In this episode, we discuss:
- Do you forget things more than you used to?(0.10)
- Normal brain changes include (1:10)
- Cognitive aging is not a disease(1:57)
- Tips for brain health(2:41)
- Sleep a key for the brain(6:12)
- Out of the box ideas for the brain(8:15)
- Brainwave patterns(10:15)
- Positive Intelligence as a strategy(14:42)
- NAD to help the brain(17:13)
Hi, this is Dr. Jenny Sechler. Welcome to the Art and Science of Defying Aging, today’s episode is about five keys to optimize your brain and it’s not food.
Do you forget things more than you used to?(0:10) I know I do, my husband and I have a joke now between us as we’re aging, that we’re both becoming more forgetful. We’ll be in the car and we think of something we need to do when we get home. So we say, okay, one of us has to remember because it’s likely one or both of us eventually forget most of the time. One of us will remember, but honestly, it’s rather alarming. I know that I noticed this significantly around menopause, it’s better now, but it’s still not quite what I want it to be.
Our brains are critical to our lives without proper brain function we really can’t live our day-to-day lives very well. But the worst thought is feeling that your own brain isn’t quite as sharp is it used to be and possibly we see loved ones or friends, basically over time losing their minds. It’s a painful process to watch the slow decline of the mind. So as we age changes do occur in all parts of our body, including our brains.
Some normal changes include: (1:10) Blood flow in the brain may decrease. Certain parts of our brain shrink especially those important to learning and other complex mental activities. We see a lot more inflammation, which occurs when the body responds to an injury or disease. We’re just basically overall aging in certain brain regions. The communication between the nerve cells become less effective losing that neuroplasticity to our neurons. So these changes can affect our mental function. Even in healthy older adults some older adults may find they just don’t do as well as younger adults involving complex memory or learning tests. Usually though, if given enough time to complete or learn a new task, they usually perform well.
(1:57)Cognitive aging is not a disease, but I know it’s really feared by so many people through brain changes associated aging are really part of just a natural process that occurs throughout our entire life journey. And this aging can’t be prevented, however our brain and cognitive health can be supported and even optimized. I know there’s a lot of information out there about some common things to help your brain. And I want to go over and mention some of these, but I also want to discuss some out of the box ideas, how to support and optimize your brain that you may not be aware of.
I know that I enjoy reading Dr. Gupta’s information. He’s got a great website, provides wonderful information about the brain.
I want to summarize the keys that he’s mentioned. (2:41)
The most of these are obvious, but it bears repeating because many people just don’t know do them. So let’s start with his tips. The first tip he’s talks about is quit smoking. It seems obvious, but research shows that smoking does increase the risk of cognitive decline and by quitting smoking, it can reduce that risk to levels comparable to those who have never smoked before. The second one is exercise and we hear about it a lot. And I think a lot more people are exercising, but it still bears to be discussed. If you break a sweat and engage in regular exercise, elevate your heart rate, increases blood flow to the brain and your body. There’s many studies out there that link to regular physical exercise with a reduced risk of cognitive decline, but overall physical activity, just a valuable part of any overall body wellness program.
Many recent studies have linked regular physical exercise with benefits to the brain. In fact, exercise has been linked to stimulating the brain’s ability to maintain old network connections and even make new ones If exercise can help you to think better, as well as increasing the size of a brain structure, which is important to memory and learning and improving even spatial memories. So it doesn’t really matter what kind of exercise that you do, its really just more about movement. Getting your body moving, getting that right and left brain connected and improving blood flow to enhance your brain.
The next tip he gives is to keep a healthy heart. This is I think pretty obvious too. Evidence has shown that risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke like obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes negatively impact cognitive health. So preventing and managing high blood pressure, cholesterol will also help to protect the heart and take care of take care of the brain.
Overall, this is pretty obvious, but I think if you can think of someone that you might know that has high blood pressure, obesity or diabetes, their brains just don’t work quite as well as someone without these issues. So chronic health issues do make a big impact on us over time. So by just watching these risk factors can really help our brain function.
The next tip he talks about is eating a healthy and balanced diet. This is pretty obvious to all of us, but following a diet that’s low in fat high in vegetables and fruits has been linked to reducing the risk of cognitive decline. So whether you want to eat a paleo diet, Mediterranean diet, there’s so many diets out there, but find one that you find balancing for your mind and your body and can support your brain. I know some people have told me, you know, I just feel better eating a paleo diet.
Other people say, no, I feel better eating a Mediterranean diet. So I think it’s important to try some of these variations. And you will find one that bears more positive impact for you like to try to encourage my clients to eat the rainbow. It sounds easy, but it can be somewhat challenging. I have a new habit I’ve incorporated. When I go to the grocery store, once a week, I go to sprouts. I try to get most of my food for the entire week, and I will try to pick out one or two new colorful foods that haven’t eaten in the last several weeks and put them in my cart so I can enhance the variety of fruits and vegetables in my diet, which I know will ultimately help my brain.
