January 16, 2020

Preserving Brain Function

Why You Should Preserve Your Brain Function

One thing for sure as you age is you want to preserve your brain function as best as possible. Staying young requires maintaining a youthful brain.  That means optimal brain function. Maintaining brain function can be a challenge.  When the brain deteriorates it actually shrinks with time. Since the brain is our body’s control center any deterioration of the brain ultimately affects the entire body.  Structural deterioration of the brain begins around age 30, but evidence of brain dysfunction make take years to manifest.

 

What Happens With Deteroriation in Brain Function?

  • Diminished attention span.
  • Deterioration in verbal skills.
  • Deficits in abstract thinking.
  • Decreased creativity.
  • Declining memory.
  • Difficulty learning new tasks.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Personality changes.

What Accelerates Brain Deterioration?

Certain diseases like Alzheimer’s are associated with accelerated forms of brain deterioration.  But, there are a few other things that increases the risk of premature cognitive decline that may be surprising – like being overweight.  Overweight people are more likely to suffer cognitive decline.  Brain imaging studies have shown obese people to have smaller brains.  Osteopenia and osteoporosis also increase the risk of cognitive decline with impaired brain processing speed.  Slower brain processing speed is also associated with surgically induced menopause.

Brain deterioration is also seen in those suffering from drug and alcohol addictions.  Some drugs are toxic to the brain.  Head injury including concussions sustained in athletics can accelerate and induce brain deterioration. Regular exercise protects against brain deterioration probably through improvement in blood flow to the brain.  So be sure to exercise.

And, any disease that causes chronic inflammation which is many times silent can contribute to a loss of brain function.

Preserving Brain Function: What to Do

  • Maintain a healthy weight and body fat percentage.
  • Keep your bones strong.
  • Maintain healthy hormone levels – especially sex hormones.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Avoid tobacco and excess alcohol.
  • Avoid recreational drugs.
  • Eat well and make sure you get enough antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • If you have high blood pressure, be sure you are being adequately treated.
  • Consider taking the supplements listed below which are capable of increasing brain processing speed.

But, maybe the best thing you can do to preserve brain function is to become an active learner. Keep learning new things. And, it does not have to be mental or cognitive in nature. We used to think the brain was static. What you were born with is all you get. But, we now know that we can develop new neural connections even in our later years – as long as we keep learning. Learning is to the brain what exercise is to the body. A stimulant for growth.

Learning can be physical. Use your opposite hand more when doing manual tasks. Take up ballroom dancing which has been shown to improve memory.  Maintaining a rhythmic beat stimulates the frontal lobe. Take up a musical instrument. Playing one can be both physical and mental (reading music).

Supplements to Preserve Brain Function

So in addition to your body keep your brain in tip-top shape to better enjoy life!

See related articles.

“Supplement for Memory

Memory Enhancer

“Neuroendocrine Theory of Aging”

 

preserving brain function
Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash

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Dr. Joe Jacko


Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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