Watching a loved one lose their memory is heartbreaking. If someone in your family has Alzheimer’s, your risk for developing it increases. If you want to help your family member who is starting to experience memory loss or if you want to take preventative measures against any memory diseases, functional medicine can help.
Functional Medicine’s Impact On Memory Diseases
Functional medicine focuses on uncovering what causes problems in your body, whether it be illness or disease or chronic conditions. Doctors who practice functional medicine take a holistic approach, considering every aspect of their patient’s lifestyle, history, and environment in order to get to the root of their problems. Functional medicine uses your body’s natural abilities to heal itself, combining that with recommendations for any lifestyle changes that could boost one’s standard of living.
While genetics play a role in one’s risk for developing a memory disorder, environmental factors are what increase the probability of memory problems. Exercise, nutrition, sleep, and social life all impact cognition. Lifestyle affects brain health which affects memory. Functional medicine’s specialization in determining how one’s lifestyle affects their health makes it a great method to turn to for memory problems. As such, functional medicine can help prevent memory diseases.
How Diet Impacts Memory
Studies have shown that diseases that impact memory, like Alzheimer’s, can be caused by aspects of one’s diet, something that functional medicine analyzes in each patient. A bad diet leads to an increase in toxins in one’s body, can cause inflammation in the brain, and elevate blood sugar to harmful levels. These negatively impact memory and brain function, segwaying into cognitive decline and potential development of memory diseases.
Cognitive decline can be reduced, and even reversed, through a good diet. Excessive sugar, refined grains, and other processed foods can be destructive to brain function. By decreasing how many simple and processed foods one eats, one can avoid spiked blood sugar that may impact memory and brain function, brain inflammation, and chronic health problems.
Reducing one’s gluten intake can also help one’s memory. Gluten intolerance has been linked with an increased risk for Alzheimer’s – also known as Type 3 Diabetes in functional medicine. High levels of blood glucose have been associated with delayed recall, decreased learning ability, and lower cognitive performance, whereas lower levels of blood glucose have been associated with improved brain function.
Exercise Boosts More Than Metabolism
Studies have been done to suggest that exercise helps more than one’s physical health. Exercise also has many helpful benefits for the brain. Exercise can delay the aging process of the brain and improve cognitive function.
Exercise can reverse cognitive decline in multiple ways. It increases neural activity which protects the brain from degeneration. It increases brain derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF), which are what help neurons heal so that they can form connections. Decreased neuron activity can shrink the grey matter in one’s brain, leading to aging and lowered cognition. By exercising, one can increase those BDNF connections, increasing their brain’s grey matter, and delay brain-aging. They can also reduce inflammation in their brain, which is a key component of memory disorders.
Any kind of exercise can help prevent memory diseases. Yoga, dancing, HIIT (high intensity impact training), LISS (low intensity steady state training), aerobic exercise, and other kinds of physical activity for even half an hour 4-6 times a week may improve brain function.
Studies have also linked obesity to accelerated brain aging, and have found obese individuals to have increased rates of cognitive decline in comparison to leaner individuals of the same age groups. This highlights the importance of a good diet and exercise for one’s memory and in preventing memory disorders.
The Vitality Of Sleep
A good night’s sleep is essential for more than feeling rested. Adequate sleep can also help reduce the risk of memory loss and potential future memory disorders. This is because during sleep is when one’s brain waves take memories from short term memory and put them in the long term memory part of the brain. Sleep is also when one’s neurons repair themselves. Inadequate sleep impacts this process. If one isn’t getting enough sleep, especially on a regular basis, this affects cognitive function.
This can be noticed even after one night of getting 4-5 hours of sleep as opposed to 7-8, and how one has a harder time remembering things and concentrating. As such, over time, insufficient sleep takes a toll on one’s overall brain health and memory, making mental connections harder.
Is Functional Medicine The Right Prevention Against Memory Diseases For You?
Functional medicine can help with memory diseases through working with patients to improve their diets, find the best physical activity for them, and advise on how to get better sleep. Functional medicine enlightens people about the link between how one lives their life and how that affects their memory. If you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one developing a memory disease, contact a medical professional to see if functional medicine is right for you.
How Life Health Medical Center Can Help You
Here at Life Health Medical Center, we value every one of our patients. We offer functional medicine, as well as a variety of other services, and are passionate about using a customized approach to find the root of your problems. For more information about functional medicine or to find the right approach for you, contact us today.