Some brain cells are lost with age, but significant memory loss is not an inevitable consequence of aging. At any time of life, it isn’t uncommon to be temporarily forgetful as a result of insufficient sleep, jet lag, or exceptionally stressful or challenging situations, but serious, persistent memory lapses indicate an underlying condition — not necessarily any type of dementia.
At the same time, some people maintain exceptional abilities to remember throughout a long life.
Chronic inflammation is a major contributing factor in what is technically called “minimal cognitive impairment,” or MCI for short — “senior moments.” In such situations, there is a link between low-grade, chronic brain inflammation and excitotoxicity. A growing number of triggers for such inflammation occur throughout life, including chronic infections, repeated injury, recurrent mini-strokes, stress, autoimmune diseases, excessive vaccination, and exposure to a number of toxic substances. Older people frequently take a number of prescription drugs, many of which impair brain function.
Over 50? Serious Brain Nutrition Combats Scary Mental Decline
There is no drug or other medical treatment to prevent memory loss or improve memory. If forgetfulness becomes a problem, it should be treated as a symptom, rather than a disease, and a competent doctor should evaluate the individual’s overall health, including possible prescription drugs that could be causing the problem. Medical situations that may affect memory include brain injuries and disorders, imbalances of sex or thyroid hormones, stroke, severe illness, surgery, and cancer treatment.
There are two basic principles of protection — avoid the things that damage the brain and take more of the things that protect the brain.
For example, these are things to avoid: toxic metals such as mercury, aluminum, cadmium, lead, and excess manganese; pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides; toxic industrial chemicals; black and other mold toxins; and toxins in food. Dietary toxic substances include inflammatory omega-6 oils (corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut, and soybean oils); excess sugar; excess red meats; foods and additives high in glutamate; and fluoridated drinking water.
Regular, moderate exercise is important — at least 30 minutes a day. Establishing good friendships is very important and this includes maintaining close family ties.
Will You Outlive Your Memory?
Reading, learning new things, such as a new language or playing a musical instrument, and just exploring the world around you can bring great stress relief. One should develop a proper perspective regarding the time to relax and the time to work. It is important not to let material goals dominate your life.
As for food, vegetables and fruits are among the most powerful brain-protecting foods, especially high-nutrient ones. Such vegetables include kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, onions, and spinach. Fruits to choose include strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and acai berries. Eat organically grown ones, as they are far superior to conventionally grown varieties.
: In fish oil, which contains beneficial omega-3 fats, there are two major components, EPA and DHA. Of these, DHA is most concentrated in the brain, and is essential for maintaining fluidity, flexibility, and integrity of brain cell connections and membranes. DHA (and EPA) must be obtained from diet, since our bodies do not make these. Not all fish oil supplements contain high doses of DHA. One that does is Norwegian Fish Oil, made by Carlson, in a liquid supplement with natural lemon or orange flavors, which makes it easy to take a high dose without having to take many pills.
: Take two teaspoons, twice a day. Pure DHA is also available in capsules, but is more expensive for a comparable dose.
Worried About Forgetting Things? Try Dr. Blaylock’s Brain Boosters
: Magnesium reduces excitotoxicity and brain inflammation, improves blood flow to the brain, and raises levels of our chief internal antioxidant, glutathione, in brain cells. For best absorption, use a slowrelease version of magnesium malate, such as Magnesium w/SRT, made by Jigsaw Health. Two caplets contain 250 mg. L-threonate enters the brain better and comes in a 2,000 mg per capsule dose. Try using both.
: Take two caplets of the Jigsaw brand, twice a day with meals. Take two capsules of the magnesium L-threonate two to three times a day.
: Also called vitamin B3, niacinamide plays a major role in energy production by all cells, including brain cells.
: Take 500 mg, two to three times a day with meals.
: This is the most absorbable and beneficial form of vitamin B12, which is essential for energy production in the brain but often in short supply among older people. A sublingual form is preferred.
: Take 10,000 mcg a day of a sublingual form.
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Nicotine- main addictive element of cigarette- emerging as promising treatment
May also be useful for brain disorders such as dementia and schizophrenia
In the case of Parkinson’s, nicotine, has been shown to activate the cells that produce dopamine
Matt Eagles smoked his first cigarettes — which he bought quite easily from the local newsagent — aged 12.
‘I was the sort of kid who just liked being naughty, but it soon became a regular habit,’ says the 51-year-old from Cuddington, Cheshire.
It’s a story familiar to millions, but while smoking is universally regarded as bad for health, in Matt’s case he believes the nicotine from the cigarettes may have had an unexpected benefit. Matt, who works in public relations, was diagnosed with the degenerative nerve condition Parkinson’s disease unusually early, aged eight, a year after strange symptoms appeared. Nicotine – the main addictive element of cigarettes – is emerging in studies as a promising treatment for Parkinson’s, ADHD, dementia, schizophrenia and even coronavirus. (Stock image) ‘I lost my sense of balance and at first they thought it was arthritis or a brain tumour,’ says Matt.
