de-age your brain - the cortisol connection...

Memory impairment is largely due to brain burnout caused by exposure to cortisol, the main stress hormone.  Cortisol suppresses memory. In fact mental deterioration is not an inevitable part of ageing as many believe, but rather largely reversible – reduce cortisol levels and memory improves.

Cortisol is a neurotoxic hormone: it starves the area of the brain responsible for memory (known as the hippocampus) of glucose, sometimes to the point that memories can’t even form!

Research has shown that people with chronic pain (which releases cortisol) as well as very intelligent people exposed to intense stress (which also releases cortisol) became less cogent! These stresses include work stress, noise, information overload, financial worries, struggling to succeed and multi-tasking.

Further research published in July 2007 shows a strong connection between high cortisol levels and memory loss. The researchers showed that keeping cortisol levels low protects brain health and improves memory.

Cortisol also prevents various brain neurotransmitters from working properly. This prevents nerves from communicating well. Finally, cortisol actually kills brain nerves – it causes too much calcium to enter the nerves of the brain and this kills them (this calcium influx is one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease).

The good news is there are cortisol-lowering, memory-protecting supplements:

» Phosphatidylserine (PS) – this is a natural brain fat (known as a phospholipid) which is extracted from soy-lecithin. Phosphatidylserine suppresses excessive cortisol release and helps prevent damage to brain nerves caused by cortisol. It is one of the most important brain-regenerating and protecting substances known.

» Stress Damage Control – this product contains a herb called Rhodiola Rosea which prevents the adrenal glands from overproducing cortisol. Sceletium is an alternate and has great stress-reducing effects.

Two other factors are crucial for brain health – brain oxygenation and nerve protection. Over the age of 40 the blood vessels in the brain begin to narrow, restricting the amount of blood and oxygen supply to the brain. This results in brain fogging, fatigue, but most of all, memory loss. Lack of Omega-3 fatty acids cause brain nerve damage and also reduce memory capabilities.

» More Health Bites... click here