Introduction: This is Your Brain Health with noted Neuroscientists, Dr. Kristen Willeumier, Your Brain Health explores strategies to maximize your cognitive functions through life. Here’s Dr. Kristen Willeumier.
Dr. Kristen Willeumier: Welcome back to Your Brain Health on Radio MD. I’m Dr. Kristen Willeumier. I’m here with Dr. John E. Lewis Physiologist here to teach us a little bit more about polysaccharides and how we can use them to help support our brain health. So John, I wanted to ask you, how do we get more polysaccharides into our diets and how can people use what you used in the research study to help support their brain health?
Dr. Lewis: So these are great questions. So you know, one of the things that people can do, I mean, when we talk about things like Aloe Vera and rice bran, you know, and those are not commonly thought of foods that you would consume. You think of Aloe Vera being something like, well, if you get a cut or a burn that you would apply topically, but people don’t really understand that if you take the polysaccharides, which unfortunately the Aloe Vera is about 98 and a half, 99% water. So by volume, it’s mostly just water. So you have to get a product that has a concentrated source of the saccharides.
Host: So, the Aloe Vera juice would not work. So if somebody drank a fourth of a glass of Aloe Vera juice daily, that would not get the requisite amount of polysaccharides needed to support your brain health.
Dr. Lewis: That’s correct. That would, that would contain so little saccharide that you’d probably have to go to Home Depot, buy a five gallon bucket.
Host: That’s why we have you on here. Okay. So a lot of times, you know, I recommend Aloe Vera juice, especially with people who have digestive issues. Anything to help support and heal the internal lining of your digestive system. But this is a very different use of the polysaccharides.
Dr. Lewis: That’s correct. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with your recommendation. I didn’t mean to knock that at all.
Host: No, you can not please knock away because we’re here to really, you know, get to the truth of when we’re targeting something like preventing dementia or helping somebody with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or any other kind of issues that are more clinical in the body. I want to make sure we let people know where you can get the right dosage.
Dr. Lewis: Exactly. So, again, for a, you know, minor GI difficulties, I would say the Aloe Vera gel is certainly something that’s been a long time used product. But taking it a step further, I would say that for example, our cognitive nourish product, it has a concentrated amount of the Aloe Vera polysaccharide in it. And so that’s something that’s going to have just a very much stronger physiological effect compared to the liquid because the liquid, just again, it’s almost entirely water. So you’re going to get very little saccharide in that compared to a concentrated freeze dried source. And the company that we work with, Lauren Labs in Houston, these guys are experts. The owner and founder of the company. This man talk about a specialist. This is a biochemist and this man has done nothing but study Aloe Vera his entire life. Dr. Santiago Rodriguez, I have tremendous respect for him. He’s such a wonderful man, and he literally has studied the entire planet looking for the best places to grow Aloe Vera and he’s from Costa Rica, which is known to be a great source of Aloe Vera. But even he chose a different place. He actually grows Aloe Vera off the coast of China on Henan Island.
Host: Wow. So that’s where it comes from. If they were to use the product. So what’s the name of the company and where can we find it?
Dr. Lewis: So you can get it. For example, in our product it’s called Cogni Nurish.
Host: Cogni Nurish. Okay.
Dr. Lewis: And the website is www.nurish.me and that’s nourished without an O. So it’s N U R I S H. Dot. Me.
Host: Okay. And people can take it as recommended on the bottle?
Dr. Lewis: Correct. In the Alzheimer’s study, we used four teaspoons per day, which is, you know, obviously for people with such a severe disease, that’s a big dose. But for example, I take two teaspoons a day, so I’m taking half what we used in this study. But yes, most people would be, I mean, unless you have somebody who’s really large, like say a very tall person or somebody who’s very overweight, we do have a body weight chart that you will get when you order the product. And so we did give you like a scaled up dose you know, based on body weight. But for most people you know, I would say two teaspoons per day is perfect.
Host: Excellent. I will be trying it myself and I’ll tell you, I was not planning to ask you about that. I just wanted to know, you know, where can we get this? Is this from Aloe Vera but I’m really excited about the product.
