This website uses cookies so that we can provide you with the best user experience possible. Cookie information is stored in your browser and performs functions such as recognizing you when you return to our website and helping our team to understand which sections of the website you find most interesting. We do not share any your subscription information with third parties. It is used solely to send you notifications about site content occasionally.

dementia

  • Dementia is a devastating condition affecting upwards of 10,000,000 Americans, with—5 million having Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Dementia can be triggered by numerous causes including Alzheimer's, multi infarct dementia, and nutritional deficiencies. Treatment currently is geared towards giving the two barely helpful (but very profitable) medications, Aricept and Namenda, and beyond this; little is usually done.

    Not because other treatments are not very helpful. But rather because they are so low cost that no one shows the data to your doctor. Well meaning as your doctor is. Wondering if this is so? Ask yours if they've seen the studies we discuss below. If not, they may want to explore why, as it will blow their minds to realize just how much Big Pharma controls their education! Fortunately, A LOT can be done to prevent or slow Alzheimer's and dementia. In fact, repeated autopsy studies have shown that 30–50 percent of those diagnosed with Alzheimer's NEVER has the slightest bit of the illness. Instead, they had other potentially reversible causes of their dementia!

    SO in addition to using your brain, here are my top 7 tips! I have organized them using the pneumonic "DEMENTIA." The good news? These can also help optimize and maintain brain power in most people.

    1. DRUGS—Get people off unneeded ones. Anticholinergic (AC) Meds (benadryl, tricyclic antidepressants, incontinence meds) are especially problematic. Risk for cognitive impairment was increased by 50 percent in adults receiving at least three mild ACs for more than 90 days and by 100 percent in those receiving one or more severe ACs for more than 60 days. Acid Blockers like omeprazole are also associated with a 44 percent increased risk of dementia. Blood pressure pills can be protective however, especially Beta Blockers (like Inderal) and ACE Inhibitors.

    2. EMOTIONS—Depression, Anxiety and Sleep. Natural remedies can be especially helpful here, without the worsening often caused by the medications. For example, a special form of Curcumin (called Curamed 500 mg 2 x day) was more effective for depression that antidepressants in two six week head on studies (and see nutrition below). For both anxiety and sleep, a special component of Echinacea (called AnxioCalm by Terry Naturally) can be very helpful with no side effects. Terrific ZZZZ, Revitalizing Sleep Formula, and a special melatonin (Dual Spectrum 5 mg by Natures Bounty) can also be very helpful.

    3. METABOLIC—This means optimizing bioidentical hormone levels. For example:

    A. Low normal thyroid levels were associated with a 240 percent higher risk of dementia in women. Borderline elevated thyroid had as much as a 800 percent higher risk in men.

    B.–Every 50 percent increase in free testosterone in the bloodstream was associated with a 26 percent decrease in the risk of developing Alzheimer's.

    C.–Men who went on to develop Alzheimer's disease had about half the free testosterone in their bloodstreams as men who did not.

    4. EARS AND EYES—Have vision and eye exams to optimize function.

    5. NUTRITION—Optimize key areas of nutrition. Begin with good common sense and a whole food diet, low in gluten:

    A. Optimize folate, B12 and B Vitamins. Check a Vitamin B12 level (keep over 540) and homocysteine level (keep under nine). Better yet, simply take a high potency vitamin powder (I use the Energy Revitalization System), which supplies virtually all the needed nutrients in optimal amounts in one low cost drink. Research in the recent issue of JAMA Psychiatrysupports this. “The recent VITACOG study, in which 271 individuals older than 70 years who had mild cognitive impairment received supplementation with high-dose folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12, confirmed what other studies showed. They lost less brain compared to people who had normal homocysteine and normal vitamin levels, meaning that those with high levels of homocysteine or with clinical or biochemical vitamin deficiency can benefit from supplementation.”

    B. Take a special highly absorbed form of Curcumin called CuraMed. Take 750 mg 2 x day (it would take 14–600 caps a day of other forms to get the same effect, so brand matters). The prevalence of Alzheimer's in India is 70 percent lower than in the US, and this has been traced to the curcumin in the diet, which shows promise in many neurodegenerative conditions, including also Parkinson's.

    C. Explore ketogenic diets, coconut oil, etc.

    6. TUMORS AND OTHER BRAIN ISSUES—Dementia is a very good reason to get a CT scan or head MRI.

    7. INFECTIONS & ANEMIA and other overt medical problems. Dementia means it's time to get a thorough checkup from both the neurologist and your holistic physician (see www.ABIHM. org to find one).

    With these common sense research proven tips, you can often prevent, and even reverse, dementia!

  • Dear Readers,

    Welcome to the August 2018 issue of TotalHealth Magazine.

    Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, in this article addresses the clinical research that has been conducted on supplementation with L-lysine—with a focus on its anti-Herpes virus effects. With a review of L-lysine's biological functions in our bodies.

    Media Review is on the book "Radical Metabolism," by Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS. Long-time weight loss, detox, and anti-aging expert Ann Louise Gittleman has been changing the nutritional landscape for decades, busting myths and paving the trail to health and wellness. True to form, in her upcoming book Ann Louise unveils groundbreaking science about why the latest diet trends do not work for everyone—especially if you have a "toxic metabolism."

    Kenneth J. McLeod, PhD and Eric Dohner, MD present "Protecting Yourself From Dementia." The dominant risk factor for dementia is advancing age, unfortunately, no one knows how to reverse aging. However, the second most important risk factor is poor circulation, and this is something you can easily correct.

    Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, reports in "Are Adrenal Problems Causing Your Night Sweats?" This is part two of a four-part series on night sweats. Teitelbaum's focus is on chronic stress causing adrenal fatigue and low blood sugar levels, which then triggers anxiety and fatigue, and then results in even more stress. It's a vicious cycle that can spiral your health downward. Read on to learn how to stop this cycle.

    Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, continues her Smart Fats Series "How Smart Fats Reset Stress Hormones." We quote, "Stress really does a number on your body. The sad thing is that stress, no matter where it comes from, will have the same detrimental biochemical effect—a spike in cortisol, your body's premier fat storage hormone." Gittleman includes twelve things you can do to address and help your cortisol levels become and stay healthy.

    Gloria Gilbère, CDP, DAHom, PhD, presents, "Tostadas—Deliciously Unique." You'll find several varieties of tostadas on preparation and several suggestions for accompaniments for you to try. Always healthy recipes from Dr. G. and nightshade free for those who avoid the nightshades.

    Shawn Messonnier, DVM, this month on "Intestinal Parasites In Pets." Parasites can be present without clinical signs, and because the parasites can be transmitted to other pets and people, regular fecal examinations (at least twice yearly) are recommended by most veterinarians and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

    Thanks to all the authors who make TotalHealth possible.

    Best in health,

    TWIP—The Wellness Imperative People

    Click here to read the full August 2018 issue.

    Click here to read the full August 2018 issue.

  • As the snowy cold weather begins to roll into Colorado, I crave warmer, heartier meals like chili, stews and brisket. Juicing kale and celery when it's 4 degrees outside doesn't cut it. So at this time of year, garlic and curry go in everything I eat. Let's talk curry today. Penang, red or green curry, it's all good with me! Curry sounds like it's one spice, but it's actually a blend of spices, and it always contains some turmeric spice.

