The brain is not a bag of chemical soup, and it’s a mistake to try to treat complex psychiatric disorders just by changing the flavor. — David Anderson, neurobiologist at California Institute of Technology.
Brain and neurological degeneration can be attributed to a variety of symptoms. Conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), dizziness/vertigo, “blacking out”, brain fog, fatigue, weakness, fibromyalgia, and a slew of other symptoms and presentations share a common trait of brain and neurological degeneration.
The brain is in charge of both voluntary and involuntary actions in the body. When the brain does not function as well as it is supposed to, symptoms are more likely to develop. Brain and neurological degeneration can occur for a variety of reasons. Infections, food sensitivities, metal/chemical exposure, blood sugar dysregulation, under/over stimulation, and traumatic injuries (ie. concussion, motor vehicle accidents, etc) can facilitate brain and neurological degeneration by inducing inflammatory activity within the brain cells.
In addition to removing the trigger, or cause, of the inflammation, certain natural substances have been shown to reduce the inflammatory burden of brain cells. These natural neurological anti-inflammatories can safely support repair and healing when used appropriately. Patients that present to our office are asked to complete a questionnaire that assesses basic neurological function, and screens for inflammation in various parts of the brain. The answers from this questionnaire, combined with a thorough history and physical exam can help determine which, if any, of the natural brain supportive nutrients would be useful.
The book, Why Isn’t My Brain Working, by Dr. Datis Kharrazian emphasizes seven specific compounds, or naturally occurring flavonoids, that have been shown to address the inflammatory effects of microglial activation within the brain. Microglia cells are the first and main source of immune defense within the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). These cells can become overactive, resulting in brain and neurological degeneration, premature aging, plaque formation, and accelerated disease formation.
Brain and Neurological Anti-Inflammatories
- Apigenin – A bioflavonoid found in parslet, artichoke, basil, and celery. Has been shown to decrease microglia cell activation, decrease microglia cell proliferation, and protect brain and neurological cells from injury after strokes.
- Luteolin – A bioflavonoid found in celery and green peppers. Has been shown to decrease inflammatory reactions in the brain by suppressing microglia activation and inflammaton-induced injury.
- Baicalein – A flavonoid with anti-inflammatory and antioxident. It is able to cross the blood brain barrier, and is generally tolerated well in the digestive system. Baicalein has demonstrated favorable outcomes with symptoms related to Parkinson’s disease and traumatic brain injuries.
- Resveratrol – A popular flavonoid found in grapes and wine. Multiple studies associate resveratrol with decreasing neuroinflammation in the brain, and supporting patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Rutin – A flavonoid found in citrus plants and buckwheat. It is a large portion of the vitamin C complex, helping support immune and inflammatory pathways.
- Catechin – Found in various tea leaves, this polyphenolic plant metabolite helps protect neurons from DNA damage due to antioxidant properties. Catechins can also help with detoxification and chelation.
- Curcumin – Another popular antioxidant compound found in the Indian curry spice turmeric. Decreases inflammation and has been linked with helping patients that have Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition to supporting the anti-inflammatory pathways of the brain and central nervous system, it is encouraged that proper neurological rehabilitation be performed in order to support optimal brain activity. Through the use of low level light therapy (LLLT) and Quantum Neurology rehabilitation, the certified Quantum Neurologists at The Hayden Institute can not only support the brain through nutritional approaches, but can also assist in brain balancing activities and facilitate neurological applications.