From using state of the art tools like BrainSpan, HRV, and Heavy Metal Analysis to assess the current state of your brain; to having our expert clinicians interpret your results and formulate a personalized plan; to ensuring you have all the resources you need to succeed, like Brain Tap, lab tests, and nutrition plans; we’ll be helping you optimize your brain’s health is a real and effective way.
This comprehensive approach: combining assessment, interpretation, and assignment of resources, is an experience unique to Hopkins Medical Group, dedicated to finding better ways to create a healthy living for our patients.
In this last blog dedicated to January Brain Health Month, we wanted to bust two of the most common myths associated with brain health, setting you up to truly Regain Your Brain.
Myth One: “Setting the stage for healthy brain and healthy aging is something that can wait until later in my life.”
Debunked: No matter your age or your current phase of life, it’s not too early to start thinking about optimizing your brain’s health. Often, the onset of degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s begins up to 20 years before a diagnosis is made, meaning caring for your brain now can prolong its health well into the future.
Myth Two: My brain health is probably too far past the point of being “regained.”
Debunked: Regardless of your brain’s current state, even if you’re already experiencing regular forgetfulness, brain fog, lack of focus, and poor sleep, there is still so much you can do to reverse your symptoms and Regain Your Brain.
That’s right. We said, “reverse your symptoms.”
If you’re like us, you’re leary of catchy phrases that feel too far-fetched to be true. But, this is a health blog, and we are dedicated to bringing you fact-based information and insights you can trust.
This is where prominent research from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging can add some credibility. Dale Bredesen, MD has been researching Alzheimer’s disease for decades and has developed the reCODE, or reversing cognitive decline, protocol that’s widely used, cited, and studied.
His research demonstrates that Alzheimer’s can be prevented, stopped, and even, reversed. Dr. Bredesen has documented symptomatic improvement, including patients regaining their memory, improving their sleep, sharpening their focus, and increasing their ability to learn; and also, an increase in brain volume, as seen on a specialized Volumetric MRI scan. Brain shrinkage, or atrophy, is one of the primary indicators of Alzheimer’s disease.
And if conditions as severe as Alzheimer’s can be reversed, your common, milder cognitive symptoms certainly can too.
According to Dr. Bredesen, there are 3 fundamental threats to one’s brain, and taking steps to mitigate these threats will dramatically help your brain and your health.
Threat One: Inflammation resulting from infectious agents like tick bites, and non-infectious sources like the high-sugar, high-trans fat, and highly processed Standard American Diet.
Threat Two: Depletion of nutrients, hormones, and trophic (cell-supporting) factors. Our brains survive on “synapse-strengthening compounds,” which thrive when they’re appropriately composed of nutrients like Vitamin D and folate, as well as hormones like pregnenolone and DHEA.
Threat Three: Toxicity in our environment. From mold that can be commonplace in our homes and workplaces; to pesticide exposure in our foods and our yards; and heavy metals like mercury in dental amalgams and fish, the magnitude of toxins to which we’re exposed can add up and negatively affect our brains.
So what can we do?
At the center of Dr. Bredesen’s ReCode Protocol, aimed at preventing, stopping, and reversing brain degeneration, is nutrition. But before you turn away, stymied by the idea of a “diet,” the right changes for optimizing your brain health are a lot easier when you have the appropriate support.
Nutrition is not only important because it is the source of the nutrients the brain needs to function, but also because it can help fight infection, reduce inflammation, and detoxify your body. Food, and what you put into your body, is incredibly powerful.
As discussed in the Genius of Wellness Blog, “Healthy Fats for the Brian,” Dr. Breseden also encourages a Mediterranean-style way of eating for promoting the health of your brain.
This diet is dominated by a whole-foods, plant-based way of eating, packed with the nutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that target inflammation and optimize brain function.
The Mediterranean-inspired diet also encourages the consumption of healthy fats, with particular emphasis on monounsaturated sources like nuts, seeds, avocado, tahini, and coconut oil.
As for animal proteins, lean meats and low-mercury fish in this diet are treated like condiments, comprising a small portion of the overall meals.
Then, processed foods, foods high in sugar, and foods with gluten are limited, if not avoided altogether, preventing the damage of our precious intestinal lining and our propensity for “leaky gut,” linked to inflammation of the body and the brain.
Finally, this diet also encourages our window of eating to occur within a 12 hour period, allowing the body to “rest and digest” between meals. In this frame, if you eat breakfast at 7 am, you’d finish your last meal of the day before 7 pm.
Even if this diet sounds daunting, your Hopkins Medical Group team is here to support you, encouraging change in an approachable way. We have the expertise to evaluate where you stand in regard to Dr. Bredesen’s “Three Fundamental Threats” and cater to a personalized, step-by-step plan designed to help you succeed.
By taking one step at a time, focusing on the things you can control, and setting yourself up with the best opportunities for success, you can make small changes today that will have a profound effect on all your days to come.
Bredesen, Dale E. The End of Alzheimer’s (2017) Avery: an Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.