    Turmeric comes from the ginger family. This yellow-orange spice was first used as a dye until its medicinal properties were uncovered. Our research today proves turmeric positively benefits hundreds of health conditions, making it a healthy and tasty sprinkle for any dish. Do I want it right now? Yes please!

    You can buy the spice called turmeric all by itself if you don't like curry. Supplements of turmeric are sold everywhere. And you'll also find "curcumin" which is one potent extract of turmeric.

    Curcumin may prevent or improve age-related cognitive decline, dementia, and mood disorders. This is not wishful thinking, it's true. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial observed 60 adults between the ages of 60 and 85. After about one hour of their curcumin dose, these adults enjoyed a higher attention span and better memory than those who swallowed the dud pill, the placebo. After four weeks of curcumin supplements, memory, mood, alertness, and contentedness were considerably better in the participants.

    Curcumin is a hot supplement, not spicy hot, but "hot" in the sense that research is conducted frequently. I found more than 900 published research papers pertaining to curcumin's anti-cancer activity. One of these papers found that curcumin has the ability to make some cancer cells commit suicide. Basically, curcumin programs the cell to die! That's a good thing, you want those cancer cells to go bye-bye! Technically, we call this "apoptosis." Cancers that are resistant to multiple chemotherapeutic agents seem to still respond to curcumin, at least in mouse studies. Because of curcumin's long-term record of safety and low risk of side effects, I think it's a great natural adjunct to many protocols, especially for breast and prostate cancer. It's a strong anti-inflammatory.

    Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions. Diabetes Care, the journal of the American Diabetes Association, published a study about curcumin's ability to prevent pre-diabetic patients from becoming full-blown diabetics. Results after 9 months showed 100% success! No one progressed. Further, curcumin-treated patients had better pancreatic beta cell function and higher adiponectinin. Excellent! You know, I'm a pharmacist and I'll tell you there isn't one drug behind the counter that competes.

    Curcumin is the 'Kardashian' of herbs. It's spicy, notorious, and a little goes a long way if you know what I mean. Too much is not good, it's a laxative. Most importantly, curry, and curcumin are considered effective and safe by most physicians. I'd ask about supplementing with it if you have inflammatory conditions, especially autoimmune ones like rheumatoid, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's and psoriasis.

  • If there is one disability that creates the greatest alarm for the baby boomer generation, it would be the loss of memory and brain functions. The concern is justified.

    Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia now affect 97,000 Canadians, and by 2031 it is estimated that this number will rise to 750,000. Unfortunately, this is a worldwide trend with an estimated 24 million people presently diagnosed with dementia and an estimated 81 million predicted by 2040.

    Are the various forms of dementia an inevitable consequence of aging or could they, in some instances, be symptomatic of an underlying (and overlooked) nutritional deficiency?

    Effects of B12 Deficiency
    There is growing evidence that a vitamin B12 deficiency, which affects an estimated one-quarter of North Americans, plays a major role in the decline of neurological functions. B12 deficiency is more commonly found in the elderly and those with predisposing conditions such as Crohn’s disease.

    Vitamin B12 (cobalamin), a fragile, water-soluble compound that performs a wide variety of functions in the body, is vital for good health. B12 is essential for normal nervous system function and normal red cell, white cell, and platelet production. A deficiency of B12, which may not be detected in a blood test, can result in neurological disorders often mimicking senility, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease.

    Causes of B12 Deficiency
    Diet, age, and drugs are the prime culprits behind B12 deficiency. The primary sources of vitamin B12 are meat, dairy, eggs, and fish. Inadequate intake of these foods or impaired absorption directly impacts B12 levels. A vegan diet will not provide adequate sources of B12.

    It should also be noted that microwave cooking may inactivate vitamin B12. Researchers found that after just six minutes of microwaving, nearly half of the vitamin B12 in food was destroyed.

    How B12 Works
    Vitamin B12 has the unique ability to provoke the regeneration of nerves without adverse side effects. This is because B12 facilitates methylation, the process that creates and maintains nerves and brain chemicals. In addition, vitamin B12 is able to lower homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a toxic by-product of methionine metabolism that can damage neurons. Importantly, homocysteine interferes with the methylation reactions critical for brain function. By lowering homocysteine levels, neurological functions can be improved.

    Vitamin B12 also protects brain health by helping in the synthesis of the neurotransmitters, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.

    People who do not respond to supplemental vitamin B12 may also be deficient in folate. Since vitamin B12 and folate work synergistically to restore normal homocysteine levels, increasing folate may also be necessary.

    Boosting B12
    In the past, vitamin B12 was administered by injections. However, oral B12 supplements have been found to be as good as or better than injections. While there are several forms of B12, methylcobalamin is the most neurologically active form. When taken sublingually (under the tongue), it is immediately assimilated into the brain.

    A daily dose of 1,000 mcg of B12 is usually sufficient. However, if there is a deficiency then 2,000 mcg daily for one month is recommended, followed by 1,000 mcg daily.

    There is little question that many people exhibiting symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia actually suffer from a vitamin B12 deficiency. For so many people, simply taking a B12 supplement could rescue them from the darkness.

    Effects of Dementia
    While depression is a common symptom of early-stage dementia, the following can also be affected:

    • language
    • comprehension
    • motor skills
    • short-term memory
    • reaction time
    • personality traits
    • mood or behavior

    Who is at Risk of B12 Deficiency?
    The elderly are most at risk of B12 deficiencies. There are several reasons for this:

    • reduced production of intrinsic factor, a protein secreted by the stomach to help the body absorb B12
    • low levels of hydrochloric acid, necessary for digesting proteins and maintaining intrinsic factor
    • prescription and over-the-counter drugs for stomach ulcers, heartburn, or gastroesophageal reflux

  • 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.

  • As we grow older, we may grow wiser, but we can also experience age-related memory impairment (ARMI). ARMI is relatively common1 and should not be confused with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, while ARMI is simply mild memory problems associated with normal aging (e.g. “Where did I put my keys?”). Even so, the memory loss and cognitive slowing associated with ARMI can interfere with our daily routines.2 In fact, according to a national survey, worries over retaining mental sharpness with age was the number two health concern among consumers (second only to worries about continuing with normal activities with age).3

    So what can we do to help maintain mental sharpness with aging? Aside from eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise (which is good advice for everybody in all age groups), there are some very specific nutraceuticals (i.e. vitamins, herbs, amino acids), which have been shown to be effective for just this purpose. These include Bacopa monnieri leaf extract, Panax ginseng root extract, Rhodiola rosea root extract, natural caffeine and L-theanine, folic acid and vitamin B12.

    Bacopa monnieri leaf extract
    The leaves of the Bacopa monnieri plant have been used for centuries in the traditional East Indian system of healthcare (i.e. Ayurveda) for purposes of promoting “healthy longevity, and strengthening life, brain, and mind.”4 While that is certainly impressive, it is even more impressive that several modern, human clinical studies have been conducted showing that supplementation with Bacopa helped:

    • Improve occasional, age-related absentmindedness.
    • Promote a healthy memory.
    • Improve some measures of delayed recall.
    • Promote cognitive function.
    Percentage Increase in Total Memory Score

    Most of these studies5,6,7,8,9,10,11 found that daily supplementation with 300 mg of Bacopa monnieri leaf extract (standardized for 50 percent total bacosides), provided significant benefits by week 12—although progressive benefits in Total Memory Score were also seen during week four and eight as well.12

    It should also be noted that these studies were conducted in men and women who were at least 40 years old, and in most cases more than 55 years old. That means that you’re more likely to experience similar benefits if you’re middle-aged and older, rather than if you’re in your 20s or 30s.

