Boost your brain starting TODAY with three natural ingredients
Mainstream medicine and big pharma are in the dark winter of our discontent when it comes to dementia.
They want us to believe that spending billions of dollars chasing their failed theories and drugs will eventually yield some real clues—and hopefully, some real cures.
But dementia is the prototypical disease of old age. Which means we have precious little time to keep waiting around for them.
The good news is that natural approaches to preventing and reversing dementia are readily available. The research is already on record and more is continuously coming out—leading to better and better dietary supplement ingredient solutions.
Of course, big pharma doesn’t want you to know this. Because, like I’m always telling you, improving people’s health isn’t really top of mind for them. Rather, they focus solely on cashing in on one of their futile dementia drugs.
Which is why I’m so devoted to telling you the truth.
In fact, this month I’m presenting the latest highlights of current research showing the brain benefits of three natural nutrients.
So, let’s dive right in…starting with one of my favorite kitchen spices.
Curcumin for brain health
Turmeric is an ingredient in popular curry spices, and curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. For centuries, turmeric/curcumin has been used in India’s Ayurvedic medicine as a remedy for lung issues, fatigue, joint pain, and arthritis.
In modern times, studies show that curcumin is effective for lowering risk of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic, age-related diseases. It’s also a superstar for brain health, having been shown in multiple studies to help fight depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
But mainstream researchers, not content with simply accepting the Ayurvedic evidence for turmeric and curcumin’s disease-fighting effectiveness, debate the “mechanism of action”—that is, how curcumin works in the body and brain.
What they’ve found through lab studies is that curcumin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. So, the idea that this spice works by reducing inflammation makes sense—because chronic inflammation lurks behind many chronic diseases, including dementia. (And for joint health, reducing inflammation allows the tissues of the joints to naturally repair and rebuild).
But scientists hadn’t been able to figure out how curcumin gets out of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract into the bloodstream, and to the brain—a concept known as bioavailability. So, over the years, there has been concern that curcumin is somehow not really bioavailable.
Which is somewhat ridiculous, in my view, when you consider all of the studies on a billion people in India that showed remarkable brain benefits from simply eating curry with turmeric/curcumin as a food ingredient.
Not to mention, the term “bioavailability” is most often used to describe the action of drugs.
But suddenly, the natural products industry has discovered the old science of bioavailability from pharmacology. And that’s fine, but their discussions overlook the basic concept that natural products are not drugs. And thus shouldn’t be expected to act like drugs.
Biome-availability is what truly matters
So, what should we be focusing on instead? Well, I recently read a presentation about a new, high-tech, bioavailable curcumin ingredient. The manufacturers argued, with some merit, that their formulation is top-notch because it’s better absorbed into the bloodstream and then across the blood-brain barrier into the brain itself. (This barrier protects sensitive brain cells and tissues from potentially harmful constituents that get into the blood.)
But what’s missing from this bioavailability argument is that natural ingredients also act directly inside the GI tract before they ever get into the blood, let alone cross the blood-brain barrier.
Meaning natural substances like curcumin work directly on the all-important probiotics that make up your GI microbiome. And this microbiome is already directly wired to the brain and the rest of the body—naturally. So a natural remedy actually doesn’t need to go beyond the GI tract to be effective after all.
It’s what I call “biome-availability.” And it’s part of the really new science we need to understand to fully appreciate why natural remedies like curcumin are so safe and effective.
Why curcumin’s biome-availability is important
Biome-availability means that a substance doesn’t necessarily need only to be absorbed into your blood to help fight disease. In fact, your body and brain are safest when remedies don’t have to cross the blood-brain barrier to be immediately effective.
It’s actually best when these natural substances are able to get to work right away through the physiological wiring already in place between your gut, your body, and your brain. (Otherwise known as the remarkable gut-brain axis.)
Unlike drugs, which skip the important “gut” part of the gut-brain axis (and access), curcumin offers a double health benefit. It goes to work right in the GI tract, and then it works in the blood and in the brain.
A recent double-blind clinical study offers more evidence: Scientists from UCLA (which is a leader in AD research) gathered 40 men and women, ages 50 to 90, with mild memory issues, but without dementia.1
The participants were given either 90 grams of curcumin or a placebo twice a day for 18 months. All participants completed cognitive function tests at the beginning of the study and then every six months, as well as blood tests to monitor their levels of curcumin.
Among those taking curcumin, memory improved by 28 percent over the course of 18 months. There were also mild improvements in mood.
Plus, brain scans of the curcumin group showed fewer signs of amyloid and tau proteins, which have been associated with AD. (Though I personally think the research shows these are waste byproducts that may incidentally occur in parallel with the same processes that produce dementia—and thus can also decline when dementia is reversed).
You can achieve these results by simply eating turmeric, but not everyone likes the taste of food that’s sufficiently “curried” to get the right doses. That’s why I recommend 400 mg of high-quality turmeric extract per day.
The little blue berry that boosts your brainpower
Over the years, I’ve shared numerous studies showing the benefits of blueberries for cognitive function and memory.
While concerns about dementia focus on long-term memory issues, some studies show that blueberries have immediate benefits for memory. In fact, the illusory search for a “smart pill” that can be taken to enhance brainpower on the spot may be no further away than a handful of these little blue berries…
A recent study not only confirms that blueberries benefit the brain, but it was also the first to show their specific connection to improving brain blood flow.2
This is key because better blood flow to the brain means more oxygen, glucose, and nutrients to brain cells. That helps the brain perform better, and also protects the sensitive brain tissue from inflammation and oxidation.
Meanwhile, diminished blood flow to the brain is a cause of stroke, cognitive impairment, and degenerative disorders of the brain like dementia.
