What causes Anxiety, Depression, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s? Here is a wacky thought—maybe it has something to do with what we do to the rest of the body. That stands to reason because the head has no independent source of fuel, oxygen, nutrients or detoxifying circulation. Obviously, we can benefit or hurt brain performance by how we treat the body. And yet, it seems that most of the research is trying to find a pharmaceutical or even high tech surgical intervention to fix the problems. Little work is done on prevention. For those of us who want to keep our brains functioning until the very end, here is some food for thought:
- What we eat. Most of us have noticed being in a better mood when we are eat and drink healthful things. A hangover is a clear example of the reverse effect. Alzheimer’s is being called “Diabetes of the Brain”. So, avoiding the starchy, sugary foods that lead to diabetes is probably a good idea. This article will shed some light on how to do that. Foods high in omega-3 fats (e.g. fish) help with depression.
- Antioxidant Supplements. Even the best diet these days is missing critical nutrients because of degradation in farming practices. Supplements not only fill in the blank spots, but can also go beyond that to be protective. Antioxidants are of primary interest. For example, vitamin C and E supplementation has been shown to reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Scientific paper. I recommend Formula 216 for the vitamin C and Famil-E for the E.
- Vitamin D. Vitamin D has a reputation for helping bones, but that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Science is excited about D’s role in depression and other brain-related issues. Scientific article.
- Vitamin B12. While all the B vitamins are involved in nervous system function, vitamin B12 deficiency is notoriously associated being misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, depression, and other mental illnesses. (Taking heartburn drugs is one way people make themselves deficient.) Click here to see my favorite book on B12.
- Minerals. All minerals affect the brain at least indirectly. Magnesium is of special interest because of the research done on it in the treatment of depression and anxiety. While psych medications have scary side effects, magnesium has important benefits throughout the body.
- Herbal and other. Green tea has been shown supportive of brain health. Resveratrol unlocks blood vessels in the brain and may restore some memories. Read Bill Sardi’s impressive article. For depression, you might also check out St. John’s Wort, SAMe and Rhodiola.
- Exercise. This item could easily be number one because so many studies link movement to brain health. My article lists 16 Reasons to Exercise.
- Toxicants in our food, air and water get into the brain and cause trouble. Antioxidants are one way to help with their effects, but better yet, let’s not allow the poisons to get in the brain. The far-infrared sauna is one way to lower body burden of toxins. Don’t you feel happier at the beach or near a waterfall? Part of the reason is that those locations are high in negative ions. Generate your own negative ions and clean your air with an Ionbox.
- Gut bacteria. What do the intestines have to do with the brain? A whole bunch. There is a direct gut/brain communications channel. For example, an overgrowth of yeast in the gut can cause depression and boggy brain. You have probably heard us talk about “leaky gut”. When a person has that problem they most likely also have a leaky blood/brain barrier which allows toxins in. Feed your good bacteria lots of fiber and vegetables and supplement with Ohhira’s Probiotics.
- Light therapy. I’m a fan of the Brain Light Pro for improving circulation in the brain. That should have a positive effect on all aspects of brain function and for me includes relaxation, sleep and clearer thinking.
Notice a trend? It all matters and there is more! I interviewed Dr. Bob Martin about suicide. Dr. Bob listed the following items that improve mental health: regular exercise, sunlight, family support, staying off both prescription and illegal drugs, community service, reading, staying away from negative influences, taking vacation, going to church, and having a pet. The National Suicide Lifeline is 800.273.8255.