Tag Archives: brain health

Grow Your Brain – Video From Mississauga Health Class

Is your brain growing or shrinking?

Dr. Callum Peever presented to Goodness Me Mississauga on the topic of growing your brain – neuroplasticity.  He goes through practical ways that you can grow … or shrink your brain.  The video below is small part from the health talk which was titled: “Grow Your Brain”.  To learn more connect with Dr. Peever at the office!

Transcript from the Grow your Brain video:

Grow your brain.
How do you grow our brain?
How do we shrink our brain?
At the end of this talk you want to have some practical knowledge.
Is your brain growing or shrinking?

I remember learning in school when they were trying to scare us away from alcohol, if you had a glass of wine or beer you’d lose brain cells. You only had 1000 brain cells. And every time you had a drink you’d lose one. You had to start counting. That was the up to date science until about 5-10 years ago until they found out we could actually grow our brains.

Many of the brain studies on growing or shrinking is done having people learn how to juggle. Why? Hand eye coordination.
Do you think there were 20 year olds they did this on? No. They were in their 70’s and they taught them how to juggle. Do you think it was easy? No. It was hard so they taught them how to juggle. They measured their brains first with functional MRI’s. They taught them how to juggle and had them practice and checked them again at the end. And their brains grew. Not just in function, how it’s able to think but the actual size of the brain grew. Awesome. That’s the concept – Your brain can grow at any age!

To see this concept in action, check out this amazing and inspiring article of a 93 year old track star who took up track and field in her 70’s.  Her brain looked like a 60 year old’s brain! There is even suggestions at the end of the article on growing your brain! One of my favourite topics as a Chiropractor!

Who has heard of grey matter and white matter? Well get technical and anatomical. Which is the nerve pathways? Grey or white? White. The white parts of the brain if you ever looked at a picture of a brain that looks like this. I have it on the Ipad too. You can cut open the brain and look at the Ipad without an actual human body. It’s all computerized.
The white part is actually the pathways.
The grey part is the grey matter is actually the part where the processes happen.
Ok? So if you look at the functional MRI or the MRI pictures where you see all the colors, most of that would be happening in the grey matter. Then the signals would be transferring into different parts of the body through the white. It’s not necessary to know for this, it’s curious, it’s cool. Maybe you’ll look it up in a picture when your home. Google anatomy.

So knowing that we can grow our own brain, so is my brain growing or shrinking?
What can I do to actually grow my brain?
Someone in the crowd mentioned Ritalin, as something that will shrink it. He also mentioned Marijuana, another drug, so chemical things.

What are some other things that can shrink the brain?
Crowd members mention prescription drugs, inflammation, not enough fat, electrolytes, negative thinking, stress, stimulus, trauma, inactivity.
There are three general topics (Physical, Chemical, and Emotional things)

This is just overview. I want you to grasp the concept then apply it to your life so you’re not shrinking your brain.

What are the physical stressors in life that can impact the brain?
So we’ll start with the first one here, physical impact on the brain.

Trauma.
Who here has hit their head before? How long does it take to heal? A long time and sometimes you don’t recover unfortunately. Right? So if I’ve got my little man here (illustration from What is the most important part of your body?)

What’s the number one rule for your brain? If you’re trying to grow your brain and have a good long productive life? Don’t hit your head. Wear a helmet if you may hit your head or avoid it all together. So someone likes hockey back here. Helmet on the outside, don’t hit your head.

Your body tried to protect that brain. It completely enclosed it in bone. It only has one exit for the nerve to come out, the spinal cord to come out. Everywhere else is protected unless you hit your head. Ok so rule one don’t hit your head. So there’s one physical aspect. Let’s skip to the next. We’ll go one at a time.

What about the Chemical stressors that can impact your brain?
Someone mentioned prescription drugs. There is a purpose to prescription drugs. Usually your body has run into such a health problem that you run into prescription drugs? Unfortunately there’s side effects and a lot of them do impact the brain as well. I’m not an expert on prescription drugs, they can be good or bad. Ok, so yes they can impact the brain directly or indirectly too.

Someone mentioned marijuana. Sort of like a street drug type of thing. Brain altering, it will impact her brain as well. And lots of times people say that marijuana is natural. But so is poison ivy right? Poison ivy, that’s natural too and you don’t want to play around with things that are impacting your brain.

