We‘ve all been there.
- Blanking on the name of a prominent actor.
- Unable to name a song playing on your digital device du jour.
- Getting halfway through a book and then realizing you read it last year.
- And not that this happened to me, but needing to google the word for “sunglasses.” Oh, and in case you didn’t know, the search term is “sun blocking protective eyewear.”
The point is, this is not uncommon, and while it can be pretty frightening, it’s not necessarily an early sign of dementia.
Other signs that your brain is inflamed include: brain fog, word finding difficulty, poor concentration, sleep issues, anxiety, depression and headaches. Your doctor may reassure you that this is common with age and to consider using an anti-depressant or ADHD medication to help with focus. Beware, these meds are not correcting the underlying imbalances.
Why is my brain not working?
Our brain health is directly related to the health of our body. If we aren’t taking care of our body, we aren’t taking care of our brain. What do I mean?
- Getting enough clean food and water?
- Giving your brain and body the right nutrients they need to work their best?
- Spending enough time outside communing with nature? By communing I mean standing outside and looking around at “the nature.” Looking at a lovely tree for example. *Certain exclusions apply: looking at your phone, thinking about looking at your phone, listening to a podcast, talking on your phone, or yelling at cars speeding by too fast. These do NOT count as communing with nature.
- Breathing in quality air? Do you have a well-endowed air filter at in the bedroom to filter the air while you sleep for 6 to 8 hours a day? Do you open up windows to air out the indoor pollution which is reportedly 3 times worse than what lives outside? That’s a fun little fact.
- Getting quality sleep? This means minimum 8 hours and undisrupted. *Excludes sleep achieved by throwing down xanax, ambien, lunesta, etc and/or massive amounts of alcohol at dinner.
- Getting the right amount and kind of exercise? Are you an over-exerciser or under-exerciser? There is a goldilocks option here people. Dragging your butt out of Orange Theory five days a week and needing to lay down for an hour is not optimal. Neither is bicep curling gluten free chips to your lips while binge watching the reboot of Beverly Hills 90210.
- Finally, are you overly connected to social media? Research suggests that social media and excessive digital connectivity increases feelings of social isolation and increases rates of depression. A sense of community and social support is critical to achieving optimal health and stress reduction.
The good news is that brains are fairly resilient when given the proper nourishment and love.
Lifestyle Suggestions for Optimizing Brain Health
Don’t eat garbage — Food can be healing or inflaming.
- Eat a variety of quality foods like vegetables, low sugar fruits, healthy fats like avocado, olives, olive oil and wild salmon.
- Remove all the foods that make your brain mush. Do you want mush brain? No, you don’t. It’s unattractive and performs poorly at cocktail parties. And doesn’t know the word for “sunglasses.”
- Ditch the sugars and processed foods that are going to negatively impact your body and brain.
Purify your water — Consider investing in whole house filtration if you are ready to go “all in” or at least consider a tabletop reverse osmosis filtration device for your cooking and drinking water. Check out aquatru. Chlorine is kind of poisonous, that’s why it kills parasites and bacteria in our water. This may result in negative effects on our health when we drink or bathe in it.
Use an air purifier at least in your bedroom and open the windows! Check out this list.
Try a Digital Detox one day a week –— This means steer clear of emails, texts, facebook, google, streaming videos, youtube, etc. Essentially any electronic device is off limits for one day a week and see what happens. Warn family and close friends that you will be out of touch for that day and to contact the authorities if they can’t find their soccer shirt or need a ride to smash burger.
FIVE Supplements To Boost Your Overall Health
The sad thing is that we can do everything right and still not get the right amount of nutrients we need to support optimal brain and body health. Let’s face it.
- Modern life is stressful. I’m stressed just talking out stress. I get stressed watching Downton Abbey. But, back to the point.
- Our food isn’t as nutritious as it was in the past.
- We have boat loads of environmental toxins to deal with day in and day out.
- We’ve been exposed to tons of hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics in our food and water.
Whenever food companies try to outwit mother nature, it bites US in the butt. Don’t even get me started on the impossible burger. The headline here is, AVOID like the PLAGUE. This is my own opinion, you can research it yourself and come up with your own conclusions.
Daily Supplements To Nourish Your Brain and Your Body
Start with a High Quality, High Potency Multivitamin with great B vitamin support
I like Thorne’s Basic Nutrients 2/day, Integrative Therapeutics Clinical Nutrients, Pure Encapsulations Pure Genomics (though this smells horrible, so it MUST be good for you), and Designs for Health Twice Daily Nutrients. Notice that Flintstones chewables and One A Day for women didn’t make the list. Be real…..
Some studies suggest that 80% of people are Vitamin D deficient. Low levels can lower your ability to fight off infections, create blood sugar problems, increase cancer risk, increases dementia risk and may cause hair to turn gray. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating with the gray hair. But it’s possible!!! Find out your blood level of D and aim for getting it to between 60 and 80. It’s always best to check to see what your needs are so check with your doctor.
If you don’t know your level but are fairly pasty and avoid the sun like the plague, take 3,000 a day. If you are darker skinned and also avoid the sun like the plague, take 5,000 IU a day.
I’ve written about this mineral before. 70-80% of us are magnesium depleted. This calms the brain, improves energy, helps you poop, relaxes muscles, will answer emails, and walk the dog if asked nicely. Did I say it calms the brain and helps reduce headaches? Check out my prior post on magnesium and how I would name my 4th child after it. No really. I would.
Try 200 to 400mg of a quality bio-available magnesium like magnesium citrate, glycinate, threonate, or malate.
You know what’s fat? Your brain. You know what needs a lot of healthy fats to heal and function? Wait for it…wait for it…Your brain. And if you got that answer wrong you REALLY need to get this into the supplement rotation. EPA and DHA are omega 3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation, help brain function and help improve mood. It also helps you lose weight. I’m fairly sure that I’m not entirely making that up about the weight loss. I feel like it is totally true.
I like Nordic Naturals brand, Carlson’s Brand, Monopure by xymogen, and Omega pure by Orthomolecular. Take 2 grams a day of the EPA/DHA quantity combined.
These beneficial bacteria help reduce inflammation in the gut, support the good guys in your intestines, calm down your immune system and help make the neurotransmitters your brain needs to feel calm, happy and less anxious. Now probiotics alone won’t do it. You need to feed them tons of healthy soluble and insoluble fibers with plenty of diversity (ie VEGETABLES and FRUIT). My husband’s previous diet of Hot Pockets and Lucky Charms did not quite meet the requirements.
I use many different probiotic blends for different purposes. Probiotics are like shoes. You don’t wear Birkenstock footwear to the prom. Well you might, but I wouldn’t. Similarly, you don’t don a Jimmy Choo strappy sandal to a football scrimmage. One size does NOT fit all.
Start out with a basic broad spectrum blend with lactobacillus and bifidobacter species and see how that sits with you. It may work miracles or it may bloat and constipate you and not in a good way. As if there is a good way to be bloated and constipated. Your own body will respond uniquely to different probiotics so it’s a bit of a trial and error situation.
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For more information about my wellness programs and my practice, check out my website www.drsadaty.com. Hey look! You are already here.
Ready for the legal disclaimer? Information offered here is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. As with any health recommendations, please contact your doctor to be sure any changes you wish to consider are safe for you!