Reversing Brain Aging – the Gut-Brain Connection
Can you keep your brain young and vibrant?
You want a healthy, optimally functioning brain. Without brain health you suffer a variety of symptoms including:
- Brain fog
- Poor concentration
- Memory loss
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Chronic fatigue
Do you have any of these symptoms? Do you know someone who does?
We know new things about the brain
When I was training to become a clinician two of the “stable data” I learned about the brain was wrong:
- The brain is protected by a blood-brain barrier that cannot be breached.
- Once you reach your 20s, you have all the brain cells you will ever have and, from there forward you’ll start to lose them with increasing age. I reviewed in my blog, 7 Steps to Protect your Brain, the exciting news about how you can continue to grow your brain, including the growth of new brain cells and enhanced connectivity!
Unfortunately, breaching of the “impenetrable” blood-brain barrier now occurs. The vast array of close to 100,000 new chemicals, hormones, drugs, pesticides and preservatives, have left our brains defenseless, and we are suffering due to it. The toxins plus our unhealthy food choices, have raised the level of inflammation in our brain.
You’ve perhaps heard me speak about inflammation – it’s at the root of ALL degenerative disease. That is no exaggeration, but it is irrelevant unless we act upon it.
WE NEED TO LOWER OUR INFLAMMATION!
How is that done? I’m glad you asked.
Here’s what you need to know:
- What you eat, when it’s the right thing, makes a HUGE positive impact upon inflammation in your body. See the study below.
- What you eat, when it’s the wrong thing, too makes a HUGE impact, hugely negative. More on what this entails in my next blog.
- The health of your adrenal glands (your stress glands) is also key because the adrenal glands make natural anti-inflammatories. Find more data on your adrenal glands here.
- Infections – these are referred to as hidden infections because they create inflammation, but you won’t have a fever and are not acutely ill. The infection is real and diagnosed with a specialized lab test. If these infections are missed and not treated, a source of inflammation continues, affecting your brain, nervous system and other organs.
- Toxins – heavy metals, mold exposure, Lyme disease, drugs, etc. Such toxins can be present in your system despite initial exposure occurring many years previously. Again, specialized tests help us to identify them and treatment can then occur successfully.
- Exercise helps reduce inflammation. 45-60 minutes per day of moderate exercise on as many days of the week as possible is what’s recommended for brain health and to reduce inflammation. See the most recent research results below.
Research on concentration and diet
It’s very distressing to have your child struggling in school; struggling to pay attention and having difficulty concentrating. It’s distressing if it’s happening to you as well!
Six and a half million American kids have been diagnosed with ADHD, and the number increases daily. 2/3 of these children are placed on medications with dangerous side effects. Utilizing what we do here with Root Cause Medicine allows us to wean many children off such drugs and their concentration returns naturally. How?
A 2014 study looked at diet and how it could help with focus. Published in the Journal of Nutrition, the study was entitled, “Dietary Fiber is positively assoc with cognitive control among prepubertal children” 2014.
A group of over 60 children were followed for 9 months, evaluating their diet for the level of fiber. They theorized that since fiber nourishes the important gut flora making up your microbiome (100 trillion organisms in your intestine), and the healthier your gut flora are the less inflammation you have, the lowered inflammation in the brain might translate into better concentration.
The children were tested for their ability to be attentive and remain on task despite distraction.
The children who ate the higher fiber diet scored with greater accuracy and cognitive function, as compared to the children whose diet was low in fiber.
- Fiber reduces inflammation of the brain. The reduced inflammation leads to increased attention, concentration, and it increases your ability to produce new brain cells.
- Inflammation, present with low fiber diets, works against the brain’s ability to function optimally – concentration and attention suffers.
Does this work for adults with concentration, attention and brain fog issues? Based on our experience, yes.
Exercise – free, and a great way to age-proof your brain
A meta-analysis (analysis of several distinct but similar studies) was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, May 2017 – just two months ago. Entitled, “Exercise interventions for congnitive function in adults older than 50: a systematic review with meta-analysis”, it reviewed 39 studies in order to evaluate exercise and how it influenced cognitive function in individuals over 50 years old.
Exercise is dramatically associated with improved cognitive function. A wide variety of exercise types seemed to result in the same benefit: aerobic, resistive, tai chi, etc. It’s being active that’s important. A 45-60 min session of moderate intensity exercise, done on as many days as possible per week, is associated with the greatest benefit to cognition.
How does it work? Exercise turns on the genes that make something called BDNF, brain derived neurotrophic factor – the substance responsible for growing new brain cells.
A U.S. study found those with higher BDNF to have a 50% reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease – not an insignificant benefit.
In sum, regardless of your age, if you are experiencing symptoms of brain stress or malfunction, much can be done naturally to improve it. The research is exciting and very much supports the methodology we use in Root Cause Medicine.
Young brain vs Old brain
Regardless of your age, the “biological” age of your brain is something you have control over. Can the brain be healed? Of course! Your body definitely knows how to heal itself – providing you give it the right tools.
If you want to reverse biological aging and regain your best health, contact us.
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If your health is not where you want it to be and you’re confused about what to do, we can help. Contact us for a Free Consultation – Call (408) 733-0400.
If you are not local to us you can still receive help, our Destination Clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally.
We help the world’s busiest people regain, retain and reclaim their health, energy and resilience.
To reclaiming your best health,
Dr. Vikki Petersen DC, CCN
Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner
Founder of Root Cause Medical Clinic
Author of “The Gluten Effect”
Author of eBook: “Gluten: What You Don’t Know May Be Killing You”