An Avocado a Day Keeps Dementia Away

If you’re like me your relationship with avocados goes something like this: buy them, wait for them to ripen, forget about them, then, when you want to use them, they aren’t any good. Sound familiar?! There really is a fine line between unripe and overripe when it comes to avocados 🥑!

But we really do need to work these little green gems into our daily food intake, especially if you’re approaching middle age. Why? Well, according to a study done at Tuft University, avocados are very high in lutein, a plant nutrient that keeps our brain healthy.

Lutein a member of the carotenoid family of phytonutrients, is closely related to vitamin A and beta-carotene. Lutein is often connected with another carotenoid called zeaxanthin in relation to eye health, but it’s benefits go beyond the eye.

  • Reduced risk of vision disorders
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Improved cognitive health
  • Skincare
  • anti-cancer
  • lowers inflammation
  • weight control

Back to the Tuft University study. Researchers recruited 40 healthy individuals age 50 and over, and tested the lutein content in their brain. Scientists had half the test subjects eat one avocado per day for 6 months, while the control group ate either one potato or one cup of chickpeas per day. Potatoes and chickpeas have very low lutein levels. Both groups kept all other aspects of their diets the same.

At the end of 6 months, the avocado group had a 25% increase in lutein levels, versus no increase in the control group. Other improvements seen in the avocado group include: significantly improved memory and problem solving skills. The study was led by Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, a professor of nutrition at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. She said:

“Eating one avocado a day is particularly effective at enriching neural lutein levels. A balanced diet that includes fresh avocados may be an effective strategy for cognitive health.”

Other foods high in lutein include:

Closing thoughts:

If you’re like me, you always mean to eat more avocados, but they ripen so quickly. It seems one day they’re unripe, then the next, they’re over ripe. Well, when I began receiving avocaods in my produce delivery every week, I knew I needed to solve this problem, and preserve them until I could throw them in my smoothies. That’s when I started to freeze them. 

I cut each half into 1/8’s, place them on a parchment covered tray in a single layer and place them in the freezer for a few hours. After they’re frozen, you can put them in a ziplock bag. 
FYI, this is for use in smoothies. 2 pieces are 1/8 of an avocado. I haven’t yet used them to make guacamole. If I do, I’ll let you know how it goes. For now, I throw a couple of pieces in every smoothie I make. Best of all, I’m not throwing away past ripe avocados any more!

Until next time…Namaste my friends

Tamara

Improve or Prevent Age-Related Cognitive Decline with Exercise

Love it or hate it, exercise is part of life. I’m on the side of “hate it”. I really don’t like to exercise and usually find any excuse to avoid working out my body, and, as it turns out, my brain as well. Researchers are finding that individuals who are physically fit, and exercise regularly cut the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia in HALF! How’s that for motivation?

What if I’ve never exercised, will it still help?

Alzheimer’s and dementia run in my family and has become a passion of mine, so much so, that I wrote my thesis on the topic. One of the things I’ve recently discovered is your state of physical fitness directly relates to your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. That’s right! A 2018 study, done at the O’Donnell Brain Institute, indicates people with lower fitness levels had weaker “white matter” in the brain, as compared with people with higher fitness levels and thus more susceptible to cognitive decline. The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NUST) studied the medical records of 30,000 middle-age individuals. They found individuals who were physically fit were 50% less likely to develop demential than “less fit” individuals.

What happens if you’re like me, and you hate exercise or are among those that are considered “less fit”? Is it too late? You’ll be happy to know that IT’S NOT TOO LATE!! You’ll reap the brain boosting benefits of exercise even if you haven’t exercised until middle-age or even later. The study at NUST indicated that individuals who began the study “less fit”, but achieved a “physically fit” status during the study, showed the same reduction in the risk of dementia as those who began the study “physically fit”.

What type of exercise is best?

As it turns out, interval aerobics is the best for brain health. Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario tested types of exercises that were most effective act increasing both physical and memory performance in adults 60 years and older. They tested 64 sedentary middle-age men and women, and began by evaluating the fitness level and memory performance of each individual.

The individuals were randomly assigned to two groups: Group 1– moderate treadmill walking for 50 minutes 3x/week and group 2– “interval walking; increasing the incline for four minutes to raise heart rates followed by three minutes of easy walking. Then repeat for a total of four rounds of intervals.