    If you’re wondering how Bacopa works, research13 suggests that it helps to maintain healthy levels of acetylcholine, a compound your body makes that works in your brain to help facilitate memory, learning ability and cognitive performance.

    Panax ginseng root extract
    Panax ginseng root, or ginseng for short, is a traditional Chinese herb, which has been used for thousands of years for various aspects of healthcare. It is also one of the most widely-researched herbs in modern science with over 5,000 published studies. Ginseng belongs to a category of herbs known as adaptogens. Adaptogens are herbs that help stabilize physiological processes and promote homeostasis (i.e. stable, healthy functioning of the body), especially in the case of stress and fatigue. This property was seen in two human clinical studies14,15 examining the effects of ginseng on mental performance. The results demonstrated that 200 mg of ginseng root extract daily:

    • Improved speed of mental performance within 60 minutes.
    • Enhance performance of mental arithmetic within 60 minutes.
    • Reduce feelings of mental fatigue within 60 minutes.
    • Quickly reduced feelings of mental fatigue during sustained mental activity.
    • Quickly improved some measures of mental performance.

    While many nutraceuticals may take weeks to work, these studies found that ginseng root extract provided beneficial results in as little as 60 minutes.

    Rhodiola rosea root extract
    Like ginseng, Rhodiola rosea root is an adaptogen. This plant has been used for centuries in the traditional systems of healthcare throughout Russia, Scandinavia, and other countries where it was used to increase physical endurance, work productivity, longevity, and to treat fatigue, mood and promote a healthy nervous system.16 Currently, there are over 500 studies on Rhodiola demonstrating the value of this plant. The reason for its inclusion in Ageless Memory is that human clinical research17,18,19 shows that supplementation with Rhodiola:

    • Improved capacity for mental work during stress.
    • Supports healthy cognitive function during stress.
    • Reduced fatigue during stress.

    These benefits were seen when 370 mg of Rhodiola root extract was used daily, and when it was standardized for 3 percent salidroside and 1 percent rosavins—key compounds in Rhodiola. This standardization is particularly important since most Rhodiola extracts have the opposite standardization: 1 percent salidroside and 3 percent rosavins. Consequently, products with this opposite standardization are not providing the correct balance of Rhodiola compounds used in these cited studies.

    Natural Caffeine and L-Theanine
    Black tea leaf extract provides natural caffeine as well as the amino acid L-theanine. This is an important distinction because not all sources of caffeine are natural, and not all sources provide L-theanine as well. Consider that if you buy one of those popular energy shots that are supposed to last a few hours, they contain caffeine anhydrous. That’s a synthetic form of caffeine. And while coffee certainly contains natural caffeine, we all know about the jittery effect on your nerves if you get too much—and some of the freshly brewed coffee you get from popular coffee houses can contain hundreds of milligrams of caffeine. Tea, on the other hand, also provides L-theanine, which has a calming effect. That’s likely the reason why drinking tea isn’t typically associated with caffeine jitters like coffee—it contains L-theanine, which helps sooth over-stimulated nerves. Now to be clear, the amount of caffeine used in research with L-theanine is only 50 mg—that’s the amount of caffeine you’d typically find in one-half cup of moderately brewed coffee. Furthermore, 100 mg of L-theanine was used alongside the caffeine. When this combination was used together, human clinical research20,21,22,23,24,25 has shown that supplementation:

    • Helped maintain focus.
    • Helped with mental flexibility, the ability to shift attention from one task to another and efficiently adapt to different situations.
    • Helped improve focus on the information while filtering out other stimuli.
    • Helped improve focus during cognitively demanding tasks.
    • Helped improve speed and accuracy of cognitive performance.
    • Helped improve mental alertness.

    Folic Acid and Vitamin B12
    Folic acid and vitamin B12 are both critical B vitamins that perform a variety of functions in the human body. Among those functions are the roles they play in cognitive performance. For example, in one study26 older adults were supplemented with 400 mcg of folic acid and 100 mcg of vitamin B12 daily. The results showed that this combination:

    • Supported healthy cognitive function in older adults.
    • Promoted healthy memory performance in older adults.

    Furthermore, vitamin B12 deficiency can result in memory loss, and supplementation can help prevent it.27,28 Since vitamin B12 deficiency is estimated to affect 10 –15 percent of individuals over the age of 60,29 supplementation is certainly worthwhile.

    What to Expect When Taking Ageless Memory
    It should be noted that the aforementioned nutraceuticals tend to provide their effects at different times, so even if you use all of them your results will be progressive rather than instantaneous. Essentially, here’s how it will likely work (although everyone is different and results and timing may differ for you as well):

    Nutraceutical Effects on Memory and Cognitive Function

    Endnotes:

    1. Hanninen T, Koivisto K, Reinikainen KJ, Helkala EL, Soininen H, Mykkänen L, Laakso M, Riekkinen PJ. Prevalence of ageing-associated cognitive decline in an elderly population. Age Ageing. 1996 May;25(3):201–5.
    2. Hedden T, Gabrieli JDE. Insights into the ageing mind: a view from cognitive neuroscience. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2004;5:87–96.
    3. Sloan AE, Hut CA. Reading the Compass: Up-and-Coming Market Trends. Nutraceuticals World. October 1, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2015 from http://www.nutraceuticalsworld.com/issues/2013-10/view_features/reading-the-compass-up-and-coming-market-trends/.
    4. Engels G, Brinckmann J. Bacopa. HerbalGram. 2011;91:1–4.
    5. Morgan A, Stevens J. Does Bacopa monnieri Improve Memory Performance in Older Persons? Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Trial. J Altern Complem Med. 2010; 16(7): 753–9.
    6. Calabrese C, Gregory WL, Leo M, Kraemer D, Bone K, Oken B. Effects of a Standardized Bacopa monnieri Extract on Cognitive Performance, Anxiety, and Depression in the Elderly: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Altern Complem Med. 2008;14(6):707–13.
    7. Roodenrys S, Booth D, Bulzomi S, Phipps A, Micallef C, Smoker J. Chronic effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on human memory. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2002 Aug;27(2):279–81.
    8. Stough C, Lloyd J, Clarke J, Downey LA, Hutchison CW, Rodgers T, Nathan PJ. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001 Aug;156(4):481–4.
    9. Stough C, Downey LA, Lloyd J, Silber B, Redman S, Hutchison C, Wesnes K, Nathan PJ. Examining the nootropic effects of a special extract of Bacopa monniera on human cognitive functioning: 90 day double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Phytother Res. 2008 Dec;22(12):1629-34.
    10. Raghav S, Singh H, Dalal PK, Srivastava JS, Asthana OP. Randomized controlled trial of standardized Bacopa monniera extract in age-associated memory impairment. Indian J Psychiatry. 2006 Oct-Dec; 48(4): 238–42.
    11. Pase MP, Kean J, Sarris J, Neale C, Scholey AB, Stough C. The cognitive-enhancing effects of Bacopa monnieri: a systematic review of randomized, controlled human clinical trials. J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Jul;18(7):647–52.
    12. Raghav S, Singh H, Dalal PK, Srivastava JS, Asthana OP. Randomized controlled trial of standardized Bacopa monniera extract in age-associated memory impairment. Indian J Psychiatry. 2006 Oct-Dec; 48(4): 238–242.
    13. Stough C, Lloyd J, Clarke J, Downey LA, Hutchison CW, Rodgers T, Nathan PJ. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001 Aug;156(4):481–4.
    14. Reay JL, Kennedy DO, Scholey AB. Single doses of Panax ginseng (G115) reduce blood glucose levels and improve cognitive performance during sustained mental activity. J Psychopharmacol. 2005 Jul;19(4):357–65.
    15. Reay JL, Kennedy DO, Scholey AB. Effects of Panax ginseng, consumed with and without glucose, on blood glucose levels and cognitive performance during sustained ‘mentally demanding’ tasks. J Psychopharmacol. 2006 Nov;20(6):771–81.
    16. Brown RP, Gerbarg PL, Ramazanov Z. Rhodiola rosea: A Phytomedicinal Overview. HerbalGram 2002; 56:40–52.
    17. Darbinyan V, Kteyan A, Panossian A, Gabrielian E, Wikman G, Wagner H. Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue—a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty. Phytomedicine. 2000 Oct;7(5):365–71.
    18. Spasov AA, Wikman GK, Mandrikov VB, Mironova IA, Neumoin VV. A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of the stimulating and adaptogenic effect of Rhodiola rosea SHR-5 extract on the fatigue of students caused by stress during an examination period with a repeated low-dose regimen. Phytomedicine. 2000 Apr;7(2):85–9.
    19. Shevtsov VA, Zholus BI, Shervarly VI, Vol’skij VB, Korovin YP, Khristich MP, Roslyakova NA, Wikman G. A randomized trial of two different doses of a SHR-5 Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work. Phytomedicine. 2003 Mar;10(2–3):95–105.
    20. Einöther SJ, Martens VE, Rycroft JA, De Bruin EA. L-theanine and caffeine improve task switching but not intersensory attention or subjective alertness. Appetite. 2010 Apr;54(2):406–9.
    21. Kelly SP, Gomez-Ramirez M, Montesi JL, Foxe JJ. L-theanine and caffeine in combination affect human cognition as evidenced by oscillatory alpha-band activity and attention task performance. J Nutr. 2008 Aug;138(8):1572S–1577S.
    22. Foxe JJ, Morie KP, Laud PJ, Rowson MJ, de Bruin EA, Kelly SP. Assessing the effects of caffeine and theanine on the maintenance of vigilance during a sustained attention task. Neuropharmacology. 2012 Jun;62(7):2320–7.
    23. Owen GN, Parnell H, De Bruin EA, Rycroft JA. The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood. Nutr Neurosci. 2008 Aug;11(4):193–8. 24. Giesbrecht T, Rycroft JA, Rowson MJ, De Bruin EA. The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness. Nutr Neurosci. 2010 Dec;13(6):283–90.
    24. De Bruin EA, Rowson MJ, Van Buren L, Rycroft JA, Owen GN. Black tea improves attention and self-reported alertness. Appetite. 2011 Apr;56(2):235–40.
    25. Walker JG, Batterham PJ, Mackinnon AJ, Jorm AF, Hickie I, Fenech M, Kljakovic M, Crisp D, Christensen H. Oral folic acid and vitamin B-12 supplementation to prevent cognitive decline in community-dwelling older adults with depressive symptoms—the Beyond Ageing Project: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;95:194–203.
    26. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Vitamin B12. Dietary reference intakes for thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, biotin, and choline. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press; 1998:306–56.
    27. Healton EB, Savage DG, Brust JC, Garrett TJ, Lindenbaum J. Neurologic aspects of cobalamin deficiency. Medicine (Baltimore). 1991;70(4): 229–45. [ABSTRACT ONLY]
    28. Baik HW, Russell RM. Vitamin B12 deficiency in the elderly. Annu Rev Nutr. 1999;19:357–77. [ABSTRACT ONLY]
  • A blend of choline, uridine, and docohexaenoic acid (DHA) serves as precursor to lipid molecules essential for forming and maintaining membranes of brain cells, thereby helping to avert the loss of synapses—connections between brain cells that can lead to memory loss and other cognitive impairments.

    Choline can be found in meats, nuts and eggs, and omega-3 fatty acids are found in a variety of sources, including fish, eggs, flaxseed and meat from grass-fed animals. Uridine is produced by the liver and kidney, and is present in some foods as a component of RNA. Docohexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid, best known for its role in promoting cardiovascular health. Richard Wurtman, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues submit that these three nutrients are precursors to the lipid molecules that, along with specific proteins, make up brain-cell membranes, which form synapses. To be effective, all three precursors must be administered together. The researchers followed 259 patients for six months. Patients, whether taking the nutrient blend or a placebo, improved their verbal-memory performance for the first three months, but the placebo patients deteriorated during the following three months, whereas the nutrient blend patients continued to improve. Further, electroencephalography (EEG) studies revealed changes in brain-activity patterns throughout the study: as the trial went on, the brains of patients receiving the nutrient blend started to shift from patterns typical of dementia to more normal patterns. Because EEG patterns reflect synaptic activity, the researchers submit that synaptic function increased following treatment with the nutrient blend.

    References:

    1. Philip Scheltens, Jos W.R. Twisk, Rafael Blesa, Elio Scarpini, Christine A.F. von Arnim, Richard J. Wurtman, et al. “Efficacy of Souvenaid in Mild Alzheimer’s Disease: Results from a Randomized, Controlled Trial.” J Alzheimer’s Dis., Volume 31, Number 1, July 2012, Pages 225–36.
  • Phosphatidylserine (PS) is quite literally a “brain nutrient.” As a matter of fact, this phospholipid is an integral component in the structure of the brain and spinal cord, and is active at cell membranes (including synaptic membrane zones). A significant amount of published clinical research has demonstrated that PS supplementation supports various cognitive parameters in adults and in children.1

    Age-related memory impairment
    Kato-Kataoka et al2 conducted a double-blind, randomized controlled study to investigate the effects of PS on the cognitive functions of elderly Japanese subjects with memory complaints. Seventy-eight elderly people with mild cognitive impairment (50–69 years old) were randomly allocated to take PS (100 mg, 300 mg/day) or placebo for six months. In the subjects with relatively low score at baseline, the memory scores in PS treated groups were significantly increased against the baseline, while those of the placebo group remained unchanged. And the memory improvements in PS treated groups were mostly attributed to the increase in delayed verbal recall, a memory ability attenuated in the earliest stage of dementia.

  • The Importance of Routine and Familiarity

    Picture this common hospital scene...

