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.
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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.
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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.
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: 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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