Here you will find posts related to the most groundbreaking science that is available to us as it pertains to gluten intolerance and brain health. We all have the gift of brain plasticity, meaning that if we apply the conclusions of these studies to our daily lives we can actually grow new brain cells!
Sleep is, of course, incredibly important for our bodies. It allows our brain to consolidate thoughts into memories, and clean itself of toxins. Beyond that, numerous studies have pinpointed the adverse health impacts of not getting enough sleep.
Exercise is a healthy choice no matter how you choose to look at it. Research demonstrating the importance of exercise for cardiovascular health dates back at least four decades. Even more recent research shows how important exercise is for not only brain function, but even in terms of reducing dementia risk.
The importance of gut health, and specifically healthy gut bacteria, has really taken center stage in terms of it’s wide ranging effects on overall health and disease resistance. Relevant to today’s blog post, we are now seeing research that adds gut health to the list of benefits associated with physical exercise. Continue reading
I want to dive a bit deeper today into our discussion of the relationship between diabetes (and even mild elevations in blood sugar), and the overall health of your brain. With that, it’s becoming increasingly clear the lifestyle factors that impact metabolic disease, of which insulin resistance is at the core, also play a key role in influencing the health of the brain and long-term cognitive capacity. Let’s look at this recent study published in Experimental and Molecular Medicine in today’s video. Continue reading
As I have emphasized over the past decade, the fundamental mechanism that underlies neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other issues (think diabetes, coronary artery disease, and even cancer), is the process of inflammation. We’ve got to do everything we can in terms of our lifestyle choices to bring inflammation under control. Dietary choices like choosing to limit sugar and carbohydrates, avoiding gluten, eliminating vegetable oils (corn oil, sunflower oil), increasing intake of healthful fats (olive oil, avocado oil, nuts and seeds), and favoring fiber-rich foods, are all fundamental building blocks of a lifestyle that helps to reduce the risk for excess inflammation.
We know that there is a higher level of the chemicals that mediate inflammation in the blood of individuals with higher blood sugar, caused by many of the poor choices outlined above. Again, higher blood sugar correlates with higher levels of inflammation. Continue reading
Where are we in terms of treating Alzheimer’s disease? To answer this question, I turn to one of the most well-respected, peer-reviewed medical journal dealing with clinical neurology.
In a recent editorial in the journal Neurology, Drs. Michal Schnaider Beeri, and Joshua Sonnen stated:
Despite great scientific efforts to find treatments for Alzheimer disease (AD), only 5 medications are marketed, with limited beneficial effects on symptoms, on a limited proportion of patients, without modification of the disease course. The prevalence of AD doubles every 5 years, reaching the alarming rate of 50% in those aged 85 years and older. In the context of the demographic trends of modern society, where the elderly are the fastest growing segment of the population, identification of new therapeutic targets that may prevent, delay, or cure AD is critically needed.
I so agree. The editorial goes on to describe how the body produces a growth hormone, BDNF, that is associated with reduced risk for cognitive decline and describes how looking at the genetic control for BDNF might enhance cognitive reserve.
It’s hard to imagine that manufacturers of processed foods continue to think it’s a good idea to put the term “low-fat” on their labels to enhance sales. Maybe it is a good idea from a sales perspective because so many people still buy into the notion that a low fat diet is a good idea. But that is absolutely in direct contradiction with current science.
In a new study just published in the highly regarded journal Lancet, researchers from multiple highly-regarded institutions around the world studied an incredibly large number of individuals ages 35 to 70 year (135,335), from 18 countries, over an average of 7.4 years. They carried out very specific assessments of the foods that these individuals ate and evaluated their food choices in terms of macronutrient composition (carbohydrates, protein, and fat), and specifically broke the fat consumption down to evaluate saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fats. Further, they compared the diets to the risk of various endpoints including death, major cardiovascular event, stroke, and heart failure.
A recent study, published in the British Medical Journal, brings into question existing recommendations in the US and UK, many of which are now being revised, for moderate alcohol consumption. Previously, we believed there was a bell curve-like relationship between consumption and brain heath, with high risk existing for those who abstain and those who drink heavily, and a slight reduction in risk for those who drink a modest amount.
But this new study, which measured the size of the hippocampus in drinkers, brings new evidence to light that contradicts this commonly held belief.
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It’s fairly common knowledge these days that there are some really important health benefits associated with consuming olive oil. No doubt, one of the reasons that the Mediterranean diet turns out to be so healthful is because it is rich in olives and olive oil. And this may explain why following the Mediterranean diet is associated with significant risk reduction for things like breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and even dementia.
But it’s been a bit challenging to try to delineate specifically what it is about olive oil that makes it so special as it relates to health. There are multiple chemicals found in olive oil that are bioactive in a positive sense, and new research has identified yet another chemical and mechanism that may explain why olive oil is so good for us. Continue reading
Several years ago, when I wrote Grain Brain, I had a long discussion with our publisher centered around choosing the best subtitle. Ultimately, we decided to emphasize the toxic role of sugar and carbs on the brain, and with good reason. Since that time, there have been a large number of studies that have confirmed the thesis that elevated blood sugar is profoundly detrimental, not just for the brain in general, but for brain function as well.
As the authors of a new paper entitled, Brain atrophy in ageing: Estimating effects of blood glucose levels vs. other type 2 diabetes effects point out, our brains shrink as we age with as much as 5% volume loss occurring between age 60 and 70. And as you would expect, this correlates with declining function.
A lot of the research has shown that type 2 diabetes (T2D) is what accelerates brain aging. But as this new study shows, it’s not the diagnosis of T2D that is the issue. Well before that diagnosis is made, brain structure is affected by blood sugar, even in the “normal” range! Continue reading
The relationship of the ZIka virus to the development of microcephaly has certainly been receiving a lot of attention in the news lately, and with good reason. Microcephaly is a devastating, although rare, consequence of this viral infection, and it is for this reason that we are now seeing recommendations that women who are pregnant, or are considering pregnancy, avoid going to places where Zika infection is possible.
But the story is now becoming more complicated and worrisome. We are now seeing research that indicates that the Zika virus has a predilection for attacking cells in the brain’s memory center, in adults. Continue reading