Dr. Lewis: Well, thank you. And the cool thing about our Cogni Nurish product as the name would suggest cognitive being, you know, for the mind or for mental health. We also have about nine other ingredients in that product. So it’s not just the Aloe Vera, it’s actually other products that have both different types of polysaccharides in it, but just other nutrients as well. For example it’s got some Omega three fatty acids, which obviously is very important. It’s another very hot topic today that people are interested in. But really what we do is, and I use the analogy of, it’s kind of a military analogy, a sniper versus a machine gun approach. Nutrition, as you well know, is a machine gun. It’s not a sniper. You can’t just say, well, I only need calcium or I only need Vitamin D, or I only need this or that. You really, the body needs all these different nutrients, phytonutrients, phytochemicals, compounds, cofactors, etcetera, to function properly. So we want to give you the best chance of being healthy and being well by giving you lots of different nutrients at the same time.
Host: I love it. I’m looking forward to trying it myself. And since we have you here, I want to pick your brain a little bit more. So what are some proactive ways to protect your brain as you age?
Dr. Lewis: So no question about it. The exercise science aspect of this literature is evolving as well. Although again, much like we mentioned before, so much of that research had been targeted toward cardiovascular disease and other things. But now people are saying, well, wait a minute, what about physical activity? So I would absolutely tell all your listeners that if you’re not exercising every day or almost every day, you really need to be because it’s not just to help you with your other major organs, but it’s definitely for your brain too. Clearly, if you’re not using it as we say, you’re going to be losing it. And so if you’re not, absolutely. And so physical activity is so important for the brain and the mind to keep you sharp, to keep your memory on point and to just basically allow you to feel like you’ve always felt if you haven’t had any kind of cognitive problems. So definitely exercises at the top of the list, although I would never put it before nutrition, but certainly exercises as well up there. We’ve already mentioned nutrition briefly.
I would again extend that just because of, you know, what I’ve learned going through my own process of being plant-based, I think that a whole food plant based diet is so important for all of us, not just for the brain but for all of our major organs. And so even if you’re not interested in going completely plant-based, I would say again to your listeners, there’s very strong evidence to suggest that the more animal food you consume, the greater your risk is of all different types of chronic diseases. And that is I would say somewhat of a conjecture for Alzheimer’s at this point. I mean, again, the research is definitely lagging in this area compared to say cancer and cardiovascular disease. But I think it’s only a matter of time as we’ve now I say we, as a society, as we’ve shifted toward funding more information or not information funding, more studies in this area of brain health that it’s going to take, you know, again, probably a couple of decades, but I’m pretty confident in my statement that I believe in the next 10, 20 years we will have studies that will be published showing the benefits of a whole food plant based diet for cognitive health.
Host: I am in complete agreement with you and I’m fully plant-based myself. And being in the field of brain research, I mean we learn as we go, we see what happens with patients and we modify our food choices accordingly. And that’s why I love having people like you come on the show and why I love sharing information as well. If I wasn’t in this position, I probably wouldn’t know. So that’s why, you know, you’ve got great insights and I know you’ve done work in exercise and looking at what it does to the body and how it helps reduce inflammation and you know, those who’ve listened to my podcast also understand that it can help grow brain volume and increase neuroplasticity. So we really want to make sure people are exercising, and I love a physician like yourself is actually recommending people do it every day because not everybody takes that advice. So that’s wonderful.
Dr. Lewis: Absolutely. Well it’s, you know, there is definitely research now in terms of obesity for example. Most people cannot exercise their way to a normal weight if they are overweight or obese. We just, nobody, unless you’re a, you know, a professional athlete or an athlete training for the Olympics or you know, say a construction worker. I mean somebody doing like really serious physical labor. Unfortunately we’re such a sedentary oriented society today that most people are not going to be able to exercise their way to lose weight. So that’s where nutrition really is just such a key. And the number one factor in terms of, well again this overweight obesity epidemic in particular, but the combination of the two, you still need them. I mean obviously you could go on a hypo caloric diet, but if you’re barely exercising, you’re going to be so conditioned that your body’s not going to function properly anyway. So it really requires a holistic approach to incorporating, again, a whole food, plant based diet, good supplementation, and of course your exercise training.
Host: I’m in complete agreement with you. It’s why I actually have one of the steps, movement trackers on my phone. So I track how much movement I have daily. We have one little tracker for our dog, so I know how much, and we always say, you know, you can’t change what you don’t measure. So I really encourage people to really measure the number of steps you’re taking. So it’s not just exercising but just moving in general.
