Take 20 to 30 years off your brain’s age

On National Public Radio (NPR) the other day, I heard scientists regurgitate more “mindless” propaganda about the latest “Decade of the Brain.” They promised we would finally “solve” serious brain diseases with this initiative. (After giving them a lot more taxpayer-funded research money, of course.)

These scientists seemed truly excited and hopeful about chasing after the same old, failed approaches. In fact, they may be the only ones for whom the proverbial “tin cup” really seems to be working.

In a moment, I will tell you how you can put your own cup to good use…with a steaming cup of hot cocoa. In fact, new research shows flavanols found in dark cocoa may help take 20 to 30 years off your brain’s age.

But first let’s back up…

As I’ve told you before, the Obama administration’s current brain initiative is actually the second “Decade of the Brain.”

The first initiative was announced more than 20 years ago at a big government event I attended in Washington, D.C. At that event, some government PR hot shots claimed we would “conquer” brain and neurological diseases over the next 10 years. And they proudly proclaimed massive increases in spending on research for brain and nervous system illnesses.

Of course, their return on that massive investment was extremely poor. Today, the mainstream has no better methods for treating, or even figuring out, the real causes of diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, or multiple sclerosis (MS).

But perhaps few people left in D.C. could actually remember those earlier failures from 20 years ago. So they felt the time was right to convince a whole new set of politicians to fund their second try.

(To learn more about the first, failed “Decade of the Brain,” and natural alternatives that do work, subscribers to my Insiders’ Cures newsletter can refer to their November 2014 issue. If you’re not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to get started.)

Back to the NPR radio program, those propagandizing scientists, and the current initiative…

In all the excited talk about researching new technologies, they spoke nary a word about natural approaches. It seems that the increasing evidence for the ability of foods and nutrients to prevent and treat dementia is not even on their radar screen…or brain-imaging screen.

By contrast, I’m always on the lookout for safe and effective natural approaches for preventing and even treating Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Earlier this year, I told you about a startling, new AD study largely ignored by the mainstream press. For this study, researchers compared 2,000 IU daily of vitamin E to a drug commonly prescribed to treat moderate-to-severe AD patients. And the vitamin completely outperformed the drug!

Interestingly, only the vitamin E group showed improvements. The drug did nothing. And the combination drug+vitamin E did nothing. Turns out, the drug may actually interfere with how the body metabolizes vitamin E, so it cancels out the vitamin’s beneficial effects.

You may think that a dose of 2,000 IU a day of vitamin E sounds surprisingly large. But we have to take into account the government’s pathetically inadequate RDAs and the FDA’s confusion about just what constitutes vitamin E in the first place.

All this, together with some thoughtful questions from readers, has made me think about revising my recommendations for daily vitamin E upward. I will tell you more about my vitamin E recommendations in my Insiders’ Cures newsletter.

But in the meantime, make sure to eat plenty of foods with vitamin E, such as spinach, almonds, roasted sunflower seed, avocadoes, and fish. Plus, the new study shows one delicious holiday treat may help you shed years off your brain’s age.

For this new study, researchers formulated a raw cocoa drink that contains powerful flavanols. Next, they recruited 37 healthy participants between 50 and 69 years and randomly divided the participants into two groups. The first group received a high-flavanol diet of 900 mg per day. The second group received a low-flavanol diet of only 10 mg per day.

Before and after the three-month study, researchers took brain scans of the participants to assess activity of the dentate gyrus, an area in the brain important in age-related memory loss. The participants also completed well-established versions of standard memory tests.

The high-flavanol group showed significant improvements in memory. In fact, after just three months, someone with the typical memory of a 60-year-old improved his or her memory to that of a typical 30-to-40-year-old.

In recent Daily Dispatches, I reminded you about the many active ingredients–such as flavonoids–found in cacao (dark chocolate). Of course, the researchers knew of the many benefits of cacao and made their drink using it. But they pointed out that you can find these flavanols in many other foods too, including coffee, tea, fruits, and vegetables.

Of course, the Alzheimer’s Association (AA) quickly chimed in, warning that you would not find such a high concentrations of flavonoids in the typical chocolate products sold at the supermarket. Indeed, most processed milk chocolate products on the market don’t contain these beneficial flavanols. That’s why I always recommend dark chocolate, the darker the better, which does have higher flavanol content.

The researchers of the current study used a process developed by the candy company Mars Inc. that specifically preserves and isolates the flavanol in powder form before mixing it into milk or water for consumption.

Indeed, the whole point of scientifically formulating dietary supplements is that we learn about the most active and potent doses of natural constituents from foods and then make them in the lab for consumers. The science-based natural products industry uses this standard approach.

In other words, when you can’t eat enough of a food to get optimal doses of certain nutrients, you can take a dietary supplement. In this way, it’s the best of science and the best of nature.

Overall, don’t put much stock into the Alzheimer’s Association’s comments…

It recently discounted another great study showing the remarkable benefits of vitamin D for dementia. Although the levels of vitamin D that showed benefits were completely safe, the “experts” at AA cautioned consumers against taking vitamin D supplements because of one study (years ago, long since debunked) that showed increased vitamin E might be associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

It makes no sense. What does a study on vitamin E have to do with a study on vitamin D?

Perhaps this kind of comment was meant to be an object lesson about the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease itself.

Only an illogical, confused scientist would think you could apply the results of a vitamin E study to a completely separate vitamin D study. And it also shows loss of short-term memory. They recalled an old study about a vitamin E risk. But they didn’t recall the more recent studies that disproved the risk! Nor did they seem to know about the remarkable new vitamin E/AD drug study I mentioned earlier.

I am beginning to think the AA is as bad as–or worse than–all the other “disease of the month clubs.” They disregard the actual science. And they cheerlead for more drugs and high-tech “solutions.”

Who needs any of it when you can find solutions in your foods and proven, scientifically formulated dietary supplements? These powerful brain remedies incur a fraction of the cost and time. And we may not need a second or even a third “Decade of the Brain” to get there. But don’t count on the government-industrial-medical crowd to come up with real solutions.

On Friday, I’ll tell you about another effective and natural approach to preventing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. I hope you have your nutcracker out on the mantel. You might want to keep it handy for this natural dementia buster.


  1. Enhancing dentate gyrus function with dietary flavanols improves cognition in older adults, Nature Neuroscience, published online 10/26/2014