Three Heavy Metals That You Need to Know About to Protect Your Brain

Unfortunately, our water, food, and environment are filled with toxins like heavy metals and chemicals that can severely affect our brain/body health.


The GOOD news is that we can identify these toxins that are harming our brain, reduce exposure to them, and support the elimination of them from our bodies. Your brain will thank you!

Let’s just look at three heavy metals that pose the most significant potential threat to human health and our brains and how we can take the most important step: REDUCE EXPOSURE.

 

Lead: You have probably heard as a result of the Flint, Michigan lead water crisis that children are very vulnerable to lead and even low levels of lead can increase neuro-developmental risk, including IQ loss and learning disabilities. But lead toxicity does not just apply to children. Adults with exposure to lead can also experience cognitive decline and a host of other health issues as well.

Women need to be especially aware as lead is stored in bones. If lead is present in the bones, then bone loss during menopause will leach any lead into the blood.  Tip:  If you are menopausal and your blood pressure shoots up, make sure to test for whole blood lead as excess lead in the blood leads to hypertension!

Where is lead found?  The biggest sources are drinking water contamination, leaded cans, home remodeling (lead paint dust), older lead pigment paints, many herbal products from India, China, Southeast Asia, toys and other products from China, glazes on ceramic dishware from China and Mexico, wine, and lipstick and makeup.

Avoid lead by choosing a water purification system that filters out lead (see my recent blog on water), wear lead-free makeup, buy lead-free dishware, and be cognizant of how much wine you drink!

Mercury is another heavy metal player that at low levels can lead to difficulty concentrating, memory loss, fatigue, mood swings, sleep disturbance, tremors, and brain fog. And this is just a partial list.

Sources of mercury include fish, high fructose corn syrup, amalgam fillings (vapor outgassing from amalgam fillings), broken fluorescent light bulbs, broken thermometers, cement plants, and coal-powered electric generating plants.

To lower your exposure to mercury avoid eating larger ocean fish which accumulate more mercury (esp. tuna, swordfish, halibut, sea bass), avoid foods containing high fructose corn syrup, and consider amalgam filling removal. However, amalgam filling removal must be done safely by certified biologic dentists!

Arsenic is a known carcinogen and chronic exposure can also lead to Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and decreased cognition! Arsenic slows down your body’s ability to produce ATP, your energy currency. Data from almost 50,000 utilities showed that arsenic contaminates more than 7,230 water supplies serving 70 million people and that mercury contaminates more than 280 water supplies serving 2.5 million people. EWG Know Your Environment. Protect Your Health.

Where is arsenic found? In drinking water, seaweed and shellfish, chicken, rice, and soil.

To avoid or lower your exposure to arsenic, invest in a good water system that filters out arsenic, eat only organic chicken, and reduce consumption of rice and shellfish.

In summary, one of the best ways to avoid these top heavy metal players is to invest in a water system that filters them out!!  Again, please refer to my recent blog on water!  If you just do this one thing, it will make a significant impact on your health and brain!

Testing for metals in your body is a bit more complicated as different heavy metals are stored in different areas of the body. Testing the blood usually only indicates acute or recent exposure to heavy metals.  If you would like to assess whether or not heavy metal toxicity is contributing to your fatigue, mood swings, high blood pressure, blood sugar issues, or decreased cognition, please set up a complementary strategy session with me.

Estrogen and your brain and why you should test your hormone levels!

If you are a woman in your peri-menopausal or menopausal years, I am sure that questions around hormone replacement therapy have come up for you. Is this something I need to do?  Will it improve the quality of my life?  Is it safe for me to do?  What are the pros and cons?  What exactly does bio-identical hormone replacement therapy mean?

And what if you have noticed a decline in your focus, mental sharpness, recall, and memory?  Or your Mom, Dad, or another relative had or has Alzheimer’s Disease?  Does this change the risk-benefit ratio for you when it comes to doing bio-identical hormone replacement therapy? Perhaps. You see, hormones are important to a sharp brain!  Maintaining good hormone levels are important in preventing cognitive decline. In women, maintaining healthy estradiol levels is very important to preserving good brain health.

