June 03 2022 – Jack Riess
Do you often forget the small things like…
‘Where did I leave my keys?’
‘What is Sara’s husbands name?’
‘Where did I park my car?’
‘What did we have for dinner last night?’
New scientific evidence suggests that our brains actually start to age before we hit our 30’s, and not in our (50’s or 60’s) as most people think.
Plus an aging brain can be compromised even more depending upon certain foods and lifestyle choices.
In this article, we will discuss the science behind the aging brain and some things you can do right now to slow the effects of an aging brain and actually grow new brain cells for faster, healthier communication!
PLUS- you will even discover how so-called ‘healthy’ foods manufactured by giant food corporations.
By Robert Riess –Heakrth Researcher and Author
As the years tick by, our bodies and our brain cells begin to deteriorate. We are told that there is nothing we can do to stop it, “it’s a fact of nature. Especially, once we hit our ‘golden years.’”
Yet, ‘normal’ aging and the slow deterioration of our memory and ability to recall quickly does not impact most of us until we hit our forties. Suddenly, we forget where we parked our car, or why we walked into a room. In more extreme situations, we forget the names of friends that we may have known for years and we lose the ability to learn and memorize things that seemed so easy just a few years ago.
Our brain helps us on a daily basis in everything we do…walking, seeing, hearing, moving our joints and simple everyday activities Yet, eventually, the slow progression of aging becomes evident, the synapses just don’t fire like they used to and it takes longer to recall recent events or perform basic duties.
The slow decline gradually picks up speed as we reach 40.
Yet, the scientific evidence confirms that ‘natural’ brain degeneration actually starts well before 40.
Dr. Eric R. Braverman, in his book, Younger Brain - Sharper Mind, descriptively explains the various degenerative stages our minds go through over the years. He points to studies that show how we lose about 10 milliseconds of brain speed per decade, starting at age 20. That is one-hundredth of a second per decade.
Shocking, isn’t it? Especially since the difference between a healthy, resourceful brain and a senile brain is regarded as 100 milliseconds of brain speed. What this means is that, if we lose 10 milliseconds every 10 years from the age of 20, by the time we hit our 80th birthday, our brain has aged ‘naturally’ by 60 milliseconds (Braverman, 2013).
The problem is that we don’t realize that our brain is aging when we are in our late twenties and early thirties; the aging process is very gradual and nearly unnoticeable. Maybe our mental energy levels are not as finely tuned as they used to be or we feel less active so we stay at home more often.
If we were more aware of the subtle changes in our brain chemistry during our thirties, we would probably start making healthy changes in order to slow the decline.
However, around the age of 40, there is a noticeable difference in our brain function and we are aware that the aging process has begun.
Understanding How the Brain Functions
Dr. Eric R. Braverman, in his book, Younger Brain - Sharper Mind, describes the way in which our brain functions in considerable detail. After years of study, scientists have come to the conclusion that a healthy brain processes information efficiently via a system of electrical impulses and brain chemicals (or waves and particles). These impulses and chemicals are sent exceptionally fast along the neuronal highway (Braverman, 2013).
“Think of "the wave" that goes around a sports stadium during a football game. Every person in the stadium represents a single cell in the brain that passes along a ball of information to the next cell. As each person jumps to their feet and lifts their hands above their head, they pass a particle of information along. If the timing is off, the wave in the stadium simply stops.
In your brain, if the cells cannot pick up all the particles of information, they get dropped and brain speed slows, the information delivery becomes unbalanced and out of sync and your cognition begins to fade (Braverman, 2013).”
What happens during aging is that the impulses and chemicals that are sent along the neuronal highway slow down. Cognitive function becomes impaired because our brain is not receiving the impulses as quickly as they used to. (Dr. Braverman explains that aging is actually the number one cause of MCI, Mild Cognitive Impairment - Braverman, 2013.)
Mild Cognitive Impairment is when our bodies become chemically imbalanced, mostly brought about, believe it or not, by the following and not only by the natural aging processes:
- What we put into our bodies;
- How we treat our bodies;
- How we treat our psyche;
- How we treat our minds.
