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NUTRITION & THE AGING BRAIN

with Duane Law, L.Ac.

N

one of us are getting any younger.

Though a lot of us are in denial about it. And for good reason. Who wants to face the prospect of slowly losing one’s faculties and abilities just as we reach the peak of our lives.

Well … perhaps we don’t have to. At least not in the way that most of us assume.

To be sure, as the years turn into decades and decades into a lifetime, we reach a stage where the machinery of life, left to its own devices, starts to run down.

But that steady downward slope isn’t the only option. With the right food awareness1,2,3,4,5,6 and nutrient inputs7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16 we can flatten that curve into one that stays level until very close to the end.17

One of the first things we want to do if we want to keep our minds agile as we age is to recognize that inflammation slowly degrades the ability of our brains’ neurons to be at their best.18 Think of chronic low-grade inflammation as sand in the gears of our metabolic machinery.

Human brains are extremely active organs.

The next thing we can do is work to help mitochondria, our cells’ power plants, run more efficiently.19,20,21 Since the brain uses 20% of the body’s energy while comprising only 2% of the body’s weight, any issues that arise with respect to the ability of our cells to generate energy tend to show up first as changes in mood and behavior. We can do this by making sure they have a rich mix of the nutrients they need to thrive.

Inflammation is another enemy of healthy brain function as we age.22,23 Chronic inflammation can arise as a function of imbalances in our microbiome24,25 the roughly 2.5 pounds of friendly or unfriendly bacteria that live in our guts. The Standard American Diet (SAD,) laced as it often is with trace quantities of toxic agricultural chemicals and replete with ultra-processed foods,26 is notorious for killing off healthy microbiome microbes, leaving more room for the unhealthy ones to thrive and setting the stage for the chronic inflammation27,28 that can negatively impact brain health.29,30,31

As inflammation not only impairs the ability of our cells to generate energy but especially of our neurons to communicate with each other, we can think of the brain, the moods and cognitive functions it supports, as the “canary-in-the-coal-mine” of our bodies.

So one way to think of the mood and behavioral changes associated with aging is as an attempt by the body to let us know something’s wrong, speaking in the only language it has.

The good news: if we listen and learn the lessons our bodies try to teach us, we can “flatten the morbidity curve” and maintain a youthful level of activity not only in our brains, but throughout our whole bodies as we mature.

Online Live Webinar

Sunday, Nov 20, 11am-3pm CST (GMT-6)

(9am-1pm PST, 10am-2pm MST, 12pm-4pm EST)

4 CE Hours for California Acupuncturists (pending)

4 NCCAOM PDA points

 $89

  • Course will be recorded for viewing at at your convenience.
  • Enrollees not attending live will be awarded their hours/credits/points upon successful completion of a short quiz.
  • Learn to boost mitochondrial function to support healthy cognition
  • How chronic inflammation undermines the healthy brain
  • The role of the microbiome
  • Specific nutrients to support neuronal health and communication

Online Live Webinar

Sunday, Nov 20, 11am-3pm CST (GMT-6)

(9am-1pm PST, 10am-2pm MST, 12pm-4pm EST)

4 CE Hours for California Acupuncturists (pending)

4 NCCAOM PDA points

$89

  • Course will be recorded for viewing at at your convenience.
  • Enrollees not attending live will be awarded their hours/credits/points upon successful completion of a short quiz.
  • Learn to boost mitochondrial function to support healthy cognition
  • How chronic inflammation undermines the healthy brain
  • The role of the microbiome
  • Specific nutrients to support neuronal health and communication

This course focuses on:

  • how life in the modern industrialized world leaves us chronically inflamed,
  • how the Standard American Diet (SAD) undermines healthy brain function,
  • how other forms of pollution impact healthy brain function over time,
  • common functional nutrition strategies for adapting to modern life and preserving healthy brain function as we age.

Goals & Objectives:

Students who complete this course successfully will:

  • Be able to describe at least three different metabolic breakdowns underlying brain aging.,
  • Be able to explain functional nutrition approaches to each of those three morphologies,
  • Be able to describe how the Standard American Diet and other forms of industrialized pollution undermine brain function in the aged,
  • Name three publicly available resources to which they can refer patients for education purposes and offer a critique of at least one of them.

