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EP170 Six Midlife Brain Killers Part 2

Transcript Of Today's Episode

Dr. Martin Jr.: You're listening to The Doctor Is In Podcast from martinclinic.com. Although we share a lot of practical, and in our opinion awesome information, what you hear on this podcast is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. It's strictly for informational purposes, so enjoy.

Hi. I'm Dr. Martin Junior.

Dr. Martin Sr.: I'm Dr. Martin Senior.

Dr. Martin Jr.: This is The Doctor Is In Podcast, and [00:00:30] this is episode 170. Now, today we're gonna continue to talk about what we talked about last week. Last week, we started with the premise that what you do in your 40s and 50s and 60s determines the health of your brain in your 70s and 80s, because statistically, once you're 85 years old, 50% of the people at 85 have Alzheimer's. It's a coin flip, right? How [00:01:00] you end up on what side of the coin is really decided what you do in your 40s, 50s, and 60s.

In last week's episode, if you haven't heard it, go back and listen to last week's episode, because we really laid a foundation and we talk about the first three midlife brain killers. We have six things that happen in your midlife that will kill your brain when you're older. That's what we're talking about.

Now, we also talked about, last week ... At the end of the day, if you were to [00:01:30] reverse engineer Alzheimer's and dementia, there are four big causes of Alzheimer's and dementia. Four big causes. Now, they're gonna say genetics, and all those kind of things, but they're not, in my opinion, one of the big causes of Alzheimer's dementia. We talked about brain shrinking. Last week we talked a lot about the fact that it's normal, as you age, it's normal that your brain shrinks. But when it shrinks too fast, and there's a lot of reasons why your brain can [00:02:00] shrink too fast, but when it does, you're gonna end up with an Alzheimer's dementia. Inflammation. Massive cause of Alzheimer's dementia, and there are a lot of things that can cause inflammation.

Then we talk about infection. That's a new one. You and I have been talking about leaky gut, leaky brain for a long time, but research is starting to catch up, and we talked a few episodes ago about the studies showing how candida can actually cross the [00:02:30] blood-brain barrier, and these researchers are starting to look at the fact that that might be a major cause of Alzheimer's dementia and Parkinson's in people. In fact, Harvard has started what they call the Brain Microbiome Project. They're looking at, the brain actually has its own microbiome. The brain isn't sterile. Let's just say that. That's the third thing, and then of course, insulin. High insulin can cause ... In fact, I read something saying about half the people with Alzheimer's-

Dr. Martin Sr.: [00:03:00] Type three diabetes.

Dr. Martin Jr.: ... is due to elevated insulin. 50% of the people with Alzheimer's, it's because they have a problem with high circulating insulin, right? That's what we talked about last week, and then we mentioned that there are six brain killers that happen, so in your 40s and 50s and early 60s, if you do these six things, or any of them, or a multiple of them, you're gonna end up with ... We can't say that for sure, but there's a good [00:03:30] chance you're gonna end up with Alzheimer's dementia.

Last week, we talked about muscle mass. Studies are showing this, again. We talked about muscle mass, we talked about muscle strength, and we talked about high blood pressure, and we also talked about, research is showing that even if you have normal blood pressure that might be a little higher, but it's not diagnosed as high blood pressure, your chance of getting Alzheimer's increases. That was last week.

All right. This [00:04:00] week, we're gonna finish off with the other three brain killers, and then we'll end it by talking about how to protect your brain, what you can do to protect your brain. All right. Let's start off with the big one, which is inflammation, right? Specifically, again, remember, we know and we've talked about this before, that inflammation causes Alzheimer's dementia for a lot of people, but what we want to do is, we're talking about midlife. Research is clear on this as [00:04:30] well. Midlife inflammation is associated with late life brain volume. One of the things that happens is, if you have inflammation in your 40s and 50s in your brain ... Not even your brain. Sorry. These are systemic inflammatory markers, so high CRP, just high inflammation in midlife, your brain shrinks faster, which is a big problem. Midlife inflammation is a big-time indicator [00:05:00] of brain volume later in life.

Now, you know what's interesting? It used to be, and I remember reading a study a while ago, and they looked at the causes of brain shrinkage, because our brains shrink when we age. That's normal, but excessive brain shrinkage ... It used to be this. Smoking shrinks your brain faster.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Microcirculation.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yup. It affects the brain volume. I mean, it used to be if you smoke, not only all the other things that happen, and you're gonna age faster on [00:05:30] the outside, and all the free radical damage. Your brain volume shrinks. That was one. High blood pressure, they talked about. We talked specifically now about-

Dr. Martin Sr.: [crosstalk 00:05:39].

