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“Brain Goo” Blocks Memory & Thinking

The word “Lipofuscin” looks funny, but its effects in the body are no laughing matter.

Lipofuscin is strongly implicated in Alzheimer’s Disease, memory loss and impaired learning ability. It is commonly known as age pigment and is responsible for age spots (aka “liver spots”) on the skin. Besides the skin, it also accumulates in organs and nerve cells. Although this sticky, caramel-like substance affects more than one part of the body, today I’d like to focus on its effects on the brain.

Before we get to that, it is helpful to know how this substance comes about and the overall negative effects from it.

Where It Comes From

Current research indicates Lipofuscin is created by free radical damage. 50% of its components are directly related to fat oxidation. The remaining components are cross-linked proteins (30%) and other residues from metabolism (20%). It especially accumulates inside of cells.

All of this means that cellular oxidation is a primary cause of Lipofuscin. Although we need oxidation reactions in the body to create energy, in the process free radicals are left behind. With too many free radicals you have oxidative stress, causing cell damage.

Free radicals come from numerous sources, including natural energy production in the body. Among external sources, the following influences stimulate production of free radicals:

  • Drinking alcohol
  • Eating simple sugars (fructose, glucose and sucrose)
  • Eating foods containing rancid fats
  • Exposure to microwaves & radiation
  • Heavy metals in the body (aluminum, cadmium, lead & mercury)

Negative Effects on Health

The negative effects of Lipofuscin come from the fact that it blocks normal cellular function. You can think of it like sticky caramel that gums up the normal workings of the body.

General health problems directly influenced by Lipofuscin include accelerated aging, impaired heart function, macular degeneration, liver disease, and muscle and joint pain.

In the brain, the accumulation of Lipofuscin interferes with nerve impulses and excess accumulation can even kill nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

What Can Be Done To Slow or Reverse Lipofuscin Formation in the Brain?

Decrease Foods that Create Additional Oxidation: Excessive amounts of specific nutrients that trigger oxidative stress in the body will disable or overwhelm your body’s natural antioxidant protection system.

One of the primary culprits for this is excessive amounts of Omega-6 Fatty Acids. We need Omega-6 in our diet, but too much is a problem. Omega-6 is much higher in highly processed foods than in foods raised and served in a more natural state.

Here are a list of foods that create additional oxidation when eaten in large amounts. The oils and grains are particularly high in Omega-6 Fatty Acids:

  • Plant oils – corn oil, safflower oil, black currant oil
  • Nut and seed oils – peanut oil, sunflower oil, almond oil, sesame oil, hemp oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil
  • Grains, especially processed grains – wheat & wheat/white flour (bread, pasta), rice flour, barley flour, etc. and anything made from them
  • Simple sugars – fructose, glucose, sucrose found in all forms of concentrated sugar such as white sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses, fruit juice (especially pasteurized juices)

Eat Whole Fresh Foods In Their Natural State: The more processed your food is, the more difficult it is for your body to use effectively. Over time this will lead to health problems as your body loses the ability to compensate. This results in chronic disease, particularly the signs of ‘old age.’ As you’ve read, these include symptoms related to Lipofuscin in the brain.

Take Brain-Friendly Supplements: Antioxidants and certain other nutrients are specifically helpful for lowering Lipofuscin levels and helping remove it from the brain. These include:

  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine
  • Creatine
  • Chromium
  • Carnosine
  • Lipoic Acid
  • Nucleotides
  • Omega-3 Oils
  • Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPCs)
  • Proteases (protein digestives)
  • Vitamin B5
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

Getting older isn’t really the problem when you consider that the alternative is death. The real problem is feeling older. By following a healthier lifestyle you’ll reduce the symptoms you already experience and go a long way towards eliminating future problems such as Alzheimer’s Disease and other brain problems of aging.


References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipofuscin

Calvani, M., et al. Action of acetyl-L-carnitine in neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s disease. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (USA). 663:483-486, 1993.

Arivazhagan, P., et al. Alpha-lipoic acid increases Na+K+ATPase activity and reduces lipofuscin accumulation in discrete brain regions of aged rats. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1019:350-354, 2004.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • DebJanuary 3, 2011, 11:36 am

    I’ve been using hemp oil for a few years and find it very helpful, particularly in terms of brain function.

  • KarenMarch 12, 2011, 3:22 pm

    If there were a “Like” button, I would click it. 🙂

  • Dr. BruceMarch 12, 2011, 3:31 pm

    Hi Karen,

    I see what you mean. There is a set of social bookmarking icons at the bottom of the article, including a Facebook button, but no “Like” button. I’ll have to see about correcting that!

    Thanks,

    Dr. Bruce

  • lynette mayoDecember 8, 2012, 12:56 am

    Hi Dr.Bruce:
    I have a huge amount of Lipofuscin in my body. I take quite a few of the supplements you recommend, I was wondering what dosage of each one would you suggest????