Research demonstrates that estrogen (specifically estradiol) protects multiple brain structures.  Estradiol receptors are found in areas of the brain associated with memory and cognitive function including the hippocampus and hypothalamus, just to name a couple.  And estradiol has been found to decrease beta amyloid levels.  Beta-amyloid is chemically “sticky” and gradually builds up into plaques.  Over time, plaques may block signaling of neurons leading to mild cognitive impairment or AD.

Estrogen also carries glucose to the brain.  Your brain requires glucose to function.  In fact, your brain is pretty greedy when it comes to glucose consumption!  You have probably noticed that when you don’t eat for a long time you hit a wall and can’t think anymore.  That means low blood sugar.  When your estrogen levels are low, you eat but there is not enough estrogen to get glucose to the brain, so your brain does not work right.  You may be unable to focus, be forgetful, and/or irritable.

Does this mean that you need to start bio-identical hormone replacement therapy right away?  No, absolutely not.  BHRT may not be right for you, depending on multiple factors including genetics.  However, if you are experiencing brain decline or have high risk for dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, then it is a GOOD idea to get your hormone levels tested!  And not just estradiol, as other hormones are also super important to good brain health.

Once you know your hormone levels, make diet and lifestyle changes first to support optimal hormone levels.  You may also want to work with a practitioner to determine the best supplements to support your hormones. In fact, you may just need to clean up your gut or support your detoxification pathways to balance out your hormone levels and feel sharp again!  The health of your gut and liver play a critical role in the metabolism of your hormones.  If you have overgrowth of yeast and other not so friendly bacteria, parasites, and lack of good bacteria, your hormones will be affected and this will impact your brain.  Likewise, if your liver detoxification pathways are not optimally supported, your metabolism of hormones will be off and this can certainly cause an imbalance in your hormones.  If your hormone levels do not respond to diet, changes in lifestyle, and supplements, then work with a practitioner to determine if bio-identical hormone replacement therapy is right for you.

TIP: If you are currently drinking a glass or two of wine or other type of alcohol in the evenings, take note!  Did you know that your estradiol levels increase when you drink alcohol but then decline sharply after the alcohol is metabolized?  Often leading to hot flashes and night sweats.  This is because your liver increases certain enzymes to metabolize alcohol, and then these same enzymes metabolize estrogens resulting in a rapid drop of estradiol.

Happy Holidays! Are you traveling this year to visit family?

Travel this time of year can be challenging, especially when you sit next to someone on the airplane who is coughing and sneezing the entire flight!  Your heart goes out to that person but at the same time you wonder why you got stuck next to the sick person and pray that you don’t pick up their bug!

This is when being prepared comes in handy! Always have a bottle of Silvercillin Spray with you, no matter what time of the year. The spray bottle is 4 oz., unfortunately not TSA friendly, so just buy a smaller spray bottle and transfer the Silvercillin Liquid to your TSA compliant bottle. You can pack the bigger bottle in your suitcase that is being checked. When you get on the airplane, do a quick spray down of your seat area to eliminate any potential pathogens.  Also a good idea to use the spray on your hands after you use the ever so fun airplane toilet. Prevention strategy!

If someone sick is sitting close to you, I would also spray some in your throat…pathogens like to lodge there first!  And if you unfortunately get to your destination and feel a sore throat coming on in the next day or two, six sprays to the back of the throat three times daily.  It will either stop the virus in its tracks or at the very least reduce the severity and duration of the cold and sore throat.

As you might have guessed, Silvercillin  is one of my all time favorites! It has saved me and my loved ones over and over again!  What exactly is it?  A highly effective antimicrobial composed of pure silver complexed with purified water. It works so well at preventing colds/flus because it inhibits viral replication! It can be safely used both orally and topically with no known side effects. In fact, it is completely eliminated from the body within 48 hours.  More details here!

Before you leave on your trip, it’s a good idea to take some extra immune support several days before your travel starts and while traveling as well.  These are my favorites this time of year:

  • Vitamin D Complex – 2 capsules daily. Not only does it have immune supporting Vitamin D, but also your other fat soluble vitamins, including Vitamin A, which also supports your immune system and works collaboratively with Vitamin D! Pastured eggs are also a good source of both Vitamins A and D!  And just a little side note, Vitamin D is also helpful for seasonal depression.
  • Zinc Supreme – 1 to 2 capsules daily to support your immune system. Zinc has antiviral activity, including activity against several viruses that cause the common cold.
  • Stellar C – 1 to 2 capsules Stellar C daily. Vitamin C supports a healthy immune system, adrenal function, and formation of healthy skin!
  • Probiotic Supreme DF – 2 capsules daily. Since the majority of your immune system resides in your gut, better take care of that gut flora!

