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Your March Issue of Natural Alternatives Newsletter
March 01, 2024

Natural Holistic and Alternatives for Your Total Health

March 2024

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“The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” ~Hippocrates







By GMI Reporter
This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC

Over 5 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Another 10,000,000 suffer with severe dementia and Parkinson's. Even more struggle with age-related mild cognitive impairment. Here are 7 natural ways to defend your brain.

Alzheimer's disease affects about 5.3 million Americans. It's the leading cause of dementia and the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. And it's growing at an alarming rate. Already 13% of people over 65 have been diagnosed with the disease. An astounding 43% of those over the age of 85 are victims.

Alzheimer's has been called the defining disease of the boomer generation. Its victims are expected to triple by the year 2050.

In addition, it's estimated that 10,000,000 others suffer with severe dementia and Parkinson's disease.

But even if you escape these debilitating and life-threatening diseases, you may be among millions more who suffer from mild cognitive impairment (MCI or what is frequently called "age-related cognitive dysfunction") and normal "age-associated memory impairment." These conditions are what many of us have experienced as "senior moments." The symptoms include memory loss, as well as a decline in the ability to think and reason.

Some of these problems are a result of the natural aging of our brains. But others arise from poor nutrition and exposure to environmental toxins.

Drugs have shown little promise and serious side effects. But here are seven proven methods to keep your brain young and sharp.

1. Bacopa Boosts Cognition

Bacopa monnieri (L.) is a traditional herb used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. It is prescribed as a memory and learning enhancer, a sedative, and anti-epileptic. In Australia, it is a popular memory aid for people over 60 years old. 

Bacopa grows in the wet tropics and is also commonly known by its English name, water hyssop.

In a rigorous study published in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers found that Bacopa has positive effects on several measures of cognitive performance. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, they gave participants either 300 mg of Bacopa daily or a placebo pill. The subjects were 54 volunteers, 65 or older, without clinical signs of dementia. 

After 12 weeks, those taking Bacopa improved their delayed recall memory, their reaction times and their ability to ignore irrelevant information. Placebo recipients saw no change. 

In addition Bacopa recipients showed a decrease in heart rate, depression and anxiety while placebo recipients saw increases. Three other double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled studies support Bacopa's benefits in verbal learning abilities, delayed recall of word pairs, and age-associated memory impairment.

Bacopa's memory-enhancing effects have been attributed in part to saponins. Other ways Bacopa may work include its antioxidant effects, protein synthesis in the brain, and modulation of brain stress hormones.

Other studies show Bacopa extracts also ameliorate neurotoxic effects of nicotine and aluminum, and reduce β-amyloid plaque levels in animals.

2. Ginkgo Biloba Improves Memory

For years gingko biloba has been linked to memory improvement. It acts as a free radical scavenger, protecting neurons from oxidation. It also improves microcirculation in the brain and reduces platelet aggregation. 

Human studies show taking gingko biloba regularly can improve mental health, cognition, motor skills and quality of life.It's particularly helpful for memory loss, attention, alertness, vigilance, arousal and mental fluidity.

In 2005 researchers put gingko biloba up against Pfizer's $4 billion a year prescription drug donepezil (trade name Aricept) in a 24-week randomized, double-blind study. An extract of gingko biloba (160 mg per day) was found to be just as effective as the drug for mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease. The researchers concluded there were no relevant differences in the efficacy of gingko biloba and donepezil, and use of both substances can be justified.

In a more recent double-blind trial gingko biloba was found to be significantly better than placebo in improving cognitive function and behavioral symptoms in 400 patients with Alzheimer's disease or vascular dementia.

3. Tea, Wine and Chocolate Improve Thinking Skills

As we get older, a diet high in some flavonoid-rich foods may help with better thinking skills.   Researchers examined the relation between 3 common foods that contain flavonoids (chocolate, wine, and tea) and cognitive performance. They followed 2,031 participants aged 70 to 74 years from the Hordaland Health Study in Norway.

People who consumed chocolate, wine, or tea had significantly better scores on cognitive tests and lower rates of poor cognitive performance.

Those who ate all three foods had the best test scores and the lowest risks for poor test performance. The good results were dose dependent. The best performance maxed out at 10 grams per day of chocolate and 75-100 ml per day of wine. The effect was most pronounced for wine and modestly weaker for chocolate.

Other research shows that resveratrol, found in wine and chocolate, has the ability to neutralize the toxic effects of proteins linked to Alzheimer's disease.

In a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry researchers showed that resveratrol selectively targets and neutralizes clumps of peptides or proteins that are bad and have been linked to Alzheimer's, but leaves alone those that are benign.

