Do you wonder how to preserve brain memory with respect to diet, lifestyle and supplementation? We’ve learned a lot in recent years about brain aging and how it works, and we now know that certain events lead to memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Some of these events are related to the aging process, and some are related to faulty dietary and lifestyle practices that induce damage to the brain.

Let’s look at how these brain events occur and the things that can lead to memory loss and dementia through these mechanisms.

There can be free radical damage in the brain due to the fact that the brain can use up to 20 percent of the oxygen within our bodies at any given time. The brain is very active, so it needs to generate a lot of energy for itself and it needs oxygen to accomplish this. But the flip side of this benefit is that oxygen generates a lot of free radicals. The byproduct, if you will, is that you can get what’s called oxidized free radical damage, leaving a corrosive effect on your brain cells that will damage them over a lifetime.

Brain cells can’t reproduce and replace themselves like other cells in our bodies can. Basically, all the brain cells that you will ever have over your lifetime you were given at birth, so you really have to protect them. And when free radicals damage brain cells they break them down and so they’re left, not functioning very well. Free radical damage is linked to both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative disease.

Also as we age, our brains stop making optimal amounts of the memory chemical, acetylcholine. Once acetylcholine levels drop – which happens to everyone after the age of 55, because the brain just stops making as much – we begin to have what we affectionately call ‘senior moments’, where memories just aren’t as good. This is a hallmark feature of Alzheimer’s disease. Traditional medical treatment has been to give the patient drugs in an effort to slowdown the breakdown of acetylcholine. But there are no drugs that can actually increase the synthesis of acetylcholine to the same levels you had when you were younger. However, as you will see in a minute, there are certain supplements and even foods that can raise the acetylcholine level synthesis in the brain, even when you’re older.

Certain dietary factors can also change or damage brain function, leading to brain inflammation. Brain inflammation is linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The same is true if you clog-up the arteries in the brain with plaque and cholesterol through certain dietary and lifestyle behaviors; important nutrients won’t flow because brain cells have been robbed of oxygen and other nutrients that they need to function, resulting in a decline in brain function. These are the issues that accumulate and will lead to memory problems.

Most recently we’re seeing a condition called Type III diabetes on the rise, where there is an alleviation of blood sugar related to obesity. And along with those high sugar and insulin levels comes damage to the brain through a process called glycosylation. Glycosylation is the process of sugar coating the proteins in the brain, resulting in damage and leading to a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease. For people who have diabetes, high blood sugar levels, are overweight and out of shape, as they age, the risk for Alzheimer’s disease becomes much higher.

That’s all the bad news. The good news is that practicing the right diet, supplementation and lifestyle plan is linked to preventing these problems of memory loss, but you must know the correct instruction to follow. Supplements alone have been shown to raise the brain levels of the memory chemical acetylcholine, and it’s shown to be very useful for people who have experienced memory loss.

Supplements can also improve blood flow through the brain. Certain supplements can reduce inflammation within the brain and mitigate this problem, while others improve nerve transmission and the electrical current that takes place in the brain. (It’s an electrical organ really, transmitting electrical currents from one nerve cell to the next). Supplements can also improve fluidity of the brain cells so that they won’t harden over time, becoming ridged and stop functioning.

Only supplements – not drugs – have been shown to stop the actual shrinking, or what’s called ‘atrophy’ of the brain that occurs after the age of 60. Normally after the age of 60, the brain shrinks by 1 to 2 percent every year, according to the Oxford Memory Project Study. The only thing that’s ever shown to slow that process is supplements. Again, medical drugs cannot.

Lifestyle practices are also very important – both physical and mental activities – to maintain neural circuits so that your brain keeps functioning. Drugs alone are not the answer; even people who have Alzheimer’s disease understand that drugs alone won’t stabilize the condition.

The responsibility for the prevention of this problem really falls into your own lap, so you must understand the proactive lifestyle strategies. Remember, only 1 to 2 percent of all Alzheimer’s disease is actually genetically-based; the rest is primarily due to natural aging of the brain and lifestyle-induced damage that we are responsible for creating ourselves.

As I’ve illustrated, these changes on the brain due to aging can be prevented – or at least slowed down significantly – through proper diet, lifestyle and supplementation. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in our society today, and after the age of 60, 10 to 20 percent already have mild cognitive impairment and are on their way to more serious dementias and Alzheimer’s disease. Only through supplements, diet and lifestyle changes can we actually alter the course.

You need a comprehensive program to help you. The problem is, most medical doctors have not studied enough about nutrition and natural medicine to really be as proactive as they need to be with their patients on this. There is often not enough emphasis placed on lifestyle changes – both physical and mental activities – that can keep your brain’s nerve circuits functioning at an optimal level.

I’ve put this all together into an eGuide called, The Nutritional Guide to the Prevention of Memory Loss and Alzheimer’s Disease. You need to download it at the Meschino Health website. In that little eGuide, I’ve listed all the scientific references so you know the information I’m sharing with you is exactly right and you’ll know exactly what to do to protect your brain from memory loss, maintain your quality of life and help mental longevity.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Meschino a recognized expert in the use of nutritional supplements in the prevention and management of degenerative diseases and anti-aging.

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