A new study, published Sept 14, 2022 in Alzheimers & Dementia, is the largest randomized clinical trial on multivitamin use in healthy brain aging. It’s a three year long trial following annual cognitive assessments on over 2,250 patients that were randomly assigned either a daily multivitamin, a 500 mg daily flavanol supplement (from cocoa extract) or a placebo supplement.
What researchers found was that not only did taking a daily vitamin help preserve cognitive function, but it actually helped significantly improve it over baseline (and over placebo) by the third year. Meaning it didn’t just help prevent cognitive function from declining with age, but it actually helped improve cognitive function long term. Cognitive tests included word list, story recall, verbal fluency, number span, digit ordering and more. The results show that the daily multivitamin improved memory, executive function and global cognition over time.
This is the first large, long term, double blinded placebo based study to show that multivitamins are effective at improving condition in older adults. The researchers conducting this study estimated that the multivitamins potentially slowed brain aging by about 60%. I hope even longer studies, looking at additional health benefits beyond cognitive benefits, follow. If they do, I’ll certainly keep you posted.
By the way, there was no benefit found from taking the cocoa extract. Although flavanols may be super beneficial in other health outcomes that were not studied (for example, heart health) this study helped drill home that our brain needs key vitamins as well as essential minerals for proper long term function.
So while big pharmaceutical companies try to come up with Rx medications to help prevent, or at least slow, the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, here is something simple and accessible that you can to without a prescription to help protect your cognitive brain function. Not only to protect it, but if you are not already taking a multivitamin, possibly to actually improve it. And that is: start taking a multivitamin.
What multivitamins do I recommend most?
I have a list of my favorite childrens, teen, adult, senior and prenatal daily vitamin and mineral supplements right here in my online dispensary, in gummy, capsule and chewable forms, including my favorite organic and vegan options too:
What other things can you do to help protect your brain as you age?
I’ve got you. Click on the links below to read any of these other free healing articles I’ve written for you over the years:
- Moving Your Body Helps Your Brain Function Better, Immediately. Here’s How
- What Happens To The Human Brain During EMF Exposures
- A Medical Study Reveals How To Boost Circulation To Your Brain, In 12 Minutes Flat
- One Simple Thing You Can Do To Protect Your Brain Throughout Your Lifetime
- When You Are Doing Something Meaningful, Your Brain Works Better
- Grounding Instantly Helps Your Brain, Mood, and Sleep
- Sauna To Protect Your Brain
- Your Gut And Brain Are Connected (Duh!)
Want even more? Here is a huge list of additional ways you can support your brain function, right now:
1. Stay Curious
Published October 22, 2014 in Neuron, researchers found that having your own internal motivation, in the form of curiosity, allows your brain to have enhanced memory and function… allowing you to more quickly master the information you are trying to learn and even enhances your ability to remember non-related information alongside it!
Researchers could literally see the brain enhance function on MRI when the subject was highly curious about the material they were engaged in â€” showing that being curious about something literally changes the way the your brain functions, enhancing key parts of the brain such as the hippocampus and the dopaminergic circuit.
Curiosity about life in general enhances your experience of life itself, opening you up to new things and enhancing your ability to absorb it. So it’s not as much about completing a task as directed, or rote memorization of material, or getting a specific test score on an exam in school that allows you to truly learn.
It’s about following your inner guidance system, engaging in your own innate curiosity, and allowing that to guide you in making educational and career choices that align your soul gifts with your occupation… so that what you are offering to this world is something that is perfect suit to you because you are self motivated to learn about it, master the material related and ancillary to it, and offering this unique vantage point that only you can offer back to the world.
In short, learning and processing and giving your thoughts back to the world becomes meaningful, instead of simply memorized. That study shows that you are naturally suited to learn, retain and remember information that you are self selecting, motivated, and innately curious about it.
Need some help discovering (or re-discovering) your natural curiosity? That’s normal, because the way our educational system and corporate work system is set up, it minimizes personal autonomy and creativity.
But you have it inside of you. Watch this video for inspiration to give yourself permission to become curious again, and then keep reading below for links to tons of resources of fun, learning, and growth!
2. Learn A New Language
Learning a new language keeps your brain flexible and adaptive. For fun you can start by journalling a few ideas on bucket list trips you may want to take one day, and then consider learning the language before you even book the trip!
Then, click on a link below to sign up for one of the many free language classes that are offered online — there are literally thousands of different languages you can master.
- Free language classes at Duolingo
- Free language classes at OpenCulture
- Free language classes at LearnALanguage
3. Reassess Your Career Goals
Stress on the job is such a real threat to your health that I think you should take it into account when figuring out your future. One medical study shows that stress on the job might literally drive you crazy. This study, published in Lancet Psychiatry on May 10, 2018, suggests that occupation alone might cause as many as one out of every 7 new cases of depression, anxiety, and other common mental disorders.
