cardiovascular system isn’t working right, we’re not getting blood flow to the brain.
The blood flow is not taking oxygen; it’s not taking those micronutrients that we need, it’s not taking everything else that we need the oxygen and micronutrients, the things that we need for the mitochondrial energy, so all those things are down.
The other thing is, there are some genetic variances, which does not necessarily mean you’re going to get Alzheimer’s. It means you have a weak link in your system, which you need to identify and you need to shore it up.
One of the big ones is something called APOE4. APOE is a type of LDL. You know you have the HDL, which is considered the good cholesterol. There are five different kinds. We have seven different kinds of LDLs. What the APOE does, one of the things this function does is, it takes this substance called Abeta out of the brain. It’s the accumulation of this Abeta in the brain, is one of the things that we see in the Alzheimer’s patients.
If you have this APOE4 gene, you’re just not as efficient at cleaning out the Abeta. That can be compensated for by exercise, by taking niacin, by getting your blood sugars in there. If you don’t know if you have this APOE4, then you don’t know you need to take more niacin or do some of these other precautions.
Phil: Dr. Miller, losing your mental capacity is one of the biggest fears that people over 50 have. We fear it, but we really don’t understand it. What are some of the biggest misconceptions people may have about the diseases of the brain?
Dr. Kelly Miller: Well, I think the number one takeaway from that is that a lot of people think there isn’t anything to do. If one thing you want to get your listeners on it, there are definitely actions to take for all different kinds of brain problems. There are many non-drug therapies for it.
The other thing is about the Alzheimer’s, and generally, some of the misconceptions are that people with higher education have a reduced risk. That’s one thing I’ve seen out there. The patients I meet, if we have time, they talk about [inaudible 00:09:24]. A lot of people say if you can remember past events, then you don’t necessarily have a problem. That’s not necessarily true. It only affects the very elderly … we find that people have Alzheimer’s probably for 15 years before they’re clinically diagnosed. It’s something that starts at a younger age.
I think those are some of the major ones that I seem to run across.
Phil: You mentioned that it becomes a bigger challenge because it is something that people don’t identify right away. Are there indicators that we can observe in ourselves or others that can signal that it’s time to act now?
Dr. Kelly Miller: Yes, I think most of us know that we don’t necessarily have Alzheimer’s. But, like me, I inherently knew that my brain was not working right. There was something wrong. It was not like me not to be able to recall these things. I think people have a sense that something’s on, but lots of times, it’s on and off. It’s not consistent. It’s not until it gets consistently that they often get it checked out.
Along with when the brain’s not working right, lots of times, I would say a lack of emotionality or too much emotionality, a change in there, loss of joy. When the brain starts failing, elderly people get a little more depressed, and when the left brain starts failing, anxiety, depression, a lot more sleep disruption, a change in behavior, brain fog, a slight change in personality.
Sometimes it’s detected by our spouse, or a close friend, or something else. I think really, the way we see this, what I recommend, people start getting baseline testing at age 50. We have some nice online testing they can do and try to get a handle on where they’re at, and then get a score, and then we can work on improving the score.
Phil: You mentioned getting a baseline test online. Where would they go to find this out?
Dr. Kelly Miller: Well, what we can do for your listeners, it’s called BrainSpan. It’s a nice test; it’s online. It probably takes 10 or 15 minutes. It checks memory, processing speed; it checks lots of the things. It’s coupled with a fatty acid test for Omega 3s. They can do a little blood spot test at home to check their fatty acids. Fatty acids, just having the right count of fat in your brain, your brain is 80% fat by dry weight, so most of us are deficient in Omega 3.
We think that fat is one of the things we can build that up. It will also give us a score. We can make suggestions, recommendations, and then we can redo this online test so that we can see that the score is getting better.
Phil: That’s something they would find on your website?
Dr. Kelly Miller: Yes. Normally, that’s $199. We’ll do a special for your listeners. They could go to my website and register their name, mention the show, and we’ll send them a kit for $119.
Phil: Great. Well, I appreciate that. Another question that comes up is, if someone already has Alzheimer’s or dementia, is there hope and are there options? I have some friends that have just resigned themselves that they’re on a slippery slope to a path of no return. They are just resigned to that.
