Very often, people put efforts in maintaining their physical health and appearance, but neglect the fact that the brain ages together with the body. At a cellular level, the brain begins to age when we are in our early twenties. When brain cells age, their ability to communicate effectively with one another decreases, causing our cognitive and memory skills to decline naturally. As such, the brain requires special care and nourishment because it is our most valuable asset.
In an interview with Dr Shawn Watson, the Founder and CEO of Senescence Life Sciences, he said, “It is important to understand the difference between natural and pathological aging. Natural aging, or age-related cognitive decline, is a natural phenomenon that happens to everyone. This does not necessary mean that we are suffering from pathological diseases like dementia or a life-threatening condition. Natural brain aging starts as early as our 20s and physiological signs become evident in our early 40s. Common signs include decreased mental agility, processing speed, ability to multi-task, learn and recall information.”,
In Singapore, dementia affects one in every 10 people aged 60 and above. Taking brain supplements from the age of 40 is one of the measures we can take to preserve our brain function. “Diseased aging, such as Alzheimer’s, is a dementia that falls under the category of pathological aging. This happens when there is cell death within the brain - when a cell dies, generally speaking it cannot be replaced or regenerate. Patients suffering from diseased aging often experience forgetfulness that affects day-to-day function, difficulty doing familiar tasks, changes in personality and mood, just to name a few. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure or treatment for conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are some medications that can be used to suppress symptoms, but these do not arrest the progression of the disease.
“Genetics have so far been a poor predictor of someone’s chances of developing dementia. While there are some genes that are correlated to increased risk of certain diseases, there are few clear genetic markers that can predict late-in-life dementia with a high level of certainty. Research to date suggests lifestyle choices play a far greater role in impacting ones’ risk level. Exercise, diet, and environment factors for example, are all components of our lifestyle we can influence. This is important because it means we can actively take steps to keep our brain’s healthy as we age.”
Dr Watson founded Senescence Life Sciences on the belief that everyone can take an active role in maintaining their cognitive health. He spent years in research to understand the underlying mechanisms responsible for brain aging. Dr Watson shared that much like a seed that has grown into a seedling as seen on their company logo, their research has come a long way. “Our founding science started at a very small scale, beginning in a single brain cell that grew into a network of cells and now impacts the lives of our friends, families and customers. However, we are still in the midst of our journey and the seedling symbolizes this, our hope for a better future and healthier lives where people are taking proactive steps in ensuring their cognitive health.”
His endeavors led to a radical discovery that age-related brain decline may be reversible. In his serendipitous discovery, Dr Watson was able to turn an aged brain cell (80-year-old human equivalent) into a young one (20-year-old human equivalent). He then dedicated the next six years understanding the discovery and publishing the extraordinary results. These findings have since been published in six peer-reviewed journals, presented at two international conferences and were corroborated in neuroscience laboratories around the world.
“Brains cells use electrical signals to communicate with one another. When you look at a young brain cell’s electrophysiology verses an old brain cell, you see a decline in the cell’s ability to generate action potentials (electrical impulses). To measure a cell’s electrical activity, we insert a probe into the cell and record the shape, size and frequency of these impulses. In our very first experiment, we were capable of turning the electrical activity of an old cell into that of its much younger counterpart. This discovery has many implications, one of which is that brain aging may, in fact, be a reversible process,” said Dr Watson.
“At a cellular level, the treatment was a high dose and applied directly to the brain cell. Practically speaking it is unlikely the speed of change can be mirrored in humans but the end result of restoring cellular function is something we believe can be achieved.”
With a new understanding of how the brain ages, Senescence Life Sciences is built upon this breakthrough. The company designed a patent-pending systematic strategy to target the underlying mechanisms responsible for age-related cognitive decline. Its ultimate goal is to provide a healthy and clinically proven path to keep your brain performing as best as it can. On the mission to tackle brain aging, Senescence Life Sciences creates innovative products to protect and preserve brain function, one of which is REVIVETM, a daily brain supplement.
REVIVETM is specifically formulated to strengthen and protect learning, memory and focus abilities and combat age-related cognitive decline. It works synergistically within the brain to support a neuron’s innate defence and repair capabilities.