    You are 75 years old, and have been on a water fast for a week, being woken every 2â€"4 hours (vital sign checks and the person shrieking all night in the bed next to you), you get upset and want to leave or just get up to pee. You have an IV in, so the nurse won't let you up, so you complain—perhaps loudly. Next thing you know, you get strapped down to the bed in a posey jacket and four point restraints. You can't get up now, so they stick a catheter up your bladder and rectum, while you are left half naked. This leaves you upset, so the staff drugs you with sedatives and antipsychotics. The catheter triggers bladder infections which disorient you further. Meanwhile, being drugged out leaves you paranoid and panicked, leading to, you guessed it, more drugs. You are in unfamiliar environs, and nothing identifies you as human. Instead, you are the 'Dementia in room 7.' No one knows you from before the hospitalization to know that this is not who you usually are. By now, you are near psychotic and of course unable to go home. Your family is given this disappointing news, having no idea the problem was preventable, and you get packed to a nursing home. To make you more manageable, you are kept on psychoactive drugs and treated like a child.

    Welcome to "Hospital Induced Delirium & Dementia"
    Until recently, hospital-acquired delirium was attributed to old age and not considered important to prevent or treat. But it is critical. People who develop delirium in the hospital end up in nursing homes a staggering 75 percent of the time, five times higher than those without hospital induced delirium. It also leads to longer stays in the hospital, an average of nine days compared to four without delirium, costing an average $60,000 per hospital stay.1 Add to that the average $70,000 yearly cost of being in a nursing home, and the emotional and financial benefits of prevention become staggering.

    So How Can I Prevent Hospital Induced Delirium and Dementia?
    Begin by simply remembering to provide familiarity for the hospitalized person. In addition, these measures remind staff that this is a real human being with a loving family, rather than 'The demented gallbladder in 26.' Here are simple ways hospital induced delirium and the vicious cycle it leads to can be avoided.

    Early warning signs include:
    • Cognitive impairment, such as poor memory, particularly of recent events, disorientation, not knowing where one is, or rambling or nonsense speech.
    • Inability to stay focused on a topic, or getting stuck on an idea rather than responding to questions or conversation.
    • Hallucinations, extreme emotions, or combative behavior.
    • Elderly people who are recovering in the hospital are particularly vulnerable to delirium. Approximately seven million Americans experience delirium in the hospital each year, and it is undiagnosed 60 percent of the time.2

    All of the above suggests that avoiding optional hospitalizations are a good idea. Ask these questions:

    1. Can having a visiting nurse or family member avoid the need for hospitalization?
    2. Is the person being admitted for a test or treatment that could be skipped?

    The risk-benefit equation can change dramatically in the elderly when the risk of hospital-induced delirium is factored in. Meanwhile, it is not only hospitalization itself that increases risk. A large population-based study conducted by investigators at the Neurological Institute in Taipei Veterans General Hospital showed that the risk of developing dementia nearly doubled within three to seven years of anesthesia and surgery. In addition, the average time to dementia diagnosis was shorter in patients who had anesthesia and surgery compared with their counterparts who did not undergo these procedures.3,4 So ask if a given procedure is truly essential!

    Tips for Avoiding Hospital Induced Delirium and Dementia

    1. Keep pictures of the person, spouse, children, grandchildren and even pets all over the hospital room. Even put them on the walls. This not only offers familiarity for the person, but helps the (sometimes exhausted) staff see them as people worthy of respect.
    2. Keep comforting and familiar items from home around, like their slippers, mugs, etc.
    3. Get the family 24/7 visiting hours. Catching disorientation early has a very different outcome when done by a family member who can be soothing and reassuring, and has the time and inclination to be so. This also allows the hospitalized person's needs to be met more quickly (like a glass of water or help to the bathroom), while offering socialization and interaction.
    4. If the family doesn't have the "manpower" or resources to have someone there all the time, have the number of a family member/friend that can be called in if disorientation or agitation occurs kept prominently on the wall by the person's bed, with an order to call that person if needed. Again, catching it early before the above vicious cycle gets a foothold is key.
    5. The more severe the illness, the greater the need to encourage family presence.
    6. To the doctors: Most families will be thrilled to have you share these thoughts with them, and have the option of having someone be present outside of visiting hours. For the rare cases where the person seems to have been abandoned, sometimes a reminder that the government will hunt down all the person's assets to pay any nursing home costs, even any assets transferred to others in the last five years: so abandoning the person can cost the family $70,000/yr if they have any hope of an inheritance.
    Other helpful tips?
    1. Have a list of all the person's medications. Over medication can trigger delirium.
    2. Bring their glasses and hearing aids.
    3. Watch for obvious signs like intermittent confusion, that should be a warning to have a family member stay.

    References:

    1. http://www.wndu.com/mmm/headlines/Tips_on_tackling_hospital-induced_delirium_144256245.html
    2. Ibid.
    3. Anesthesia, Surgery May Double Dementia Risk. Medscape.
    4. http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/204/3/188
  • Contributing Author Eric Dohner, MD

    THE DOMINANT RISK FACTOR FOR DEMENTIA IS ADVANCING AGE, UNFORTUNATELY, NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO REVERSE AGING. HOWEVER, THE SECOND MOST IMPORTANT RISK FACTOR IS POOR CIRCULATION, AND THIS IS SOMETHING YOU CAN EASILY CORRECT.

    Advancing age is the dominant risk factor for dementia. Individuals under age 65 rarely develop dementia, but then risk doubles every five years after age 65. In individuals over age 85, up to one-half exhibit signs of the onset of dementia.

    There is little we can do about aging, but we can address other dementia risk factors which arise with aging. In particular, low blood flow to the brain has repeatedly been shown to be one of the most important risk factors for dementia, and it is an easily correctable factor.

    Brain Blood Flow and Blood Pressure

    Though the brain makes up only about two percent of the body, 15 to 20 percent of the blood circulation in young adults goes to the brain to provide the necessary oxygen to support the energy demands of the brain. However, as we age, blood flow to the brain steadily declines. In men, brain blood flow falls about 15 percent over 50 years. In women, the decrease in brain blood flow is far greater, up to 30 percent by age 75.

    Blood flow to the brain declines with age because blood pressure typically declines with age. Lower blood pressures correspond to lower brain blood flow, particularly when sitting or standing as the brain is at the top of the body, and blood pressure must overcome the force of gravity. While in middle-aged people a major health concern is high blood pressure (hypertension), in older individuals, low blood pressure (hypotension) is common and can become a serious health issue, particularly with respect to brain health.

    Blood pressure begins to decline around age 60, and by age 75, half of Americans have a resting diastolic blood pressure (the lower number in a blood pressure recording) below 70 mmHg. 70 mmHg is considered a critical threshold for dementia risk, as the risk of dementia more than doubles for an older individual with a resting diastolic pressure below 70 mmHg for several years or more. By age 85, two-thirds of people have a resting diastolic pressure below this level.

    Blood Pressure and Dementia—The Evidence

    The influence of low blood pressure on the development of Alzheimer's was first reported more than 20 years ago in a Swedish study of 1800 people which showed that below normal (less than 120/80 mmHg) blood pressures were associated with a 2-fold to 10-fold increased risk.1

    The Bronx aging study subsequently confirmed that below normal blood pressures were associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's, and also indicated that for individuals with resting diastolic pressures below 70 mmHg, the risk increased by a factor of two or more.2 Additional confirmation has recently been provided in a very large study completed in Norway and involving almost 25,000 patients who were followed for up to 27 years.3

    Additional research also confirms that reduced brain blood flow arising from chronic low blood pressures is likely the primary underlying cause of dementia. Direct measurements of brain blood flow have shown that increased blood flow is associated with reduced risk of dementia.4 Also, a very recent mouse study completed in Israel demonstrated that one hour daily exposures in a hyperbaric chamber, which increased oxygen levels in the blood, significantly reduced the physiologic nd behavioral effects of Alzheimer's within a two week period of time.5

    Blood Pressure and Aging

    So why does resting blood pressure fall as we age? Whenever we are sitting or standing, gravity is pulling the blood in our veins, and other fluids in our body, down towards our legs. Because people have relatively soft skin (women more so than men), our skin expands allowing blood and fluid to pool into our legs and lower body.