The fitness and memory tested were repeated 12 weeks later. Incredibly, only the interval walkers showed improvements in both fitness and memory. The interval walkers, with a greater level of fitness, had improved their memory to a greater extent than the moderate walkers. While any type of movement is good, movement that gets your blood pumping is best for both body and mind.

Closing thoughts…

Jane Fonda once said “It’s never too late – never too late to start over, never too late to be happy.” I guess that’s true with most things in life, even exercise and brain health. Remember, with the right diet and exercise, things can still be turned around. Your life and your memories are worth it.

Brain Talks: Fighting to remember ~ Phytomelatonin & Alzheimer’s Disease ~ (Part 2)

Did you know…

  • One person in the United States develops Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) every 65 seconds.
  • Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth leading cause of death.
  • 5.8 million Americans are living with AD, with this number expected to reach 14 million by the year 2050.
  • Deaths from AD increased by 145 percent between 2000 to 2017
  • Approximately one in three seniors (65 years or older) die from AD or some form of dementia, more than breast and prostate cancer combined.
  • There is currently NO EFFECTIVE TREATMENT for this devastating disease.

For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, see this Brain Talks article: A Beginner’s Guide to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Part of my master’s thesis was showing the benefits of melatonin, in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Last month for Brain Talks, and part 1 of this series, I discussed the benefits of melatonin in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and beyond just that of a sleep hormone. To see that article, follow THIS LINK.

Today, in 2 part. we’ll discuss phytomelatonin (plant based melatonin) and safe supplement sources. Once again, for an in depth explanation into melatonin, benefits of melatonin and effects of melatonin deficiency, see part 1 HERE.

Why you should avoid synthetic

melatonin supplements…

  • Looking for a supplement from a reputable company of good quality is important.
  • As a dietary supplement, synthetic melatonin is unregulated by the FDA. Therefore, actual levels of melatonin, as well as any contaminants, go unchecked.
  • The amount of actual melatonin in supplements is questionable. One study reviewed 31 different brands of Melatonin supplements. The results indicated the actual amount of melatonin in the supplement, differed by a range of -83% to +478% from the amount listed on the label. This makes accurate dosages difficult to determine.
  • Up to 14 contaminants have been found, such as formaldehyde or phthalimide, which is used in pesticides. These are created as a result of the production of synthetic melatonin.
  • Poorly made supplements can cause problems. In 1993, 37 people died and over 1500 were injured from an incurable disease called Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS).
  • This has led scientists to search for healthy alternatives.

What is phytomelatonin?

Phytomelatonin is plant-based melatonin. The molecular structure of phytomelatonin, N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, is identical to animal based melatonin (ABM). When scientists realized the many health benefits of melatonin, they began to explore other sources of this powerful hormone. In 1993, plant-based melatonin was first discovered in ivy morning glory and tomatoes . Until that time, melatonin was thought to be a product of the pineal gland in animals only. Over the next few years, melatonin was discovered in tobacco, as well as several edible plants. Since then, several more studies have proven the presence of melatonin in many plant varieties, establishing the fact that melatonin is present in all living beings, with the exception of the potato, which contains no detectable melatonin.

In general, research into the levels of phytomelatonin in plants discovered a wide variety of concentrations. Overall, nuts and seeds, contain the highest concentration of phytomelatonin and fruits contain the lowest. Scientists believe this variation exists due to melatonin’s capacity as an antioxidant and the high levels of oxidizable fats in nuts and seeds.

Best food sources of Phytomelatonin

The table below contains a list of common foods high in phytomelatonin, with the amount measured in picograms per gram (pg/g) of either fresh weight (fw) or dry weight (dw).

Is phytomelatonin a healthy alternative?

Though it is still difficult to find supplements of good quality, phytomelatonin is beginning to emerge into the market. Whole food supplements are the preferred source, such as tart cherries, which most commonly comes as a juice. The question remains: will consuming phytomelatonin foods or supplements, such as tart cherry juice, affect melatonin levels in the body or improve sleep quality?

Research does indicate that consuming foods high in phytomelatonin will increase melatonin levels in the body. One randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled, crossover study, tested the ability of tart cherry juice (TCJ) concentrate to boost urinary melatonin levels. For seven days, 20 volunteers consumed either TCJ concentrate or the placebo . The TCJ concentrate showed significantly elevated melatonin levels .

Another such study looked at whether TCJ enhanced sleep quality in elderly individuals with insomnia. This was a randomized, double blind, crossover study, in which 15 elderly adults received both the treatment and placebo for 2 weeks, with a 2 week washout period. The tart cherry juice group saw significant improvements in all areas of sleep quality.

