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How can you protect your brain?

I want to assure you there are proven ways to protect your brain and ward off Alzheimer’s.

You’ll never hear about this from the FDA. But today, I’m going to tell you exactly what you need to do to shield yourself and your loved ones from this terrible disease.

First, however, let me share details of new research showing you can fight back against Alzheimer’s.

Intense Exercise Boosts Brain Growth

Researchers at Japan’s University of Tsukuba wanted to know how different types of exercise would affect brain neuron growth and synaptic function. So they subjected rats to two types of exercise.1

Endurance rats that ran for extended periods on moderately paced treadmills, while another group made intense, brief sprints followed by rest.

After 4 weeks, the researchers tested them. Both groups demonstrated improved spatial memory, that is, an improved ability to remember locations and directions.

But only one group, the sprinter rats, showed increased levels of a unique, critical protein that promotes brain development: Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF).2

BDNF is like oxygen for your brain. It’s a vital signaling molecule that stimulates “neural plasticity,” the brain’s ability to enhance nerve function in response to new challenges.

BDNF levels naturally decline with age, just as Alzheimer’s becomes a major threat.3 But exercise can change that. And the most powerful brain-protective benefits come from Progressively Accelerating Cardiopulmonary Exertion (PACE). Let me explain….

At the Sears Institute for Anti-Aging Medicine, trials clearly show that short periods of exercise leaving you panting for breath are far superior for initiating growth and self-repair plus greater BDNF production.4

And you don’t have to be in great shape to get started. The important thing is to gradually, progressively increase your exertion over time. Check out a free PACE class online by just clicking here. You can start with any brief exertion that makes you pause… and pant for breath.

But to really protect your brain, combine PACE with my three-part BDNF brain-boosting protocol.

Three Powerful Ways to Boost BDNF

Brain-booster No. 1 – Curcumin

My readers already know the curcumin in turmeric helps knock down inflammation and keep your joints limber. But many mainstream doctors don’t realize it also has a powerful ability to revive special brain cells called astrocytes.

Astrocytes act as the gatekeepers to nerve cell growth, called neurogenesis. They also stimulate vital functions such as synapse formation, expression of nerve growth factors, and release of the neurotransmitters brain cells use to communicate. Curcumin also protects your brain from oxidative stress.

A 2015 study showed that supplementing with curcumin enhances the beneficial effects of exercise.5 Look for a supplement that has at least 1000 mg of curcuminoids from turmeric. I recommend taking it along with black pepper extract to boost its absorption.

Brain-booster No. 2 – Cocoa Powder

Cocoa is one of the most powerful sources of healthy, protective flavonoids on the planet. They’re so powerful, epidemiological studies show they can actually counteract injuries to neurons.

These flavonoids trigger an increase in BDNF. In one study, high flavanol levels in subjects with mild cognitive impairment showed improved mental processing speed and stronger working memory.

I recommend cocoa powder… it’s easy to toss it in your coffee, tea, or smoothies. One word of advice: Make sure you’re getting cocoa powder without added sugars to maximize its protective effects.

Brain-booster No. 3 – DHA

Most of my readers are already well aware of the powerful health benefits of DHA omega-3 fatty acids. But did you know several studies have linked low DHA levels to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia?

That’s not surprising really because the long-chain fatty acids in DHA play a vital role in learning and memory. Your brain is about 60% fat,6 and over 90% of your brain’s fat is DHA.7 Research shows DHA “significantly increased” the protective effects of exercise, and vice-versa, by boosting levels of BDNF.8

I advise my patients to supplement with krill and calamari oils. They’re a much purer source of omega-3s and they’re packed with DHA. You need to get at least 600 mg of DHA and 400 mg of EPA daily to protect your brain function.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

Al Sears, MD, CNS


References:

1 University of Tsukuba. “High-Intensity Intermittent Training Improves Spatial Memory in Rats.” ScienceDaily, 17 May 2021, Sciencedaily.com website.
2 Miranda, Magdalena, et. al, Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor: A Key Molecule for Memory in the Healthy and the Pathological Brain. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 7 Aug. 2019. Accessed 18 July 2021.
3 Erickson, K. I., et al. “Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Is Associated with Age-Related Decline in Hippocampal Volume.” Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 30, no. 15, 14 Apr. 2010, pp. 5368–5375, 10.1523/jneurosci.6251-09.2010. Accessed 6 July 2020.
4 De la Rosa, Adrian, et al. “Physical Exercise in the Prevention and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.” Journal of Sport and Health Science, vol. 9, no. 5, 1 Sept. 2020, pp. 394–404, 10.1016/j.jshs.2020.01.004. Accessed 3 Nov. 2020.
5 Ray Hamidie, Ronald D., et al. “Curcumin Treatment Enhances the Effect of Exercise on Mitochondrial Biogenesis in Skeletal Muscle by Increasing CAMP Levels.” Metabolism, vol. 64, no. 10, Oct. 2015, pp. 1334–1347, 10.1016/j.metabol.2015.07.010.
6 Chang, Chia-Yu, et al. “Essential Fatty Acids and Human Brain.” Acta Neurologica Taiwanica, vol. 18, no. 4, 1 Dec. 2009, pp. 231–241.
7 “DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid): A Detailed Review.” Healthline, 28 May 2019, Healthline.com website. Accessed 28 July 2021.
8 Wu, A., et al. “Docosahexaenoic Acid Dietary Supplementation Enhances the Effects of Exercise on Synaptic Plasticity and Cognition.” Neuroscience, vol. 155, no. 3, Aug. 2008, pp. 751–759, 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.05.061. Accessed 23 Mar. 2020.