The Most Important Principles for Staying Young: YOU Can Win The Jackpot!

21 Jul

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing.  You get a do over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course in what to do so it becomes easy for you and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the quality and length of your life.

This month, we want to discuss My Feeling About the DHA-Omega-3 Jackpot. (By the way, check out my new book, This is YOUR Do-Over: The Seven Secrets to Losing Weight, Living Longer, And Getting A Second Chance at the Life You Want (shameless plug—you can order it here) .  You can send us questions anytime to youdocs@gmail.com, just put the phrase “Question for Dr Mike Roizen to answer” in the subject line, and I’ll try to get to it.)

In October 2015, a group of eleven women working together at the Canada Post won a nine million dollar lotto jackpot.  And when your author learned that 900 mg of DHA a day can make one’s memory six years younger and maybe even protect you from sugar binges, all of us won a jackpot without even buying a ticket. If you read my articles even occasionally, you probably know my feeling about sugar being a trigger for brain dysfunction.

Sugar for the slightly and very diseased brain is like cocaine—short-term increases in sugar levels in blood and in the brain improve brain function (more sugar in damaged cells temporarily improves function—as sugar or insulin through the upper plate in the nose do for Alzheimer’s patients, and even substances that decrease the blood brain barrier like saturated fats help this temporarily). But chronically (even over a two-week period in humans) slightly raised sugar levels—even if you don’t have diabetes or prediabetes—will decrease your memory. That excess blood glucose you get from a sugar donut (made worse by the saturated fat in it)—you can substitute any sugar laden food here—damages brain cells.

In one study, people had their sugar levels tested and were asked to memorize 15 words, then repeat them a half-hour later. Those with higher levels of blood sugar (chronically elevated) remembered, on average, two fewer words. Higher blood sugar is linked to a smaller hippocampus, which means poorer ability to form and store new memories. The same thing (or at least its rat equivalent) occurs when rodents were fed the equivalent of a liter of sugared soda a day.

The rats that got the sugar in their diet took twice as long to run mazes and learned them much slower. But there is some good news here (don’t skip ahead). These decreases in learning new memories were associated with a large number of changes in gene function as sugar changed the “C” function (cytosol) of the DNA making it less visible to protein manufacturing.

No matter if that is the cause, the decrease in ability to learn and store memories and the gene changes were prevented if the rats were given the equivalent of 900mg of DHA-omega-3 a day (conflict of interest note: I did chair the scientific advisory board of a company that made DHA-Omega-3 from algae; I no longer do so. Algae are where the fish get DHA-Omega-3 from, as like us, fish generally do not make it themselves).

Now we do not know if these gene effects are why sugar is bad, or DHA-Omega-3 fat is beneficial for memory because of its gene effects (that specific part of fish oil that reversed the effect). But we have known for several years from randomized studies in individuals who were 55 to 75 years of age and had started to lose their memory that 900mg of DHA a day made their memory forming and brain speed about six years younger. Additionally, a recent study also showed that consuming a little fish each week can lower one’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. So, take 900 mg of DHA-Omega-3 a day from either supplements or by consuming 18 ounces of salmon or ocean trout a week (the only fish with predictable amounts of DHA in the USA) to protect your brain and keep it young.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to send questions—to youdocs@gmail.com, and some of them we may know enough to answer (we’ll try to get answers for you if we do not know).

Young Dr Mike Roizen (aka, The Enforcer)

 

 NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice. This article is of the opinion of its author. Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.

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