What are some great ways to stay healthy as we age? What are the areas that we should focus on?
None of us are getting younger and all of us think ageing won’t happen to us…until it does. It starts with niggles and minor changes to skin or hair, muscles, bones, gums and even teeth, and then the day comes when we suddenly realise ageing has arrived.
One of the biggest issues we face with ageing is Cognition. Until recently we thought there was not much we could do about cognitive decline. That’s all changed. Research has taught us that cognitive decline begins in the gut and there are many other factors and co-contributors than can give us control over healthy cognition.
There is considerable evidence to show that the right diet can improve cognition - especially ketogenic or Mediterranean – which contain an abundance of essential vitamins and nutrients required for healthy aging. Vitamin D, calcium, B Vitamins, Omega 3’s, magnesium, Vitamin E, C and zinc all form part of a healthy picture as we get older. Nutrient deficiencies of Vitamin B6, B12, thiamine, folate and zinc have been shown to be related to cognitive difficulties.
High kilojoule intake in middle age predicts poorer mental status in older age. Higher intake of Vitamin C has been shown to improve cognitive performance due to its anti-oxidant action. A good level of physical fitness and activity is also associated with higher levels of cognitive functioning. Weight bearing exercise is essential for healthy bones and will reduce the chances of osteoporosis.
And of course, there’s always the impact of stress. Chronic stress and mood related factors can also impair cognition. Long-term, chronic life stress together with elevated blood cortisol levels has shown consistently to be linked to poorer cognitive function.
Early intervention in cognitive dysfunction states is considered crucial to clinical management.
Phosphatidylserine (a phospholipid in brain tissue) – enhances brain cell communication. It is a clinically proven nutrient shown to provide broad cognitive benefits and to improve memory and sharp thinking, to enhance concentration, vocabulary skills and learning.
Bacopa Monnieri – is a tonic used in Ayurvedic medicine traditionally for memory and mental capacities, or as a tonic to revitalise brain cells. It has also been used to treat mild anxiety. There is some scientific evidence to support the cognitive benefits of Bacopa over 12 weeks. Several randomised control trials have reported significant improvements in verbal learning, memory and retention in adults and behaviour and ADD in children.
Plasmalogens. A lesser-known treatment for cognitive impairment is Plasmalogens
Plasmalogens are a naturally occurring glycerophospholipid found in tissues and cell membranes and are largely concentrated in active membrane areas such as the brain, eye, heart and lung.
Plasmalogens are made primarily in the liver, play a structural role in the cell and are involved in cholesterol biosynthesis and transportation of cholesterol around the body. They also play an important anti-oxidant role. While we mostly self-synthesise plasmalogens a small amount can also be obtained through dietary sources, marine invertebrates including scallops, cattle, pig and chicken.
Plasmalogen levels in the brain peak at 30 years of age and decline rapidly by 70 years old. Plasmalogen deficiency is associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Studies show that the higher the level of plasmalogens the lower the incidence of Dementia and Alzheimers Disease.
Plasmalogens have been shown to down-regulate inflammation in the body and to weaken amyloid B plaque formation reducing memory loss. Low plasmalogens have been found to be a marker of increased systemic oxidative stress in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Because of their known antioxidant potential, higher plasmalogen levels may also assist in reducing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardio vascular disease and non-alcoholic liver disease.
Using a new Functional Medicine blood test in Australia called the ProdromeScan Plasmalogen Test it is now possible to determine your individual plasmalogen levels in the body, thus indicating future predisposition to diseases such as Parkinsons Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, Autism, Cardiovascular Disease, Cerebrovascular Disease and Cancer can now be done in Australia.
Using test results and targeted supplements such as CoQ10, NAC, CDP Choline, DHa, Alpha-Lipoic Acid and specific plasmalogens you can optomise your unique biochemistry and maintain healthy ageing.
Contact Maeve @ Synergy Compounding for more information and to organise your test.