The importance of brain health, cognition and mental performance as we age
n the last year there has been a 12% increase of dementia cases. This is a worryingly massive increase in which we feel powerless to do anything about as the medical world have deemed it unable to cure. At only 2% of our body weight and weighing in at 1.5kg, the brain requires 20% of the energy produced by the body.
The brain consists of around 90 billion neurons, which themselves are interconnected via trillions of neuronal bridges or synapses, whose job it is to carry electrical signals throughout the brain. A surprising fact about the brain is that it is compromised of 60% lipid (fat) with a large percentage of this fat being the crucially important omega 3 DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). On a daily basis, our brains are under constant attack by damaging oxidation and this includes the ongoing degradation of the DHA within the brain. This means that this DHA needs to be replaced continually and this key nutrient can only come from her diet. Therefore it is essential for the health of our brain and its performance. As we age, the volume and weight of the brain declines by around 5% per decade, after 40 years old and progressive neurodegenerative alterations gradually reduce cognitive and functional abilities. The Journal of International medical research in 2007, reported that deficiencies in not only DHA but also other key micronutrients, can impair cognitive performance and is associated with age related cognitive decline. Micronutrient supplementation can help prevent such micronutrient deficiencies in those at risk and may therefore help to maintain cognitive performance, Including memory, concentration, learning and reasoning.
Micronutrients that can help
- Omega 3 DHA and EPA fatty acids. As previously explained these contribute to the normal functioning of our brain and is essential for brain health.
- B Complex. This must be the methylated versions as some people can not metabolise the version that are in most supplements. These include L-Methyl Folate (Folic acid or B9) as some people have a SNP in their MTHFR gene which prevents this conversion. Folic acid and vitamin B12 can lower levels of homocysteine, as high levels in the blood has been linked to cardiovascular disease and dementia. Vitamin B5 also contributes to normal mental performance of the brain including concentration, learning, memory and reasoning proven in validated research.
- Iron, zinc and iodine. Together these three elements support overall brain health by their contribution to normal cognitive function. Iodine additionally plays a key role in ensuring that the nervous system is functioning normally. Vitamin C. This important vitamin plays a supporting role, aiding the absorption of iron.
- Magnesium. Electrolyte balance within the body is critical to overall mental status and magnesium has been proven to play a key role in its contribution to healthy electrolyte balance within the brain.
- Acetyl Carnitine and Acetyl Cysteine. These provide antioxidant neuroprotection which is vital for cognitive health.
- Selenium, vitamin C and polyphenols. Every cell in our body is under constant attack by free radicals, producing oxidative stress. Selenium and vitamin E are needed to help protect our cells against this ongoing damaging oxidation, together with a selection of additional antioxidants such as green tea, grapeseed, resveratrol and Alpha-Lipoic Acid.
There is a lovely supplement by PrimeFifty called Brain and Cognition which has all of the above supplements in. Buy it here: https://naturaldispensary.co.uk/products/Brain_Cognition_120_s-10000893-0.html using my code JCH010 for 10% off.
I am reading a book at the moment by Dale Breseden called The End Of Alzheimer's, which explains how to eliminate Alzheimer's. Anyone who has a loved one who is suffering from dementia, I would highly recommend that you read it.