Although Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, the gentle slide of memory loss is very scary. According to the Alzheimer’s Association:
- Alzheimer’s disease rates as the sixth leading cause of death in the US
- One in three seniors currently dies with a form of dementia
- From 2000 to 2010, there was a 68 percent increase in deaths from Alzheimer’s, while deaths from other major diseases, including heart disease, decreased5
- The greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s is increasing age, followed by genetic risk genes [ApoE-e4, amyloid precursor protein (APP), presenilin-1 (PS-1) and presenilin-2 (PS-2)] and family history.6
With these dire statistics and the impending reminder that we can’t escape aging, it could make one feel hopeless that there is nothing that can be done for a healthy brain. However, there is plenty we can do.
The Hopeful Proactive Possibile Actions
When it comes to the topic of memory or losing one’s cognitive abilities, people tend to get a little nervous. So let me ease your mind a bit. Regardless of the dismal stats or negative articles on declining cognitive health, the good news is there are specific steps you can take that can not only prevent cognitive decline, but may even help with environmental exposures that speed such mental decline.
A recent study supported how lifestyle intervention can slow cognitive decline. The Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER) that was published online in The Lancet on March 12, 2015 reported:
Targeting multiple lifestyle factors, including physical activity, diet, vascular risk factors, and brain training, slowed cognitive decline among older healthy individuals in the first randomized, controlled trial of its kind…
“This is the first time that it has been shown in a longitudinal study that it is possible to reduce the risk of cognitive decline with lifestyle changes,” Professor Kivipelto told Medscape Medical News.
The CDC lists family history, education level, and brain injury as factors that cannot be modulated and that contribute to cognitive decline. However, other factors such as medication side effects, vitamin B12 deficiency, and depression can also contribute to cognitive decline and should be addressed. As mentioned above, your risk for cognitive impairment can also be reduced by physical activity and a healthy diet.
Another way to support brain health is through limiting sugar intake. High sugar diets are correlated to increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Here are a few practical solutions:
2. Go GLUTEN-FREE and limit other grains as well.
3. Start an exercise program preferably one that involves a cross-crawl body action like walking.
4. Eat ORGANIC whenever possible.
5. Do your BEST to stay away from all GMO foods.
6. Learn a NEW task every month. Go back to school, study something on-line, read more books…
7. Never retire. Do something with a purpose that gets you up every morning because you are responsible to HELP someone else!
8. Watch LESS television and get outside.
9. Take GOOD supplements that increase blood flow to your brain and decrease inflammation. There may be different ones that are more appropriate to different people so it is hard to be specific here. However, make sure they are NOT cheap, synthetic supplements. Contact me for more info!
10. Take supplements that support liver detoxification.