By Dr. Michael Wald Brain aging is a natural process, but for many, the aging brain causing levels of mental dysfunction that often reduces the quality and length of your life. Loss of short and long-term memory, increased inability to “find the right words” or connect something you are looking at and recalling its name, mental fogginess, outright dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and an overall sense of fatigue are just some of the ways an aging brain can affect you.
Below are some of my thoughts regarding nutritional and natural ways to offset the degenerative effects of aging upon the human brain that Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco have researched and perfected for use with our large patient population. These are general considerations only to help both prevent certain age related changes and to offset those that may be inevitable. It is essential to keep in mind that careful medical and nutritional history, dietary review, personalized laboratory (i.e., blood analysis and other testing), brain imaging (i.e., MRI, CT, EEG, EEG, etc.) can all potentially improve overall quality of life.
1. Consuming 4-6 pieces of fruits and vegetables per day - contains antioxidants that help reduce the oxidative stress of brain aging, memory loss, etc. Juice everyday! See our Juicing Recipe in the Articles section of our website; supplement your juicing with dehydrated fruits and vegetables to increase nutritional and enzyme content thousands of times more! See our Blood Detective products including our product, Brain Food.
2. Eating healthy fats such as mono- and polyunsaturated fats especially from cold pressed (virgin, imported) olive oil and avocados: these types of fats help ensure that the cellular membranes of brain cells maintain a healthy fluidity; hardness of brain cell membranes or loss of membrane fluidity, is often associated with memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, MS, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory diseases and atrophy (shrinking of the brain). Consuming supplements of these types of oils and others including mercury free fish oils (i.e., salmon, sardines, mackerel, krill, etc.) can increase the brain content of these healthful oils much faster than eating foods alone. Special tests are available to help insure that the proper dosage of these oils (otherwise known as the, “therapeutic dose) is reached…otherwise, you may be wasting your time). These oils , if consumed in therapeutic amounts, require other nutritional synergists (aka, partners) such as vitamin E and selenium (also in certain amounts) that can be determined through careful expert examinations such as our Blood Detective interpretations and our clinical experience.
3. Increasing one's intake of healthy protein sources such as raw nuts, seeds, free-range animal proteins; proteins are required to produce neurotransmitters in the brain - chemicals that allow for proper brain function. Vegetarian proteins are probably best, but then again, proper testing and other considerations must be considered when choosing the right proteins for someone with a goal of improving and slowing down brain aging. Proper levels of stomach acid and pancreatic enzymes are only two essential considerations and both clinical experience by our doctors and testing help to clarify for each individual.
4. Reduce one's intake of refined and processed carbohydrates and sugars such as desserts, refined pasta and table sugar; these types of sugars (carbohydrates) cause wild fluctuations in brain and blood glucose levels that can increase brain and nervous system aging. This is important for anyone we believe for any health purpose whatsoever, but even this must be done correctly. We see many patients who have imbalanced diets in their efforts to be healthy. We can help figure this all out! What is important here to understand is that certain sugars (not including fruits) can damage the nervous system and many other structures causing and worsening nervous system (i.e., brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerve) function causing many serious health problems. Afterall, the nervous system controls many essential functions so the damage can extend virtually anywhere in the body.
5. Eat fish with high levels of omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna, swordfish and mackerel; these important fats are proven to reduce brain atrophy (shrinkage), premature death of brain neurons and oxidative (degenerative) changes in the brain. The best type of salmon is Alaskan and not Atlantic salmon. Dr. Wald strongly suggests that everyone who eats salmon more than once per month have their blood and urine mercury levels checked to detect and avoid mercury toxicity; these recommendations are very close to governmental suggestions regarding this issue. Bottom line, a combination of mercury vapor testing, serum metals (measuring total metals), red blood cells metals and minerals (also measuring total metals and minerals) and urinary 24-hour provocation testing (using a chelator of substance that helps bring metals into the urine so that they can be measured) and urinary free metals (the only test included here that separates out the harmful metals known as “free or unbound metals” from the bound or “non-free metals).Take a supplement of omega 3 fatty acids including EPA and DHA oils: these oils, when supplemented according to metabolic rate (see Bioimpadance Testing under our Services section) will help get the dose right. The dose of omega 3 oils, or any other nutrients for that matter, will also depend upon one’s needs for the given nutrient(s) changing one’s overall requirements. For example, if you have high cholesterol you require omega 3 oils; if you have inflammation or memory issues your dose requirement is much higher; if you are on a blood thinner like aspirin, coumadin or warforin your dose must be much lower or high depending upon your blood INR levels (a clotting test), platelet count and function and perhaps other tests (like bioimpedance mentioned above).
6. Take a supplement called phosphotidylcholine and phosphatidylserine; helps to maintain the integrity of neurons as an essential compound of nerve tissue. You guessed it! If you take this other nutritional compounds, in terms of dosages, must change – please read our Nutritional Synergism Q & A under our Q & A section.
7. Take a multivitamin/mineral supplement - providing the B-vitamins needed for neurotransmitters to work properly (particularly B6). Not all multivitamins are alike; We have produced our own that meet our ridged quality assurance (scientific) requirements for composition, balance and type of ingredients. Not all supplements like multivitamins are the same. We actually use a few different formulations to meet the needs of our patients based on age, medication use, nutritional supplement use, exercise levels, sleep quality, blood results, results of other tests, health history and more.
8. Consider bio-identical hormones: the brain is known to age faster in some individuals when levels of estrogens, growth hormone testosterone, pregnenolone, progesterone and DHEA decline, just to name a few. Hormones can be balanced with dietary, herbal, nutritional supplement and natural hormones themselves. Even individuals with some very serious forms of brain aging including MS, ALS, Alzeheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia from cardiovascular disease (i.e., TIA’s or mini-strokes) respond favorably to hormonal replacement and nutrition done right.
9. Take nutrition specific for supporting one's thyroid; low thyroid function is associated with accelerated brain aging. Adrenal disease and atrophy (shrinking) have been associated with brain aging. Mal-absorption syndromes caused from gluten; indicant and other issues must be identified and corrected. Sometimes you’ve just got to fix other tissues that are not functioning properly and have contributed or caused brain aging.
10. MOST IMPORTANT – Our blood detective technology helps me figure out the most appropriate and individualized nutritional plan for overall quality of life. See our, Blood Nutritional Consultation on our home page under the Consultations section (www.intmedny.com).
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