powerful_impact_brain_health_exercise_inflammation

6 Powerful Ways to Improve Brain Health

By: The Dr. Perlmutter Team

What does it mean to have a healthy brain?

It means having a brain that is readily capable of performing all of its 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.

Continue reading

early_childhood_medications_allergies

Is There a Link Between Medication Use During Infancy and Allergies in Early Childhood?

As we all know, allergic diseases, particularly in childhood, are becoming more and more common. It’s not just that we are becoming more aware of allergic diseases, think of the frequent announcements on airplanes about peanut allergies, or food allergy questions by the waiter at dinner. No, the reality of the situation is that, by and large, allergies are simply far more common than they used to be.

So, why is this happening? Let’s take a step back and recognize that the intestines, oddly enough, actually play an important role in determining our immune responsiveness. Specifically, we now understand that the gut lining itself actually plays an important role in regulating immune function. Permeability, or leakiness, of the gut lining is associated with alteration in immune function as well as changes to the set point of inflammation. Continue reading

brain_inflammation_shrinkage

Inflammation Today Means Brain Shrinkage Tomorrow

As I have emphasized over the past decade, the fundamental mechanism that underlies neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other issues (think diabetes, coronary artery disease, and even cancer), is the process of inflammation. We’ve got to do everything we can in terms of our lifestyle choices to bring inflammation under control. Dietary choices like choosing to limit sugar and carbohydrates, avoiding gluten, eliminating vegetable oils (corn oil, sunflower oil), increasing intake of healthful fats (olive oil, avocado oil, nuts and seeds), and favoring fiber-rich foods, are all fundamental building blocks of a lifestyle that helps to reduce the risk for excess inflammation.

We know that there is a higher level of the chemicals that mediate inflammation in the blood of individuals with higher blood sugar, caused by many of the poor choices outlined above. Again, higher blood sugar correlates with higher levels of inflammation. Continue reading