Dr. Kelly Miller: Yes. Once you’re diagnosed, as we talked about, this is maybe a 15-year process. By then, a lot of the brain cells aren’t working. The further you are in this, the more action you have to take. One of the things in the book title, Saving your Brain, I made an acronym out of each word, saving your brain.
There are multiple things, and we don’t have time to get into great detail, but I’ll just go very briefly. S is for sleep. Quality and quantity of sleep are very important. It’s neuroprotective. It protects your brain and cleans the Abeta out.
A is for autonomic balance. This has to do with our nervous system staying out of fight/flight mode. So much of the things we have in our world today make people stressed, emotionally stressed, nutritionally stressed, lots of different things.
V is for vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. There are specific and documented studies that show many of these nutrients that are in the book that will protect you. Each one of these acronyms stands for something else.
I is for immunity, inflammation, infections. Chronic inflammation and low-grade infections are some of the things we have in Florida. Because it is so damp outside, we have a lot of people having undetected mold infections, which are causing inflammation of the body all the time.
N is for the neurohormones. People that have a problem with dementia/Alzheimer’s have very low hormone levels, much more than their peers. That’s something we can assess, and we can do that. For example, when your thyroid isn’t working right, that doubles your risk of Alzheimer’s. Conversely, when it is working right, it reduces it. It cuts it by half.
G is for the genetic variance. We want to look at those couple of genes. Again, the key to that is, you want to take the action steps to correct it.
That’s saving. Y is for your lifestyle beliefs and thoughts, because they are going to dictate your actions, and making better food choices, exercising regularly, or setting a consistent sleep schedule are all under our control. These are all things that we can do.
The biggest thing is, trying to live in the present, letting go of the past, not being anxious about prospective future events … all these things help the brain work better.
The O in your is for obesity, oxidative stress. The higher the body fat, the smaller our brain. The higher our body fat, the more inflammation. The higher the body fat, the more oxidative stress. This is a common theme in all of the brain problems. ADHD, autism spectrum, TBI, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, dementia/Alzheimer’s all have oxidative stress. This is something that we can do by reducing our body fat, reducing oxidative stress.
The U in your is for the unfriendly environment. We’ve got aluminum, mercury in our environment. We have pesticides like DDT and glyphosate, which is the GMO food. These are like a neuroinflammatory cocktail. There are different things we can do by just getting pure water sources, air sources, choosing our foods a little better, try to get more organic foods.
R is for reading. Become a lifetime learning mode, find something, a hobby or interest that entails reading. Reading reduces our stress. If we don’t have an interest, or activities, or whatever it is you like … you want to read about golf, read about tennis, read about whatever. Men who go home and sit on the couch are usually underneath the ground within five years. We’ve got to keep active, we’ve got to keep something of interest.
The last part, B is for blood flow. Healthy blood flow is absolutely essential. When we do things like SPECT imaging, which Dr. Amen in Chicago is very famous for. He has over 15,000 with imaging. I’ve taken his course. All these common brain problems are demonstrating reduced blood flow. We have some specific therapies on how to restore the blood flow to the brain.
R is for repetitive head trauma, which is one of my biggest factors. Guys like us, people who play football, soccer, rugby, hockey for years, and years, and years are at higher risk. They need to start doing some of these things to protect their brain nutritionally with the antioxidants.
The A is for activity. We’ve got to do exercise, yoga. I like yoga and Tai chi for the aging body. It’s good. It keeps the circulation, keeps your strength going. Exercise increases our lean mass to fat ratio, increases the blood flow to the brain. It helps our growth hormone, different chemicals that protect the brain.
The I is for insulin sensitivity resistance. Insulin resistance, which leads to type 2 diabetes basically what that means is your blood sugars get higher because the insulin receptor inside your cells is not working. It won’t let the glucose get inside the cell. That’s what’s happening with that. That’s something that responds very quickly to exercise, particularly weight lifting and cutting back on the refined sugars.
When you have insulin resistance, you produce more Abeta. This is this chemical in the brain that accumulates. When you have insulin sensitivity, get rid of it.
The last one, N is for the neurotransmitters. In the Alzheimer’s brain, the dopamine, which is a major neurotransmitter in the front part of the brain and it’s like the battery of your nervous system. When that becomes depleted, you’re really not making energy in your brain, and you’re not making electrical energy for your whole nervous system and body.