‘My left hand was developing a life of its own and kept shaking and moving, which was a problem because I’m left-handed. I felt as though my wrist was going to drop off, and I’d walk on tiptoes.
‘I love sport and was a goalkeeper, but it got to a stage where I was diving for the ball after it had gone into the net. It was very frustrating but I just moved on to do other things instead. In the end they worked out it was Parkinson’s.’
The disease, which causes uncontrollable tremor, stiffness and difficulty walking, affects about 145,000 people in Britain. As well as the physical symptoms, most patients develop memory loss as the disease progresses.
The condition occurs when cells that produce dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain which helps control body movements, progressively die off.
There have been no new effective treatments for Parkinson’s for more than 20 years and current therapy merely reduces symptoms, rather than tackling the causes.
Now nicotine — the main addictive element of cigarettes — is emerging in studies as a promising treatment. And it may also be useful for some other brain disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dementia and schizophrenia — and even Covid.
In the case of Parkinson’s, nicotine, a chemical found in many plants, not just tobacco, has been shown to activate the cells that produce dopamine.
Research suggests that people whose diets contain a lot of tomatoes, peppers and aubergines — all of which contain nicotine — have a 30 per cent lower chance of developing Parkinson’s.
Separately, Dr Mohammed Shoaib, head of the psychopharmacology research group at Newcastle University, is leading a project to develop a nicotine-based treatment he hopes will work on the movement and memory degeneration that is caused by Parkinson’s disease.
Studies in the U.S. have also suggested that the receptors nicotine binds to increase the amount of calcium entering cells in the bones, which appears to reduce the bone loss associated with Parkinson’s.
Matt quit smoking aged 36, when offered deep brain stimulation treatment, where an implant delivers high-frequency electrical signals via electrodes into the brain to control symptoms. Bad, Good, Best: How to get the most out of food choices
This week: Parsnips
Bad: In soup A typical parsnip soup recipe contains butter and whole milk Creamy parsnip soup may well count as one of your five-a-day, but a typical recipe contains butter and whole milk and provides around 300 calories per bowl.
It also contains 6g or 30 per cent of your daily recommended allowance of saturated fat.
Good: Roasted. Roasted parsnips supplies nearly half of your RDI of vitamin B12 A 100g portion of roasted parsnips has 133 calories and 0.7g of saturated fat.
It supplies nearly half of your RDI of vitamin B12, which staves off fatigue.
However, over-roasting can increase the chemical acrylamide that is linked to cancer.
Best: Mashed Mashed parsnips provides 20 per cent of your RDI of potassium There are just 89 calories in 3 tbsp (135g) of boiled mashed parsnips — which rises to 124 calories with 1 tsp of heart-healthy olive oil.
It also provides 20 per cent of your RDI of potassium, needed for healthy blood pressure. Mash with carrots to boost your vitamin A intake.
‘Before the operation, I was on 25 different tablets a day,’ he says. ‘I found eating anything slowed the absorption of the medication but if I had a cigarette after a meal I would feel better sooner.’While he had to stop smoking ahead of the complex six-hour procedure and hasn’t smoked since, Matt is convinced nicotine had helped him: ‘Since I’ve had the implant, things have been much better, so I don’t know what difference cigarettes might have made.’No one is suggesting people take up smoking, and there is no doubt that the use of nicotine as a drug is controversial, with different views on whether it’s addictive as a treatment, for instance.Dr Shoaib says a number of promising nicotine compounds have been investigated as treatments for Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia, but some have had to be abandoned due to side-effects.A trial of one drug, encenicline, was stopped because the treatment caused serious stomach problems in some people.’Patients have had their hopes raised so many times, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s a nicotine compound owned by some pharmaceutical company that’s the golden bullet, but we can’t get access to it,’ he says.But if support for nicotine-based research has been lukewarm over fears of side-effects and its addictive nature, one advance that may encourage more studies is the discovery that it seems to protect people from Covid-19 — with smokers 80 per cent less likely to develop the infection (although they are more likely to suffer badly if they do catch it).Research by Konstantinos Farsalinos, a professor of public health at the University of Patras, Greece, found that although China has high smoking rates, relatively few smokers ended up in hospital.’We thought […]
Controlling blood sugar levels helped improve thinking, learning and memory in overweight people with type 2 diabetes, a new study has found.
The US study examined 1100 diabetics and those with better blood sugar control had improved cognition, short-term memory, planning, impulse control, attention, and the ability to switch between tasks.
“Every little improvement in blood sugar control was associated with a little better cognition,” noted researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre in the US.
Lead study author, Owen Carmichael said: “It’s important to properly control your blood sugar to avoid the bad brain effects of your diabetes.”
“Don’t think you can simply let yourself get all the way to the obese range, lose some of the weight, and everything in the brain is fine. The brain might have already turned a corner that it can’t turn back from,” added Carmichael.
Diabetes is considered a global pandemic , affects up to 3.5 million South Africans and is the second most common cause of death in SA. It is reported as a risk factor for severe Covid-19 cases because high blood sugar levels may weaken the immune system.
