By Robert L. True, MD
Do you want to live longer and with a sharp mind? A recent report in the BMJ provides some of the strongest evidence to date that correlates a good healthy heart with a good sharp brain. In other words, what’s good for the heart is good for the brain.
The study was done over the last 25 years in the United Kingdom. It utilized data from a large (8,000 men and women) data base called the Whitehall II study; an ongoing study that evaluates several aspects of health. It’s always best if you can have a study that tests a theory going forward instead of looking back.
They evaluated several concepts of good health, the same ones we at TrueMD Wellness recommend stay active – exercise daily (30 minutes of moderated exercises daily), stopping smoking, and lose weight if you’re overweight, but maintain a good diet that is good for your heart. When you lose weight and eat right, the other biological factors associated with better heart health occurs automatically: you tend to control your cholesterol level, your blood glucose level, and your blood pressure to more normal levels.
Using a simplified scoring system using these parameters, those in the study who had good cardiovascular health had almost a two-thirds reduction in the risk of developing dementia over the 25 years of the program. The results are similar to other studies suggesting the same correlation: if you have good heart health, your brain is healthier too.
The data of all the studies is overwhelming and a wake-up call for everyone. You should start early, at least age 45 to 50 (midlife) and continue to do all the above lifestyle changes that help keep your heart healthy. A 60% to 70% reduction in dementia is not shabby, plus your heart is healthier too.
Moreover, we at TrueMD also recommends starting on hormone therapy at midlife too, for both women and men. Other studies have shown a high percentage reduction in cardiovascular disease if hormones are started early, in your 40’s to 50’s, and keep them going. Doing so may give you at least a 30% reduction in cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, taking certain supplements at that time as protective actions have also been associated with not only better heart health but also better brain health.
Thus, if you do all the aspects of the TrueMD Wellness program, you are doing just about everything you can do to keep your heart and your brain as fit as they can be. In so doing, your efforts will also benefit you over the long run by helping you be more active as you grow older so you can enjoy life better, go on those vacations like you want or have more fun with your grandkids, or whatever your desires are. Consequently, all these equates to a happier longer life with a sharper mind, and more fun as you grow older.
 Sabia, S, et al. Association of ideal cardiovascular health at age 50 with incidence of dementia: 25-year follow-up of Whitehall II cohort study. BMJ 2019; 366 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l4414