Monday, January 04, 2010

Honey Linked to Memory Retention

By Sarah Muirhead, Stock & Land (Australia), 1/3/2009

Americans are losing their minds at an accelerating rate, according to Mike McInnes of Isoactive in Edinburgh, U.K. Likewise, more Americans are living to very old ages; centenarians are the fastest-growing demographic.

Dementia and cognitive decline are conditions usually associated with old age. However, McInnes said neural loss actually may begin in childhood from the time the human brain is fully formed. Of course, new brain cells may be formed throughout life, but this neurogenesis is increasingly compromised in modern life.

Why? It is due to poor-quality and foreshortened sleep combined with a lack of quality darkness and lack of energy provision for the brain, according to McInnes. The consumption of honey just prior to bed can help, he noted.

The dark phase of the light/dark cycle is as critical for optimal health in people now as it was for the early hunter-gatherers. They would hunt and gather during the daylight hours, return to camp to consume the food and sleep when the sun set. They slept not so much with their bellies full but with their livers replenished, having a stable reserve of energy supply for the brain over the hours of the nocturnal fast…

Here's the point

The history of honey use and production is long and varied. In many cultures, honey has had uses beyond as a food. In fact, for years, some cultures believed honey had many practical health uses. It was used as an ointment for rashes and burns and to help soothe sore throats when no other medicinal treatments were available.

Current research out of the UK indicates honey may also play a role in preserving human memory by serving as a fuel source for the brain during times of rest, or nocturnal fasting, when other food sources are unavailable.

The relationship between the energy or fuel status of the liver and the quality and duration of restorative sleep is thought to be one of the most neglected areas of study in human physiology. Chronic nocturnal metabolic stress is now thought to be easily prevented by simply providing adequate fuel for the liver and, hence, the brain during the nocturnal fast. After an early evening meal, the liver may be selectively replenished prior to sleep by taking an ounce or two of quality honey.

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