There is an epidemic of shrinking brains impacting over 1 billion people. Brains are withering and shriveling up like raisins. It is no wonder that from young to old our cognition, clarity, and sharpness has become dull.. Shrinking brains are not from infections. They are one of the wicked problems. Shrinking brains are a result of genetics, environmental factors, chemical exposure. The good news is that you are not stuck with a shrinking brain with mental decline. Applying some behavior and lifestyle changes you can preserve your brain!
Care and Feeding of the Brain
Having great memory, clarity of thought, and the ability to think things through is not a luxury. An optimized brain is essential for well-being, excellent quality of life, longevity. Increasingly, you will be competing with augmented people and autonomous systems. It is essential that your brain be on top of it's game!
Your brain is a living light show! 100 billion neurons firing triggering 100 trillion synapses, and for every synapse there are organelles in side alongside the axions which coordinate with the star shaped astocytes and glials support structures that are doing murky non-linear calculations for every 1,000-10,000 per synapse flash.
I just took a continuing education course on brain health and it was riveting! We do not hear much about what we can do to care for our brains and yet incredible research has been going on for some time on how we can optimize our brain function. Each of the physicians I am featuring in this article is speaking from their particular expertise for free. You do not have to buy a book or sign up for a course. If you do not have time, bookmark the presentations and revisit them when you have some free moments. Your brain is worth the investment.
After all, most of us have had one of those, "Why am I here moments?"
Your brain begins to shrink by 3.8% a year and as a much as 8.2% a year as you age, your memory starts to decline also.
That may not seem like a lot, but add it up over a decade and you’re looking at losing at least a third or more of your brain!
A study involving more than 7,000 people published in the British Medical Journal confirms it. Researchers found that mental function declines by an average of 3.6% a year starting in your mid-forties…and the decline speeds up to 8.5% a year on average once you hit your late 60s!
Just a small amount of brain shrinkage can make it difficult if not impossible to recall someone’s name, learn new information, stay focused on a task, or juggle multiple tasks at once.
And the older you get, the faster it shrinks. Right now, over 5.4 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Pretty scary.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, very few brain cells are lost with age.
What’s really happening is your brain goes into a state of atrophy as you get older. In other words, you don’t actually have fewer brain cells—but the brain cells you do have start to shrivel up.
Over time this shriveling up effect causes your brain to shrink in size. And the brain cells most greatly affected are the ones that act like traffic controllers in your brain. It’s as if your fresh, youthful brain starts out with nice, fresh grapes…and ends up with raisins!
Your “traffic controller” brain cells are in charge of the flow of information within your brain. They also make important brain chemicals so your brain can function.
Yet these crucial brain cells are the ones most likely to shrink and stop functioning as you age.
But what if you could restore your memory and thinking to “young again” levels?
Advancements in Brain Studies
This interview has a long commercial but skip past it, it is worth it.
Dr. Perlmutter is a neurologist pioneering various techniques for improving brain function. It is possible today to grow new brain cells which is a relatively new science because crossing the blood-brain barrier is very difficult.
A sharp and focused brain can be attained very inexpensively but you do need to make it a priority. Environmental factors are such right now that if you maintain your current lifestyle, unless it is old-fashion healthy one, you are already loosing brain cells and your brain is shrinking away.
Dr. Daniel Amen began his medical career in medical imaging (xrays, CAT scans, and MRI). He then went into psychiatry to unlock secrets embedded deep within the brain. He was able through imaging to add tools to repair the brainby healthy living.
His presentations are fascinating. He does have a podcast called brainwarriors.
What is Neuroplasticity?
Neuroplasticityis the brain's amazing capacity to change and adapt. It refers to the physiological changes in the brain that happen as the result of our interactions with our environment.
From the time the brain begins to develop in the womb until the day we die, the connections among the cells in our brains reorganize in response to our changing needs. This dynamic process allows us to learn from and adapt to different experiences.
Neuroplastic healing is truly one of the life-changing breakthroughs of modern science—“mind-bending, miracle-making, reality-busting stuff,” in the words of The New York Times.
I find this exceedingly humorous because I was awakened from a sound slumber at 3 this morning by a baby chick who escaped it's confines and got the whole crew all wound up. As a morning person, once I am up, I am up.
Your sleep is like a barometer for your brain's activity. Get at least a minimum of 6 hours of sleep, some people need a bit more and some a bit less. The study of sleep time is called chronobiology.
We need to get at least 20% of REM sleep and 15% of Deep Sleep to clean out environmental toxins and repair damage within our body. For brain health and to ward off dementia it is best to get at least one cycle of REM within 90 minutes of sleep onset.
Insomnia is rampant. What happens if you do not get a good nights sleep, or you fail to go into REM/Deep Sleep, or if you do not attain the 90 minute goal? Your brain begins to build up beta-amalyoid plaques. You will lose some of your cognitive abilities. Eventually dementia or Azheimer's will set in down the road, if you do not care for your brain.
