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by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath From a linear perspective anti-aging is not a possibility but from a metabolic and functional perspective you can absolutely reverse the aging process. Before we dive deeper into anti-aging, let’s define the aging process. To define this we have to look at the autonomic nervous system and your brain. The autonomic nervous system runs your organs, blood vessels, glands and all other bodily functions without your conscious awareness. This is an vital aspect of aging because if we lose brain function we risk digestive problems, cardiovascular issue, immune dis-regulation, adrenal and thyroid challenges, inflammatory issues and so much more. So aging is basically tied directly into brain degeneration and all the underlying triggers to this degeneration. While this can tie into more than one area, when we discuss brain degeneration we are talking the loss or neurons.   Neurons are electrically excitable cells that process and transmit information through electrical and chemical signals. These signals are the communication needed for optimal function within your body and when we loss this communication, we lose function and metabolic aging occurs. Think of it this way. The average brain has approximately 100 billion neurons but we will just use three neurons for this example. If you take 3 neurons and neuron number one communicates with neuron number two, neuron number two then communicates with neuron number 3 and so on. So what happens when there is brain degeneration occurs and neuron number two is destroyed? At this point, the communication line has stopped, but not only from neuron number one to number two, but also for all other communication past number two. Imagine how much communication is lost here and how much bodily function is potentially changed by this lack of communication. Before we all get too excited about this, let’s understand that we are in a constant state of neuron destruction from the approximate starting age of about 18 to 20 and we cannot escape this. But most importantly, we can slow this process and even work with the brain to maintain communication after a neuron is destroyed. This is what we would refer to as anti aging. The first question you may have is how do you know the rate at which your are living into neurodegeneration and is this an issue for you? Please feel free to complete the Depke Wellness complimentary neurotransmitter assessment on our website by visiting this page. If you have scored more than 50% of 2’s or 3’s in any certain category on this assessment, this would show some areas of concern for you. Get your FREE assessment here. If you do not have time to take the assessment above or if you are simply looking to understand your likelihood of advanced neuro-degeneration take a look at these symptoms of neurodegeneration below.
  • Slower movements of muscles
  • Depression
  • Mental sluggishness
  • Poor impulse control
  • Poor social behavior
  • Poor handwriting
  • Poor math or planning skills
  • Inhibited cognitive learning skills
  • Poor muscle coordination
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty hearing with background noise
  • Abnormal shifts in fatigue throughout the day
  • Ongoing insomnia
  • Feeling unstable in darkness
  • Misjudging where your body is in relationship to your environment
  • Unable to recognize objects via touch
  • More prone to falls and sprains
  • Episodes of vertigo or dizziness
  • Car sickness
  • Poor balance
  • Subtle shakes at the end of movements
  • Poor processing or visual information
  • Hallucinations
  • Visual floaters
  • Visual persistence of a visual image after it has been removed
If you have noticed many 2’s and/or 3’s on your neurotransmitter assessment and you notice a handful or more of symptoms from the list above, neurodegeneration may be more advanced than would be optimal for you and this is accelerating your metabolic aging process. So if this is the case, are you doomed to accelerate the aging process? Absolutely not! Here are the first steps for you to take in reestablishing healthy brain function from the basics to help turn around your metabolic aging process.
  1. Oxygen – Just because you breathe does not mean your brain is getting optimal oxygen. Iron anemia can rob your brain of oxygen, as red blood cells are not healthy enough to deliver sufficient oxygen. To understand this testing iron levels, total iron binding capacity and ferritin would be helpful. If you find you are low in iron it would be beneficial to add iron containing foods and/or supplements to your diet and possibly the use of a stomach acid supplement, since proper stomach acid is essential to the absorption and assimilation of iron. Also a lack of peripheral circulation will hinder your ability to deliver oxygen to the cells in your brain. You would notice this by assessing your fingernails. You should have a half moon at the base of your thumb and the next three fingers with none on your little finger. If you are missing any moons this would be a recognition of poor blood flow to your brain, leading to neurodegeneration and accelerated metabolic aging. Note that if your peripheral circulation is poor you may feel cold hands and/or feet with some consistency. If your circulation is a challenge, it would be beneficial to add both Vein Lite and Oxypower to your daily regiment.
  2. Glucose – Up to one third of your body’s glucose will fuel your brain. If you are hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and you have gone too long without eating or if you are eating, you will likely experience the effects of low glucose in your brain such as feeling spacey, lightheaded, dull and slow-witted. It is essential that you fuel your brain with proper glucose levels by eating regular enough and consuming meals with protein, fat and lower glycemic foods with regularity. Some people can maintain this by eating every 4-6 hours while others will need to snack between meals to achieve this proper fuel level. If you happen to notice that you wake most days during your sleep cycle, this could very well be tied into low blood sugar and your brain is simply looking for fuel. If this is the case, try having a small protein snack before bedtime. In the end, if you do not maintain proper glucose levels, your brain will suffer and your will accelerate your again process.
  3. Stimulation – Because neurons communicate using electrical charges, they can be looked at as little batteries. The basic requirements of oxygen, glucose and stimulation to keep these batteries running strong. When a properly nourished neuron is stimulated, the neuron produces energy for function, maintenance and repair. In an improperly nourished neuron, the machinery falters and energy production slows. The neuron them becomes fatigued and is easily overwhelmed by constant input, eventually causing it to burnout. Stimulation for your brain can include a variety of brain exercises such as cross word puzzles, Sudoku, learning a new language or musical instrument and engaging in sporting activities. Poor stimulation to your brain will lead to an accelerated aging process.
In the end, you can turn back the clock on your metabolic age and anti-aging is definitely a possibility for you. Now you understand your brains impact on aging, so be sure to pay attention to the symptoms of neurodegeneration in this article and assess your neurotransmitter function. Follow these first basic steps toward assisting your brain function. Next week we will address the other essential steps to anti-aging. Look for part II soon. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave a post below for us to address personally.