  • Dr. BruceDecember 8, 2012, 4:54 am

    Hi Lynette,

    It is hard to give a reliable dose for any supplement. The reason is that each person has unique requirements and responses to them.

    What I usually recommend to new patients if I don’t yet know how sensitive they are is to start with the smallest dose possible. That is usually one tablet or capsule a day. Then gradually increase the dose over a week or two until reaching the dose recommended on the bottle.

    If, along the way, it becomes obvious there is any unwanted response, the next step is to reduce the dose to the previous dose that didn’t have the side effect.

    Also, it is usually best to only add one supplement at a time. That way you get a really clear idea of what supplement is having what effect.

    Hope that helps!

    Dr. Bruce

  • lynette mayoDecember 8, 2012, 5:43 pm

    Hi Dr.Bruce:
    Another question for you. What’s the best supplements and diet for head to toe Lymphedema. Same with OA.
    Also, I’m looking for a good Calcium/Magnesium supplement, I was taking Garden of Life Grow Bone, but it was problematic taking the Growth Factors.
    Thanks,
    Lynette
    PS: Signed up two friends

  • Dr. BruceDecember 8, 2012, 7:46 pm

    Hi Lynette,

    I sometimes wish it was that simple. Both head to toe lymphedema and osteo arthritis can each have multiple contributing factors. Because of that it is always a matter of some detective work to figure out what is going on. Usually this involves eliminating potential causes one at a time to see if there is improvement.

    For these two I would start with very basic things. For example, both can be affected by sugar intake. That includes anything that is sweet, such as fruit or fruit juice. Even most vegetable juice is too sweet. For lymphedema I would see about reducing salt intake.

    And food in general is a major factor for both of these. If you read the blog regularly, you know that I favor Metabolic Typing to sort out the best food choices. This doesn’t always fix the issue, but it sets you up for a better response for any other changes.

    There are other possible things to discover. Blocking factors are one. These are things that interfere with normal body function. Toxins, heavy metals, stress, injuries, etc. all fall into this category. There are also energetic blocks best dealt with using acupuncture.

    Again, I wish I could give you a “one size fits all” recommendation. However I feel it would not serve you well to pretend there is one.

    As for Cal Mag, I like Pure Encapsulations. Since they only sell to professionals you would have to get this from a practitioner that carries it. Alternatively, you could order from the web page they provide me to send patients to. Here is the link for it:

    http://www.purecapspro.com/dreichelberger/pe/products/product_details.asp?ProductsID=810

    Take care,

    Dr. Bruce

  • lynette mayoDecember 11, 2012, 6:44 am

    Thanks Dr.Bruce:
    I’m going to re-start taking HMD (The Gentle Chelator) for heavy metals again. I have two acupuncture appointments paid for. Going to try Lucidril for Lipofuscin, it’s the best I came up with. I take Limbrel, but, I’m not sure if it helps or not? I’m just re-starting Primal Therapy again after 6 yr. break, it will help stress enormously. I do CVAC twice weekly,
    also Prolotherapy monthly. These stop the use of drugs. I’ll look up Metabolic Typing. I plan on doing “So Easy” cleanse again this month. It removes huge amounts of Mucoid Plaque, first one I found that does this.

    Thanks Dr.Bruce,
    Lynette

  • Dr. BruceDecember 11, 2012, 7:29 am

    Lynette,

    It sounds like you have a good handle on all this. There are specific blocking factors in acupuncture that will prevent treatment from being successful unless they are cleared. There are 6 of them and they need to be done is a specific order. My hunch is that you don’t have the first one, but the other 5 need to be checked. Hopefully your acupuncturist is familiar with these.

    By the way, I’ve fixed the links in my comments on the video page. Hopefully you will be able to get to the pages now.

    Dr. Bruce

  • LynetteDecember 11, 2012, 5:02 pm

    Thanks Dr.Bruce:
    I spend to much time on the computer, no choice, I’m alone with a catastrophic disease.

    My Primary doesn’t know what Lipofuscin is – doesn’t know what Ozone for tooth infection is – they don’t help. Wrote to D’Adamo — Do you sell products without Magnesiun Stearate & additives?

    Those are what we look for. I don’t have a regular acupuncturist, just two treatments from Groupon. I did find a Clinic in San Diego that does complimentary treatments for seniors once a week – our budget can’t accommodate Acupuncture. Everything I get, I get a huge discount on being on social security.

    I was in touch once with a Dercums lady Sigrid (she has a youtube). She had an Acupuncturist living on her property in Australia. I don’t think he cured her DD – he helped her pain. Did you reply to my Dercums original question – haven’t found it?

    Thanks so much, I’m sending your site to a Chiropractor, Cheryl.

    Hope some of my finds help others, especially “So Easy”. It’s from a clinic in Malaysia, all they do is detox?

    Luv,

    Lynette

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