The US study follows research in the UK which found that 30% of 24,000 people who reportedly died from Covid-19-related factors from March 1 – May 11 were diabetics.
“…Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes were both independently associated with a significant increased odds of in-hospital death with Covid-19,” noted a report on the study published recently in The Lancet .
Health and wellness expert, Vanessa Ascencao, says poor blood sugar control and bad management of diabetes may contribute to various infections. In addition to eating healthily and exercising, diabetics should explore the various powerful natural supplements available to help balance blood sugar, she added.
“Berberine for example is a powerful plant compound , supported by scores of published studies and shown to help lower blood sugar, support weight loss and improve heart health. Bio-Berberine Complex is further enhanced by polyphenol rich SA green tea extract, Origine 8 , to help improve insulin sensitivity and enhance metabolism,” she said.
( Natural News ) Researchers from Brazil are suggesting that lithium could potentially halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. In a study published in the journal Current Alzheimer Research , they wrote that the memory of Alzheimer’s patients stabilized after taking small doses of lithium . The team also reported that lithium was able to slow down the aging of brain cells. While research is still ongoing, they are optimistic that their findings provide crucial insight into Alzheimer’s, a disease that remains poorly understood. Exploring lithium for Alzheimer’s
The study began after coauthor Marielza Nunes, a physician with the Santa Casa de Sao Paulo School of Medical Sciences , noticed that elderly patients who took microdoses of lithium as a food supplement seemed to display better memory.
Following up on this, Nunes and her fellow researchers enlisted a group of elderly patients with Alzheimer’s to try this therapy. Half of the patients took 300 micrograms of lithium daily while the other half took a placebo. All of the participants regularly completed cognitive tests over the course of 18 months.
During the study, the researchers found that those who took lithium scored consistently well in the tests, while those who took the placebo performed progressively worse.
“The memory of the patients treated with lithium stabilized from the third month [onward]. The performance of the other group declined,” said coauthor Tania Viel of the University of Sao Paulo . Viel said that they extended the treatment period to see if the observed effect holds up. When it did, they began administering lithium to all of the participants. Lithium may slow down aging in cells
To further test lithium’s effects against Alzheimer’s disease , the researchers made mock brain cells by genetically transforming adult blood cells into astrocytes – the most abundant cell type in the central nervous system. They treated some of the astrocytes with lithium and compared them with untreated ones.
“We observed that aging was significantly reduced in the cultures that received lithium,” Viel said. She added that cellular aging is one of the key factors that give rise to Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
In a second experiment — this time involving elderly mice — the researchers found that the animals that received lithium from an early age had better memory and lower anxiety levels. Viel said that the two effects were linked as increased anxiety is associated with memory loss in old age. (Related: Research shows hemin, lithium can mitigate cadmium-induced testicular damage .)
The researchers plan to use lithium in several follow-up studies to test different hypotheses for Alzheimer’s. For instance, to determine if it can reverse the cellular damage caused by oxidative stress, a key driver of cellular aging, they plan to test lithium on brain cells with hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative damage.
“Various kinds of brain aging can lead to Alzheimer’s. We want to see how far we can protect cells with lithium,” explained Viel. The results of their second experiment were presented at the 34th Annual Meeting of the Federation of Brazilian Societies for Experimental Biology, which was held in Sao Paolo in 2019.
Another animal study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease , found that microdoses of lithium could potentially benefit people with early, pre-clinical Alzheimer’s . Researchers from McGill University in Canada said that lithium therapy improved working memory in mice, as well as reduced markers of brain inflammation and oxidative stress. Lithium also reduced beta-amyloid plaques, which are linked to Alzheimer’s.
Lithium has already been used to treat mental disorders. In fact, patients with bipolar I disorder are usually prescribed 60 milligrams of lithium per day to help manage their condition. Based on these new findings, it appears that lithium is capable of providing more benefits for the brain than previously thought.
Read more articles about promising treatments for Alzheimer’s disease at Alzheimers.news .
5 Herbs For Memory Boost And Concentration
The brain is one of the most important parts of the human body, it serves as the house to many memories. It is important to have a good memory in order to make headway in different aspects of life.
Whether you’re looking to improve focus and concentration, enhance memory or protect your brain from decline, herbal medicine has a lot to offer.
Below are some herbs that are useful for boosting your memory:
This is a common ingredient in curries, is a super-hero herb. It relieves inflammatory conditions like skin problems, dementia, pain, and arthritis. Studies now suggest it may be useful in battling cancer and preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric is revered in India, where the rate of Alzheimer’s is low compared with the rate in the Western world.
This herb is loaded with antioxidants and contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties that may boost your memory. This herb is also known to make people feel more alert, calm, and happy. To use this, add fresh sage to your diet by sprinkling it as a garnish on top of salads, portions of pasta, or soups. You can also mix it into stuffings and sauces. To make sage tea, add two tablespoons of dried sage to a mug of boiling water. Strain the tea and enjoy.
