If there is one thing for certain, it is that for most of us, memory issues have multiple causes. In the previous blog on memory, I mentioned at least a dozen causes for memory loss...and what you should know about that list is that it is usually a combination of those factors that lead to brain deterioration. That means we need to assess everyone thoroughly and here is how we do it. History: This is where you get to tell your story related to your brain health. Have you had any concussions or head trauma; what are you eating; what is your weight; are you exercising; what is your history of anesthesia; what is your medication history; what is your infectious history; what is your stress history; do you crave sweets or salts; what are your hormones doing; how is your sleep; any sleep apnea?; what is your heart and vascular health; what is your blood pressure; how long do you sit every ... Read more

As we continue our journey into "leaky gut," here is a great introduction to the subject: https://bmcgastroenterol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12876-014-0189-7 In this study, "the regulation of intestinal permeability by diet and bacteria is depicted." Because... "Data are accumulating that emphasize the important role of the intestinal barrier and intestinal permeability for health and disease." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5216880/ The authors show that the probiotic content of our internal environment (mostly the gut) has beneficial health building effects that are necessary. We can get these probiotics from fermented foods. The author's state: "A wealth of literature has focused on the beneficial physiological effects of fermented foods on enternal nutrient absorption and on digestive tract health. More recently, there has been a ... Read more

This blog's topic is about when you should worry about your memory loss, when it is serious and you need to pay attention and seek an evaluation. It is probably SERIOUS if: 1. Making decisions/choices quickly: Making decisions and/or choices is a cognitive task that requires a good brain. If you are used to being quick to make decisions, and now it is becoming difficult or takes a longer time to choose from several options (clothes, foods, etc.), and you notice others becoming impatient with you, others "smooth things over" for you, pay attention and get tested. Often difficulty in managing money, which requires a detail oriented judgement sequential process, is an early sign of things going south. When others assist you through normal daily situations, you may be oblivious of mistakes and they are reluctant to say anything. If you notice this, you should confront it ... Read more

Leaky gut is what happens when the lining of our internal membranes allows larger than normal molecules/particles to enter our blood stream. This causes an immune based inflammatory response, and as you know, we do not need any extra inflammation anywhere. http://www.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/ajpgi.1999.276.4.g965 This paper is from 1999, and they were curious about how alcohol at lower levels (such as one or two glasses of wine at any time) might affect us: "The effects of lower non-cytotoxic doses of ethanol on epithelial barrier function are unknown." So why ask this question in the first place? Because, as the authors state: "A major function of gastrointestinal epithelial cells is to provide a barrier against the hostile substances in the gastrointestinal lumen." What did they find? "The results of this study indicate that ethanol at low non-cytotoxic doses ... Read more

This blog post begins a series focusing on memory. We will go over when not to worry and when to be worried, but most importantly, how to prevent memory issues. We prevent issues by knowing what your current brain health is (baseline assessments), what key lab numbers you need to know and optimize, what your risk factors are and how to reduce them, and other health strategies to help you keep your memory and brain health at it's peak. This first part will be about when to NOT worry. Fear of losing mental capacity strikes twice as much fear into us as compared to losing physical abilities with at least 60% of adults saying that they are very worried about memory loss. With the incredible rise of Alzheimer's disease now becoming the third leading cause of death as of 2014, we all need to be vigilant in prevention. ... Read more

The last blog post started a series on a hot topic in integrative health circles, which is "leaky gut." It is a hot topic because it is a major course of systemic inflammation which is a common and significant cause, perpetuator and aggravating factor in any disease or health condition. We are now going to cover what causes leaky gut and the multiple factors needed to repair it. Last time we mentioned a core strategy is to chew slowly, but not specifically WHY it might be beneficial. The reason is that if we eat when we are rushed or stressed or anxious, we are turning down the part of our brain that controls digestion, so we get poor digestion processes which lead to several things: Incomplete digestion of proteins, fats and carbs, which leads to putrefaction of proteins, fats become rancid and carbs ferment which can lead to inflammation and leaky gut. Hormone imbalances, ... Read more

Once again we are looking at the brain and how low level chronic inflammation can lead to brain dysfunction. Symptoms of brain dysfunction include, but are not limited to, depression, anxiety, fog, memory challenges, cognitive decline (early dementia), mood swings, stress related brain dysfunction, hormonal controls (think pituitary), fatigue, reading challenges, visual disturbances, headaches, migraines, and chronic pain anywhere in the body. The causes of brain dysfunction are many, and here we are focusing on the gut – brain relationship. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604320/ The authors state: “The emerging links between our gut microbiome and the central nervous system (CNS) are regarded as a paradigm shift in neuroscience with possible implications for not only understanding the pathophysiology of stress-related psychiatric disorders, but also their treatment. ... Read more

Inflammation will cause, aggravate or perpetuate virtually every chronic disease known, from depression to dementia, from type 2 diabetes to cardio-vascular disease; from arthritis to headache to virtually any kind of pain or neurologic disorder, digestive issues, immune problems and more. You simply must read this link where you will learn that poor food choices stimulate the immune system for the chronic activation of inflammation, and you know what inflammation can do!! https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180111141637.htm “Summary: The immune system reacts similarly to a high fat and high calorie diet as to a bacterial infection. Unhealthy food seems to make the body's defenses more aggressive in the long term. Even long after switching to a healthy diet, inflammation towards innate immune stimulation is more pronounced. These changes may be involved in the ... Read more

Hello again everyone: Here is some really fantastic information about sleep. Up until recently, it was thought that the brain did not have its own garbage clearance pathways, that is, the lymphatic system. Now we know, through some really great research done here at UVA, that we do have a brain cleaning system and that it is activated by sleep and stress reduction such as rest, relaxation, exercise, prayer, meditation and mindfulness practices. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3880190 The authors state: "Despite decades of effort, one of the greatest mysteries in biology is why sleep is restorative and, conversely, why lack of sleep impairs brain function. Sleep deprivation reduces learning, impairs performance in cognitive tests, prolongs reaction time, and is a common cause of seizures.... The conservation of sleep across all animal species suggests that sleep ... Read more

This week’s news will focus on a safe and effective treatment for depression: light therapy. An article published in the JAMA Psychiatry Journal explained that light therapy has been previously shown to be an evidence-based, effective treatment for SAD, also known as the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder. It was not known if light would help non-seasonal major depressive disorders (MDD), until now. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2470681 In this research, the following was revealed in regards to major depressive disorder: Fluoxetine (Prozac, a type of serotonin re-uptake inhibitor) did not perform any better than placebo. Light, by itself, significantly outperformed fluoxetine in relieving major depression. The combination of light with fluoxetine did the best. Light by itself: 50% improved, with Prozac, 75%. No therapy, or ... Read more