Twelve Tips for a Healthy Brain: How you can Prevent Dementia! Declining memory and dementia are not a normal part of aging. There are many things you can do now to prevent or reverse inflammation of the brain!
- Add coconut oil to your diet. There is growing evidence that regular consumption of coconut oil may offer profound benefits in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. One of the primary fuels your brain uses is glucose. When your brain becomes insulin resistant, atrophy due to starvation can occur. But if you choose to limit sugar and eat healthy fats instead, ketones can feed your brain even BETTER than sugar and prevent wasting of brain tissue. Ketones are what your body produces when it converts fat to energy. One of the best sources of ketone bodies are the medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut oil.
- Limit sugar in your diet, especially fructose. Low-fat is the WRONG way to go because limiting fat in foods has caused the food industry to add sugar instead to preserve flavor. We are now finding that eating a diet high in sugar & fructose could be the most damaging thing you do to your heart & brain.
- Optimize your Vitamin D. Vitamin D may also exert some of its beneficial effects on Alzheimer’s through its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Sufficient vitamin D is imperative for proper functioning of your immune system to combat inflammation that is also associated with Alzheimer’s. Researchers believe that optimal vitamin D levels may enhance the amount of important chemicals in your brain and protect brain cells by increasing the effectiveness of the glial cells in nursing damaged neurons back to health.
- Keep your fasting insulin levels below 5. This is indirectly related to fructose, as it will clearly lead to insulin resistance. Exercise increases insulin sensitivity more than drugs! SO make sure you commit to a regular routine of exercise at least 30min 5X weekly.
- Take your high quality fish oil supplement. High intake of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA helps by decreasing inflammation and preventing cell damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease, thereby slowing down its progression and lowering your risk of developing the disorder. I recommend Thorne Super EPA or Nordic Naturals ProOmega.
- Vitamin B12 – Useful to prevent brain shrinkage and may even treat Alzheimer’s and memory loss. As we age, we are less and less able to absorb adequate vitamin B12 from the diet. I suggest adding a sublingual or liquid B12 at least 1000mcg daily to your regimen.
- Get your folate, too! B12 an folate work together to keep your brain and nervous system healthy. My favorite way to do this is add raw kale or spinach to a morning smoothie!
- Avoid mercury and aluminum. Dental amalgam fillings, which are 50% mercury by weight, are one of the major sources of heavy metal toxicity. However you should be healthy prior to having them removed. Avoid aluminum, such as in antiperspirants, non-stick cookware, or in vaccines as preservative.
- Gingko biloba: Several studies have found that ginkgo biloba has positive effects for dementia, including improving cognitive performance and social functioning for those suffering from dementia.
- Eat your blues! Wild blueberries contain anthocyanin and other antioxidants known to guard against Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases.
- Challenge your mind daily. Researchers suspect that mental challenge helps to build up your brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Avoid anticholinergic or statin drugs Drugs that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have been shown to increase your risk of dementia. These drugs include certain nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence, and certain narcotic pain relievers. Use of statins have been shown to correlate with increase risk of developing dementia.
BONUS TIP – Try Luminosity for daily brain training exercises
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product mentioned in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information in this article is not intended to replace any recommendations or relationship with your physician. Please review references sited at end of article for scientific support of any claims made.
I saw the recommendation here for fish oils. Is this still recommended, given the lastest study out that this may increase prostrate cancer by 70%?
I would also add 259-5oo mg of a good bio available curcumin
As a Type 1 diabetic I am astonished to see anyone recommend a fasting blood glucose of under 3. A person would almost certainly feel dizzy and confused at under 3. You can’t drive a car in the UK at under 4. This is dangerous advice you are dishing out.
If you read carefully I recommend fasting insulin below 5
This study must be interpreted with a significant degree of caution for a variety of reasons:
The data came from what is referred to as a retrospective, nested, case-control study. The data was extracted from another, much larger, previously conducted trial that was not originally intended to examine the relationship between omega-3 fatty acid levels and prostate cancer. In other words, the original study was not designed to determine any of the conclusions reached in the analysis contained in the article.
The study’s results conflict with the results from other studies that do suggest that omega-3 fatty acids offer a protective benefit against prostate cancer; and these other studies were, in fact, designed to analyze that very outcome. (See link) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3629172/
Identifying one particular physiologic marker in a group of individuals with a given condition – in this case, an elevated omega-3 level in men with prostate cancer – does not prove causation, especially when that marker can be influenced by diet or behavior and is only measured at a single point in time.
It is also hugely important to realize that the authors of this study did not assess any of the participants’ dietary intake of fatty fish or omega-3 nutritional supplements – the study’s conclusions are based wholly on the results of a single blood test.
