1. 1 in 8 seniors fighting memory problems

    Fight memory loss and brain fog

    Seniors like to say "life begins at 60" and for good reason: Your golden years can be among the best years of your life.

    But for millions of older people, something else begins at 60 -- memory problems that can threaten to turn your best years into some of the worst.

    New government numbers show 1 in 8 Americans over the age of 60 are battling "brain fog," memory loss, or other signs of cognitive decline. And for a full third of them, the memory problems are so bad that they interfere with or limit daily function.

    Now, some people will tell you memory loss just means you're getting older... that it comes with the turf... and there's nothing you can do about it.

    But I know that's not true.

    In many cases, memory loss and other cognitive problems accompany aging, but they're not necessarily caused by aging. Just look at the over-60 crowd in the new study: Sure, they're getting older.

    But folks over 60 are also among the nation's leading consumers of prescription medications -- and many of those medications come with a notoriously high risk of memory loss and other cognitive problems.

    Blood pressure drugs, for example, can lead to memory loss. And cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are so notorious for this risk that the FDA recently issued a warning over it. Painkillers, antidepressants, and more can also do the job -- which is why whenever patients complain of memory loss, the first thing I do is look at any drugs they've been given by a mainstream doctor.

    (If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia or even Alzheimer's disease, you need to know that the real source of the problem might be in your medicine chest. Click here to learn more.)

    In some cases, the drugs were never even necessary in the first place. In many others, they can be replaced by natural alternatives that can work just as well, but without the side effects.

    Of course, not all memory problems are due to meds. But that doesn't mean the rest are due to aging, either.

    Diabetes, for example, is known to increase the risk of dementia -- and another new study shows how elevated blood sugar levels can increase your own risk even if you don't actually have diabetes.

    In the study, brain scans of 124 patients who were healthy but had a family history of Alzheimer's revealed reduced metabolism in key regions of the brain among people with elevated blood sugar levels.

    Those are the same changes we see in Alzheimer's disease.

    What makes this truly frightening is that the "high" blood-sugar levels in the study aren't sky-high. They're at the high end of the normal range, or levels that millions of otherwise healthy Americans seniors live with every day.

    Other conditions that can cause, mimic or worsen memory loss and dementia include exposure to toxic metals such as lead, which is why I also frequently test for metals.

    You might be surprised to find out how much metal you have inside yourself right now -- and even more surprised at how much better you feel after detoxification.

    If you're suffering from a little "brain fog" yourself, don't ignore the warning signs. Work with a holistic doctor to find the cause -- whether it's medication, blood sugar, metals, nutrition, hormones, or something else entirely.

    PS: I'll have more on natural brain protection -- including the one supplement that can fight the damage in the brain linked to aging -- in Thursday's House Calls. Keep an eye on your in-box -- you won't want to miss this one!

  2. Cocoa nutrients are good brain food

    Chocolate can fight dementia

    If you're tired of hearing about how your favorite treats are unhealthy, I've got some good news for you today: Chocolate may help prevent Alzheimer's disease.

    Yes, delicious chocolate... is good brain food.

    We've actually seen this in studies of good brain food before, but the latest research goes a step further, showing how the antioxidants found in cocoa work to protect critical brain cells.

    Researchers extracted the antioxidants from ordinary store-bought cocoa powder and set them loose on brain cells in a lab dish to see what would happen.

    And what happened was a candy executive's dream come true -- something that would probably be on the wrapper of every Mars bar, if not for strict FDA regulations -- because the cocoa antioxidants kicked off a process called brain-derived neurotropic factor survival pathway.

    That's not a phrase you'll ever hear from a talking M&M in a TV commercial, but it's an essential process that helps keeps neurons alive.

    And in the study of good brain food  in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, the cocoa antioxidants even launched this process in brain cells that had the beta amyloid plaques linked to dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

    The effect was so startling that the researchers say cocoa polyphenols may be even more powerful than those found in green tea. And like the famously healthy antioxidants in that tea, the ones in cocoa have also shown they can help protect the heart, fight off oxidative stress, and more.

    This is great news for chocolate lovers, of course, but don't take this as a license to eat candy all the time. A square or two a day of dark chocolate is all you need for the good brain food benefits -- any more than that, and your healthy habit could quickly become an unhealthy one.

    Alternatively, you can also get the great taste of cocoa without the sugar and dairy fats by working unsweetened cocoa powder -- the same stuff used in the study -- into your drinks and even some of your recipes.

    The antioxidants in cocoa are also available in supplement form. I know -- where's the fun in that, right? But if you can't help yourself around chocolate, supplements might be a better option.

  3. Physical activity can help dementia patients

    A little exercise can slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease and improve physical function.
  4. New link between dementia and risk factors for heart disease

    People with risk factors for heart problems also face serious dementia risk. Take care of one, and you'll ease the other.
  5. Herpes simplex virus can lead to dementia

    Common infections including herpes simplex 1 and 2 can increase your risk of dementia. Here's how you can turn that risk around.
  6. The different forms of dementia

    A third of all seniors supposedly die with dementia -- but in many cases, it's not dementia at all. Get the truth here.
  7. Low vitamin D levels getting lower

    Vitamin D levels continue to plunge, with more people battling insufficiencies and even deficiencies than ever before, according to a new study.
  8. Exercise benefits dementia risk

    People who exercise in middle age are more than a third less likely to get dementia, Alzheimer's, cancer, or be obese later in life.
  9. Vitamin D can keep Alzheimer's away

    There's no drug that can cure dementia, but emerging evidence shows that a vitamin can keep it away -- specifically vitamin D.
  10. Fish oil can boost your working memory

    The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can give your brain a boost, improving overall cognitive health as well as memory.
  11. Eating to avoid mild cognitive impairment

    You can protect your brain from dementia right now -- and all you have to do is commit to a healthy and delicious diet.
  12. How carbs lead to mild cognitive impairment

    A new study finds that people who eat the most carbs have four times the risk of mild cognitive impairment, which often leads to dementia.
  13. How fish oil can reverse aging

    The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can stop one of the key markers of aging on the cellular level.
  14. Dealing with depression using fish oil

    A new study on senior women shows again that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can help ease depression.
  15. Intravenous immunoglobulin may halt Alzheimer's related decline

    A new treatment is showing incredible promise in the war on dementia, putting the disease on hold for three years. New treatment could put Alzheimer's on hold.
  16. Better blood sugar control with the sunshine vitamin

    Battling metabolic syndrome? The latest research shows vitamin D can help you to live longer and better.
  17. Mediterranean diet benefits are physical & mental

    People who stick to the Mediterranean diet have better overall physical and mental health, a new study confirms. Here's what you need to know.
  18. Coffee drinkers live longer

    A new study shows that people who drink the most coffee live the longest -- but you have to drink a lot of coffee to get that benefit.
  19. Having a purpose in life can fight the effects of dementia

    A purpose in life can help keep cognitive decline at bay even when the brain is already showing the damage linked to dementia.
  20. Too much of this mineral can be bad for the brain

    Most nutrients are not only safe in high amounts, they're necessary -- because too many people simply don't get nearly enough of the essentials from diet alone.

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