Worried about losing your memory as you age? Already feeling the effects? It need not be a one-way street.
Several risk factors have been identified and associated with age related memory loss, which include social isolation, lack of exercise, molecular deficiencies (such as vitamin D, the hormone DHEA, and the neurotransmitter serotonin), and certain medications (specifically long term use of benzodiazepines or anticholinergics).
Social and community involvement play big roles in maintaining a healthy brain. Get involved, contribute, share your knowledge. And share memories - there are groups all over the world improving cognitive function by sharing stories of music, singing and dance... by doing it!
Diet is essential. Did you know Alzheimer's disease is often referred to as Type 3 Diabetes? Your nutritional intake and ability to regulate your blood sugar play very important roles in maintaining health brain function. Start with including 2 colours of vegetables at each meal, then increase their volume as time goes on. For extra benefit include organic blueberries, green tea, and resveratrol (organic red wine!) on a regular basis.
Not only is sleep restorative, studies have shown that in deep sleep your cerebral spine fluid (CSF) flushes away amyloid plaques; those nasty build-ups found in Alzheimer's brains.
Prevention is key, however I have also seen dramatic improvements in memory and cognitive function with appropriate nutritional support. There are a variety of supplements* that have shown benefit including phosphatidylserine, CoQ10, fish oil (>1400mg EPA & 1000mg DHA), B vitamins, Bacopa monnieri and Ginkgo biloba. One of my personal favourite brain support habits is blending coconut or MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil with morning coffee; it's like adding rich cream... with benefits!
Helpful tests to ask your naturopathic doctor to order include DHEA, vitamin D, hs-CRP (inflammation) and homocysteine (vascular).
Be proactive and start making effective changes today; sleep 7-9 solid hours each night, put more focus on colourful vegetables in your diet, get involved in your community, and check your medications! If any of these suggestions are a challenge for you, consult with your naturopathic doctor for support.
Books to feed your curiosity:
- Younger Next Year, Chris Crowley & Henry Lodge, MD
- Why Isn’t My Brain Working?, Davis Kharraziac, DC
- The End of Alzheimer’s, Dale Bredesen, MD
The author of the novel, Still Alice, has a great TED Talk available online, regarding preventing Alzheimer's.
* These are general suggestions and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Discuss this with your qualified healthcare practitioner, especially if you are pregnant, taking medications or dealing with a chronic disease.
I love starting my morning with a mug of 'fatty coffee' for my brain:
1 mug of our favourite dark roast coffee - Ironwood (local, small-batch, fire-roasted)
1 Tbsp Brain Octane oil; a combination of MCTs - Bulletproof
1 tsp Organic Coconut Oil & Butter Ghee - St. Francis Herb Farm
Combined in blender for 5-10 seconds.
[insert smile & a contented sigh here]