My Advice for Baby Boomers for Better Cognitive Health
If you’re like me, over 70 years of age, it’s time to pay attention to your brain health. As you age you’ll find many surprises, especially when it comes to your memory and cognitive function. The thing that Baby Boomers like Hillary Clinton and I have to fear is that 75% of us will develop dementia or Alzheimer’s. I am not endorsing Hillary Clinton as a candidate here, but I would like to see all people live out their years with a higher quality of life.
No matter who you are – race, wealth, education – the chances of developing brain issues like dementia are 75% when you get to be over 70 years old. Dementia and mild cognitive impairment are both common issues of aging. For those who do not experience these symptoms, there still may be subtle changes in their brain. So what we need to do is determine the factors leading to this condition which are diet, exercise, and genetics. There are non-pharmaceutical ways for preventing age-related cognitive decline.
What factors can lead to dementia and age related cognitive decline?
- Genetics: If you have a parent or a sibling with Alzheimer’s or dementia, your risk for developing it is higher when compared to someone with no family history of the disease. But this does not mean that you will end up with dementia.
- Gender: Women have a higher chance for dementia. For instance, higher rates of Alzheimer’s in women is associated with lack of the hormone estrogen after menopause.
- Certain medical conditions: There is evidence that poor circulatory problems and heart issues such as stroke or heart attack double the risk of developing dementia. This also includes high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood cholesterol.
- Physical activity: Being physically inactive is now found to be one of the primary factors in developing dementia.
- Smoking: Chronic smoking is also linked to an increased risk as it impairs blood circulation to organs like the brain and heart.
- Unhealthy eating habits: Eating foods that are high in trans and saturated fats can clog arteries and blood vessels leading to heart problems and circulatory issues. Also, eating refined foods such as sugar and salt can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
- Alcohol abuse: Chronic alcohol abuse is another strong factor that leads to dementia.
What Baby Boomers like Hillary can do to protect their cognitive health.
Proper eating habits and healthy lifestyle changes do help improve cognitive health. Yet, taking specific supplements are also beneficial in slowing down age-related brain decline. Here are a few I recommend for Baby Boomers:
- Astaxanthin: Astaxanthin is a pigment that is produced by the algae Haematococcus pluvialis. It is an antioxidant carotenoid, just like betacarotene in carrots. Besides algae it is found in salmon. It is a fat soluble pigment, which makes it easy for this antioxidant to cross the blood-brain barrier and protect nerve cells. Studies show that supplementing with Astaxanthin helps improve brain function in the elderly. Astaxanthin can help reduce the accumulation of a compound called phospholipid hydroperoxidases (PLOOH). PLOOH accumulates in the red blood cells of those with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- L-Dopa: L-dopa is a compound that’s made by your body from the amino acid Tyrosine. It helps make precursors of many neurotransmitters like dopamine, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. Low levels of L-dopa can accelerate age-related cognitive decline and dementia. Optimal levels of L-dopa helps prevent anxiety, depression, and other age-related cognitive issues as well.
A combination of Astaxanthin and L-dopa may help lower free radical damage, protect nerve cells, and prevent age-related decline in Baby Boomers. Healthy eating, lifestyle changes, and supplements can help – but in the end Hillary and I are in the same boat. It can happen slowly or very rapidly. Boomers aging. Some of us can slow the time machine, but for others it is too late. Hopefully with the issues in the news about Hillary, the public will pay more attention towards their own brain health. It’s not really about Hillary or me, it’s about your BRAIN and how to best support it for years to come.