Dr Julie Taguchi: Can Good Blood Health Affect Cognitive Function?

Cognitive function involves various mental processes, including memory, attention, perception, reasoning, and decision-making. While factors such as genetics, lifestyle, and environmental influences can influence cognitive function, the role of blood health is often underestimated. For that, Dr Julie Taguchi will discuss the relationship between good blood health and cognitive function.

Oxygen and Nutrient Delivery

The brain is highly dependent on a continuous supply of oxygen and nutrients to support its metabolic activities and maintain neuronal function. Blood vessels in the brain, known as cerebral arteries and capillaries, deliver oxygenated blood and essential nutrients to neurons, ensuring their survival and proper functioning.

Body Waste Removal

Efficient blood circulation facilitates the removal of metabolic waste products, such as carbon dioxide and lactate, from brain tissue. Dr Julie Taguchi states that proper waste removal is essential for maintaining optimal brain function and preventing the buildup of toxic substances that can impair cognitive performance.

Neurogenesis and Synaptic Plasticity

Adequate blood flow to the brain promotes neurogenesis, the formation of new neurons, and synaptic plasticity, the ability of neurons to form and reorganize synaptic connections. The said processes are essential for learning, memory formation, and cognitive flexibility, allowing the brain to adapt to new information and experiences.

Neurotransmitter Balance

Blood transports essential nutrients and precursors required for the synthesis of neurotransmitters, chemical messengers that facilitate communication between neurons. Maintaining optimal blood levels of nutrients such as amino acids, vitamins, and minerals supports neurotransmitter balance, which is crucial for mood regulation, attention, and cognitive function.

Effects of Poor Blood Health on Cognitive Function

Reduced Cognitive Performance

Impaired blood flow to the brain, as seen in conditions such as cerebral hypoperfusion and ischemia, can lead to cognitive deficits, including memory loss, decreased attention span, and impaired executive function. Chronic reductions in cerebral blood flow have been linked to an increased risk of cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

Increased Risk of Stroke

Stroke, a sudden interruption of blood flow to the brain, can cause permanent damage to brain tissue and lead to cognitive impairment. Aside from that, people with poor blood health, characterized by conditions such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, and diabetes, are at higher risk of experiencing stroke-related cognitive deficits.

The Role of Lifestyle Factors in Promoting Good Blood Health and Cognitive Function

Physical Activity

Regular exercise promotes healthy blood circulation and vascular health, improving blood flow to the brain and enhancing cognitive function. Aerobic exercise has been shown to stimulate neurogenesis, increase synaptic plasticity, and enhance memory and learning abilities.

Balanced Diet

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats provides essential nutrients that support blood health and brain function. Nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins B and E have been linked to improved cognitive performance and a reduced risk of cognitive decline.

For Dr Julie Taguchi, good blood health plays a crucial role in supporting cognitive function and maintaining brain health throughout life. Because of that, adopting lifestyle habits such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, adequate hydration, and stress management can promote good blood health and optimize cognitive function, contributing to one’s overall well-being.