Resveratrol is a chemical compound in plants that acts as an antibiotic to fight off both bacteria and fungus. Besides grapes and cacao, it is found in raspberries, mulberries, blueberries, and cranberries. It's also in peanuts, pine trees and Japanese knotweed, the source of most resveratrol supplements.

4. Antioxidants Decelerate Brain-Aging

It's clear that people eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables have fewer age-related diseases like Alzheimer's. Eating more high-antioxidant foods such as berries, Concord grapes, and walnuts may enhance cognitive and motor function in older people.

Studies show supplementing with fruit or vegetable extracts high in antioxidants (e.g. blueberries, strawberries, walnuts, and Concord grape juice) helps decrease the vulnerability to oxidative stress that occurs in aging. That can lead to improvements in behavior.

Fruits and vegetables can also enhance communication between neurons and decrease stress signals induced by oxidation and inflammation.

Other studies indicate that blueberry or Concord grape juice supplementation in humans with mild cognitive impairment increases verbal memory performance.

5. Intermittent Fasting Regenerates Brain

Overeating is a risk factor for many age-related diseases including cognitive impairment. 

Experimental models of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and stroke show that dietary restriction (reduced calorie intake) can beef up the resistance of neurons in the brain to dysfunction and death. 

How? Dietary restriction stimulates the expression of 'stress proteins' and neurotrophic factors. Neurotrophic factors may protect neurons by increasing production of proteins that suppress oxidation and free radicals. 

In addition, dietary restriction increases the number of newly-generated neural cells in the adult brain. In other words, it may increase the brain's capacity for plasticity and self-repair.

Researchers suggest that limiting calories may reduce both the incidence and severity of neurodegenerative disorders in humans.

Intermittent fasting is not as difficult as it sounds. It doesn't involve just drinking water. Most intermittent fasting plans cut calories to 25% of normal amounts. That's about 600 calories for men and 500 calories for women on one or two days of the week. 

6. Sleep Cleans Out Brain Toxins

A University of Oregon study shows middle-aged or older people who get six to nine hours of sleep a night think better than those sleeping either fewer or more hours.

Researchers used data involving more than 30,000 subjects in six countries. They found that individuals sleeping less than six hours and more than nine hours had significantly lower cognitive scores compared to those in the intermediate group. 

The researchers used five standard cognitive tests involving immediate recall of a list of words, delayed recall of those words later, forward and backward recall of long lists of numbers, and a verbal fluency test in which they listed as many animals as possible without repetition, the use of proper nouns or descriptors.

One reason a good night's sleep works is the brain's trash removal system. During sleep the brain works 10 times as hard to remove toxic proteins like the ones responsible for Alzheimer's damage. If you're not asleep, the brain can't get rid of plaques so easily.

7. Curcumin Clears Alzheimer's Plaques

The incidence of Alzheimer's among adults in India is about 4.4 times less than that of Americans.

Researchers in Singapore suggest the reason might be curry and the spice turmeric. They looked at curry consumption and brain performance in 1,010 Asians between 60 and 93 years of age. Those who ate curry occasionally (less than once a month) and often (more than once a month) performed better than those who rarely or never ate curry.

Over 30 studies in the GreenMedInfo data base deal with the promise of curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease. According to one study, turmeric showed remarkable results in Alzheimer patients in just three months. 

A 2006 UCLA study found curcumin may help clear the amyloid plaques found in Alzheimer's disease. One way it works is by boosting the work of macrophages. These cells in the immune system help the body fight foreign proteins.

Researchers took macrophages from the blood of Alzheimer's patients and healthy controls. They treated some of the macrophages with curcumin. The treated macrophages showed improved ingestion of the beta-amyloid proteins. The researchers concluded that curcumin may support the immune system to clear amyloid plaques.

And in animal studies low doses of curcumin led to 40% less beta-amyloid than in those not given the spice.

Studies indicate low doses of turmeric over a long period of time are most effective. That's a good reason to add turmeric to your daily diet. It's great in curry sauces, scrambled eggs, deviled eggs, mustard sauces or salad dressings.

There are many other natural ways to keep your brain young including coconut oil, ginger, B-vitamins, and saffron.





Silence can make us nervous thinking we need to fill the void, but there is immense strength in silence

All sounds, from a whisper to a classical symphony, arise out of silence and disappear into silence. But silence is always there beneath sound and is the space where sound can exist. We tend to think of silence as the absence of sound, but silence has its own weight and quality. When you listen to silence, you can perceive its intense depth and power.

Taking the time to experience silence calms the mind and rejuvenates the body. Silence is the void where we can hear the many sounds that we often ignore — the voice of our intuition telling us the truth, the sound of the breeze blowing, the hum of the radiator, and the noises we make just because we are alive.

