The Aging BrainSophie Soil April 1, 2006
Short term memory loss, communication difficulties and dementia are the most common signs of brain aging since short term memory involves fast-firing processes. When these functions are slowed, as occurs with aging, they have no direct effect and are therefore not stored resulting in short-term memory impairment. In addition, starting even before birth neurons die every day, which are never replaced. Even when newly replaced, neurons have none of the previously stored memories.
The trick to keeping your brain younger longer is knowing how to transfer images of high-energy efficiency – something that declines with aging – back into how you function on a daily basis. The good news is, although loss of memory function is of most concern to people as they age, very little significant mental decline actually occurs until about age 60, and even this varies with each individual according to lifestyle, diet, environment and living conditions. Moreover, the effects of the aging process can be reversed by harnessing the power of the mind itself. The elderly can still continue to generate new as well as keeping already recorded connections through mental activity along with a few other precautions and supplements, which we will be discussing here.
But first, about causes.
There are many and varied causes for memory loss, but generally speaking, memory loss is most likely due to not getting enough oxygen and brain-nutrients. However, brain aging is also due to the narrowing of brain vessels, which does not allow adequate blood flow to this vital organ. And one of the causes of narrowing the brain vessels can be the presence in the brain (or system) of he mould ergot (from grains). Although easier said than done, in order to minimize ergot exposure, make sure you use no rye or pumpernickel bread or crackers, and no wine or alcohol. Also make sure you do everything possible to keep open the blood vessels, thereby to increase blood running though them.
Memory loss may also be due to the disorder of a structure of the brain called the hypothalamus gland. Extracts of the posterior pituitary lobe and other glandulars may give some relief in cases of memory loss.
Another problem with the aging brain is concentration difficulties. If that happens to be the case, rule out pesticide/insecticide/tobacco exposure, MSG, allergies (especially to shrimp), eggs, paint fumes, moulds, toxic meals, Nutrasweet and all artificial sweeteners (Aspartame in particular, is a deadly poison that deteriorates the neurons of the brain and destroys the nervous system), medications, chlorine, microwaves, fluorinated water, parasites, pathogens, pollutants, heavy metals (check teeth and pathogens in mouth), formaldehyde sensitivity, candida albicans infestation and conditions such as Lyme disease from a tick bite or Wilson’s syndrome. Lead poison is another culprit in premature brain aging. Lead reduces the IQ, impairs hearing, makes motor control difficult and causes loss of balance.
Other causes of brain aging are choline depletion and thyroid malfunction. For thyroid support, take iodine (sea weeds such as kelp and dulse) and inositol plus phosphatidyl choline, all of which have been shown to enhance the ability to remember and think more clearly.
To slow down brain aging, you can also try the following:
* Grapes and most fruits and nuts such as apples pears and peaches are high in boron, a trace mineral that seems to affect the electrical activity of the brain, increasing alertness.
* Lecithin aids the arteries by clearing out fatty plaque and therefore allowing more oxygen to reach the brain. DHEA (docosahexaenoid acid), an omega 3 fatty acid, also supports brain health. Studies do in fact show that decreased levels of DHEA may lead to memory loss.
* Hawthorn and Gingko Biloba are two herbs known to open the blood vessels to increase concentration and clarity of thought. Ginkgo biloba extract, for one, results in improvement of blood flow, better concentration and memory and is one of the most widely used natural memory and cognitive enhancers.
* Gotu Kola is another herb which prevents senility and degeneration of the brain, considerably sharpens concentration, increases intellect by increasing blood flow to the brain to oxygenate and simulate cells.
* CoQ10 helps increase blood flow to the brain.
* Other beneficials in slowing down brain-aging are: vitamin E (a vasodilator), evening primrose oil, adequate intake of Amino Acids and the B-complex vitamins, especially B-6, folic acid (a brain food), the herb Don Quai, also a brain food, RNA/DNA supplementation and bee products such as bee pollen, bee propolis and royal jelly.
* Flower essences (aromatherapy) are great for conditions in which individuals are easily distracted, are challenged in staying focused on any one idea or project, exhibit a tendency to start projects or tasks and then leave them unfinished, or for trouble with mental concentration drowsiness and listlessness, especially in the afternoon or in hot weather. Violet, basil, Bay, black pepper, caraway, coffee (aroma), dill, hyssop, lavender, lily of the valley, pennyroyal, peppermint, rosemary, rue, saffron, sage and thyme essences are all excellent for increasing concentration and other brain/mind problems.
