How to Keep Your Brain Healthy



so over the last goodness thirty years I've learned one big lesson and that is you are not stuck with the brain you have you can make it better and I can prove it some of you've seen me on television with my beautiful wife Tana and when Tana and I first met 12 years ago one of the first sort of crises in her life was her father was just diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and David had been a pastor and a seminar leader and 10 had actually been estranged from him and she and her sisters were very anxious they didn't know what to do and I knew what to do and this is a secret if you want to get a beautiful woman to fall in love with you do something really nice for someone they love and so I'm like you need to bring them to the clinic and Costa Mesa and so when I scan David so that's what we do at Amen Clinics it's different than anywhere else in the world I'm like you can't diagnose Alzheimer's disease unless you get a functional imaging study well the image on the left is a healthy specs can SPECT as the study we do at Amen Clinics the image on the right is what a typical Alzheimer's patient looks like the back half of the brain is dying and the problem with this is this pattern actually happens in your brain decades before you have any symptoms so when you can't find your way home that's not early in the illness it's late and so that's why I advocate people get screened if you have Alzheimer's disease in your family you should get scanned when you're 40 you want to know early early not late so when I heard what was going on with David he was a recluse he wouldn't come out of his ro he was on multiple medications my thought is I have to see him and so one of the first things we do is we scanned him and so Alzheimers on the Left David is on the right David doesn't have Alzheimer's David ended up having this very interesting disorder called pseudo dementia which means you're seriously depressed but it shows up like you have memory problems isn't that interesting and I took him off all of his medication and on the treatment plan I'm going to share with you within three months he's energetic his memories back he's beginning to live independently and seven months later he taught an all-day seminar at Mariners Church in Newport Beach I mean it's just a stunning reversal and so many people who are diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's disease have something that is potentially treatable when most of the doctors go I'm sorry you should get your affairs in order and then they actually will put them in a place a long-term care facility and let them choose their own food which is just the dumbest thing because you know a lot of you have troubled making the right decisions with a reasonably healthy brain take a demented person and give them a menu that's a really dumb idea because high sugar foods and foods that turn to sugar accelerate memory loss so anyways Tana became a huge fan of our work which made me really happy here's the secret this is what the course is built on memory rescue is based on one very simple idea if you want to strengthen your memory or get it back if you think it's headed to the dark place you have to prevent or treat the eleven major risk factors that steal your mind and in the book I go into it in great detail I'm gonna give you some of the highlights here and what really excites me about this is almost all the risk factors are preventable or treatable no matter what your age if you four or 14 or 24 or 40 or 60 you should be on an Alzheimer's prevention program do you know why if you're fortunate to live until you're 85 and I'm completely planning on it you have a one in two chance of having lost your mind you have a 50% risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia if you're fortunate enough to have lived until you're 85 we have to take this bad boy seriously and so in the book because it's memory I came up with a memory device and mnemonic called bright minds and bright minds will help you understand the big risk factors to steal your mind and so I'm gonna go through each of them quickly B is for blood flow low blood flow is the number one brain imaging predictor of Alzheimer's disease anything that decreases blood flow to your brain prematurely ages your brain and puts you at risk for memory problems so what are those things caffeine constricts blood flow to the brain nicotine powerfully constricts blood flow to the brain if you have hypertension as blood pressure goes up blood flow to the brain goes down and actually makes your brain smaller it's a bad thing brain is the only organ where size matters right there's no other organ in your body where size matters heart disease not exercising having erectile dysfunction because it's about blood flow right if you have blood flow problems anywhere it likely means they are every where and so you have to treat all of the risk factors and the simple things ginko love the supplement ginkgo why because the prettiest brains I ever see or people take income increases blood flow to the brain and exercise especially coordination exercises so at low blood flow number one brain imaging predictor of Alzheimer's disease you don't want that that's why you want to park far away whenever you go to the store and walk and it's why wear my Fitbit because I have an idea I'm helping my brain or I'm