Although many regard aging as a natural process, the brain can actually be kept young and active up until our 80’s, 90’s and beyond.
Think about individuals such as Robert Frost (poet), or George Bernard Shaw (playwright) who still wrote skillfully in their 90s. Leopold Stokowski recorded 20 albums, Linus Pauling wrote and published books, and Judge Wendell Holmes still handled court matters at the Supreme Court until he retired at the age of 91.
In the next article, you will learn about 8 Ways To IMPROVE Memory and YOUR BRAIN HEALTH
Scientists now believe that aging is not the number one reason that our brain functions poorly. Degeneration of the brain is actually mostly due to what we eat, how we treat our bodies and mind, and how we exercise our brain. It’s now understood that an individual’s lifestyle, exercise, and psychological habits directly impact how quickly their brain will age.
We think of it as only a dream to be able to live above the age of 100 and still have full control over the body and brain functions. Yet, characters such as Shaw and Stokowski have proven, it is not an impossible feat.
Are We Making Our Brain Age Faster Through Our Lifestyle, Eating, or Psychological Habits?
Is there indeed a connection between brain degeneration and our lifestyle, eating, or psychological habits?
The answer is, yes, there seems to be. One of the fathers of nutrition, Sir Robert McCarrison studied the effects of diet and lifestyle choice among races from Asia and Europe for several years. He wanted to discover if there was a connection between what we eat and how fast we age.
In his 1921 book, Studies in Deficiency Disease, he writes:
“My own experience provides an example of a race unsurpassed in perfection of physique and in freedom from disease in general. I refer to the people of the State of Hunza, situated in the extreme northernmost point of India (now part of Pakistan). Amongst these people, the span of life is extraordinarily long. During the period of my association with these people, I never saw a case of asthenic dyspepsia, of gastric or duodenal ulcer, or appendicitis, or mucous colitis, or cancer (McCarrison, 1921).”
The tribe Sir McCarrison refers to in his book is not the only people noted for the absence of the sicknesses that seem to plague modern, western societies.
Writers such as Dr. J.M. Hoffman (1985), Dr. G.T. Wrench (2006) and Sally Beare (2005), investigate in their books how ancient tribes such as the Okinawa of Japan, the Symi of Greece, and the Bama of China, live and flourish well beyond 100-years without modern day degenerative disease having much effect on their brain.
Interestingly enough, these people follow a mostly vegetarian diet, packed with nutrients, vitamins, and essential minerals. Most notably, their diets boast high levels of Vitamin B17, most often lacking in modern diets.
The most common similarity among these tribes is the mindset they exhibit. Apart from a simple, peaceful lifestyle most tribesmen and tribeswomen showed a youthful mindset.
Is there something in the lifestyle they lead that affects how young their brains are? Or is the above research just gibberish?
It seems not. Modern scientists are now finding evidence that our mind, lifestyle, and eating habits will determine how quickly our brain will age.
Take, for example, dementia:
Dementia, one of the most common diseases of the modern age, is only one of the diseases that occur due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. (By now, we already know that the aging of the brain is caused mostly by chemical imbalance).
Dr. Eric R. Braverman, in his book, Younger Brain - Sharper Mind, explains that the chemical imbalance that occurs with age, as well as lifestyle and environmental elements, contributes to dementia. He lists addictions, prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, parasites, bacteria, viral infections, degenerative disorders, physical trauma, psychiatric disorders, sleep disturbances, toxic exposure, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies are also among the top causes (Braverman, 2013).
From the evidence we investigated, we have come to understand that our lifestyle, eating, and psychological habits do indeed impact our brain to a great degree that is above and beyond already existing natural degeneration.
One question thus begs for an answer. . . Is there something we can do to slow the decline of our brain?
Is Aging of the Brain Natural? Or Can You Do Something About it?
With age, the quantity of neurons in the brain starts to decrease and the synapses degenerate. With neurological diseases, such as Alzheimers and Dementia, more drastic degeneration takes place within the brain.
Taking the above into consideration, you might think that it’s impossible to do things that will combat, and even improve, the decline of brain functions on a daily basis.