Now let’s get to the next one. Emotional things can impact your brain as well.
Someone did mention negative thinking. Stress and negative thinking. So when you are having negative thinking why would your brain shrink? Why?
We were saying that to you before. Your body is under stress all the time.
Realize that your brain is the adaptation machine for your body. It creates the adaption of your surroundings, your events. If you were in a negative event or if you were in a negative environment it reacts one way and if you were in a positive safe environment it reacts another way. They usually describe this as fight/flight and relaxation.

Have you heard of the words sympathetic and parasympathetic?
There’s two states, two general states that the nervous system or brain stays in.
One is parasympathetic and one is sympathetic.
Ok long words. One is when you are fighting and stressed (sympathetic) and the other is when you’re relaxed and healing (parasympathetic).

Your brain is able to perceive which one you’re in by depending on your surroundings. And they say humans are the only ones who can do this. Maybe animals can too but you can’t ask them. So we got sympathetic with an S and parasympathetic with a P. when you are stressed your body releases hormones.

The brain tells the body to release hormones which are good for that stress time but only in short bursts. They say it is designed or evolved or created to deal with a tiger. So if something jumps out of the bush and scares you, you react stressed and you fight it or you run. And then it’s a short burst thing.
But nowadays we don’t have tigers chasing us. We have tax, we have bills, we have family problems that build up over time.

So the stress doesn’t stay for a short time. It stays for a long time. Now when you’re in a stressed state and you have cortisol running through your body, and you have all that negative thinking on you, staying in this state is a bad thing for your body and your brain. Maybe I don’t know for sure but it may not get enough oxygen. I’m not sure on that one. But it definitely mainly impacts its ability to heal and grow. Cool eh?

-This is a transcript of a part of Dr. Callum Peever’s health talk in Mississauga on Grow Your Brain in 2015 at Goodness Me Mississauga.   He is a Chiropractor in Mississauga who works to help you live towards a longer, more comfortable, and active life.  He enjoys teaching and encouraging patients to apply health concepts to their lives.  To connect with Dr. Callum Peever contact Erin Mills Optimum Health.

 

naturopathic-advice

Brain Food: The Best Naturopathic Advice for the Grey Matter!

Advice for the Brain from our Mississauga Naturopathic Doctors

Research has shown that engaging in various activities and consuming certain foods and supplements can help improve memory and brain function.  This is amazingly powerful as for a long time this was not thought to be the case.  As health professionals in Mississauga this allows us to guide our patients towards improving their brain health throughout their lives.  Through this wellness focused strategy of improving your brain health we hope to avoid or minimize the impact that brain related diseases can have on our local Mississauga community and beyond!

Here are 5 Naturopathic tips to add to your wellness lifestyle from our Mississauga Naturopaths:

1. Exercise :
This increases blood flow to the brain and any activity that involves coordination helps link the left and right brain hemispheres

2. Incorporate antioxidants such as vitamin E and alpha lipoic acid.
Food sources of vitamin E include: Asparagus, avocado, nuts, peanuts, olives, red palm oil, seeds, spinach, vegetable oils, and wheatgerm.

3. Feed your brain with a high quality fish oil with high dose of EPA to DHA.
Food sources of omega-3 oils include: Fish (salmon), flax seeds, krill, chia, kiwi fruit, butternuts, and walnuts.

4. Do something new everyday:
crossword, a different route to work or home, try a new recipe. This helps to create new pathways in your brain. Learn something new!

5. Sleep hygiene:
did you know that inadequate sleep is one of the first factors in memory loss?  The Sleep Revolution is newer book that highlights the importance of sleep with respects to all aspects of our lives and health.

What testing can you do as a Naturopathic Doctor regarding brain health?

Naturopathic doctors can also coordinate testing to determine any risks that you may have for certain brain related diseases.  If you do have any concerns it is best to discuss them directly with the Naturopath in order to create strategies for yourself to improve your brain health.

Here are some examples of testing that can be done:

There are 2 important tests that can be done to assess risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.

