While enjoying dinner with friends recently the subject came up about Alzheimer’s a natrual part of the aging process and how can we reduce the risk? My German Grandmother lived to be over a hundred and was sharp as a tact, my Mexican mom from San Sebastian lived to be well into her 80’s after having birthed and raised 20 kids, and almost 70 grandkids. She was a tiny little thing who remembered the smallest details of her life and of those around her. I gathered from these personal experiences that neither dementia nor Alzheimer’s are a normal part of normal aging.
I got on-line and will share with you what I found.
Omega-3 fats like DHA are called “essential” fatty acids because your body doesn’t make them on its own. So you must acquire them through outside sources. Believe me, this is one fat you do NOT want to be deficient in as omega-3 can:
- Reduce your risk of heart disease
- Help prevent cancer, including liver and prostrate cancer
- Alleviate depression
- Fight inflammation in your body
Fish oil is also known to play a role to preventing Alzheimer’s disease, and UCLA researchers hve discovered why. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and omega-3 acid found in fish oil, increases the production of LR11, a protein that destroys a protein that forms “plaques” associated with Alzheimer’s disease. LR11 is also found in low levels in Alzheimer’s patients, and since this protein helps prevent the toxic plaques that are thought to harm neurons in your brain, it is believed to be a factor in causing the disease. The researchers examined both fish oil in the diet and DHA administered directly to the neurons grown in a laboratory. DHA also had a beneficial impact on human neuronal cells in culture. The researchers concluded that high levels of DHA lead to abundant LR11, which seems to protect against Alzheimer’s. Conversely, low levels of LR11 lead to the formation of beta amyloidal plaques that harm your brain. As this study mentions, omega-3 fats are also widely known to prevent Alzheimer’s desease, which is not suprising when you consider that DHA is the most abundant essential fatty acid in your brain.
Your best Sources of Omega-3
The most valuable omega-3 fats are the longer-chain fats like DHA and EPA. These are nearly exclusively found in marine sources like fish and fish oils. However, because of pollution concerns I do not recommend that you increase your intake of fish to get your omega-3. And don’t for a moment think that farm-raised fish are any better–they are FAR worse than wild-caught fish and should be avoided. This includes the salmon from Costco.
Instead, opt for a high-quality omega-3 supplement–but not just ANY omega-3 supplement will do. One of the best sources of Omega-3 fasts that is highly stable and pure is from Antartic krill oil. (I have not found a local source of this) If you prefer a choice closer to home, chia seeds, (a Mexican super food) are high in omega and have the added benefits of controlling the humidity in your body, controlling weight, and improving digestion.
Omega-3 fats are an excellent tool for fighting Alzheimer’s, but they are far from the only one. The experts (I CAN NEVER FIND OUT WHO THESE GUYS ARE) are predicting that more than 5 million Americans currently have Alzheimer’s, and by 2050 that could increase to between 11 million and 16 million people in the United States alone.
Here are a couple of suggestions to help maintain your brain power.
- Eat a nutrtious diet, including regularly consuming a healthy source of omega-3 fats, foods rich in enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and hight quality protein. Translates to eat your greens, cut down on sugar, fats and grains. Figure out how to get chia seeds in your diet. (www.organic-select.com) You can soak them and drink them, grind them up and add them to cereals and pick them up at the farmers market at Paradise Cultural Center each saturday.
- Exercise. Studies have shown that is protects your brain (along with being good for a host of other reasons). Flexible body. Flexible mind.
- Avoid and remove mercury from your body. This means not only removing any existing mercury in your body, but also striving not to take in any more. (via polluted fish, thimersal-containing vaccines or flu shots) Dental amalgam fillings are one of the major sources of mercury in many people’s bodies. (My dentist says that only happens a few weeks after the actual filling is put in)
- Avoid aluminum, as it has been linked to Alzheimer’s. It can be found in anitperspirants, try using natural deodorants like baking soda under arms after showering, or natural crystal minerals you can get at the health food store, wet them and run them under your arms. These methods both work.
- Drinking water: know your source and go with a high ph of over 7.5 which is slightly alkaline.
- Aluminum cookware.. really?? Are you still using aluminum? OMG! Invest in a good set of stainless steal cookware or unchipped enamel please.
- Challenge your mind. Doing activities such as learning new things may help build up the brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Bridge, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or taking a class can give your brain a work out.
It comes down to: We don’t really know what the future will bring, so live in the moment, love those around you and play alot.