Dr. Martin Jr.: ... midlife high blood pressure. Obesity. Studies have shown that someone is obese has a smaller brain than somebody who's not. We now know a lot of reasons why that is, right? But those were the big things that used to, they associated with a smaller brain volume. Now there's a lot more things. Even midlife inflammation [00:06:00] shrinks your brain faster, so midlife inflammation.

Now, we've already talked about this before. Last episode, we kind of led off by talking about how you look in your 40s and 50s is determined by your 20s and 30s. A person who smokes or drinks too much or doesn't exercise, they eat a lot of junk, a lot of vegetable oils, they age faster.

Dr. Martin Sr.: And it shows up faster.

Dr. Martin Jr.: And it shows up faster, so you have somebody who's late 40s, [00:06:30] and somebody can't guess their age because they look like they could really be late 50s, and then vice-versa, people are surprised when somebody says, "Oh, you're 47?" Or whatever. "You don't look anything close to that." Right? A lot of that is 20s and 30s. It really comes back and bites you in your late 40s and 50s, but here's the thing. Chronic inflammation, so midlife chronic inflammation, they have shown not only does it shrink your brain faster, it is also ... There was a big study [00:07:00] done back in 2016, and they've called it infla-aging, because chronic inflammation is the accelerator of biological aging. Now, what does that mean? That's a mouthful.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Well, there's a difference between chronological aging and biological aging. Now, we can't do anything about chronological aging. Every year we get older, right? Every year, you get older. You have so many birthdays in your [00:07:30] lifetime. There's nothing you can do about that. That's chronological aging, so you have no control over your age. Mind you, people are identifying as a ... I saw that one thing, is a senior wanting to identify as a 40-year-old. But you can't do anything about your birthdays. However, biological aging is different, because biological aging is the actual age of your cells, how old your cells are. Some people, [00:08:00] their insides are way older than their outside, their age, and then the other way around. Sometimes they may be 60, but they got a biological age of 40.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Because their metabolic health is so healthy, right? Nothing ages you faster on the inside than inflammation. A study was done, and actually, it's interesting, they called it Inflamma-Aging, so Infla-Aging. Inflammation ages you. This is what they found specifically. Not only does inflammation [00:08:30] in midlife significantly raise your risk of morbidity and mortality, it also increases mitochondrial dysfunction, and I'll tell you, mitochondria, which are the little battery packs of your cells, mitochondrial health really determines your energy levels.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: You and I think that cancer is a disease of mitochondria, right? It's a metabolic disorder.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Again, your mitochondria, immune system, hormones, dysfunction of your telomeres. [00:09:00] Now, telomeres, telomeres are interesting, because I always tell people with telomeres, it's kind of like the wick of a candle. The longer your telomeres are-

Dr. Martin Sr.: The longer you last.

Dr. Martin Jr.: ... the longer you're gonna live.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Shorter telomeres are associated with shorter lifespans, so you want long telomeres, right? Again, inflammation shortens telomeres. Again, also plays a key role ... This is all the study. They looked at all ... It's very interesting. Type two diabetes. [00:09:30] Of course, we're talking about Alzheimer's. Cardiovascular disease. Sarcopenia.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Muscles.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Osteoporosis and cancer. Basically, all the top killers. If you want to get those top killers, have midlife inflammation. Inflammation, at any time it's bad news, but there's something especially bad about being highly inflamed in your midlife.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: It's gonna kill your heart, or your brain, or your immune system. It's gonna be a cancer.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Autoimmune.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Autoimmune [00:10:00] disorders. Kill your hormones, right? Inflammation in midlife kills your brain, so it's a brain killer. That's the fourth thing.

Now, let's talk about the fifth one. Insulin resistance. You and I talk every time about insulin, because it's involved in everything. When a person has high circulating insulin, they are at risk for a whole bunch of things in their brain. It does a lot of things. First of all ... Again, we're talking midlife [00:10:30] here, so I got a couple studies here talking about, if you in your midlife have elevated insulin, or insulin resistance, they've shown late life brain amyloid plaque accumulation. There's a correlation between the two. Think about that for a second.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: One of the distinguishing factors of Alzheimer's is the plaquing, right? They used to think that plaquing caused Alzheimer's, but what causes the plaquing? You can go all the way backwards, [00:11:00] but they're finding out that if you have insulin resistance ... Think of the diabetics, the metabolic syndromes, the pre-diabetes. All these people, if they have that in their midlife, they're gonna have plaquing in their brain later on.

