Losing the ability to think and remember is possibly the greatest fear associated with growing older. It starts with forgetting the little things that happened moments ago and slowly progresses until you don’t know who or where you are. All the memories that define who you are gradually fade away.

The fear is legitimate. The rate of dementia in the United States is very close to the highest in the world. But age-related memory loss is a concern that can be avoided. You do not have to spend your senior years as a hollow empty shell.

Causes of Mental Decline

Though it is true that some people are more genetically susceptible to mental decline, deterioration of brain function is mostly the result of specific causes that add up over time. And even though you can’t do anything about your genes, you can control all those other factors.

In other words, you have more control than you might think.

The top threats to optimal mental function include:

  • A Grain-Based Diet
    Processed food products created from wheat, corn, and soybeans, raise blood glucose levels, disrupt hormone pathways, and cause overgrowth of pathogens in the gut. This disrupts all functions in the body, especially brain function.
  • Chronic Emotional Stress
    Brief adrenaline surges actually focus concentration and improve mental acuity, but chronic stress actually does the opposite.
  • Mental Inactivity
    Anything not used becomes stagnate. This is especially true of brain function.
  • Toxins
    The modern world is saturated with hidden toxins and many of them disrupt nerve pathways in the brain.
  • Microbes
    There are over 400 different microbes species that inhabit the human body and not all of them are friendly. With aging, the immune system is less able to contain unruly opportunists. Many of these types of microbes, including both viruses and bacteria, have been associated with conditions of mental decline with aging.
  • Free Radicals
    Nerve tissue is especially susceptible to damage by free radicals. Free radicals constantly generated by metabolic processes in the body and inflammation.

Preserving Memory and Cognition

To appreciate how to lower risk, it makes sense to study populations of the world where dementia is less common. India is one of those places. Despite having low standards of sanitation and significant problems with overcrowding and pollution, people in India retain good cognitive function well into later years of life. Factors that are unique to the Indian people that may account for this include heavy use of spices in food and routine use of traditional herbal therapy.

Factors that may be responsible for mental longevity in India likely include high consumption of vegetables, practice of yoga and meditation, and use of herbs. Four traditional herbs that stand out as being particularly valuable for longevity and mental clarity include gotu kola, turmeric, ginkgo, and ashwagandha.

Gotu kola and ginkgo are both beneficial for keeping your brain sharp and concentration well focused. Cognizin provides the compound needed for the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine, a major constituent of brain tissue. It helps protect neural structures from accumulating free-radical damage and supports healthy brain metabolism by nourishing and maintaining brain cell phospholipids. It also helps maintain normal levels of acetylcholine, a chemical that helps regulate memory and cognitive function*.

Ashwagandha, another herb from India, is also known for supporting focus and cognitive function. It is especially beneficial when compromise of cognitive function and loss of focus are associated with menopause. This product contains Sensoril, a patented form of ashwagandha, which is much more potent and pure than the standard grade extract. Sensoril is also backed by studies showing enhanced cognitive function.

Turmeric, found in Indian curries, is another factor that may be responsible for the slow rate of mental decline in India. Turmeric offers potent anti-inflammatory/antioxidant properties. Dr. Rawls has created a “double duty” supplement, containing ingredients that protect brain function as well as maintaining healthy joints.

Medicinal herbs are certainly not the only substances that can protect your brain. Japan is another country where people enjoy normal cognitive function well into later years. Beyond having extremely good health habits, the Japanese consume large amounts of green tea and eat lots of fish. Green tea contains potent antioxidants and fish is high in omega 3 fatty acids. DHA, one type of omega 3, has been particularly associated with supporting normal cognitive function.

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Brain

  • Make herbs a regular part of your life!
    Though certain products have been highlighted, all of Dr. Rawls’ products contain ingredients that can help protect and enhance your ability to think. You can’t go wrong with any of Dr. Rawls’ products from a brain point of view! Shop now »
  • Stay mentally active.
    Mental function declines rapidly with decreased use. One of the positive effects aspects of dealing with daily stress and one of the negative aspects of retirement is that the brain needs to be continually challenged to stay functional. Once people retire, the demands of life ease considerably, and daily challenges decrease. Therefore, even after retirement, it is very important to stay continually engaged in mentally challenging activities.
  • Follow RawlsMD concepts for healthful living.
    Healthful food, a clean environment, and an active lifestyle go a long way toward preserving brain function.

Supportive Evidence-Based Documentation

In article posted in the journal, Aging, Sept, 2014, ten patients with symptoms of cognitive impairment associated with aging followed a comprehensive program for 6 months which included dietary/lifestyle modifications and a regimen of natural/herbal supplements. All patients demonstrated significant cognitive improvement and six were able to return to work1.

In an article posted in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, June 2014, researchers discussed associations between Alzheimer’s disease and microbiome imbalance including various stealth bacteria and viruses2.

*Statements on this page have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. For medical concerns, please consult a qualified healthcare provider.