The good news . . .
Surprisingly, there is a lot we can do to slow down the aging process of the brain. Take, for example, the studies done on the oldest living people in the world. We can learn a lot about lifestyle and diet by studying these people. Then we can incorporate these habits into our own lifestyles to fortify our own health and regenerate our brain.
It’s actually possible to ‘renew’ the brain through the formation of new neurons, as proved in a study by Lee, Clemenson, and Gage, 2013.
In their article for the US National Institute of Health, titled, New Neurons in An Aged Brain, Lee et al. describe the formation of new neurons and their function as follows:
“New neurons are continually generated in the adult brain throughout life. These newborn neurons go through an extended maturation process and eventually, functionally integrate themselves into the existing DG circuitry.
Although the exact role these newborn neurons play remains unclear and many of the links to hippocampus-dependent learning and memory are merely correlational, new behavioral tasks that are more sensitive to functions specific to the DG may be necessary to elucidate a causal link between the two.
It is clear, however, that aging is associated with a dramatic decrease in both neurogenesis and hippocampus-dependent learning and memory.
Interestingly, although many ongoing changes are present in the local microenvironment of the aging brain, newborn neurons appear to retain the potential to become fully mature and functional granule cells. The potential growth and maintenance of the newborn neurons can be enhanced, even at late stages of aging, by exposing animals to both physical and mental stimulation. Perhaps, there’s some truth to the phrase that ‘a healthy body equals a healthy mind’.” (Lee, Lemenson & Gage, 2013)
Up to this point in our discussion, we discussed how the brain works, how it ages, and what causes brain degeneration. Yet, these are the ultimate questions we all want to know:
Are we capable of slowing the degeneration of our brain after we hit our 40’s, 50’s, 60’s or 70’s?
Even more important, can we ‘renew’ aspects of our brain to stay younger and more alert, even up to a very old age?
The answer is a resounding Yes! We are fully capable of ensuring our brain stays younger for longer through following specific steps and guidelines, as will be presented in the next article.
Here is the next article...
8 Ways To IMPROVE Memory and YOUR BRAIN HEALTH
(Plus 26 Nutrients you can find in any health store)
According to Psychology Today¹ there are some basic steps that can be followed to improve brain health:
- Mental Exercise
Mental exercise is of extreme importance and should be done throughout life.
When we are young, it can improve the brain’s ability to focus and concentrate. (Especially important for students and high schoolers.)
As we age, exercising our brain helps to improve memory and focus. Crossword puzzles, word puzzles, and Sudoku are popular choices. Although, basic things such as learning new skills, a language, or processing information can add great value to our mental ability.
- Vitamins & Supplements
Modern lifestyles, malnutrition, and vitamin deficiencies are considered a very common and very real problem that can cause brain health to decline.
According to Life Extension², supplementing our diet with the following vitamins and minerals has shown a positive improvement in cognitive functioning:
- Huperzine A – This supplement enhances memory in healthy individuals. It’s also known to inhibit the acetylcholinesterase enzyme in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Magnesium L-Threonate – Improves the magnesium level in the brain. This is especially important in Alzheimer cases, as magnesium level deficiency in the brain is common with this disease.
- Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline (GPC) – GPC is naturally present in all the cells of the human body. As the body ages, the level of GPC declines. Supplementing with GPC has been shown to improve neurological functions and combating cerebral deterioration.
- Nicotinamide Riboside – Nicotinamide Riboside is a very important source of Vitamin B3, which supports cellular function.
Colostrinin (Proline-rich peptide complex) – Every new mother knows how crucial it is to breastfeed their child, especially during the first three months.
This is vitally important to improve the new baby’s immune system since the first breast milk secreted contains the important supplement, colostrinin.
Later on in life, colostrinin can be taken in supplement form to stabilize neurological conditions.
- Cocoa – Cocoa can improve the blood flow to the brain and also supports cognition.
- Lithium – In some diseases such as bipolar disorder and depression, mood swings are daily occurrences. Chemically, lithium deficiency can have a great influence on mood instability. Supplementing the diet with lithium can help for those suffering from bipolar or depression.