Dr. Martin Sr.: You wonder if that doesn't get started early, and they just never look at ... They just really don't see it.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Well, because if you're a diabetic, you're not getting an MRI of your brain.

Dr. Martin Sr.: It's like scar tissue, right? Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: But you're putting it there. Yeah. You're right. Your brain is paying the price.

Dr. Martin Sr.: You know, it's like old injuries that you get. You hurt [00:11:30] your knee playing ball as a 20-year-old, and 40-year-old, now that really comes back to bite you when your knee, you can hardly go up stairs, and you got your bone-on-bone and scar tissues developed. Same thing in the brain, right? That stuff that the inflammation injures, right? It injures it over a period of time.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. It scars it up.

Dr. Martin Sr.: It scars it up.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. Battle wounds.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: But yeah, you're right. The interesting thing is, again, midlife insulin resistance increases [00:12:00] brain amyloid plaquing later in life. That's one thing insulin does. However, insulin also increases brain inflammation, and we just talked about the effect it has.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Talked about that. Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: It's a double whammy, but it's actually a triple whammy, because studies have shown this, and I found this interesting. High circulating insulin is associated with a shrinking of your brain, but specifically the area of your brain that's associated with memories.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: [00:12:30] Insulin causes plaquing. Insulin increases inflammation, and inflammation in midlife shrinks your brain, and insulin specifically causes an area of your brain to shrink that's associated with memory. It's a triple threat for your brain.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Which is why, I mean, it's not only your brain. We talk about insulin so much because it does-

Dr. Martin Sr.: You know, people say, "Don't you get tired of insulin?" But you know, I mean, every time you eat, you need insulin.

Dr. Martin Jr.: And we get questions about insulin [00:13:00] every day.

Dr. Martin Sr.: "Oh, insulin. Insulin." I know, but we've got degrees in nutrition. I mean, we gotta talk about food, because you are what you eat. You are what you absorb, and insulin, I know it sounds ... But it really is, it's not that complicated, right? It's not that complicated. If you're a bad eater, sugar is the new poison. Sugar is the new smoking, right? We talked about, especially in the last podcast, everybody and their dog knows that smoking's no [00:13:30] good for you. You don't have to go to a doctor to say, "Oh, yeah. You know what? Yeah. I want you to have a couple of cigarettes every day. It's good for you." No. All doctors know, anybody knows that smoking, no. It's not good for you. This is pet peeve. I just don't understand this whole marijuana thing. They're talking about ... And then they want people smoking. You know what I mean? That bothers me. If for nothing else, forget the drug. It's just the smoking [00:14:00] again. We already went through that. My dad, in 1962, I remember, I'll never forget it. I remember the day he came home and he said, "I'm never gonna smoke again." Threw his cigarettes away. I'm, "Dad, what are you, crazy? What am I gonna steal?" You know?

Dr. Martin Jr.: It's funny, because if you look back in the times of the World Wars, if you had asthma, they had you smoke. They think you're coughing it out, and they think you're-

Dr. Martin Sr.: Well, see, my dad, he had an ashtray in every one of his offices, [00:14:30] and his waiting room, his treatment rooms, his personal office. I mean, I grew up with that. It was nothing. My dad smoked. My mother smoked.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Well, you know what I tell my kids, is they don't have the privilege of eating a Tim Hortons donut without smoke in it as a kid. It's a funny thing, or I used to get a kick out of this. The smoking section in restaurants. You'd have a table. They're like, "Smoking or non-smoking?" You'd say, "non-smoking," so [00:15:00] they'd put you at a table, and then two feet over to your left the person's smoking.

Dr. Martin Sr.: They were smoking.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Like there's a magic air barrier that stops the smoking section. You know what's funny? Because we're so sensitive to smoke now, because you never-

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: I never have to smell smoke anymore, so when I do, it's overpowering. It's amazing how that used to be so much more common in restaurants, and people used to smoke on an airplane. I mean, it's such a funny thing. But you're right. I mean, smoking, they've shown [00:15:30] it, and that's the number one public health thing that they did, was cutting smoking cut a lot of diseases out, right?