    In young individuals, the soleus muscles in the calf of the legs prevent this pooling from becoming excessive. These specialized muscles serve as pumps which collect the fluid pooling into the legs and pumps it back to the heart. The soleus muscles play such an important role in ensuring blood return to the heart that they are often called our "secondary hearts."

    As we age, however, it is common for our soleus muscles to become unable to perform the task of continually pumping blood and lymphatic fluid back up to our heart. The soleus muscles are maintained through squatting activity, and while our ancestors squatted to rest, adults in the western world rarely squat. To rest, we sit in chairs, and sitting does not exercise the soleus muscles.

    Weak soleus muscles allow fluid to continually build up in the legs during the day. This pooling is often first recognized by the presence of swollen feet or ankles, or by the appearance of varicose veins. But, if the fluids in your body are not being returned back to the heart, the output from your heart falls. This drop in cardiac output leads to a drop in blood pressure, and as a result, a decrease in blood flow to the brain.

    Maintaining a Healthy Blood Pressure

    The good news is that low blood pressure can be easily corrected. While low blood pressure can be due to medication interactions, or other condition, if you have swollen feet and ankles, varicose veins, unexplained fatigue, or cold hands and feet, it is most likely that the cause of your low blood pressure is weak soleus muscles.

    Like any muscle, your soleus muscles can be retrained. The best way to do this, of course, is to replace your sitting time with squatting time or to take up Tai Chi or Yoga. But if active exercise does not fit your lifestyle, you have the option of utilizing a "passive exercise" approach to building up your soleus muscles.

    The soleus muscles can be activated through a reflex initiated with an appropriate mechanical stimulation to the bottom of the feet. To take advantage of this reflex response, "passive exercise" devices have recently been introduced onto the market which allows you to exercise your soleus muscles while you sit. Retraining your soleus muscles generally requires a couple of hours a day of "exercise", but over the period of several months, your soleus muscles will regain their pumping ability, your symptoms of fluid pooling will disappear, and your resting blood pressure will return to normal.

    Preventing Dementia

    Recent research has provided encouraging evidence that correcting low blood pressure in older individuals is capable of reversing the earliest stages of dementia in a relatively short period of time.6 In a study on 70– 90-year-old participants living in an assisted living center, those with chronically low resting blood pressure were found to require twice as much time to complete a cognitive test than their fellow residents who had normal blood pressures. Undertaking soleus exercise for just one hour per day, over a four-month period of time, served to correct the low blood pressures, and cognitive test times fell by half.

    While dementia is often considered an irreversible effect of aging, research has clearly shown that dementia arises, in large part, as a result of the reduced brain blood flow which occurs as we age. By maintaining normal blood pressure as we age, we should be able to slow, or even reverse, the development of dementia and perhaps even prevent future cases of Alzheimer's and other debilitating forms of dementia.

    References

    1. Guo Z, et al. (1996) Low blood pressure and dementia in elderly people: The Kungsholmen project. BMJ 312:805–8.
    2. Verghese J, et al (2003) Low blood pressure and the risk of dementia in very old individuals. Neurology 611:1667–72.
    3. Gabin, JM, et al (2017) Association between blood pressure and Alzheimer disease measured up to 27 years prior to diagnosis. Zlaheimer's Research and Therapy. DOI10.1186/s13195-017-0262
    4. Ruitenberg A, et al (2005) Cerebral hypoperfusion and clinical onset of dementia. Annals Neurology 57:789–94.
    5. Shapira R, et al (2018) Hyperbaric oxygen therapy ameliorates pathophysiology of 3xTg-AD mouse model by attenuating neuroinflammation. Neurobiology of Aging 62:105.
    6. McLeod K, et al (2017) Reversal of cognitive impairment in a hypotensive elderly population using a passive exercise intervention. Clinical Interventions in Aging 12:1859–66.
  • WELCOME TO 2019! IT’S A BRAND NEW YEAR AND A BRAND NEW YOU…OR NOT.

    Personally, I have given up making any kind of New Year’s resolutions. I tried this once, full of naive motivation, determination and a sense of go-get-it pride. Years ago, I set a New Year’s goal of running outdoors every morning before heading into my London, UK research laboratory to work on brain studies as a Neuroscience Ph.D. student. I was going to get fit again! I even bought new running shoes and headphones for my new motivational music.

    The first morning out in the fresh air, it rained…a lot. I got wet and out-of-breath in three minutes, with the morning rush hour air burning my lungs and nose. Standing at the corner of Camden High Street near the World’s End pub, I considered turning around and briskly walking home, or maybe heading into the pub for a greasy morning breakfast. I must have attempted that same run three more miserable times, before soon accepting defeat by the end of the month.

    So why did I fail? My brain, like yours, works on a reward system — the mesolimbic dopamine system. We do something we like and our brain gives us a buzz of feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters like dopamine, but also adrenaline, oxytocin, and others. Then we do that thing again and get more of those feel-good hormones. The more we do it, the more certain the reward becomes and the stronger the reward pathway. We develop a habit through reward.

    The problem with setting new goals is that our brains are wired to like old habits. Running out in the cold January air didn’t feel as good as an extra cozy hour in bed that morning. In order for new and seemingly painful resolutions to become old and feel-good habits, we have to break through the pain barrier and teach our brains that these activities are in fact good, and they do in fact feel good, too. For many of us, this may seem impossible. But it’s really not.

    A few years after my first running failure, I cheated my brain.

    On a whim, I signed up for the London Marathon…all 26.2 miles of it. I made a big fuss and show on social media, asking for donations for my selected cancer charity, and telling the world I was going to do it. Sure enough, the donations started rolling in. Oh, oh! No turning back now. I began training because I had to. And yes, those first six weeks of running were awful.

    But as my brain began to learn that my health was improving and I was, in fact, feeling better, it gave me more of those feel-good neurotransmitters, got on board with what I was doing and motivated me to keep going. Don’t stop, keep going, have some more dopamine! I was soon hooked. My hate became my habit, and just eight months after my spontaneous decision to run the London Marathon, I proudly completed all 26.2 miles.

    I had completed my New Year’s resolution, several years later. Action determines outcome, intentions do not. So, if you’ve set a New Year, New You resolution, just do it, and do it, and do it. Set your goal and go at it with accountability. Teach your brain that this is a good thing and soon your brain will reward you with a new, healthy habit.

    As my health improved, so did my concentration, focus, and willpower at work. Spending days upon days sitting in a dark room and staring down a microscope at Mad-Cow-disease—infected brain cells—can get a little exhausting. But with my new legs and lungs, I had more energy in the laboratory, more excitement for my discoveries and more love for Neuroscience. I was alive again!

