Intermittent Fasting 101
Intermittent fasting has been on an increasing number of peoples’ radars over the past 5 to 10 years. Yet, it’s not a “new” concept. In prehistoric times, fasting was just a part of daily life. As hunters and gatherers, our ancestors went days without nourishment.
The documentation of intermittent fasting dates back to the 1500s, recorded by Luigi Cornaro, a nobleman. Cornaro made significant changes to his diet and lifestyle habits in his 40s to strengthen his “weak constitution.”
At age 83, his colleagues urged him to chronicle these changes—because they had known him as a younger man and were certain Cornaro should not still be living. He continued to beat the perceived odds and lived another 20 years, dying at age 103.
Fast forward to 2019, when the New England Journal of Medicine published a peer-reviewed paper on the health benefits of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting remains a viable approach to living longer, healthier lives.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
The human body operates with one goal in mind: survival. If you go 8-12 hours without food, your entire body is out of gasoline. You have no more stored glycogen, which provides energy. Your liver and muscle cells are empty, and your brain is screaming for sustenance. As a result, your body taps into what’s easiest to access in order to feed the brain: visceral fat.
It’s important to note that not all fat stored in the body is “bad.” Humans need certain types of fat to promote healthy metabolism and optimal hormone levels.
Visceral fat is not that type. High visceral fat levels may contribute to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, artery disease, and even cancer. So, reducing those levels is not just about eliminating a spare tire or muffin top.
Scientific Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
The research on intermittent fasting reveals its impact beyond weight loss. Thirteen hours without ingesting calories prevents breast cancer in both women and men. In rats, a 14-16 hour fasting period improves longevity by 30-50%.
Additional benefits include improvements to:
- thinking and memory
- blood pressure
- physical performance
- type-2 diabetes
- sleep apnea
Intermittent fasting also helps with reducing inflammation.
Too much inflammation in the body can lead to conditions such as:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- multiple sclerosis
The Simplest Diet: Intermittent Fasting
Aside from the health benefits, one of the best aspects of intermittent fasting is that it doesn’t require people to invest any extra time or money. You don’t have to buy special foods or spend hours measuring and weighing your meals. There are also no “off-limit” foods. You can still enjoy your favorite meals and snacks as long as you do so in moderation.
All intermittent fasting requires is knowing what time it is.
And, in truth, we all fast—it’s called sleeping!
The goal is getting to the sweet spot, the thirteen-hour marker of fasting, where the medical benefits take hold. However, there’s no detriment to switching up your schedule. Some days you may hit 13 hours, other days, you might aim for 16 or 18. A popular intermittent fasting schedule is 16:8—fasting for 16 hours and feasting for eight. On the weekends, you may decide not to stick to a schedule. Consistently practicing intermittent fasting is most important.
That said, there is some risk in fasting for too long. For example, if you’re regularly hitting the 20-hour mark, you’ll likely start to lose muscle mass. The body can only absorb 30 grams of protein at a time. With a limited feast window, you may not be getting adequate protein intake.
Are There Any Risks Associated with Intermittent Fasting?
Individuals living with diabetes should consult with their endocrinologist or diabetes educator before commencing with intermittent fasting. However, if someone is only in the stage of insulin resistance, intermittent fasting can prevent diabetes from developing.
Some people report experiencing digestive issues, such as constipation. In this case, they’re likely not drinking adequate amounts of water or eating enough high-fiber foods. Of course, in the initial stages, one might experience some fatigue, hunger pangs, and possibly headaches. As with any lifestyle change, it takes persistence and time to adapt. Still, it’s critical to have a conversation with your healthcare provider if you’re curious about intermittent fasting’s effects.
Ready to Explore Intermittent Fasting?
Different types of intermittent fasting exist. Some of the most common include:
Time-Restricted Fasting. This approach works by limiting the daily window of feasting. For example, if you eat your first meal of the day at 10 a.m. and your last meal at 6 p.m., you’ve followed the 16:8 plan. Common ratios for time-restricted fasting include 14:10, 16:8, and 18:6.
5:2 fasting. In this strategy, individuals eat “normally” five days a week and fast for two days. On the fasting days, they restrict their calorie intake to one 500-calorie meal for women and one 600-calorie meal for men.
Alternate Day Fasting. Using the same calorie intake as 5:2, fasting takes place every other day.
Time-restricted fasting is a great way to start because you can ease into it—gradually shrinking your feast window. As you get more accustomed to fasting, you might venture into other methods to see if they work for you.
