One of the biggest fears that we have is brain health and memory loss. There has been a lot of information about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia lately. It is common to have mild memory loss as we age by Alzheimer and dementia is not a normal process of aging. There are many factors that can contribute to brain health.
I will start by giving you a complete picture so you understand the risk factors and guide you so you can take proactive steps to keep your mind sharp as you age.
Here are some factors that can contribute to confusion or forgetfulness:
But with Alzheimer’s and dementia the factors are:
Please refer to my other posts about Stress, lifestyle, and diet.
There are 5 things you can do right now to prevent memory loss and keep your mind sharp!
- Reduce inflammation
- Check your nutrient levels
- Avoid Heavy medals
- Check for insulin resistance
- Know your genetic risk.
Chronic inflammation has been shown to be the root of many diseases.
When your body is inflamed it makes a substance in your liver called C reactive protein. This is an inflammatory marker that we can test for. Another inflammatory marker we can test is called homocysteine. Both of these markers may play a roll in the development of dementia. Though not clearly understood people with high homocysteine levels double their risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Here’s the good news There are a number of things that I can recommend that can bring your C reactive protein and homocysteine levels down.
Nutrients are an extremely important part of your diet when it comes to your brain health. It’s really hard to eat a healthy diet in today’s world. You may be missing essential nutrients especially as we age. There are also other factors that can come into play with the absorption of these essential nutrients.
Vitamin D in addition to up to 30 minutes of sunshine a couple of times of week can increase the absorption of vitamin D.
Eating vitamin D rich foods like fatty fish and egg yolks.
Checking your vitamin B12 and folate levels can be done. Low levels of these nutrients can contribute to homocysteine levels being elevated.
Insulin Resistance Testing
Insulin resistance is defined as the body becomes less efficient at removing sugar from the bloodstream. Checking Insulin resistance is the best way to check the risk for developing diabetes an ultimately puts you at a greater risk for developing dementia.
Here’s the good news: insulin resistance is reversible by eating a low carb diet, avoiding fructose (a type of sugar) and exercising regularly. Make sure you’re reading your food labels. My recommendation is to stick to 25 grams of sugar a day. You also want to track your insulin levels which is one of the best ways to see if you have a problem that needs to be addressed. Another great way of checking to see if you’re at risk for having prediabetes or any diabetic condition at all is checking your hemoglobin A1C .
Heavy Metal Exposure
Heavy metals in excess can affect our brain health we. We naturally have heavy metals in our bodies that are essential for our bodies to function these include zinc, copper, and iron. Those levels in excess can be dangerous to our health. Mercury poisoning can cause serious neurological effects. A couple of things to look out for is eating a lot of fish and having old dental work. You may want to consider Mercury levels testing.
One other heavy metal you need to be aware of is lead.
My recommendation would be to avoid heavy metal exposure that we come in contact with on a daily basis.
What Are My Genetic Risks?
The last risk that we need to be aware of is our genetics which can play a factor in the likelihood of developing dementia. Genetic testing is important because it gives us an understanding of our overall risk.
One type of genetic risk people may have is something called the apolipoprotein E 4 gene. This puts a greater risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer’s disease which usually presents before the age of 65.
Here’s the good news, even with this genetic expression you can still protect your brain from decline by reducing inflammation getting adequate nutrients and avoiding toxic substances.