If you are over the age of fifty years, you may have started to notice some change in memory functioning. The medical community once felt that memory impairments were a ‘natural’ part of aging, but new clinical studies support the idea that brain age is cognitive impairment are more strongly linked to two age related factors; decreased nutrition, and lower levels of antioxidants in the body.
This article by the Harvard Medical School, suggests that the effects of cognitive decline and dementia, can be reduced by maintaining healthy habits as we age. What helps to protect brain functioning as we age? A healthy diet, physical activity, eliminating tobacco use, and limiting alcohol consumption to one drink or less per day. Findings also reveal that a diet that is low in saturated and trans facts, but high in whole grains and healthy fats help to reduce or delay age related cognitive impairment.
Can a strategic alteration of lifestyle and dietary habits, help all of us to age while protecting our memory and cognitive processes? We’ll take a look at some clinical studies that support the idea that we can all work to reduce and delay some of the impact of memory impairment as we age, by prioritizing healthy habits on a daily basis.
Is There a Link Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Oxidative Stress and Damage?
Free radicals are produced as part of the respiratory process, or absorbed through metabolic functioning, from the food we eat, the fluids we drink, and toxic compounds in the environment around us. In the brain however, free radicals create damage to healthy brain cells, by robbing cells of electrons (oxidative damage).
The body produces natural antioxidants, that attach themselves to free radicals and essentially remove them. Some antioxidants like glutathione, are rapidly recycled, meaning that they return to duty after they have successfully removed a free radical. They are recycled in the liver, and deployed to find other cells damaged by free radicals.
When your body is unable to balance a building volume of free radicals, or when it is impaired from producing sufficient amounts of glutathione, the danger begins, and real oxidative damage can start to occur in the brain. In degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, some clinical research has demonstrated that increased antioxidant nutrients provided a slowing of the progression of neurological decline. Read more about clinical studies that link increased glutathione with improved symptoms for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease.
Other diseases are also known to worsen the impact of cognitive performance, for adults over the age of sixty years. Individuals with Type II diabetes have been studied, linking unregulated glucose control to brain damage over time. In a Harvard’s Nurses’ Health Study, women aged 70 through 81 years performed poorly on cognitive tests and showed more deterioration of brain processes, if they had Type II diabetes. The impairment was lessoned for women in the studies, who exercised regularly and successfully controlled their glucose, with physician supervision and prescription medications.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, has been understood as a leading cause of memory lapses and dementia in both men and women. In 2009, a study was published in the clinical ‘Neurology’ journal, that suggested memory problems increased by 7% for each 10-point increase in diastolic blood pressure. The study noted that the impact of high-blood pressure on cognitive impairment, was greater for women than men.
Unregulated high-cholesterol, decreases blood flow to the brain, which also strongly correlates unresolved cholesterol with memory loss and age related cognitive decline. Other health conditions like sleep apnea, hyper or hypo thyroid dysfunction, and depression are all causally linked to memory loss.
What Memory Impairment Tells Us About Aging in the Brain and Free Radicals
Imagine that every cell of your body, is fighting a daily battle against free radicals. From fried and processed foods and preservatives, to environmental pollutants, some types of prescription medications and air pollutants, free radicals begin to damage healthy cells, organs and brain tissue with a cumulative impact over time.
Antioxidants are free range, free radical scavengers, that have two functions; they strengthen cells to make them more resistant to damage, or antioxidants donate an electron to the free radical, to stop the oxidation of other vital cell components. Once paired with an antioxidant, a free radical becomes non-toxic to the cells. Free radicals are essential to cellular health, but lifestyle and dietary factors impact our ability to produce enough of them, and the problem gets worse as we age.
That’s why investigating all sources that promote increased free radicals is important. A healthy diet, lifestyle changes, activity and high-quality nutritional support that gives your body the building blocks to restore latent production of glutathione matter. Dr. Robert Keller (our founder), called glutathione a ‘fountain of youth’ for the antioxidants ability to help reduce cellular oxidation, and the correlation between high antioxidant functioning, and healthy aging.
Learn more about Dr. Keller’s Original Glutathione Formula™, a daily multivitamin that provides the essential nutritional building blocks your body needs to produce more antioxidants. It is never too early to get on track, and do everything you can to support healthy aging, and protect your memory and cognitive functioning. Eat well, take the right supplements, keep active socially and physically, and consult with your physician about other ways you can help your body (and brain) age healthfully.
Having a perfect diet does not mean you can adequately protect your body from free radicals, as they enter the body in a variety of ways including environmental pollutants (air, water and pesticides), processed foods and lifestyle habits including cigarette smoking. When you hear about free radicals, it is important to understand that the damage they do to cells is substantial if not controlled or counteracted by your body’s best and only defense against the destruction of healthy cells; antioxidants.
