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Your Road to Wellness

Cognition

Can your blood glucose regulation affect your memory?

Posted by on 12:45 pm Bloodsugar, Cognition, Dementia, Diabetes, Diet, Eating, General Health, Glucose, Health Risk, Insulin resistance, Memory, Wellness | 0 comments

This study investigated how the ability to control the levels of blood glucose was related to mood and cognition (Young H, Benton D, 2014).

155 adults, aged 45-85 years,  without a diagnosis of diabetes, were given an oral glucose tolerance test and cognitive tests. 

The researchers found that those with poorer glucose tolerance forgot more words and had slower decision times, but only if they were 61 years or older. 

The next study on the same topic included 93 healthy male and female non-diabetic participants who ranged in age from 55 to 88 years (Messier C, 2010). 

The researchers measured cognitive function as well as other things. The participants also had a glucose tolerance test during which glucose and insulin were measured.This was done after drinking a saccharin solution and on another occasion after drinking a glucose solution (50 g).

The results showed that progressively worse glucose regulation predicted poorer performance on measures of working memory and executive function.

The researchers stated that the results suggest that cognitive functions may be impaired before gluco-regulatory impairment reaches levels consistent with a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

The change from being insulin sensitive to being insulin resistant is a gradual process. This shows that it is really important to keep your blood glucose at a low and normal level not only after you have fasted, but also after eating. Ideally it should be below 90 two hours after a meal.

The sooner you  implement strategies to stay insulin sensitive the better it is.

You can stay insulin sensitive by making changes to the way you eat and by incorporating exercise into your routine.

References

Messier C, Tsiakas M, Gagnon M, Desrochers A. Effect of age and glucoregulation on cognitive performance. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2010 Oct;32(8):809-21.

Young H, Benton D.The nature of the control of blood glucose in those with poorer glucose tolerance influences mood and cognition. Metab Brain Dis. 2014 Sep;29(3):721-8.

 

 

 

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Adding this to your exercise routine will help improve cognition.

Posted by on 2:37 pm Anti-Aging, Cognition, Exercise, General Health, Get in shape | 0 comments

 

We know that sedentary behaviour is associated with impaired cognition and exercise can improve cognition.

This research is interesting because it added a component to the exercise (Wheeler MJ, et.al., 2019).

The participants were sedentary overweight/obese older adults with normal cognitive function. Cognitive testing were done and brain-derived neurotrophic growth factor (BDNF) was assessed.

The study consisted of 3 different protocols which the participants completed with 6 days in between.

One time they were sitting uninterrupted for 8 hours which was the control condition. Another time they were sitting for 1 hour, then they did moderate-intensity walking for 30 minutes and uninterrupted sitting for 6.5 hours.  The third protocol were sitting for 1 hour, then moderate-intensity walking for 30 min, and sitting interrupted every 30 min with 3 minutes of light-intensity walking for 6.5 hours.

The results showed that moderate-intensity walking for 30 min, and sitting interrupted every 30 min with 3 minutes of light-intensity walking improved blood levels of BDNF and working memory or executive function.

This means that we need to be active throughout the day. Just set reminders to take short breaks and do an activity that increases your pulse rate. 

It does not mean that you have to get out and walk for 3 minutes. There are other things you can do for just a couple of minutes or less without going outside, so you have a very minimal interruption.

Reference

Wheeler MJ1,2, Green DJ3, Ellis KA4, Cerin E5,6, Heinonen I3,7, Naylor LH3, Larsen R2, Wennberg P8, Boraxbekk CJ9,10, Lewis J, Eikelis N2,11, Lautenschlager NT12, Kingwell BA13, Lambert G11, Owen N14,15, Dunstan DW, Distinct effects of acute exercise and breaks in sitting on working memory and executive function in older adults: a three-arm, randomised cross-over trial to evaluate the effects of exercise with and without breaks in sitting on cognition.Br J Sports Med. 2019 Apr 29. pii: bjsports-2018-100168.

 

 

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Want to slow down brain atrophy?

Posted by on 5:46 am Anti-Aging, Cognition, Dementia, Fish Oil, Flaxseeds, General Health, Stay healthy, Supplements, Vitamin B, Vitamin B12, Vitamins | 0 comments

Most likely everybody would like to slow down brain atrophy.  Who wouldn’t like more brain power? But is that even possible?  Take a look at the results from this research.

