How to Live Well Past 100 Years of Age
I sometimes play the game, "Would You Rather" with friends. It goes like this,
Would you rather live to be 100, with the brain of a 100 year old and the body of a 20 year old, or; live to be 100, with the body of a 100 year old and the brain of a 20 year old?
The part of our brain that manages memory, learning and spatial navigation, the hippocampus, is affected when people get dementia and Alzheimer's, but also with natural age, declining 2-3% per decade in brain matter in this area. This natural decline is due to accumulation of the damaging effects of inflammation over time.
Time + Inflammation = Cognitive Decline.
Neuro-inflammation is more popularly attributed to dementia, now termed the diabetes of the brain, also contributes to sleep on-set insomnia, depression and ADHD. In the clinic, I use an organic-acid urine test (OAT), to help identify causes and amounts, through different metabolic markers, of neuro-inflammation. This can help guide us in treatment, if sleep-onset insomnia, and depression or anxiety, are better treated with a gut reset & repair approach, along with supplements or mediation, versus just using supplements or medication alone. It also helps motivate patients to change their diet, when they can objective information. Learn more about the OAT here .
Ways to prevent neuro-inflammation:
Dan Buettner works with National Geographic, to help identify 100+ hot spots around the world. Known mainly for their anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle. They are dubbed "blue zones" of the world, which include: Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; the Greek island of Ikaria, the Nicoya peninsula of Costa Rica, and Loma Linda, Calif. The diets that have been studied, mainly include omega-3 rich fish, and less inflammatory sources of protein like red meats. The Mediterranean diet is one of these diets, popularly helping both Greece and Italy make this list. Eating this anti-inflammatory way has so many benefits, namely it also implies, eating in a way that balances your blood sugar, which decreases inflammation. Now there are studies that suggest not only can our body withstand age and survive, but now at an old age, our brains can get younger.
Researchers in Germany studied the effects of people aged 68 years learning new dances over 18 months, compared to a control group learning fitness routines and doing aerobics. On MRI, improvements were seen in the size of the hippocampus, and on balance test scores in the group that learned how to dance compared to the group that learned fitness routines, whose brain size in the hippocampus did not increase in size. Boom. I'm now going to recommend my mother take up dancing, and include it in my options for support for cognitive therapy.
As for our would-you-rather game, now you can pick the body of a 20year old, knowing that if you learn to dance when you're older, you'll get the best of both worlds.
Helping you live out your potential,