* Clean up mouth (cavitations, metal fillings in teeth, etc.) See an alternative-inclined dentist.
* Rid body of pathogens by using a product called PARA-RID (for guidance, see a naturopath)
WHAT THE AGING BRAIN NEEDS
Above all else, the aging brain needs oxygenation, but it also needs proper nourishment; tonics/strengtheners (herbs, vitamins, minerals, etc.), and most importantly, brain exercise. But the best way to prevent brain stagnation and aging, is to think creatively; and it must begin early enough. That can be easily accomplished by undertaking certain activities such as piano lessons, learning a second language, practising Tai Chi, yoga, mediation, and having interests outside of your job or normal routine to keep thoughts from going stale or stagnant.
A good rule of thumb is:
* Keep in touch with what others are thinking; listen to the news, read newspapers so your ideas and level of knowledge will never become outdated.
* Free yourself from anxiety as much as possible.
* Learn to be “unselfishly selfish.” Put yourself and your needs more into focus and it will ease your mind and boost happiness….and don’t be afraid of change.
But at the same time also:
* Increase oxygen through appropriate herbs, substances and exercise.
* Ensure less inhaled pollutants/dietary additives
* Raise hemoglobin levels and cure anemia and low iron levels
* Keep acidity down (pH balance) by drinking some lemon juice in water every morning)
* Correct irregular heart beat (if needed)
* Eat right (and supplement)
PRESERVING & ENHANCING MEMORY
Memory is divided into four distinct types: factual, logical, moral and vertical. Factual is the aspect we are trained for as children when we are taught a great number of objective facts about the world. As we get older, we are trained to use logical memory, which allows us to make sense of all the facts we have learned or are confronting us, so that we can use them beneficially. Later on, moral memory allow us to provide value or meaning to our behaviour. Vertical memory is that memory we use to try to make sense of our behaviour and preferably, or hopefully, place it in a covenant relationship with the Creator. Moral actions afford us the grand opportunity to remember ourselves and our connection with God.
However, memory is, after all, the process of becoming mindful. To remember is to actually become aware and awakened. In fact, part of the word remember is “member,” which means “a part of,” as to re-member is to actually become part of the whole again. Indeed, remembering begins with affirming and training the moral memory, which ultimately, and again, hopefully, recalls us to the fundamental concept of “loving your neighbour as yourself” and “loving God with all your heart, your soul and with all your might,” for it is these very higher concepts that truly reflect the real essence of our being. But, when all is said and done, although it is an integral aspect of the mind, memory is after all, a part of brain function as well, therefore, for proper function, the brain too needs physical support. And that includes several things.
As already stated, just as does the physical body, memory too needs to be exercised; and just as with the physical body, regular workouts are absolutely essential. And you begin by staring slowly and gently and gradually increasing effort and time. Puzzles are a good start, or writing down objects in a picture after it has been looked at for a minute and see how many you can remember. Or trying to remember more and more each day of the lines of a favorite poem, or the aspects of a painting. This can, and in fact does work very well to build up memory. But breathing exercises for the physical aspect of your body are also helpful in bringing oxygen to he brain. Liquid oxygen such as hydrogen peroxide (food-grade, of course), is also beneficial for brain oxygenation. Adequate exposure to sunlight is another beneficial thing we can for our brain – as long as it is done in a smart way. Sunlight is, in fact, the sole food-substance of the mind-glands. There as still many more and various ways and means of preserving and improving memory.
Here are some of them:
Since memory loss can be due to a disorder of a structure of the brain called the hypothalamus, a fact we can never really know for sure, a combination of glandular extracts may give some relief. The upside to taking these extracts is that they cannot do harm, even if the gland’s malfunction is not the cause – they can only benefit. But also try the following:
* B-12 + B-6 + RNA/DNA + L-Glutamine + Manganese + Acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in memory)
* Gotu Kola, a specific herb that energizes brain cells and aids memory
* Ginseng extract stimulates brain function and promotes mental vigour
* Super blue green algae and spirulina both promote cell regeneration
* Pycnogenol is a powerful antioxidant helpful in memory activity
* Coenzyme Q10 promotes optimal oxygen utilization and nutrient absorption in brain tissue
* Lecithin simulates the formation of one of the neurotransmitters for proper transmission of nerve impulses
* Phosphatidyl choline, tyrosene amino acid, cerebral phospholipids (lertione magnesium) are all excellent supplements for good memory
* DMAE (dimethylacetylethinol) is another substance that supports increased brain activity to help bring about better cognitive function
* Vinpocetine, a derivative of the periwinkle plant, helps restore circulation to the brain, and by improving blood flow the brain also receives more oxygen and nutrients to help keep it healthy and young. According to studies, vinpocetine has been used in Asia and Europe for many years to support healthy memory and brain function.
