My last January’s (2017) newsletter was about dementia. I talked about the gut and brain connection and how a ketogenic diet helps improve brain function. When it comes to health, it is not just food you need to upgrade but also all other aspects of your life such as sleeping, managing stress, exercise, your whole lifestyle. Everything affects us in different ways.
Dr. Mark Hyman, Director of the Cleveland Clinical Center for Functional Medicine, released his own docuseries, “Broken Brain” last year about brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson disease, ADHD, depression, anxiety, bipolar, autism, and more. He had experienced his own brain disorder 20 years ago. He went from being a healthy, smart, thriving physician, to becoming a disoriented, depressed, forgetful, terrified version of himself. Different doctors diagnosed his condition differently. A neurologist said he had ADD. Some doctors diagnosed that he had chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Another doctor believed he had depression and anxiety disorder.
After a long journey of seeing multiple conventional doctors to learning about functional medicine, he found out what was causing all of these unexpected symptoms. It was mercury toxicity. He explains, “I became toxic because I polluted myself by growing up on eating tuna fish sandwiches and sushi. I also lived in Beijing, which heats all its homes with coal – the major source of environmental mercury – plus I had a mouthful of amalgam fillings. All of these exposures, combined with genes that prevent me from effectively detoxifying metals in my body, led to a slow and significant poisoning of my cells and mitochondria. Because of this I felt weak, tired, and couldn’t think. I had muscle pain and twitches, insomnia, digestive problems, food allergies, depression, and anxiety, and it was only by discovering high levels of mercury in my hair and urine.”
If 100 people experience the same lifestyle and exposures as to what Dr. Hyman did, do you think all 100 people will have the same symptoms? I don’t think so, because everybody is different. However, you need to change everything to get rid of your root cause.
There are 7 key areas Dr. Hyman focuses on for improving brain function after treating thousands of his own patients and speaking to specialists. They are;
You need to look into each area even though you might think there are no connections between your brain and the physical symptoms you are dealing with. I highly recommend that you work with a functional medicine doctor to do a number of tests; however, you can start by making sure you have the necessary nutrition to heal your brain. First of all, a high-quality, high-potency, highly bioavailable, broad-spectrum multivitamin/mineral is a must. Also essential fatty acids (DHA, EPA), vitamin B, and probiotics are essential. In order to relax the nervous system, Dr. Hyman suggests that you need to take 200 – 400 mg of magnesium citrate or glycinate before bed in addition to what is in your multi. You need to find out your Vitamin D level and add vitamin D to your supplement regimen if your level is low.
Moreover, the docuseries talks about having a high dosage of antioxidants especially Glutathione. Glutathione is extremely important as an essential antioxidant, detoxifier, and immune system booster. Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and chrolophyll in parsley contribute to raising glutathione levels. Other great food sources for high GSH production are unadulterated, undenatured whey and colostrum. Various supplements including lipoic acid, N-acetyl-cysteine serve as precursors to help your body make glutathione.
Additionally, you need to protect your mitochondria. The mitochondria is a unique intracellular structure that produces 95% of the cellular energy and regulates cellular metabolism. Many researchers believe that mitochondrial dysfunction plays a central role in nearly every degenerative disease. If your power plant isn’t working properly, you know everything is falling apart and you are experiencing fatigue, pain, irritability, and cognitive decline, and more. To boost mitochondria, Dr. Hyman suggests that you take L-carnitine, NADH, lipoic acid, and coenzyme Q10.
If you are still struggling with all the brain disorders after seeing a conventional doctor (or multiple doctors), it might be a time to review these 7 areas with a functional medicine professional. You need to find the root cause. Otherwise, you can’t regain your health. Here is the list of doctors Dr. Hyman suggested in “Broken Brain”. Hope you meet a right doctor who can take you to a healing journey.