While more research is needed, these small studies show the potential of phytomelatonin, through tart cherry supplements, to boost melatonin levels and improve sleep quality

Best whole food melatonin supplements

Access to multiple sources of supplements is important for quality control and price comparison. The recommended dosages, up to twice per day, are 240 milliliters of tart cherry juice, 30 ml of tart cherry juice concentrate or 2 tart cherry extract capsules. Below is a list of phytomelatonin supplements. You can follow the links for information on cost.

Who should use caution when taking melatonin and phytomelatonin supplements?

For the most part, melatonin and phytomelatonin supplements are considered by researchers to be safe. However, there are certain individuals who should use caution when taking melatonin or phytomelatonin. The table below contains a list of counter-indications for melatonin supplementation.

Closing thoughts

As a wellness educator and nutrition nut, I always advocate for whole foods over synthetic supplements. While I believe that synthetic supplements do have their place, in terms of disease treatments and deficiencies, the over all healthy person does not need supplements.

The human body was just not meant to handle these synthetic supplements. One of my professors at Hawthorn, a microbiologist at UCLA, once told me “you only absorb 10% of the nutrients in synthetic supplements”. You are ALWAYS better off with the whole food version of a nutrient. This is why I devoted a large majority of my master’s thesis to this concept. That is why, here in this article, I push whole food melatonin supplements over the synthetic counterparts.

We covered a lot of science in today’s article. Let me know if you have any questions.

Until next time, Namaste my friends!

Tamara

Sources

!. Arnao, M.B., and Hernandez-Ruiz, J., (2018). Phytomelatonin versus synthetic melatonin in cancer treatments. Biomedical Research and Clinical Practice DOI: 10.15761/BRCP.1000170

2. Baltaci, A.K., Mogulkoc, R., and Baltaci, S.B., (2019). Review: The role of zinc in the endocrine system. Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Science. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30772815

3. Bredesen, D.E., (2017). The end of Alzheimer’s: The first program to prevent and reverse cognitive decline. Penguin-Random House: New York, New York.

4. Esteban-Zubero, E., Alatorre-Jimenez, M.A., Lopez-Pingarron, L., Reyes-Gonzales, M.C., Almeida-Souza, P., Cantin-Golet, A., Ruiz-Ruiz, F.J., Tan, D.X., Garcia, J.J., and Reiter, R.J. (2015). Melatonin’s role in preventing toxinrelated and sepsis-mediated hepatic damage: A review. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2016.01.018

5. Feeney, K.A., Hansen, L.L., Putker, M., Olivares-Yanez, C., Day, J., Eades, L., Larrondo, L.F., Hoyle, N.P., O’Neill, J.S., Van Ooijen, G., (2016). Daily magnesium fluxes regulate cellular timekeeping and energy balance. Nature.DOI: 10.1038/nature17407

6. Garcia-Marin, R., Fernandez-Santos, J.M., Morillo-Bernal, J., Gordillo-Martinez, F., Vazquez-Roman, V., Utrilla, J.C., Carrillo-Vico, A., Guerrero, J.M., and Martin-LaCave, I., (2015) Melatonin in the thyroid gland: regulation by thyroidstimulating hormone and role in thyroglobulin gene expression. Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. Retrieved from: http://www.jpp.krakow.pl/journal/archive/10_15/pdf/643_10_15_article.pdf

7. Hardeland, R., (2018). Melatonin and inflammation: story of a double-edged blade. Journal of Pineal Research. DOI: 10.1111/jpi.12525

8. Luo, Y., Peng, M., and Wei, H, (2017) Melatonin Promotes Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) Expression and Anti-Apoptotic Effects in Neonatal Hemolytic Hyperbilirubinemia via a Phospholipase (PLC)-Mediated Mechanism. DOI: 10.12659/MSM.907592

9. Mackenzie, G., (2016). Symptoms Of Melatonin. Retrieved from: http://rxeconsult.com/healthcare-articles/Symptoms-Of-Melatonin-Deficiency-1059/

10. Panda, S., (2018). The circadian code. Rodale Books. Crown Publishing: New York, New York.

11. Peschke, E., Bahr, I., and Muhlbauer, E., (2013). Melatonin and Pancreatic Islets: Interrelationships between Melatonin, Insulin and Glucagon. DOI:10.3390/ijms14046981

12. Peuhkurl, K., Sihyola, N., and Korpela, R., (2012). Dietary factors and fluctuating levels of melatonin. Food and Nutrition Research. DOI: https://DOI.org/10.3402/fnr.v56i0.17252

13. Pierpaoli, W., Regelson, W., and Colman, C. (1996). The melatonin miracle: Nature’s age- reversing, disease fighting, sex enhancing hormone. Pocket Books: New York, New York.