(6:12)Another tip is getting enough sleep, not getting enough sleep can result in problems with memory and thinking yet a third of American adults report regularly getting less sleep than the recommended seven to eight hours. I don’t think we really should be tied to seven, eight hours every night. I think over time we learn how many hours our minds and bodies function better at. I think we underestimate the power of sleep. There’s so many people that stay up late and have to do some work. They want to get away from their kids. They’re just too busy. I think sleep is one of the most underestimated powers that we have to help our brains, our minds and our bodies so pay attention to your sleep patterns.
The next tip he talks about is staying socially engaged research is finding that by engaging with friends, having relationships outside of our work, outside of our home, keeping connections with a community, volunteering at a church, animal shelters, these kinds of activities actually really do help our brain function to stay active.
Another tip he mentioned is continuing to learn and welcoming challenges, simple things like doing puzzles, building furniture, playing games, taking online class. Anything that stimulates our neurons to communicate without our brains is helpful.
All of these things really do engage your brain and help to keep your mind sharp. And don’t forget our about our mental health. We have about 60,000 thoughts every single day. And the majority of those thoughts are negative. Most of us are at some point unconscious. We’re just unaware that we’re really running on all these unconscious old patterns. We wake up, we do the same things every day, we think the same thoughts and go about our day and wonder why things aren’t different. Dr. Joe Dispenza talks a lot about this type of work. He’s got some great books and this pattern is talked about in his book Breaking the habit of being yourself. It’s very powerful information for you to read and connect and help you to change some of those old negative patterns.
(8:15)So I want to talk about maybe some of a few out of the box ideas and how to support your brain.
And I want to mention again, Dr. Joe Dispenza and his work, he’s got a great website and he provides a lot of seminars around the world. He’s got some online opportunities basically to break old habits and provide a framework to create and manifest beyond your old patterns that are negative. And one secret I want to mention that you can try today is to become the witness to your own thoughts. You spend a day listening and basically watching your brain thoughts. It’s alarming because a lot of the things that our brain is talking about isn’t even relevant. It’s going off and thinking about things in the past, things in the future, but it’s rarely ever really present. So if you can make that a habit, learn how to be present every day, your life, and your thoughts will change for the better.
The next thing I want to talk about is called holosync, its audio technology. And basically it’s something that you listen to and you’ll hear bells and rain, but what that technology is doing, is it supporting your brainwaves. Now, some people call it instant meditation, but it’s really much more than that. Experiencing these deep meditative states every day provides a super enriched environment for your nervous system that actually caused changes within the brain. What you’re actually doing is gradually giving the nervous system more input then it can handle in much the same way that exercise gives your body more than it can handle as you push to make it stronger. What happens is like reorganization at a higher level. So the creation of new neural pathways and even increased communication between the left and the right hemispheres of what scientists kind of call whole brain functioning. So in terms of mental abilities, many scientists believe this increased communication between the two hemispheres is what separates l the Einstein’s Edison’s, Walt Disney’s and Steve jobs or the world from the rest of us.
I’ve tried Holosync and I found it to be very helpful. If I could say anything negative about it, it’s that it really does require a daily commitment that needs to be built into your morning or your nightly routine, but the benefits are well worth it.
(10:15)I want to briefly talk about the brain wave patterns as our brain wave patterns is like a 24 hours day cycle, their nerve cells in your brain that communicate with each other. And the electrical impulses that fluctuate in a rhythm in distinct patterns called brainwave patterns and those patterns that are closely correlated with your quality of life, because they influence your thoughts, your emotions, your state, of being your body in an essence, the entire quality of your life. And there’s four basic categories to our brainwave patterns. Now beta is the most rapid it’s associated usually with concentration, arousal, alertness, and cognition.
Higher frequency beta is usually related to anxiety, states, disharmony, and even disease. And that’s where most people live in is usually beta.Typically during the course of the day, our brains are in a beta state. So the next state is alpha. As you start to relax, your brainwaves slow into an alpha pattern in the higher end of alpha is like a state of focused relaxation, often associate with super learning or the ability to learn process store and recall, especially like large amounts of information quickly and efficiently. Like when you’re absorbing a good book or a television, and you’re blocked at your surroundings, you’re then making alpha waves and then slower alpha waves, quite deep relaxation. It’s like the Twilight state between sleep and waking. And finally the alpha waves in the brain equates to joy or a state of happiness.
The next brainwave pattern is called theta. Theta Waves are slower still then than the beta and the alpha. Theta brainwave pattern of like dreaming, sleeping, and even more advanced meditative states and theta is associated with creativity. It’s almost like when you have an aha moment where you suddenly get it. You’re making bursts of theta waves or visionary experiences like dreams, as well as visions during meditation, when we’re making theta waves its easier to change beliefs or habits. The last brainwave pattern is Delta. It’s the slowest pattern. It’s like a dreamless sleep, a handful of advanced spiritual seekers learn to to remain alert in this state, a deep trance-like or non-physical state. So the positive evidence of working with your brainwaves really is overwhelming. The brainwave patterns of meditation can dramatically improve have your health and slow aging.