What Position to Sleep In
A study performed at Stony Brook University in New York and published in The Journal of Neuroscience investigated how body posture during sleep affects brain waste removal in mice.
The researchers used MRI scans to image the brains with the animals in all three sleeping positions – supine (lying on the back), prone (lying on the stomach) and lateral (lying on the side).
The results showed the waste washed away through the glymphatic system most efficiently when the mice were in the right lateral (side) position compared to the supine or prone positions.
In fact, the brains of the animals in the lateral positioncleaned out 77 percent and 66 percent better than those in the prone and supine positions. What’s more, the mice lying in the prone and supine positions retained 58 percent and 62 percent of the ‘sludge’ in their brains.
While so far this testing has only been conducted on animals, the researchers speculate the same benefits of lateral (side) sleeping would apply to people, although they say further studies are needed to confirm this. The anatomies of mice and humans are so different I wouldn’t jump to a conclusion just yet.
“Many types of dementia are linked to sleep disturbances, including difficulties in falling asleep,” said Maiken Nedergaard, researcher. “Our finding brings new insight into this topic by showing it is also important what position you sleep in. Prof. Nedergaard, of the University of Cophenhagen
Your Brain is Like a Fish Tank Filter
While you sleep, your brain is working hard. It’s cleaning out the waste it collects during the day by rinsing it into your glymphatic system.
It’s similar to how a filter works in a fish tank – by removing the sludge and slime before it has time to build up and stick to the walls of the tank and kill the fish.
Excessive buildup of this waste – consisting mostly of beta-amyloid and tau proteins -- is harmful to the brain and is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. However, during sleep this debris is washed away as large amounts of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flood the brain.
The CSF flooding only occurs during unconsciousness because that’s when the fluid-filled spaces around the brain cells, called interstitial spaces, expand in size by up to 60 percent to allow this ‘washing’ to take place.
Exercise is essential for brain health and most of you do not want to hear this message. Scientists are now working with telomeres in our brains to improve brain health and longevity.
Researchers looked at the telomeres from nearly 6,000 adults enrolled in a multi-year survey run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People were asked what physical activities they had done in the past month and how vigorously they did them. They also provided DNA samples, from which the researchers measured telomere length. Telomeres, the protein caps on the ends of human chromosomes, are markers of aging and overall health.
Every time a cell replicates, a tiny bit of telomere is lost, so they get shorter with age. But they shrink faster in some people than in others, explains study author Larry Tucker, professor of exercise science at Brigham Young University.
“We know that, in general, people with shorter telomeres die sooner and are more likely to develop many of our chronic diseases,” says Tucker. “It’s not perfect, but it’s a very good index of biological aging.” Time Magazine
When you exercise you also make BDNF or Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor. BDNF that also make new cells in your brain, even if you have killed some off or had brain injury. Exercise is free so grab some sneakers and away you go making new brain cells!
If one is going to exercise to extend life the recommendation is 30-40 minutes a day or 100-200 minutes of vigorous exercise a week. Other exercise is helpful but the age benefits decline as the exercise intensity goes down.
Pulse exercise was more beneficial than maintaining a steady elevated heartbeat. So walking, then jogging, then returning to walking, and repeat the cycle is the most advantageous.
I was so inspired listening to this doctor's story that I switched from goat milk in my coffee to coconut milk. It is tasty and I jog right after my coffee and have found it provides me with excellent energy with the bonus that it does not translate into accumulated fat.
You may want to explore a ketogenic diet. With any diet it is always good to check with your doctor. On my ketogenic diet my meals consist of meat, veggies, and fats. I have to give up my carbs and sugar. The fabulous things about this diet: you melt off weight, no hunger cravings, no sugar cravings, abundant energy, and less pain! It is true, this diet is very anti-inflammatory so instead of taking synthetic pain killers you eat healthy and your body responds. One thing one must be strict about is ensuring you drink plenty a fluids, which is a good for us all.
Sage, a well known culinary herb helps your brain to make BDNF. BDNF makes you resistant to Alzherimer's and dementia, helps you stay smarter longer, and helps the brain regenerate. There are Sage extracts which are extra potent.
In clinical tests, this super-charged sage reversed 70% of memory loss
in healthy older people. Not only that, but Potent Sage Extract reduces the breakdown of ACH by 53.52%!
You become sharper, recall facts and information faster, and optimize your memory like never before.
Ashwagandha has been shown to help support the natural repair of the nervous system while boosting levels of BDNF. It is a root that has been cooked in soups and stews for thousands of years.
Bacopa has been shown to increase BDNF levels in the blood and is commonly used with kids to support mental clarity and focus. It is also used for supporting emotional health and stable moods when under stress.