14. Reiter, R.J., and Robinson, J. (1995). Melatonin: Breakthrough discoveries that can help you combat aging; boost your immune system; reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease; get a better night’s sleep. Bantom Books: New York, New York.

15. Reiter, R.J., Tan, D.X., Manchester, L.C., Simopoulos, A.P., Maldonado, M.D., Flores, L.J., and Terron, F.M., (2007). Melatonin in Edible Plants (Phytomelatonin): Identification, Concentrations, Bioavailability and Proposed Functions. World

Review of Nutrition and Dietetics. DOI: 10.1159/000097917

16. Savage, R.A., and Miller, J.M.M., (2018). Melatonin. Stat Pearls. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK534823/ Bookshelf ID: NBK534823

17. Sharma, S., Singh, H., Ahmad, N., Mishra, P., and Tiwari, A., (2015). The role of melatonin in diabetes: therapeutic implications. DOI: 10.1590/2359-3997000000098

18. Sherzai, D., and Sherzai, A., (2017). The alzheimer’s solution: A breakthrough program to prevent and reverse the symptoms of cognitive decline at every age. HarperCollins Publishers: New York, New York.

19. Srinivasan, V., Pandi-Perumal, S.R., Cardinali, D.P., Poeggeler, B., and Hardeland, R., (2006). Melatonin in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. DOI: 10.1186/1744-9081-2-15

20. St. John, T.M., (2018). Effects of Melatonin Deficiency. Retrieved from: https://healthfully.com/422355-the-effects-of-melatonin-deprivation.html

21. Tan, D.X., Xu, B., Zhou, X., and Reiter, R.J., (2018). Pineal calcification, melatonin production, aging, associated health consequences and rejuvenation of the pineal gland. Molecules. DOI:10.3390/molecules23020301

22. Vectormine, (n.d.) Pineal gland anatomical cross section vector illustration diagram with human brains. Medical information poster. Shutterstock.com. Retrieved from: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/pineal-glandanatomical-

cross-section- vector-1097435732?studio=

Brain Talks: Fighting to remember ~ Melatonin & Alzheimer’s Disease (Part 1)

Did you know…

  • One person in the United States develops Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) every 65 seconds.
  • Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth leading cause of death.
  • 5.8 million Americans are living with AD, with this number expected to reach 14 million by the year 2050.
  • Deaths from AD increased by 145 percent between 2000 to 2017
  • Approximately one in three seniors (65 years or older) die from AD or some form of dementia, more than breast and prostate cancer combined.
  • There is currently NO EFFECTIVE TREATMENT for this devastating disease.

For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, see this Brain Talks article: A Beginner’s Guide to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Part of my master’s thesis was showing the benefits of melatonin, in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Today, I’m going to share a bit of that information with all of you. There’s a lot of information, so, I’ve decided to break this into a 2 part series. This article discusses melatonin. In part 2, we’ll discuss phytomelatonin (plant based melatonin) and safe supplement sources.

What is melatonin?

Before I get to phytomelatonin, it’s important to know about melatonin. You have more than likely heard of this hormone as a key to healthy sleep, which is very true. However, It’s far more important to the body than a sleep hormone, which is what I discovered in my thesis research.

Melatonin, N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, is a neurotransmitter produced by the pineal gland. Other melatonin producing sites can be found in the retina and throughout the digestive system. However, melatonin produced in the pineal gland is known to be more powerful and concentrated than is produced elsewhere in the body.

Pineal produced melatonin is also the substance used to regulate the circadian rhythm and internal body clock.

The primary function of melatonin is regulation of the daily light/dark cycles within the body. This light-dark cycle, or circadian clock, controls the production of melatonin. Melatonin is produced from tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin. Through a light-dependent process, part of that serotonin is sent to the pineal gland, where it is converted into melatonin.

Melatonin is then slowly released in the evening, as darkness approaches. This release increases throughout the night, reaching a peak between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m.

