As women age, memory loss is a nearly universal experience, and more significant for some than others. Misplacing papers and mail, searching for lost keys, forgetting names of persons, movies, and books are just a few of the examples I hear quite often in my practice. Although age-related memory loss affects both genders, research indicates that cognitive support is particularly critical for women. This is due to the loss of a critical protective hormone – estrogen. In the brain, estrogen ensures that neurons (brain cells) stay healthy. It supports cell survival, regeneration, and efficient communication with other neurons. Estrogen helps the brain acquire and store information and to adapt to change.
Progesterone is also a key player and significantly declines with the onset of peri-menopause and menopause. It can impact a woman’s ability to multi-task, remain calm, overall mood, sleep, bone health, and so much more. Both estrogens and progesterone levels need to be assessed through blood work along with testosterone (free & total), sex hormone binding globulin, DHEA-S, AM cortisol, Vitamin D3, and a RBC omega fatty acid profile.
And it isn’t just brain fog, forgetfulness, and loss of mental clarity. Many women suffer from a variety of symptoms with the onset of peri-menopause and menopause. They can experience a range of symptoms including: hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, digestive issues, fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, and low libido at this stage of life and beyond. Fortunately, with diet and lifestyle changes, you can be proactive in alleviating many of these symptoms as well as maintain brain health and cognitive performance, regardless of age.
Diet and lifestyle modifications
- Eat organic, whole foods, emphasizing a wide variety of vegetables, including root vegetables
- Reduce exposure to antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, artificial colors and flavors, and high-fructose corn syrup
- Eat a diet high in fiber, low in refined carbohydrates, and free of common allergens (soy, wheat, eggs, peanuts and dairy) to reduce stress on the digestive tract and the immune system
- Include lean meats from free-range, grass fed animals as sources of high-quality protein
- Maintain adequate fluid intake to facilitate the action of the fiber
- Avoid environmental toxins as much as possible
- Walk 10,000 steps daily and sit as little as possible
- Stimulate your brain by learning new things and by challenging yourself
Black Cohosh, Vitex Agnus Castus, Angelica Sinensis when used appropriately (right form, quality, and when you take them), these impressive plant based medicines can all be major players in helping women restore healthy and balanced hormone levels thus alleviating a LOT of menopausal symptoms.
Natural (bio-identical) progesterone even in over-the-counter amounts can make a profound difference in how women feel. Many times it can act quickly to improve sleep, mood, anxiety, regulate cycles (if peri-menopausal), brain function, and the ability to feel calm and multi-task. You may also want to seek out CBD if you are looking for an alternative remedy that has the same effect; this post from CBD queen is really useful if you want to learn more.
Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil support learning and memory, neuronal communication and energy metabolism in the brain
Bacopa monierii is an Ayurvedic herb that supports mental acuity, memory, relaxation and cognitive function under stress
Rhodiola rosea is an herb with neuroprotective and calming properties. Studies show it also supports mental performance
Ginkgo biloba helps with mild memory problems associated with aging
Acetyl-L-carnitine supports energy production in the brain. It also supports the production of a key neurotransmitter called acetylcholine
Phosphatidylserine promotes healthy neurotransmitter levels and spatial memory
Curcumin, resveratrol, and lemon balm help protect neurons from oxidative stress. Although menopause is inevitable for all women, memory loss does not have to be. A comprehensive diet and lifestyle approach is the best way to help maintain brain health and maximize your cognitive performance at any age. Luckily, there are a number of things that could be used to try and reduce oxidative stress. For example, C60 Purple Power has options for people struggling with this type of stress. Their coconut oil is believed to protect people from aging and cellular damage by reducing any oxidative stress. However, there are a number of other products online too that may be of use.
Please call us at 913-333-8798 to set up an appointment (in-office, telemedicine, or phone) or if you need more information consider a FREE 15 minute consultation with Dr Brown. You can schedule this yourself by clicking on the FREE -15 minute link or text/call 913-333-8798 or email [email protected]