How to Save Your Brain
by Dr. Laura Korman, DC, DACBN
Neurodegeneration is a state in which the brain and or nervous system becomes impaired or abnormal, ultimately ceasing and resulting in cellular death. Forms of neurodegeneration include Dementia, Parkinson's and Multiple Sclerosis. Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia and affects 6.5 million Americans. This number is expected to reach 15 million by the year 2050 and to date there is no effective medical treatment known to stop this horrific disease. The average person with Alzheimer's will survive for 5-10 years, requiring constant care giving in the last 3 or more years of their life as they lose the ability to even care for their most basic needs. It requires a tremendous emotional, physical and financial burden to care for a loved one with AD. The average caregiver will often encounter over $50,000 in out-of-pocket expenses per year to care for their loved one in the final years with a neurogenerative condition. The good news is that neurodegeneration take decades to develop, and early nutritional and lifestyle strategies are slowing and even reversing this progressive condition.
Alzheimer's disease like other chronic illnesses is driven by inflammation. Brain inflammation is caused by a diet high in sugar and processed foods, genetically modified foods, food sensitivities, including gluten, artificial sweeteners, MSG, vegetable oils, vitamin deficiencies, herbicides, insecticides, chronic infections, mold and heavy metals including aluminum found in deodorants, canned foods, some medications and vaccines.
A lack of proper fuel to the brain is another reason our brains begin to deteriorate and blood sugar dysregulation is one of the biggest culprits. This process is similar to what happens in our body with type-2 diabetes and researchers have now labeled this condition in the brain as type-3 diabetes.
One of the biggest breakthroughs in science is the discovery of neurogenesis. This refers to how the brain can regenerate new cellular connections. This is very exciting news because now we have the ability within ourselves to build or rewire our brains! Brained derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a compound that is secreted by healthy nerve cells that can be stimulated by exercise, learning new things, social engagement, laughing and intermittent fasting.
Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell and every cell in the body including brain cells have mitochondria in them that produces energy. People with Alzheimer's disease have poor mitochondrial function in the cells of their brain and as a result find the first signs of early dementia to be brain fog and poor focus or concentration. Mitochondria are damaged by free radicals or oxidative stress from our food, environment or lifestyle. Glutathione is an antioxidant that normally detoxifies and protects the brain but is depleted when brain cells are continually bombarded by various stressors. By adhering to a healthy diet and lifestyle choices, dementia and other neurodegenerative conditions can often be curtailed.
A nutrient dense diet with organic vegetables, berries, pasture raised animal proteins and eggs, wild caught fish, and healthy sources of fats including, avocados, coconut, olive oil, nuts, seeds and fermented foods will be the first defense in protecting your brain. Exercise, sunshine, stress management, deep breathing, prayer, meditation, social connection, learning new things and prioritizing sleep are lifestyle factors that can be implemented daily to help promote neurogenesis and the formation of new brain cell pathways. Optimizing vitamin D and taking adequate nutrients like magnesium, omega 3 oils, activated B vitamins, probiotics and antioxidants like glutathione are all important in maintaining healthy brain function and minimizing our risk for the development of neurodegenerative disease.
Testing for sources of inflammation, sugar dysregulation, vitamin deficiencies, anemia, food sensitivities, infection, leaky gut and auto-immunity will provide valuable information about specific imbalances which can be addressed to optimize your strategy to save your brain at any age.
Dr. Laura Korman, DC, DACBN, is the lead practitioner of Korman Relief and Wellness Center, located at 16954 Toledo Blade Blvd., Port Charlotte. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call 941-629-6700 or visit DrLauraKorman.com.