Need more motivation to shed a few pounds? New research suggests that when you lose weight, your memory can actually get stronger.
In another study, researcher Andreas Stomby, MD shows that losing weight actually alters how your brain works, leading to better memory performance. Being overweight is linked to memory and concentration problems.
Take for example, one of our patients, who was 30 lbs. overweight, which put him in the obese category. His name was Bud. He was 52. He came to Amen Clinics because he was concerned about his memory, focus and energy.
His wife was 20 years his junior and together they had two young children together, ages five and seven. So, he was motivated to rescue his memory to have a healthy mind and memory for his family.
His brain scan showed decreased activity in the frontal and temporal lobes. During his evaluation, he showed significant memory, attention and executive decision making problems.
From his medical history, we learned he had untreated ADHD and bouts of depression that were becoming more frequent as stress piled up at work.
Also, memory loss was in his genes. His mother died of Alzheimer’s disease. He had one copy of the APOE e4 gene variant. Having at least one APOE e4 gene increases your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Bud was clearly headed for serious trouble.
After seeing his scans, Bud was determined to become an active participant in his health. He radically changed his diet and established a regular exercise routine. He started weight lifting twice a week and replaced his typical 30-minute slow walk twice a week with burst training three times a week. Also, Bud became faithful to his supplement regimen.
Over the next year, Bud lost 30 pounds, and his blood sugar and blood pressure dropped to normal levels without any medications. He reported that his memory, focus and energy were better than they had been in 30 years.
Using SPECT imaging, in conjunction with Amen Clinics BRIGHT MINDS Memory Rescue Program, helped our doctors to better understand Bud’s risk factors. This allowed us to recommend more accurate and targeted interventions. Here are three key areas that were addressed in Bud’s treatment plan:
In the BRIGHT MINDS mnemonic, G is for genetic risk factors. People who have family members with severe memory challenges, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia have a higher risk for developing memory problems. Those who have a parent or sibling with memory issues are 3.5 times more likely to develop similar symptoms. However, the good news is that your genes don’t have to determine your destiny.
Knowing he had the genetics for memory issues motivated Bud to get tested and be serious about taking care of his brain. Do you know if you have the APOE e4 gene? If you don’t know, you may want to consider getting tested for it.
Both diabetes and obesity are independent risk factors for memory problems and dementia. Occurring together, they are the double-barreled threat called, diabesity. Those who have been exposed to toxins, consume excessive amounts of sugar and high-glycemic foods, abuse alcohol and live a sedentary lifestyle are at a higher risk for diabesity. Always know your health numbers and watch for these warning signs: increased urination, excessive thirst, increased appetite and delayed wound healing.
Bud addressed his diabesity issues by following the Memory Rescue Diet. To name a few simple dietary changes that he implemented: he cut out his six daily sodas, drastically limited his sugar intake, increased the amount of healthy fat and protein in his diet, and reduced grains and processed carbohydrates.
A number of studies link sleep problems, such as insomnia and sleep apnea, to a higher risk of memory problems and dementia. Effectively treating these disorders can have a positive impact on memory and brain function. Researchers suggest we aim for seven to eight hours of sleep a night. It seems to be the sweet spot for most people. Getting less than seven hours is associated with lower overall blood flow to the brain and a higher risk of dementia.
Bud had untreated apnea, which can damage brain tissue. This can cause concentration problems and memory loss. Bud started wearing his CPAP machine to treat his sleep apnea, and it improved his ability to think, concentrate and make decisions.
If you want to lose weight and improve your memory like Bud or you want to learn more about how the BRIGHT MINDS Program can help you or a loved one, call Amen Clinics at 888-288-9834 or check out the program HERE.