The first is a genetic test, APOE 4 ellele that is associated with a 10 fold increase risk. However even for those who test positive, it has been proven that nutrition can help prevent the gene from being “turned on” thereby preventing the symptoms of dementia.   It is amazing to know that through epigenetic research that our patients are not at the will of their genes and through positive lifestyle changes they can positively impact the expression of their genes! Make steps today to improve your brain health.

Connect with our Mississauga Naturopathic Doctors!

Here is more information on Brain Foods and Brain health in a PDF format from one of our Mississauga Chiropractors, Dr. Callum Peever:

Can Food Impact Dementia PDF 1

Can Food Prevent Dementia PDF 2


Healthy Habits can help brain diseases?

 

Below are excerpts from a research paper regarding the effects of a therapeutic program on cognitive decline.  Definitely important for the public to know regarding brain health and brain diseases.  By implementing “good health habits” (my summary of what the patients did) these people were able to minimize and reverse the cognitive decline that they were experiencing!  This is promising and gives us hope for ourselves and our loved one.  Read the study and the excerpts here and then connect with our natural health professionals to encourage good healthy habits in your life.   – Dr. Callum Peever

Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program

“Cognitive decline is a major concern of the aging population, and Alzheimer’s disease is the major cause of age-related cognitive decline, with approximately 5.4 million American patients and 30 million affected globally.”

“Alzheimer’s disease  is the third leading cause of death in the US, behind cardiovascular disease and cancer.”

“Women are at the epicenter of the Alzheimer’s epidemic: 65% of patients are women, and a women’s chance of developing Alzheimer’s Disease is greater than her chance of having breast cancer.”

“Neurodegenerative disease therapeutics is the “field of greatest failure of biomedical therapeutics.””

“In the case of Alzheimer’s disease, there is not a single therapeutic that experts anything beyond a marginal, unsustained symptomatic effect, with little or no effect on disease progression.”

“In the past decade alone, hundreds of clinical trials have been conducted for Alzheimer’s disease, at an aggregate cost of billions, without success. The therapeutic program mentioned next had good results. A large aspect is foods, supplements and healthy lifestyle modifications.”

“Results from the 10 patients reported here suggest that memory loss in patients with subjective cognitive impairment, mild cognitive impairment, and at least the early phase of Alzheimer’s disease, may be reversed, and improvement sustained, with the therapeutic program described here.”

“One potentially important outcome is that all six of the patients whose cognitive decline had a major impact on job performance were able to return to work or continue working without difficulty.”

Good healthy habits can impact your life and brain at any stage of life! Keep reading below to see how simple some of the changes in lifestyle habits you would require to do what the people in this study did.  Remember to connect with health experts regarding implementing drastic changes into your life habits.

The basic therapeutic program from this study on cognitive decline (see this in table 1 of the study):

  • Elimination of all simple carbohydrates
  • Elimination of gluten
  • Elimination of processed foods
  • Increased vegetables, fruits and not-farmed fish
  • Stress reduction by learning and performing yoga and meditating 20 minutes twice a day
  • Supplementing with 0.5 mg of Melatonin nightly
  • Supplementing with 1 mg methyl cobalamin daily
  • Supplementing with 2000-5000 IU vitamin D3 daily
  • Supplementing with 2000 mg of fish oil daily
  • Increasing sleep rom 4-5 hours daily to 7-8 hours per night
  • Optimizing oral hygiene using an electric flosser and electric toothbrush
  • Fasting for a minimum of 12 hours between dinner and breakfast
  • Not eating for a minimum of 3 hours between dinner and bedtime
  • Exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes, 4-6 days per week
  • Chelating heavy metals, especially mercury, lead and cadmium
  • Supplementing with NAC (N-acetyl cysteine)
  • Supplementing with ALCAR (acetyl-L-carnitine)
  • Supplementing with MgT (magnesium threonate)
  • Supplementing with Trp (tryptophan)
  • Meat consumption limited to non-farmed, grass fed beef or organic chicken
  • Taking probiotics
  • Taking 1 tsp coconut oil twice per day
  • Supplementing with herbs Bacopa monniera 250 mg, Ashwagandha 500 mg, and turmeric 400 mg each day
  • Supplementing with methyltetrahydrofolate 0.8 mg, and pyridoxine-5-phosphate 50 mg
  • Supplementing with vitamin C 1 g per day
  • Supplementing with vitamin E 400 IU per day
  • Supplementing with Zn picolinate 50 mg per day
  • Supplementing with a-lipoicnate 50 mg per day
  • Supplementing with citioline 200 mg daily

 


 As a follow up to super sizing the grey matter of the brain….