Green tea might help to fight fatigue, it is a better choice than coffee. In addition to its mild caffeine content, green tea is filled with antioxidant and contains an impressive amount of micronutrients. A substance called L-theanine in green tea has been shown to reduce anxiety, which can be helpful when you’re battling work deadlines and need to stay productive. L-theanine and caffeine work as a duo to improve brain function.
Rosemary is said to be one of the best natural herbs for boosting total brainpower. Recent clinical studies have shown that Rosemary helps to improve cognitive function for all healthy ages, even those who suffer from Alzheimer’s. Rosemary teas, capsules, and essential oils can all be found in a variety of natural grocery stores.
Peppermint is believed to be one of the most effective methods for stimulating the brain and improving both memory and focus. This refreshing herb has shown significant results in supporting mental clarity. You can jump-start your day by brewing some Peppermint tea or using essential oils.
Did you know that coconut oil can help cure piles? We doubt! If you have extra-virgin coconut oil at home, you have the solution for a gamut of common health problems. It is known as the best beauty buddy for your skin and hair, but its benefits and uses go far beyond this. Coconut oil is a superfood and can benefit your health in many ways. Here we have listed 10 unbelievable coconut oil home remedies that you didn’t know about. Also Read – Use CBD oil as a home remedy for pain, depression and more Coconut oil is mainly composed of healthy fats called medium-chain fatty acids, such as caprylic, lauric and capric acids. This oil is also one of the best sources of healthy saturated fat, with almost 90 percent of the fatty acids in it being saturated. Many experts believe that natural saturated fats help increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels in your body and promote heart health. Let’s look at some of the amazing home remedies using coconut oil. Also Read – Use desi ghee to boost digestive health, manage diabetes and more
Improves Thyroid Function
You may not believe this, but coconut oil can support your thyroid function. The fatty acids in coconut oil can promote the production of thyroid hormone. Therefore, it is especially good for people with hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid. Plus, it increases metabolism and aid weight loss, two common problems faced by people suffering from hypothyroidism. Also Read – Home remedies: How to use baking soda to treat heartburn For thyroid problems, experts suggest consuming 2 or 3 tablespoons of virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil daily. Boosts Oral Health
Oil pulling using coconut oil is considered to be highly effective in improving oral health. Studies suggest that coconut oil can kill bacteria in the mouth and help prevent bad breath, tooth decay, cavities, gingivitis and gum disease. Often associated with Ayurveda, oil pulling involves swishing oil in your mouth to remove bacteria and promote oral hygiene. Take 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin coconut oil and swish it around in your mouth for 15 minutes and then spit it out. Do this daily in the morning before brush your teeth. You can also gently massage a few drops of coconut oil on your gums daily. Fights Alzheimer’s Disease
The medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil can boost brain health as well as prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease, an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that causes a decline in memory, behavior and mental capabilities. It has been found that coconut oil weakens the effects of beta-amyloid peptides, which are one of the contributing components to neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. Consuming 1 to 2 tablespoons of organic, cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil daily may do the trick. Treats Eczema
For years, coconut oil has been used to treat eczema or atopic dermatitis, a chronic skin condition characterized by patches of dry skin that become inflamed, itchy, red, cracked and sore. Coconut oil has antibacterial and antioxidant properties, which help restore skin health, heal damaged skin and prevent scarring. To treat eczema, apply extra-virgin coconut oil to the affected skin 3 or 4 times a day. Also, you can consume 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin coconut oil orally once daily. Cures Piles
Piles, commonly known as hemorrhoids, are swollen veins in your anus and lower rectum. Coconut oil has an anti-inflammatory effect that helps soothe the inflamed veins and promotes quick healing. Plus, coconut oil is a natural laxative that can help you get relief from constipation, one of the main causes of piles. To regulate your bowel movements, consume 1 to 2 teaspoons of extra-virgin coconut oil daily, and apply the oil on the hemorrhoid after each bowel movement to reduce the irritation and swelling. Reduces Seizures
Doctors usually recommend the ketogenic diet (very low carbohydrate, very high fat) for people with epilepsy to control seizures. Coconut oil is one of the main components of a ketogenic diet, mainly because it has medium-chain triglycerides. The recommended dosage of extra-virgin coconut oil to reduce seizure is 1 teaspoon 3 times per day, which is to be gradually increased to 2 tablespoons a day.
Neurodegenerative disease is the progressive dysfunction and loss of neurons in the central nervous system (CNS), including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) ( 1 ). The mechanisms underlying their progressive nature remain unknown. To date, aging and immunity are closely associated with the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. Immunosenescence refers to the gradual deterioration of the immune system brought on by natural age advancement. It involves both the host’s capacity to respond to infections and the development of long-term immune memory, which could accelerate the progression of neurodegenerative diseases ( 2 ).