hurting my brain retirement and aging is another major risk factor when you stop learning that's why this conference is so important to you when you stop learning your brain starts dying your brain actually starts to disconnect itself the older you get the more serious you need to be about your health you just have less margin for error and a lot of people go well I'm 14 my memories no good that's normal it's like no it's because you have bad habits I'm 50 and my memories no good that's normal it's like no you have bad habits or I'm 70 in my memories no good that's normal it's common but it's because you have bad habits so the older you get the more serious you need to be so here's the scan of somebody who's 35 and 55 and these are what we would think of typical and here's 82 is really awful but my grandmother was obsessed with crossword puzzles and doing the right thing and 92 this is my grandma's and so she passed on the obsession about doing the right thing and the one little secret she had she crocheted I don't know if any of you had grandmother's that crocheted but she must have made hundreds of blankets over the years for us but it's that little motor movement with knitting in crocheted that works your cerebellum at the back bottom part of your brain which is like your brains processor and that completely flips everything else on coordination exercises are great for the brain the eye and bright minds is for inflammation which comes from the Latin word to set a fire when you have high levels of inflammation in your body it's like you have a low level fire that's destroying your organs now how do you know you have joint pain or you have muscle pain or you do these blood tests called c-reactive protein it's a measure of inflammation or you have a low mega 3 fatty acid index we did a study on 50 consecutive patients who came Damon Clinics 49 of them had suboptimal levels it horrified me and it's because we either not eating enough fish or not taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements and because all the toxins in the fish here to see T is for toxins I actually recommend people take a high quality omega-3 fatty acid fish oil supplement every day so for my patients you should take a multiple vitamin because it helps you mind the gap and a high quality omega-3 fatty acid supplement every day the other thing with inflammation is gut health some of you probably heard about leaky gut it is one of the major causes of inflammation so getting your food right taking a probiotic can be incredibly helpful the G in bright minds which is really interesting is genetics and when I was in medical school we had this idea well it's your genes that are causing diabetes or it's your genes that are causing Alzheimer's disease or it's your genes that are causing you to need glasses and what we learned which is really different is it's not just your genes it's your habits that turn on or off certain genes that make illness more or less likely in you but also your babies and your grandbabies so you are it's not just about you right I mean I've lived my whole life until I realize that well it's about me and it's not about me it's about generations of me if teenagers eat poorly the boy and girl eat poorly as a teenager they just increase their risk of illness and their kids that's horrifying which is why we have a high school course that teaches kids how to love and care for their brain so a big genetic risk factor is if you have Alzheimer's disease in your family you need to be serious about prevention as soon as possible and what we found out so there's one gene it's called the Apple lipoprotein efore gene if you have one of them you have a 250% increase risk of Alzheimer's if you have two of them you have like a thousand percent increase risk but we found that exercise and eating the right foods especially the spice turmeric helped people with the gene way more than it helped people who didn't have the gene so it is not a death sentence having the genetic risk is not a death sentence it should be a wake-up call you with me and if you're saying I'm fat because I have fat genes you're lying to yourself you're fat because of what you eat or the toxins that are in your body if you say oh well I have diabetes because my family does and likely it's because you have a group of people who are not doing the right thing I have fat jeans I do I actually did the genetic test and it said I had a 67 percent risk of being obese but I'm not because I don't make the decisions that make it likely to be so all right so one of my favorite people chalene johnson Shailene is awesome and i did her podcast and as i was doing her podcast she goes oh my god I have a VD and so she came to see me and what she said is my memories not good I get distracted really easily I'm so irritable that I can't actually work in the beautiful office I have at home I have to go into the basement closet lock myself in there and there I can get work done so it's sort of irritating and she had a family history of Alzheimer's disease healthy scan on the Left che liens on the right she's 46 years old when we scanned her her brain looks terrible and the whole so this is where the ATD is and this is where her vulnerability tells homers is and she's a beautiful woman and many beautiful women I say they have the beautiful woman syndrome they hate any flaws you know they see all the