In case you haven’t noticed, your brain has been turning the heads of researchers worldwide. That’s great news, since maintaining a healthy brain is imperative to avoiding cognitive decline, dementia, and premature aging that robs people of their quality of life. With plenty of published research to draw from, we’re excited to use natural medicine to your mind’s full advantage.
Brain Health Isn’t Just for CEOs Anymore
Your brain is the Gatekeeper to healthy moods and balanced hormones, clear thinking, contributing to your community and keeping your body well for your entire lifespan. As your naturopathic doctor, I’d like to help you ensure your brain is nourished, oxygenated, protected from injury, and not inflamed, so that you can expect optimal performance, clear thinking, physical health and a stable mood throughout your lifespan.
Feeling “Off” – All the Time?
If you’re feeling worried or tired all the time, down, anxious, headachey, unable to concentrate, unable to enjoy good things of life, unable to sleep or constantly irritable…it’s important to know that although these symptoms are extremely common (you’re not alone), but they’re definitely not “normal”. (I’m always ready to help you shift out of suffering! You’re designed to get so much more out of life! You can heal yourself with gentle, natural medicine + self-care…But I digress…).
As a naturopathic doctor focused on helping people optimize their lives, NORMAL to me means: you have good energy throughout the day, you feel great in your skin, you have energy leftover for yourself, family and interests after the work day, you sleep well at night, you feel productive and creative in your life, and you feel generally happy and well.
It is just NOT OK when chronic symptoms are stealing your energy, joy and ability to function in your life. The good news is that these symptoms are usually treatable using natural approaches – as long as we can identify their root cause. More often than not, there’s one physiological process at the root of all brain issues from learning problems to anxiety to injuries: INFLAMMATION.
Inflamed in the Membrane
Inflammation is the root of all chronic disease. From heart disease to autoimmune illnesses to hormonal imbalance to concussions to Alzheimer’s, brain inflammation is associated with mental and physical health issues because disruption is happening at the cellular level. When your neurons can’t communicate effectively and efficiently with one another, and when the damage of inflammation is ongoing in any tissue, symptoms arise. Discover and remove the root cause of that inflammation, and you have a leg up on treating your Master Organ.
So where does this brain inflammation come from? Many sources are possible:
- Injury or concussion
- Food reactions
- Hormonal imbalance including thyroid problems
- Autoimmune processes
- Poor blood sugar control
Which factors might be a part of your brain health picture?
Note that most of these underlying causes of inflammation are also treatable with natural approaches including acupuncture, detoxification and cleansing, stress reduction, exercise, meditation, Food Intolerance Testing and nutritional support.
Awareness of brain injuries has increased exponentially in recent years. Concussions and the personality impairment resulting from repeated concussions has made headlines in the NFL and other professional leagues. We are also learning more about the consequences of head injuries in children and adolescents. I’ve been surprised to learn that concussions can result from even what we’d consider minor bumps, slips and falls – anytime the soft brain hits the hard inside of the skull.
The brain essentially floats in fluid held within membranes inside the skull. In “whiplash” type incidents where the skull moves faster than the brain floats in its fluid means that the brain is smacked internally against the inside of the skull. This results in bruising and inflammation in the brain.
When I fell off my bike last spring, one entire side of my body took the brunt of my fall and my helmet only “tapped” the pavement at the last moment. I didn’t “hurt” my head at all and had no head scrapes or bruises. Even so, it had taken me several minutes at the side of the road waiting for the “stun” sensation to go away so I could rise to seated. The next day, along came the nausea, headache, sensitivity, irritability and extreme fatigue that told me I was in fact concussed.
Once I realized I had a concussion, I reached out to an osteopath, who helped me feel better from the first visit. Osteopathy can help restore the correct fluid flow through the body, reduce swelling and ease muscle tension. I received massage therapy for my back and neck, I took extra antioxidants and omega 3’s, and I also received IV (intravenous) therapy to address the inflammation in my brain.
IV Therapy for Brain Injury
To heal the injury, we must de-inflame the brain. The brain is protected from toxins and poisons by a special membrane called the blood-brain barrier. This same membrane also prevents many medications from entering the brain in significant quantities.
One way of getting anti-inflammatory support past the blood-brain barrier is to use high doses intravenously. In my case, I received intravenous (IV) glutathione, the body’s most important antioxidant. Inside cells, glutathione absorbs the damaging effects of the inflammation to spare our cells from the damage.
I noticed immediate improvement with osteopathy, and then another layer of clarity returned to my thinking with the glutathione infusion. When my symptoms recurred 2 months later (as they often do with concussions) I repeated my treatments with (it seems) permanent recovery. I continue to use brain-supporting supplements regularly. These include phosphatidylserine, omega 3 fish oils, MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides) from coconut oil, and high-potency antioxidants like coenzyme Q10, PQQ-10 and L-carnitine. (More about these supplements here, and you can ask about individual treatment options here.)
Who’s Got Your Brain’s Back?
You are the expert in your own state of health. You have “eyes” on the situation at all times. You can tell when “something’s not right” and you can tell when you’re starting to feel better. This awareness is the #1 tool you can use to preserve your brain health for decades to come. When you’re not feeling quite right, take a step back. Have you eaten more junk food than usual? Have you been losing sleep, or changed your routine? Did you have a cold or flu? Have you stopped exercising? Has a recent stressful event shifted you out of balance?
Set aside a bit of time to look inward and note your observations. You can also check in with us anytime you’d like some help getting your healthy balance back.