In my previous Brain Talks article, I discussed Alzheimer’s disease and possible causes. Here’s a reminder of five main lifestyle causes:

  • Chronic inflammation
  • Insulin resistance
  • Brain supporting nutrient deficiencies
  • Toxins
  • Oxidation

Benefits of Melatonin

As I discovered in my research, Melatonin is a wonder hormone. Here are just some of the wonderful things it does in relation to the 5 causes of Alzheimer’s disease:

INFLAMMATION

  • Melatonin is a potent anti-inflammatory agent, especially in regard to age-related neuroinflammation, as is seen in Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Melatonin down regulates or stops the of proinflammatory process. (slows it down)
  • These age-related anti-inflammatory effects of melatonin also extend to other parts of the body including the liver, pancreas and lungs.
  • The most important benefit of Melatonin in relation to Alzheimer’s is: Melatonin also inhibits the secretion of amyloid plaque, seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

INSULIN RESISTANCE

  • Melatonin decreases insulin secretion.
  • Insulin is made in the pancreas. Melatonin receptors, known as MT-1 and MT-2, are present on pancreatic cells.
  • Melatonin stops insulin from being produced. Melatonin activates these MT-1 and MT-2 receptors, which stop two insulin stimulating messengers, cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP).

HORMONE BALANCE

  • Melatonin is known as “the regulator of regulators.”
  • One function of melatonin is to regulate the levels of all other hormones.
  • Melatonin maintains homeostasis or balance throughout the body by fine tuning the levels of other hormones.
  • Melatonin is known to directly regulate the production of thyroid hormones.
  • Melatonin is also known to boost production of BDNF – Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor, which stimulates the growth of new neurons. As you might imagine, this is important for Alzheimer’s disease.

TOXINS AND OXIDATION

  • Melatonin is a powerful and effective of antioxidant and anti-toxin agent.
  • Melatonin directs free-radical scavenging throughout the body.
  • The many protective benefits of melatonin include: the reduction of free-radicals, the regulation of immune responses, reduction of toxic substances and protection for the liver.

Melatonin Deficiency

Melatonin production decreases with age: a 10 year old produces thirty to fifty percent more melatonin than a 60 year old. Research indicates that individuals with Alzheimer’s disease have lower melatonin levels than peers of the same age. This deficit is seen by Alzheimers researchers as a contributing factor in the development of the disease. Some other causes of Melatonin deficiency include:

  • A malfunctioning circadian clock
  • There is some evidence that Electro-Magnetic Fields (EMF) affect melatonin production
  • Zinc and Magnesium deficiency – these minerals are needed in the production and secretion of melatonin.
  • Some drugs inhibit production including: caffeine, NSAIDS (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), Beta blockers

What happens when you’re Melatonin deficient?

EFFECTS:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Insulin resistance
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer disease
  • Parkinson disease
  • Schizophrenia

SYMPTOMS:

  • Restless legs
  • Sleep problems/insomnia
  • Moodiness or depression
  • Intestinal problems
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Increased aging

Closing thoughts

As you can see, melatonin is much more than just a sleep hormone. It is a master hormone, a regulator of regulators. It controls other hormones, levels of inflammation, Alzheimer’s causing amyloid plaque to name just a few. In the next issue of Brain Talks, I’ll touch on phytomelatonin, which is plant based melatonin and safe sources of this whole food supplement.

We covered a lot of science in today’s article. Let me know if you have any questions.

Until next time, Namaste my friends!

Tamara

Sources

!. Arnao, M.B., and Hernandez-Ruiz, J., (2018). Phytomelatonin versus synthetic melatonin in cancer treatments. Biomedical Research and Clinical Practice DOI: 10.15761/BRCP.1000170

2. Baltaci, A.K., Mogulkoc, R., and Baltaci, S.B., (2019). Review: The role of zinc in the endocrine system. Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Science. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30772815

3. Bredesen, D.E., (2017). The end of Alzheimer’s: The first program to prevent and reverse cognitive decline. Penguin-Random House: New York, New York.

