The Changing Biochemistry of the Brain


The biochemistry of the brain changes as we age and as a result the structural integrity and functions of the brain may be compromised. These biochemical changes include:

  • Loss of key neurotransmitters
  • Excess glucocorticoid steroids caused by long-term chronic stress
  • Shrinkage and stiffening of neurons
  • Inflammation of neurons
  • Reduction in chemical messengers
  • Neuronal connections are lost
  • Neurotransmitter imbalances
  • Mutations in mitochondria
  • Shrinkage of neurons (Cerebral atrophy)
  • Loss of myelin sheath
  • Loss of synapses
  • No new synapses
  • Senile plaques
  • Neurofibrillary tangles

Preventive steps can be taken to preserve a youthful neurological biochemistry. Various nutrients have been studied for their ability to protect the brain from the changes associated with aging.

There are a number of approaches to enhance brain function:

  • Increase circulation and oxygenation to the brain
  • Maintain the structural and functional integrity of the neuronal membranes
  • Protect the brain from free radical oxidative stress
  • Improve energy production in the brain
  • Increase the efficiency that neurons communicate with one another through their synaptic connections, known as neurotransmitters.
  • Increasing the number of brain cells, neurons, that the brain possesses by a process called neurogenesis.
  • Increasing the number and strength of the connections, synapses, between the brain’s neurons, known as synaptic plasticity. Synaptic plasticity occurs within the cells of the brain and is the ability to form new connections.
  • Increasing the efficiency neurons communicate with one another through their synaptic connections
  • Consuming omega-3 fats as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  • Exercising
  • Sleeping well
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Getting out into the sun
  • Turning off the TV
  • Protecting your brain from cell phones
  • Challenging your brain
  • Avoiding foods that contain artificial sweeteners and additives

Informational References:

Brain Health Tips from Dr. Daniel Amen – SuperheroYou   (Video)

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