Here you will find posts related to the most groundbreaking science that is available to us as it pertains to gluten intolerance and brain health. We all have the gift of brain plasticity, meaning that if we apply the conclusions of these studies to our daily lives we can actually grow new brain cells!
As we have explored previously, elevated blood sugar is clearly toxic for the brain. Higher blood sugar is clearly a risk for Alzheimer’s disease, along with coronary artery disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
But focusing on the brain, I think it’s important to emphasize that elevated blood sugar has wide-ranging negative effects on brain cells and their functionality. Elevated blood sugar is associated with inflammation, and this is a cornerstone mechanism across a wide spectrum of neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. In addition, persistent elevation of blood sugar ultimately compromises the function of the hormone insulin. We now recognize that insulin is important for the health and integrity of the brain not only because of its role in allowing glucose to be used as fuel, but also how it functions as a nurturing hormone. Continue reading
Perhaps you’ve noticed, more and more, that the number of plants people are keeping in their home is multiplying. Certainly there’s an aesthetic reason for this, but what if it was impacting our health as well? A recent study in HortScience looked at the impact of plants in hospital recovery rooms to see if the presence of plants impacted the health of these patients, measuring factors like levels of pain and duration of hospitalization.
Let’s investigate what they found.
The ketogenic diet is one of the most talked about and debated diet trends today. You’ve probably heard celebrities, athletes, and neighbors raving about the benefits of this dietary approach. Interestingly, the science backs up its rapid growth in popularity, as a ketogenic diet has been shown to have numerous health benefits for its adherents. The diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, improve glycemic control in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, help individuals struggling with obesity lower their BMI, and even improve or control symptoms of debilitating neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s and epilepsy. There is even some evidence to suggest that a ketogenic diet can play a role in the treatment of cancer! If it is implemented properly, adopting a ketogenic diet can be a very powerful tool in the fight against a variety of chronic diseases.
If you’ve recently made the decision to transition to a ketogenic diet or are exploring the possibility of a change, chances are you might currently find yourself in a world of confusion. What is ketosis? What are ketones? Can I really eat all the fatty foods I want? How can this possibly be good for me?
Allow me to address some of these questions. 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
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
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.
We live in a very light polluted world in comparison to that of our very recent ancestors. Estimates now indicate that close to 99% of both Americans and Europeans are exposed to “light pollution.” Not only are we excessively exposed to light in modern times, but the type of light accounting for this exposure is changing rapidly. As we move away from incandescent lights in favor of light emitting diode (LED) technology, we are seeing an ever-increasing exposure to a particular part of the light spectrum – blue light, that has been associated with some worrisome effects in terms of human health.
Energy medicine is now front-and-center as a major consideration in trying to unravel the mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease. It’s now clear that a disruption of cellular energetics is fundamentally involved in the disease.
Multiple research studies have demonstrated that a decline in brain metabolism, specifically the brain’s utilization of glucose, is seen long before there are any clinical manifestations of Alzheimer’s disease. In other words, the first observable event in Alzheimer’s is the finding of reduced brain glucose utilization on a special type of brain scan. This observation presages the clinical manifestations like declining memory, judgment, and executive function by as much as several decades.
Why the brain suffers from this decline in its ability to use glucose as a fuel remains undefined, but new research is making the case that the hormone insulin is playing an important role in this event.
For years we’ve been seeing scientific literature describe the various health risks associated with having elevated levels of (potentially) toxic heavy metals. The reason this information is so important is because it opens the door to a discussion about both prevention and treatment for the associated diseases.
Certainly, one disease that draws interest from both perspectives is Alzheimer’s disease. Indeed, while the actual cause, or more appropriately causes, of this dreaded disease remains hidden, there’s been discussion over the years that having higher levels of various heavy metals may be playing a role.
To explore this relationship, a team of Chinese and American researchers reviewed a vast amount of scientific research to determine if there exists any valid relationship between higher blood levels of various heavy metals and the risk for developing Alzheimer’s. Their comprehensive meta-analysis focused on aluminum, mercury, cadmium, and lead.