4. Esteban-Zubero, E., Alatorre-Jimenez, M.A., Lopez-Pingarron, L., Reyes-Gonzales, M.C., Almeida-Souza, P., Cantin-Golet, A., Ruiz-Ruiz, F.J., Tan, D.X., Garcia, J.J., and Reiter, R.J. (2015). Melatonin’s role in preventing toxinrelated and sepsis-mediated hepatic damage: A review. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2016.01.018

5. Feeney, K.A., Hansen, L.L., Putker, M., Olivares-Yanez, C., Day, J., Eades, L., Larrondo, L.F., Hoyle, N.P., O’Neill, J.S., Van Ooijen, G., (2016). Daily magnesium fluxes regulate cellular timekeeping and energy balance. Nature.DOI: 10.1038/nature17407

6. Garcia-Marin, R., Fernandez-Santos, J.M., Morillo-Bernal, J., Gordillo-Martinez, F., Vazquez-Roman, V., Utrilla, J.C., Carrillo-Vico, A., Guerrero, J.M., and Martin-LaCave, I., (2015) Melatonin in the thyroid gland: regulation by thyroidstimulating hormone and role in thyroglobulin gene expression. Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. Retrieved from: http://www.jpp.krakow.pl/journal/archive/10_15/pdf/643_10_15_article.pdf

7. Hardeland, R., (2018). Melatonin and inflammation: story of a double-edged blade. Journal of Pineal Research. DOI: 10.1111/jpi.12525

8. Luo, Y., Peng, M., and Wei, H, (2017) Melatonin Promotes Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) Expression and Anti-Apoptotic Effects in Neonatal Hemolytic Hyperbilirubinemia via a Phospholipase (PLC)-Mediated Mechanism. DOI: 10.12659/MSM.907592

9. Mackenzie, G., (2016). Symptoms Of Melatonin. Retrieved from: http://rxeconsult.com/healthcare-articles/Symptoms-Of-Melatonin-Deficiency-1059/

10. Panda, S., (2018). The circadian code. Rodale Books. Crown Publishing: New York, New York.

11. Peschke, E., Bahr, I., and Muhlbauer, E., (2013). Melatonin and Pancreatic Islets: Interrelationships between Melatonin, Insulin and Glucagon. DOI:10.3390/ijms14046981

12. Peuhkurl, K., Sihyola, N., and Korpela, R., (2012). Dietary factors and fluctuating levels of melatonin. Food and Nutrition Research. DOI: https://DOI.org/10.3402/fnr.v56i0.17252

13. Pierpaoli, W., Regelson, W., and Colman, C. (1996). The melatonin miracle: Nature’s age- reversing, disease fighting, sex enhancing hormone. Pocket Books: New York, New York.

14. Reiter, R.J., and Robinson, J. (1995). Melatonin: Breakthrough discoveries that can help you combat aging; boost your immune system; reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease; get a better night’s sleep. Bantom Books: New York, New York.

15. Reiter, R.J., Tan, D.X., Manchester, L.C., Simopoulos, A.P., Maldonado, M.D., Flores, L.J., and Terron, F.M., (2007). Melatonin in Edible Plants (Phytomelatonin): Identification, Concentrations, Bioavailability and Proposed Functions. World

Review of Nutrition and Dietetics. DOI: 10.1159/000097917

16. Savage, R.A., and Miller, J.M.M., (2018). Melatonin. Stat Pearls. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK534823/ Bookshelf ID: NBK534823

17. Sharma, S., Singh, H., Ahmad, N., Mishra, P., and Tiwari, A., (2015). The role of melatonin in diabetes: therapeutic implications. DOI: 10.1590/2359-3997000000098

18. Sherzai, D., and Sherzai, A., (2017). The alzheimer’s solution: A breakthrough program to prevent and reverse the symptoms of cognitive decline at every age. HarperCollins Publishers: New York, New York.

19. Srinivasan, V., Pandi-Perumal, S.R., Cardinali, D.P., Poeggeler, B., and Hardeland, R., (2006). Melatonin in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. DOI: 10.1186/1744-9081-2-15

20. St. John, T.M., (2018). Effects of Melatonin Deficiency. Retrieved from: https://healthfully.com/422355-the-effects-of-melatonin-deprivation.html

21. Tan, D.X., Xu, B., Zhou, X., and Reiter, R.J., (2018). Pineal calcification, melatonin production, aging, associated health consequences and rejuvenation of the pineal gland. Molecules. DOI:10.3390/molecules23020301

22. Vectormine, (n.d.) Pineal gland anatomical cross section vector illustration diagram with human brains. Medical information poster. Shutterstock.com. Retrieved from: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/pineal-glandanatomical-

cross-section- vector-1097435732?studio=

Brain Talks: 20 Foods to Boost Memory and Heal the Brain

While research into Alzheimer’s disease has failed to turn up any useful or working “cures”, we do know that the disease begins to develop a full 20 years before symptoms occur. As we approach middle-age, many things begin to slow down, as aches and pains appear. Worrying about our memory is the last thing we need.

