What if I told you there’s a stealth condition that starts stealing your memory—without warning—years before you ever notice a thing? Or that this same condition affects up to 11 percent of the population by the time they reach 70… whether they realize it or not?
You’d probably be pretty alarmed. And I’m not going to lie—you should be. Because the fact is, silent strokes are both very real and very common. So common you may have already suffered several without ever knowing it. In fact, you could be having one at this very moment…
That’s the bad news. But now, let me give you the good news…
You can prevent silent strokes from happening—and you can also repair any damage they may have already done, starting today. In order to do that, however, you need to know exactly what you’re up against.
Why a silent stroke is just as dangerous as other types
This isn’t the first time I’ve tackled the subject of stroke in this newsletter. In fact, you might recall my most recent in-depth discussion on “mini-stroke” back in the July 2017 issue. (To access the Logical Health Alternatives archives, simply visit www.DrPescatore.com and log in to the “Subscribers” section with your username and password.)
To be clear, a silent stroke is not the same thing as either a regular stroke or a mini-stroke. And the key difference between the three is important to understand. But for the sake of today’s discussion, let’s start with what they all have in common.
A stroke—of any variety—is a condition with origins in the arteries that supply your brain with oxygen, blood, and nutrients. When one of these blood vessels is blocked, either by a clot or a hemorrhage, it cuts off this vital nourishment to part of your brain. And as a result, brain cells in the affected area die.
The physical and neurological consequences of this condition depend on the location and severity of the stroke. Even minor strokes can cause irreparable damage. But in the most extreme cases, major disability—and even death—are common.
Your odds of facing stroke increase with age—the chances double with each decade after 55. This is especially true if you have a family history of stroke. Or if you’re diabetic, or obese. Stroke is also more common among African-Americans and women. (In fact, women not only suffer more strokes than men, but more women die from strokes as well.)
But again, today’s focus will be on silent stroke. It’s not a huge, life-altering event like a regular stroke. But it’s not the same as a mini-stroke either… and one major difference is exactly what makes silent stroke so dangerous.
What separates a mini-stroke from a silent stroke is simple. The symptoms of a mini-stroke—sometimes referred to as a transient ischemic attack, or TIA—come and go quickly. The most common symptoms include: vision changes, trouble speaking (dysphasia), confusion, balance issues, dizziness, weakness in one side of the face or body, and an abnormal sense of taste or smell. Symptoms can last a few minutes or a few hours. But they always disappear within a day.
With a mini-stroke, you’re at least aware that something has happened. Silent strokes, however, don’t have any noticeable symptoms at all. Though rest assured, they’re every bit as damaging.
Dementia linked to brain-killing “age spots”
In a lot of ways, silent stroke is better understood as a form of vascular cognitive impairment. Because while the event itself goes unnoticed, it nevertheless leaves behind a very distinct calling card—in the form of “white matter hyperintensities.”
These white matter hyperintensities appear as white spots on an MRI. Or as I like to call them, “age spots” on your brain. Except, unlike wrinkles, gray hair, or liver spots on your skin, these “age spots” aren’t harmless. On the contrary, the more silent strokes—and subsequent age spots—your brain suffers, the greater the impact on your cognitive function.
In fact, research suggests this symptomless condition is the true cause behind a shocking number of Alzheimer’s and dementia diagnoses.1
That’s because age spots in your brain trace directly back to problems with your body’s smallest blood vessels—like hardening of the artery walls, also known as arteriosclerosis. These microcirculation issues are especially common with diabetes and obesity. And our growing awareness of silent strokes is probably due in part to the sharp rise in these twin epidemics.