Who has heard of kale and it’s great benefits BUT does not eat any??
I bet there are many of you out there!
One of my favourite ways of introducing kale in the diet is adding a handful to a protein shake. Here’s one of my best recipes:
Handful frozen/fresh cherries (organic)
Handful washed organic kale (baby kale works even better)
1 scoop SunWarrior Rice Protein Powder
1 tbsp cold pressed virgin coconut oil
1 cup coconut milk or rice milk or almond milk
1 tsp ground flax or chia
1 date chopped
Blend up! Add ice if you want it thick like ice “cream”.  Guaranteed to be DELICIOUS!
Having kale this way (raw) and/or steamed is the best way to eat it. This study showcased how it is very high in antioxidants and these are lost in the cooking process.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22744944
If you need extra blood sugar support add 1/2 tsp cinnamon
If you need extra anti-inflammatory support add 1 inch peeled and chopped fresh turmeric
Important! for those who struggle with hypothyroid– please limit your amount of raw kale as this can interfere with iodine absorption.
Here’s a very interested and easy to read article from Dr. Mercola on how kale can impact our DNA!
http://foodfacts.mercola.com/kale.html
It’s truly a superfood! A powerful food that combats prostate cancer and arthritis!
-Dr. Kirsten Almon – Naturopathic Doctor in Mississauga

 


An excellent video from the insightful Dr. Gabor Mate on “Brain development and attachment”.

Any parents out there will especially be interested in hearing his explanations on how certain coping mechanism that we use as children, can progress from states to traits. He uses ADHD as examples at certain points as well.

Enjoy!

-Dr. Kirsten Almon – Naturopathic Doctor in Mississauga at Erin Mills Optimum Health

For more information on how to use naturopathic tools for brain development, contact us today!


Noo – oo what? What are Nootropics and how can they enhance brain function?

Nootropics are cognitive enhancers. They are substances that improve the function of our brain. They help us to think more clearly, remember more information & recognize patterns & keep us focused & alert.

A few of my most esteemed herbal nootropics include:
Hericium erinaceus, Bacopa monniera & Ginkgo biloba.

Hericium erinaceus is called Lion’s Mane mushroom. The name comes from its long, cascading tendrils that resemble a lion’s mane. Along with being a Nootropic, Hericium erin. is an anticonvulsant, anti-oxidant & neuroregenerative. It has been used for thousands of years in Asia as a brain tonic. Buddhist monks were fond of drinking the tea to improve their brain function & their ability to concentrate during meditation. More recently, Japanese studies have found that this mushroom stimulates the synthesis of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) which is the primary protein for the maintenance, survival & regeneration of neurons. Hericium erinaceus may be used long term to improve cognitive ability & memory, including dementia related diseases, repair nervous system damage & modulate the immune system.

Bacopa monniera also known as Brahmi or Water hyssop is another favourite from Asia, traditionally used in the Ayurvedic tradition to enhance memory development, learning & concentration. It is considered a nootropic, anti-oxidant and a neuro harmonizing tonic for the brain & nervous system. It is full of antioxidants that provide protection for the memory centres in the brain and assists in mitigating harmful effects of stress.

Ginkgo biloba (Ginkgo) is probably the most well known nootropic in the Western world and like the nootropics described above has been used for centuries in the East. Medicinally, we use the leaves of the trees once they have turned a lovely golden yellow colour. Ginkgo works as a nervous system adaptogen & cerebrovascular dilator. It optimizes blood flow to the brain through the improvement of capillary integrity thereby increasing oxygen availability.

To discuss what Nootropic herbs you may need to Supercharge your brain, make an appointment with your naturopathic doctor in Mississauga!
Dr. Tiffany Wyse – Naturopathic Doctor in Mississauga
(another blogs by Dr. Tiffany Wyse includes “Medicine in Your Kitchen”)