Nurturing a Healthy Brain

October 28, 2016 | By Rachel Winstedt | General, General, Longevity Medicine | Share
Nurturing a Healthy Brain

You might be asking yourself why you should be concerned with brain health in your 30s, 40s, or 50s or even later in life. Forgetfulness and Alzheimer’s Disease are not a normal part of aging, and you can chose to not be one of the 15 million American’s estimated to have Alzheimer’s Disease by 2050. The good news is that many of the underlying causes of cognitive decline, when identified and corrected early, can be prevented. A few simple changes can have a profound effect on the long term quality of your life.


Annual visits to your doctor are the first step towards improving brain health. Brain health is directly correlated to cardiovascular health. Easily treated cardiovascular conditions like high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, stroke risk and diabetes are routinely screened at doctor visits.

Cardiovascular risk assessment is important to identify potential blood vessel damage not only to the heart but also in the brain. Specific inflammatory markers such as MPO and LP-PLA2 can indicate damage to blood vessels and increased risk for both heart disease and brain decline.

A comprehensive assessment for brain health would include looking at cardiovascular health, nutrient deficiencies, inflammation levels, heavy metal toxicity and genetic risk factors. At NaturoMedica, we offered advanced testing in all of these areas which can help identify your potential risk for cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.


Omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, ALA and choline and are all vital to brain health. Aside from Omega 3-fatty acid deficiency, which is most common, I often see Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) deficiency. ALA is a powerful neuroprotective antioxidant which strengthens memory and stimulates nerve growth. It is often low in people who are experiencing memory challenges. B vitamins and choline are also vital to brain health. Deficiencies are linked to an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, heart attack, and stroke.


Whole body inflammation is one of the biggest causes of disease today. Inflammation has now been linked to a whole host of illnesses including heart disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s. The problem is that by the time we see cognitive problems occurring, inflammation has been degrading the brain for decades, making treatment more challenging.

Simple blood tests can be used to test inflammation levels and monitor treatment progress, but are most effective when used as early intervention. Fortunately, there many treatment options for inflammation.. At NaturoMedica we use varied treatment tools—such as curcumin IVs, phosphatidylcholine IVs, fish oil, supplements, and others—to help control inflammation in all of our patients.


One thing that puts NaturoMedica on the leading edge of brain health testing is our pairing of chelation IVs and heavy metal testing. The testing is used to uncover environmental neurotoxins such as heavy metals (mercury, lead, aluminum, silver, excess iron) and pesticides/petroleum products which can contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Beyond these specialty tests, I also use genetic testing (including APOE ¾) to assess familial risk factors for developing cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s Disease. CardioVIP, which looks at overall cardio function, and genetic testing are often a great place to start when trying to assess your risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.


NaturoMedica goes beyond just testing brain health issues. I prescribe practical lifestyle changes like exercise to my patients. The benefits of being active go beyond a svelte figure and a strong heart. Aerobic activity such as running, HIIT training (a type of interval training) or any exercise that makes you sweat a bit increases the generation of new brain cells. The new cells grow in the parts of the brain that manage processes like memory, planning ahead, focus, goal-setting, and time management--the attributes we associate with clear thinking.

Other lifestyle factors that contribute to poor brain health include overuse of alcohol and tobacco plus chronic stress. Limiting your drinking to 1 to 2 servings a day a few times a week is considered a healthy relationship with alcohol. Both alcohol use and smoking increase blood pressure, which can decrease blood flow the brain and ultimately lead to a stroke.

Chronic stress has been shown to decrease new memory formation and speed development of dementia. Effective tools to manage stress and enjoy socializing more include exercise, meditation, yoga and stress support. I frequently use natural formulas such as Cortisol Manager or Lavela from Integrative Therapeutics to help my patients who are struggling with chronic daily stress. These formulas safely shift my patient’s from a stressed-out “fight or flight” feeling to a relaxed state. Patients are able to get deeper sleep, heal daily wear and tear on their bodies, balance their blood sugar and lower their blood pressure, allowing them to enjoy their social lives.


A major key to my patients’ success is empowerment through education. My patients leave the office with working knowledge of foods that lower their blood pressure and stabilize their blood sugar to prevent brain fog. You will go home with detailed guidelines on foods that should make up the main part of your diet as well as the ones that should make less frequent appearances on your plate. For instance, patients might arrive at our office not understanding what an antioxidant is and leave knowing how it neutralizes free radical damage, keeping body and brain healthy as well as fighting cancer and depression. We also offer a variety of supplements that complement these dietary shifts while long term positive changes are becoming habits.


Over the years I have researched and treated the many causes of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. I have discovered that there is no perfect therapy. Rather, good brain health is a series of choices we make that improve quality of life and whole person health. Patients at NaturoMedica get the best of all worlds, combining scientifically proven testing, personalized counseling, detailed treatment resources and innovative therapies to address both the symptoms of brain dysfunction and the long term causes of Alzheimer’s Disease.

So you have to ask yourself “Am I doing everything I can to protect my brain health?” If not, please set up an appointment with me or one of our other practitioners at NaturoMedica to discuss how best to optimize your current and future brain health.

"My daughter just loved her NaturoMedica doctor and felt so comfortable talking to her."
Valerie Weigelt - Sammamish, WA - View More