    Fast forward a decade and my work life is still very enjoyable and I still work out daily. I’ve had the privilege of leading laboratory and human studies at Mayo Clinic, and I’ve been fortunate enough to launch my own Neuroscience business, Jonescientific. I wholly believe exercise and diet are a huge part of that success story and that’s why my new business is focused on the things I’ve personally benefited from—exercise and diet. Our aim for Jonescientific is to educate on how to boost your brain health. We’ve also created a new, first-of-its-kind memory and cognition supplement, called Sophrosyne Brain. It takes the best of nature and combines it into a pill that has shown to clearly help improve memory, cognitive functioning and overall brain health.

    Dr. Daryl Jones Jonescientific

    While at Mayo Clinic studying Alzheimer’s disease, I’d often get asked, ‘What can I do to help protect my brain?’ My top three answers were always sleep, exercise, and diet.

    Published scientific research suggests these three things are the most important in protecting your brain from the horrific onslaughts of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. And so I urge you, if you do make a New Year’s resolution this year, pick these, and start with exercise! The beautiful thing is, if you begin with exercise, you’ll soon start to see that your diet also improves as your cravings change, and with improvements in fitness and diet, your sleep improves too. It’s kind of like a three for one deal. A review of the scientific literature published in The Lancet found that over a third of the cases of dementia might have been prevented through such lifestyle changes.1

    Another study including 1,145 people at higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease found that aerobic exercise around three times per week for 45 minutes per session improved cognition and delayed cognitive decline, when compared to subjects who did not exercise.2 It is believed that improved cardiovascular health from aerobic exercise plays an integral role in preventing cognitive decline. Healthy heart, healthy brain!

    People who closely follow the Mediterranean diet—which is a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, legumes, whole grains, and fish—appear to be most protected from Alzheimer’s disease. Many scientific studies have shown the brain benefits of this diet. One of the most recent was a study of 1,865 Greek participants with a mean age of 73 years. This study found those who more closely followed the Mediterranean diet were most protected from cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.3

    This kind of diet is rich in brain-protective nutrients such as curcumin. Curcumin is the principle curcuminoid of turmeric, a member of the ginger family. Curcumin exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity, which can help protect the brain against the damage of inflammation and free radicals. An exciting study published by UCLA scientists in 2018 found that 180 mg per day of a bioavailable form of curcumin significantly improved memory over an 18-month period.4

    This study was even more exciting because the scientists also showed that those who took 180 mg of curcumin had a decrease in the amounts of amyloid and tau in brain regions involved in memory and learning.

    Amyloid and tau are the harmful proteins involved in Alzheimer’s disease that begin to accumulate as we age. Thus, this one ingredient is capable of reducing Alzheimer’sassociated proteins and improve memory and attention in adults. As a result, our new brain health supplement, Sophrosyne Brain, contains 180 mg of curcumin per serving. Our formula also contains Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha), a type of shrub that has also been shown to reduce levels of Alzheimer’s-associated proteins in the brain. It does this by enhancing low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein in the liver and flushing harmful proteins out of the brain and into the body, where they can be excreted.5

    As well as diet, good sleep is critical for a healthy brain. There is a fascinating brain disease, which is similar to Mad Cow disease, called Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI). This disorder is extremely rare and usually affects entire members of a single family due to genetic inheritance. As the disease begins to induce degeneration of the brain, patients begin to develop severe insomnia. This is because the degeneration in FFI is particularly striking in two areas of the brain responsible for healthy sleep patterns—the hypothalamus and the brainstem. Worryingly, just one night of sleep deprivation was found to significantly increase amyloid, the protein involved in Alzheimer's disease, thus sleep deprivation may increase the risk of developing full-blown Alzheimer's.6

    Good sleep is essential for the body to clear the brain of any build-up of such harmful proteins that might have occurred during the day. Some consumers of Sophrosyne Brain have reported improved sleeping patterns. Others have reported having more memorable dreams. This is because Sophrosyne Brain contains my favorite herb, Bacopa monnieri. At least four human clinical trials have shown improvements in both memory and cognition with Bacopa monnieri. A 2008 study showed that 300 mg per day over 12 weeks improved cognition and reduced anxiety.7 What's fascinating is that Bacopa acts as an acetyl-cholinesterase inhibitor. Physicians prescribe acetylcholinesterase inhibitors to patients with Alzheimer's disease, in order to increase the levels of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter involved in memory and cognition, but also sleep. During sleep, our brains transition from slow-wave sleep to REM sleep. Fluctuating levels of acetylcholine are essential for memories to be processed, downloaded and stored during this process. Thus, as well as supporting cognition, it appears that Bacopa monnieri supports good sleep by modulating levels of acetylcholine.

    So whatever you do this year, I hope that you will consider incorporating aerobic exercise, a healthy diet, and good sleeping habits. You may not be quite ready to sign up for a full marathon, but sign up for something! Start with a one-mile fun run or family swim, and log on to jonescientific.com to learn more about Sophrosyne Brain and the proven ingredients behind it.

    Here's to a brain-new year and a brain-new you!

    References

    1. Livingtson, G. et al., Dementia prevention, intervention, and care. The Lancet. Volume 390, Issue 10113, Pages 2673–2734. 2017.
    2. Panza, G., et al., Can Exercise Improve Cognitive Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease? Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Volume 66, Pages 487–95. 2018.
    3. Anastasiou C., et al., Mediterranean Diet and cognitive health: initial results from the Hellenic longitudinal investigation of ageing and diet. PLoS One. Volume 12, Issue 8. 2017.
    4. Small, G., et al., Memory and Brain Amyloid and Tau Effects of a Bioavailable Form of Curcumin in Non-Demented Adults: A Double-Blind Placebo Controlled 18-Month Study. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. Volume 26, Issue 3. Pages 266–77. 2018.
    5. Shokri-Kojori, E., et al., B-amyloid accumulation in the human brain after one night of sleep deprivation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. Issue 115, Volume 17. Pages 4482–88.
    6. IBID.
    7. Calabrese, C., et al., Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine. Volume 14, Number 6. Pages 707–13. 2008.
  • If you ask people what illness they fear most in old age a surprisingly large number will say just one word, Alzheimer's. And yet, if you ask them what they are doing to avoid this dreaded illness a vast majority will give another one word answer, nothing. That is both shocking and surprising because there is actually quite a lot a person can do to prevent Alzheimer's disease. A good starting point is a book by David Perlmutter, MD, entitled Brain Recovery.com. Dr. Perlmutter is a well-known neurologist who specializes in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's and many other difficult brain related illnesses. Here are some ideas from Dr. Perlmutter and other scientists and doctors.

    PREVENTION
    • Avoid electromagnetic radiation—EMR disrupts brain cell communication, which prevents brain cells from protecting themselves.
    • Avoid aluminum—Aluminum is a known neurotoxin often found in drinking water and antiperspirants.
    • Avoid high homocysteine levels—Homocysteine is an inflammation protein caused by a deficiency in vitamin B6, B12, folic acid and enzymes.
    • Avoid inflammation—Another blood marker for inflammation is C-reactive protein caused by the lack of sleep, stress, hormone imbalance and eating too many processed or animal foods and not enough vegetables and fruits.
    • Avoid acetaminophen—Acetaminophen is found in many prescription drugs and has been shown to harm brain cells and reduce glutathione levels.
    • Improve nutritional intake—Eat a vegetarian diet with high levels of Omega 3 rich fish included.

