Heal Your BRAIN

How do you know if you have an unhealthy brain?

Below you will find some of the most common symptoms of an inflamed brain; or a brain that is not working properly:

Warning signs:

  1. Chronic fatigue
  2. Brain-fog
  3. Your short-term memory is declining
  4. Insomnia
  5. Depression / Anxiety
  6. Lack of motivation
  7. Reduced ability to handle stress
  8. You have strong reactions to foods or environmental triggers
  9. Less emotional stability

You will notice that I have placed Brain at Level #8 of the Functional Medicine Health Pyramid. This is because the lower Levels of the FMHP will have the most significant impact  on your brain health. This means you have need to correct problems with your Digestive System and Nutrition at Level #1 or fix Blood Sugar

problems are level 3 or reduce Inflammation at Level 4; etc. With the help of a qualified functional medicine doctor, there are many things you can do to improve your Brain health.

You might be thinking that your brain-related problems are genetic/hereditary, and they might be; but all of the Levels below Genes #10 will have a huge impact on how your Genes express themselves…they will express health or illness. This is the field of epigenetics; which is the study of changes in health caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. Epi- means above or before; so this really means that the environment of your body (Levels 1-9) it more important than what your genes are; what you inherited from you parents.

Ok, back to your brain. Some of the biggest problems that will affect your brain and its ability to function properly include:

  1. Poor diet (high inflammation, food allergies or sensitivities)
  2. Lack of vital nutrients required for neuron (brain cells) health
  3. Lack of physical exercise
  4. Poor sleep habits
  5. Chronic stress
  6. History of head injury or concussion
  7. Chronic infections; especially viral, Lyme and mold exposure

Your Brain is Sensitive

Your brain is sensitive and does not follow the same rules as the rest of your body when it comes to inflammation and immune system function. Here are just a few interesting facts about your brain:

  1. Only 10% of your brain is composed of neurons
  2. 90% of your brain is composed of neuron-supporting cells called glia
  3. When your brain is exposed to chronic inflammation, physical trauma or emotional trauma many of your glial cells change into inflammation-creating cells and never return to their normal state.
  4. Poor health of your gut (Level 1) or liver (Level 2) will directly cause brain inflammation via your vagus nerve.
  5. Your brain has a protective barrier that keeps harmful chemicals away from it; called the blood-brain barrier (BBB); poor gut health, head trauma, infections or severe emotional distress will cause this barrier to deteriorate. This permits the immune system of the rest of your body to “enter” the brain and potentially initiate autoimmune disease in your brain…you can’t have brain autoimmunity unless this has occurred.
  6. Chronic brain inflammation is the leading cause of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

What you NEED TO KNOW

Your brain is a very complex structure and it needs to create a lot of energy to work properly. Your brain weighs about 3 pounds but uses almost 25% of all the energy your body makes. It is also very sensitive to inflammation and immune system problems. Unfortunately, your brain does not “hurt” and you don’t feel pain when your brain is suffering; instead you experience the symptoms I listed at the beginning of this article. You MUST take care of your brain because you don’t get any more brain cells than you have right now and if your brain is inflamed, you are losing neurons that you can’t get back. Every part of your body can make new cells except your brain and to some degree your heart. If you are losing brain function, you will lose quality of life; and if permitted to continue, YOU MAY NEVER GET BACK TO NORMAL…when you lose your brain, you are losing YOURSELF. Loss of self is one of the most terrifying experiences my patients talk to me about.

Take care of your brain. You have a limited number of brain cells and chronic inflammation destroys them.

In my next article I will be covering Heart which I have placed at Level #9 of the FMHP.

I hope you have found value in this information.

I wish you health, happiness and a better quality of life!

If you would like more information about functional medicine and integrative medicine or Dr. Sexton go to www.napervilleintegratedwellness.com

Do your own research, inform yourself and ask lots of questions. When collecting information, you MUST consider the source. There is no shortage of false, misleading, outdated, profit-driven and utterly biased information in healthcare today; even from the most respected sources and organizations.

This approach to healthcare is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease. Why? The FDA enforces its position that these words can only be used with drugs. This approach does not use drugs.