flaws and so this really upset her which thrilled me to death right because I wanted her to be upset so she'd do something about it and like a lot of high performers I see like my football players they like being coached and she's just did everything I asked her to do and two years later this is her scam it was remarkably better you are not stuck with the brain you have you can make it better how exciting is that all right so the most important genetic strategy you've got to be serious H is for head trauma your brain is soft about the consistency of soft butter your skull is really hard and it has sharp bony ridges stop letting your children play football it's actually neglect if you do stop letting them hit soccer balls with their head your brain is soft your skull is hard your brain controls absolutely everything you do you damage it you can damage or life so I said I did the first study this is our published study on football players the level of damage was just horrifying but what really excited us on this program 80 percent showed improvements in blood flow and memory attention mood and sleep and the player that started it all for us is Anthony Davis who's the Hall of Fame running back from USC he's called the Notre Dame killer because in 1972 he scored six touchdowns against the University of Notre Dame they hated him so much on the Notre Dame campus that they put his picture on the walkway so they could walk on him 1974 he scored four more touchdowns against them at 54 his brain just looked awful but Anthony is good at being coached and he just did everything I asked him to do changed his diet multiple vitamin fish oil a brain boost we make something called brain and memory power boost that works in many ways and we just had the 10th anniversary of his scan so this is 10 years later and 10 years later your brain gets worse right sort of like your face gets worse 10 years later his brain continues to get better as he is getting better the tea and bright minds is for toxins so much to talk about here but it's also the personal products you put on your body and the alcohol that you think is a health food you need to stop that alcohol is directly related to seven different kinds of cancer and you think chemotherapy is good for your brain or bad for your brain bad for your brain so I'm just not a fan right if you have a glass or two a week it's not a big deal you're drinking everyday and you're making you know the argument it's good for you stop it because it's not good for you it's poison when I first started doing imaging these were my drug addicts the scans were so powerful I brought them home to my four children and effectively induced anxiety disorders in all four of them when it came to drug abuse like seriously are you that dumb come on and but what I also found was smoking carbon monoxide cancer chemotherapy radiation heavy metals and mold all damaged your brain in very much the same way and you know when they took let out of gasoline that was really helpful 23 years later the murder rate dropped dramatically but you know where they still left LED lipstick 60 percent of the lipstick sold in the United States has led in it it's the kiss of death before you go and make out with your girlfriend or your wife or whoever's wearing the lipstick just go can I see the packaging I know it's not romantic but Alzheimer's is totally not romantic either one of my good friends Dave asked for the CEO bulletproof coffee when he first came to see me his brain just looked like total crap and what we discovered is he had mold in his home from water damage and on a rehabilitation program years later his brain looks so much better you are not stuck with the brain you have em in bright minds is for mental health issues like a DD anxiety depression post-traumatic stress disorder grief all increase your risk of serious memory problems if you have them don't think you're not normal 51% of the u.s. population at some their life will suffer with the mental health issue if you have one you're actually more normal than people who don't have one just be smart and get the best help you can and it doesn't mean medication for depression head-to-head against fish oil they're equally effective two antidepressants head-to-head against exercise exercise is equally effective as anti depressants learning how not to believe every stupid thought you have has been shown to be effective for depression the eye and bright minds is for immunity and infections their major cause you're gonna hear so much more about this in the coming decades but a great example is Kris Kristofferson who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease who saw one of the doctors who works in my clinic Marc phillyd a diagnosed him with Lyme and on an antibiotic and hyperbaric oxygen he got his memory back now and he went back to touring on the road how exciting is that you don't know unless you look unless you do the appropriate lab studies the appropriate brain imaging studies how do you know unless you actually look easy to say you have Alzheimer's disease I'm sorry get your affairs in order and accelerate someone's death by letting them choose bad food right I'm not okay with that that just sounds psychotic to me and I'm a psychiatrist I get to diagnose psychosis right that is a psychotic process then in bright minds is no hormone deficiencies I can't tell you how many