And lastly, when traveling,  make a bigger effort to stay hydrated with water, veggie juices, and herbal teas.  Good rule of thumb is to drink one liter water before flying, one liter while flying (more if a longer flight!) and one to two liters after flying. Some flights still offer Vitamin C rich lime and lemon wedges…a good addition to your water!

Please use this code BETHG15 for a 15% discount on all your immune support support products, valid until 12/31/17 midnight!

Stay healthy during your travels and enjoy the holidays!!

Beth

Minimize gut discomfort from rich foods during the holidays! And supplement tips to bounce back after a holiday party!

And just like that, the holidays are upon us again!  🙂  How you get through the holidays is really all about your mindset and the choices you make.  Will you choose a calm, more relaxed holiday season and say no more often?  Or do you prefer to go all out during the holiday season and participate in as much shopping and festivities as possible?  Whatever your choices, here are a few tips to make the holidays more enjoyable!

If you are eating out a lot and attending holiday parties where you are not the one in charge of the kitchen, having enzymes on hand is of utmost importance!  Enzymes will help you digest rich and fatty foods and also lessen your immune system reaction to foods that are potentially allergenic for you. Lessen the bloat, gas, inflammation, and feeling awfully full with Digestzymes. Digestzymes support optimal digestion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, and the breakdown of casein and gluten. Digestzymes also include the enzyme lactase, which helps break down the dairy sugar lactose!

And to keep your gut happy, be sure to take probiotics. Probiotics will also help you fight off colds and flus that are going around!  Please email me for a probiotic formula suggestion.

If your holiday events include a couple of glasses of bubbly, wine, or cocktails, then I suggest the following protocol to avoid feeling sluggish the next day, especially if you have to work:

One N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) capsule before you go out. And one NAC capsule when you come home, before bed.  NAC is an amino acid that is a precursor to glutathione, the body’s most powerful antioxidant!  NAC helps promote optimal detoxification.

The next morning:

One VegeCleanse Plus smoothie for breakfast.  In a blender, mix 1 scoop VegeCleanse Plus powder with 1/2 cup raw coconut water (electrolytes), 1/2 to 2/3 cup frozen berries (antioxidants), a couple big handfuls of a pre-washed greens blend with kale, chard, and other greens (to further support detoxification), and 1 tsp L-Glutamine powder to soothe the gut.  You can also add 1/3  ripe avocado or 1 TB almond or cashew butter to add some good fats!  Add more liquid if you like a thinner consistency smoothie.

VegeCleanse Plus Powder is your multi vitamin/mineral/antioxidant/detox/protein/fiber formula to help you bounce back and start the day off right!  This is my absolute favorite protein/detox powder!

I sincerely hope that these tips help you to minimize discomfort and maximize your enjoyment of the holidays!!  And to maximize your enjoyment even more, please use this code BETHG15 for a 15% discount while purchasing any supplements in my E-store.  Code valid until midnight PST 12/31/17.

 

Beth

Wildfires: Protect your lungs and immune system from smoke and help your body detoxify during times of poor air quality

The Northern California wildfires continue to rage and devastate entire communities. It breaks my heart that so many people have experienced such great loss.  If you live in Northern California, you know how bad the air quality has been over the last few days. As I write this, a very light ash is falling in San Francisco and my eyes and lungs burned as I ran a quick errand outside this morning. I cannot even imagine how bad it is for all the people that live further north in the wine country region.

It occurred to me yesterday as I was meeting with a few doctors in smoky San Mateo that I really need to put together a supplement protocol for respiratory and immune system health during these times of very poor air quality.  And do it soon!  Based on research and clinical effectiveness, here is my best protocol for supporting your health until the air quality gets better.

