Brain Health

brainMost people pay very little attention to keeping their brains healthy, putting themselves at risk of declining brain function.

In our modern society where stress is the norm, the stress hormone cortisol can be elevated for prolonged periods. Prolonged elevation of cortisol can lead to brain cell death and one of the long term outcomes may be dementia. People with dementia have demonstrably higher cortisol levels than people without dementia.

Another common factor in brain function decline is the adverse effects of glucose from a high and continual intake of sweets and highly refined foods.

Insulin which helps with neuron glucose-uptake and the regulation of neurotransmitters, such as acetylcholine, is crucial for memory and learning. Reducing the level of insulin in your brain by diverting it into your body to deal with sugar highs, impairs your cognition. Type 2 diabetics lose more brain volume (particularly gray matter) with age compared to non-diabetics.

Studies have found that people with lower levels of insulin and insulin receptors in their brain often have Alzheimer’s disease. According to research published in the journal Neurology (Nov 12, 2013) sugar and other carbohydrates can disrupt your brain function even if you’re not diabetic or have any signs of dementia.

Additionally, when your liver is busy processing fructose (which your liver turns into fat), it severely hampers its ability to make cholesterol. Cholesterol is the hormone from which many other hormones are made. It is an essential building block of your brain that is crucial for optimal brain function.

It is therefore important to limit the intake of sugars and refined foods and Increase consumption of vegetables and health-promoting fats that your brain needs for optimal function. These include organic butter, ghee, olives, organic virgin olive oil and coconut oil, nuts like pecans and macadamia, free-range eggs, wild caught not farmed salmon and other fatty fish and avocados.

Hormone levels, gut function, heavy metal exposure, inflammation, sleep and nutrient depletion, whole body exercise and more specifically brain exercise all contribute to brain health and function. These can all be measured and assessed by your anti-ageing doctor.