people we see suffer with low thyroid low testosterone low estrogen or progesterone measure Peter Drucker said this right sort of a business conference you can't change what you don't measure and so if you've not had your hormones assessed you need to do that and in memory rescue I talk all about how to do that the D in bright minds is diabesity a toxic combination of being diabetic overweight or both and with 70% of the population in the United States overweight and nearly 40% of us obese it is the biggest brain drain in the history of the United States it's a scandal Putin from Russia said Americans are intentionally poisoning their population and you know I don't usually listen to him but I have to tell you they they're no GMOs in Russia and they don't like pesticides in Russia there's something to this when you really are concerned about the quality of your food we are poisoning our population and I'm just not okay with it because our children and our grandchildren are way my last work book is called the brain warriors way because I see it we are in a war for the health of our bread and I published two studies that showed as your weight goes up the actual physical size and function of your brain goes down which is why I can be a bummer if you go out to dinner with me here's my friend Mark Glaser mark and I were speaking at a conference together four years ago and he has diabetes and he was injecting himself with insulin at the table and right after he did that he ordered chicken-fried steak mashed potatoes and gravy corn bread and a souffle and my heart started going fast as obvious I could have a panic attack right there but I was like really cool and I'm like mark how tall are you he said I'm six feet I said how much do you weigh he said 244 and on my phone I calculated his BMI or body mass index you know health is between 18 and 25 more than 30 is obese and I'm like mark you're obese and he looked at me there's like eight people around us he said Daniel you're so cold I said dude not nearly as cold as you're gonna be when you're Six Feet Under he didn't eat anything on his plate was awesome the next month he lost 10 pounds we met again this is a conference that happens every two years he was down 53 pounds he had cut his insulin dosage in half now it's hard to have a hard conversation right but what he said was thank you for loving me enough to tell me the truth and I'm a huge fan of John 8:32 know the truth and the truth will set you free we're in a war for the health of our brain yes and bright minds is for sleep 60 million Americans have sleep related issues you need to covet seven hours of sleep at night less than seven hours is associated with low blood flow to your brain it turns off 700 health-promoting genes so sleep is essential so let me show you how all this works we're my favorite patients ever is Nancy so ray white is one of my football players he was a linebacker for the San Diego Chargers he joined my study so I would see his wife and Nancy has just diagnosed with frontal temporal lobe dementia which is wicked dementia where your front part of your brain deteriorates and the doctor had told ray to put Nancy in a home because within a year she would not know his name he was angry he was depressed and he asked me if that was true and when I scanned her she had frontal temporal lobe dementia and you see the whole front part of her brain is gone and I said I agree with the diagnosis and we have no proven treatment for this but if she was my wife and I like my wife that's important my first wife I may not have done the same things I'm kidding I think all right this is a therapy moment she did everything I asked her to do mostly because he did everything I asked him to do and ten weeks later this was her bright you are not stuck with the brain you have you can make it better and this is Ray ten weeks later he lost thirty pounds I'm like wait how'd you do that he said I knew if I did everything you asked us to do she went to I would model a brain healthy life what are you modeling in your life are you modeling health or are you modeling illness you want to be successful in your life all success starts here decisions start here relationships start here your brains history is not your destiny so you can be like David or Shailene or Anthony there Dave Asprey or Marc I love all these people or Nancy you have a choice you can change your brain and change your life

17 comments

  1. oes anyone know what he recommends for brain rehab other than I amounts of DHA? secondly I've had surgeries before so as far as inflammation how does he feel about tumeric and third my caffeine intake is extremely high but I also take a very high dose of ginkgo everyday does that balance each other out?

  2. Thanks for these reserchers
    I want to create a Good m├ędication when i became older because im 14.

  3. So much passion, Thank You! Keep up the good work. You might feel like America is not listening but if you helped one person you are saving the world.

  4. I wish we had this in South Africa. Full time worker and part time studying and making time for to the gym can be a real challenge. On top of that I have a battle with bipolar disorder. All I can do is start eating healthier from my side. This man has real knowledge about this topic and people need to take it seriously.

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