The adult brain loses an average of 85,000 neurons a day! When we are younger our brains are more active and are able to grow new neurons and make new connections. These connections help with memory, learning, mood, and sleep. However, as we age our ability to grow new neurons and connections decrease. This leads to lower activity and decreased brain function. This in addition to a lifetime of toxin exposure, poor diet, high stress, and lack of sleep significantly increase brain aging.
The good news is that if you supply your brain with the right nutrients and activity it can again grow new connections and restore optimal function. In this way, Brain aging is optional. If you provide it with the right building blocks and refrain from doing things that directly damage neurons your brain can stay young and healthy for a long time.
Not everyone’s brain ages the same way. Some people can handle a huge amount of brain insults before seeing any changes in cognition, whereas others can notice significant changes in brain function with very little insult. This phenomenon is due to Brain Reserve.
Brain reserve refers to the ability to tolerate the age-related changes and the disease-related pathology in the brain without developing clear clinical symptoms or signs. A brain with a large reserve can handle more stress. The more brain reserve you have the more resilient your brain is to toxicity, stress, lack of sleep, etc. and therefore can handle the aging process without developing symptoms of memory loss, anxiety, depression, and loss of cognition.
We’re all born with a set brain reserve that was established in utero. That amount of brain reserve could be more or less depending on the lifestyle habits of your parents while you were in utero. Smoking or being exposed to 2nd hand smoke, alcohol, chronic stress, infections, low nutrient diet can all deplete brain reserve. If your parents ate well, didn’t have smoke exposure, and were not too stressed there would be an increase in brain reserve. This depleting or boosting of brain reserve happens throughout the rest of your life depending on your lifestyle, activity, and diet. Chronic stress, smoking, drugs, sleep deficiency, poor diet, experiencing trauma, both physical and mental, concussions, and other head injuries will all deplete brain reserve.
This depletion of brain reserve can lead to faster brain aging and more age-related cognitive symptoms because you don’t have as much as a cushion to absorb the stress.
So the key to slow down the aging brain is to boost brain reserve.
So how do you do that?
- Give your brain the support it needs to heal
- Take away the things that hurt the brain
Some great first steps to help your brain boost it’s reserve include:
- Sleep, sleep sleep. You need a minimum of 8hrs of good sleep every night.
- Eat brain supporting foods – Mediterranean diet is a great option.
- Avoid all foods with added sugar – if there is sugar on the ingredient label leave it on the shelf.
- Reduce stress and promote relaxation – there are a few great apps and devices out there that help. Also establish a set routine
- Give yourself time away from food – our brains love intermittent fasting
- There are some specific supplements that can help with brain function and repairing neurons and their connections. Please reach out if you are interested in these and we can find the best ones for you.
Your everyday lifestyle is either boosting or depleting your brain’s reserve and thus is either accelerating or decelerating the aging process. This means that you have a lot of influence on how fast your brain ages and that you yourself have the power to stop it with certain habit changes.
Alzheimer’s disease is thought to begin 20 years or more before symptoms arise with changes in the brain that are unnoticeable to the person affected. Only after years of brain changes do individuals experience noticeable symptoms such as memory loss and language problems. This means you have the time to make simple changes to promote brain health, boost it’s reserve, and reduce your risk of cognitive decline.
We’re in the process of putting together a Brain Kit with all the essentials to help you boost brain reserve and promote optimal brain health. It includes meal plans, brain essential supplements and the latest technology in brain activation. The awesome thing about the kit is that you can do at home! No appointments necessary! We’ll keep you posted…