Even scarier is that the age spots you can see on an MRI only represent a fraction of the ones that are actually there. Many more are too small to be visible. But they still play a major role in cognitive decline. And more specifically, vascular dementia—which, while slower to progress, may actually prove more lethal than Alzheimer’s.2
What’s worse, researchers estimate that by the age of 69, more than one in 10 people will have suffered brain damage from silent strokes they never even knew they were having. That adds up to as many as 11 million Americans every year who thought they were stroke-free… but who have visible evidence of at least one stroke.3
With silent strokes, you’re better safe than sorry
So how do you know if you’ve been the victim of a silent stroke? Well without an MRI, you don’t. That’s the main challenge where silent strokes are concerned. And obviously, it’s just not practical to dole out MRIs as a matter of routine.
But just as with any type of stroke, there are a few factors that can indicate if you might be at higher risk than most. If you filled in any of these bubbles, it’s time to rethink your habits before it’s too late.
Ο – cerebrovascular diseases
(This refers to a group of conditions that affect the blood vessels and blood supply to the brain—often resulting in damage to the arteries supplying oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Examples include: stroke, transient ischemic attack, aneurysms, and vascular malformations.)
Ο – high blood pressure
Ο – heart disease
Ο – diabetes
Ο – clotting disorders
Ο – smoking
These are all major risk factors for silent stroke. So dealing with them via lifestyle changes—including stress management and medication (if absolutely necessary)—is vital.
But the fact is, everyone is vulnerable to silent strokes if they live long enough. So you should never assume you’re safe just because your risk looks low on paper.
This is one case where it’s always better to expect the worst and take preventive steps accordingly. Because if silent strokes continue to occur unchecked, the damage can snowball into a full-blown cognitive crisis, culminating in vascular dementia (or other neurological conditions, like Parkinson’s disease)—no matter how healthy you thought you were before.
This obviously requires taking control over your weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar. You can achieve this with regular exercise (just a 20 minute walk a day makes a difference) and good nutrition. (If you read last month’s issue, you’ll recall that my A-list Diet is particularly protective, due to its simple and delicious focus on the inflammation-lowering benefits of protein boosting, blending amino acids, and Mediterranean-style foods.)
Targeted supplementation can also help head any future silent strokes off at the pass. I discussed the importance of microcirculation back in my July 2017 feature on mini-strokes. This strategy is equally critical to the prevention of silent strokes, so if you missed it, I urge you to visit my website archives and read that breakthrough front-page article.
Today, I want to focus specifically on nutrients that can help prevent and reverse any hidden damage—offering your brain a full recovery before you even notice any changes.
Critical stroke protection you didn’t know you needed
Citicoline is one of nature’s most powerful brain preservers—though I’ve found most people don’t know a thing about it. Your body generates this molecule in the process of converting the nutrient choline into to phosphatidylcholine, a key component of cell membranes.
I’ve been recommending citicoline for memory enhancement for years. And the most recent research on this critical compound has cemented its rightful place at the top of any list of must-have brain supplements.
One 2013 study demonstrated that citicoline can safely and effectively address vascular cognitive impairment. (Which, once again, is often the end result of repeated silent strokes.) Results showed that after just nine months of supplementation, subjects scored significantly higher on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)—a standardized assessment of memory and mood.4
And the best part? It only took 500 mg of citicoline twice a day—a relatively small dosage—to achieve this benefit.
This study is just one among many. Research has also shown that citicoline can protect the brain after an acute stroke, helping to ward off cognitive decline while helping repair the damage caused by the stroke.5 And one of the ways it does this is by combating inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain—two factors implicated in brain aging, and which peak following a stroke, silent or otherwise.
In fact, EMTs in Europe keep citicoline on hand at all times for this very reason. In the immediate aftermath of a stroke, timely administration can make all the difference. So you can imagine the kind of insurance a daily dose offers.
Especially considering citicoline also strengthens precious neurons with protective phospholipids. All while stimulating the release of key neurotransmitters and increasing blood oxygen, and nutrient flow to the brain.6
This makes it a vital form of support for any patient with vascular cognitive impairment or vascular dementia—or anyone with Alzheimer’s disease, for that matter.
