Optimal Brain Health
Your brain is the most complex organ in your body—in fact, there are more connections in your brain than stars in the universe. Your brain contains 100 billion neurons, performing 20 million-billion calculations per second. This is an astonishing amount of activity that takes place with 4 main players:
- Neurons (nerve cells) power the message
- Neurotransmitters create the message
- Receptors receive the message
- Microglia defend and support brain cells
In order for your brain to function properly, you must have healthy neurons, neurotransmitters, receptors, and microglia. If any of these brain components are not optimal, you can have symptoms such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, attention problems, food cravings, and obesity. You may also have devastating symptoms such as chronic pain or neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. New research links mood disorders to problems with insulin and blood-sugar control. In fact, some researchers suggest calling depression “metabolic syndrome type II…”
Brain problems are a silent epidemic around the world. Here are the numbers that surround autism, ASD, anxiety-related disorders, depression, and the astounding use of prescription drugs do not often get to the root cause of the problem.
An estimated 40 million people in the United States experience some sort of anxiety-related disorder and as many as 30 million suffer from depression.
The use of antidepressants doubled from 1995 to 2005 and they’re now the most prescribed drugs in the world.
In 1970 , an estimated 1 in 10,000 children were found to be autistic.
In 1995 it was 1 in 500
In 2001 it became 1 in 250
Today. 1 in 68 children are diagnosed as autistic
While diet and lifestyle recommendations have gained significant traction across a wide spectrum of health related issues, the acceptance of the application of these principles in the area of brain health remains low even though the Gut-Brain connection is well studied and documented, and that having a healthy gut is a necessity for having a healthy mind.
The main causes of brain problems include genetics, stress, toxicity, poor diet and lifestyle habits, inflammation, free radical damage, nutrient deficiencies, and hormone imbalances. Achieving optimal brain health requires treating the causes and providing the brain with what it needs to heal. Some of the causes are:
- Brain-toxic foods, such as high-fructose corn syrup and trans/hydrogenated fats
- Excessive consumption of sugar, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine
- Sleep deprivation
- Sedentary lifestyle, which lowers IGF-1 and brain-derived neurotropic factor
- Chronic stress, which chronically elevates cortisol
- OTC and prescription medications, which lower coenzyme Q10, B vitamins, glutathione
- Heavy metals, including lead, mercury, cadmium
- Toxic chemicals (more than 80,000 have been introduced since 1990; 500 have been tested for safety)
- Additives and toxins in our foods (more than 3,500 can be added to food; more than 3,000 are in our homes)
- Mycotoxins, which, according to a number of very current studies, cause severe symptoms of brain damage in 70%, and autonomic nervous system abnormalities in 100% of patients living with them.
The barrier between the body and the brain is no iron curtain. It is more like cheesecloth and new research further establishes connection between gut and brain. So the most powerful tool you have to change your brain and your health is your fork. Why? Food is not just calories or energy. Food contains information that talks to your genes, turning them on or off and affecting their function moment to moment.” Functional medicine provides a method for re-balancing the body’s underlying physiological systems and addressing lifestyle issues that contribute to illness. Our virtual and local functional medicine programs offer a natural approach to understanding the terrain of chronic brain problems, allowing your biology’s inherent healing forces to be unleashed and chronic illness to be resolved quickly. Get started from the comfort of your home through convenient webcam consultations wherever you may be in the world or be seen in person, locally in The Woodlands, TX.