Aging has several impacts on the body and brain, and we should consider making lifestyle changes to compensate for the potential cognitive decline as we age. Our brain health is important, and improving our health and wellbeing can minimize the risk of major age-related cognitive diseases, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, and minor cognitive conditions, such as mild cognitive impairment (1). But, how does one go about supporting brain health, and what strategies can most individuals implement in their daily routine to improve cognitive performance? In this article, we discuss how cognitive function changes as we age and provide tips on how to support brain health.
How Does Cognitive Function Change As We Age?
A slight lapse in memory or attention is of little concern to individuals in early adulthood, however, these typical cognitive impairments become more pronounced as we age. Older adults should be mindful of their experiences with understanding memory disorders and the reasons behind forgetfulness as the brain becomes more susceptible to minor and major conditions or diseases when bodily processes begin to slow down. Normal signs of brain aging include:
- Trouble acquiring and retaining new information.
- Difficulty focusing on multiple tasks at once.
- Issues remembering finer details, such as someone’s name or forgetting words while speaking.
While these are typical signs of brain aging, they indicate a decline in cognitive function and should be monitored to make more accurate assessments of brain health. Before we discuss the more serious impacts of brain aging, let’s unpack how the brain changes as we age:
- Brain shrinkage with age. The brain’s frontal lobe and hippocampus begin to shrink around the age of 60 or 70 (2).
- Synaptic connections in the brain begin to decline and affect the brain’s cortical density.
- Myelinated nerve fibers become less reliable during the brain’s aging process.
- Dopamine, acetylcholine, serotonin, and norepinephrine activity decreases during brain aging.
- According to studies, hypothalamic neural stem cells also decline with age (3).
With a better understanding of how the brain changes as we age, let’s now take a look at how cognitive function changes as a result of these aging processes:
Memory is a rather complex subject, however, researchers have subdivided memory into several categories to better understand how the brain retains information. The following categories of memory are said to decline as the brain ages:
- Working memory: the brain’s ability to temporarily store new information, a skill used for problem solving, decision making, and mental processing. (Take a look at these helpful tips to improve working memory.)
- Episodic memory: the brain’s ability to recall personal life experiences and events that are specific to a place or time.
- Prospective memory: the brain’s ability to remember and to action activities in the future.
Attention refers to the brain’s ability to focus on specific tasks or intentionally divide its attention among several tasks, a skill commonly referred to as multitasking (4). As the brain gets older, the following types of attention may suffer from cognitive changes:
- Selective attention: the brain’s ability to concentrate on a specific task despite the presence of distractions.
- Divided attention: the brain’s ability to manage multiple tasks at the same time and divide attention according to priority.
This refers to how quickly the brain can process new information and respond to said information. For example, an individual with high processing speed capacity may be able to reply to a question with an insightful response quicker than an individual with low processing speed capacity. Processing speed can also refer to physical responses, such as an individual’s ability to quickly pick up and play a new sport based on the brain’s ability to respond to the new information needed to play said sport. Reports conclude that the brain’s processing speed naturally slows down as we age (5). This specific type of cognitive functioning also declines more rapidly the older one gets.
3 Ways To Support Brain Health
While age naturally impacts cognitive function and we begin to struggle with mental processes as we get older, there are steps that you can take now to minimize the risk of cognitive impairment developing into more serious brain conditions. Below, we pinpoint some effective strategies to support brain health and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, help reverse dementia naturally, and support other devastating cognitive conditions.
1. Start With Supplements
The most efficient place to start when you want to take care of your brain is to seek the support of quality supplements. There are two supplements manufactured by Approved Science®, which we recommend Neurexil™ and CoQ10 MD™.
Neurexil™ is a type of nootropic, also known as a ‘smart drug’. While most nootropics focus on only one aspect of cognitive development, Neurexil™ encompasses the entire span of cognitive abilities available for the ultimate brain optimization. Using unique ingredients in clinically-proven doses, Neurexil™ enhances short and long-term memory, increases clarity to sharpen focus and concentration, boosts energy, promotes motivation and provides antioxidant protection for the brain. You can read more Neurexil™ reviews here.
CoQ10 MD™ by Approved Science® is a particularly beneficial supplement as it provides high concentrations of Coenzyme Q10 BioAbsorbQ10™, a clinically proven and patented brain-boosting ingredient found in the best brain health supplements on the market.
CoQ10 is a compound that the body naturally produces, and it is stored in the cell’s mitochondria. The production of CoQ10 decreases with age, and supplementation can compensate for this decline. CoQ10 is said to play several roles in the body, including preventing oxidative stress from free radicals and promoting energy generation in the cells. The compound is said to support mitochondrial function that declines with age. Poor mitochondrial function is linked to the death of cells and the onset of serious health conditions, such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s (6). Therefore, CoQ10’s ability to support mitochondrial function and prevent oxidative stress that harms the cells means it may provide comprehensive brain support for older adults.
When considering a brain-supporting supplement, be sure to purchase a formula that provides 300mg of CoQ10 for optimal results. Furthermore, the formula should include at least 10mg of BioPerine® to improve the rate of absorption of the main ingredient. The formula should also exclude any fillers, preservatives, additives, or artificial ingredients that may otherwise have negative impacts on the body. You should also only purchase from a manufacturer that provides a comprehensive 100% money-back guarantee as this highlights their confidence in the supplement and protects you from investing in a product that may not deliver optimal results.
2. Eat Well And Exercise
A healthy diet and regular exercise are go-to strategies to improve brain health, especially when coupled with quality brain care supplements. Mediterranean or Keto diets are particularly popular as the associated food pyramids highlight the best foods to eat for your health. The following core foods are essential for your brain health as they provide necessary vitamins, minerals, and substances for optimal cognitive performance:
- Green tea
You can also read about the best herbs for brain fog for further brain-boosting food choices.
Additionally, you should get into the habit of exercising to increase grey matter as doing so increases blood flow to the brain. Blood cells carry oxygen which is vital to proper cognitive function, and exercising regularly will ensure that your brain receives sufficient nutrition to combat minor and major cognitive conditions in the future.
3. Train Your Brain
Brain games can train your brain, strengthen your memory and attention, and limit the risk of cognitive decline with age. There are many brain games on the Android and Apple Stores, and you may also train your brain with puzzles, Sudoku, quizzes, and other mental activities. This is an additional strategy to support your brain health alongside supplements, a healthy diet, and regular exercise.
Cognitive function declines with age, and this can lead to the development of minor and major health conditions. Individuals should begin to support their brain health with supplements, a proper diet, exercise, and brain games to prevent the formation of harmful brain conditions as we age.