The brain is, in a way, a fantastically complicated machine.
The human mind is one of the most complex systems in the known universe, and like most things, it sometimes needs a little help to keep running smoothly. Just as we should change the oil and the brakes on your car, we can benefit greatly from regular maintenance on our bodies and minds as we age.
We all know it's important to schedule that oil change every 6 months to keep your engine happy — but keeping up regular maintenance for our brain health is even more important!
What can we do to keep our minds running at top speed as we age?
What happens when the brain ages?
Getting older is a fact of life we all face one day. It’s a fact for more and more of us every day — estimates suggests over a fifth of the population will be 65 or older by the year 2030(1).
Some research suggests certain parts of our body — for example, our ears — never stop growing(2). But this is not true of our brain. In fact, our brains actually shrink as we age. Simply put, our brains lose a little of two types of tissue as we get older: grey matter and white matter.
The outer layer of the brain, grey matter is responsible for controlling muscular and sensory activity. When you walk, write, eat, or do anything else, the grey matter in your brain allows your muscles to move in the ways they need to. Conversely, damaged grey matter can lead to reduced functionality of the corresponding muscle.
But the brain doesn’t just magically know how to move your legs to walk, or to bring your fork to your mouth. Something has to tell your brain to do these things — your brain reacts to sensory inputs. This is where the inner layer of white matter comes into play: it allows signals to travel to where they need to go faster, which allows your brain and body to respond more quickly. And the less white matter, the slower the signals travel, which means your response to a stimulus is delayed.
Is this "cognitive slowdown" inevitable?
Probably not. Research suggests if you’re older and healthy, your brain is likely still adaptable enough to respond to strategies to prevent cognitive decline(3). It seems the saying "you can’t teach an old dog new tricks" is just a silly urban legend — the human brain is remarkably adaptable, even at an older age.
One important caveat here is that the jury appears to be out on whether these effects can be reversed. Instead, the best strategy is to be proactive — to focus on preventative actions.
What can we do to prevent cognitive slowdown?
Now that you know it’s possible to mitigate age-related slowdown, you’d probably like to know how to do so. Scientific research has a few suggestions. This is a topic of great interest to the scientific community, and it’s been studied at length, with promising results.
Meta-analysis of numerous experiments suggests exercise may be a promising way to fight cognitive decline(4). Indeed, exercise seems to be a promising weapon against age-related cognitive decline.
Specifically, aerobic exercise has been found to potentially slow cognitive impairment and even reduce risk of dementia(5). Aerobic exercise comes in many forms; walking your dog, swimming, and playing tennis are just a few options that can easily find their way into most lifestyles. And yes, something as simple as walking has been shown promising(6).Diet
Exercise, while a great addition to any lifestyle, is not the only strategy that shows promise. Another weapon against cognitive decline may be simply a Mediterranean diet(6), which consists of relatively limited red meat, moderate dairy intake, and frequent fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats, and various sources of protein such as poultry and fish. At this point, you may have noticed a pattern emerging — exercise and a healthy diet aren’t just good for the body — they’re also good for the mind.
There is one more option that’s even simpler than incorporating exercise into your schedule or changing your diet: supplements. Research suggests antioxidant vitamins may help delay cognitive decline(7). Antioxidants can be found in several different vitamin supplements on the market, including Liposomal Vitamin C and Liposomal CoQ10.
Vitamin C has shown to help support your immune and nervous system functions. But it is also water-soluble vitamin, meaning it can be really difficult for your body to absorb. Studies show that with most pill or powder forms Vitamin C you are only absorbing up to 20% of what you take. The liposomal technology used to make Manna increases the amount of Vitamin C that the body can absorb by acting as a protective barrier against stomach acids in the digestive process.
CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that your body produces naturally to aid in immune responses, energy production, growth, and cell maintenance.* Over time, your body produces less CoQ10, which has been linked to physical fatigue, muscle weakness, and chronic disease.* CoQ10 has a slow and limited absorption time, meaning that your body either needs a massive dose or a highly effective delivery method to get the daily recommended amount.
Of all the potential tools to combat slowing cognition, this method is exceptionally simple and could possibly make the largest impact.
The bottom line
While getting older is unavoidable, the associated 'slowdown' might not be. There are habits you can adopt right now that, among other benefits, may help keep your brain in shape in the long run. You wouldn’t let your lawn go unwatered or your car go without oil — your body and brain deserve the same treatment.