We do have many different stressors in our life. Reaching beyond the daily state of beta waves can create more happiness and just create inner peace. Now, unfortunately, traditional meditation is difficult for most people to learn and many find it difficult to stick with them. I remember when I first wanted to learn to meditate years ago, my understanding of it was I had to shut off my brain. Well, I could never shut off my brain. It just never worked. So I got frustrated and I quit. And now I’ve learned over the years, it’s not about shutting off your brain because your brain will never shut down.
(13:13)Your mind is always talking, but it’s really learning , how to not engage in some of the commentary that your mind is busy with. So working with your brainwaves then can allow to experience all the benefits of meditation by using things like holosync. It’s easy and effortlessly, without words, spending years of mastering the ability to meditate because of the sounds that you’re listening to is basically doing the meditation.
Something else that’s similar is also called Equisync. I’m not going to go into it greatly, but it’s just a variation of holosync, but it doesn’t require quite as much time. Now I found that some people do like holosync while other people prefer Equisync. So I just wanted to share two options with you that work with your brainwaves. If you go to their websites, just search holosync or search Equisync and both have free samples of some meditation series. So check them out and find out whether you might resonate with one over the other one.
(14:42) The next out of the box idea I have for brain health is called Positive Intelligence. A key to mental fitness to weaken the internal saboteurs that we have that basically generate all your negativity in a way that they respond to challenges. Saboteurs causes all your stress.
Things like anxiety, self-doubt frustration, regret, shame, guilt, and even unhappiness. Your saboteurs basically in this program, they’re putting them into categories and they’re called the judge, the controller, the avoider, the victim, the stickler, and five others.
When you’re living in your “Sage” being, there’s an entirely different region of your brain that handles challenges in ways that produce positive emotions, like curiosity, empathy, creativity, calmness and clear-headed laser focus attention. And by using this side of your brain, you perform better and feel happier. So basically the program is called PQ training and you’re boosting your mental fitness by using these exercises that then build new, powerful muscles in your brain rather than just insight. And the program has weekly video sessions and it’s guided by different instructors over a course of six weeks. Basically the increased gray matter in the Sage region is actually visible on MRI imaging within eight weeks, according to the program.
So I’m about to start the Positive Intelligence program myself and check it out. My sister finished the program recently and of all the things that we’ve done together over the years, just to improve and shift our own brains. I’ve seen the biggest shift in my sister through this particular avenue. So I’m really excited to try the Positive Intelligence course and this can also be found on the internet where you can check out their program if interested. I also wanted to mention Dr. Gupta also has a brain training course for chronic illness. You can check out his website about this. If you want to look out a more structured program for your own chronic illness, or if you have a family member or a friend that has a chronic illness, that programs are real, they’re divided up basically into different kinds of chronic problems. You can search links for this, for any kind of type of chronic illness.
But I think it’s really exciting for people who live with some kind of illness because those illnesses are so challenging and honestly it kind of beats up your mind and your body. So it’s an opportunity to move beyond negative patterns with this program.
(17:13)The last thing I want to mention is NAD. So what is NAD? It is an acronym for Nicotinamide adenine dicucleotidie. NAD is basically a coenzyme is found in every living cell in your body. And NAD is commonly used for improving mental clarity, helping alertness and concentration and memory, as well as treating Alzheimer’s and some forms of dementia. I’m also seeing NAD used for improving athletic, athletic performance and treating chronic fatigue, syndromes, high blood pressure, depression, Parkinson’s disease, and just reducing signs of aging. So NAD’s main function is in our cells mitochondria. Our mitochondria is often considered like the powerhouse of our cells and they earned that nickname because their ability to produce energy for all of our cellular functions.
So this coenzyme is either naturally created in the body or provided in the form of vitamins taken either from foods or just taking it in a simple supplement. So some foods I want to mention are like cow’s milk ,mushrooms, fish, green vegetables, and yeast all of which are sources of vitamin B3 , which can help maintain your NAD levels. So some people do take supplementation form of NAD which comes in an oral capsule, and this can be helpful, the best way really to supplement it besides taking a derived form of NAD is through vitamin B3 supplements because vitamin B3 is the NAD precursor. Vitamin B3 are NAD precursors, meaning they are smaller molecules used as building blocks to create NAD. Healthcare providers like myself, you can use it in different forms. In our IV clinic that I currently am a part of, we do a lot of IV NAD , which is great for mental clarity, chronic illnesses, and just overall aging. But if you don’t have access to an IV clinic, then try some NAD in a supplement form.
So you see, you really have great tools in your toolkit to access to support and optimize your brain function. We talked about the common ways, the exercise or sleep, social connections along with focusing on our brainwaves and even supplementing with NAD, explore all these options for yourself. I hope that you find this helpful to have an enhanced and balanced brain.
So thanks for listening and see you next time.