N-Acetyl-Cysteine:  1 capsule twice daily during exposure to smoke

Quercetin + Nettles – 1 cap three times daily to bring down histamine and inflammation

Detox-Antiox – 2 capsules daily to help combat free radicals and support detoxification

On another note, now is a good time to invest in an air purifier. It is a good idea to run an air purifier all year round, especially if you are an urban dweller. My favorite brand and the one I own: Austin AIR

I hope this information is helpful to you and please let me know how I can be of further assistance.

Beth

Is the water you are drinking healthy for you or harming your health? Part II

I drink a lot of water.  I learned when I was in my 20’s that drinking eight ounces of water per day was important to good health.  In my early 30’s, while pursuing my 2nd career in nutrition, I learned that drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day was critical to a good metabolism and optimal detoxification. Over the years, I have encouraged all my clients to drink plenty of water.  After all, we cannot survive very long without water!

 

But what if our water is polluted and the heavy metals and chemicals in our water are making us sick?  The high amounts of lead found in the water supply of Flint, Michigan is an extreme and tragic example.  Your water supply may have levels of heavy metals and chemicals that have not yet raised alarm bells but are not safe or healthy for you. These heavy metals and chemicals can then hang out in your body over a long period of time and make you sick slowly but surely, robbing you of your health and vitality and causing chronic illness.

 

I recently attended an environmental medicine conference in Portland, Oregon where an entire hour was dedicated to harmful chemicals and heavy metals found in water and how to pick a good water filtration system to make sure you are not drinking in these toxins.  There was a lot to absorb!  To remove the overwhelm and keep it simple, I included some key take aways and resources from this lecture to get you started on making sure you are drinking clean water!

Is your water safe?

The EPA has established primary drinking water regulations for about 100 of the many thousands of known contaminants that appear in tap water. The EPA has not adopted a single new standard for regulating chemicals in drinking water since 1996.

A 2015 review showed that there were 80,834 reported violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act at 18,094 community water systems across the nation. Nearly 9 out of 10 violations were subject to no formal action by the state or the EPA.

How do I find out what is in my tap water?

Environmental Working Group tap water analysis:

https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/#.WcGynEyZOYU

Key heavy metals and chemicals to look out for and/or test in your water supply:

  • Heavy metals: Arsenic, lead, mercury and hexavalent chromium
  • Flouride
  • Disinfectants like chlorine, chloramine, and disinfection by products like trihalomethanes
  • Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA): used in a variety of consumer products. Extremely high persistence in the environment and the human body.
  • MTBE – a gasoline additive used as an oxygenate and to raise the octane number.
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like benzene toluene, and hexane
  • Pesticides

Why does it matter if these contaminants are in my water?

Over time, these heavy metals and chemicals build up in our bodies and cause toxicity to our brain, nerves, immune system, reproductive system, blood vessels, liver, kidneys and affect our hormones and energy production.  For example, volatile organic compounds like benzene, toluene, xylene, and hexane found in drinking water in much of the USA can affect your nervous system and cause learning, memory, and mood problems, as well as fatigue, headaches, and insomnia.

Water filtration systems:

Reverse osmosis: This process pushes tap water through a semipermeable membrane that blocks particles larger than water molecules.

Pros: Effective at removing many contaminants including arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, nitrates and perchlorate.

Cons: Does not remove chlorine, chloramine, radioactive gases, THM or other VOCs.

**Many RO systems also include an activated carbon component than can remove additional

contaminants from your water like the ones listed above.

Wastes a lot of water – three to twenty times more water than they produce.

Carbon Filtration:

Coconut shell based micro pores are cleaner & best for wide variety of chemicals
.5 micron catalytic coconut-based carbon block is optimal
*Chloramine removal requires catalytic-grade carbon

Please refer to this awesome hand out provided by Dr. Tina Beaudoin and Dr. Anne Marie Fine for good vetting questions to ask water filtration system manufacturers for point of use filtration devices and filtration devices for whole house filters.  This hand out also includes great resources to test your water!   >>Handout<<

Two water filtration systems that I recommend:

Pure Effect Filters:  https://www.pureeffectfilters.com

Berkey Water:   http://berkeywater.com *Must add on a fluoride and arsenic reduction element.