Duane Law, L.Ac. is among the earliest acupuncturists licensed in the US. For forty years patients have been bringing him medical challenges unresponsive to conventional care and he’s been able to help nearly all of them.

Duane’s courses are known for being colorful, entertaining and loaded with evidence-based facts. He believes in teaching by telling stories and sharing personal anecdotes from his practice and his own self-care explorations. While the occasional data dump is inevitable in continuing ed courses he takes pains to ensure that all learning styles are accommodated.

 1. Zhang Y, Chen J, et al. Intakes of fish and polyunsaturated fatty acids and mild-to-severe cognitive impairment risks: a dose-response meta-analysis of 21 cohort studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Feb;103(2):330-40.

 2. Nozaki S, Sawada N, et al. Association Between Dietary Fish and PUFA Intake in Midlife and Dementia in Later Life: The JPHC Saku Mental Health Study. J Alzheimers Dis. 2021 79(3):1091-1104.

 3. Bourre JM. Effects of nutrients (in food) on the structure and function of the nervous system: update on dietary requirements for brain. Part 2 : macronutrients. J Nutr Health Aging. 2006 Sep-Oct;10(5):386-99.

 4. Sliwinska S, Jeziorek M. The role of nutrition in Alzheimer’s disease. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2021 72(1):29-39.

 5. Nafea H, Abdelmegid O, et al. Higher Habitual Nuts Consumption Is Associated with Better Cognitive Function among Qatari Adults. Nutrients. 2021 Oct 13;13(10):3580.

 6. Kimura Y, Yoshida D, et al. Long-term association of vegetable and fruit intake with risk of dementia in Japanese older adults: the Hisayama study. BMC Geriatr. 2022 Mar 28;22(1):257.

 7. Bianchi VE, Herrera, PF, Laura R. Effect of nutrition on neurodegenerative diseases. A systematic review. Nutr Neurosci. 2021 Oct;24(10):810-834.

 8. Cardoso C, Afonso C, Bandarra NM. Dietary DHA and health: cognitive function ageing. Nutr Res Rev. 2016 Dec;29(2):281-294.

 9. Bourre JM. Effects of nutrients (in food) on the structure and function of the nervous system: update on dietary requirements for brain. Part 1: micronutrients. J Nutr Health Aging. 2006 Sep-Oct;10(5):377-85.

10. Smorgon C, Mari E, et al. Trace elements and cognitive impairment: an elderly cohort study. Arch Gerontol Geriatr Suppl. 2004 (9):393-402.

11. Tao MH, Liu J, Cervantes D. Association between magnesium intake and cognition in US older adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011 to 2014. Alzheimers Dement (N Y). 2022 Feb 1;8(1):e12250.

12. Zhang CQ, Sun LQ, Sun HB. Effects of magnesium valproate adjuvant therapy on patients with dementia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2022 Aug 5;101(31):e29642.

13. Brewer GJ. Copper excess, zinc deficiency, and cognition loss in Alzheimer’s disease. Biofactors. 2012 Mar-Apr;38(2):107-13.

14. Tardy AL, Pouteau E, Marquez D, Yilmaz C, Scholey A. Vitamins and Minerals for Energy, Fatigue and Cognition: A Narrative Review of the Biochemical and Clinical Evidence. Nutrients. 2020 Jan 16;12(1):228.

15. Kawahara M, Tanaka KI, Kato-Negishi M. Zinc, Carnosine, and Neurodegenerative Diseases. Nutrients. 2018 Jan 29;10(2):147.

16. Juan SMA, Adlard PA. Ageing and Cognition. Subcell Biochem. 2019;91:107-122.

17. Fries JF. Aging, natural death, and the compression of morbidity. N Engl J Med. 1980 Jul 17;303(3):130-5.

18. Mecocci P, Boccardi V, et al. A Long Journey into Aging, Brain Aging, and Alzheimer’s Disease Following the Oxidative Stress Tracks. J Alzheimers Dis. 2018;62(3):1319-1335.