For this new study, researchers in the U.K. gave a group of adults, average age of 68, either a blueberry extract or a placebo for two weeks. Then they conducted cognitive evaluations while the participants were undergoing MRI brain scans—allowing the researchers to see how certain brain centers behaved at the exact moment when people were taking the cognitive tests.
Results showed that the blueberry extract group had increased activity in the brain. They also had more blood flow in grey-matter areas and the occipital lobe at the rear of the brain. These areas are where sensory, tactile, and visual information is processed.
The blueberry group also had improved working memory, which has to do with retaining temporary information, like a grocery shopping list, and decision making.
A brain booster for the ages
Other research shows blueberries have cognitive benefits no matter what your age.
In one study, older men and women who drank wild blueberry juice daily for 12 weeks had significant improvements in learning and memory.3
And a study in children ages 7 to 10 showed that blueberries are fast acting in the brain.4 The children were divided into two groups: One group was given a placebo drink, and the other group was given a drink made with blueberry extract.
Compared with the placebo group, the blueberry group had significant cognitive benefits just 75 minutes after consuming the drink, as well as three hours and six hours after consumption.
The bottom line is that blueberries show both short-term and long-term brain benefits. And they’re simple to add to your everyday diet.
When they’re in season, there are few things more delicious than a handful of wild blueberries. You can find them at your local farmer’s market, or they’re also easy to grow yourself! Simply get a small bush at your local nursey or grocer this upcoming spring (after the last frost). But when they’re out of season, like now, you can make smoothies and other tasty drinks with blueberry powder.
Or, even simpler, you can take a daily blueberry supplement. I recommend finding a polyphenol extract that combines blueberries and grapes, for a total of 600 mg daily.
How a glass of wine can prevent dementia
Blueberries aren’t the only fruits with brain benefits. In fact, research shows an extract of grape seeds can reduce cognitive impairment in mice genetically modified to develop a brain condition similar to AD.5
Researchers gave the pre-symptomatic mice either a placebo or an extract of grape seeds with multiple plant phenols. These are naturally occurring compounds found in certain fruits and vegetables, chocolate, and wine.
After five months, the mice were at an age when they would be expected to develop the signs of AD.
But instead, the mice given grape seed extract had reduced cognitive decline and improved spatial memory, compared with the mice given the placebo.
And while further research is needed—especially in humans—this is an exciting finding. It shows that grape seed may actually prevent or slow the cognitive decline associated with AD.
Plus, there has already been research on how moderate consumption of red wine, with its natural grape compounds, shows many health benefits in humans—including for the brain. And previous research by the team that did the grape seed study showed that red wine also reduced cognitive decline in the Alzheimer’s mice.
Why you need all of grape seed’s compounds
There are nearly 5,000 different biomolecules contained in red wine (now, that’s some kind of bouquet). Out of these, people tend to get most excited about one called resveratrol. But I’ve always found this to be short-sighted, as resveratrol only tends to be effective at high doses.
Plus, as with any other botanical, grape seed’s health benefits come from the synergy of all of its compounds. Isolating one so-called “key” compound like resveratrol is how drugs work—and we all know that drugs don’t work very well…especially for AD and other forms of dementia.
That’s why I recommend sticking with a glass or two of red wine a day, or supplementing with the 600 mg of grape seed extract I mentioned previously. That way, you’ll be sure to get all of grape seed’s brain-boosting benefits.
And there you have it! Three ingredients—backed by good, solid science—that can help boost your brain health: turmeric (curcumin), wild blueberry extract, and grape extract. Plus, incorporating them into your daily diet is much easier than you may think.
To learn more, search for a blend of these three ingredients on my website, www.DrMicozzi.com.
Two simple tests to rule out dementia
Let’s be honest: We’ve all had “senior moments.” And that can create fear that you’re “coming down with” dementia or AD. So, with all of the distractions, overstimulation, and upsets of our modern world, how can you tell if a bout of forgetfulness is a temporary mental overload, or something more serious—and permanent?
Fortunately, new research reveals that two five-minute screening tests for people with mild memory problems may not only rule out your chances of getting dementia now, but also for years into the future.
Plus, these tests are a lot better, less costly, and less dangerous than traditional AD tests—like PET scans or puncturing the spinal canal to get fluid for analysis of biomarkers.
The tests are called the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test and the Blessed Orientation Memory Concentration Test. Researchers administered them to nearly 750 older men and women with mild cognitive impairment, and then tracked the study participants for four years.6
During this follow-up period, 101 of the participants developed AD, and another eight developed another type of dementia.
But the researchers also found that a whopping 97 percent of the people who performed well on both tests didn’t get dementia during the four-year follow-up period. Meaning that the tests were highly accurate in not only predicting current incidences of dementia, but also in predicting future risk of developing the disease.
These two simple tests can be done by primary care doctors right in their medical offices, without the need and expense for medical specialists. So if you’re concerned about memory issues, consider asking your doctor about them today.
1“Memory and Brain Amyloid and Tau Effects of a Bioavailable Form of Curcumin in Non-Demented Adults: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled 18-Month Trial.” Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2018 Mar;26(3):266-277.
2“Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation.” Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2017;42(7):773-9.
3“Blueberry supplementation improves memory in older adults.” J Agric Food Chem. 2010;58(7):3996-4000.
4“Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.” Eur J Nutr. 2016;55(6):2151-62.
5“Grape-derived polyphenolics prevent Aß oligomerization and attenuate cognitive deterioration in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.” Journal of Neuroscience. 2008;28(25);6388–6392.
6“Intact global cognitive and olfactory ability predicts lack of transition to dementia.” Alzheimers Dement. 2019 Oct 23. pii: S1552-5260(19)35374-9.