Recent studies show people with diabetes have a four-fold risk for developing Alzheimer’s. People with pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome have an increased risk for having pre-dementia or mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
You don’t have to have full blown type 2 diabetes to develop brain damage and memory loss from high insulin levels and insulin resistance.
We all have heard of the mind-body effect. Well, there is also a body-mind effect. You can impact your brain through your diet and heal your body. In fact, your body and your mind aren’t two separate systems; they’re one elegant, continuous ecosystem. What you do to the body affects the brain, and what you do to the brain affects the body.
Cognitive decline and memory loss can be prevented and even reversed. We simply have to optimize brain function and then we see miracles. I’ve seen this happen many times in my medical practice.
The underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease begin with too much sugar on the brain. The cycle starts when we over-consume sugar and don’t eat enough fat, which leads to diabesity. Diabesity leads to inflammation, which creates a vicious cycle that wreaks havoc on your brain.
How to Reverse Memory Loss
The good news is you can reverse dementia and cognitive decline. To do that, you must control your insulin and balance your blood sugar levels, which will allow you to overcome diabesity and balance your mood, help your focus, help boost your energy level, and prevent all of the age-related brain diseases including Alzheimer’s.
To do this is, in fact, quite simple. The basic principles of Functional Medicine, or treating the root cause of disease, help optimize your biological functions. Simply get rid of the bad stuff and put in the good stuff. Your body takes care of the rest. It knows what to do and heals itself.
- Balance your blood sugar with a whole-foods, low-glycemic diet. You can achieve this by taking out the bad stuff (refined carbs, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, processed foods, dairy, and inflammatory, omega-6 rich oils such as vegetable and seed oils) and putting in the good stuff (healthy fats like avocados, walnuts, almonds and cashews, grass-fed meats, pastured chicken and eggs, olive and coconut oil).
- Eat healthy fats that make your brain happy. These include omega 3 fats in wild fatty fish, as well as coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, avocados, whole eggs, nuts, and seeds.
- Exercise daily. Even a 30-minute walk can help. More active readers might want to incorporate high-intensity interval training or weight lifting. Studies show physical activity can prevent and even slow down the progression of cognitive decline and brain diseases like dementia.
- Supplement wisely. At the very least, take a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement, an omega 3 fat supplement, extra B6, B12, and folate, as well as vitamin D3. And, a good probiotic will enhance the brain-gut relationship.
- Check your thyroid and sex hormone levels. If they are out of balance, you will want to treat them.
- Detox from mercury or other heavy metals, if you have high levels, by doing a medically supervised detox program.
- Control stress levels. Chronic stress takes a toll on your body and brain. Relaxation isn’t a luxury if you want to prevent or reverse dementia. Whether that involves deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, find something that helps you calm down.
- Get 8 hours of sleep every night. Studies show poor sleep becomes a risk factor for cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Aim for at least 8 hours of quality sleep every night.
This is just a start, but these eight strategies go a long way by giving your brain a chance to heal, recover, and experience fewer memory problems.
Even if you aren’t suffering from cognitive decline, you should take these steps because they can help you prevent the aging of your brain and help you achieve lifelong health.
Mark Hyman, MD, believes that we all deserve a life of vitality - and that we have the potential to create it for ourselves. That’s why he is dedicated to tackling the root causes of chronic disease by harnessing the power of Functional Medicine to transform healthcare. Dr. Hyman and his team work every day to empower people, organizations, and communities to heal their bodies and minds, and improve our social and economic resilience.
Dr. Hyman is a practicing family physician, an eight-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in his field. He is the Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. He is also the founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center, chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine, a medical editor of The Huffington Post, and has been a regular medical contributor on many television shows including CBS This Morning, the Today Show, CNN, The View, the Katie Couric show and The Dr. Oz Show.
Dr. Hyman works with individuals and organizations, as well as policy makers and influencers. He has testified before both the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the Senate Working Group on Health Care Reform on Functional Medicine. He has consulted with the Surgeon General on diabetes prevention, and participated in the 2009 White House Forum on Prevention and Wellness. Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa nominated Dr. Hyman for the President’s Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health. In addition, Dr. Hyman has worked with President Clinton, presenting at the Clinton Foundation’s