Challenge your brain to keep it young and healthy.

I believe we all want to live a full life with the ability to do what we want when we grow older. However, our brains have a part in our overall health. The brain ages until its mid-20s and then stabilizes. Over time, other aging factors in our bodies create havoc with our brains and open the door for many brain-related diseases.

Your brain is like any other organ in your body. It grows old also. It shrinks as it ages. Your brain can start shrinking as early as 30 years of age. Additionally, other things begin to occur:
● Cortical thinning
● Impaired serotonin
● Reduction of acetylcholine
● Dopamine receptor binding and signaling difficulties
● Accumulation of neurofibrillary tangles
● Imbalances of various brain metabolites

However, all brains are not alike. They respond differently to the same stimuli. Some stimuli are:
● Oxidative stress
● Chronic low-level inflammation
● Free radical damage
● Hormone imbalance
● Endothelial dysfunction
● Excess body weight
● Suboptimal nutrition
● Lifestyle
● Expectations
● Prescription drug interference
● Oxygen levels

As your brain ages, your normal brain function begins to fall apart. Those things include:
● Deterioration of neuronal membranes
● Deterioration of mitochondrial membranes
● Loss of cellular integrity
● Impaired neural function
● Neurotransmitter synthesis and signaling damage
● Loss of synaptic density
● Loss of synaptic plasticity
● Loss of myelinated axon length
● Neuron death
● Reductions in the number of synaptic spines
● Reductions in the cortical thickness
● Reductions in the subcortical volume

These factors lead to brain function inefficiency and impairment over your lifetime. Can you do anything to maintain your current brain age? I believe the answer is, “Yes”.

Keep your brain stimulated. Read, do crossword puzzles, solve Sudoku, take courses, include physical dexterity with mental exercises, etc. Keep your body fit and healthy. Exercise keeps oxygen flowing through your brain and body. Exercise helps to reduce blood pressure. Regularly check your blood pressure.

Eat nutritionally balanced meals. Nutrient deficiencies can cause health issues, particularly when they are chronic. Diabetes is a risk factor for dementia and age-related diseases. Avoid all tobacco products and indulge in alcohol in a limited manner – one to two drinks a day or every other day.

Exercise should include balance and stretch. Bone health is needed to minimize broken bones from falls. Balance is needed to keep us from inadvertently falling. All the pieces fit together to keep our bodies healthy and fit resulting in a brain that is healthier and younger than our chronological age.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life – Red O’Laughlin

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