Despite different triggering events, a common feature is brain inflammation ( 3 ). It is clear that neuroinflammation during compensatory period is beneficial, which help combat infections, promote tissue repair, remove necrotic cells, shape the brain during development and repair following damage. Upon decompensatory period, a vicious cycle of glial priming and release of pro-inflammatory factors promote neuronal damage ( 4 ). On the other hand, chronic inflammation, including chronic intestinal inflammation, diabetes, obesity, and systemic lupus erythema, could cause cognitive impairment, learning and memory deficits, and human depression ( 5 , 6 ). Moreover, long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs would suppress the peripheral immunity and reduce the incidence of PD by about 50% ( 7 ). In PD mice model, intraperitoneal lipopolysaccharide (LPS) injection combined with intravenous administration of two different recombinant α-synuclein (α-syn) pathogenic strains resulted in overactivation of microglia and further promoted the recruitment of leukocytes toward the brain and the spinal cord ( 8 ). Likewise, inhibiting migration of T cells or B cells into the brain rendered the CNS susceptible to devastating infections. However, the nature of peripheral immune cells in neurodegenerative diseases progression remains unclear. Thus, this review summarized the roles of peripheral immune cells on the pathological progression of neurodegenerative diseases. Roles of Peripheral Immune Cells on Neurodegenerative Diseases
Mononuclear Phagocyte System
Monocyte is the largest type of white blood cell in the peripheral blood that could differentiate into macrophages or dendritic cells (DCs) ( 9 ). Monocyte triggers innate immune responses by regulating Toll-like receptors (TLRs), scavenger receptors, phagocytosis and complement-mediated responses. Recent studies revealed that gut dysbiosis, a primary element behind various gastrointestinal disorders, might augment LPS, pro-inflammatory factors and monocytes, thus leading to increased intestinal and blood brain barrier (BBB) permeability through microbiota-gut-brain axis. Correspondingly, accumulation of axonal damage, misfolded proteins and neuronal demyelination facilitates the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders, such as AD, PD and MS ( 10 ).
In AD patients, a higher proportion of monocytes in the peripheral blood was discerned, whereas the interaction between monocytes and platelets in the blood was not altered. Besides, cathepsin D, a major lysosomal aspartic protease, was underexpressed in monocytes, causing the defective degradation of amyloid-β (Aβ) by monocytes ( 11 ). However, the sensitivity of monocytes toward Aβ peptides was decreased, indicating that there might be a critical link between the interaction of platelets and monocytes in AD ( 12 ).
Transcriptomics analysis showed that monocytes isolated from peripheral blood of PD patients conferred pro-inflammatory effects. The increase in the number of classical monocytes in PD blood and the decrease in the number of non-classical monocytes might result from the increased monocyte differentiation or increased migration from the bone marrow ( 13 ). In contrast, monocytes play an important role in repairing of the injured brain. For example, continuous low-dose injections of LPS in the periphery caused chronic inflammation and the tolerance of peripheral monocytes. Once CNS was stimulated again, dopaminergic neuronal damage was reduced ( 14 ). Of note, PD-associated gene DJ-1 deficiency attenuated monocyte infiltration into the damaged brain, which in turn led to delay in repairing of brain injury in mice ( 15 ). Furthermore, the chemotaxis and phagocytosis of aged monocytes were increased or decreased under different conditions. In neurodegeneration, an increase in the number of monocytes and functional changes observed in peripheral blood might be related to immunosenescence, but this change was more obvious in age-matched PD patients ( 16 ).
Currently, the blood monocyte counted in the early phase of MS was robustly associated with the clinical severity of MS, whereas the counts of the other blood cells were not related with MS severity ( 17 ). Moreover, various animal studies carried out that monocytes contributed to MS-associated neuroinflammation. While classically activated monocytes promoted inflammation, type II-activated monocytes could improve the progression of MS. Furtherly, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory alternatives inhibited monocyte secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-1β, and also suppressed the phagocytosis of monocytes and thus slowed down the pathological process of MS ( 18 ). Macrophage
In the inflammatory lesions, macrophages are the dominant cells. Macrophages in peripheral blood can cross BBB to secrete pro-inflammatory factors in brain to further determine the survival of neurons ( 19 ). Production of these inflammatory factors in brain is generally considered to be the primary mechanisms underlying the development of neuronal damage in response to chronic inflammation ( 20 ). Additionally, the renin-angiotensin system acts on macrophages via different signaling pathways. Angiotensin (Ang) II type 1 receptors (ATR) drive pro-inflammatory macrophage responses in neuroinflammation via regulation of chemokines. Interestingly, macrophages could secrete pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory factors due to the autoimmune actions of inflammation ( 21 ). In CNS, microglia are the resident macrophages and play vital functions for brain development and homeostasis. The phenotypic differentiation between microglia and peripheral macrophages is verified to be age-dependent. Peripheral macrophages might express several most commonly described microglia markers in some developmental stages or pathological conditions, particularly during chronic neuroinflammation ( 22 ). At present, blood-derived macrophages are thought to contribute to brain damage and repair in yet unidentified ways ( 23 ).
A number of studies demonstrated that defects of macrophages interfered with brain clearance of Aβ, including in Aβ phagocytosis and Aβ-induced apoptosis. Macrophages derived from peripheral blood in AD patients were found to possess ineffective phagocytosis of Aβ and low resistance to apoptosis by Aβ ( 24 – 26 […]
Dark chocolate can benefit your brain and heart health, reduce inflammation, and combat oxidative stress in the body.