Even after adjusting for lifestyle factors, stressful life events, temperament, personality, family history and personal history of mental illness, researchers found that job strain alone was responsible for a statistically significant number of mental illness cases over a lifetime. 14% of all common mental disorders that onset in midlife was attributed purely to job stress.
Researchers looked at over 6,800 participants, ranking job strain at age 45 with risk of mental illness at age 50. The results were astounding:
- Having a job that is highly demanding increased mental diagnosis rates by 70%.
- Having a job that causes high strain (moves at a fast pace, or is highly risky, for example) increased mental diagnosis rates by 220%.
- Having a job in which the employee had very little control over decisions increased mental illness rates by 89%.
- All in all, researchers estimate that simply having higher job stress increased the overall likelihood of subsequent mental illness significantly, accounting for 1 out of every 7 new cases of mental illness in midlife.
Forget the usually-thought-of triggers such as divorce, bereavement and serious medical issues… job strain alone can put you at significant risk for mental disorders.
What constitutes a stressful job? A job that requires high intensity, a job that moves at a fast pace, a job that has high risk, a job that gives you very little control over your duties, and/or a job that doesn’t allow you to make your own decisions were all factors that contributed to job strain.
If you are thinking… yes my job is stressful but I really love it, unfortunately that’s not enough. Job satisfaction was not protective of the strain that job stress can put on mental health. Although ideally we would all have meaningful soul satisfying jobs… even when they are super fulfilling soul careers, they can actually still be toxic, stressful, high paced, and put us at high risk for mental illness. And let’s face it, many times jobs simply are not in the slightest bit soul fulfilling at all and yet still are so stressful that they raise mental illness diagnosis, all for a job you don’t even enjoy.
But there are ways to help protect yourself and your mental state. Here are some ideas to help you decrease the negative effect of job stress on your health:
1. Factor job strain into your career choices early on whenever possible: If you have a family history or a personal history of mental illness, it is absolutely imperative that you protect your mental health by choosing jobs that give you autonomy, or at least allow you to participate in decision making. Or… if you want to work in a tightly regulated job field where you don’t get to have control over the decisions, then select a job where the pace is slow and relaxed and/or the job is low intensity, low stakes. If one out of every 7 cases of mental illness in midlife comes from having a stressful job, it is absolutely something to take into account when selecting between several possible career pathways. Look for a job that allows you to be a part of the decision making process, or look for a job with lower intensity and a slower pace if you have an option and want to be protective of your mental health.
2. Modify existing job parameters: If you are already in a stressful job that you want to stay in, consider small ways to modify your current stress levels at work. There are three different ways you can lighten your job strain: increasing your autonomy (getting to make more job related decisions,) lightening the pace of the job, or lightning the demands on the job. Even choosing just one way to modify your current work load, even just slight modification, can help reduce mental illness risk:
- Ask to be part of decisions whenever possible… if there are committees to be involved in, if there are meetings you can speak up during, if there are opportunities for a leadership role this study shows that even in a highly stressful job, having some sort of say in what decisions are made allows the job to cause less strain over all.
- Negotiate terms whenever possible… not just the classic example of asking for a raise, but speaking up over anything you can… such as negotiating when you take a break, what shift you work, what snacks are stocked in the vending machine, or what the dress code is can help give you some say in your work day and reduce strain.
- If you can’t make decision and you can negotiate terms, sharing the burden is another way to reduce job strain. Asking for help, getting co-workers involved, turning individual tasks into group tasks, forming alliances, delegating and and all tasks that you can delegate these are all ways to reduce job strain even in jobs that are highly stressful and where you have little control.
3. Recover fully when not at work: Create clear boundaries around time spent working vs. time spent not-working each day. One of the worst habits you can get into is working on your time off. I should know, doctors are the classic occupation but every doctor I know makes this occupational stress a hundred times worse by bringing work home even when not on call. I have strained myself beyond capacity for years (decades actually) staying up in the middle of the night on my computer, returning emails from my phone at the wee hours of the morning, packing and shipping shop orders literally around the clock… I even worked all day when my appendix was rupturing, had emergency surgery in the middle of the night, and by the next day was back to packing up orders with bloody bandages around my abdomen. Which was totally stupid, I know (I blog about this here.) I not only risked delaying my healing process but I was still groggy from the surgical anesthesia so I mixed up quite a few of those orders, and then had the hassle of re-packing them. I should have stayed in bed. I know I am not alone. In many — if not most — jobs these days, there really are no designated off hours since technology can reach us anywhere, and this can create a situation where there is no down time, no recovery time, no off time.
