This ONE Action Keeps Brain Function at Its Peak...

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Researchers
have found that individuals with a high daily intake of vegetables
and fruits also demonstrate higher cognitive performance. Please
notice that vegetables are mentioned first because they are FAR
more important than fruits.

Subjects with
a high intake (about 400 grams per day) of fruits and vegetables
had higher antioxidant levels, lower indicators of free radical-induced
damage, and better cognitive performance.

The findings
were independent of age, gender, body mass index, and level of education.
Further studies are planned that will include larger subject cohorts,
patients with Alzheimer’s disease, and patients with mild cognitive
impairment.

Sources:

Dr. Mercola’s
Comments:

This latest
study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease confirms
previous studies on vegetable intake and dementia. Here, healthy
subjects between the ages of 45 and 102 underwent cognitive testing
while their blood was checked for antioxidant micronutrients and
biomarkers of oxidative stress. Their daily fruit and vegetable
intake was also assessed.

The subjects
in the high fruit and veggie intake group scored significantly higher
on the cognitive tests, and they also had higher antioxidant levels
and lower biomarkers for oxidative stress than those in the low
intake group.

Cognitive
test scores were positively correlated with blood levels of alpha-tocopherol
and lycopene, and negatively correlated with F2alpha isoprostanes
(potent vasoconstrictors) and protein carbonyls – a byproduct
of oxidation that causes cell damage.

The results
were independent of age, gender, body mass index, education, total
cholesterol, LDL- and HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and albumin.

The researchers
concluded that “modification of nutritional habits aimed at
increasing intake of fruits and vegetables should be encouraged
to lower prevalence of cognitive impairment in later life.”

The Key
to Brain Health

I’m pleased
that they focused their recommendation on fruits and vegetables
as opposed to the antioxidants themselves, as previous studies have
shown that while antioxidants from food have a beneficial impact
on your brain and can prevent cognitive decline, supplements do
not appear to offer the same benefits.

It seems your
brain is too smart to settle for second best, and the key for brain
health is FOOD based,
and can likely not be duplicated by supplements alone.

For example,
a study
published in the Journal of the American Medical Association
(JAMA) in 2002, found that diets rich in vitamin E –
another antioxidant – may delay the onset of memory-robbing
Alzheimer’s disease.

During normal
cell processes, compounds called free radicals are released, which
can be harmful to your body tissues and lead to so-called oxidative
damage or stress. Experts have linked oxidative stress to many illnesses,
including cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Since antioxidants
can neutralize free radicals, quite a bit of research has focused
on these nutrients and it’s believed they can help delay the
onset of Alzheimer’s disease. However, they keep finding that this
benefit only becomes apparent when the nutrients are consumed in
food.

In the JAMA
study, those with the highest intake of vitamin E from food appeared
to be the least likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Even smokers
who consumed the most antioxidant nutrients appeared to cut their
Alzheimer’s risk.

Is Alzheimer’s
a Form of Diabetes?

Interestingly,
in more recent years Alzheimer’s disease is increasingly being
referred to as a third
form of diabetes
.

Along with
your pancreas, your brain also produces insulin. Insulin and insulin
receptors in your brain are crucial for memory and learning, and
it’s known that these components are lower in people with Alzheimer’s
disease.

In your brain,
insulin binds to an insulin receptor at a synapse, which triggers
a mechanism that allows nerve cells to survive, and memories to
form. A recent study
in the journal Neurology discovered that a toxic protein
in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients – called ADDL –
removes insulin receptors from nerve cells, and renders those neurons
insulin resistant.

It has been
suggested that ADDLs accumulate at the beginning of Alzheimer’s
disease and thereby block memory function. There is even a test
that measures ADDL in your spinal fluid that claims to detect
Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages
.

People with
diabetes also have a higher
risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease
.

Vitamin
D May Also Play a Role

Another factor
that can further strengthen the hypothesis that Alzheimer’s
is a form of diabetes is that vitamin D, just like insulin, also
appears to play a role in both diseases.

It has already
been established that type 1 diabetes can be prevented with sufficient
vitamin D levels.