Wherever you start, some filtration is better than none!  Find out from the resources provided here what contaminants are most prominent in your water and then choose a water filter system within your budget that best removes the contaminants found in your water.  A little time and investment on your part, but definitely well worth it!  After all, you have to drink water to live and clean water really does support optimal health and vitality!  Protect yourself now; don’t rely on the federal government or your state to do it for you!

 

 

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Time to upgrade your water filtration system? You might be surprised what’s lurking in your water!

You most likely drink water everyday.  Maybe six to eight glasses per day?  Or more!  We need water to survive!  And water is one of the most essential components of a detoxification program.  As they say, the solution to pollution is dilution!  But what happens when our water is contaminated?

All over the news: toxic amounts of lead in the water in Flint, Michigan; high amounts of a chemical called perchlorate in the water in San Diego; and massive amounts of pharmaceuticals in the water in Los Angeles.  Yuck!  Suddenly our water supply is not so pure.

I was living in this fantasy that my water in San Francisco was clean.  After all, it comes from the Hetch Hetchy Dam in Yosemite.  I had it tested for lead a year ago and received a clean report!

Fast forward: I recently got the results of my Toxic Chemical Profile test.  This test measures by- products of major chemicals in the urine.

One of the chemicals that tested on the high side was perchlorate.  So not just a Southern California thing!  This chemical is used in the production of rocket fuel, missiles, fireworks, flares, explosives, fertilizers, and bleach.  Studies show that perchlorate is often found in water supplies.  Many food sources are also contaminated with perchlorate.  Perchlorate can disrupt the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones. The EPA has also labeled perchlorate a likely human carcinogen.

My test results also showed an elevated marker for a metabolite of organophosphates, one of the most toxic groups of substances in the world, primarily found in pesticide formulations.  Children exposed to organophosphates have more than twice the risk of developing pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), an autism spectrum disorder.  Maternal organophosphate exposure has been associated with various adverse outcomes including having shorter pregnancies and children with impaired reflexes.

I was surprised to have high levels of organophosphates, as I make a special effort to eat organic foods!  However, these organophosphates can end up in our – you guessed it – water supply!  I live in San Francisco and found out that Napa Valley is a hotbed for this class of chemicals and winds can carry these chemicals about 50 miles.

What is the good news?  There are really great water filter systems that can clean this garbage out of your water!  I will be attending an environmental medicine conference in Portland on Sept. 9th and one hour will be dedicated to the best water filter systems.  I will be sure to share my notes from this lecture.  In the meantime, if you feel you cannot wait until September to upgrade your water filter system, please comment on this post or email info@nutritionwithbeth.com for some top of the line water filtration systems.

There is also so much we can do to support the detoxification of these chemicals.  First get rid of the exposure, then support your detox systems!  I learned that pomegranate juice and resveratrol, found in the skin of red grapes, stimulate an enzyme that helps to detoxify organophosphates.  Omega 3 essential fatty acids are helpful too!

If you read my blogs and newsletters, you know that I am a big fan of regular cleanse programs.  And yes, I will be doing my annual pre-holiday cleanse again this November!  🙂

 

Exposure to IQ Lowering Toxins in the Womb – What you can do before and while you are pregnant to protect your baby

Are you planning on getting pregnant and starting a family? Over the last ten years, many women have joined my cleanse programs to “clean” out before they get pregnant. Perhaps these women felt that they were not eating so healthy or drinking too much alcohol. Or they had been on a round of antibiotics or taking NSAIDs like Advil or Aleve on a regular basis. Regardless, they intuitively felt like they needed to cleanse.

Well, their intuition was right.

I recently listened to a very informative webinar with Professor Barbara Demeneix, author of the new book, The Toxic Cocktail. I highly recommend her book if you are concerned about toxins and their impact on your health and the health of your children. In the meantime, I thought it important to share a quick summary of key points she covered in the webinar.

We now know that many chemicals pass the placenta and are found in amniotic fluid.

The womb is no longer thought to be a safe haven for the developing fetus. Many chemicals contain chlorine, bromine, and fluorine (a.k.a. halogens) that displace iodine. And iodine is needed to make thyroid hormone. And thyroid hormone is needed to make a healthy brain. The big connection…

A mother’s thyroid hormones are needed for the early brain of the fetus to develop correctly. The first 3 months are the most vulnerable! Certain endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can interfere with the capacity of our thyroid glands to capture iodine and to make thyroid hormone. When this takes place during the development of a child in the womb, it can have devastating effects on cognitive function and resulting IQ.

