Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Brain Aging: The Brain-Food Connection

Brain Aging: The Brain-Food Connection

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For decades, the medical community has recommended dietary management as part of the therapeutic plan for many conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. To date, no such recommendations exist for brain aging and dementia. In fact, many scientists and nonscientists alike are still reluctant to believe that our food choices might have something to do with the way our brains age or our risk of developing a brain disease.

In part, this is due to the fact that historically nutrition has been glossed over in medical schools, as well as in most post-grad mental health programs. It is only in recent years that nutrition was granted scientific-field status, and diet has been acknowledged as a legitimate means of protecting ourselves against brain aging and brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Little by little, scientists have come to appreciate the powerful connection between the foods we eat and our brain health. This very revelation has fostered a fast-growing body of evidence showing that we might very well be eating our way to dementia.

Brain Aging

What many of us have only begun to grasp is that the actual health and quality of the foods we eat has dramatically diminished. Animals are routinely fed growth hormones, antibiotics, and genetically modified (GMO) feed, which we in turn ingest when we make a meal of them. Chicken and pigs are fed poisons like arsenic as a preservative. Conventionally raised produce is showered in pesticides and chemical fertilizers. In addition to being toxic and depleting our soil of nutrients, these treatments drive our produce to grow larger and plumper in appearance while disguising the fact that they possess an unprecedentedly diminished vitamin and mineral content. Additionally, chemically modified fats and refined sugar are routinely added to most foods. This is done not only to preserve the foods’ shelf life but to deliberately increase our cravings for them, which in turn drives sales and profits.

What has gone unnoticed until now is the discovery of how, of all the organs in our body, the brain is the one most easily damaged by a poor diet. From its very architecture to its ability to perform, everything in the brain calls out for the proper food. Many of us are unaware that the only way for the brain to receive nourishment is through our diet. Day after day, the foods we eat are broken down into nutrients, taken up into the bloodstream, and carried to the brain to replenish its depleted storage, to activate cellular reactions, and, most importantly, to be incorporated into brain tissue. Proteins from meat and fish are broken down into amino acids which, among other things, serve as the backbone of our brain cells. Vegetables, fruit, and whole grains provide important carbohydrates such as glucose, as well as the vitamins and minerals that energize the brain. Healthy fats from fish and nuts are broken down into omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that make our neurons flexible and responsive, all the while supporting our immune system and shielding the brain from damage and brain aging. Our brains are literally what we eat.

Health and Wellness Associates

Preventative and Restorative Healthcare

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Anti-Aging Supplements That Can Lead to Ultimate Skin Renewal

Anti-Aging Supplements That Can Lead to Ultimate Skin Renewal

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Anti-aging supplements – are they even a thing? Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, they are very real. They can contain potent nutrients which have been proven to be capable of staving off signs of aging. In fact, a few of these nutrients are also some of the main ingredients in natural anti-aging creams and serums too. These supplements are becoming very popular among consumers as well as doctors.

 

If you are thinking about trying them but don’t know where to begin, check out the list below. These are some of  the best in my opinion.

 

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

 

Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) is one of the naturally found compounds in every cell of your body. It is a potent, yet versatile, antioxidant that fights against inflammation and counteracts the reactive free radicals. This fat and water soluble antioxidant also balances blood sugar, as it gets converted into energy. What makes it special is the way it boosts the effectiveness of other oxidants in the body. Thus, making it one of the finest anti-aging supplements that you can take.

 

Even though your body does produce ALA, it often does not make as much as is needed to keep your skin healthy and young. So, you can look for external sources, such as from supplements or in your diet. If you are over age 40, ALA should be one of your “go to” supplements.

 

Resveratrol

 

The scientific literature indicates that resveratrol is one of the most effective compounds for maintaining optimal health as well as promoting longevity. It works to cleanse the body of pollutants and other contaminants, which helps to keep your skin fresher, healthier, and more elastic. This also helps to prevent the formation of new wrinkles and reduces the appearance of any existing ones.

 

Argireline

 

Most of you have heard about Botox. Botox works by preventing muscle contraction where wrinkles usually form easily. This is done by blocking protein from connecting with cells in the body to trigger muscle contraction. But have you heard about Argireline? Argireline is found in Botox, but Argireline only temporarily disables the proteins in order to relax the muscle, whereas Botox destroys these proteins. Thus, Argireline is considered a safer way to reduce the appearance of deep wrinkles.

 

S-Acetyl Glutathione

 

Glutathione is one of the best known detoxifiers which can protect you against the toxins found in food, air, and water. But, what’s even better are its remarkable anti-aging properties. It is made of 3 amino acids and is one of the single most powerful antioxidants produced by the liver. Low levels of glutathione have been linked to every major aging process in the human body. After the age of 20, natural production of it slows down and by the time you reach age 60 you will be producing only half of what you did in your teens. Thus, taking this supplement can help slow this process.

