Memory Mastery: Optimizing Cognitive Health

Season 1 | Episode 40
14m | Aug 1, 2023

Welcome to "Cognitive Health Boost," the podcast where we delve into the secrets of maintaining a sharp mind and curbing memory loss. Join us in discussion with Dr. Colleen Hartwick, a licensed naturopathic physician based in Campbell River, B.C., with a special focus on trauma and mental health. Dr. Hartwick's expertise and passion for sharing knowledge shine through with this insightful conversation.

Dr. Hartwick addresses the common misconception that memory loss is an inevitable part of aging. She sheds light on various factors, from natural declines in brain function to the impact of chronic stress and elevated cortisol. It becomes clear that memory loss is not a one-size-fits-all issue; and can be influenced by lifestyle choices. It’s multifactorial causes span from the neurotoxic effects of alcohol consumption, hypothyroidism and medication side effects.

Dr. Hartwick provides invaluable advice on building a strong foundation for cognitive health. Regular physical exercise, which boosts blood flow and insulin sensitivity, is also highlighted as a cornerstone. She emphasizes the importance of maintaining a robust social network, as it helps reduce cortisol levels and supports mental well-being. Exercise is also recognized for promoting BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) which is essential for learning and memory. Managing blood pressure, cholesterol, and staying hydrated are also emphasized as key factors in memory and cognition.

The conversation then pivots to the crucial role of sleep in cognitive function. Dr. Hartwick outlines practical strategies for optimizing sleep quality, including consistent sleep schedules, relaxing bedtime routines, and maintaining a comfortable sleep environment. She underscores the impact of sleep for insulin sensitivity and the brain's glymphatic system, which flushes away debris, allowing neurons to communicate effectively. Uninterrupted sleep and respecting your circadian rhythm are also stressed.

Listeners gain valuable insights into brain-stimulating activities. Dr. Hartwick encourages a diverse approach, advocating for a variety of challenges to the brain. While puzzles like crosswords and Sudoku are beneficial, she suggests incorporating activities like reading, learning a new language, and other forms of mental engagement for a well-rounded cognitive workout. She discusses how brains are adaptive so engage in a variety of activities to stimulate your brain. 

Diet's pivotal role in cognitive health is thoroughly explored. Dr. Hartwick emphasizes the significance of managing blood sugar levels, avoiding refined sugars and processed foods while recommending whole grains and low-sugar options. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish, algae, and plant-based sources, are hailed for their anti-inflammatory properties. Brightly coloured foods rich in antioxidants are championed for their role in reducing oxidative stress.

Supplements, when used wisely, can be a valuable addition to one's cognitive health regimen. Dr. Hartwick shares her insights into key supplements, such as Omega-3s from fish oil, Bacopa Monnieri for acetylcholine support, and Lion’s Mane, known for their cognitive function. She also highlights the importance of nutrients such as choline and citicoline in acetylcholine production, a vital neurotransmitter associated with memory formation. Lecithin is also discussed as a source of cognition friendly nutrients.

In conclusion, Dr. Hartwick offers practical guidance for choosing high-quality supplements. She suggests looking for ISO 17025 certification, indicating that the product has been rigorously evaluated for purity and potency. With this expert advice, listeners can confidently navigate the market and make informed choices for their cognitive health.

Tune in to "Cognitive Health Boost" and embark on a journey to unlock your brain's full potential. With Dr. Colleen Hartwick as your guide, you'll gain valuable insights and actionable strategies for a sharper, more resilient mind. Don't miss out on this opportunity to take proactive steps towards a brighter cognitive future!

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