Vitamins such as vitamin E, beta-carotene and vitamin C combat free radicals. Selenium is a trace metal that also has an important role in antioxidant functioning. Vitamin E can be acquired in a natural diet that is rich in nuts, certain vegetables, whole grains, apricots and some fruits. Vitamin C (required for the production of vitamin A in the body) is present in citrus fruits, green peppers and leafy vegetables such as kale. Beta carotene (retinol) is acquired in foods like carrots, broccoli, yams and cantaloupe.
The Link Between Antioxidants and Good Health
Consider your daily diet from an antioxidant perspective. How many of these essential foods and nutrients are you receiving consistently to support the healthy antioxidant functioning that your body needs to combat cellular damage? Health and wellness starts at the cellular level, and high quality nutritional supplements are an effective way to bridge the gap between the nutrients you eat daily and the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals your body needs consistently to combat free radicals and to promote a healthy immune system.
There are other aspects to managing your personal wellness, including hydration and regular exercise, but nutrition is the key to achieving and maintaining health at all ages and in every stage of life. Dr. Robert Keller was passionate about educating others on the key role of antioxidants and healthy aging, and his research formulated a family of supplements designed to work synergistically to provide comprehensive nutritional support and cellular health.
Learn more about Dr. Robert Keller and his research on our website. Start your own personal health revolution by emphasising nutrition and self-care every day. Become an advocate for health and wellness and learn more about becoming an Affiliate with RobKellerMD®.
For more reading and resources, check out “Top 100 Food Sources of Polyphenols” by Nutrition Advance.
How The Immune System Works
When something is wrong with your body, you can just feel it. There are many messages that your body sends through a variety of different symptoms to let you know that the immune system is not running at an optimal level. Your immune system is constructed of a network of complex cells, tissues and major organs that work in unison to provide protection from bacterial or viral infection.
There are two types of white blood cells at work every minute within your body to seek out and destroy antigens and other threats to health. Leukocytes are stored in the thymus, bone marrow and the spleen. These white blood cells exist in two forms; the phagocytes and the lymphocytes. The Phagocytes are aggressive cells that find and eradicate any bacteria or virus that enters the body. The soldiers of the immune system literally chew up and destroy foreign organisms. The second type of white blood cell are lymphocytes, which act as a learning and memory center for the immune system. These remarkable cells remember the markers of viruses and bacteria, which help trigger an earlier response next time your body is exposed to invading organisms. The two pronged approach of the white blood cells are critical to the healthy functioning of your immune system, and are essential to remove infection (thereby reducing the length of time you are sick) and recognize the pattern of bacteria and virus to prevent future infections.
The Sweet Dilemma
Craving sweets is one way that your body compensates for a lack of energy. As the days get shorter and the weather changes in the fall, naturally we begin to crave higher carbohydrate foods. How we eat changes as a result with less fruits and vegetables, and more potatoes, thick creamy soups, bread and rich gravy saturated meats. There is nothing wrong with healthy comfort food options incorporated into a balanced diet, but overloading on carbohydrates can create other problems for your health.
Did you know that a large amount of carbohydrate (sugar) can impede the ability of white blood cells to fight bacteria for up to five hours after consuming something sweet and sugary? Every time you load up on sweets, consider that you are disabling the efficiency of your immune system for hours afterward, leaving you susceptible to viral or bacterial infection and moderate your intake, particularly during the cold and flu season.
Dehydration and Health
In the summer it seems habitually easier to remember to drink a sufficient amount of water; after all, the hot weather inspires us to stay hydrated. But the truth of the matter is that your body requires the same level of hydration throughout the year, regardless of the season. Trading fresh water for other hot beverages like hot chocolate, tea or coffee contribute to dehydration. When you feel tired, do you reach for a retail energy drink? They are generally loaded with salt which contributes to further dehydration. Your cells need water, and dehydration directly impacts the ability of white blood cells to function, making you more susceptible to viral and bacterial infection.
Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Immune System
- Reduce caffeine intake
- Reduce high carbohydrate meals and snacks (and replace them with high fiber and protein options for more sustained energy without the ‘carb crash’).
- Exercise regularly.
- Ensure you are drinking an adequate amount of fresh water daily. Remember that by the time you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated.
- Wash your hands frequently and use antibacterial wipes or gels to reduce your viral or bacterial load on hands and your chance of infection.
- Get sufficient rest. Naps are not just for kids (you are allowed to have one too).
- Ensure you take a quality daily multivitamin and probiotic to fill in the gaps between your dietary nutrition and what your body needs daily for healthy functioning.