So you have to be proactive and protective to ensure for your own mental health that there absolutely *is* time off from work and time away from all work related activity. If you are in a job that you can’t modify, can’t control, has high stress, and little autonomy, then the next best thing you can do to protect your mental and physical health is to make sure off hours are actually off hours.
- Make it harder to access work related tasks… leave your computer at work (if you work from home, leave your computer in a designated *home office* space and do not bring it into the rest of the house!)
- Put cell phones on airplane mode at night, or better yet turn them off completely.
- Designate a cut off time in the evening where you will no longer check emails or return business related calls.
- Prioritize sleep.
- Make the sleep you do get more restorative by sleeping grounded.
- Move your body in a non-job related way: exercise, stretch, get into a yoga routine, go on a long walk, have sex, even simple taking a hot bath in Epsom salts will help soothe tense muscles and get you out of work mode.
- Read a book that is absolutely 100% simply for pleasure and *not work related!!!*. I’m the worst at this because I typically read medical journals before bedtime instead of romance or mystery novels but this is one of my new goals.
- Schedule time for leisure activities from a designated weekly movie night to a routine family date to time alone off time is so crucial for balancing out the stress from your job and should be given the same weight (or even more weight) than your dedication to your career.
- Take time for friendships and relationships that are not in any way work related. Consider this… are most of your relationships with people in the same work place or career path as you? Be sure to go out of your way to nurture friendships and relationships that have nothing to do with work at all — if you have to join a knitting club or a book club or sign up for a gym class or introduce yourself to your neighbors — meet people that it would be literally impossible to talk shop with in your down time because they do not work with you. Having outside interests and outside relationships apart from work helps ensure you don’t think about or talk about work in your off time.
- Take vacation time — up to 1/3 of all vacation days are simply never even used!!!! What the…? No way. Please take those vacation days. Every. Single. One. Of. Them.
4. Be proactive about protecting your mental health in other ways: Particularly if you know you have high job strain, you want to be sure you are eating foods, taking supplements, staying well hydrated, sleep well, and many other things you can do (even if you can’t modify your current job in the slightest) that will boost your mental health.
To that end, here are more blog posts I’ve written for you on holistic ways to support your mental health:
- Your Body Is Continually Speaking To You. Here’s How To Listen To It.
- 17 Ways To Naturally Decrease Your Stress (+ A Few Freebies To Help)
- 4 Easy Ways To Use Your Breath To Feel Instantly Better — Do Them With Me Right Now
- Your History Of Trauma Is Making This Pandemic Harder On You Than Others
- Medical Decisions Can Be Overwhelming, Here’s An Easy Tool To Help (+ free printable)
- Need To Boost Your Hopefulness? I’ve Got You
- What You Eat Is Making Your Anxiety Worse
- Missing Just One Hour Of Sleep Skyrockets Your Risk Of Depression, Anxiety
- Anxiety Doubles Cancer Mortality. It Doesn’t Have To… Here’s How.
- Reducing Background Anxiety Increases Mental Clarity: Here’s How
- Disrupted Day/Night Rhythm Increases Mental Illness Rates
- 2 New Treatments For PTSD You Can Use Right Now To Feel Immediatley Better.
- Incredibly Powerful Alternatives To AntidepressantsThat Work
- A Sense Of Purpose In Life Medically Proven To Help Your Body Stay Younger… 9 Powerful Ways To Do It
- Sleep Increases Your Recovery From Depression
- Resolving PTSD, OCD, Tobacco and Drug Addiction Too
- 5 Things You Can Do To Naturally Lift Depression
- A Supplement So Good For The Brain It Can Prevent Psychosis
- Emotional Stress Directly Predicts Heart Attack… 10 Ways To Prevent It
- OCD May Stem From Birth Trauma
4. Take An Online Health Class With Me
I’ve got several health classes coming up in the next few months — keeping you feeling uplifted, supported and inspired all winter long, with classes in October, November, December, January, February and beyond.
Here is a list of my next 4 classes:
Oct 17th: Earth Relief Online Class.
Grounding can help you keep your immunity high, your inflammation low, reduce stress, deepen sleep, boost your mood, and so much more. I developed this class to give you tons and tons of ways to incorporate grounding into your daily health care and wellness routines, so that no matter where you live — yard or no yard, urban or rural — you can find ways to stay connected to the earth.
Every single day you will get a new, uplifting, inspiring way to support your innate health through grounding. Our planet offers you so many different ways to stay healthy and strong, from the air you breathe to the water you drink to the food that we eat to the land that supports our homes, cars, communities and life as we know it to thrive… but the most direct way to get support from the earth is to touch it directly through grounding.
