Is a fading memory just part of growing older?
Have you ever gotten into a room and not been able to remember why you were there? Maybe you were sure you put your keys right there only to find them somewhere else. Perhaps you’ve told yourself that forgetting simple things is just normal for a busy person.
If you have, you aren’t alone!
We’ve all had those little moments of forgetfulness. You likely think, as I did, the occasional, random loss of memory was no big thing. That was until I began researching for this article.
Reading the latest scientific research findings really both surprised and startled me. It opened my eyes to the reality that I am really at risk! It also taught me not all memory loss is normal or should be shrugged off as part of life.
Putting this into perspective, mild memory loss tends to increase with age and is generally no cause for concern. Normal aging may cause some forgetfulness; it’s normal to have some trouble learning new material or needing more time to remember it.
However, there is a difference between mild memory loss due to normal aging and progressive or extreme memory loss due to illnesses such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Dementia is the name for progressive loss of memory and other aspects of thinking that are severe enough to interfere with the ability to function in daily activities.
There are many causes of dementia and memory loss. Some are diseases such as, blood vessel disease and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) which directly affects the brain causing a progressive loss of brain cells and other brain irregularities.
There are also a number of causes that aren’t diseases per se. Conditions like strokes, head injury, under/over active thyroid gland, depression, and infections like tuberculosis, HIV, and syphilis can create memory concerns. Certain medications, tobacco, alcohol, and drug use often alter our recall abilities.
There are even more subtle culprits like sleep deprivation, stress, and nutritional deficiency, especially B1, B12, fats and proteins.
The list is almost overwhelming!
So when should you be concerned?
Below is a list of indications of potentially serious issues you should definitely address with your physician:
- Difficulty remembering important dates or events
- Asking for the same information over and over
- Difficulty remembering a familiar recipe, chore, or keeping track of monthly bills you once maintained without problems
- Difficulty driving or walking to a familiar location, managing a budget, or remembering the rules of a favorite game
- Difficulty following or joining a conversation
- Struggling with vocabulary, such as retrieving the right word or calling things by the wrong name
- Often misplacing things and being unable to retrace your steps to locate them
- Changes in judgment or decision-making, such as giving personal bank account information
- Trouble keeping up with hobbies and withdrawing from social events [/li][li]On-going changes in mood and personality
Alzheimer’s disease is now an epidemic affecting 1 in 8 people over 65.
Dr. Perlmutter, a neurologist and author of the Grain Brain provides possible reasons AD is such a prevalent disease in the USA. He believes that while memory loss is common, it is not a “normal” part of aging and cognitive changes are by no means unavoidable.
“ This is a disease that is highly revenue-producing for mega factories of various so-called Alzheimer’s drugs. The point is there is no meaningful treatment in 2013. It is a disease predicated on lifestyle choices primarily, because of the high amount of carbohydrates/sugar that we as Western-culture individuals, are consuming.”
There is still no known cure for this devastating disease, and very few treatments.
Alzheimer’s drugs are often of little to no benefit at all, which underscores the importance of prevention throughout our lifetime. Current research suggests that our best hope is prevention.
What should you take away from this?
Message #1 –
Exercise and diet, especially replacing carbohydrates (fructose and glucose) with healthful fats and high quality protein, are key.
Message #2 –
Restrict gluten and casein (found in milk) in your diet.
“It’s really fundamentally important that we address this mechanism of glycation of proteins as being a cornerstone of brain degeneration pathology, and recognize that beta-amyloid (found in the brains of people with AD) itself is a protein that can become glycated and as such can become a powerful nexus for the production of free radicals in inflammation.”
Learn more about AGEs also known as free radicals.
There are changes you can make to help reduce your risk of developing dementia and deal with its symptoms.
- Limit sugar and fructose to no more than 25 grams a day, especially if insulin resistant
- Increase magnesium levels
- Optimize your levels of brain protecting Vitamin D. Blood levels should be between 60 and 100
- Be sure to get your B’s – B12 is especially helpful to people their later years
- Eat foods rich in folate and high quality animal-based omega 3 fats
- Avoid aluminum. This exists in places like deodorants and non-stick cookware
- Exercise regularly
- Consider avoiding flu vaccinations, anticholinergic, and statin drugs *Discuss the pros and cons of this with your physician before making any changes to your existing medications
- Eat blueberries
- Challenge your mind daily
There are also natural treatments you can add to your arsenal against memory loss.
Coconut Oil – provides fuel for the brain
Astaxanthin- helps prevent neurodegeneration and makes a potent natural “brain food.”
Gingko biloba-improves cognitive performance and social functioning in those suffering with dementia. It can stabilize cognitive functions among Alzheimer’s patients and may slow the progression of the disease.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (AA) – effects on the nervous system and brain may improve memory
Preparing this article was truly an eye-opener for me and I had to discard some old beliefs and myths. I trust you will find out a thing or two that will assist you in living the high quality life you were created to live.