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5 Things We’ve Learned Since The Release of Grain Brain

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

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Microbiome – A Broader Perspective

So much attention is focused, and rightfully so, on the emerging role of the human microbiome as it relates to our health as well as our risk for disease. But keep in mind that microorganisms permeate the entire biosphere. Bacteria are found in the highest reaches of our atmosphere all the way down to the depths of the ocean. And as we are now learning, just as they do in humans, they play an important role in the health and functionality of these ecosystems as well.

In today’s video, I explore a broad view of the idea of the microbiome well beyond the anthropocentric.

Lizzie C.

The story of Lizzie and her family, though long, is a must-read. – Dr. Perlmutter

I have lived the past decade of my life in terrible fear of developing early on-set Alzheimer’s disease. I am 26 this year, and I am the 4th child in a family of five girls. When I was 12, my mom started to get what I now know as the classic signs of Alzheimer’s. She was only in her 40s. Unfortunately, she ate the low-fat, whole-grain diet that was and, still is, so popular. Within a year of noticing symptoms, my mom had to go live in an assisted living home. No doctors knew what was wrong with her and many said she had Huntington’s Disease, although she tested negative for it. Three years after her first symptoms, she passed away. About five years later her sister also passed away from the same thing. My grandmother also had the same symptoms and died very young. They all had very stressful marriages.

My sisters and I have always been terrified of getting sick like our mother. In recent years we learned that her illness was early on-set Alzheimers. It was helpful to know the cause, but inside we all felt full of despair, as if a death sentence had been placed on us. It has affected all of our life choices, even the choice to have children and pass on this gene. Continue reading

Dr. Perlmutter and Dr. Bredesen at the Buck Institute

On June 18, I had a chance to visit with my good friend Dr. Dale Bredesen at the Buck Institute for Age Research in Novato, California. I was in town to attend a special event for Brain Maker put on by the Buck Institute, where Dr. Bredesen and I lectured on the microbiome and its relationship to brain health.

I’m happy to report that not only was there a person in every seat in the room, but that the Buck Institute went so far as to livestream the event so that a recording would be made available for those who could not attend. Enjoy.

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The Critical Role of Early Life Decisions in Creating the Microbiome

In Brain Maker, I dedicated a lot of space to exploring how we initially form our microbiome, the collection of more than 100 trillion organisms that live within our intestines. Certainly early life experiences are critical in the creation of what is now a looked upon as representing a new “organ” within the human body. As you will recall, I talked about how important it is for children to be born through the vaginal birth canal, if that is not medically precluded, and, also, I emphasized how fundamentally critical it is that children breastfeed, from the perspective of creating the best, most health-preserving, microbiome possible.

In a new report from researchers in Sweden, Dynamics and Stabilization of the Human Gut Microbiome During the First Year of Life, researchers evaluated gut microbiomes of 98 mothers and their infants during the first year of life. Continue reading

Starting the Day with Supplements

While we can use food to nurture and protect our bodies and our brains, supplements play an important role in preventing inflammation and helping us achieve total health. In both Grain Brain and Brain Maker, in addition to laying out the lifestyle plan you should follow to avoid brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, I mention some of the most important supplements you can take for your health.

However, I’m often asked what my own daily routine is. Well, today I’m here to tell you.

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Gut Bacteria Chart Our Destiny

I have just finished reviewing what I believe is a seminal research article relating to the gut microbiome. The study, written by researchers in Sweden, is titled The Gut Microbiotia– Masters of Host Development and Physiology, and recently appeared in Nature Reviews Microbiology.

If you’ve been following my blog, you are no doubt aware of my keen interest in the role of the gut bacteria, the human microbiome, in the context of how these organisms relate to disease processes. Further, my new book, Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life, is focused on exploring the underlying research that relates these bacteria to various processes that can then affect the brain, as well as the various lifestyle factors that can be modified to enhance the health of these bacteria, and therefore translate into a better environment for brain health.

I can assure you, there is an abundance of research that is ongoing, exploring the powerful role of the microbiome in human illness. But what these researchers describe is the powerful relationship of the hundred trillion organisms that live within us in terms of our normal bodily function and even with the development of our organ systems. Continue reading

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Why Lifestyle Choices Matter for Health

What my work, in Brain Maker and Grain Brain, boils down to, is giving you a lifestyle plan that you can follow to cause optimal health. Why do these factors matter? Why are these the choices you should make? Simple: because this is the best way to fight and reduce inflammation, the cornerstone player in diseases like Parkinson’s, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer.

For more information, pre-order your copy of Brain Maker today and join Dr. Perlmutter’s email list.

Martina

Martina was fed up with taking medicines for ten years that weren’t working, but she was afraid to quit. At the time she was taking an antidepressant, as well as a non- steroid anti-inflammatory for chronic pain in her arms and legs that had previously been diagnosed as fibromyalgia. In reviewing her history, I noted that she began to have issues with depression in her early 20s but hadn’t started medication until her mid 40s. She had been born naturally but not breastfed. She had been on multiple courses of antibiotics as a child for throat infections that culminated in a tonsillectomy. During her teenage years she had been placed on the antibiotic tetracycline for eighteen months because of acne. Bowel movements had always been a problem; Martina said she’d suffered from either chronic constipation or diarrhea for “as long as I can remember.”

My first order of business was to order some laboratory studies. That’s when I found out that she was significantly sensitive to gluten. Her vitamin D level was low, and her LPS level, again, a marker of gut permeability and inflammation, was sky high.

Continue reading