Bottom line: If you’re concerned with brain health (and by now, you certainly should be), you need to start taking citicoline—250 to 1,000 mg daily—today. (And if you’d like to read more about citicoline, I’ve written a great deal about it in past issues, as well as in my Reality Health Check e-letter. You can check these articles out simply by entering “citicoline” into the search function on my website.)
Your brain’s first and best defense against free radicals
While there’s a long list of valuable brain-supporting supplements you can consider (check out the sidebar on page 3 for a rundown of my favorites), there’s one more I would like to draw special attention to—ME-3.
You may recall my brief mention of this cutting-edge probiotic in last month’s issue. But I’m bringing it up again today because you’re not likely to see it turn up in most memory-preserving protocols. Though it really should be included in any serious brain health regimen. Here’s why…
ME-3 is a specific bacterial strain called Lactobacillus fermentum. It’s the only known substance able to supercharge your body’s production of glutathione. That’s important because glutathione is one of your body’s main protective antioxidants. It’s generated by your liver—and like so many vital compounds, your ability to produce glutathione declines rapidly as you age.
Glutathione depletion directly correlates with sharp increases in memory lapses as you age. Which makes sense considering this compound plays an essential protective role in neutralizing destructive oxidative stress in the brain. And, as I mentioned earlier, oxidative stress peaks during and after silent strokes.
In short, anything that boosts glutathione levels is going to be a clear winner in the war against memory loss—and it’s a perfect natural complement to citicoline. It’s important to also note that you can’t just take glutathione orally, as the body can’t properly absorb it—unlike other antioxidants. That’s why I recommend taking at least 60 mg of ME-3 every single day.
I take a more in-depth look at the vast benefits of ME-3 and why it’s the most effective method in boosting your glutathione levels in Lesson 6 of my newly released online learning protocol, my Drug-Free Protocol for Reversing Alzheimer’s and Dementia. You can also find dozens more natural strategies that are important to consider when battling the Alzheimer’s epidemic. For more information, or to enroll in this protocol today, call 1-866-747-9421 and mention the order code EOV3U202.
Five key brain-boosters to maintain an ageless mind
Bluenesse®. This is a patented and particularly potent form of lemon balm extract, grown exclusively in Bavaria, Germany. It has the same calming properties you’ll find in any lemon balm product—but it also fires up brain receptors that are critical to focus, concentration, and memory. In fact, clinical studies show that it can supercharge cognitive function in as little as one hour. I recommend taking 300 mg every day.
Alpha GPC. This supplement combines choline and phospholipids (the prime building block of cell membranes). It helps jumpstart production of acetylcholine—a natural chemical that’s essential for mental function including memory, concentration, and learning. Clinical research shows incredible benefits in patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and acute stroke. Most of these studies used dosages between 800 mg to 1,000 mg per day. But in combination with other brain-supportive nutrients, you’ll likely still see a benefit at lower doses.
Phosphatidylserine (PS). This is a component of your cells’ membranes—and particularly your neurons—which helps keep them healthy and functioning at their best. I recommend 50 mg three times per day.
Lion’s Mane. This medicinal mushroom offers critical support for memory and mood. Specifically, by supplying your brain with nerve growth factors (NGFs) that protect against brain cell death—and may even help to regenerate damaged cells. I recommend 1,000 mg two times per day.
Gingko. This botanical is a tried-and-true staple for microcirculation and memory. I recommend 120 mg
- Smith EE, et al. Lancet Neurol. 2012 Mar;11(3):272-82.
- Chui HC, et al. CONTINUUM: Lifelong Learning in Neurology: April 2007 – Volume 13 – Issue 2, Dementia – p 109-143.
- Das RR, et al. Stroke. 2008 Nov;39(11):2929-35.
- Cotroneo AM, et al. Clin Interv Aging. 2013;8:131-7
- Alvarez-Sabin J, et al. Stroke. 2011 Jan;42(1 Suppl):S40-3.
- Fioravanti M, et al. Clin Interv Aging. 2006 Sep; 1(3): 247–251.