Help Your Brain in Multiple Ways

Keeping Your Mind Healthy as You Age

SPECT scans of NFL Football Player's Brain After Losing 110 lbs.. Daniel Amen, MD

Your brain gets sick and ages in many different ways, but that's exactly how to get it better—by using multiple interventions that target processes like inflammation, blood flow, gut health, blood sugar levels, and more.  Single mechanism interventions, such as just taking ginkgo or vitamin E by themselves have not consistently worked in large scale studies. But when we use smart combinations, in a multiple mechanism approach, they are much more effective.

For example, with my patients, I often use:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids to decrease inflammation and improve mood
  • Ginkgo to boost blood flow and memory
  • Probiotics to support gut health … because your gut and your brain are totally connected
  • Alpha lipoic acid to help stabilize blood sugar levels and protect against nerve cell damage and
  • B vitamins and phosphatidylserine for nutrient loading and energy

The science behind using natural supplements grows stronger every year, but we must stop looking for single bullet treatments and instead help the brain in all of the ways it struggles. This multiple-mechanism approach is what we used in our published brain rehabilitation study with football players, and it’s what we use to help the people who come to our clinics.   

In thousands of cases, using our method, we have seen that you can improve brain function, even if you have been really bad to your brain. My colleagues and I at Amen Clinics did the world’s first and largest brain imaging study on active and retired NFL players, where we saw high levels of damage; that was not a surprise.

  All of the news about concussions in sports has been bad, and reveals an increased incidence of depression, suicide, domestic violence, and dementia, among those who have sustained repeated concussions.

But what really excited us about our work with football players and presented in a published scientific study, was that on the “brain smart” program we gave them, 80 percent showed high levels of improvement, especially in:

  • brain activity
  • memory
  • attention
  • sleep
  • mood

When I was in medical school, we were taught that the brain doesn’t heal.  But now we know that was wrong. If you put the brain in a healing environment, oftentimes it can get better—much better—but it requires forethought and a great plan. And a great plan is not just for football players!

By using individualized, multi-dimensional treatments plan, we have seen improvement in brain function for addicts, people with ADD, and even people with dementia. And our group at Amen Clinics is not the only one showing the brain’s incredible power to heal. 

Dr. Dale Bredesen from UCLA published a paper on 10 patients with Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment, the precursor to Alzheimer’s. On a “brain rehabilitation” program, much like the one I am giving you in this series, over the course of six months, nine of the 10 patients were improved; six of them actually went back to work or continued working. 

When you do the right things, your brain and your mind can show amazing progress.


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