By inserting nerve growth factor into the aged monkeys’ brains, the researchers were able to quickly revive these withered brain cells…and restore them nearly completely!
‘‘We restored the number of cells we could detect to about 92 percent of normal for a young monkey,’’ the lead researcher reported. It was as if the researchers were able to make these aged monkeys’ brains “young” again!
Ever since two scientists won the Nobel Prize for the discovery of nerve growth factor, top doctors and researchers have searched for ways to put this breakthrough to work more easily and permanently in aging brains.
Lions Mane, a 2,000-year old Chinese medicinal mushroom may hold the key…Its bearded cascade of long “spines” gives it the appearance of a lion’s mane, hence its name.
It’s said that Lion’s Mane gives you “nerves of steel and the memory of a lion.”
New research shows this ancient Chinese medicinal plant can do the same thing as the nerve growth factor the scientists injected directly into the monkeys’ brains. It can actually plump up and restore aging brain cells.
That’s because it’s able to rev up your brain’s production of nerve growth factor…and give you back your memory with crystal-clear focus!
Lion’s Mane contains two potent nutrients that stimulate the production of nerve growth factor. These naturally-occurring nutrients are called hericenones and erinacines.
Your body is able to put these powerful nutrients to work right away—giving you noticeable results quickly. That’s because unlike other naturally-occurring sources of nerve growth factor, these nutrients are able to pass through the blood-brain barrier.
Here are some otherfree waysto increase your BDNF or brain cell growth stimulators!
Nerve growth factor is the tree branch of your brain. It stimulates new branches or communication highways.
This makes it easier and more efficient for your brain cells to send and receive messages. That means everything in your brain works BETTER…your memory, thinking, focus, and ability to learn and recall new information.
Researchers first proved nerve growth factor could produce this incredible brain transformation in experiments with monkeys. The researchers, who were from the University of California at San Diego, looked at a group of monkeys whose average age was 23. That’s equivalent to humans in their late 60s to 70s.
The researchers measured the monkeys’ brains at the beginning of the study. They found that 60% of the aged monkeys’ brain cells in the frontal cortex had shrunk in size by at least 10%. They couldn’t even detect the other 40% of these brain cells.
But that wasn’t because these brain cells were dead, the researchers discovered. The cells were there…but they were significantly shriveled up and “withered”.
So here are thesupplements you can take to bump up that nerve growth factor!
Uridine, Choline, DHA
My personal favorite is Memoractiv by Throne. Unfortunately, the FDA Dragnet stung them so they are reformulating. Memoractiv not only keeps my brain and cognition top notch but because it oxygenates the body with herbs your whole body has greater stamina and endurance when exercising.
Keep Your Brain Energized and Stress-Free
Stress is a brain killer. It can jumble your thoughts, make it harder to learn new information, and blur your memory.
Researchers are delving into the mysteries about how stress can damage health and mess with our minds, they are placing a major focus on its effect on energy production in cells.
On the plus side, their studies are uncovering the most effective ways to keep stress from derailing your mood and your ability to stay mentally sharp.
Learn how you express stress. We all express stress differently like in the back of our neck, headache, stomach issues, etc...
Identify what triggers your stress-shopping, noise, type of work, certain foods, or drinks...
Practice “The Power of a Positive No” This is hard to do but your body will love you for it!
Your brain needs three times the oxygen than your muscles do. Your body is a series of muscles, veins, arteries and they need to move.
Take short walks throughout the day. Taking short walks will also help increase the blood flow to your brain. Even a walk of three to five minutes will have a positive effect on your blood’s circulation.
Breathe through your nose. Engage your diaphragm, in your abdominal area. This is also called “belly breathing.” Breathing deeply moves the air and oxygen down into the lower areas of the lungs where most of the circulation of blood is.
Stand Up.Stand up on both feet or just one foot. A study published by the Oxford University Press journal “Brain,” reports that standing up activates cerebral circulation. The study found that standing with both feet together enhanced circulation in the anterior lobe and the right visual cortex in the brain. You can actually oxygenate different parts of your brain standing on one foot, feet together, other foot.
Your whole body needs fuel but your brain needs just the right fuel to keep it in shape and that sharp clarity. Not only will you fuel your brain but you will also cut down on inflammation! That means less pain.
So here is the deal. You can fuel your brain with glucose (sugar) or with ketones. The ketone fuel burns fat as it super-charges up your brain.
Nuts and seeds
Vitamin B helps maintain blood sugar and supplies your brain with a consistent flow of energy.
Inflammation not only occurs in your sore muscles and joints it wrecks havoc with your gut and your brain. Your brain and gut share a very intimate relationship. If your gut is out of whack there is a significant chance you also have brain inflammation.