Join me in this two week course and get educational materials, tips, and ideas for grounding that you can use again and again and again, for the rest of your life, as well as a Q&A session where I answer any grounding question you could possibly dream up to ask me. Join me here.
Nov 7th: Trauma Healing Online Class
As a holistic physician, not only have I scoured the medical literature for positive, actionable ways to help our bodies and minds heal from stressful, unavoidable trauma, but I share detailed ways to guide you through your own healing (along with both personal and patient examples from my past 20 years of medical practice.)
No matter what you have gone through, you absolutely do have the ability to rebound from from it and create a new normal and a new health set point. Everybody does. Your body naturally wants to trend back to full and complete wellness… mind, body and spirit. I’ll give you the tools to get there.
This class has been hugely helpful in giving participants actionable, positive, enjoyable healing tools that are medically based and proven to work. One participant who just took my online classes said that the content on the very first day of the class alone far exceeded what she thought she would get out of the entire class, all put together. Another participant said she felt movement on old stuck traumas from childhood for the first time in her entire life. Another said that even though he had been in treatment for PTSD for years, he learned things he had never been told before about how the body holds on to trauma and how to let it go. I would love to support you in this exact same way as well. Join me here.
Dec 11th: Electrosensitivity Relief Online Class
Millions and millions of people around the world are sensitive to EMFs and report deleterious health effects in increasing numbers.
But how do you know if you are electrosensitive (EHS) or not?
And how do you navigate living and working in urban environments if you are?
It’s absolutely possible to be EHS and safeguard your health, while still living in the modern world. In this class I will walk you through exactly how to do it, giving you tons of ways to decrease EMF exposures in your own home, self assessment tools that will help you figure out if you are electrohypersensitive (EHS) and a step by step walk through that we do together, as well as giving you tons of encouragement and tools to boost your health, to decrease the reactivity and inflammation in your body from any EMF exposures that you can not control, as well as tools to give you the confidence to address EHS with your own in person physician.
It absolutely doesn’t have to be overwhelming, I’ll break it down for you into easily actionable steps that will leave you feeling empowered, not scared. Plus, the class content, as well as all included worksheets, quizzes, daily videos, printable assessments, suggested labs and hand outs to give to your employer/school/physician, and so much more (including the private class Q&A recording) are available to you forever. Join me here.
Jan 2nd: Weight Release & Reset Online Class
Your 2023 tune-up, right from the comfort of your own home! In this 5 day online class, I’ll walk you through the 5 pillars of sustainable, feel-good weight loss. I’ve based this course directly off of the positive take-aways from recent medical literature on metabolism and weight, as well as on my 20 years of experience helping to support my patients with their weight loss goals.
I’m excited to offer this class to support a health weight, not the lowest weight. You’d be surprised that your body naturally knows what weight is the perfect one for you, and it can sustain it at this perfect weight effortlessly once you naturally align your metabolism. I’ll show you how in a very non-threatening, supportive, uplifting way. It’s not about being rigid or militant or hard on yourself, in fact, it’s the exact opposite. The harder you are on yourself, the harder it is to align with your healthiest version of you.
It’s not even about your diet and exercise plan — there are actually three other things that are even more important than what you eat and how you move… and without knowing what those three things are, you just can’t lose weight. Understand the three things that sabotage weight loss and include those in your plan, and the weight releases, naturally. Join me here.
When nothing is sure,
Everything is possible.
— Margaret Drabble
Even More Tips To Help You Protect Your Brain:
- Stay well hydrated to maintain alert cognition
- Sleep deeply to protect brain function
- Ground to the earth daily (here are all the awesome ways that grounding supports your brain function!)
- Take probiotics (your brain and your gut are deeply interconnected)
- Take Omega 3 Fatty Acid supplements (shown to help preserve brain volume as you age)
- Exercise to protect your brain volume as you age
- Eat organically (studies show that pesticides increase Alzheimers Risk)
- Avoid gluten (studies suggest that gluten is neurotoxic)
- Drink coffee (clinically shown to protect agains MS!)
- Drink green tea or take green tea extract (medically shown to boost memory!)
- Take Vit D supplements (studies show low Vit D levels are linked to increased dementia rates)
- Take Resveratrol supplements (medically studied to stop the progression of Alzheimers plaques!)
- Meditate regularly (medically proven to be brain protective!)
- And stay active (daily walking is the key!)
Like this holistic approach to health?
Be sure you are signed up to receive my free newsletter so you don’t miss any of these uplifting holistic healing tips I send out each week.
If someone forwarded you this email, you can sign up on my homepage and click the Newlestter button at the top of the page to get these tips delivered directly to your own inbox!
To your naturally resilient, astoundingly incredible human body!
Laura Koniver MD