Naturally Protect Myelin Sheath to Support Your Aging Brain

Naturally Protect Myelin Sheath to Support Your Aging Brain

You have a naturally protective covering around your nerve cells called myelin. Over time, as a result of trauma or being afflicted with a particular disease, this myelin sheath can deteriorate and result in misfired nerve signals. When this happens, these signals are unable to reach across the nerve gap to sustain normal functioning. Some neurological disorders that can occur due to loss of myelin aka demyelination, demyelinating diseases or conditions include:

  • Stroke
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscle weakness
  • Brain inflammation
  • Spinal cord inflammation
  • Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia
  • Vision loss which may include macular degeneration
  • Some neuropsychiatric disorders including sensory changes, ADHD, and autism

Overall, demyelination has been a strong consideration cause for not only Alzheimer’s and dementia but may affect the rest of the body when it occurs in the brain. Learn some ways to naturally protect myelin sheath to support your aging brain and you just may be able to get ahead of the curve and avoid this health compromise altogether.

REM Sleep 

Oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) are the major cells that help produce myelin. Scientists have now discovered in rodent lab as well as human studies that OPCs increase exponentially when we sleep. However, it is not just a quick nap or five hour sleep that does it, it is deep REM (rapid eye movement) sleep that has shown to create OPC production. Without this, it is believed that over the years the myelin degenerates and may lead to cognitive compromise. 

Sleep tips include: Try melatonin, magnesium, and potassium (clear with your doctor first); do not eat three hours before bed; keep a regular sleep schedule and expose your eyes to the sun as soon as you wake.

Iodine It Up

Iodine is an essential mineral that some people are deficient in. This can significantly impact thyroid function which is a major contributor to myelination. 

A study of human development published in Seminars in Cell Development & Biology stated that, “inadequate thyroid hormone impairs myelination”

Talk to your doctor about considering an iodine supplement or eating more seafood or sea plants which are high in iodine.

Get Fat, Get Moving

You don’t often come across a high fat diet recommendation but if you are in a high risk category, over age 65 or have a family history of dementia, then getting more good, natural fats could help support myelin production and brain function. Add in some good constant exercise and you may be doing that crossword puzzle in half the time.

According to a paper posted by the Mayo Clinic, “High-fat diet alone or in combination with exercise has the greatest effect on myelin-related protein expression. PLP [proteolipid protein] and MBP [myelin basic protein] levels were highest in the group that exercised and consumed a high-fat diet.”

Good fat includes: avocados, nuts, extra-virgin olive oil, olives, chia seeds, coconut, fatty fish

Lithium Orotate

Lithium is a medication that can be given to bi-polar patients but research has found that the mineral lithium orotate may have myelin protecting and rejuvenating results. 

In the study ‘Lithium enhances remyelination in peripheral nerves’ which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America it was stated,  

“In conclusion, lithium is known to exert several beneficial effects on axonal regeneration and also has remyelinating effects. Therefore, this molecule could constitute a potential treatment of nerve injuries in which axonal lesions and demyelination coexist.”

Lithium orotate can be found online or in a local health food store. Always check with your doctor before taking any supplements.

D3 and K2: Super Myelin Duo

Combining supplements can be an excellent protective move for the future health of your cognitive function. D3 has shown to be at epidemic deficiency proportions as many people avoid the sun (a major component in producing vitamin D) and don’t get enough. It is recommended to take D3 supplements which offer a variety of health benefits including myelin support. 

According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 

“Two previous studies demonstrated that ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) or cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) induced functional recovery and increased myelination in a rat model of peroneal nerve transection.”

Add in K2, mostly obtained from dark green leafy vegetables but can be taken as a supplement, which has also shown good myelination. PLoS One reported on research that stated, “this is the first study to show that vitamin K enhances the production of sulfatides during remyelination.”

Naturally protect the myelin sheath to support your aging brain with these tips to get you going. Stay on top of your health with good diet and exercise making sure all cylinders are firing for optimal cognitive functioning.