Using only the premium ingredients of the highest quality and purity, REVIVE™ contains extracts of Panax Ginseng and Centella asiatica (Gotu Kola), alpha-lipoic acid, selenium and vitamin E. Each ingredient has displayed positive cognitive results in at least five clinical studies conducted by third party academic labs. The daily supplement is manufactured in a Health Canada, USA FDA (Food and Drug Administration)- and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) -certified facility in Ontario, Canada.
Built upon the latest studies in neuronal aging, REVIVE™ boosts the natural ability of the brain to repair oxidative damage, protect against free radicals, and detoxify and remove harmful metabolites that build up in the brain over time. It has been meticulously formulated by a team of top neuroscientists from around the world, and is designed to optimize and support healthy brain function as you age.
More about REVIVETM:
1. Can your brain supplement, REVIVETM, be taken by young adults between the age of 20 and 40?
The short answer is yes, although it is not the most optimized formulation. As we age, the primary focus in addressing brain aging shifts from protection to repair. REVIVE™ focuses on the repair of the aging brain and we recommended it for people over the age of 55, when the effects of brain aging have already had years to set in.
We have also recently launched EDGE™. EDGE is designed for people as young as 30 with a focus on protection and performance. The ingredients have been clinically tested to improve aspects of mental performance and energy in healthy young adults.
However, we do not recommend REVIVE™ or EDGE™ be taken by anyone under the age of 18 as their brains are still developing.
2. Is there a suitable timing (daytime/night time, before or after meal) to take REVIVE™ for higher efficacy?
It is always recommended for adults to take supplements in the morning after breakfast to help start their day and to develop a habit of taking healthy supplements daily.
For both REVIVE™ and EDGE™, we recommend adults to take two capsules in the morning after food or as directed by their doctor.
3. What are potential diseases that can be prevented by taking this supplement?
We do not claim our products to be the panacea for all. Aging is a complex issue that must be explored and tackled from different angles.
It is important for consumers who are taking REVIVE™ and EDGE™ to pay equal attention to adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle. In fact, exercise has been scientifically proven to counter age-related problems, even brain aging!
4. Besides the five active ingredients, are there other ingredients in REVIVETM? Can we say that its formulation contains only the natural compounds?
Both EDGE™ and REVIVE™ are specially formulated by a team of neuroscientists and boast a unique combination of five natural ingredients, two of which are used in traditional Chinese medicine such as Panax Ginseng and Gotu Kola.
We have meticulously selected these five ingredients based on three things:
√ The compounds found in our products have been proven to pass through the blood-brain barrier to provide the necessary nutrients to the brain.
√ We understand their molecular pathways and how synergistically they interact and support each other in the brain.
√ They have undergone extensive research and clinical trials ensuring safety and efficacy
Most importantly, we use only clinical grade ingredients, so all our products are made from the same ingredients used in clinical trials that have been shown to improve cognitive performance.
Excipients (inactive drug ingredients) are typically used to aid the manufacturing process, ensuring stabilization and to bind the active ingredients together. We pride ourselves in keeping the amounts of these to a bare minimum. As a result, our products’ purity levels exceed industry averages. We achieve this with extensive testing and our made-in-Canada promise by manufacturing our products in a Health Canada, US-FDA and GMP certified facility.
(Note: You can visit www.senescence.life for more information on Senescence Life Sciences and REVIVETM and EDGE™.)
Tips from Dr Watson for a healthy brain:
1. What ingredients are considered to be good for brain health?
Some examples of compounds found in foods that are good for your brain include Panax Ginseng, Vitamin E, Selenium, Alpha-Lipoic acid and Centella Asiatica (commonly known as Gotu Kola).
For centuries, Asians have been using Panax Ginseng as a treatment either for better skin or health. Certain extracts of Panax Ginseng can also improve aspects of memory, mental performance and relieve free radical build-up within our cells.
Centella Asiatica is a herb that is often sought after for its positive effects on memory and lifespan after natives found elephants eating the plant regularly. Research has shown that extracts of Centella Asiatica offer benefits to revitalize intelligence, memory function and combat lipid oxidation.
