Five years ago today, we embarked on an incredible journey. Together, we sought to understand the roots of brain health, and how we can help fend of ailments like dementia and Alzheimer’s, diseases for which there is no known cure. This journey began with the release of Grain Brain.
In the five years since, science has continued to investigate the role carbs and gluten play in our health, and our message has moved to the mainstream. As a result, the information is Grain Brain is now accompanied by ongoing changes and revelations in the world of medicine. Today, I want to share with you the five most interesting things I’ve learned/seen since Grain Brain hit shelves. Continue reading
We talk a lot about how environment and lifestyle choices impact your cognitive health, but have you ever considered that where you choose to live may be a key factor in determining the health of your brain? Continue reading
For many of us life is pretty much focused on achievement. Whether instilled in us early in life by our parents or through our educational experiences, it seems that there are benchmarks that we constantly set for ourselves that serve to inform the focus of our daily activities.
As it turns out, if we indeed really want to be productive and achieve our goals, it might well be that our ability to make this happen can be facilitated by actually disengaging from the pursuit. Our lives seem to be constantly focused in considering the future and how our current activities will ultimately play out, and there is clearly a profound upside to this uniquely human attribute. Contemplating how our activities today will impact what happens tomorrow allowed our ancestors, for example, to prepare for times of food scarcity, while today we can embrace how our activities might impact things like climate change in the years to come. Continue reading
What does it mean to have a healthy brain?
It means having a brain that is readily capable of performing all of it’s vital functions. This includes basic functions, like regulating the involuntary functions of the autonomic nervous system, and higher-level functions, such as facilitating cognition and decision-making, and coordinating fine and gross motor skills. While the brain is necessarily an incredibly complex organ, the process of neuroplasticity, which describes the brain’s ability to undergo physical and chemical changes in response to stimuli, affords us a significant degree of control over the health of our brain. In other words, the lifestyle choices we make today have a very real impact on our brain’s current and future health; whether that impact is positive or negative depends on how we live our lives.
As stated above, neuroplasticity can work for or against you. While the natural process of aging more or less handles the “working against you” side of that equation, it is completely within our abilities to harness the power of neuroplasticity to maintain or improve overall brain health. Taking an active role in improving the health of the brain can help fortify the body from some of the most debilitating chronic illnesses we face — the likes of Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis. Fortunately, science has shined a light on numerous factors that have the potential to mitigate the effects of aging and improve overall brain health. To that end, I wanted to highlight six of the most effective ways you can maximize your brain’s potential.
For a long time, there’s been an ongoing dialogue around the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in individuals who have had exposure to heavy metals, like mercury, lead, and aluminum.
Fortunately, researchers in China and the United States recently published a study that would give us some data with which to conduct a more informed analysis. What did they find? Let’s take a look. Continue reading
The ketogenic diet has taken health circles by storm. Everyone seems to know somebody who has “gone keto” or is at least thinking about it. Keto labels are popping up on restaurant menus and in grocery stores.
And yet, the 2018 U.S. News & World Report recently evaluated 40 diets and guess which diet came in dead last? The ketogenic diet.
What is going on here? How can a diet land in two polar opposite camps? In a world that seems to thrive on polarizing controversy, let’s put a few misconceptions to rest and take a look into the effects of the ketogenic diet on the body. Because there is no doubt about it – the benefits of a ketogenic diet are profound. Continue reading
We’ve all been told that it’s a good idea to get a little sunshine each day. Reasons include the fact that this helps generate a bit of vitamin D, and that we basically just feel better when we’re exposed to this component of nature!
But new research may strengthen the sunshine recommendation. A new study, Moderate UV Exposure Enhances Learning and Memory by Promoting a Novel Glutamate Biosynthetic Pathway in the Brain, appeared in the journal Cell demonstrates how UV light exposure actually enhances memory function in laboratory animals. These researchers showed that when laboratory rats were exposed to moderate amounts of UV light, a biosynthetic pathway was activated that caused increased production of the neurotransmitter glutamate in various brain regions. Further, these animals were then shown to have improvement in specific forms of memory that involve both motor activity as well as object recognition.
The researchers stated:
Although overexposure to UV radiation may cause several adverse health effects, moderate UV exposure greatly benefits physical and mental health at multiple levels. Moderate UV-light exposure affects behaviors related to the CNS, such as emotion, learning, and memory.
Our ancestors spent a lot of time exposed to UV light, and we are just beginning to unravel more of the story as to why this was, and is, healthful.
Skin cancers, including melanoma, and enhanced skin aging do seem to be related to UV light exposure, and that’s clearly the other side of the coin. So, like so many other considerations, this is a recommendation grounded in balance. So I would consider avoiding sun exposure from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M., and then limit it to around 15 minutes in total each day.
The advantages of breastfeeding, in comparison to formula feeding, are quite numerous. Breast-fed infants, for example, have remarkably lower risk for various allergic conditions, and there has certainly been some indication that risk of being obese or overweight may be reduced in infants who are breastfed versus those who receive infant formula.
In a new study just published in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers followed a fairly large group of children, some of whom were breastfed while others were given infant formula, and determined that those receiving infant formula had a dramatically increased risk for being overweight.
Watch now, to learn more about this interesting study.