By Dr. Fred Pescatore
As we age, our bodies and our mind change and evolve. Most people focus on outer appearance changes, such as skin elasticity, wrinkles, dark spots, and muscle loss. They become more proactive in their skincare and fitness routines. Your brain deserves the same proactive approach.
Too many of us wait until we notice alterations in our memory and focus, then we take action. Proactive measures on your cognitive health earlier in life can make a significant difference later. A healthy lifestyle and simple actions can keep your mind sharp and boost brain health throughout life. Here are the top tips I share with my patients looking to boost brain health, focus, memory, and mood.
Do your customers exercise regularly. Research shows that exercising regularly has a positive impact on the brain. When you exercise, your heart rate increases and pumps more oxygen to your brain. Exercise also increases and strengthens the number of blood vessels that bring oxygen-rich blood to the brain region that is responsible for critical thinking. Even walking regularly can deliver brain health benefits.
Science shows certain natural supplements can help improve focus, memory, and mood. Pycnogenol®, a natural plant extract originating from the bark of the French maritime pine tree has been found safe and effective to support brain function, including memory, attention span and decision-making in a variety of different age groups. The extract has some key health properties including being a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and circulatory health benefits which help explain why it is so effective for brain health. Pycnogenol® helps endothelial cells produce more nitric oxide (NO) which has multiple beneficial effects on brain function. Initially, NO increases blood flow, which improves oxygenation and the transport of nutrients to brain cells. NO regulates neuronal functions and thus contributes to processing signals inside the brain. In addition, NO helps modulate key neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine.
In a recent study, Baby Boomers aged 55+ who supplemented with Pycnogenol® for one year reported a 72% improvement in their daily decision making and a 37% improvement in memory. However, brain fog extends beyond seniors. The past year has made many young professionals need to think about work, home and family all at the same time. One study conducted in 2015 on 59 professionals between the ages of 35-55 showed a 13.4% improvement in their attention, a 9% increase in general mental performance at work and a 16% increase in the general mood when they supplemented with Pycnogenol®.
Younger consumers, especially college students, are also looking for natural products to help them stay focused as classes continue to shift from in-person to virtual. These changes to routine are causing upheaval in their learning environments, which may make it difficult to stay focused. In a study on college-aged students, Pycnogenol® was found to decrease test anxiety and improve mental performance, which resulted in higher test scores.
Pycnogenol®’s benefits are backed by four decades of independent, peer-reviewed research – making it one of the most well-researched ingredients available on the market.
Engage in mental stimulation
Just like we have to work our muscles to stay fit, exercise your mind to keep your brain sharp! Try crossword puzzles, reading new material, writing, playing cards, or putting together jigsaw puzzles. Stay socially active! Research shows that social interaction helps deflect depression and stress, which can contribute to memory loss and mental decline. Be aware of the hours you spend watching television. Just as we do with young children in their formative years, we have to be aware of passive screen time and seek activities that engage and challenge our minds.
By Dr. Fred Pescatore