Taxi drivers and cognitive decline

I met a taxi driver last week and I normally like to hear their stories. This fella had lost 3 stone recently after having being diagnosed with type II diabetes.
It is often during random moments like these when you are engaging with people that different insights crop up and sometimes I can find ways to help people.
Here’s how our conversation went.


‘Great work fella, I muttered, how did you do that?’

‘Ate more chicken, thank god for chicken’, he replied.
‘More veg too. Stopped drinking pints in the week’.

Do you still drink now?

‘Yes, half a dozen on Sundays usually.
I don’t’ want to stop it’s my social time.’

‘Probably good idea to carry on mate, what else did you do?’

‘Stopped snacking between meals, just 3 square meals each day.’

Cool, what you eating for breakfast?

‘Porridge, banana’

(What it is about porridge for breakfast I do not know but so far I’ve not met anyone who hasn’t gotten leaner when they switch to proper porridge in the morning, I tend to avoid porridge for clients who are looking to lose weight quickly)

‘I eat fish a couple of times a week also’

‘Fish is good for diabetes’ I tell him.
‘The metformin helps too’

‘Yes I think it does mate, it’s hear it’s quite safe too.
Did the Dr. put you on B12?’

B12, what’s that?

It’s a b-vitamin, metformin stops you absorbing it.

‘Ok, I wonder why the Dr didn’t tell me’

‘Probably didn’t know, anyway mate, pick some up this afternoon it’ll probably save your life ’

What’s it do then?

‘Central nervous system, blood and brain health, reaction time, that kind of thing’

‘Ok I will do, thank you’

‘No problem’

‘Taxi drivers don’t get alzheimers you know?’
‘No mate, I hadn’t heard that.’

‘Yes it’s true – on account of using the brain a lot.’

Ok (I’ll google that one later).


Found a couple of nice little articles;
I couldn’t find an article that proved that Taxi Drivers don’t get Alzheimers.

However following the theme of using your brain and cognitive decline … It does like you can teach an old dog new tricks, and the hippocampus can grow with new intensive learning. However this appear to only apply to black cab drivers who have to follow ‘the knowledge’ a 3-4 year study period learning all the roads in London apparently equivalent to a degree  in terms of difficultly.

It wouldn’t, unfortunately apply to my cab driver who was using a Sat Nav. Another reason to stay good at map reading.

As we  age it also becomes important for well being to continue to learn new stuff, it’s sad when you see older people spending their time glued to the TV.

More on the cognitive decline tip, it really does look like a healthy heart makes a healthy mind. More reason to clean up your act in mid-life and start drinking a little more coffee (maybe).

As with all illnesses prevention is better than cure, we don’t yet know all the reasons why there are growing numbers of degenerative type diseases and Alzheimers is a big one. I’m pretty certain that nutrition has a big part to play that’s a reason why I tend to eat well and use supplements in order to try and future proof myself from these potential problems.


About Matt Lovell

A sports nutritionist and brand ambassador for Kinetica Sports. Matt also runs his own elite performance based company called Perform and Function.

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