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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.

 

foods that affect the brain

Notes on Brain Foods and Brain Function

Notes on Brain Foods and Brain Function

As a Chiropractor many people feel that my focus is the back.  I do contact the back when helping people but my main focus is what is in the back – the spinal cord.  By helping to reduce interference on the spinal cord that is created by the spine (called vertebral subluxation), I help people live towards a longer more comfortable and active life.  So as a Chiropractor, my focus is actually towards the most important part of your body – The Brain and Nervous System!  Here are some of my notes regarding brain foods – Enjoy!

A talk that I love to do for the public is titled: Grow your Brain!  It highlights the concepts of neuroplasticity, what will shrink your brain, and what will grow your brain.  Here are some of the main parts to the talk:

  1. the Brain is important
  2. the Brain coordinates and controls your body
  3. The Brain can grow and shrink
    -brain development and attachment
    brain and postural instability
    brain food advice from the Naturopaths
    brain and stress
    -brain headaches and posture
  4. Physical, Emotional, and Chemical events in our lives impact our brains both positively and negatively
    -chronic pain and the brain
  5. Support your brain throughout your life to ensure you live towards a longer, more comfortable, and active life
  6. A Chiropractor can help you implement strategies towards a healthy brain and nervous system

What are some physical, chemical, and emotional stresses that can impact my brain?

Your entire life experience impacts your brain.  So everything that you do or that happens to you can impact your brain in a positive or negative way.  This can include foods that you eat, chemicals in your environment or body, physical injuries, exercise, learning, thoughts, feelings, sleep, and postures.

To learn more ask your Chiropractor or keep reading through my blogs! This is one of my favourite topics to discuss with patients and to speak on!

In this blog I focus on how foods can impact the brain (referred to as a chemical impact on the body or chemical stress).

Here is a recent 2010 article that I use to help grow the information in my Grow Your Brain talks:

Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function

This NIH Public Access article is a great resource that I used for the nutritional component of my talk.  As brain science is currently growing immensely, more up to date information will become available, so keep learning and growing your brain!

Here are my favourite parts from this article with my notes:

“a diet that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids is garnering appreciation for supporting cognitive processes in humans1 and upregulating genes that are important for maintaining synaptic function and plasticity in rodents2. In turn, diets that are high in saturated fat are becoming notorious for reducing molecular substrates that support cognitive processing and increasing the risk of neurological dysfunction in both humans3 and animals4

-Make sure Omega-3 fatty acids are a component of your regular diet!

“Effects of vagal nerve stimulation on cognition”

-The vagal nerve connects the brain to the gut and the gut to the brain. Interference or decreased signalling can impact brain function.  A chiropractor can impact this nerve connection through specific chiropractic adjustments, easier than the direct invasive stimulation mentioned in this article!

“It is not surprising that visceral signals are now recognized as essential factors for the treatment of psychiatric disorders”

-Good gut = Good Brain!

“The brain consumes an immense amount of energy relative to the rest of the body.”

-Feed your brain good foods!

“Dietary lipids, which were originally thought to affect the brain through their effects on cardiovascular physiology, are garnering recognition for their direct actions on the brain. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are normal constituents of cell membranes and are essential for normal brain function”

-Omega-3 fatty acids are good!

“In contrast to the healthy effects of diets that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, epidemiological studies indicate that diets with high contents oftrans and saturated fats adversely affect cognition3. Rodent studies that evaluated the effects of “junk food”, characterized by high contents of saturated fat and sucrose, have shown a decline in cognitive performance and reduced hippocampal levels of BDNF-related synaptic plasticity after only 3 weeks of dietary treatment.”

Food sources for Omega-3 fats that are listed in this study include: Fish (salmon), flax seeds, krill, chia, kiwi fruit, butternuts, and walnuts.  Many food companies are now supplementing Omega-3 fatty acids into their products due to the health benefits identified.

-Junk Food is Bad!

“excess calories can reduce synaptic plasticity32,102 and increase the vulnerability of cells to damage103 by causing free-radical formation that surpasses the buffering capacity of the cell.”

-Excess calories is bad, while restricting calories may be good

Antioxidant foods

-Antioxidants like berries, polyphenols, vitamen E, curcumin can be good for your brain!

“These studies represent a starting point for understanding how intracellular signalling that is triggered by lifestyle factors can promote lasting changes in DNA function in the brain and in cognitive capacity.”

-Lifestyle factors matter to your brain health

“Diet, exercise and other aspects of our daily interaction with the environment have the potential to alter our brain health and mental function.”

Check out the article for yourself (click on the picture to make it bigger) and add some Chiropractic strategies to your life to grow your brain!  The picture also lists the food sources that the nutrient is contained in which can be very helpful for those interested.

Here to help you live towards a longer, more comfortable and active life with a bigger brain!

Dr. Callum Peever

-Chiropractor in Mississauga at Erin Mills Optimum Health


How Does Excess Sugar Impact Your brain and nerve system?

If you take brown sugar in a frying pan and fry it, it caramelizes.  This is the opposite of brain foods! The same thing happens with sugar in your blood stream, it “caramelizes” right on the nerves. It kills the nerves. With blood sugar, it is important to maintain the proper balance. Now this doesn’t mean don’t eat cake. Cake is alright once in a while. You have to celebrate life and have fun. Enjoyment is good for the brain, but NOT every day.

Check out this video of Dr. Peever discussing the analogy for when you have excess sugar in your blood stream:

This talk was part of a Grow your brain talk in Mississauga. Check out other parts from the talk on here.

Be careful with your sugar levels and ensure that your body works well with the help of Erin Mills Optimum Health in Mississauga!


Fish Oil Supplements and Brain Health

The following excerpts are from a 2015 research article in Alzheimer’s & dementia : the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association which highlights the importance of brain foods such as fish oils in brain diseases:

Association of Fish Oil Supplement Use with Preservation of Brain Volume and Cognitive Function

“Fish oil is a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).”

“Use of fish oil supplements at any given time during the study was associated with increased hippocampal volume and increased cerebral cortex gray matter volume.”

“This study is the first to report an association between fish oil supplements use and brain structural changes in all three cognitive diagnostic groups; these findings may suggest a potential role for fish oil supplements by reducing neurodegeneration over time.“

This type of information is important to implement as early as possible into your lifestyle to encourage your brain health.
– Dr. Callum Peever