Dr. Lewis: That’s right. And for the ladies out there, I was going to say, don’t be afraid of strength training. You know, too many times I’ve had women tell me, ah, John, I don’t want to strength train. I don’t want to get too muscular. I don’t want to look too masculine or whatnot. I’m like, look, you don’t have to worry about it. You’re not turning into Arnold Schwarzenegger just, you know, do some strength training. It’s going to be very good to keep your muscles conditioned very good for your bones. There are now so many known benefits of strength training that we used to think were only derived through cardiovascular training. And so strength training is wonderful and people who ignore that aspect of their exercise training are doing themselves a disservice.
Host: They really are. I want to just have one question before we close. So, what are some of the early warning signs of cognitive decline that indicate you’re dealing with more than just a fatigue?
Dr. Lewis: That’s a great question. You know, it’s a pretty wide ranging list. I would say the biggest thing for people is, you know, if they are constantly word-finding, like if they feel like they’re searching for words that usually would normally would come to them quite rapidly and they’re stuck in these you know, now they’ve lapses like they’re getting where they’re searching for words. They can’t think of someone’s name, a place that they would normally go to and not have any problem remembering. I mean, I think that’s one of the biggest ones. And then definitely feeling like this sort of life is coming at them faster. Like they’re not processing life the same way they used to, where now it seems like they’re taking longer time to make decisions or to be able to react a certain way to a certain situation or event. I think that’s another big one. And then probably just in general, like sort of and it’s probably like very insidious, like it wouldn’t even be so overwhelming, but just like a feeling of confusion, not really being certain about things, being hesitant. And maybe lacking a bit of confidence about making a decision. I think these are some of the things that start happening to people when they haven’t protected their brain and their body, when they haven’t eaten well, taken their nutrients, exercise, etcetera. So there are lots of things like that, but I think those are some of the big ones that people should look out for.
Host: And if you’re seeing some of those signs, you should go see a neurologist and get yourself evaluated and there’s no harm in getting a yearly evaluation. I think people expect to have some sort of memory loss as they age. And I’ll tell you my father, who he passed away at 78 but he had sort of a Parkinsonian syndrome towards the end when his memory started slipping, he knew he didn’t know a name and he’d go through every letter of the alphabet. So he’d start with A, B, C he used to tell me this and I’m like, okay, we need to get my dad, you know, on a good brain health protocol. So I’m really happy that you shared those warning signs. People need to hear that. And, John, I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to come on today and share such important insights on how we can use micronutrients to help support our memory and cognition and even restoration of healthy brain function. And I truly believe the collective consciousness is opening their minds to the ideas that we can restore our health and prevent disease through nutrition and exercise. And I really applaud you because it’s your evidence based research that’s really instrumental in educating not only those in academia, but those in the public about the effectiveness of this approach. So I wanted to thank you for your contributions to the scientific literature and we would absolutely love to have you back as a guest to discuss some of your other work.
Dr. Lewis: Thank you so much. It’s been my pleasure. You’re very kind. You’re very gracious and everything you’ve said, I hope I can just even remotely come close to those accolades. But I’m happy to join you anytime. All you have to do is ask, I’ll be more than happy to.
Host: That’s wonderful. And in closing, can you remind our audience where they could find this particular product? The polysaccharide, Aloe polysaccharide?
Dr. Lewis: Absolutely. Our company name is Nurish Me and our website is www.nurish.me, and that’s nurished without an O. It’s N. U. R. I. S. H.
Host: Well, Dr. John Lewis. It’s been a pleasure. And again, I recommend everybody go watch his Ted Talk, which you can look up on Google and learn a little bit more about Dr. Lewis and the great work he’s doing. So I look forward to having you on again soon.
Dr. Lewis: Thank you so much. I really appreciate the time. I look forward to speaking to you again.
Host: All right. Have a great rest of your day.
Dr. Lewis: Thank you.
Host: Bye bye.
Conclusion: You’ve been listening to Your Brain Health with Dr. Kristen Willeumier, for more information or to contact Dr. Willeumier, visit Dr. Willeumier.com. That’s D, R W, I, L, L, E, U, M, I E R.com.