One way to experience silence is to wake up before the rest of the world has come alive. Try not to move into activity, and leave off the lights, radio, and television. Sit still and simply listen. You may hear your heartbeat or your breath, but keep your attention tuned to the silence that surrounds you. Stay this way for as long as you can, and allow the sound of silence to penetrate your body until it moves into your core. Feel the gentle, pulsing waves of silence and allow it to cleanse you. Five minutes of communing with silence can leave you feeling vibrant and connected to the universe.

At night, choose a moment after everyone around you has retired and tune in to silence. You can also experience silence throughout the day. Even in the midst of activity, moments of silence are always present. Usually we ignore or feel nervous around silence and try to fill these moments with sound. Yet silence is always there — vast, potent, and available for us to step into any time we choose.

Learn about meditation for health

"The Secret of Health for Both Mind and Body is Not to Mourn For the Past, Worry About the Future, or Anticipate Troubles, But to Live in the Present Moment Wisely and Earnestly."  ~Gautam Buddha


By Alexandra Engler, mbg beauty director

Skin care is ever-evolving—with innovations developing at breakneck speed. While we love following along with these breakthroughs, we sure do love to revisit the classics. There are so many wonderful natural ingredients that have been used for decades due to the simple fact that they are effective. And in case you needed more proof—they also have loads of research to back them up.

For Dullness: Aloe Vera

Even if it's most famous for its role as a sunburn soother, aloe vera has been used for centuries for a range of skin care, health, and medicinal purposes. The reason it's so beloved is because it's chock-full of nutrients: Research shows that it contains more than 751 (and perhaps up to 2002) different active compounds, including vitamins, minerals, sugars, enzymes, salicylic acids, and amino acids.

To start: It's an excellent hydrator. The ingredient is a natural humectant, which means it attracts moisture to the skin. Research has shown it has the ability to increase the water content3 of the outermost layer of skin (called the stratum corneum). Although, it does not decrease transepidermal water loss, which points to its role as a humectant—rather than as an emollient or occlusive. (Read: The ingredient should be used alongside thicker botanicals such as shea butter, oat oil, coconut oil, and so on.) But we really love it for its brightening abilities. According to one study, one of the components of aloe (called aloesin) was found to be effective in treating UV-induced and post-acne hyperpigmentation4. Another study found that the topical application of aloesin can directly inhibit hyperpigmented skin from producing more melanin, the pigment that, when overproduced, causes dark spots to form.

For Dry Skin: Coconut Oil

There are more than a few reasons coconut oil is touted as a holy grail in natural skin care. First up: Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids that nourish and smooth the skin.

It's particularly helpful for those with dry skin, as coconut oil is super moisturizing: Research shows it can help increase moisture levels in the skin(it has an occlusive effect, meaning it seals in hydration), as well as improve skin barrier function—perhaps that's why those with eczema flares and psoriasis typically find it so skin-soothing.

For Inflammation & Aging: Green Tea 

Green tea is supercharged with polyphenols—an astonishing 30% polyphenol antioxidants by weight. The most notable of the bunch is the catechin epigallocatechin gallate(or EGCG), which research shows has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Studies found that topical application of polyphenols can help repair skin, protecting it from sun damage and even reversing signs of skin aging(like dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles). 

For Sensitive Skin: Oat Extracts

Considered one of the gold standards for sensitive skin, oat (in its many forms, such as colloidal oatmeal and oat oil) is beloved by derms and estheticians for its ability to soothe reactive skin. 

Colloidal oatmeal is so helpful, in fact, that it's earned approval as an FDA over-the-counter treatment as a skin protectant. Due to its high lipid and antioxidant content, colloidal oatmeal can help protect the skin barrierand even protect against oxidative stress. Colloidal oatmeal has many different nutrients within it, but some to note are vitamin E, avenanthramides (an active in oats that has major anti-inflammatory benefits), and ferulic acid. It's even a derm-recommended treatment for inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema.

Oat oil is another excellent extract. Not only is it conditioning for the skin, but it has been shown to improve ceramide production in the epidermis.

  For Oil-Control: Jojoba Oil 

Jojoba oil has become one of the most popular skin care ingredients, largely due to the discovery that its chemical makeup is actually pretty close structurally to our own natural oils.

It can reduce skin oiliness by modulating your skin's natural sebum production. And thanks to its high levels of iodine the oil balances bacteria overgrowth that can cause breakouts. 

Not for nothing, it's also rich in beauty-boosting ingredients like vitamin E, vitamin B complex, copper, and zinc. These nutrients give the oil its anti-inflammatory properties. 


Thank you for reading.


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