What You Can Do To Keep Your Brain Sharp
Meghan MacKinnon, BSc,ND
Naturopathic Doctor in Aurora, ON and Markham, ON
In the spirit of Alzheimer’s awareness month, I thought I would share some naturopathic thoughts on dementia and Alzheimer’s. It is often forgotten that the brain is no different than our heart and can respond to things such as nutritional changes, stress reduction and exercise, which is where naturopathic medicine steps in. An integrative and holistic approach can help to reverse many of the symptoms of AD and slow its progression.
Exercise- Those who engage in physical activity have a significantly lower rate of occurrence of AD because of increased blood flow to the brain.
Cognitive Exercises- Get out the Sudoku, crossword puzzles or my favourite- Scrabble! Doing activities that challenge the brain can increase the growth of nerves in your brain helping to prevent degeneration.
Low Fat Diets- Keeping your fat consumption low is beneficial in treatment of AD while having high amounts of the healthy omega -3 fats. This is often best obtained from a good quality fish oil supplement free of heavy metals and contamination commonly found in fish.
Antioxidants- Antioxidants such as B-vitamins, vitamin C and high amounts of fruits and vegetables are key to a successful integrative AD program. People with AD have inflammation in their brain caused by a “pro-oxidant” environment and having high amounts of anti-oxidants will help to preserve brain cells.
What about Ginkgo biloba?
Many people ask me they should take Ginkgo to prevent dementia. Ginkgo has been shown to increase circulation to the brain and it acts as an antioxidant making it great to treat and prevent dementia at the right dose. People who are on anti-coagulants should not take Ginkgo unless under the direction of their medical or naturopathic doctor.
Alzheimer’s Warning Signs
Recent memory loss that affects job skill
Difficulty performing familiar tasks
Problems with language
Disorientation to time and space
Poor or decreased judgement
Problems with abstract thinking