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Aging well – Look at Your Brain!

I was reading an awesome anti-aging article by one of my favorite experts in the field of integrative medicine, Chris Kresser. I am about to share some excellent tips on how to enjoy life as you age.  Yes, it can be done.  Here is a summary.

What is aging?

We assume that aches and pains, the decline in life quality and neurodegneration are just a part of “getting older” and normal because of what we commonly see around us. But as I have learned through the years, “common” is not “normal”.

Studies that have examined only at the healthiest elderly people find minimal cognitive decline end into the ninth decade. These data suggest that significant cognitive decline is not an inevitable consequence of advanced age.

Conventional medicine is pretty clueless when it comes to dementia and diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Most doctors don’t know how to help prevent neurodegeneration. If you want to age well, and protect yourself from “common” traits associated with aging, you need to take charge.

What you should know about your brain…

You start to lose neurons the day you are born. Brain tissue doesn’t regenerate. Yikes! But, neurons can actually form connections with other neurons to preserve function even when they are declining. This is called “neuroplasticity”.
Then again if you keep losing brain cells then there will be fewer neurons to make those connections.

3 signs that you are losing brain cells…

Fatigue exacerbated by brain activity
If you used to be able to do an activity like drive or analyze for a few hours before getting getting tired and now you go for 30 minutes and you’re fried then this is a sign that your neurons are degenerating and have lost the ability to make ATP.

Depression
The frontal cortex (responsible for planning and goal formation) doesn’t fire well and it atrophies in depression.

Poor digestion

Heard of the gut/brain connection? The brain receives/sends input from receptors. The vagus nerve enervates the digestive tract and controls, stomach acid and pancreatic enzyme secretion, controls intestinal motility and gall bladder connection.
If your brain isn’t firing well, you are going to have digestive problems.

(Interesting that the three main problems that seniors experience is fatigue, depression and digestive problems!)

Here are some causes of neurodegeneration…

*blood sugar dysregulation
*hypoxia (reduced oxygen delivery, often caused by poor circulation or anemia)
*systemic inflammation (auto-immunity, leaky gut, chronic infections, food toxins, etc.)
*hormone imbalances
*altered methylation (leading to elevated homocysteine levels)
*traumatic brain injury

The ultimate anti-aging program…

*Avoid food toxins-  These are found in industrial seed oils like canola oil, excess sugar (especially fructose), cereal grains and processed soy

*Ensure adequate micro-nutrient status-  Especially those nutrients involved in oxygen deliverability (B12, iron & folate)
*Improve fatty acid balance-  60% of the brain is phospholipid, and DHA has been shown to enhance plasticity and brain function while reducing   inflammation and neurodegenerative conditions.
*Heal the gut- Gut inflammation will cause activation of the brain’s immune cells
*Keep mentally active- If neurons aren’t stimulated, they die.
*Increase blood flow to the brain- Exercise, acupuncture and stress management come to mind.
*Sleep enough- Seven to nine hours for most people.

Some natural therapies for curbing brain decline…

*DHA (fatty acids)
*Ginko Biloba (Increases blood flow to the brain and promotes healthy brain function
*Polyphenols like rutin, catechin and tumeric are known to reduce inflammation, protecting neurons from inflammation

To find an individually targeted anti-aging program for you. Give Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness a call at 760.274.4642 or e-mail at cat@caterpillarnutritionandwellness.com

Cat Dillon

This blog is my journal, where I share everything wellness. From tips on healthy lifestyle to creating as much deliciousness in your life as possible.

Cat Dillon is the Cat in Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness is a unique combo of nutrition, fitness and cooking coaching all in one pretty package. Read more about Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

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