The flavonoids in dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and cholesterol while reducing your risk for blood clots, stroke, and heart disease.
To achieve these health benefits, you should eat dark chocolate with 80% cacao.
This article was medically reviewed by Samantha Cassetty , MS, RD, nutrition and wellness expert with a private practice based in New York City.
From a young age, we’re told to not eat too many sweets, including chocolate. However, dark chocolate, especially if it has a high percentage of cacao, can actually be good for you. This type of chocolate presents a variety of health perks that can benefit your heart, brain, and overall health.
Here’s why eating dark chocolate may be good for you. Dark chocolate can be beneficial for heart health
The reason dark chocolate is beneficial for heart health is that it contains flavonoids, which are antioxidants that come from plants.
Flavonoids may have the following heart health benefits: Lower blood pressure : The mechanisms are not fully known how dark chocolate and its flavonoids lower blood pressure . “It may simply be that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory parts, as well as the blood-thinning and blood-vessel relaxing properties of these chemicals, are what’s responsible for lowering blood pressure,” says Dana Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD , senior dietitian at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and professor at the Fielding School of Public Health.
Lower cholesterol : Flavonoids may increase levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein), which is known as “good cholesterol,” and improve their function. HDL cholesterol absorbs LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein), which is “bad cholesterol,” and in turn, lowers cholesterol levels in your body.
Prevent blood clots : Flavonoids in dark chocolate have been found to affect blood platelets positively. A 2007 study showed that platelets in modest chocolate eaters’ blood were less likely to clot than non-chocolate eaters. The researchers concluded that these anti-clotting effects may be responsible for chocolate’s positive effects on cardiovascular health.
Prevent stroke : Dark chocolate may reduce stroke risk due to this ability to lower blood pressure, since high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke. Additionally, since it relaxes blood vessels, this can also lower the risk of stroke, Hunnes says.
Reduce the risk of heart disease : A 2017 meta-analysis looked at five studies that examined the relationship between chocolate consumption and risk of heart disease. The analysis found that across the five studies, there was a decreased risk of heart disease associated with moderate chocolate consumption.
Dark chocolate can improve brain health
Due to the cardiovascular benefits mentioned above, Hunnes says flavonoids can help increase blood flow to the brain. As a byproduct of this, you will get more oxygen to your brain and move toxins out of the brain more quickly. This protects your brain and can help prevent neurodegenerative conditions , like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
A small 2018 study stated that flavonoids can cross the blood-brain barrier and have a positive effect on electrical brain activity, which can improve attention and memory. In this study, the participants consumed 6.8 grams of dark chocolate to reap these benefits.
Hunnes says the increased blood flow may be the mechanism by which dark chocolate is believed to improve memory, and therefore, eating small amounts of dark chocolate each day can have a beneficial effect on overall cognition. Dark chocolate may help reduce inflammation
According to Hunnes, consuming dark chocolate is a natural way to reduce inflammation in your body. That’s because the antioxidants in dark chocolate — particularly flavonoids and polyphenols — have anti-inflammatory properties .
Consuming anti-inflammatory foods provides overall health benefits, such as preventing future chronic diseases like heart disease or type 2 diabetes .
In fact, Hunnes says reducing inflammation can help protect the following organs: Heart
Dark chocolate reduces oxidative stress in the body
Both flavonoids and polyphenols — antioxidants present in dark chocolate — can also combat the damage of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are natural byproducts of life that may also be caused by pollution or ultraviolet radiation. They can cause damage to our cells’ DNA and result in oxidative stress, which can lead to chronic disease.
Because dark chocolate has an extremely high polyphenol content , it may help you reduce oxidative stress and combat free radicals. Here’s how dark chocolate stacks up to other antioxidant-rich foods in terms of polyphenol content: Dark chocolate: 1664mg per 100g
Milk chocolate: 236mg per 100g Strawberries: 235mg per 100g Coffee : 214mg per 100mL Ginger : 202mg per 100g Red wine : 101mg per 100mL The best way to consume dark chocolate When choosing which type of dark chocolate to eat, a higher percentage of cacao is best. “The more cacao, the more healthy nutrients, the less sugar, and the less other potentially negative ingredients,” Hunnes says.In particular, 80% cacao is the minimum that Hunnes recommends for achieving health benefits. Hunnes says that you can have up to 20 to 30 grams per day of 80% dark chocolate, though if it’s a lower percentage, you may want to eat a smaller amount each day.To make your dark chocolate intake even healthier, she also suggests choosing non-dairy versions or trying cacao nibs, which are roasted cacao beans. Hunnes also advises limiting your consumption of less healthy sweets, like milk chocolate or white chocolate, as they contain higher amounts of sugar and fat. The bottom line Consuming dark chocolate in moderation is a low-risk, delicious way to improve your overall health and help ward off health problems like stroke, high blood pressure, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Just remember to opt for the highest percentage of cacao for the healthiest option.
