I don’t know about you, but every year I’m thankful that I’m still on this earth – and that I’ve still got my wits about me.
As we get older, we can expect some changes to our bodies and minds. But what about those older people who seem to buck the trend… who manage to keep their brains in better shape than people almost half their age?
They might be celebrating birthdays into their 70s and 80s, but their “cognitive age” is much younger.
Well, it turns out there’s a name for those people: They’re called “super agers.”
And according to recent research, their brains all have something in common, and it doesn’t just boil down to genetics.
You see, it all has to do with the thickness of two key areas of the brain.
As you age, your brain shrinks. How much it shrinks and how fast it happens differs from person to person.
However, according to the study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, the brains of the “super-agers” DON’T shrink, especially in two key areas: the hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex.
Not surprisingly, both areas are associated with memory and learning as well as other complex mental activities.
In fact, their brains looked just like young brains, with NO LOSS in thickness.
And not only did their brains NOT shrink, but in the study, the “super-agers” performed just as well on memory and cognition tests as decades-younger people in their 20s.
And that’s because brain thickness is directly correlated with memory function.
Even when the researchers expanded and looked at more areas of the brain, these “super agers” stayed competitive with the younger crowd in areas of the brain responsible for motor control (anterior insula) and emotions (orbitofrontal cortex).
We don’t yet know why the brains of the super agers don’t shrink. But we do know that there are a few things you can do to naturally slow your own ageing process – and keep your brain thick, where you need it the most.
1) Exercise: You don’t have to sweat buckets to get this benefit – just get moving. Earlier this year, I shared with you a study that witnessed the brains of inactive older people get thicker from working out on a treadmill. And they weren’t running at a fast clip – they were briskly walking, just four times a week.
2) Fish Oil: Studies have shown that Omega-3 fatty acids can both prevent cell damage to your existing brain cells, while helping an ageing brain actually regenerate cells. Seniors who ate a diet rich in omega-3s (like salmon) outperformed those with lower omega-3s in key cognitive tests. You can get a quality omega-3 supplement at your local health food store.
3) B Vitamins: B vitamins are also critical to brain function. Specifically, B12 is a great boost for sagging energy levels and protecting the brain. And in a study on mice earlier this year, B3 actually slowed ageing and extended their lifespan by the equivalent of two human years (which is a lot, for a mouse).
Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
‘Super agers’ avoid brain shrinkage, retain youthful thinking abilities, medicalnewstoday.com/articles/312916.php