Until very recently, if you walked into an MD’s office and complained of memory issues, you wouldn’t get much more than a sympathetic look. No actionable testing was available to help and no drugs on the market were effective. Naturopaths might suggest Ginkgo or Huperzine, but they didn’t work consistently and often not at all.
That’s starting to change.
Thanks to Dale Bredesen MD, who has spent the majority of his career researching brain health, we finally have some testing tools and healing protocols that research shows are effective.
Brain function issues need to be taken seriously. When a patient comes in with a concussion, reclaiming memory is a key goal. When an older patient comes in complaining of recall problems, it needs to be addressed, not accepted.
Contrary to popular thought, memory issues are NOT a normal part of aging; they are a sign that something is wrong!
The four most common threats to brain health are:
- Toxicity (ie. heavy metals and low lying bacterial infections such as lyme, herpes)
- Hormonal shifts
- Trauma (such as a concussion)
If the brain senses any of these as a threat, it starts losing function in order to protect itself. Granted, not all mold, metals, and bacteria make their way to the brain and not all hormonal shifts affect brain function– but when they do, they need to be dealt with.
So how can you use this new knowledge to protect and heal you brain?
STEP 1: Testing
The first step is to test to see if you any of the threats listed above. Additional genetic testing may be helpful as those who have a genetic anomaly called the ApoE4 gene are particularly vulnerable to dementia later in life and active prevention measures should be put in place as they age.
STEP 2: Supplementation
The second is to utilize supplementation to help promote healthy brain function. In some cases Rx medications may be needed, based on the lab findings.
STEP 3: Diet & Lifestyle
By putting good diet and lifestyle changes in place, you are feeding and nourishing good brain health and function. This includes the basics like optimizing sleep, managing stress, reducing inflammation, lowering sugar intake, and increasing good oils such as avocados, wild caught salmon, nuts and seeds, as well as antioxidant-rich blueberries.
All theses steps work in concert, and while one step may be beneficial, all need to be in place to actually reverse memory decline.
If you’d like more detailed information, I recommend you start with Dale Bredesen’s book, The End of Alzheimers. For the most detailed assessment however, I encourage you to make an appointment to come in for a brain health work up and we can develop a customized brain plan together, because the brain matters!