For example,
in one study,
babies who received at least 2,000 international units (IU) of vitamin
D daily were nearly 80 percent less likely to develop type 1 diabetes
over the next three decades compared with infants who had lower
intakes of the vitamin.

Type 1 diabetes
is considered to be an autoimmune disease, and vitamin D has been
shown to be an important ingredient to enable the optimal function
of your immune system and in preventing too aggressive attacks against
your body’s own tissues.

In the same
issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease is the study
showing the benefits of vegetables on cognitive performance, there’s
also a report
discussing the potential for vitamin D to protect against dementia.

Observational
studies have found that low vitamin D levels are associated with
increased risk for:

  • Cardiovascular
    diseases
  • Type 1
    diabetes
  • Depression
  • Dental
    caries
  • Osteoporosis
  • Periodontal
    disease

All of these
conditions are either considered risk factors for dementia or have
preceded incidence of dementia, so your vitamin D levels may indeed
be one of the underlying causes of degenerative brain diseases such
as Alzheimer’s as well.

Laboratory
studies also show that vitamin D offers neuroprotection, and that
it plays a role in reducing inflammation in your body, which is
an important aspect of protecting yourself against Alzheimer’s
disease.

Guidelines
to Prevent Both Alzheimer’s and Diabetes at the Same Time

Three of the
most important strategies to prevent Alzheimer’s disease are
actually identical to those recommended to prevent diabetes.

This may seem
odd at first glance, but is easily understood when you grasp the
fact that the single most important factor that can help prevent
nearly every chronic disease known to man is to normalize your insulin
and leptin levels.

These three
steps form the foundation for normalizing your insulin and leptin
levels:

  1. Exercise
    Exercise
    protects your brain
    just as it protects the rest of your body
    from diabetes. According to one study, the odds
    of developing Alzheimer’s were nearly quadrupled in people who
    were less active during their leisure time
    , between the ages
    of 20 and 60, compared with their peers.

    Similar
    to a healthy diet, regular physical activity is one of those
    things that can significantly improve many aspects of your physical
    and emotional health. For the elderly, simple activities such
    as walking
    and light weight training would likely provide benefits. For
    those who are younger, more strenuous exercise may heighten
    the benefits.

  2. Diet
    – Eating a nutritious
    diet
    of mostly organic, whole foods that are right for your
    nutritional
    type
    .

  3. Omega
    3 fats
    – A diet rich in omega-3 fats has been found
    to ward off both Alzheimer’s
    disease
    and diabetes.

Keep in mind
that most fish today are grossly contaminated, so despite the fact
that they are a major source of healthy omega-3’s I do not
recommend eating much fish these days, as the health hazards far
outweigh the benefits. Your best alternative is to take an animal-based
omega-3 supplement, such as krill oil.

Additional
Strategies to Keep Your Mind Sharp

By 2050, it’s
estimated that 1
out of 8 people will have Alzheimer’s disease
… This
is NOT a natural state of affairs, as your brain is capable of remaining
fully functional no matter how old you get. That is, as long as
you take care of it.

So in addition
to the three important tips above, here are a few more strategies
to help you keep your mind sharp well into old age:

Optimize
your vitamin D levels

  • Avoid
    and remove
    mercury from your body
    .
    Dental amalgam fillings are
    one of the major sources of mercury, however you should be healthy
    prior to having them removed. Once you have adjusted to a nutritious
    diet, you can follow the mercury detox protocol and then find
    a biological dentist who will know how to remove your amalgams
    in a safe manner that will not harm your health in the process.

  • Avoid
    aluminum
    ,
    such as in antiperspirants, cookware, etc.

  • Avoid
    flu vaccinations
    as they contain both mercury and aluminum!

  • Eat
    wild
    blueberries
    , which have high anthocyanin and antioxidant
    content that are known to guard against Alzheimer’s and other
    neurological diseases.

  • Challenge
    your mind daily
    . Mental stimulation, such as traveling,
    learning to play an instrument or doing crossword puzzles, is
    associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s. Researchers
    suspect that mental challenge helps to build up your brain,
    making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer’s
    disease.

October
8, 2009

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