The omega-3 index, which measures both EPA and DHA within red blood cells, is a much more accurate indicator of long-term omega-3 intake and tissue status than is the plasma omega-3 level, which is subject to significant day-to-day variability.
A number of confounding risk factors might have influenced the purported outcomes in the study, despite attempts by the investigators to account for them:
53 percent of the subjects with prostate cancer were smokers.
64 percent of the cancer subjects regularly consumed alcohol.
30 percent of the cancer subjects had at least one first-degree relative with prostate cancer.
80 percent of the cancer subjects were overweight or obese.
Considering the extensive body of literature that supports the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids, there is no credible biological mechanism, nor is one suggested in the article, that would explain why these essential fatty acids might increase tumorigenesis.
Summary: Given the inconsistent data attributable to omega-3 fatty acids and prostate cancer, and acknowledging the broad range of health benefits that are almost universally accorded to omega-3 fatty acid consumption, it would be premature to stop eating fish or to discontinue taking omega-3 nutritional supplements on the basis of this study.
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This is truly helpful, thanks for sharing such helpful post, had a great read here.
This article is really what I’m looking for it,It has full of information about having a healthy brain to prevent Dementia and Alzheimer disease. Thanks for sharing this.
>>Keep your fasting insulin levels below 3. <<
Please enlighten me what that means.
Thanks in Advance! The rest of the article is very helpful and clear.
Have your doctor check fasting insulin and glucose levels. Glucose should be less than 90 and fasting insulin less than 3. Otherwise you may have a problem with elevated insulin which is the most inflammatory hormone in the body, contributing to type 2 diabetes, heart disease and dementia.
Ah, Ok.. thank you!
Great article, Jill. I love how you educate and empower with such practical recommendations. Thank you!
Dear Dr. Carnahan,
Thank you so much for this excellent down to earth article and recommendations. Thank you so much for your clear answers to questions!
Sincerely, Gail Forsberg
Thank you, Gail!
Your article was great and I am doing most of the recommendations however my lab tests are not good. My fasting insulin level is 9 and my anti-GAD is positive. My fasting blood sugar is about 100 to 120. My doctor says to exercise and lose weight; my BMI is 29. My father has type 1 diabetes diagnosed at age 40. I am 62 years old and feel well and thought I was healthy. Do you think I can reverse this? What else would you recommend?
There is a high association with GAD autoantibodies and type 1 DM with gluten exposure and gut dysbiosis. So I recommend you do a gluten-free, sugar-free diet to start.
When it comes to a medical induced dementia due to anesthesia or medications, will this information still be relevant or are the effects irreversible?
That would be related to liver health and ability to detoxify drugs. I believe they would be reversible
Timely article as my dad was diagnosed with Dementia of recent.
Physician placed him on Donepezil/Aricept which is a cholinesterase inhibitor.
It has helped in some ways.
But yet has also made it more difficult for him to form his words.
Therefore, I have 3 questions?
1) Is a “cholinesterase inhibitor” and a “anticholinergic” drug the SAME thing/definition/meaning?
aka: a choline stopper
2) Could someone with Dementia do well taking aceytl-choline or phosphatydl-serine supplements?
Apparently these are low in Alzheimers dementia, as evidence suggests these can play a role in aiding, possibly reversing, dementia.
3) If this is true, then why would drugs be used to inhibit choline?
I’m not expecting any specific treatment. Simply clarifying to make sense… learning 🙂
Thank you so very much!
1) there are slight differences as a cholinesterase inhibitor is very specific and there are many drugs with anticholinergic properties, 2) Yes, I use both of these for patient’s who want to optimize brain function. 3) I am not sure what you are asking here – which drug are you referring to?
How can I increase my vitaminD level ?? Thank you.
Take Thorne D3/K2 liquid…
Thanks for explaining that you need to get some B12 because it can help your brain and nervous system stay healthy. It is good to know tath you can get it from raw spinach. That does seem like an easy thing to add into your diet. It might also be smart to talk to a nervous system specialist about supplements you can take if you don’t like spinach.
My father had a heart attack and his doctor put him on statins. Since then, he has lost an INCREDIBLE amount of muscle and weight. He looks so unhealthy and I am so worried. His doctors brush off the extreme muscle wasting and weight loss and say he simply, “needs the statin for risk of a future heart attack”. He also has a lot muscle cramping and digestive issues. Are there any safer alternatives to statins? Any articles or research you can point me to?
God Bless! C
Also, I am very concerned with the dementia risk with statins. (I forgot to add this to my comment)