- Spearmint Extract – Spearmint is an herb that has been used to enhance cognition and memory.
- Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ) – PQQ improves the mitochondrial function and also supports neurological health. It’s also known to promote nerve repair and improve blood flow to the brain.
- Vinpocetine – Has a comprehensive array of functions that provide support to optimize brain health. It’s best known for regulating cellular sodium levels, which in turn enhances blood flow.
- Bacopa Monnieri – Bacopa Monnieri is a herb that has been proven to help enhance cognitive function and memory. It also contains a lot of anti-inflammatory properties.
- Multi-Vitamins – No matter how healthy we try to eat, it’s almost impossible to ensure we get all of the necessary vitamins and minerals our brain requires from the food we eat. Therefore, it’s never a bad idea to invest in a comprehensive multi-vitamin.
- Phosphatidylserine – Phosphatidylserine forms an important part of the cellular membrane. Together with DHA, phosphatidylserine is responsible for maintaining the proper electrical gradient along the neuronal membranes.
- Acetyl-L-Carnitine – Acetyl-L-Carnitine aids the improvement of a variety of neuronal functions. Taking 1.5 to 3.0 grams daily, it’s known to preserve cognitive health.
- Ginkgo Biloba – Ginkgo Biloba supplements help to improve cognitive blood flow.
- Wild Green Oat Extract – Improves the dopamine transmission in our brain. It also blocks the MAO-B enzyme from breaking down the necessary dopamine.
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) – CoQ10 is the main shuttle service transporting electrons in the cells. Without this, very few ATP molecules are formed and cell energy declines. CoQ10 has been known to show improvement in the brain function of people with diseases such as Parkinson’s.
- The B-Vitamins – Every woman that’s ever been pregnant understands the importance of B-vitamins. Folic Acid, for example, is regarded as one of the most important vitamins to take during pregnancy for a baby’s brain development.
The same is true for adults, with the most common being B6 and B12 vitamins. (Taking a broad-spectrum vitamin B supplement can improve the overall functioning of your brain).
- Anthocyanins and Polyphenols – Ideal sources of polyphenols are green tea and grapes and blueberry supplements for anthocyanin.
Blueberries are an ideal brain food. They tend to inhibit the debilitating neuron acetylcholinesterase (AChE) which damages memory and learning in the brain.
Resveratrol can be found in red wine. Yes, red wine! Resveratrol improves brain metabolism and preserves cerebrovascular integrity.
Tea – Polyphenols, as contained in tea and green tea, improve brain wave activity. Apart from drinking tea, if additional supplements are taken, it can improve the brain wave activity even more.
- Fish Oil – Fish oil or Omega 3 forms part of the phospholipid structure of the cell membrane. This is essential for optimal cell functioning, especially in the cells within the brain.
- Lion's Mane Mushrooms – Significant amounts of evidence indicate that Lions Mane Mushrooms can help regrow brain and nerve cells.
Recent studies provide evidence that ‘hedgehog mushroom,’ as it is otherwise known, can help in the alleviation of a variety of ailments, included but not limited to:
Memory and concentration enhancement, reduce anxiety and depression, increase energy, improvement in the symptoms of some neurodegeneration diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, and improves insulin sensitivity.
Magnesium – In the book, titled, Magnesium in the Central Nervous System, compiled by editors Vink and Nechifor (2011) for the University of Adelaide; Vink and Nechifor investigate how Magnesium influences the brain. They found that there seems to be a direct link between the alteration of some brain functions (normal and pathological) to the alteration of magnesium concentrates in the human body.
Supplying our brain with magnesium can help improve brain function.
- Nitric Oxide – Better known as the ‘miracle molecule’, nitric oxide is known to boost blood circulation. Furthermore, this molecule is known to help with blood pressure management, mental acuity, and sexual performance.
- Others – L-Arginine, L-Citrulline, Red Beets, Green vegetables, Resveratrol, and antioxidants help protect the brain from free radical damage.