* Bee pollen, royal jelly, seaweeds (dulse and kelp), green food drinks are all memory-helpers.
* The herbs blessed or holy thistle, oatstraw, rosemary periwinkle, wild garlic, Swedish bitters and Centaury are the memory boosters.
POSSIBLE CAUSES OF AND PREDISPOSITIONS TO MEMORY LOSS
Again, among the many and varied predispositions to memory loss, the following are of main concern: pesticide/insecticide exposure, formaldehyde sensitivity/exposure, toxic metals, lead, poison, toxoplasmosis, medications, chlorine, tobacco, alcoholism, MSG, allergies, mold, Nutrasweet and other artificial sweeteners, microwaves, thyroid malfunction, manganese deficiency, B-1 (thiamin) deficiency, oxygen deficiency, candida albicans infestation. Others include:
* Free radical damage in the brain and the rest of the nervous system is widely accepted as a major cause of accelerating aging – partiuclarly in the area of memory.
* Long-term stress hormones from adrenal glands can kill off cells in the part of the brain that governs short-term memory
* Sycotic/psoric miasms; Psora for temporary and general forgetfulness/Sycotic for permanent forgetfulness (especially of things, names, places, recent events). Miasms are genetically inherited predispositions to disease
* Rule out toxic colon
MEMORY-RESTORING BOOSTERS AND REVIVERS
* Dietary additions of brewer’s yeast, nuts, meat, liver, legumes, potatoes are all helpful. A glass or two of red, organic wine with meals may also reduce memory loss and concentration, especially in old age.
* Vitamins B-1 and B-12 (take a B-complex vitamin daily)
* Amino acids L-glutamine and glutamic acid and sulphur (amino acid Cysteine). L-phenylalanine and glutathione are part of the amino acid complex. Amino acids are the ‘smart pills,’ the brain-cell food, and good for memory to learn, feel and sense the beauty around us.
* Antioxidants: vitamins A, C, E, biotin, zinc, choline, boron can revive memory
* Tissue salts Calc. Phos., Kali. Phos., Mag. Phos.
* EDTA (ehylene diamine-acetic acid) vascular cleansing intra venal or oral chelation seems to help regain memory.
* Homeopathic remedy Phosphoric acid (Phosphoricum acidum) for memory loss with nervous exhaustion
* Speedwell herb for poor memory and memory lapses
* Ginkgo Biloba extract is an excellent geriatric remedy for memory loss. Gotu Kola and ginseng are other helpful herbs
* Memory tea: equal parts of Gotu Kola, rosemary, gingko, basil and borage. Do not take this tea late at night as it may keep you awake
* Pycnogenol is an antioxidant that helps improve sluggish memory
* Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) is a natural amino acid which is active in the brain and improves learning and memory capabilities
* Choline (one of the B-complex family that comes from lecithin) enhances memory and learning. Choline aids brain in manufacturing a chemical that aids memory.
* B-5 is necessary to convert choline into a neurotransmitter thatinvolves memory mental focus and reproduction, and is a catalyst for he indispensable hormones. Together with lecithin and inositol, they are a great combo as memory boosters.
* Minerals iron and zinc are memory boosters (take separately a different times for best results)
* DHEA (hormones)
* Aroma therapy for memory:
1. Macartney Rose essence simulates tissue regeneration of neurological issues of he brain and cellular memory and alters electrical charge carried by he neurons.
2. Yerba Mate essence increases memory, visualization, development of attention span and nourishes cells with Life-force
3. Others are: allspice, lemon, caraway, clove-bud, violet, coriander, lily of the valley, rosemary, sage, peppermint.
* Homeopathic remedy sulfur and phosphoric acid (phosphoricum acidum) are useful in dealing with memory loss, nervous exhaustion and fatigue.
* Chromotherapy with the colour violet (excellent as a treatment for dementia)
* Relaxation techniques. Ultimately only a calm mind is capable of full concentration and creative problem solving, therefore relaxation is of the utmost importance, especially deep relaxation and deep breathing exercises such as mediation, yoga and Tai Chi done on a regular basis, to energize the body and increase oxygen intake to promote mental alertness and ensure that the brain achieves the optimal performance, and of vital importance, is the reduction of stresses of day-to-day living, which these disciplines provide.