168 elderly people (≥70 y) with mild cognitive impairment were included and randomly assigned to either a placebo group or to a group taking a high-dose of B vitamins.

This is what they  took daily, 0.8 mg of folic acid, 20 mg of vitamin B-6, and 0.5 mg of vitamin B-12 (Jernerén F, et.al., 2015).

The participants underwent cranial magnetic resonance imaging scans when they started and 2 years later. The omega 3 fatty acid levels of EPA and DHA was also measured.

This what the researchers found.

The B vitamin treatment slowed the average atrophy rate by 40.0% compared with the placebo group. This happened however only in the participants who had high levels of omega 3 fatty acids at the start of the study.

Another study investigating cognitive decline in 266 participants 70 years or older found similar interesting results (Oulhaj A, et.al., 2016).

When omega-3 fatty acid concentrations are low, treatment with B vitamins had no effect on cognitive decline, but when omega-3 levels were in the upper normal range, B vitamins slowed cognitive decline.

Eating a lot of fish is not a good way anymore to increase your omega 3 fatty acid levels because all fish is now contaminated. A better choice is to use a high quality fish oil with high amounts of EPA and DHA, since that would not expose you to the same levels of contaminants.

It is also a good idea to take a B-complex formula that has the metabolite of folic acid, 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, because many people does not metabolize folic acid effectively.

References

Jernerén F, Elshorbagy AK, Oulhaj A, Smith SM, Refsum H, Smith AD. Brain atrophy in cognitively impaired elderly: the importance of long-chain ω-3 fatty acids and B vitamin status in a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jul;102(1):215-21.

Oulhaj A, Jernerén F, Refsum H, Smith AD, de Jager CA.Omega-3 Fatty Acid Status Enhances the Prevention of Cognitive Decline by B Vitamins in Mild Cognitive Impairment. J Alzheimers Dis. 2016;50(2):547-57.

 

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Oxidative stress is involved in cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted by on 8:28 am Alzheimer’s, Anti-Aging, Cognition, Diseases, General Health, Health Risk, Research, Stress, Wellness | 0 comments

Increased oxidative stress has been documented in the frontal cortex in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and in patients with mild cognitive impairment (Ansari, MA 2010).  One of the emerging causative factors associated with Alzheimer’s pathology is oxidative stress. This AD-related increase in oxidative stress has been attributed to decreased levels of the brain antioxidant, glutathione (Saharan and Mandal, 2014). 

The body uses antioxidants to limit the damage done by oxidative stress and glutathione is the body’s most effective self-made antioxidant.  Glutathione is a part of the body’s natural defense against free radical damage.

The following study used proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy to measure glutathione levels in both healthy individuals and patients with alzheimer’s disease (Mandal PK et. al, 2015).

The researchers found a reduction of glutathione in both the hippocampus and frontal cortex–which are two different areas of the brain–in Alzheimer’s patients.  It is interesting to note that glutathione reduction in those regions correlated with a decline in cognitive function.  The researchers concluded that the study provides compelling evidence that the glutathione levels in specific brain regions are relevant markers for mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.  

So how can we ensure that our glutathione levels remain at healthy levels?  One way is to add it into our daily routine via supplementation.  It is now possible to supply glutathione in a bioavailable form–which gets it into the cells where it is needed–and that is by using S-Acetyl Glutathione (Cacciatore et. al., 2010).

The body is making less glutathione as we get older, that happens to everybody, but some are making less than others.

References

Ansari, A, and S W Scheff. “Oxidative Stress in the Progression of Alzheimer Disease in the Frontal Cortex.OUP Academic, Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology , 1 Feb. 2010, academic.oup.com/jnen/article/69/2/155/2917186.

Cacciatore I1, Cornacchia C, Pinnen F, Mollica A, Di Stefano A. “Prodrug approach for increasing cellular glutathione levels.” Molecules, 3 Mar. 2010, https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/15/3/1242

Mandal PK, Saharan S., Tripathi M., and Murari G. “Brain glutathione levels–a novel biomarker for mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.” Biol Psychiatry, 15 Nov. 2015,  https://www.sciencedirect.com/ science/article/pii/S0006322315003121

Saharan S., Mandal P.K., “The emerging role of glutathione in Alzheimer’s disease.” J Alzheimers Dis. 23 April 2014. https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad132483

 

 

 

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Improve cognition and physical performance at the same time

Posted by on 3:00 pm Cognition, Eating, Energy, Exercise | 0 comments

Adding one thing can sometimes give you more than one benefit.