Then the other thing is acetylcholine. That’s your processing speed, like we had with computers back in the ’80s, and as you get more technology, it got slower and slower. Our brain is getting slower and slower. We actually have technologies that can speed up the brain, charge the brain back up and get it working better. When we talk about once you’re in that phase of diagnosis, you may have to do all these things, address all these things to save your brain.
Phil: Why don’t you give us an example of how you helped a specific patient, in terms of when they came in, where they were, and some of the things you did, and how they progressed through the course of the treatment?
Dr. Kelly Miller: I’ll share my most challenging patient. This is a patient, Martha, who came in. Originally, her husband brought me in. She had been a former patient of another associate. She was an author, a very intelligent woman. I think she had a master’s degree, very prim and proper dressed, spoke great vocabulary.
She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and she was non-verbal, probably for 18 months. Her husband brought her in, and she was having incontinence issues. We were treating her with acupuncture for that, and it got better, which gave her more control. With the control, she then had more time before having to go. We were able to increase that time for her.
Then I said, “Let’s try this approach.” We started doing the different things at home with her husband. To start, he was overwhelmed with trying to do all these things. That’s one of the challenges, is that some people need a support system. We made some recommendations and then we started some home therapies. Then we started to bring her into therapy. In a period of six to eight weeks, she started to verbalize. She was saying some words, some phrases. We do different things. We have her counting 1-20, 20 backward, different words, the alphabet. She’s more ambulatory so that now she’s able to go to card games. For years, they played card games.
I don’t know what her potential is. I know if we would have gotten to her sooner, she’d be progressing more rapidly. At this point, we’re giving her quality of life, and she’s able to function. She’s able to do more things than she was. That’s extreme. Again, she’s manageable so that her husband can help her manage. She can still do things. She can still come into the office. She still comes in the office a couple of times a week. We’re still working with her, and we’re continuously introducing more technologies to her.
That’s an extreme case. We have other people who have had strokes starting verbal communication. We have traumatic brain injuries who have balance problems and again, memory problems, headaches. It just depends on the condition. With Alzheimer’s, you can do so much more if they can catch it early.
Phil: Could you give us an example of a patient that you did catch fairly early and the kinds of changes that they experienced?
Dr. Kelly Miller: For example, one of the technologies we use is Canary Speech. This is a very cool technology that is cutting edge. They’ve done a study that’s just been released on 2,000 patients. They were able, with one sentence in the voice recognition, determine an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
This is something that may be important in early detection, before other clinical symptoms. In this private test that we do with this, let’s say their perfect score is 30. If you were an athlete like you and me, if you got hit in the head in a rugby tackle, and we had a baseline, and we couldn’t score 22, we’re not going to be allowed back in the game. That’s how we use this now in sports.
We had an individual; they scored 18 when they came in. One of the person’s major issues was not getting enough sleep. What happens when we sleep is we go through five cycles of sleep in about 90-minute increments. That last one, usually in the six to seven and a half hours, is when we get into the deep delta. That’s when we clean the brain.
Lots of times in the aging, we’re not getting that good quality sleep. Just by correcting that, starting some exercise, using a couple of technologies that we have for at home therapy. We have a harness that will increase the circulation in the brain. Then we have a visor and earphones that train the brain so we can actually increase the speed of the brain.
Doing these things, doing some nutraceutical support, this individual got back to a score of 23. Again, we see improved cognitive function, improved quality of life, improved memory, recollection, and speed.
Phil: It’s not like one little strategy will make all these changes. It’s based on the individual, how soon you come in, start doing things and then finding the protocols that fit your specific situations.
Dr. Kelly Miller: Yes. One of the things is early detection. If you have a family history, consider getting tested. A lot of this testing that you can do on your genetics is very inexpensive. You’re talking like $100, $150. If you have this APOE4, and 40% to 50% of the people who develop Alzheimer’s have this genetic variance because of the inefficiency.
If you took niacin, or you got on a regular exercise program, make sure of your blood sugars, then that gene is not going to express negatively. Your body can compensate for that.
Phil: Dr. Miller, what would be your general advice to people that are looking for help in preventing and/or reversing dementia or Alzheimer’s, for themselves or for a loved one? What’s the biggest takeaway of recommendation you can give them?