 

Coenzyme Q-10

 

Coenzyme Q-10 is a remarkably powerful antioxidant that facilitates and regulates the oxidation of fats and sugar into energy. It boosts energy, supports cellular health and even protects the heart. To choose the right form of CoQ-10 look for it in ubiquinol form as that is more readily used by the body than the more commonly available ubiquinone form.

 

Please consult with your physician before adding these supplements to your diet, just to make sure they don’t conflict with anything else going on in your body or with any medications you might be taking currently. If you do further research on your own you’ll probably find a few more you might want to add to your list as well.

 

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Dir: P Carrothers

Director of Personalized Health Care

Preventative and Restorative Medicine

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Lifestyle, Vitamins and Supplements

Reverse Aging

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 Seven Super Supplements to reverse Aging

A brain-healthy, Alzheimer’s-fighting diet has properties that extend far beyond just decreasing your daily carb load. To truly provide your body with brain-boosting nutrients and vitamins that help stave off brain disease and other illnesses, you should consider a regular regimen of supplements. These seven supplements will go a long way towards helping you with prevention:

  1. DHA: An omega-3 fatty acid that represents more than 50% of the omega-3 fatty acids in the brain. Numerous studies link high levels of DHA with a decreased risk for dementia, Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases . Look to take in about 1,000mg/day.
  2. Resveratrol:  you can thank this natural compound which slows down the aging process, boosts blood flow to the brain, and promotes heart health. In addition to the role it plays in stimulating brain function, resveratrol is also a key ally of our body’s immune system. Target 100mg twice daily.
  3. Turmeric:  Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. We can thank turmeric for protecting our mitochondria (thanks to its role in stimulating antioxidant properties), and it also improves glucose metabolism — both of which are essential for reducing one’s risk for brain disease. Try to get 350 mg twice daily.
  4. Probiotics: Research conducted in just the last few years has started to conclude that eating food rich in probiotics can influence brain behavior, and may modulate the effects of stress, anxiety, and depression.  Ideally, get your probiotics through a supplement that contains at least 10 billion active cultures from at least ten different strains, including lactobaccilus acidophilus and bifidobacterium.
  5. Coconut Oil: If you follow this blog, you know I am a big fan of coconut oil and probably know why it’s an important part of our diet. Go for at least 1-2 tablespoons of an organic variety daily.
  6. Alpha-lipoic Acid: Alpha-lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant that works to protect brain and nerve tissue. Look to get 600 mg/day.
  7. Vitamin D: I can’t say enough about the importance of Vitamin D, and that’s why I devote five pages to it in Grain Brain. It’s ideal to start with 5,000 units of Vitamin D3 daily, get tested after three months, and adjust accordingly.

As with any dietary/health changes, these are suggested guidelines only, and you should consult with your physician before making any changes to, or beginning, a supplement plan.

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived Article:  Dr. Perlmutter

Let the medical staff at Health and Wellness Associates help you with your vitamin and supplement routine.

Health and Disease, Lifestyle

Less Sleep, Faster Brain Aging

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Less Sleep, Faster Brain Aging

This troubling finding comes from a Singapore-based study showing that losing sleep with advancing age elicits changes in a region of the brain that is a marker for faster cognitive decline. The 66 Chinese seniors who participated had MRIs to measure their brain volume in conjunction with an evaluation of their cognitive function every two years. They also reported how many hours they typically slept. The researchers, from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore, reported that study participants who slept fewer hours showed evidence of brain ventricle enlargement and declines in cognitive performance. This study was the first to look at the effect of sleep on brain ventricle enlargement, a known sign of cognitive decline. The investigators cited research elsewhere as showing that seven hours of sleep is associated with the best cognitive test scores in more than 150,000 adults, but noted that it is not yet known whether seven hours is optimum for overall physiology and long term brain health.

My take? This study adds a serious risk to the list of dangers posed by sleep deprivation throughout life. We know that lack of sleep increases the risk of accidents caused by fatigue and that not getting enough sleep is a risk factor for weight gain, perhaps by disrupting production of the appetite regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin. Sleep deprivation can also disrupt the body’s regulation of blood sugar, which can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. And laboratory studies suggest that not getting adequate rest may also elevate levels of stress hormones, boost blood pressure, and increase inflammation – all changes that may lead or contribute to health concerns later in life. If you’re not getting enough sleep, the sooner you establish new habits, the better for the long-term health of your mind and body. Here are my recommendations for getting optimal sleep.

Want To Age Gracefully? It’s not about the lines on the face – it’s about the wisdom behind them. Don’t lament the passing of the years, celebrate all you have achieved, learned and earned, for your benefit and the benefit of others. Sources: June C. Lo et al, “Sleep Duration and Age-Related Changes in Brain Structure and Cognitive Performance.” SLEEP, 2014; DOI: 10.5665/sleep.3832