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Now we're back to a whole bunch of different things, but yeah. Smoking will definitely shrink your brain, but insulin, like you said, insulin now, cutting insulin, like smoking, will cut a lot of risk factors down, but insulin definitely affects your brain. Now, all right. Here's the third thing, and it's along the same lines, and it [00:16:00] has to do with your blood glucose levels.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Right.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Here's the thing. Again, we're talking about midlife. Midlife diabetes. Let's talk about that first. Midlife diabetes. If you are in your 40s and 50s, and even 60s, according to the study, and you have diabetes, your risk of getting Alzheimer's or vascular dementia, they call it, goes up through the roof. This risk, and this is interesting. This is the study here. The risk [00:16:30] is stronger when diabetes occurs at midlife than in late life.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: If you get diabetes, and you're listening, and you have type two diabetes, your 50s, 60s, your brain's at risk, big time. If anything, you have to protect your brain and drastically change some things, but that's what this study ... There's a stronger association if you get it in your midlife, because again, there's something special about that midlife for brain health, right? It really sets it up.

But here's what I want to talk about specifically, [00:17:00] because not everybody's a diabetic. If you're a diabetic, your brain's at risk. That's a fact, but a lot of people don't realize this. Even if your blood glucose is normal, and there's been a few studies about this. High-normal blood glucose is associated with two things. Decreased brain volume, and cognitive performance in your 60s. If your blood sugar is normal, considered normal, it's not normal-

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah. It's not normal.

Dr. Martin Jr.: ... but it's elevated, but not [00:17:30] enough to be diagnosed with type two diabetes, so your doctor says, "You got a little pre-diabetes. Your blood sugar's a little elevated. It's a little off, but we'll monitor it and we'll pay attention, and when it becomes a problem, then we'll treat it with drugs." If you got high normal blood sugar, your brain is shrinking faster.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: Think about it this way. As your blood glucose levels rise, your brain shrinks. If it's high all the time, even normal high, your brain [00:18:00] is shrinking. Then not only does it affect your, again, set you up for dementia, Alzheimer's, it also affects your cognitive performance in your 60s. In your 60s, when you start to all of a sudden ... Your cognition goes down, well, blood glucose has a lot to do with that. We talked about this previously, but the brain is an energy hog.

Dr. Martin Sr.: It picks up, what, 20-something percent of all the fuel?

Dr. Martin Jr.: Yeah. It's a few percentage of your body weight in total, but it takes up almost a quarter [00:18:30] of your energy. It needs a lot of energy, and when your blood glucose is messed up, your brain shrinks faster. I mean, it makes sense, because it's almost like the brain has to shrink in volume because it can't get the flow it needs, the energy it needs for a full brain volume, so it shrinks in size. I mean, that's not a scientific explanation, but that's kind of what's happening, right?

What's interesting is, this study was done ... I'm looking at one study here on brain [00:19:00] and normal blood glucose. This one was done back in 2013. Even back then, I'm just gonna read you what the authors, the researchers suggested. They say, "These findings here stress the need to reevaluate what is considered as healthy blood glucose levels, and consider the role of higher normal blood glucose and the risk factor for cerebral health, cognitive function, and dementia." They're even saying we should maybe tighten up what we consider normal.

Here's the dirty little trick. [00:19:30] A dirty little secret of medicine in general, when it comes to lab values. The way it works is, normal is what 95% of the population has. Then 2.5% is above, and 2.5% below. Take 100 people, and what 95% of them fall into what range, and then 2.5% is high, 2.5% is low. That's how it determines. As we get sicker, normal [00:20:00] shifts, because you can have 100 people and a majority of them are not healthy, but they affect what is viewed as normal, which is why, for example, the testosterone range is like, what, 200 to 1100? Because 95% of the males fit into that range.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: That's a big range. It should be a lot tighter than that. Glucose is the same way in a sense. Glucose range should be a lot tighter, because we're not meant to have a wild variety [00:20:30] and elevated normal blood sugar levels. What I'm saying is this. Bottom line is that high normal is not normal, because they've shown that even when it comes to your brain, your brain shrinks faster, and it affects your brain later in life.

Dr. Martin Sr.: That's what Dr. Kraft used to say, too, right? He was the guru of all gurus, and he said, "We got it all wrong, because," he said, "most people never get the diagnosis of diabetes, but they're diabetic already, [00:21:00] because they're in that high normal sugar." Right? It's normal, but he said it's already diabetes, because your body is already paying a price for that elevated glucose. We talk about this. Your body does everything in the universe it can to get sugar out of your bloodstream, so don't wait, folks, 'til you're a diabetic. Don't wait for a doctor to say, "Uh-oh. You're a diabetic. Now here you go. Here are some pills."

