Aug 30, 2019
By Annie Osborn, L.Ac., Natural Medicine Practitioner
Did you know that brain cells do reproduce?Many preventable factors contribute to brain decline and eventual dementia, including stress, inflammation, trauma or injury, hormonal imbalance, poor diet, drug overuse, and toxicity. Even Electro Magnetic Fields (EMFs) or radio frequency fields such as from cell phones, towers, WiFi or electrical units, can throw the brain and nervous system out of balance over time.
The human brain weighs only three pounds, yet uses 20% of the body’s glucose, or energy supply. The central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) is the center for all physiological mechanisms: digestion, hormone production, immune modulation, learning, memory, mood, sleep and more. Our brains need a constant supply of energy (glucose), oxygen, proper nutrition & stimulation to function.
A brain or nervous system deficiency can produce mental or emotional symptoms such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, insomnia, poor memory, brain fog or fatigue, excessive worry, fear, grief, depression or anger. In addition, physical symptoms of imbalance include PAIN of any sort, numbness, tingling, twitches, jerks, spasms, cramps, neuropathy, chest tightness, shortness of breath, sweats, and an inability of the body to heal, especially from pain conditions.
Our world is full of toxins: chemicals (pesticides, GMOs), heavy metals (mercury in dental fillings, aluminum or nickel in cookware), neurotoxins such as MSG added to foods to enhance flavor, vaccines which my use aluminum or mercury as preservatives, and bacteria, viruses, or fungus. If these dangerous toxins end up in your brain, they can lead to brain dysfunction and early decline, such as memory loss, dementia, and even seizures.
The good news is the brain can heal! In my natural medicine practice, certain nutrients are important for rebalancing the brain: vitamins such as folate/folic acid, B6, B12, choline & inositol; minerals such as magnesium, potassium (electrolytes); amino acids, either a combo formula or specific ones such as L-Glutamine, ribonucleic acid (RNA), and healthy fats such as coconut oil or omega 3 oils (fish or flax) are especially helpful in improving mood and brain function. Individual needs vary; each person may have different requirements for brain healing.
The brain governs hormonal balance via the Hypothalamus/Pituitary/Adrenal axis, a feedback loop between the brain and other endocrines such as thyroid and ovaries. Stress can increase the adrenal hormone cortisol, which can slow brain function and contribute to inflammation. Fatigue, brain fog, depression, weight gain and allergies can all be symptoms of a hormone disorder.
A healthy brain diet includes regular protein intake, and foods such as organic vegetables & fruits, & non-GMO grass fed free range meats. Eliminate or minimize inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, peanuts & sugar. Our brains are 60-70% fat, so foods like avocado, nuts, fatty fish or fish oils are important. Autopsies done on brains with dementia showed low fat content.
Lifestyle modifications such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing and gratitude practices are supportive. For grounding, take a walk barefoot on the beach while it’s still summer!
Regular exercise, especially high-intensity intervals, enhances oxygen uptake, endorphins, & circulation. The brain has its own lymph system (glymphatic) to detoxify during sleep.
The brain neurons (nerve cells) do heal, though nerves take a long time to renew. It can happen in 2-3 months but may require 4-6 or even 12 months to fully recover, such as after surgery. Proper nutritional supplements can speed this healing process.
When is the best time to support brain health? Now!
Don’t wait until you have memory or brain decline symptoms; be proactive to support and maintain your healthy brain.
Annie Osborn, L.Ac. is a traditional naturopathic practitioner and acupuncturist in practice in Sonoma County for 20 years. She will be offering a FREE lecture about brain & hormone health on Wednesday, October 16, 6:30-8 pm in Santa Rosa. RSVP for details and address, or see website: www.AnniesNaturalMedicine.com
Call 707-494-8606 for more information
This article is an excerpt from Annie’s new booklet: Clinical Secrets in Natural Healing, available Fall 2019
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