15 Reasons to Add Walnuts to Your Menu
Walnuts are of the best nuts you can eat. And we don’t mean just for its wonderfully nutty flavor. It’s packed with excellent health benefits, plus it tastes fantastic. It fights against many diseases such as heart disease, cognitive diseases, and even cancer.
While it’s true that walnuts have one of the highest fat contents of all nuts (about 65% of it is fat), this is nothing to worry about. The fat in walnut is heart-healthy alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), which is an omega-6 fatty acid. As long as you stay near the recommended daily amount of healthy fat, you’ll be okay eating these nuts. Here are 15 reasons you should add walnuts to your menu.
Walnuts offer more value than just great taste–here’s what they can do for your body. 1. They contain more antioxidants than any other food.
Antioxidant is a term that people throw around quite often. These substances protect your cells from harm by free radicals (another word that people use without fully explaining). You can think of antioxidants as your cells’ bodyguards.
Free radicals are substances that come from harmful chemicals in the air, such as cigarettes’ smoke and other pollution. If free radicals build up in your body, they can do some severe damage, even as serious as death. You need as many antioxidants as you can get.
Save 2. They have lots of folic acid.
Men and women need folic acid, but pregnant women need it the most. Pregnant women who have a folic acid deficiency can have babies with congenital disabilities. Eating them protects the mom’s and baby’s health.
Some studies have also shown that walnuts can increase the baby’s intelligence as it develops in the womb. While more research is needed on this topic, it still doesn’t hurt to give your baby the best chance possible. 3. They can improve your heart health.
Due to the high content of antioxidants and other nutrients, these nuts are a great cardiovascular booster . They can help to lower bad cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and improve blood circulation. In fact, the more you eat, the better.
It may seem contradictory that eating something with such a high-fat content is right for your heart. However, there has been significant research into omega-6 fatty acids, such as the one from study co-author Frank Hu of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It shows that consuming fatty acids reduces the risk of heart disease. 4. They are easy to carry around.
For some people, carrying around a quick snack is necessary, so they don’t go too long without eating. People with strict work schedules, specific diet plans, hypoglycemic issues, and more can benefit from having a healthy snack available. They can put the nuts in a sipper-top bag or some other small container and place them in a purse, pocket, or backpack.
Walnuts are an excellent bridge from one meal to the next. That goes into the following reason. 5. They help you to feel full.
Walnuts are the perfect snack between meals because you can eat a small amount and feel satiated till your next meal. The reason for this is that they contain a high amount of fiber per serving. Fiber is what makes you feel full.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that average adults eat around 25 grams of fiber each day. There are five grams of fiber per cup of these delicious nuts. To put this in perspective, there are only 1.9 grams of fiber per slice of wheat bread. 6. You can support local farmers.
Health benefits aren’t the only benefits of eating these nuts. This year, farms have been hit hard. Many farms have shut their doors for good because they didn’t have enough resources to survive the pandemic.
Buying goods from local farms will help boost the economy, not to mention the farmers! You’ll also be getting the freshest nuts you can get since they don’t have to go through the traveling process to make it to a store halfway across the country. 7. They can improve your memory.
Studies linking the nuts to memory improvement mostly focuses on the elderly. These studies show that foods that are rich in polyphenol improve verbal memory in older adults. This research indicates that the nuts can be used to fight off some effects from memory-related disorders. Walnuts have the most polyphenol of all nuts. They contain 1591.5 mg of polyphenol per 100 g of nuts.
There are a few studies done on the effects of the nuts on young adults’ cognitive performance . They show that the nuts have a small positive impact. Save Research explains the many benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, including brain health. 8. They make a great addition to salads.
If you want to spruce up a salad , toss in half a cup of the nuts to give it a crunch and a buttery taste. Apple walnut salads are immensely popular. The apple and walnut chunks give you a healthy dose of fiber, so even though you ate a salad, you’ll feel full for a while.
You can make a walnut salad with any of your favorite berries. Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are all great choices. Top it off with some balsamic vinaigrette dressing, and you’ll have a healthy treat. 9. They improve fertility in men.
If you want your soldiers to march better or to keep marching strong, you should eat the nuts regularly. Sperm is made of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can be damaged by a process called lipid peroxidation . The nuts have a lot of polyunsaturated fatty acids. They essentially protect sperm cells while also replenishing any lost polyunsaturated fatty acids.
If you’re trying to conceive, the nuts will protect the sperm and keep the baby healthy. The walnut seems to be a miracle food for reproduction. 10. They taste good.
What better reason to eat something besides a great taste? Sure, there may be a few people out there who don’t […]
Pyrroloquinoline quinone — or PQQ — has recently gained a lot of attention in the health and wellness sphere.
PQQ supplements are claimed to increase energy levels, mental focus, and longevity, but you may wonder whether there’s any merit to these claims.