Social Health Quotes. QuotesGram

Can healing our brain be as simple as changing our diet? YES! What all of that Alzheimer’s disease research HAS shown is that brain diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease, are almost entirely preventable. So, with that said, it’s never too soon to begin boosting your memory and healing your brain. Whether you’re 8 years old or 80 years old, everyone should be including brain healthy foods in their daily diet. Here is a list of the top 20: (1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

  1. Avocado – Known to protect the body from high blood pressure, avocados are high in healthy monounsaturated fats. These creamy fruits are also high in vitamin K and folate, which help prevent blood clots in the brain
  2. Eggs – Eggs are high in choline, a precursor to an important neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Eggs also contain cholesterol, which is a fundamental component of brain cell membranes.
  3. Coconut oil – Provides the brain with essential saturated fats, needed for brain cell nutrition and function. It also enhances the brain’s ability to use energy.
  4. Dark Chocolate – Are you surprised by this one? Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also high in polyphenols which boost blood flow in the brain.
  5. Pumpkin seeds – Rich in zinc, magnesium, copper and iron, pumpkin seeds boost memory, reduce brain fog, as well as improve nerve signaling and brain function.
  6. Kale – Yes, you knew this had to make one of my lists. While I tried to avoid putting it on this list, it turns out this powerful leafy green was on almost every list of brain foods I found in my research. Why? It is a low carb veggie that is rich in potassium, iron, along with vitamins C, K and A, all needed for a healthy brain.
  7. Extra Virgin Olive Oil – This was another food on several lists. EVOO is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, known to improve memory and learning, as well as reverse age-related brain disease. It is known to help fight off the toxic proteins that lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
  8. Sea vegetables – These foods, mostly neglected by those of us who live in the west, are among the healthiest foods on the planet. Sea vegetables contain all 56 minerals essential for human health in a readily bioavailable form (6). They are a rich source of iodine. They are also high in tyrosine, a precursor to dopamine. It turns out they contain taurine, an amino acid that stimulates the release of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid).
  9. Fermented foods – When your gut is healthy, your brain is healthy. Fermented foods help build a healthy microbiome and digestive tract. Science now sees the the digestive tract and microbiome as the “second brain”. Studies show that a dysfunctional digestive system is the root cause for many brain disorders including: ADHD, anxiety, autism, depression, carb cravings, memory loss, concentration problems, and chronic inflammation of the brain.
  10. Exercise – Known as “food for the soul”, exercise turns on genes that make Brain-derived neurotrophic factor that targets brain cells.
  11. All 10 anti-inflammatory foods from this list. Last week I posted a list of 10 anti-inflammatory foods. It turns out, these same foods are on almost all brain food lists, according to my research and for good reason. Inflammation is the key to disease in the brain. Many of the toxic proteins that develop in Alzheimer’s disease develop when the brain tries to protect itself from out of control chronic inflammation. Most of the following foods turned up on one or more of the “brain foods” lists during my research.
  • green leafy vegetables
  • blueberries
  • broccoli
  • turmeric
  • green tea
  • beets
  • pineapple
  • nuts (mainly walnuts and almonds)
  • wild caught salmon
  • bone broth
11 Facts You Need To Know About Your Brain | Strategy Lab ...

Closing thoughts

Again and again, my research turns up irrefutable evidence that simply eliminating toxic refined foods and turning to a whole food diet goes a long way toward a healthy brain and a healthy life. That really is what a brain healthy diet is all about: eliminating what causes inflammation and cell death, while feeding the brain foods to heal and grow.

Whole Foods Quotes: best 13 famous quotes about Whole Foods

Until next time…Namaste my friends

Tamara

Sources

  1. https://draxe.com/nutrition/15-brain-foods-to-boost-focus-and-memory/
  2. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-21756/20-foods-to-naturally-increase-your-brain-power.html
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324044.php#soy-products
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-brain-foods#section11
  5. https://www.flintrehab.com/2019/foods-that-heal-the-brain-after-concussion/
  6. https://bebrainfit.com/brain-foods/
  7. https://thepurplealmond.com/2019/11/12/the-wellness-mindset-physical-wellness-fight-inflammation-by-using-these-top-10-anti-inflammatory-foods/

Brain Talks: A Beginner’s Guide to Alzheimer’s Disease

I Hate Alzheimer's Quotes: top 2 quotes about I Hate ...

