You don't get alarmed when you you lose your keys, but what if you constantly forget what you were trying to say a few seconds ago. Full blown dementia and Alzheimer's disease is disabling and difficult on family members. Today I am offering suggestions from my Functional Medicine standpoint which should protect your brain and help you regain memory molecules.

Eliminate harmful foods. We know that certain foods and additives can slow down brain function, or harm your cells. We know them as excitotoxins because they 'excite' or vibrate your cell to death. So it's better for your brain cells to eliminate artificial sweeteners, colors and preservatives. This pretty much means no more junk food or sugar substitutes. Animal studies prove the presence of brain damage in mice that ate junk food for only 9 months. I bet some of you have been eating this stuff for decades.

Eliminate drugs that mess with your mind. First on the list is alcohol. Yep, you didn't know alcohol was a "drug"? Well, it can kill your brain cells over time. The more hangovers, the worse for you. Also, antihistamines (allergy medicine) can leave you with morning brain fog and cognitive fatigue. In particular, diphenhydramine, or any drug with that ingredient in it, will leave you a little messed up in the morning. Drugs that end in "PM" sometimes have this ingredient in it.

Exercise. One very fast way to increase brain-derived neurotropic factor or BDNF. The more BDNF you have, the stronger and tighter the connections are between your brain cells. This means less brain fog, sharper memory, better focus and heightened alertness. Supplements raise BDNF, but exercise does it rapidly and for free. Get moving!

DMAE. Dimethylaminoethanol. Our brain makes it and it occurs naturally in sardines and anchovies. Yum! You can also get supplements. It's iffy as to whether it increases your acetylcholine, a memory hormone, but some people claim benefit.

SOD. That stands for Superoxide Dismutase, and it's an enzyme that we have when we are born. The SOD enzyme is responsible for putting out the fire in your body, more specifically reducing ROS (reactive oxygen species) commonly termed free radicals. SOD is a strong antioxidant, and it reduces amyloid plaque deposits associated with Alzheimer's disease. Some people (like me) don't have enough SOD enzymes, mine are genetically cramped, so I take SOD supplements. Luckily, we are not our SNPs, so having an SOD mutation doesn't necessarily mean you will develop cognitive dysfunction.

Vinpocetine. I love this herb. It increases cerebral blood flow and is well-studied. One Hungarian study literally concluded, "vinpocetine treatment can be recommended for patients with mild cognitive impairment."

Theobromine. Similar to caffeine this is found in small amounts in coffee, chocolate, carob and tea. It stimulates your vagus nerve to increase oxygen flow to your brain to improve mood and energy. If you would like more brain boosters, go to my website (suzycohen.com) and read the longer version of this article.


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