19. Angelova PR, Abramov AY. Role of mitochondrial ROS in the brain: from physiology to neurodegeneration. FEBS Lett. 2018 Mar;592(5):692-702.

20. Stefanatos R, Sanz A. The role of mitochondrial ROS in the aging brain. FEBS Lett. 2018 Mar;592(5):743-758.

21. Grimm A, Eckert A. Brain aging and neurodegeneration: from a mitochondrial point of view. J Neurochem. 2017 Nov;143(4):418-431.

22. Goyal D, Ali SA, Singh RK. Emerging role of gut microbiota in modulation of neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration with emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2021 Mar 2;106:110112.

23. Rosenberg GA. Extracellular matrix inflammation in vascular cognitive impairment and dementia. Clin Sci (Lond). 2017 Mar 1;131(6):425-437.

24. Shabbir U, Arshad MS, Sameen A, Oh DH. Crosstalk between Gut and Brain in Alzheimer’s Disease: The Role of Gut Microbiota Modulation Strategies. Nutrients. 2021 Feb 21;13(2):690.

25. Megur A, Baltriukien? D, Bukelskien? V, Burokas A. The Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis and Alzheimer’s Disease: Neuroinflammation Is to Blame? Nutrients. 2020 Dec 24;13(1):37.

26. Leo EEM, Campos MRS. Effect of ultra-processed diet on gut microbiota and thus its role in neurodegenerative diseases. Nutrition. 2020 Mar;71:110609.

27. Daulatzai MA. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity triggers gut dysbiosis, neuroinflammation, gut-brain axis dysfunction, and vulnerability for dementia. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2015 14(1):110-31.

28. Olmo BMG, Butler MJ, Barrientos RM. Evolution of the Human Diet and Its Impact on Gut Microbiota, Immune Responses, and Brain Health. Nutrients. 2021 Jan 10;13(1):196.

29. Kowalski K, Mulak A. Brain-Gut-Microbiota Axis in Alzheimer’s Disease. J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2019 Jan 31;25(1):48-60.

30. Kesika P, Suganthy N, et al. Role of gut-brain axis, gut microbial composition, and probiotic intervention in Alzheimer’s disease. Life Sci. 2021 Jan 1;264:118627.

31. Pluta R, Ulamek-Koziol M, Januszewski S, Czuczwar SJ. Gut microbiota and pro/prebiotics in Alzheimer’s disease. Aging (Albany NY). 2020 Mar 19;12(6):5539-5550.

Duane Law, L.Ac. has taught acupuncturists since the 1980s and has been a provider of continuing education for mental health professionals in California since 2000.

Duane is among the earliest acupuncturists licensed in the US. His clinical focus has been mental health issues and otherwise non-responsive medical challenges since 1982, with an emphasis on food awareness, nutrition and client education as interventions.

The Understanding Long COVID Anxiety & Depression course meets the qualifications for 4 PDA points as required by NCCAOM, and 4 hours of CE credit as required by the California Acupuncture Board.

Normally there are no refunds issued to enrollees after the course begins or once course materials are viewed or downloaded, except if you’re really annoyed for some reason get in touch and we’ll work things out to your satisfaction. The same applies to anyone with a grievance.

If you need special accommodations for any reason please let us know at the time of your enrollment in the course by sending me a message, texting or calling me at (310) 498-2777.

Course certificates for live course attendees will be provided by email within 48 hours at the end of the seminar. Asynchronous attendees viewing the webinar recording will be asked to pass a short quiz; the passing rate will be 70% correct and certificates for these students will be provided by email within 48 hours of completing the quiz. Asynchronous attendees seeking NCCAOM PDAs will also need to complete a worksheet.

Duane Law, L.Ac. (CAMFT 102132) is approved by NCCAOM (Provider #9140) and the California Acupuncture Board (CE Provider #1667) to provide continuing education for acupuncturists.

Duane Law, L.Ac. maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content.

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