I will not sing to the choir for you have probably already heard that you need to reduce sugar and carbohydrates, consume good oils, eat wild fish, and stay away from processed and fast food. If you do these things you will cool down brain inflammation.
A special group of plant compounds called flavonoids reduces inflammation and improve the ability of your brain to recycle waste.
Believe it or not hormones play a critical part in the aging process of the brain. We typically think of estrogen, testosterone, and Progesterone but they are only the tip of the ice-berg because hormones regulate just about everything in our body.
Generally, hormones have an effect on cellular growth and senescence (apoptosis, gene silencing) and that greater exposure to estrogen has been associated with increased telomere length. Neurotransmitter systems in neurons are also affected by sex steroids and thus have an impact on mood, cognition, learning and memory, attention, and arousal. In some cases, these effects become translated to changes in behaviors.
Thyroid hormones influence cerebral blood flow and brain metabolism.
Many studies have also found that estrogens aid in memory formation and neuronal health. Without estradiol, there is a loss of synapses in the prefrontal cortex according to studies on rhesus monkeys. This accurately reflects some of the cognitive behavioral changes seen in some postmenopausal women.
Many of your hormones begin in the hippocampus region of your brain that is involved in memory formation and short-term storage. In dementia the hippocampus is the first part of the brain to begin dying.
Dr. Michael Fossel has been working on his dream for 30 years to reverse human aging. As we have seen above telomerase therapy can help cure and stop age related diseases like strokes, heart attacks, age related dementia, and much more.
While chronologic age, for example, may be informative, we cannot intervene in the chronologic age per se. Equally, in the case of familial history, which is a significant biomarker for many diseases, we cannot intervene and change the family history per se.
In the case of the actual underlying genetics, however, there is an obvious potential to alter the genetic biomarkers; we anticipate our ability to alter the alleles that result in certain diseases, current technical challenges and disappointing clinical setbacks notwithstanding.
Many current biomarkers (such as serum cholesterol, blood pressure, and smoking status) are reasonably susceptible to medical intervention, but while the clinical response is heartening, it is far from perfect, whether in terms of outcome, side effects, cost, recurrence of the disease process, or patient mortality.
Current literature supports the potential of telomere length as a biomarker for many diseases, but is there any potential for intervention? Is it, like age itself, useful but not alterable? Or is it, like serum cholesterol, a biomarker that we can change and, with it, change the disease process and clinical outcome?
Over the past decade, there has been a growing interest in the potential benefits of maintaining or lengthening telomeres as a clinical intervention in human patients.
Anti-Aging and Metabolism
Emerging findings suggest that lifestyles that include intermittent bioenergetic challenges, most notably exercise and dietary energy restriction, can increase the likelihood that the brain will function optimally and in the absence of disease throughout life. At the cellular and molecular level regulate brain energy metabolism. We are just discovering how such mechanisms are altered during aging and in neurodegenerative disorders, and the potential applications to brain health and disease of interventions that engage pathways involved in neuronal adaptations to metabolic stress.
Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury
What if the unthinkable happens? Possibly a stroke or a football or vehicular injury, do you give up and live with an injured brain? The same techniques used to grow brain cells and to stimulate in a healthy brain also apply to any brain injury. It is amazing what faith, good thoughts, and perseverance will do to help you over come. If you have never heard the story of J.J. Virgin's miracle story about her son, you have to hear this miraculous story!
Brain Tune Up!
Take Away a Youthful Brain!
Now is the time to invest in your brain. You can overcome your genetics and environmental factors that are eating away at your brain. You can dramatically boost your memory and reverse decades of decline.
Exercise, body and mind
Oxygenate your Brain and Body
.....and explore the 21st century options that we have available such as lengthening our telemeres!
Celeste has worked as a contractor for Homeland Security and FEMA. Her training and activations include the infamous day of 911, flood and earthquake operations, mass casualty exercises, and numerous other operations. Celeste is FEMA certified and has completed the Professional Development Emergency Management Series.
Emergency Plan Design including all Emergency Support Functions
Principles of Emergency Management
Developing Volunteer Resources
Emergency Planning and Development
Leadership and Influence, Decision Making in Crisis
Exercise Design and Evaluation
Public Assistance Applications
Emergency Operations Interface
Public Information Officer
Flood Fight Operations
Domestic Preparedness for Weapons of Mass Destruction
Incident Command (ICS-NIMS)
Multi-Hazards for Schools
Rapid Evaluation of Structures-Earthquakes
Weather Spotter for National Weather Service
Logistics, Operations, Communications
Community Emergency Response Team Leader
Celeste grew up in a military & governmental home with her father working for the Naval Warfare Center, and later as Assistant Director for Public Lands and Natural Resources, in both Washington State and California.
Celeste also has training and expertise in small agricultural lobbying, Integrative/Functional Medicine, asymmetrical and symmetrical warfare, and Organic Farming.