Treat yourself as a diabetic, and [00:21:30] say, "Look. If I'm eating too much sugar, if I'm eating too many crappy carbohydrates and that," you're a diabetic already. Just take it, face the facts, and don't negotiate with yourself. Be hard on yourself to some extent, because we're talking about, this is life and death stuff. You know-

Dr. Martin Jr.: Well, and this is how you enjoy your retirement.

Dr. Martin Sr.: You know what I mean? I always tell people in the office, "You can make a huge investment in your portfolio, in terms of money, and good for you, and [00:22:00] I'm not against that at all."

Dr. Martin Jr.: Well, that's what makes this ... You and I talked about this in the previous episode. That's what makes this difficult, because it's almost like talking to a 19-year-old about retiring, saving for retiring. They're like, "Man, come on. Really? I'm 19. That's like a million years from now."

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: "I don't want to talk about saving. It's so hard." But I'll tell you, you talk to somebody who's close to retirement, they wish they can go back and talk to their young self.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: The brain and your muscles, specifically, your brain and muscles work [00:22:30] like that. What you do when you're young determines your muscle health, which is your sarcopenia, and osteoporosis, the leading cause of disability in seniors, muscle wasting, and then brain.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah.

Dr. Martin Jr.: But again, it's hard, because who's thinking of their brain at 75, 80, when they're 45 and they got high blood pressure, and they got inflammation, and their sugar levels are a little bit elevated, but not enough to be diabetic, and they're not going to the gym, they got weak muscles, they don't [00:23:00] got a lot of muscle mass, and then they're in that statistic that they're gonna be that 50% at 85 that has dementia, Alzheimer's. People are gonna be like, "I don't know what happened."

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah. But you want a brain, and you know what I mean? I'll tell you, one of the biggest fears there are for people, and it's getting younger and younger, because I think people are much more ... With social media, and the internet, and all this and that, people do talk about the importance of their brain health. We love that. I mean, choices give [00:23:30] you power. It's better, like I say, they have a heads up.

Dr. Martin Jr.: I'm 45 years old, and I'm starting now to think more seriously about my brain health. I'm 45, and I'm starting ... One of the downside of reading all these studies is, a lot of these studies are warning me at my age not to have these things, so I'm starting to think about my brain health a lot more than I used to. I'll tell you, I never thought about my brain health in my 30s, ever. [00:24:00] Ever. Unless I had a concussion. That's the only time I worried about brain health. I never worried about dementia, Alzheimer's. I'm 45. I'm starting to think about that more often. I'm starting to, "Ooh. I can't forget. I gotta take my DHA every day." Right? "I gotta make sure I take my curcumin. I gotta make sure I take my pine bark. I gotta make sure ..." We even created a nootropic, our enhanced formula specifically for 40-plus years olds, we built that for ourselves, right?

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah. You gotta be sharp.

Dr. Martin Jr.: I looked at ... Yeah. But it's amazing, but [00:24:30] here's the bottom line. If you're listening, and you're in your midlife, and you have those things, especially multiple of those things, then you want to fix them. You want to get on it. You want to fix them now, then your chances of getting dementia, Alzheimer's, decrease drastically. Now, we can't 100% say you're not gonna get it, but if those six risk factors are not there, your brain's gonna be pretty healthy, and a lot of other parts of you as well.

All right. Now we're out of time, so [00:25:00] what can you do to protect your brain? You and I, we have a video on our website. It was a webinar that you and I did. You can get it for free on our website. It's called Age-Proof Your Brain. We reverse engineer dementia, Alzheimer's, talk about all these things we've talked about, and then we give you practical nutrition, and then also nutrients, supplements that we recommend in our clinic for brain health. Go to our website, martinclinic.com, and you can sign up, [00:25:30] get a free ... You can watch the video for free, and it has all the information that we have in our clinic that we openly share with people, right? They can do with it what they want.

Now, again, we're not telling you that it's gonna replace your doctor. We're not saying that. It's just, it's for informational purposes, but there's a lot of good information in there.

Dr. Martin Sr.: Yeah. Good education.

Dr. Martin Jr.: You can go to our website and you can get that there. Again, we want to thank you for listening to this two-part series, and have a great day.

Dr. Martin Sr.: [00:26:00] Thanks for listening to The Doctor Is In Podcast from martinclinic.com. If you have any questions, you can reach us at info@martinclinic.com. If you're not a newsletter subscriber, you can head to our website and sign up for free. We also have a private Facebook group that you can join. It's a community of awesome people. Finally, I do a Facebook Live every Thursday morning at 8:30. Join us again next week for a new episode.