- Coffee (Caffeine)
Consuming moderate quantities of caffeine can be beneficial for your health. However, it’s important to note this implies caffeine in its natural state and not the processed versions on the general market today.
What is considered ‘healthy’ in the western world, is not always what is healthy. Marketing of ‘organic’, ‘natural’, and ‘healthy foods’, has taken on a whole new meaning and large food manufacturers can actually differ greatly in their definition of each.
It’s important to read the label of any ‘natural’ product before purchase to ensure the product is actually what it’s made out to be.
‘Healthy cereals’, ‘healthy sweets’, and ‘natural sugar drinks’ are not healthy; they still contain high levels of preservatives and the like.
When it comes to diet, it’s very important to study what organic, natural food really is and replace items in your diet accordingly.
By our definition, ‘organic, natural, and healthy’ indicates food items in their most natural, raw, and wholesome state. To simplify this; from ‘the organic garden to the table’.
A Mediterranean diet, which consists of mono and polyunsaturated fats, as well as all necessary fibers and omega oils, is a good replacement for any Western diet.
- Physical Exercise
Mild to moderate aerobic exercise has wonderful benefits in improving brain health. When we exercise, our body pumps more oxygen-rich blood, which boosts brain function.
- Stress Management
Stress can have a very debilitating effect on one’s health – not only mentally, but physically as well. It’s virtually impossible to live a life without some form of stress; even though we try our best to minimize stress triggers as best we can.
- Keeping life organized and routine-oriented can help to cut down unnecessary stress.
- Plan major and minor events well in advance.
Proper planning usually leaves enough room for emergencies. For example, leaving early enough from home can allow for traffic congestion and accidents on the road but still get us to work on time, easing our stress levels.
- Enough Sleep
When babies are small, it’s very important that they get enough sleep. The same applies for adults. A good, sound 6 to 8 hours of sleep can do wonders for the body.
Sleep has been proven to help the brain heal. The brain just works a lot better after a good night’s sleep.
- Weight Management
Carrying around excess weight is very harmful to the body. It can cause a lot of damage and disease. Diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol are but some of the diseases linked to obesity that can have detrimental effects on our health.
Cholesterol clogs the arteries, meaning the heart has to work twice as hard for optimal blood flow.
Type 3 Diabetes³, or occasionally referred to as ‘brain diabetes’, is caused by the body not being able to regulate insulin effectively or to produce enough of it (sometimes it can’t produce any insulin at all). Uncontrolled, this can have very damaging results on various parts of our body. In the brain specifically, diabetes can lead to stroke, neuropathy, and mental disorders.
Amazing, isn’t it? Knowing we have some control over the degeneration our brain.
Science, nutrition, and research all point towards how our lifestyle, emotions, food choices, and mindset can ultimately speed up or slow down the aging of our brain.
Now that we understand the importance of our choices, we can take control of what we first thought as a ‘natural’ part of life.
Taking care of our brain through nutrition and lifestyle choices is one of the first steps we can take to ensure our brain stays healthy and young – whether we are just starting our care at the age of 40, 50, 60, 70, or 80!
Remember, we are never too old. As a matter of fact, we are just getting started!
Have a super, blessed, and healthy day.
Your team @ PHARMORIGINS
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HYPERLINKS USED WITHIN THE WORK
¹ - Psychology Today. Ten Ways to Slow Mental Decline. [Online]. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/memory-medic/201209/ten-ways-slow-mental-decline-age-1. Accessed 19 March 2018
² - Life Extension. Age-Related Cognitive Decline. [Online]. http://www.lifeextension.com/Protocols/Neurological/Age-Related-Cognitive-Decline/Page-03. Accessed on 19 March 2018.
³ - Medical News Today. Diabetes. [Online]. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/diabetes. Accessed 19 March 2018.
Braverman, E.R., (2013) Younger Brain-Sharper Mind: A 6-Step Plan for Preserving and Improving Memory and Attention at Any Age from America’s Brain Doctor. (Source: https://www.amazon.in/Younger-Brain-Sharper-Mind-Preserving/dp/1609619889/)
American Psychological Association. Mind Midlife. [Online]. http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/04/mind-midlife.aspx