The brain is surrounded by a thin lining called the blood brain barrier, which prevents harmful compounds from entering the brain while allowing helpful nutrients in and cellular debris out. However, for a lot of people the blood brain barrier degrades, allowing harmful toxins and compounds into the brain. This causes inflammation in the brain and symptoms such as depression, brain fog, memory loss, and other brain-based symptoms and disorders.
The strategies for repairing a leaky blood brain barrier are similar to the strategies for repairing a leaky gut because the causes are similar. Some of the more foundations include balancing your blood sugar, removing inflammatory foods and chemicals from your diet and environment, and focusing on a whole foods diet that is abundant in produce.
However, beyond that certain nutritional compounds have been shown to help repair a leaky blood brain barrier:
Resveratrol. Resveratrol is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant (protects against damaging free radicals) known to help prevent development of neurodegenerative diseases.
Resveratrol can increase your brain's growth hormone, support mitochondria, and protect and restore the blood-brain barrier.
Curcumin. Often used in conjunction with resveratrol, curcumin is the anti-inflammatory component of the spice turmeric. Heavily researched, curcumin can:
Sulforaphane. A phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, this antioxidant has anti-inflammatory qualities similar to curcumin.
Studies show it can prevent breakdown of the blood-brain barrier, reduce its permeability, and improve brain functionafter traumatic brain injuries and stroke.
If you take sulforaphane in supplement form, make sure it contains the co-factor myrosinase.
Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a powerful tool in managing inflammation and autoimmunity. Every tissue in your body has vitamin D receptors. Studies show it can help prevent leaky brain by reducinginflammation and reducing blood-brain barrier disruption.
Ways our modern lifestyle contributes to a lack of vitamin D:
Some people need much higher doses, from 5,000 to 25,000 IU per day. If you take higher doses, have your blood levels tested periodically to avoid toxicity.
Emulsified vitamin D is best for those with poor digestion.
B vitamins. Several B vitamins support the health of the blood-brain barrier:
Magnesium. A vital mineral for more than 300 biochemical processes in your body, magnesium affects brain neurotransmitters, enzymes, and hormones. Many people are deficient, so ask your healthcare practitioner of you should be tested.
Magnesium protects the brain by:
EFAs are critical for:
Primarily found in fish, Omega 3s are EFAS that support your mitochondria, increase brain growth hormone, and support the blood-brain barrier.
When consuming EFAs, it's important to consume the proper ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6. Omega 6 is a necessary EFA but taken in the wrong ratio to Omega 3 it is highly inflammatory.
The average American consumes a shocking ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 of 25:1, contributing to the epidemic of inflammation-related health disorders.
Researchers recommend a ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 that ranges from 1:1 to 4:1. A recommended dose is 3,500 mg for a person eating a diet of 2,000 calories per day.
As you now know, it's important to take great care of your precious blood-brain barrier. Many of the above suggestions also benefit other health issues, so by adopting them you are hitting more than one target at a time. For more information on how to fix your leaky brain, please contact my office.You can call us at 317-848-6000 or contact Dr. Ralston directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you following the right diet and taking all the right supplements yet still struggling with irresolvable gut problems? The problem could be in your head, or more exactly, in the large nerve that runs between your brain and your digestive system.
Called the vagus nerve, this large nerve sends communication back and forth between the brain and the organs, including the digestive organs. If your gut problems are accompanied by poor memory, brain fog, problems with cognition, or other brain symptoms, then you know you might have a sluggish vagus nerve.
Indigestion, acid reflux, constipation, burping, gas, bloating, diarrhea, pain, and irritable bowel disorders are some of the common problems that result from an insufficiently active vagus nerve. A problematic vagus nerve is also evidence that your brain is degenerating, or aging, too quickly.
The brain delivers commands to the gut via the vagus nerve. This function executes digestion, gut repair and regeneration, moves food through the intestines (motility), secretes digestive enzymes and juices, triggers digestive hormones, and more.
When brain function deteriorates or the brain degenerates, the vagus nerve does not receive sufficient communication from the brain to deliver to the gut. This poor communication between the gut and the brain causes constipation, leaky gut, food sensitivities, irritable bowel disorders, and other gut problems.
This is one reason gut problems are common among people with brain injuries, the elderly, or people struggling with poor brain function.
Exercise the vagus nerve to improve gut function
A functional neurologist conducts a thorough exam of your brain health and function and then customizes a rehabilitation program unique to your brain. This rehabilitation may include activating your vagus nerve to improve your gut function.
The good news is you can also activate your vagus nerve on your own at home with some simple exercises.
How to exercise and improve your vagus nerve
First, how do you know if you need vagus nerve activation?
So, it looks like you have a sluggish vagus nerve, now what? Here are some exercises to activate the vagus nerve, taken from Dr. Kharrazian’s book, Why Isn’t My Brain Working?. You can also contact my office regarding some other methods of activation. It is a growing field with many innovations.
Robustly gargle several times a day.Gargle each sip of a glass of water several times a day hard enough to make your eyes tear up.
Sing loudly. Sing as loudly as you can several times a day if you are in a place where you can do this, like the car.
Gag. Use a tongue depressor to gently press on the back of your tongue and make yourself gag several times a day until your eyes tear. This is one of the stronger approaches; just be careful not to poke the back of your throat.
Coffee enemas. Google coffee enemas and hold the enema solution as long as you can.
This is a very simple summary of how to activate the vagus nerve. For more advice unique to your brain’s needs, please contact my office.