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.
Here is more information on Brain Foods and Brain health in a PDF format from one of our Mississauga Chiropractors, Dr. Callum Peever:
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
“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….
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.
-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”)
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Dr. Kirsten Almon has a Naturopathic Family Practice in Mississauga at Erin Mills Optimum Health with special interest and training in fertility (helping couples conceive naturally as well as improving outcomes for couples using assisted reproductive technology), pregnancy, birth, postpartum and pediatric care. She loves seeing children for "naturopathic well child visits" and consults on common issues such as food introduction, how to avoid colds, flus and ear infections. Dr. Almon is the co-author and instructor of a Doula course specifically designed for Naturopathic Doctors and teaches across Canada.