The benefits of intermittent fasting are well-documented. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, improve your daily performance, optimize your cognitive health, or generally extend your lifespan, intermittent fasting is effective.
Your Comprehensive Guide to Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) Symptoms
If you or your loved one believes they have post-concussion syndrome (PCS), rest assured, the Aviv Clinics team is here to help. We understand how debilitating living with PCS symptoms can be. We also understand how challenging it can be to find answers and solutions.
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find essential research-backed details intended to help you better comprehend your condition and the types of treatment options available to you. If you have any questions along the way, reach out to our team.
What Is PCS?
PCS is a condition where concussion symptoms continue beyond the expected recovery period.
According to Aviv’s medical team, when concussion symptoms last longer than two weeks, doctors will typically diagnose this as PCS.
PCS can develop after a mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) from activities such as a vehicle accident, fall, sports injury, and more.
What Are the Symptoms of PCS?
The symptoms of PCS can be divided into four categories:
Physical PCS symptoms are the most commonly recognized signs. Individuals with PCS may experience debilitating pain and discomfort such as:
- Trouble balancing
- Vision problems
Cognitive issues are often the PCS symptoms that compel patients to seek medical advice. Cognitive PCS symptoms include:
- Feeling mentally foggy
- Feeling slowed down
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Having trouble remembering
- Being forgetful of recent information and conversations
- Experiencing confusion about recent events
- Answering questions slowly
Psychological and emotional symptoms can often be difficult to identify and associate with head injuries. Many people tend to overlook these emotional changes when in reality, these changes can be a manifestation of PCS. These psychological/emotional changes include:
- More emotional in general
Last but not least, PCS symptoms can manifest in your sleeping patterns. For example, those with PCS may:
- Feel drowsier than normal
- Sleep more than usual
- Sleep less than usual
- Have trouble falling asleep
If you are experiencing PCS symptoms, contact our team of certified medical professionals today.
PCS Symptoms: Why and How They Happen
When someone experiences a traumatic brain injury (TBI), this blow or jolt to the head makes the head and brain move back and forth rapidly causing sheer force trauma to connective blood vessels and cells in the brain. This sudden movement can:
- Disrupt blood flow to specific brain regions
- Trigger chemical changes in the brain
- Stretch and damage brain cells
- These activities put stress on your brain and inhibit it from functioning normally.
Where the damage takes place also plays a relevant role in the type of PCS symptoms that occur.
For example, when head trauma inflicts damage to the frontal lobe of your brain—the area that manages emotional expression, focus, attention, and memory—this may stimulate emotional/behavioral changes and cognitive shifts.
How Soon Can Symptoms of PCS Start?
Symptoms of PCS start to show weeks after concussion when a concussion or TBI survivor just isn’t getting better. Over time, symptoms may not go away or may exacerbate. Symptoms can also appear later on in life.
How Long Can Symptoms of PCS Last?
PCS symptoms can last anywhere from weeks to years. The sooner you address your symptoms and get help, the more likely you’ll be able to get back to your normal activities, and for some people, get back to your normal personality traits. There are risks of waiting too long to treat your post-concussion syndrome, which brings us to our next point.
What Are the Consequences of Waiting Too Long to Treat PCS Symptoms?
PCS symptoms can turn permanent if not addressed soon enough. According to Aviv’s team of certified physicians, usually, after three months, PCS turns into persistent PCS. And after a year, PCS symptoms can turn chronic. Keep in mind, it doesn’t matter where or how you receive your head injury—these factors do not necessarily impact the severity of your PCS.
As Dr. Mohammed Elimar, MD, FACP, states, “The brain does not discriminate over what is causing the injury, and it doesn’t really discriminate the injury itself.”
Thus, staying aware of your body is essential. Speak with a doctor if you feel anything out of the ordinary. As we noted earlier, when concussion symptoms last for over two weeks, that’s your cue to seek medical consultation.
What Are the Different Forms of Treatment for PCS Symptoms?
The good news is, there are various treatments available to help mitigate your PCS symptoms. Each method holds unique strengths that may target the specific symptoms you are experiencing.
Vision therapy involves a variety of techniques that train your visual system. Those who may benefit from this are people who experience eye pain, vision problems, dizziness, and headaches.
Clinical studies show patients who have post-concussion vision issues notice improvement after participating in vision therapy.
Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation (NOR)
Neuro-optometric rehabilitation (NOR) therapy uses therapeutic prisms, lenses, and filters to stimulate parts of the brain that are not functioning properly. Those suffering from visual injuries and complications may find relief through NOR.
There is growing evidence NOR can enhance visual skills and reduce post-concussion visual symptoms.
Physical Therapy (PT)
Physical therapy (PT) is a form of care that aims to ease pain and help you move and live better. This may include massage, range of motion stretching, exercises, and heat treatments.
PT may be good for those who struggle with physical symptoms of PCS. One small study where participants averaged 6.8 PT sessions reported that their physical symptoms became more manageable after treatment.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychological treatment that addresses problems such as depression and anxiety. CBT generally strives to change thinking and behavioral patterns. Studies indicate CBT may be an effective treatment method for improving anxiety and depression in those with TBI.
Neuropsychology is a subset of psychology that focuses on how the brain and nervous system influence your thoughts and behaviors. It takes an educational approach, teaching patients about their minds and engaging in unique exercises.
Neuropsychology may be ideal for those with memory and concentration issues as well as anxiety and depression. Research notes neuropsychology may play a vital role in helping better understand the link between the area of injury in the brain and their PCS condition.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a treatment method that increases oxygen levels in the brain and body.
Here’s how HBOT works:
- Patients enter a room called a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, or suite, and receive treatment for one to two hours. In this suite, the air is pressurized 10 – 15 times higher than normal air levels.
- Patients breathe in 100% pure oxygen via a mask while in the suite.
- Patients keep the oxygen mask on for 20 minutes and then spend five minutes with the oxygen mask off.
Studies illustrate that HBOT delivered in this way encourages neuroplasticity—the ability of the brain to modify and adapt based on environmental interactions—essentially rewiring itself, which may:
- Repair chronically damaged brain functions and tissues
- Improve the overall quality of life for patients with PCS
Additional research shows HBOT can significantly improve “memory, executive functions, information processing speed, and global cognitive scores.”
For more research insights, explore the data and studies conducted by The Sagol Center.
Aviv Clinic’s Treatment for PCS Symptoms
Aviv’s Medical Program takes a holistic approach that encompasses several of the areas we discussed above. We leverage the expertise of a diverse team of medical professionals based on your health assessment.
Aviv takes a three-step approach:
- In-depth medical assessment: We start with a comprehensive health assessment with advanced brain imaging exams (perfusion MRI, fMRI, SPECT, etc.). The goal is to attain a holistic and accurate understanding of your mind and body and to map a treatment plan that will maximize the program’s results.
- Tailored treatment program: The Aviv medical team will craft a personalized treatment program based on your medical assessments. This may entail brain and physical training, HBOT sessions, and a nutritional regimen. The goal is to maximize your body’s healing process.
- Post-treatment assessment: The Aviv team will repeat the medical assessment to measure your progress and make relevant recommendations moving forward.
Benefits of our program include improved:
- Cognitive and motor functioning
- Physical performance (fitness, strength, coordination, balance)
- Immune system
- Stem cell growth (the building blocks of tissue rejuvenation)
- Neuronal blood flow
At Aviv, our multidisciplinary medical team of physicians, neuropsychologists, physiologists, physical therapists, dieticians, and more ensures you’re provided with the thorough medical treatment you deserve.
The Bottom Line
Before you pursue a treatment plan, keep three things in mind:
- Speak with a physician first about your symptoms and health history. This can help them gain a comprehensive assessment and provide a personalized treatment plan.
You can speak to an Aviv physician at the clinic or over a virtual meeting, for free.
- Be patient. Finding the right combination of therapies that work for you may take some time, but don’t give up. With the right medical program, you can receive the holistic treatment you deserve and find some relief.
- TBI and concussion can affect everyone of all ages. Thus, there is no standard/solid timeline for recovery. It may take a few weeks or more to see improvement.
- Read about using HBOT to address TBI and concussion.
Feel Your Best with Aviv
There is hope. If you feel you’ve been experiencing symptoms of PCS, contact Aviv Clinics. We’ll put you in touch with our certified team of physicians who can help craft a customized plan to aid in your healing process. Focused on service, safety, and comfort, Aviv Clinics is your first stop in getting back to optimal health and back to life.
Does High Blood Pressure Cause Memory Loss?
We all know that high blood pressure can cause a host of other health issues, although most of us are unaware that high blood pressure can cause memory loss. Cognitive decline is a side effect that isn’t always discussed. But having high blood pressure can directly affect your cognitive function, causing problems like brain fog and forgetfulness, as well as severe cognitive issues like vascular dementia.