What chemicals are similar in structure to thyroid hormone and displace this all important hormone? Pesticide metabolites, triclosan, BPA, PCBs, and flame retardants all interfere with thyroid hormone signaling and are found in human amniotic fluid. These chemicals are often referred to as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). In a nutshell, low iodine, maternal hypothyroidism, and EDCs that cross the placenta can all affect the baby in the womb and lead to loss of IQ. As research continues in this field, no doubt more will be discovered about the impact of certain chemicals on neurodevelopment.

What can you do now to reduce exposure to these toxins and cleanse them out? Here are ten tips to minimize these chemicals (and metals) before and while you are pregnant (and always!)

  • Avoid plastics in the kitchen. Especially plastic wrap around fatty foods like cheese and meat. Store your cheese in glass containers instead.
  • Drink out of a stainless steel or glass bottle. Avoid plastic water bottles, even the BPA free ones.
  • Cook with stainless steel pans
  • Eat organic whenever possible. It really makes a big difference! Avoid those pesticides!
  • Limit your consumption of BIG ocean fish like swordfish and tuna. Smaller ocean fish like sardines and anchovies are better choices and have less mercury and other toxins. Always avoid farmed raised fish due to high PCB levels! This include Atlantic salmon.
  • Increase your iodine uptake. Make sure your multi vitamin has 150 mg iodine per serving, especially when you are pregnant.*
  • Assess your bath and body care products. Use clean personal care products without added parabens and phthalates.
  • Don’t repaint your house or buy new furniture while pregnant! Avoid off gassing of those brominated flame retardants in new furniture.
  • Avoid use of insecticides in the yard or standard air fresheners in the home. You can use essential oils to freshen up your home.
  • And lastly, make it a priority do do a cleanse program BEFORE you get pregnant. Check out my very favorite cleanse program here!!

 

* Women with Hashimoto’s may be advised to avoid iodine.

 

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My Five Top Super Foods for Optimal Brain Health!

Blueberries are loaded with polyphenols and flavonoids.  Long-term consumption of blueberry polyphenols and flavonoids has been shown to improve and even reverse cognitive decline in animal studies.  The cognitive enhancement provided by blueberries is closely related to higher brain production of glutathione (our master antioxidant) and the inhibition of acetylcholinesterase activity, which prevents excessive breakdown of acetylcholine. In the brain, acetylcholine functions as a neurotransmitter and is important to attention, memory and  motivation.

Broccoli sprouts are one of the richest sources of sulforaphane.

Sulforaphane activates a genetic pathway in our cells called Nrf2.  This pathway controls over 200 other genes that carry out anti-inflammatory and anti-antioxidant processes and the ability to inactivate other harmful compounds that we are exposed to on a daily basis.  Excess inflammation and toxic load have been linked to cognitive decline.

Top your salad with broccoli sprouts or add the sprouts to a veggie wrap! 

For optimal effects, consume ¼ cup of broccoli sprouts 5 times per week.

Wild salmon:

Rich in the Omega 3 fatty acids which decrease systemic inflammation and help keep our cell membranes fluid.  This fluidity allows all of our cells to communicate better, including our neurons!  We do not want rigid cell membranes!

Purslane plant:

Purslane is an edible weed with a juicy, lemony flavor.  You will find it at farmers markets in the summer. I recently learned at a conference on the topic of neuro-inflammation that it is very high in Alpha Linoleic Acid (an Omega 3 fatty acid). In fact, 100 grams of fresh leaves contains 300-400 mg omega 3’s! It is also very high in melatonin, a hormone that’s great for regulating sleep.

Pull the leaves off the larger stems and toss them with lemon juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Pretty simple!  Or combine with other greens like kale!

Cocoa:

Flavanols in cocoa have been studied for many years. They have been shown to help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, prevent blood clots, and fight cell damage. And cocoa is such a nice treat too. Just make sure that you are not consuming the cocoa with a lot of sugar!

