It’s just over two years I came to your wonderful seminar in London and I remember you do a lot of reading on health and nutrition. I wonder if you can recommend something about keeping your brain healthy, as my memory has become bad and I think getting worse. I am now regularly walking into rooms and forgetting why I went there! Maybe this isn’t so unusual, but my concern is made greater by having had both parents suffer with dramatically declining mental abilities.
You don’t actually say if a form of dementia was present for your parents, but it’s probably helpful to reply as if that was the case. I think there may be many people who are feeling much the same way as you are.
I applaud your interest in prevention. Too many people take the view that disease states simply descend on us; one day we don’t have dementia, and the next day we have a diagnosis, and we do. Surely it’s better to pay attention to more subtle signs, provided there’s something you can actually do about them, which there most certainly is. This is the kind of information that provides you with motivation to eat less that’s not solely based on weight, shape and size. This is the motivation that’s so much more effective – but only if you pay attention to it. This is exactly what people miss when their focus is entirely on weight loss. I’ll recommend further study in a bit, but here are a few things I’ve discovered:
• All brain cells are coated in a protective insulation known as myelin, and more than anything else, myelin needs omega-3 fatty acids to stay in top form. This is available, of course, in a variety of foods, but it may be helpful to supplement as well. However, uptake of omega-3s can be blocked by trans fats, which are found in a great many manufactured foods. If they make up less than 1g per serving they won’t be on the label.
• A state of inflammation and insulin resistance go hand in hand, and are now considered to be the basis of most, if not all, degenerative disease states including those of the brain. (1, 2)
You might know that Alzheimer’s Disease is sometimes referred to as ‘type-3 diabetes’. This is not to say that diabetes inevitably leads to Alzheimer’s, nor that it causes it. They are associated because similar processes are causing them; in particular inflammation and insulin resistance. There are three simple steps here that are now very well understood:
- Glucose needs insulin in order to be taken into all the cells in our body, including brain cells.
- When insulin is blocked (resisted) glucose can’t get into the cells.
- As glucose is your brain’s source of energy, poor brain function is the result.
In addition, insulin regulates the brain chemicals that are crucial for memory. So, becoming insulin resistant is bad news for the brain in a number of ways.