Dr. Kelly Miller: The biggest thing is, read the book. Then look at the different strategies available to you. One of the things we have at the office is we offer telemedicine. Although we have We have offices in Kansas City and in Tampa, we can do Skype and communicate with people from everywhere.
First, let’s get a baseline and see if there’s a problem. If they’re involved in it, let’s see what we can do to turn it around. One of the things just to get a good screen is this BrainSpan is a nice online test to get an idea of where you’re at. That will also pick up if you’ve got a lot of nutritional deficiencies in the brain as well. It’s a nice, fairly inexpensive test to get a baseline on yourself.
Phil: Though you’ve got locations in Florida and Kansas City. If someone that didn’t live in those areas wanted to work with you, you have the capacity to do so. Is that correct?
Dr. Kelly Miller: Absolutely, yes. They can fill out a form online. We’ll develop a telemedicine relationship with them, and talk to them, and if we need to do any specific testing, we can have things shipped to them. We have a lot of home therapies. One of the things we’re developing is an effective home therapy.
We have therapies to increase the circulation of the brain, a head harness, which was researched at the VA hospital in Boston, and again, showed increased circulation, increased reduction of symptomatology, and improved cognitive testing.
We have something that’s called Brain Tap, which is an audio-visual train. I think you’re familiar with brain tap, aren’t you, Phil?
Phil: Yes. I have used it.
Dr. Kelly Miller: One of the things we do with a patient is, we’ll do an EEG assessment to see how their brain is working, we look at things like what’s the power of the brain, what’s the speed of the brain, what’s the coordination of the brain? Then we can use a Brain Tap technology to help reinforce those weaknesses. We are also looking to see if they have nutritional deficiencies? What can we do to support the brain?
In the book, we talk about several different nutrients. For example, in China, there’s something called Club Moss, which is another name for Huperzine A. That is the number one prescriptive drug in China for Alzheimer’s, but it’s a natural product. Some of that product is available here. It combats the formation or the disposal of Abeta out of the brain in five different pathways.
What we find in a lot of the nutraceuticals, and in our treatment of acupuncture is that it supports multiple pathways. One of the things we’re doing with our patients is, we’ve developed a microcurrent treatment methodology that the person can be trained to treat these acupuncture points of microcurrent. It will actually help with the circulation of the brain, help with the glucose metabolism, and help with reducing inflammation of the brain.
Phil: Dr. Miller, if people wanted to get more information about Health Restoration or to contact you, where should they go?
Dr. Kelly Miller: Well, just go to the website, http://www.drkellymiller.com/, or you can get through to www.healthrestoration.solutions. Either one of them will take you to our website. We have information where they can fill out, just an intake form. There’s a question, what information they’re seeking. We want to be a resource of information for people.
We are a starting point for people? Where can they look? Where can they go? Is potentially there another provider near them that could assist them? The other thing is, we have our different office numbers. In Missouri, 816-210-6913, then Florida, 813-985-5190. If they call and tell us what they need, then we’ll try to do that.
On the website, there’s tons of information about all kinds of things, like testing, and we have a brain and body products section, so they can get some of these nutrients. It’s best if they get some direction so we know what would be best for that individual. Different people need different things.
Phil: Right. What I found on the web is a lot of videos, very informative informational videos that can help educate people a little bit about what to expect and what to look for. It is very, very helpful to invest that amount of time to get the information you need so you feel comfortable.
Of course, there’s the book, Saving Your Brain: Causes, Prevention, and Reversal of Dementia/Alzheimer’s, which is available on Amazon and Kindle. I suggest that they pick a copy of that up. It does contain a lot of great information. The more aware you are, the more informed you are, the better you can help whatever practice you work with to get the best outcomes.
Dr. Kelly Miller: Thank you so much for having me. It’s been awesome, and I encourage people to read the book. I think it will be really helpful for them, at least give them a way to get started.
Phil: Again, I thank you so much. The takeaway for me is, act now. Start doing things that you can control, and that there are options out there if things digress a little bit. Don’t give up. There are options, and there is hope.
Thank you so much for sharing the information and providing the great services that you do. You have a great day, Dr. Miller.
Dr. Kelly Miller: Thank you, Phil.