Serotonin is historically linked with depression — and poor sleep as well — since serotonin is the precursor to melatonin and folks who are low in serotonin are likely low in melatonin too.
(Which sucks because as I blog about here, folks struggling with depression are only likely to have the depression resolve if they are sleeping well.)
But today’s medical study truly blew me away, because it reveals that serotonin isn’t just linked with depression and sleep, but with cognition.
In fact, this study suggests that the decline in cognition and memory issues as we age isn’t simply a normal function of aging — but actually a reflection of declining serotonin levels.
Meaning, our brains don’t decline as we age, our serotonin levels do.
Boost serotonin, and keep your cognition — and your memories! — as intact as ever.
Previous studies have shown significant drops in serotonin in Alzheimers, but today’s medical research looked at serotonin levels in preventing and treating mild cognitive impairment (MCI) — what some would call *normal* age related cognitive and memory decline.
This study finds that serotonin declines early on, before memory problems are apparent and diagnosable.
So it makes sense… restore serotonin levels to prevent memory loss and age related cognitive issues?
Here is what they found:
The Study (published Sept 2017 in Neurobiology of Disease):
- 56 adults, half with mild cognitive impairment and half who were healthy and cognitively normal, were demographically matched and studied using neuroimaging and clinical tests.
- Patients with mild cognitive impairment had significantly less serotonin transporters in the areas of the brain affected by dementia (cortical and limbic areas) as well as sensory and motor areas as well.
- Serotonin transporter levels were reduced by at least 10%, and in some cases as much as 38% in different parts of the brain associated with dementia.
- Lower levels of the serotonin transporters directly corollated with worse test performance on auditory-verbal and visual-spatial memory tests.
- The brain volume of patients with lower serotonin transporters was also decreased — as well as reduced cerebral blood flow in temporal and parietal areas of the brain, as compared to the healthy control patients.
The bottom line:
Clearly serotonin plays an important role in not only mood
but cognition and brain health as a whole.
It’s very exciting to think that by supplementing with serotonin, we might be able to not only treat mild cognitive impairment but actually prevent age related decline in cognition and memory all together.
You know as more medical studies come out looking into using serotonin therapy as dementia prevention, I’ll blog about them for you right here!
But meanwhile, there are already very high quality, pharmaceutical grade supplements that boost serotonin naturally — typically used to treat depressed mood, seasonal affective disorder and sleep issues — now we might want to consider using these same supplements to help support healthy cognitive function too!
My favorite serotonin boosting supplement — 5HTP — is available in my online dispensary for you right now and at an automatic discount.
The next step?
I would LOVE to see a medical study looking at light box therapy in preventing dementia.
- We know that light therapy is a natural serotonin booster, and is an extremely effective treatment for depression — and as I blog about here, it’s actually more effective than prescription antidepressants, and can even be used on top of prescription antidepressants to boost recovery!
- We also know that going outside in the sun is an instant mood boost and — as I blog about here — actually prolongs life.
- Lastly we know that warmer temperatures are good for the brain and protect cognition, as I blogged about in this medical study revealing that sauna use actually preserved cognitive function in the elderly.
If light therapy boosts serotonin and effectively treats depression, I feel confident that this same serotonin boost helps to ward off dementia and other age related cognitive changes.
I feel so strongly about light therapy (which boost everything from mood to libido!) that I scoured the medical resources available to me as a physician to find the best, easiest to use, most clinically effective, and most cost-effective light therapy box on the planet.
This information is incredibly timely, and is important to share.
Because a new study (published Oct 2017 in Alzheimers & Dementia) found that mild cognitive impairment (MCI) related to age is set to dramatically skyrocket over the next 30 years — jumping from about 6 million Americans to 15 million Americans — with similar trends world-wide.
Preclinically — meaning serotonin levels are dropping and age related brain changes are starting to occur but no diagnosable symptoms are yet showing clinically — there are about 47 million Americans that would benefit from dementia prevention strategies — and this number will skyrocket as well, to over 75 million Americans over the next 30 years.
It’s so important to treat this at the preclinical levels, because later stage clinical dementia requires around the clock nursing home level care, which is emotionally devastating as well as time-consuming and exceptionally expensive.
And I believe prevention is absolutely possible.
So here is a round-up of all of the things you can do — holistically! — that I have shared with you both in today’s medical study and in blog posts over the past few years.
15 Ways To Preserve Healthy Brain Function, Naturally:
5HTP supplements to boost serotonin levels (as I reviewed for you in today’s article)
Omega 3 fatty acid supplements to preserve brain volume (as I blog about here)
Light box therapy to boost serotonin levels — particularly helpful for those who have difficulty taking supplements by mouth
Resveratrol supplements (medically shown to stop the progression of Alzheimers plaques!)
Stay well hydrated to maintain alert cognition
Eat organically (studies show that pesticides increase Alzheimers Risk)
Avoid gluten (studies suggest that gluten is neurotoxic)
Drink coffee (clinically shown to reduce dementia rates)
Drink green tea (medically shown to boost memory!)
Treat any anxiety (studies show treating anxiety lengthens lifespan!)
Meditate regularly (medically proven to be brain protective!)
Stay active (daily walking is the key!)
By protecting your brain’s vasculature, decreasing inflammation, preventing stroke and treating high blood pressure, grounding your body might single-handedly be the best thing you can do to preserve brain function over a lifetime.
Grounding not only decreases blood inflammatory markers, decreases high blood pressure and dilates blood vessels so that blood reaches end organs (such as the brain!) more effectively, it also flows more smoothly. Blood viscosity is decreased, red blood cells stick together less, and the function of the heart (in particular, heart rate variability) is improved. That means more circulatory support for your brain!
High quality sleep is medically proven to protect brain function and poor quality sleep is associated with an increased risk of dementia. Melatonin naturally declines with age, so supplementing with melatonin if sleep depth and quality declines with age is an important way to protect and preserve brain function.
To a long and dementia free future, straight from the medical literature to you!
Share these with all of your loved ones… as we launch full force into 2018, supported in every way… mind body soul and cognition!!!!!
Keep all of your precious memories safely accessible and intact by focusing on brain health today, for a much more meaningful and fulfilling tomorrow.