This article explains everything you need to know about PQQ supplements, including the evidence behind their possible benefits. Tatjana Zlatkovic/Stocksy United PQQ (pyrroloquinoline quinone), also called methoxatin, is a vitamin-like compound that exists naturally in soil and a variety of foods, including spinach, kiwi, soybeans, and human breastmilk ( 1 ). How it functions
PQQ’s exact function in humans remains somewhat undetermined, but it’s renowned for its potent antioxidant effects . It’s also thought to be involved in a variety of cellular processes, including protecting nerve cells against damage ( 2 , 3 ).
What’s more, PQQ supports proper mitochondrial function and the cellular development of new mitochondria, though its exact mechanisms are still unclear ( 2 ).
Mitochondria are specialized structures inside your cells that are responsible for producing energy from the foods you eat. What are PQQ supplements?
When taken as a supplement, PQQ is classified as a nootropic . Nootropics are substances used to enhance brain functions like memory, mental focus, motivation, and creativity ( 4 ).
PQQ supplements are manufactured via a unique bacterial fermentation process. The PQQ is harvested from certain bacteria that naturally produce this compound as a byproduct of their metabolism ( 5 ).
PQQ supplements are typically sold as capsules or soft gels, but they’re occasionally available as chewable tablets or lozenges. Summary PQQ is a natural compound found in a variety of foods. It acts as an antioxidant and supports healthy mitochondrial function. It’s taken as a supplement to promote brain function. Although PQQ is essential for human health, there’s limited evidence that the supplemental form provides any meaningful health benefits.
That said, early research suggests that PQQ may help reduce inflammation and improve mitochondrial function. May help lower inflammation
Early research indicates that PQQ has anti-inflammatory effects . In turn, these properties may reduce your risk of various inflammatory ailments.
One animal study found that mice given PQQ had significantly less inflammatory damage to brain tissue, compared with the control group ( 6 ).
In another study in obese mice treated with PQQ during pregnancy and lactation, their offspring exhibited significantly fewer inflammatory markers in liver tissue and were less likely to express inflammatory genes than the offspring of mice that didn’t get PQQ ( 7 ).
One small, 3-day study in 10 people evaluated the effects of taking a daily PQQ supplement on common markers of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and blood sugar and cholesterol levels ( 8 ).
CRP and IL-6 levels dropped significantly, but no meaningful changes in cholesterol or blood sugar occurred ( 8 ).
Although these results are promising, the data isn’t strong enough to suggest that PPQ treats or prevents inflammatory conditions. Thus, more research is needed. May improve mitochondrial function
Recent research on PQQ largely focuses on its mitochondrial effects.
Mitochondria are responsible for producing the energy that your cells require to stay healthy and function optimally. Poor mitochondrial health is implicated in a variety of common conditions, including mental decline, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer ( 9 ).
Experts note that enhanced mitochondrial health may be behind many of the broad health claims associated with PQQ, such as improved memory, energy, and sleep .
Several test-tube and animal studies indicate that PQQ increases cellular mitochondria production via several complex pathways, but almost no evidence suggests a similar effect in humans — or which health benefits would be derived from it ( 2 , 10 , 11 ).
Still, a small, 8-week study in 17 people found that taking 20 mg of PQQ daily resulted in significant self-reported improvements in sleep quality and fatigue ( 12 ).
The study authors noted that these effects may have been due to PQQ’s influence on mitochondrial health, but insufficient data was collected to confirm that theory.
Due to a lack of evidence, more research is needed. Test-tube and animal studies suggest that PQQ may favorably affect inflammation and mitochondrial health, but further research is necessary. When considering things like dosage and adverse effects, bear in mind that PQQ hasn’t been rigorously tested in humans. Dosage
Due to a lack of robust data, no set PPQ dosage recommendation exists.
However, the available research suggests that results may be seen from doses as low as 5 mg per day ( 13 ). Adverse effects
Likewise, its side effects aren’t fully known, as very few human studies have examined this substance. Yet, toxicology studies indicate that PQQ poses a risk of kidney damage when taken at very high doses ( 14 ).As such, you shouldn’t take more than the amount recommended on the packaging.It’s still unclear whether PQQ interacts negatively with any medications. Consult your healthcare provider prior to adding PQQ to your supplement regimen, especially if you’re taking any other medications or supplements. No set dosage information for PQQ exists, and insufficient studies exist to fully examine its side effects. Excessive doses may increase your risk of kidney damage. Currently, not enough strong evidence is available to warrant taking PQQ.Eating plenty of PQQ-rich foods, such as spinach, parsley, carrots, oranges, tomatoes, bananas , dark chocolate, and green tea, is likely enough to get adequate amounts ( 1 ).Still, PQQ supplements carry few risks. Consult your healthcare provider if you decide to take it, and be sure to choose a high quality product that’s tested for purity and potency by a third-party organization like NSF International or the United States Pharmacopeia (USP). Currently, there isn’t enough evidence to justify supplementing with PQQ, and you can likely get plenty of it from your diet. However, the risks of trying it are relatively low. PQQ is a compound that plays a vital role in human health.It’s found in a variety of foods, including dark chocolate and green tea, and PQQ supplements are said to improve brain health, energy levels, and longevity. Yet, current […]