Hello and welcome to my blog.
Here are four factors to consider for improving your brain health, enhancing your memory, and reducing your likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s and other memory loss–related conditions.
Your brain doesn’t malfunction in one way, so that means it won’t be fixed with one magical cure.
Blood flow, Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar
Blood flow to the brain is number one predictor for Alzheimer’s and also plays a role in migraines, brain fog and mood issues. Blood brings nutrients to brain your and removes toxins. You want your blood vessels to be soft and pliable, not hard and brittle. High blood sugar damages the lining in the vessels, as the sugar reacts with the proteins in the lining and stops the vessels being ‘smooth’.
Higher blood pressure doesn’t mean more blood is pushed to brain, in fact it’s the opposite. Erectile dysfunction is a sign of a blood flow problem and a brain and potential memory problems.
Remember blood vessels age and neuronal pathways do not’
What can you do?
- Ginkgo biloba which is a plant and also a nootropic increases blood flow to the brain, there are lots of research studies on this. Cayenne pepper also does the same, but isn’t as potent as Ginkgo
- Exercise is key for blood flow. Being and staying active is vital for a healthy brain for people of all ages. For the older population, exercise is helpful for vascular dementia.
- Limit or eliminate sugar and keep an eye on your waist line, Dr Daniel Amen who is a psychiatrist/functional medicine doctor often talks about the study, linking obesity with lower brain function, ‘As waist size increases brain function decreases’. He calls it T-rex syndrome, big body, small brain.
Retirement, Unemployment and Boredom
Many people retire and then drastically cut down on activities and having to learn new tasks, this is a recipe for memory and brain function decline. People who are isolated or lonely can be at risk too, but some people carry genes which means they don’t feel lonely, so these people would appear not to be affected as they are likely to be good at entertaining themslevs. It is a similar situation for younger people who either have a very boring job or do limited activities. Some people are lucky, they have a job that requires new learning all the time, but for those of you who don’t, taking up a new hobby or two will do wonders for your brain health. Doing tasks which you have performed 1000s of times so they automatic, require much less brain power than learning a new skill, instrument or language.
What can you do?
Keeping your mind engaged as the brain loves novelty. Having fun and learning new things is not just for children, it is for all of us.
Low acetyl choline, Low ferratin (biological iron)and low dopamine are linked to poor brain function and memory problems.
Acetyl choline is a neurotransmitter and has lots of jobs in the brain and body, smart drugs like piracetam raise acetyl choline levels. In order to make enough acetyl choline your body needs choline which is found in some foods, including egg yolks, or you can buy choline bi-tartrate as a supplement. Physical activity also raises acetyl choline. Too much acetyl choline causes difficulty concentrating, mental confusion, depression, mood issues, dry mouth, joint discomfort, tiredness and other things.
Dopamine is also a neurotransmitter. Doing moderately pleasurable activities, like going for a walk, playing a sport you enjoy, being with friends will produce a squirt of dopamine, which is good. Flooding the brain with dopamine with drugs like cocaine or doing extreme sports, isn’t such a great idea as you will need more and more dopamine to get an effect. Eating too much sugar also produces a dopamine flood and many people with sugar addictions have been show to have ‘desensitize dopamine receptors’ so they are ‘wearing out’ their dopamine system with sugar binges. Too much dopamine is linked to addictions and in severe cases, psychotic episodes.
Having low iron is linked to brain fog, fatigue and anxiety. Iron is needed to make dopamine. High ferratin is linked to cardiovascular disease, liver disease and other health problems. People with hemochromatosis (usually hereditary) accumulate iron in their bodies. Women are more likely to develop symptoms after menopause, when they no longer lose iron with menstruation and pregnancy. Giving blood is one way to manage high ferratin and having a blood test is the best way to find out your ferratin levels.
Biochemistry can be confusing and some people are diagnosed with dementia, when in fact they have severe depression, this means getting a second opinion and doing your own research has huge value for getting the most appropriate treatment.
Find the Goldilocks amount of neurotransmitters
Exposure to toxins from personal products or heavy metals and other environmental toxins are known to cause brain fog, depression, ADHD and more. Limiting exposure is key, as trying to chelate or remove toxins from people can cause more harm than good. Our idneys, gut liver and skin are the organs of detoxification in the body. So to help the kidneys this would mean to drink more water (filtered water or high sulphate containing mineral water). Sweating removes toxins through the skin so this would be saunas (infra red saunas are the best) and sweating from exercise.
Studies in Finland show there is a positive correlation between number of saunas per week and a reduction in Alzheimer’s disease. Using supplements such as glutathione or N-acetyl Cysteine (pre cursor to glutathione) and activated charcoal can help remove toxins. Eating enough fiber is key for gut health and both soluble (eg inulin) and insoluble fibre (cellulose) are part of a balanced gut-detoxing diet.
There are apps you can buy which scan the bar code on personal products and they tell you the levels of toxins like phthalates and parabens and give you a toxicity score out of 10. With 10 being ‘You must be mad to put this stuff on your skin’.
Thank you for reading – Look out for the next ‘4 Factors To Improve Memory and Brain Function