Forgetfulness vs. Cognitive Decline
Generally, we gauge our cognitive health by our ability to remember facts, so a moment of forgetfulness, like wondering where we placed our car keys, can create concern. However, memory loss is a normal part of the maturing process. In fact, we begin losing our brain cells in our 20s. And as the cells decrease, the connections between them gradually deteriorate causing memory lapses. Further, the production of brain chemicals needed to remember and learn facts slows, and the area of the brain responsible for storing and retrieving memories shrinks. This is why we sometimes experience “memory glitches” when trying to recall names, words and numbers. And if it is just age-related memory loss as opposed to a cognitive impairment, we will eventually remember the information.
What are the risk factors of cognitive impairment?
Aging is the greatest risk factor of cognitive impairment, followed by genetics, family history, early-adult head injuries and medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high cholesterol. Your MDVIP-affiliated physician can monitor your risk for cognitive loss through the MDVIP Wellness Program, as well as coach you on lifestyle behaviors, particularly nutrition, which can help reduce your risk for some of these conditions and help you maintain good cognitive health.
Certain nutrients may be able to keep your brain healthy and functioning properly. For instance, research links vitamin B12
deficiency with memory loss. A recent study found that people with diets high in omega-3 fatty acids from fish sources and vitamins B, C, D and E had healthy brain function and size, as omega-3 fatty acids seem to stabilize brain cells and improve brain signaling, which can protect the brain against dementia. The study also found that people who ate a lot of baked goods, fast food and/or processed meals had declining cognitive function. Because nutrition seems to play a significant role in cognitive function, as well as many other diseases, we provide you with access to healthy recipes and meal plans on your member dashboard, MDVIP Connect
Good nutrition is an important component of preventing and controlling type 2 diabetes, which has been linked with Alzheimer’s disease.