Added September 18, 2014 in Anti-Aging
From the moment we are born, we begin to age. Our brain is no exception, as it is aging every day. Toxins build up in our brain, while environmental decisions can create premature cell death. We can physically identify aging. Our hair gets grey, wrinkles begin to form, and our mobility is reduced.
It’s not as easy to see inside our head. We can not physically see how our brain is aging. Individuals make jokes as they grow older regarding memory loss. Since we can not physically see the signs of aging, we do not take preventative measures. Women try and correct wrinkles with creams, yet one of the most important organs tends to get left out.
Our Aging Brain
Our understanding of the brain has come a long way. We once believed that the aging brain was directly correlated to brain cell death. We now know that this is not the case. Our brains do shrink however, as a few ounces are lost by the time we’re 80.
It has been found that our brains begin to age after puberty ends. Cognitive decline has been documented in healthy educated adults that were in their 20s and 30s. An early change within brain function is seen regarding sleep.
When individuals are around ten, they experience their best sleep. Meaning, the are fully awake during the day, but reach deep sleep at night. As we age, we spend less time in these deep stages of sleep. Poor sleeping patterns are associated with poor cognition.
Memory loss becomes more apparent as neurons do not communicate as effectively. This is either due to the loss of brain cells or a lack of communication within the brain. You do not need to surrender to aging. There are many steps you can take to keep your brain functioning at an optimal level. Just as you care for your cardiovascular health, you need to focus on your brain health as well.
Our memory is also directly related to the plasticity of our brains. This is the ability to change in response to new stimuli, allowing you to learn and response to environmental changes and stress. Connections are strengthened between neurons, as the brain continuously rewires.
Memories are simply new connections made. As we age, the ability to make these connections decreases. This is why it’s harder to learn something when you’re 70, compared to when you’re 16. Plasticity levels decrease as cells become worn out.
We now know that with proper supplementation and diet, you can actually create new neurons and connections later in life. There are various supplements that improve the brain’s neuroplasticity. These include Noopept and the racetams class; Piracetam, Oxiracetam, Pramiracetam, and Aniracetam.
Nootropics and Anti-Aging
When it comes to nootropics and diet, you can actually reduce cognitive decline. In some cases, you can actually reverse the damage that your neurons have sustained. There are a wide number of nootropics that benefit brain health. If you take nootropics wisely, you can improve cognitive health, while reducing your risk of cognitive disorders.
Free Radicals and Cognitive Decline
It is important to be aware of free radicals. These are unstable electrons which are associated with cell damage and various forms of cancer. As we age, these free radicals increase. If these free radicals continue to appear, cognitive decline may result.
The best way you can target free radicals is through antioxidants. Since free radicals are unstable, they begin to steal electrons from healthy cells. Worst case, these cells experience cell death. It is crucial to consume high levels of antioxidants to try and combat these free radicals. You can target this process with various nootropics. L-theanine, which is found in green tea, functions as an antioxidant. You may also consume Ginkgo Biloba, Ginseng, or Melatonin.
Our bodies are constantly trying to eliminate waste and toxins. However, some toxins can accumulate overtime. Lipofuscin is a common waste product and is generally seen through liver or ‘sun spots’ on the skin. It is actually your brain that produces these spots, and may be a sign that you’re experiencing cell death.
When taking the supplement Centrophenoxine, it has been found that lipofuscin can actually be removed and neurons are restored. Some individuals take this supplement to combat age spots, yet they’re benefiting their brain at the same time.
Grey Matter Loss
As we age, our grey matter declines. This is a very important part of our central nervous system and is involved in memory, sight, speech, emotions, reasoning, and muscle control. When grey matter decreases, it changes the chemicals within our brain. Processes begin to slow down, which leads into the next factor; chemical changes.
Our neurotransmitters are also affected as we age. These brain chemicals allow neurons to communicate, which helps with all aspects of cognitive function, mood, appetite, sleep, and much more.
Dopamine is known to decrease as we age. This neurotransmitter is responsible for both mood and movement. It also plays a role in memory, problem solving, planning, multi-tasking, and attention. Two other neurotransmitters that decline are serotonin and glutamate.
Serotonin is responsible for sleep, mood, memory, and learning. While glutamate is responsible for preventing neurological disorders. Acetylcholine also declines, which is essential for various aspects of cognitive functioning. It is believed that low levels of acetylcholine may actually play a role in Alzheimer’s.
To combat this, choline supplements are highly beneficial. Without choline, your brain cannot produce acetylcholine. Some of your options include; Citicoline, Centrophenoxine, and Alpha GPC. These supplements help increase dopamine levels as well. You can create highly effective stacks, focusing on cognitive abilities and brain health. Alpha Brain for instance, provides the nutrients and vitamins your brain needs to stay healthy.