“People do not realize that Alzheimer’s is not old age. It is a progressive and fatal disease and staggering amounts of people develop Alzheimer’s every day” (Brainy, 2019). This quote, from Melina Kanakaredes, Alzheimer’s Association celebrity spokesperson in 2009, epitomizes the state of Alzheimers disease and research efforts in the world today (source). According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one person in the United States develops Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) every 65 seconds (Alzheimer’s Facts, 2019). Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth leading cause of death, is at epidemic proportions (Source). Currently, 5.8 million Americans are living with AD, with this number expected to reach 14 million by the year 2050 (Source). Deaths from AD increased by 145 percent between 2000 to 2017 (Source). This means, approximately one in three seniors die from AD or some form of dementia, more than breast and prostate cancer combined (Source).

Beyond the staggering death toll, the cost of AD is enormous and affects many aspects of society. The national cost of AD, which is currently $290 billion per year, is expected to rise to $1.1 trillion by 2050 (Source). Medicare and Medicaid payments of $195 billion make up more than 68 percent of that total, with out of pocket expenses reaching $63 billion (Source). The cost of AD research adds a further $1.3 billion per year to this total (Source). Additionally, the cost of care outside of traditional medicine is surprising. Each year, more than 16 million Americans provide free healthcare for people with AD (Source). These caregivers provide over 18 billion hours of care, which is valued at approximately $234 billion (Source).

Now that you have a few facts on Alzheimer’s Disease, I’d like to welcome you to my new bi-monthly series: Brain Talks. Brain health is a passion of mine and I’d like to share that passion with you in this series. I am so passionate about brain health that I wrote my Master’s Thesis on Brain Health, more specifically: The Sleep Hormone:  The Connection Between Melatonin Deficiency  and  Alzheimer’s Disease.

This series will be highlighting what I’ve discovered about those connections and what I found is very exciting indeed. However, I’ll get to that in future installments. Today, you need to know more about Alzheimer’s disease.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) was discovered in 1906 by Alois Alzheimer, a German Dr. who worked at the Frankfort Psychiatric Hospital (Sherzai). In 1901, Dr. Alzheimer worked with a fifty year old woman named Auguste Deter, who suffered from paranoia, outbursts and confusion (Sherzai). Auguste died in 1906, after which Dr. Alzheimer examined her brain and found amyloid plaque and tau tangles (Sherzai). These characteristics are common to all AD patients and have come to represent the disease. (Sherzai).

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, caused by amyloid plaque and tau tangle build up in the brain (Bredesen). This build-up causes memory problems, as well as issues with thinking and behavior (Bredesen). Plaque build-up typically begins decades before symptoms occur, and before individuals realize a problem is developing ( Bredesen and Sherzai). Individuals progress through seven stages, which can span more than 20 years (Sherzai). Symptoms begin with simple forgetfulness and progress to sleeping problems, aggression, confusion and refusal to eat (Sherzai). Table 1 contains a list of the seven stages, the duration of each stage and the symptoms seen at each stage (Sherzai).

5 Lifestyle Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease

While there is no direct cure for AD, despite billions of dollars in research, certain lifestyle factors have been established as direct causes of this awful disease. Each one of these causes are PREVENTABLE. YES, in almost all cases, AD is preventable.

  • Chronic inflammation
  • Insulin resistance
  • Brain supporting nutrient deficiences
  • Toxins
  • Oxidation

What you can do to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease…

It’s never too early, and you’re never too young to start preventing the onset of AD. I encourage EVERYONE, to take steps NOW to prevent this horrible disease. Remember, the onset of AD begins 20 years before the onset of symptoms. It’s not to late to reverse any damage that has already been done.

Closing thoughts

I hope you found this brief introduction into Alzheimer’s disease interesting. This disease runs in my family. My grandfather and his sister both had this disease, as did their mother. So far, my parents, as well as myself, are both healthy.

Doing this research for my thesis was a huge wakeup call. This disease is at epidemic proportions, but research suggests that it is almost 100% preventable. I hope to help people make the changes they need to prevent this awful, life destroying disease.

Until next time….namaste my friends.

Tamara

Sources

(Both of these books are wonderful sources for anyone looking for more information on Alzheimer’s Disease)

Sherzai, D., and Sherzai, A., (2017). The alzheimer’s solution: A breakthrough program to prevent and reverse the symptoms of cognitive decline at every age. HarperCollins Publishers: New York, New York.

Bredesen, D.E., (2017). The end of Alzheimer’s: The first program to prevent and reverse cognitive decline. Penguin-Random House: New York, New York.