Nearly one in three Americans and two-thirds of adults age 60 and older have high blood pressure, making it one of the most notorious killers in the United States. Fortunately, there are actionable steps you can take to manage your blood pressure, no matter your age.
Treatment options, such as the research-based hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) protocol available at Aviv Clinics, target associated health challenges like post-stroke, and age-related cognitive decline. Keep reading to learn more about how high blood pressure can cause memory loss, plus what you can do.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
Also called hypertension, high blood pressure occurs when the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels is too high.
Every blood vessel in your body requires a certain amount of pressure to stay intact. High blood pressure may damage arteries, making them less elastic. Lower elasticity slows blood and oxygen flow to vital areas of the body. Health problems happen when your blood pressure wanders outside the acceptable range.
The higher your blood pressure, the greater your risk for health problems like heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. It also increases your risk of cognitive problems later in life.
What’s An Acceptable Blood Pressure?
Normal blood pressure levels differ for every person and depend on age, weight, and other factors. According to the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association:
- Stage 1 hypertension occurs at 130/80 mm Hg
- Stage 2 hypertension occurs at or above 140/90 mm
High blood pressure is unique because it doesn’t present symptoms on its own. The only way most people even discover that their blood pressure is high is when something more serious happens, like a clot. The best way to learn whether your blood pressure is at a healthy level is to measure it with a blood pressure machine at a doctor’s office, pharmacy, or on a home blood pressure machine.
Tip: A home blood pressure device is a worthwhile investment to monitor your health. Take your measurements at the same time every day for consistency, as your blood pressure will naturally rise and fall during the day.
How Exactly Does High Blood Pressure Impact Memory Loss?
The brain receives roughly 20–25% of the body’s blood supply. When high blood pressure causes the supply to decline, the brain lacks the nutrition needed to perform at optimal levels.
High blood pressure can also harm the tiny arteries that feed “white matter,” or the wire-like cells that transfer information to different brain areas. These issues may manifest with memory problems, confusion, lack of concentration, and other side effects.
Age-related cognitive decline studies show having high blood pressure during midlife can affect cognition later in life. We’ll let these research studies help clear the fog on the link between the brain and blood pressure:
- In this study, men at an average age of 78 years logged their blood pressure. After adjusting for biases like prior education and age, the men who performed the most poorly on the test were those who had experienced high blood pressure in middle age. This suggests a direct connection between hypertension and cognitive decline later in life.
- More recent studies have helped to reaffirm the connection between hypertension and cognitive decline. Researchers found mental processing speed and executive function were the top two cognitive skills most affected later in life.
High blood pressure directly increases the risk of developing vascular dementia—a type of dementia caused by blood flow problems in the brain from strained blood vessels. The strain on the blood vessels makes it difficult for the brain to get the oxygen needed to function correctly.
Fortunately, vascular dementia symptoms can be improved through hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), such as the type available at Aviv Clinics in central Florida. HBOT works by delivering oxygen directly to the brain in a pressurized environment. The direct supply of oxygen allows the damaged blood vessels in your brain to heal, helping you regain some cognitive functions.
How Can You Manage High Blood Pressure?
While medication is often the first thing people think of, investing in your health via lifestyle choices and research-backed therapies is really the best medicine for managing high blood pressure.
The absolute best things you can do for your high blood pressure and brain health are the following:
- Eat a clean diet of whole foods to promote your gut health.
- Exercise to help maintain or manage your weight.
- Get enough sleep by establishing a bedtime routine, working up a sweat, and turning off the TV.
- Engage your mind by gardening, reading, or even playing a video game with your kids or grandkids.
- Reduce and manage your stress levels with activities like yoga or meditation. Practicing mindfulness meditation can help you stay grounded in the present moment and reduce stress.
- Seek unique and comprehensive therapies, such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). Research-backed HBOT programs, such as the one offered as part of the Aviv Medical Program, encourage damaged vessels to heal and cognitive functions to improve.
Aviv’s unique protocol may include HBOT, along with cognitive training, dietary coaching, and physical performance training. This holistic approach has been key to restoring our patients’ optimal health.
Find Hope and Healing with Aviv
While high blood pressure is dangerous, especially later in life, it is possible to manage it. It’s never too late to start, even after a cognitive decline diagnosis.
If you’d like more guidance, reach out to the Aviv Clinics team.