BONUS:

Rosemary:

Although technically a herb, I include rosemary on this list because it is so good paired with food! Among the most important group of compounds isolated from the plant are the phenolic diterpenes that account for most of the antioxidant and many pharmacological activities of the plant. Rosemary diterpenes have been shown in recent years to inhibit neuronal cell death induced by a variety of agents.

Add rosemary liberally to your foods. It pairs especially well with roasted chicken and vegetables!

 

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My Top 5 Supplements for Optimal Brain Health

Over the past six months, I have been attending practitioner training’s and conferences to learn all I can about the brain and why our memory and overall brain performance starts to slip. I did not expect there to be a simple answer. After all, a drug that prevents Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) would have been invented by now if the answer was easy.  But nonetheless, my calling is to help all people preserve their precious brain function, including memories. I just don’t want to bear witness to another member in my family being diagnosed with AD, and don’t want to see anyone else go through this traumatizing experience either.

As the incredible Dr. Dale Bredesen has outlined in his research, there are multiple “types” of AD. It is our responsibility to figure out what is driving the neurodegeneration in each person. Is it inflammation, insulin resistance in the brain, low hormone levels, nutrient deficiencies, toxins that have crossed the Blood Brain Barrier, or a vascular issue?

As I attended these training’s and conferences, I observed that the experts in this field mentioned several key supplements over and over again for optimal brain support and to help reverse cognitive decline. So here are the five top supplements I suggest to support your brain for optimal performance and cognitive function:

 

  1. Acetyl L-Carnitine is the acetylated ester of L-carnitine. It participates in cellular energy production and in the maintenance of neurons. It also repairs neuronal damage. In a nutshell, research shows that Acetyl L- Carnitine helps to energize the brain, increase levels of important neurotransmitter chemicals needed for memory and focus, and repair the damage done to brain cells by stress and poor nutrition.
  1. Phosphatidyl Serine (PS) is a nutrient essential for optimal brain function. Because PS is crucial for the overall health of brain cells, research on PS has shown that it benefits a wide range of brain activities such as mental focus, memory recall, and performance on tasks. PS helps neurons talk to each other, which is essential for memories to be both formed and recalled.
  1. High DHA fish oil: DHA is a structural molecule in all cell membranes, including neuronal membranes. DHA is a precursor to docosanoids, which have anti-inflammatory, immune regulatory and protective actions in the context of various inflammatory responses. Optimal DHA status may be associated with a lower risk of dementia. See UltraDHA for an example of a high quality and high potency DHA fish oil.
  1. Curcumin has been shown to decrease inflammation throughout the body, including the brain! Curcumin reduced development and severity of AD in animal models by reducing plaque aggregation and plaque induced oxidative stress. (1)  Curcumin is also protective to the heart, the liver and the gut. It also helps decrease allergies and is great at reducing joint pain!  Note: most forms of supplemental curcumin are poorly absorbed. CurcumEvail has demonstrated superior absorption in plasma.
  1. Huperzine A is a natural cholinesterase inhibitor (inhibits the acetylcholinesterase enzyme from breaking down acetylcholine, thereby increasing the levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine). It is derived from the Chinese herb Huperzia serrata. In the brain, acetylcholine functions as a neurotransmitter and a neuromodulator. It plays an important role in arousal, attention, memory and motivation. There is evidence that huperzine A may compare favorably in symptomatic efficacy to cholinesterase inhibitors currently in use. In addition, huperzine A has antioxidant and neuroprotective properties that suggest that it may be useful as a disease-modifying treatment for Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

 

Suggested doses of these above mentioned supplements depend on whether you are using them for optimal brain performance or to help reverse mild cognitive decline.  Please set up a strategy session with me if you are concerned that your brain is not functioning optimally and you are ready to take a preventative approach to cognitive decline!  Remember, Alzheimer’s Disease does not suddenly start when you are 60 or 70 years old.  Dr. Dale Bredesen recommends taking a preventative approach starting at age 40!  Please see my previous blog  “Are You Afraid of Getting Alzheimer’s Disease?”

 

Reference:

  1. Baum L, Ng A. Curcumin interaction with copper and iron suggests one possible mechanism of action in Alzheimer’s disease animal models. J Alzheimers Dis. 2004 Aug;6(4):367-77.

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