    Nutritional supplements can help prevent Alzheimer's.

    DETECTION
    Existing diagnostic tests for Alzheimer's do not detect this illness soon enough to do any good, in most cases. A new test reported in the Journal of Neurological Sciences, from studies done at the University of Florida, used the ability to smell peanut butter as an early detection tool. According to these scientists the left nostril will have less smell detection ability than the right nostril in people who will eventually develop Alzheimer's.

    A NEW TREATMENT
    Scientists at the National Brain Research Centre in Manesar, India have discovered that Honokiol, a Japanese natural medicine derived from the bark of the magnolia tree, slows the inflammation associated with Alzheimer's. Honokiol has antiinflammatory and anti-oxidant capabilities, and is thought to be over 1000 times more powerful than vitamin E. It is also used by many integrated doctors to treat asthma, anxiety, weight gain, intestinal issues and even cancer.

  • You may have heard that ‘going organic’ is a healthy choice for the farmers, the environment, and your own health. But do you really understand why it’s such a positive choice? This article series explores the benefits of choosing organic.

    Reason 1: Glyphosate
    You may be aware that organic food and products are produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or chemicals. Advocates of conventional farming (the type that does allow use of these artificial substances) argue that recommended levels of these chemicals are not exceeded.

    This statement may be true for one chemical in one product but it does not consider the sheer number of potentially toxic chemicals that we are subjected to in modern society—in our food, our water, in the materials we use to make products and clothing, and in the air we breathe.

    A chemical may be tested and found to be safe at a certain level, but it is unlikely that the full cocktail of chemicals contained in a product have been tested. Molecular biologist Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini has demonstrated that the full formulations of pesticides are much stronger than the declared active ingredient. Additionally, the ‘active’ ingredient may not be the most toxic ingredient in pesticide formulations.1

    Coupled with these issues, there is little consideration for variations in sensitivity between individuals, nor for the consequences of being exposed to so many different chemicals over the course of a day, or a lifetime.

    Glyphosate is a chemical under hot discussion in the farming world. Being on the market in the form of the active ingredient in the widely used herbicide Roundup, virtually all conventional produce and food products contain traces of this chemical. As with all subjects of debate, there are many studies that claim Roundup herbicide poses no risk to humans.2

    However, in March 2015 the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic in humans” (category 2A) based on epidemiological studies, animal studies, and in vitro studies.3,4,5

    Advocates for organic farming believe it is wise to err on the side of caution—who wants to risk a build-up of toxic residue that could lead to serious health problems? It is much safer to ban ‘questionable’ chemical ingredients and to find a proven safe alternative than to live by the mantra of ‘innocent until proven guilty.’

    The links between glyphosate and a wide range of health concerns and conditions are becoming increasingly evident. Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a senior research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has found strong links between glyphosate use, and the rise in celiac disease. She explains that the villi in the gut are destroyed by glyphosate, which reduces the person’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals and can result in gut problems.6

    Glyphosate has been highlighted as a potential endocrine disruptor7 and has shown a strong correlation with the increased incidence of many diseases, from cancer to dementia, to autism.8,9,10 The World Health organization lists the adverse health effects caused by glyphosate as airway, skin, and mucous membrane irritation, abdominal, pain, nausea, vomiting, shock, dyspnea, respiratory failure.11

    For consumers who are not convinced about the safety of food production methods using synthetic chemicals such as glyphosate, the only ways to currently drastically reduce exposure are by choosing certified organic produce and products, growing your own, or by getting food from a local farmer who you know is not using these chemicals.12,13,14

    For those who are not sure how to start shifting from a conventional to an organic diet, or who have concerns around personal budgeting restraints, a good place to start making changes is by focusing on the ‘dirty dozen’— a list of the twelve foods in New Zealand that have been identified as having the highest pesticide residues.

    Reason 2: Healthy soil, healthy body
    Many people are now choosing organic as one way to help optimize their health and wellbeing. The vitamin and mineral content of fresh produce and other foods will vary based on how the soil is cared for, the environment they are grown in, and how they are processed, among other things.

    In organic farming, caring for the soil is of the utmost importance, because it forms the basis for health, for all life forms. As Sophie Grigson and William Black explain, “Healthy soil encourages healthy plants, plants which are strong and disease resistant, which means there is less need for artificial pesticides in organic production.” Their book “Organic—a new way of eating” highlights the fact that if we feed the soil, the plants will look after themselves.15

    Sally Fallon reiterates this in her book “Nourishing Traditions,” when she explains that nitrogen fertilizers used in conventional (non-organic) farming produce high yields, in part by pulling minerals from the soil. In turn, the food suffers because the vitamin and mineral contents are depleted. She explains that vitamin and mineral content between conventional and organic crops can vary hugely, and that some commercially raised oranges have been found to contain NO vitamin C!16

    The old saying ‘you are what you eat’ really does ring true. If you are consuming food that was once a sickly animal who was fed routine courses of antibiotics and a genetically engineered diet of pesticide sprayed grains that it is unable to digest, how healthy do you think you will be?

    If you are eating food that has been sprayed copious times with a herbicide that has been engineered to kill EVERYTHING around it, except that particular crop, how do you think this affects the health of the soil, and the subsequent health of your body? Similarly, with the skin being the largest organ in the body, and readily absorbing anything you rub on it, have you considered what is entering your system via this method (by way of creams and lotions)?

    Yes, our bodies are amazing, and yes they can process and eliminate a certain degree of ‘rubbish.’ But, when they become overloaded they are unable to summon the resources required to neutralize the onslaught of poisons entering them. Therefore it makes sense to limit our intake of toxins wherever we are able to do so; for example by making organic choices.

    Organic farming helps ensure you are receiving the best quality for your body, allowing your cells to be as healthy and strong as possible. Growth hormones, protein rich feeds and the routine use of antibiotics are not allowed, nor are synthetic chemical fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides or pesticides.

    If you consider health as a holistic word encompassing people, animals, and the planet, then choosing organic is a positive step in this direction.

    Endnotes:

    1. “Food Matters – Life matters!” article. Organic NZ magazine. May/June 2015.
    2. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/10408444.2013.770820.
    3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glyphosate.
    4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Agency_for_Research_on_Cancer#IARC_categories.
    5. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/widely-used-herbicide-linked-to-cancer/.
    6. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/09/14/glyphosate-celiacdisease-connection.aspx.
    7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1257596/.
    8. http://www.organic-systems.org/journal/92/JOS_Volume-9_Number-2_Nov_2014-Swanson-et-al.pdf.
    9. https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/monsantos-roundup-enough-make-yousick.
    10. https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/monsantos-sealed-documentsreveal-truth-behind-roundups-toxicological-dangers.
    11. http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/86/3/07-041814-table-T1.html.
    12. https://www.organicnz.org.nz/node/120.
    13. Organic – a new way of eating.” Sophie Grigson and William Black. Headline Book Publishing 2001.
    14. Nourishing Traditions." The Cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats. Revised second edition. Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig. Ph.D. 1999, 2001 New trends Publishing Inc.
    15. http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz/policy-law/food-monitoring-programmes/foodact-1981/frsp/documents.htm.
    16. http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz/elibrary/industry/2003_04-Analyses_Environmental.pdf
blockquote.article-intro { color: #333333; font-family: "Roboto","Helvetica Neue",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 1.5; }