Other food ingredients such as Vitamin E, Selenium (commonly found in oysters) and Alpha-Lipoic Acid (an anti-oxidant) commonly found in spinach, broccoli and potatoes) prevent and protect the aging brain against cell damage.
2. How does the aging process of the brain slow down? Would it be beneficial if we do more thinking and keep on learning?It is natural for our cognitive performance to slow as we age. This process occurs because our brain cells accumulate damage and toxins overtime caused by substances called “free radicals”. Free radicals are primarily created when our bodies break down food and respire.
Unlike skin cells, our brain cells are with us throughout our lifetime. Generally speaking, in a healthy brain, our brain cells do not die and do not regenerate. Therefore, our brain cells need to be incredibly good at repairing themselves and defending against the ongoing assault of free radical damage. As we age the brain’s ability to repair and defend this damage slows down resulting in a buildup of damage and toxins. Our strategy is to boost the brain’s natural ability to repair damage, protect it against ongoing free radical attack and detoxify and remove harmful toxins that build with age.
Brain aging is a complex process and as such the solution is also complex. There isn’t just one thing you should be doing to impact your brain health. Instead, it is important we think of brain health holistically and make healthy lifestyle choices. In regards to lifelong learning, research has shown an inquisitive mind, engaging in activities that stimulate multiple areas of the brain and socializing are beneficial and can have a positive impact on the brain as we age.
3. What activities are recommended to help keep our brain at a good performing level?
Currently, the best thing for your aging brain, like many other aspects of life, is a healthy diet and active lifestyle. People will commit to exercise, specific diets and taking supplements to improve various aspects of their health, but many forget about their brain. For example, many people take calcium supplements to prevent their bones from getting brittle as they age. Likewise, it is important for us to invest in our brains at an early age as they require long-term care and need as much attention as our heart, lungs, bones and muscles.
Fortunately, many of the same activities that help support the rest of the body can also maintain optimal brain health. Here are some activities and tips that you can do to keep your brain in good health:
- Exercise regularly - Many studies and research conducted from all around the world have shown exercise to be one of the most effective strategies to ward off brain aging. Exercising has a holistic benefit on both our body and mind and can help keep illnesses at bay. Rule of thumb, 30 mins of exercise a day, 5 days a week.
- Eat a balanced diet in moderation – A diet that contains too many unhealthy fats and sugars can cause a decrease in brain function. A balanced diet which includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, vitamins and minerals and water helps improve our brain health.
- Constantly engage in social activities – Engaging social activities stimulate our mind and allow us to build healthy relationships with our family and friends. Some examples include mahjong, learning a new language or picking up a new skill like painting or gardening.
- Look out for quality and credible supplements that support our brain – It is important for us to do adequate research before purchasing brain health products that are of high quality and suit our needs. For example, look out for supplements that have been developed in a GMP-certified facility, and those that has been tested for pesticides, heavy metals, contaminants and other impurities.
- Consult your doctor early – If you suspect that you or your family member is experiencing symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, please visit a doctor or request for transfer to a specialist as soon as possible to understand how you can effectively manage the condition. Keeping a log of your mental health can also help the doctor diagnose the problem earlier.
This fast-paced and urbanized era demands us to be able to multitask, stay sharp and be focused on what we are doing. Therefore, maximizing our mental capabilities and keeping our brain at its peak performance day-after-day, is a must for people to be in the prime of their career and social life. Maintaining brain health is an essential component of healthy living. Make sure that you are making effort in securing a long-term, tangible impact on your brain health and overall well-being.
About the Interviewee
Dr Shawn Watson is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Senescence Life Sciences – a Singapore-based company founded on the belief that brain aging is reversible. He has a PhD in Neurophysiology from the University of Calgary, Canada. Having experienced first-hand the devastating effects of dementia on his family, Dr Watson dedicated his research to uncovering a new approach to prevent age-related cognitive decline. He has published his work in six top-tier research publications. Prior to Senescence Life Sciences, Dr Watson was the Executive Director of Canada-ASEAN Business Council and was responsible for establishing commercial relations between Canada and ASEAN.