By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
July 15, 2016
- Reverse damage to your aging brain
- More mitochondria means more brainpower
- Three nutrients that fuel your brain
In last issue, I introduced you to Dr. Bredesen’s MEND protocol.
This amazing treatment regimen is the first to show memory loss, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease are all reversible. This is true even in patients who carry the APOE4 gene – a variant that puts them at greater risk of Alzheimer’s.
It’s a personalized program that deals with much more than the brain. That’s because everything going on in your body affects your brain chemistry. This includes the foods you eat, the way your genes are expressed and even the condition of your mitochondria.
We’ve already talked about day-to-day changes that can help reverse damage to your aging brain. And while I can’t take you through the entire MEND protocol, I can offer a few more tips that play a role in the program.
So today, let’s talk about some nutrients that can boost your brainpower even further.
More Mitochondria means more Brainpower
In recent years we’ve made a startling discovery. It turns out that your mitochondria may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Mitochondrial functioning encompasses cellular power production for your brain and body as well as giving direction to other metabolic processes. But as you age, they tend to mutate. Damaged and dropping in number , they can’t produce the energy to do the job they did when you were younger.
This damage may be one of the early events that occur in Alzheimer’s disease.
You see, when the mitochondria within your neurons mutates, the neurons can become unstable. And these impaired neurons compete with stable ones for nutrients.
However, they’re very hungry. So they tend to gobble up brain fuel faster than healthy neurons. This gives them an unfair advantage – much to your disadvantage.
The best way to stop this devastating cascade of events is to increase both the quality and quantity of your mitochondria, to maintain and protect synaptic structural and metabolic processes. And there are several ways to do that.
The first is to starting taking CoQ10. The most absorbable form of CoQ10 is called ubiquinol. Just 100 mg each day can help protect your mitochondria from further damage It acts as an antioxidant that protects your mitochondria from damaging free radicals. It also helps certain cells (lysosomes) remove waste from your body. This includes damaged mitochondria that can make your neurons unstable. So unless you have hypoglycemia (a good nutritionist can help you with this), this is where that 13-16 hour fast we spoke about some weeks ago enters in,…. it triggers the clean up of the damaged cells to make way for new sister mitochondria.
But protecting your brain mitochondria is only the first step. To truly restore brain function, it’s also important to help your body create more. The creation of those sister mitochondria is called “mitochondrial biogenesis”.
One way to do this is by increasing your nitric oxide (NO) levels. It’s believed that NO activates certain gene sequences involved in mitochondrial biogenesis. NO is responsible for the release of oxygen into your cells. This includes providing oxygen to your mitochondria.
One of the best ways to raise your NO levels is to drink beetroot juice each day. But if you don’t like the flavor, don’t worry. Just look for a plant-based NO enhancer that has beetroot juice as its main ingredient.
But don’t stop there. You can also enhance gene expression and mitochondrial biogenesis by taking resveratrol.
It works by turning on SIRT1. This is known as your youth gene. In turn, SIRT1 flips on the “master regulator” of mitochondrial replication. This means it helps your body produce more of those little energy factories to keep your brain working at full capacity.
This gene also helps protect your neurons, promotes clearance of alpha beta and regulates inflammation.
You can amplify the results you get with resveratrol by combining it with its highly potent cousin, pterostilbene. It’s a whopping four times more bioavailable than resveratrol alone. This is why I recommend taking a combination of at least 50 mg of resveratrol and 25 mg of pterostilbene each day.
In addition to these mitochondrial-boosting nutrients, there are several others that can act as fuel for your brain.
Three Nutrients that Feed Your Brain
Acetylcholine is a chemical messenger in your brain. It sends signals between neurons. And it’s essential for storing and recalling memories.
Boosting levels of this neurotransmitter is incredibly easy. All it takes is 100 mg of CDP-choline (also known as citocoline) daily to effectively treat age-related memory decline. Adding 50 mg of DMAE each day may add further benefits.
I also like an herb called Bacopa. It contains compounds called saponins that work to enhance nerve impulse transmissions and repair damaged neurons. They may also help reduce the beta-amyloid protein deposits that slow down thinking and memory. It only takes about 20 mg daily to produce brain-healthy benefits.
Last (but certainly not least!) are your omega-3 fatty acids. Your brain craves these fats. And the more of them you get, the better your brain function will be.
They help delay the loss of brain cells, are associated with greater hippocampal volume, strengthen synaptic activity and boost communication between brain cells. Omega-3 fatty acids also increase blood flow to the active areas of your brain and help lower blood levels of beta-amyloid.
I recommend a cold-water fish oil supplement that contains 1200 mg of EPA and 800 mg of DHA each day. This will give you the added benefit of lengthening your telomeres – the protective caps on the ends of your chromosomes. (Shorter telomeres are associated with a higher risk of dementia.) There is so much more to this story. A good beginning to a happier ending starts with some basic diagnostics, dietary support and mental/physical activity.
Adding these nutrients to the lifestyle advice in the last issue of Advanced Natural Wellness could very well protect your old memories and make new ones.
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