As our lifespan has extended we have also seen an increase in diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Keeping our brain healthy is not just about us; it’s about our family too. Many families had to go through the tragedy of having to take care of relatives with failing brains. We should try to prevent that from happening.
What can we do to slow down and even reverse the aging of our brain?
- Diet: The Mediterranean diet that includes olive oil, red wine and very little red meat has shown to have a protective effect on the brain. It’s also anti-aging. It can revert the amount of amyloid B, reduce Tao protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease and increase gray matter.
Red wine contains a substance called resveratrol, that prevents cancer and has metabolic and brain enhancement qualities. Natural wines, less chemically altered are the healthiest choice.
- Blood Sugar: High blood sugar damages the small vessels that carry blood and oxygen; resulting in loss of connectivity between the different areas of the brain and brain shrinkage.
- Vitamin B12: This vitamin deficiency contributes to a variety of diseases, including heart disease and dementia. It also accelerates aging.
Vitamin B12, B6 and folate are in charge of breaking down homocysteine. Homocysteine is an inflammation marker; high levels make us more susceptible to heart disease, dementia and stroke.
B12 levels are affected by alcohol, smoking, menopause, and aging.
With high homocysteine plaque builds up in the blood vessels of the brain, making them stiffer; this reduces blood and oxygen transport leading to memory loss and ultimately dementia.
- Fatty Acids: Fatty acids are the building blocks of the brain. They improve memory and counteract depression; they protect against damage, inflammation and help repair the nerves.
Good sources are fish and fish oil, flax seeds, chia seeds, avocado and olive oil.
- Exercise: Walking and aerobic exercise improve blood flow and the activity of neurons. It greatly enhances the chances of having better brain function while aging. Exercise improves concentration and focus, re-growing new brain cells.
If walking is difficult strength training is also beneficial.
- Sleep: Good sleep slows aging. Unfortunately as we age it becomes more difficult to sleep enough. One night of sleep deprivation increases by 5% the production of amyloid B, responsible for Alzheimer’s.
Lack of sleep not only ages our brain, it increases by 30% our risk of dying.
Our brains are facing a lot of adversity at the moment; good sleep allows our nervous system to be able to reset.
Make sure the bedroom is completely dark at night and on the cool side.
Turn off all electronics at least ½ and hour before going to bed.
If you like to read, pick something spiritual.
Magnesium, L-Theanine and a chamomile extract called Apigenin are helpful sleep aids.
Acupuncture can regulate the neurotransmitters and hormones that help have good restful sleep.
- Lion’s Mane: This medicinal mushroom helps fight cognitive dysfunction associated with dementia. It also reduces amyloid plaque.
A good source is Host Defense. Four Sigmatic makes a very good coffee that contains Lion’s Mane.
David Sinclair PhD. Lifespan podcast.
Click to watch YouTube video
Paul Stamets with Lion’s Maine
Click to watch YouTube video
Four Sigmatic Coffee
Maine & Loire, Natural wines
59 Washington Ave. Portland
Ursula Schmidt, LAc