This research was conducted to find out if dietary nitrate supplementation would improve exercise performance and cognitive function during a prolonged intermittent sprint test (Thompson C.,et.al., 2015).

16 male team-sport players received either 140 ml a day of beetroot juice high in nitrate or a placebo beetroot juice low in nitrate for 7 days.

Using a stationary bike they repeatedly performed several 6 seconds “all-out” sprints with 100 seconds active recovery and 20 seconds of rest, while simultaneously performing cognitive tasks. The test went on for two 40 minutes “halves” simulating team sports.

The beetroot juice high in nitrate improved sprint performance compared with the placebo juice and also improved reaction time of response to the cognitive tasks.

In another study when the participants exercised for 6 weeks and either drank beetroot juice or a placebo drink,  the exercise and beetroot group had brain networks that more closely resembled those of younger adults (Petrie M, et.al., 2017).

When 450 ml beetroot juice was compared with a placebo drink cognitive performance was improved on a subtraction task 90 minutes later (Wightman EL, et.al., 2015). These results show that single doses of dietary nitrate can modulate the prefrontal cortex cerebral blood-flow response to task performance and potentially improve cognitive performance.

References

Thompson C, Wylie LJ, Fulford J, Kelly J, Black MI, McDonagh ST, Jeukendrup AE, Vanhatalo A, Jones AM. Dietary nitrate improves sprint performance and cognitive function during prolonged intermittent exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2015 Sep;115(9):1825-34.

Petrie M, Rejeski WJ, Basu S, Laurienti PJ, Marsh AP, Norris JL, Kim-Shapiro DB, Burdette JH. Beet Root Juice: An Ergogenic Aid for Exercise and the Aging Brain. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2017 Sep 1;72(9):1284-1289.

Wightman EL, Haskell-Ramsay CF, Thompson KG, Blackwell JR, Winyard PG, Forster J, Jones AM, Kennedy DO. Dietary nitrate modulates cerebral blood flow parameters and cognitive performance in humans: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover investigation. Physiol Behav. 2015 Oct 1;149:149-58.

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Based on the most effective scientific strategies, this program was created to help
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Do you want a bigger brain and better memory?

Posted by on 7:33 am Alzheimer’s, Anti-Aging, Cognition, Dementia, Exercise, General Health, Memory, Research, Stay healthy, Wellness | 0 comments

 

Is it really possible to increase the size of the brain later in life?

Data from a randomized controlled study of 155 older women, who participated in 52 weeks of resistance training showed reduced cortical white matter atrophy on MRI scans when compared with the control  group (Best JR, et.al., 2015).

This means that they ended up with a bigger brain than they would have had if they had not done the resistance exercise.

Twice-weekly resistance training also promoted memory and increased peak muscle power when they were followed up after 2 years.

The control group did balance and toning.

If you instead prefer aerobic type of exercise, that may also improve your cognition.

Research showed that an individual’s cardio-respiratory fitness was a better predictor of cognitive gains than the exercise dose (Vidoni ED, et.al., 2015).

To improve cardio-respiratory function you can do regular aerobic exercise, or you can do high intensity short interval training which will save you time.

This study compared the effects of long slow distance training with high-intensity interval training in rowers (Ní Chéilleachair NJ, et.al., 2017).

High intensity short interval training was more effective than long and slow distance training in improving performance and aerobic characteristics.

References

Best JR, Chiu BK, Liang Hsu C, Nagamatsu LS, Liu-Ambrose T.Long-Term Effects of Resistance Exercise Training on Cognition and Brain Volume in Older Women: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2015 Nov;21(10):745-56.

Vidoni ED, Johnson DK, Morris JK, Van Sciver A, Greer CS, Billinger SA, Donnelly JE, Burns JM,Dose-Response of Aerobic Exercise on Cognition: A Community-Based, Pilot Randomized Controlled TrialPLoS One. 2015 Jul 9;10(7):e0131647.

Ní Chéilleachair NJ1,2, Harrison AJ2, Warrington GD,HIIT enhances endurance performance and aerobic characteristics more than high-volume training in trained rowers.J Sports Sci. 2017 Jun;35(11):1052-1058

 

Research has shown that sitting for a long time can be bad, but you don’t have to be active for very long to reap huge benefits.

The program Exercise for Maximum Benefits incorporates the latest research to be sure that you really get maximum benefits.

Click here to learn more.