The Dementia Defender

A study of more than 12,000 people suggests that a Vitamin D deficiency could leave you vulnerable to cognitive diseases.

Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • The dementia defender

  • The fate you make

  • Weekend challenge

Arnold’s Podcast

Want more stories from Arnold? Every day, Arnold’s Pump Club Podcast opens with a story, perspective, and wisdom from Arnold that you won’t find in the newsletter. And, you’ll hear a recap of the day’s items. You can subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Google, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

The Dementia Defender

Yesterday, we spoke about how Vitamin D might help prevent Alzheimer’s. But that might not be the only brain protection. Research also suggests that those with higher levels of Vitamin D are 40 percent less likely to develop dementia. 

Scientists analyzed more than 12,000 people and tracked their health over ten years. They noted that many variables influence the likelihood of the disease but that low levels of Vitamin D were strongly associated with diagnosis.

Women who supplemented with Vitamin D saw much more protection than men (49 percent vs. 26 percent). Also, people who carried the APOE4 gene (linked to dementia) were at higher risk, even with supplementation (33 percent reduction for those with the gene compared to 47 percent reduction for those without). 

Overall, 75 percent of people in the study who didn’t take vitamin D developed dementia within ten years, whereas only 25 percent of people who took vitamin D developed dementia.

The most important finding might be the importance of being proactive. The scientists found that protection appeared better if people took the supplement before experiencing any signs of cognitive issues. If you’re looking for a Pump Club-approved brand, we recommend Momentous. (You’ll receive a special discount applied automatically at checkout when you use that link. Just a little bonus for being a member of the village!)

The Positive Corner of Masculinity: The Fate You Make

Editor’s note: This week, we have a guest post from a member of our village, Mike Klejmont. We’re all proud of Mike for his incredible success and PRs, but we are even prouder of how he’s shown that it’s OK for men to show vulnerability — in fact, it’s true strength. He’s been sharing his story and pumping people up when they’re going through hard times in The Pump, and we asked him if he’d be willing to share his story with the broader village here. As always, this is our positive corner of masculinity column, but we think it is a story that can help everyone. Thank you, Mike — we are so proud of you. 

Becoming a parent is a very interesting experience and something that is hard to fully comprehend unless you are there. It can simultaneously be one of the most wonderful and frightening experiences of your life. For me, it was all that and much more.

For most of my life, I think I have had some level of depression that I was pushing down, and for good reason.  My parents got divorced when I was very young, and I grew up in a very dysfunctional household thereafter.  Looking back, I tried my best to keep my head down, push through, and work like hell to get out of there.

The success in sports, school, work, and marriage all came, but something was still off. My first daughter was born, and part of me felt fantastic, but deep inside, something still didn’t feel quite right.  When my second daughter was born, it was like I took a Mike Tyson uppercut to the chin and got knocked flat on my ass. My depression had literally taken me off my feet, and I was down for the count.

For the first time in my life, both my body and brain were forcing me to deal with my struggles.  This is what my depression was trying to get me to face all along. My reality was that no one prepared me for this fight, but I knew I needed to do it for my two daughters and my wife.  Becoming a parent makes you selfless, and your vision of the world gets turned upside down.

So, step-by-step and day-by-day, I tried my best to pick myself up.  Some days I could move forward, and some days, I got knocked back. Through lots of work with mental health professionals, solid mentorship, creating new supportive relationships, and learning more from this newsletter and app, I got to the flipside.  For those of you new to this journey or feeling stuck in it, I get it and see and experience where you get bogged down –- it makes sense.

For me, had I not had kids and not faced these struggles, they would probably still be lurking somewhere inside me. Having kids did not fix my problems, but it forced me to face, work, and learn from them. I believe my subconscious was telling me it was time to stop messing around and get to work because you need and want to be the best dad for these girls.  Deep down inside, I knew that’s what I really wanted, but I needed the extra kick, which was parenting.

I also believe hearing Arnold share the normalcy of struggle and that it was an opportunity to learn was a big piece of my journey. Depression became a learning opportunity, and that helped me heal the most.

Think about that. The thing I feared the most was the piece that helped me get through the storm. I was able to make my fate.  

Weekend Challenge

It’s December. Another year is almost in the books. This means it’s time to ask: How are you going to finish?

Every year, people begin with motivation, excitement, and hope. Somewhere along the way, many of us get derailed, distracted, and — in many cases — defeated. December comes along, and you hopefully find a way to be grateful, celebrate the holidays, and have an eye towards something better in the new year. 

No matter what happened this past year, today is still an opportunity. Tomorrow is a chance to become better. And this month is your time to end the year on a high note. 

When I say Stay Hungry, this is what I’m talking about. It’s about consistently putting in the reps. That’s how dreams become reality.

This weekend, our challenge is to ask yourself, how will you finish strong?

To help with your workouts, the finish strong challenge starts on Monday. You’ll get workouts in the newsletter for the next three weeks on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. But that’s just the fitness side of things. 

I want you to identify just one thing you’ll commit to this month. December will be about accomplishing that one goal. 

This is what we’ve been telling you all along: create your vision, have a plan, and then take action. 

The goal for the rest of the month is to do all three (vision, plan, action). But your challenge this weekend is just to answer the question: what do you want to accomplish in the final three weeks of the year

Let’s all finish the year on a high. Prove to yourself that you’re not quitting on yourself. And send yourself into 2024 with plenty of momentum. 

Thank you for being a part of this village. We hope you had a great week, and we’re wishing you all a fantastic weekend! See you on Monday.

-Arnold, Adam, and Daniel

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell