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BRAIN HEALTH AND GROWING NEURAL CONNECTIONS: Alzheimer's Awareness Month

June is Alzheimer's Awareness Month. Having lost my mother in 2020 to this beastly disease, recently losing another loved one, and currently witnessing the struggle of yet another... it seems we cannot escape this dreadful disease! "45 million out of 318 million currently living Americans will develop Alzheimer's Disease." - Apollo Health


For those of us living in the wake of this disease, it's easy to wonder... It's in my family, so will I be next? This is an easy leap to make, right? If my bloodline has it, its in the genes, then I'm destined to get it. Well, that could be true, but it's partial... very partial! Dementia, of which Alzheimer's is the most common type, is not a natural or inevitable consequence of getting old. Let's get a few things straight when it comes to your destiny vs. your genes...


  • genetics makes up 30% of your likelihood to have disease

  • your lifestyle makes up 70%

  • less than 5% of genetic mutations tied to Alzheimer's guarantee you'll get it

  • you have the power to turn genes off or on based on your lifestyle choices

  • the foods you eat

  • the degree in which you exercise daily - your mind and your body!

  • the environment you keep (low chemical exposure - household cleaners, lawncare, pesticides, produce chemical residues, chemicals in your food, chemicals in your skincare/body care/oral care products, low EMF exposure - think cell towers, cell phones, all of your electronic devices)

  • balancing hormones

  • addressing nutrient deficiencies

  • improving gastrointestinal health

  • avoidance of risky behaviors

  • abuse of drugs

  • abuse of alcohol

  • smoking/vaping

  • mindset matters

  • stress reduction

  • anxiety reduction

  • healing trauma

  • building resilience for negative situations and stress

  • having a self-care routine - taking time to just breathe, meditate, pray, disconnect and spend time in nature

  • making play a priority every day - enjoy your life!

John Haaga, of the National Institute on Aging, once said, “No one can guarantee you’ll escape this awful disease, but you can tip the odds in your favor with clean living." Dale Bredesen is a huge advocate for improving lifestyle factors to decrease your odds. In fact, he developed the Bredesen Protocol with a multi-step precision medicine approach that has demonstrated reversal of cognitive decline! According to Dr. Bredesen and his over 30 years of study, "Alzheimer's results from an imbalance in the brain's neuroplasticity signaling." He has identified over 36 factors (many named above) that influence or trigger cognitive decline. His protocol is designed to prevent cognitive decline and reverse the effects of subjective cognitive impairment (SCI), mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early Alzheimer's. His work is fascinating! I encourage you to dive into it here: https://www.apollohealthco.com/bredesen-protocol/


Dr. Daniel Amen, of Amen Clinics, offers these 5 physical activities to improve brain health:

  1. table tennis

  2. swimming

  3. dancing

  4. yoga

  5. strength training

To find out why these five, go here: https://www.amenclinics.com/blog/these-5-physical-activities-improve-brain-health/


Neuroplasticity is important to brain health, too! Suffice it to say, our brain has the capacity to keep growing neurons, even as we age. So, how do we grow new neurons? We address many things already tackled in this blog, but we also never stop learning. When we learn, our brain builds new neural pathways which actually changes the physical structure of the brain. There are many ways to do this... games, reading, puzzles, travel, learning new things like dancing or a foreign language are all great activities that promote neuroplasticity. (For more on how this works click here: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-brain-plasticity-2794886) One of my attempts at supporting my brain health today is in the photo example you see here! I spent my time during a very long hold on a phone call practicing writing with my left hand. Okay, truth is I've only ever tried this maybe 3 times in my life, but being on hold for lots of minutes can push you to do things like doodle, scroll social media, or pace about... this time, I picked up the pen and wrote with my opposite hand! The Alzheimer's & Dementia Resource Center actually says to brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand to improve brain fitness... I'm going to guess that writing with your non-dominant hand counts too!


For more information on Alzheimer's and Dementia, please visit the following resources:

https://adrccares.org/resources/faq-alzheimers-and-dementia/

https://www.alz.org/

https://teepasnow.com/ - Teepa was my favorite resource when caring for my mother in my home, end-stage Alzheimer's.


If you, or someone you love is battling Alzheimer's Disease, or any form of dementia, please know you hold a special place in my heart. It truly is the longest goodbye.


If you could do something now to offset your odds, wouldn't you start today? If you would like support on your journey to CLEANER LIVING and a HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE, I am here for you. If you are a CAREGIVER and you NEED SUPPORT WITH SELF-CARE, I am here for you, too.


Reach out to me for a Complimentary Discovery Call at let's explore what Health and Wellness Coaching can do for you! BOOK HERE: https://healthcoachforyoullc.practicebetter.io/#/6062752a2a8326064cb1b0f0/bookings?step=services

(Some insurance benefits may apply!)



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