Senile Dementia – Can We Avoid It?
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Growing older breathes fear into the hearts of many, whether they’re strong and healthy or suffering from chronic disease. It’s an aspect of life which many feel helpless to do well and prevent what they’ve seen in their parents, from weakness and debility to complete loss of function and mind.
There is a massive part of the population entering this time of their lives, the Baby Boomers, and I can tell you, they are not going down without a fight.
So what can you do?
Here’s a list to get you started:
First of all, understand the terms. Senile is simply an adjective expressing ‘to do with aging’. It’s has been bandied around as automatically being crackers..but that’s not it’s meaning at all.
Dementia on the other hand is a little more scary. It comes from the Latin for irrationality and covers a group of symptoms which are caused by changes in which the brain functions, or doesn’t function. The key factors are neural brain connections’ failure and blood supply being compromised for a variety of reasons. Symptoms such as short term memory loss, inability to think through problems or to finish complex tasks, difficulty concentrating, confusion and abnormal behaviour to mention the most common.
Forgetting and remembering things are just a part of life. Twenty-something year olds forget where they put things, to do tasks or what they just learned at school. The brain has millions of bytes of information coming at it every day and is quite selective about what gets through and what is remembered. But that discussion is on neuroscience and for another day.
What YOU Can Change:
Obviously, the best scenario is in prevention. It does come down to lifestyle, living environment and social interaction.
The primary concern in your living environment is to keep it toxin free. There is nothing so damaging to your brain than chemicals, heavy metals, ingested pesticides and herbicides and genetically modified food (GMO). This is why.
Your brain weighs about 3 pounds. It is made up of approximately 60% fat tissue, which are mostly the wrappings around the nerves fibres to optimize transmission and so its function. Most toxins are fat-soluble, meaning when they get into your body through food, inhalation or placed there (such as dental amalgams: 50% mercury), then they are attracted to and settle into fatty tissues, meaning your brain and nervous system are prime targets and so affected the most.
Note: they also settle into the fat around organs and your body fat. This explains why people at the beginning of a weight loss programme can feel unwell. It’s just the toxins being released as the fat is released for energy during the diet.
The main damage these toxins do is their ‘free radical’ effects. They bombard your tissues with electrons, damaging the cells and so their capability to work properly. This process is called ‘oxidation’ and why ‘antioxidants’ found in organic food and high quality supplements are so good for you.
Note: The other main substance your brain needs is very specific fatty acids from healthy, organic sources. It’s to maintain and replace the nerve components and wrappings. These are high end omega 3’s and not just any source will do. I personally use OmegaGenics DHA 600, one of the best balanced and effective fats to use for good brain function.
Filtering your water and air greatly contributes to cleaning up your toxin exposure. Here are a couple of suggestions patients have brought to me.
Often this factor is missed, but in truth, steady contact with friends and family adds greatly to brain function and wellness. There was a famous study done by Jane Saczynski PhD of the National Institute on Aging. This was a longitudinal study followed since 1965 which definitely shows that people who had a decreased social life from mid-life to later years, had a significant risk of dementia. So get out there, meet and greet, volunteer when the kids have gone. People need community.
Keeping active is critical. For the obvious reason, it keeps blood flow to the brain up, allowing the cells to stay healthy. It doesn’t have to be rigorous, either. Walking, dancing, or even yoga all have shown distinctive benefits to lowering risk to dementia.
During exercise, nerve cells release proteins known as neurotrophic factors, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF, which activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons. BDNF also triggers numerous other chemicals that promote neural health.
No, you don’t need to try to be a skinny model size. That has it’s own problems. But avoiding obesity has been shown to greatly help a healthy brain. Recently, in the British Medical Journal a study was published in which subjects were followed from their early forties until their late sixties and seventies. According to the results, those individuals who were obese at the start of the study were 74 percent more likely to develop dementia than their slimmer counterparts.
There is also a great body of evidence which shows without a doubt that high carbohydrate diets contribute more than any other eating pattern to both increased weight and poorer brain function. I’ll follow this article up with more of that information.
For the most part I recommend a paleo type of diet, and this program in particular. But know that the type of food chosen needs to be organic, clean, grass-fed meats. Using the typical offerings found in the grocery store is counter-productive and will thwart your efforts.
Gymnastics For Your Brian:
Your brain needs to be as active as the rest of your body. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine supports the theory that mentally demanding activities can help stave off dementia. The study involved 469 people ages 75 and older. Those participants who read, played games of strategy (e.g., checkers, backgammon, or chess), played musical instruments, or danced at least twice a week were significantly less likely to develop dementia. Those who did crossword puzzles four times a week were also found to have a significantly lowered risk. One of my mentors always claimed that learning a new language after the age of 50 was the best preventive to developing Alzheimer’s. The study would definitely suggest he was right.
One of my favourite web sites to suggest to patients is The Khan Academy This site was originally started by Salman Khan to help his children with school. It’s now expanded to the most mind-expanding site with programs in every subject in the world…and it’s completely free.
Never good at math? Learn it now. Don’t understand the sciences? Get them explained in baby-steps and plain English. The possibilities are HUGE.
The Khan Academy has only very recently partnered with the College Board to be able to give prep for the SAT’s…for free. Something never done before. This is such good news for students from underprivileged backgrounds to be able to compete to be admitted into higher end universities.
Check out their YouTube videos here:
This, in my opinion is the most important category to address. Nothing can compete with obtaining your needed nutrients from clean organic food, in a form closest to how nature created it. So many North Americans eat food that is over-processed and so far from their natural state, that it’s not even recognizable. Packaged foods are killing us, and mass growers are growing on depleted, chemical-filled soils. We can only stop this travesty by voting with our dollars. What you purchase is your vote.
Take the time to buy from local organic farmers, even for just some of your groceries. You’ll be far healthier and help a small business stay viable, so they can continue contributing to yours and your community’s tables.
There definitely are a few supplements to take bearing in mind that some of the key substances which can help your brain health is needed in quantities you probably would not eat each day.
ACL increases the energy production in mitochondria (power structures of any cell), is a powerful antioxidant, protecting the brain cells and it also contributes to the production of acetylcholine, a prime neurotransmitter.
This amino acid is the main constituent in glutathione, your body’s and in particular, your brain’s main antioxidant.
The key ingredient to the fatty tissues of the brain are the omega 3 fatty acids. Normally, North Americans simply do not eat enough of these, found in cold water fish, or don’t have access to clean sources. Many of the fish supplying these great oils are from contaminated waters, so supplementing from a reliable source is the best solution. OmegaGenics 600 is my fave choice.
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And…A Little St. Patrick’s Day Fun…
A Friend Does These T-Shirts…Thought You Might Enjoy Them..
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|Dr. Deborah Baker is a holistic health practitioner, homeopathic doctor in Huntsville, Ontario Canada…also known in the region of Muskoka. She has over 35 years of experience finding natural cures for hundreds of health problems, using natural supplements, (all non-GMO), holistic nutrition, herbal and homeopathic remedies.To inquire about appointments, please send her a note from our contact page.|