ApoE4 – The Ancestral Allele

For ApoE4 carriers interested in primal diets and science

Welcome to Primal ApoE4

with 2 comments

Is it an ancestral super-allele or a slow-motion Alzheimer’s death sentence?  It depends what you eat and how you play.

This is a blog for carriers of the Apolipoprotein allele ε4, as well as researchers and others interested.  Our perspective is:

  • Practical – interested in taking action to maximize our health.
  • Primal – we believe that selectively emulating aspects of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, such as diet, is a powerful general strategy for health, and that this is especially true for us ApoE4s, since it’s a pre-agricultural allele.
The blog was started by Patri Friedman, an E4/E4, because there seems to be no good central resources for E4s to share practical information and research. I haven’t had time to keep this blog very active, and so guest posts, links, and academic articles are welcome.  And I’m especially interested in finding other co-bloggers to help run the site – so if you’re a health-conscious E4 whose going to be researching your condition anyway, consider joining us and writing up your findings to share with others!
Contact patrissimo-at-gmail.com.

Written by patrissimo

July 15, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Posted in About

2 Responses

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  1. Hi there,

    Thank you very much for starting this blog, its very useful and enjoyable to read. I have the APOe4/e4 alleles also and would like to find out more about the implications of having this genotype on maintaining good health as I age.

    I dont have much to offer you except an article I found interesting in Science Daily. The little bit of research impies that mice with APOe4 alleles do not benefit from mental stimulation in the same way non-APOe4 mice do, in fact it can damage them. It might explain why I just want to sleep after work rather than do anything 🙂

    Any way here is a copy of the article, thanks again:

    ScienceDaily (Feb. 15, 2011) — Scientists today agree that there are five molecules that are known to affect or cause Alzheimer’s disease, which plagues an estimated five million Americans. The potency of these molecules is linked to environmental factors such as diet and lifestyle.

    Prof. Daniel Michaelson of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Neurobiology at the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences has illuminating news about one of these five molecules — APOE, created by the apolipoprotein E. gene found in all of our bodies.

    Prof. Michaelson says APOE comes in two forms, a “good” APOE gene and a “bad” APOE gene, called APOE4. He has developed animal models to investigate the effects of diet and environment on carriers of APOE4, the presence of which is a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s. It appears in 50% of all Alzheimer’s patients, and in 15% of the general population which due to APOE4 is the population which is at risk of getting the disease.

    The good news? In preliminary results, the researchers are exhilarated to find that a diet high in Omega 3 oils and low in cholesterol appears to significantly reduce the negative effects of the APOE4 gene in mouse models.

    Exercise is not enough — and may be worse

    In differentiating between the good and bad variants of the APOE gene, Prof. Michaelson and his team studied many variables. They determined that while a rich and stimulating environment is good for carriers of “good” APOE, the same environment has a negative effect on those at risk for Alzheimer’s because they carry the APOE4 gene. While this environment stimulated the formation of new neuronal connections in the “good APOE” mice, it caused the death of brain neurons in the “bad APOE” mice. The stimulating environment included running wheels and tubes for hiding and sliding, as well as ropes and other toys for the mice to play on, replaced and updated with new toys weekly. Those in a non-stimulating environment had access to no toys at all.

    “Conditions that are generally considered good can be harmful if the mouse is a carrier of the APOE4 gene. Extrapolating this to the human population, individuals with the bad APOE4 gene are more susceptible to stress caused by an environment that stimulates their brain,” says Prof. Michaelson.

    Recently he expanded his original findings, first published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2008, with a new element: diet.

    APOE is a lipoprotein and known to be influenced by the good oil found in fish. Prof. Michaelson and his European colleagues, under a joint European Commission grant called LIPIDIDIET, constructed an experiment. In a standardized environment, they introduced three different kinds of diet: a normal diet, a “bad” diet high in cholesterol, and a “good” diet high in fish oil.

    When it’s good, it’s good

    “The main take-away message here is that good diets can alleviate the effects of bad genes. Of course nutritionists have had this general idea for a while, but it’s nice to be able to show that this approach can be applied to specifically counteract the negative effects of Alzheimer’s disease-related genes,” says Prof. Michaelson.

    The results with more details will be presented at an international conference in Barcelona, Spain this March.

    The Joseph and Inez Eichenbaum Foundation of Beverly Hills has been supporting Prof. Michaelson’s Alzheimer’s research continuously and generously over the last 15 years.

    Paul Creedy

    January 7, 2012 at 10:14 am

  2. Well I have the /4 alle but am a ApO-E-3/4 and have started the TYP program about 2 years ago and would say I am following a Paleo/Mediterranean mixed diet with I find it difficult to perfect as what looks like DrDavis remarks above. . A better free discussion group has been started which already has many TYP’ers and some with the /4 alle we and has collected quite a few articles that /4 alle people would find interesting.


    January 4, 2013 at 10:13 pm

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