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Brain Hacks for School Success: Innovative Techniques to Supercharge Your Child's Mind

Let’s collectively unleash our children’s inner geniuses and supercharge their brilliant minds for the upcoming school year!! As a restorative physician, I'm here to share some cutting-edge brain-powering tips and tricks that will help your little ones conquer the academic challenges that lie ahead. So, let's dive right in and get those gears turning!

The state of academic performance of children in the US is more than worrying. In recent years, the US has consistently fallen behind other countries in subjects such as math, science, and reading. This decline has raised concerns about the nation's competitiveness and its ability to produce a highly skilled workforce to tackle the challenges of a globalized world. “Overall, American students placed 24th in reading, 38th in mathematics, and 25th in science. The total average of the students’ performance was 470. The OECD average was 490, putting the U.S. students’ academic achievement way below many of the high academic achievement of their OECD peers (Heim, 2016).” Enough said?

Factors such as disengaging classroom environments, lack of relevant curriculum, and inadequate support systems have contributed to reduced academic success in our youth. However, in my opinion, one huge elephant in the room is the impact of chronic disease on children's brain health and the effects of subpar health on learning and academic success. 

Over the past decade, the state of children’s health has emerged as a leading player in reduced cognitive function, leading to poorer academic performance. Conditions such as asthma, diabetes, obesity, chronic fatigue, diabetes, metabolic disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and autoimmune challenges can significantly impact a child's ability to concentrate, process information, and retain knowledge. The burden of managing these illnesses often leads to frequent absences, fatigue, and decreased engagement in the learning process, hampering academic progress.

The prevalence of chronic diseases in children has risen over the years, exacerbating the challenge. Factors such as sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy dietary habits, and exposure to environmental toxins have contributed to the surge in these conditions. As a result, an increasing number of students are grappling with the adverse effects of chronic diseases on their brain health, hindering their academic potential.

A comprehensive approach needs to be developed, and quickly! Most importantly, it must incorporate health optimization (ie. reversing preventable chronic disease, rather than having kids take more meds), reformed educational environments, and community support to address the complex interplay between chronic disease and brain health in children. What can be more important than this??  

Restructuring communities to support our kids is a process, as is reforming our educational environments. However, when it comes to implementing changes towards optimizing your little one’s health, you can start making a big impact today! So, let’s get started! 

Nurturing Brain Health Through Nutrition

Picture this – a brain that's well-fed and firing on all cylinders! You guessed it; nutrition plays a pivotal role in supporting your child's cognitive abilities. 

Nourishing food truly IS your child’s best medicine. On the flip side, the wrong food - or what I call “non-food” - can be like a slow-drip poison leading to…you named it…chronic disease.

Think nutrient-dense foods like omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, walnuts, and chia seeds, which are like rocket fuel for the brain. And don't forget those antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies to keep those neural pathways clear of any mental traffic jams.

Now, I know what you're thinking – how do I convince my kid to eat all that green stuff? Well, let's get creative! Whip up some brain-boosting smoothies with berries, spinach, coconut milk, and a dash of honey and cinnamon. It's a sneaky way to make brain optimization a delicious part of the day. Get up a bit earlier and make your little one a spinach omelet before she gets on the school bus. For a yummy and healthful school lunch idea, try Vietnamese rice flour wraps with bean sprouts, carrots, cucumber, and a tahini sauce, instead of the brainless and nutrient-poor PB&J sandwich on white bread. For dinner, shrimp and cauliflower rice is fun, quick and nourishing. My general foodie rules of thumb are to:

1. Reduce/avoid gluten.

Gluten is found in wheat, spelt, barley, rye, oats unless they are certified gluten-free, triticale, and a few other grains. Excellent alternatives include quinoa, teff, coconut flour, amaranth, gluten-free oats, and rice. Gluten-free baking mixes are widely available these days. I generally recommend not opting for gluten-free prepared foods and breads, as these can be highly processed and not much more healthful than their conventional counterparts.

2. Reduce/avoid dairy.

I know there are many conflicting opinions out there on this, but from my clinical experience I’ve seen too many dairy sensitivities in my practice, esp. in kids with chronic allergies, stuffy noses, respiratory infections, and digestive problems that improve when they stop eating dairy. By “dairy” I mean cow milk-derived products including cheese, butter, milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese etc.

3. Reduce/avoid “chemical food.”

In other words, I recommend avoiding artificial ingredients, as these are not food and shouldn’t be on grocery store shelves.

Increase organic and locally-grown food, as these are generally more nutritious and lower in glyphosate and other pesticides/herbicides/fungicides/othercides.

I’ll dedicate an article specifically to healthy recipes for kiddos, as there’s a lot I want to cover on this. Stay posted! 

The Power of Sleep

Sleep is a MEGA SUPERPOWER for the brain. Adequate sleep helps consolidate memories and enhances overall cognitive function. Help your child establish a consistent sleep routine to ensure your little genius wakes up ready to conquer the day! What is considered a good amount of sleep? It ranges from approx. 11hrs for 5 year olds, to 10 hours for 10 year olds, and 9 hours for 17 year olds. 

And here's a tip: Create a serene sleep sanctuary for your child. A calm and peaceful environment can work wonders in helping your kids drift off to dreamland. I recommend keeping electronics out of the bedroom between designated hours. A cool, dark environment improves melatonin (sleep hormone) production, as does avoiding food and screens within 2-3 hours of bedtime .

Mindfulness and Meditation for Focus

In our fast-paced world, even kids can benefit from a moment of Zen. Mindfulness and meditation have been scientifically proven to boost focus and reduce stress. It's like a spa day for the brain!

So, get your kiddo’s "om" on! Introduce simple mindfulness exercises into your child's daily routine. Teach them to take a few deep breaths, savor the moment, and be present; you could even make this into an evening family routine. Because this is not just for the little ones – you can benefit from this, too! First thing in the morning is also a great time to incorporate a mindfulness activity or meditation. There are plenty of YouTube videos to help get you started. Here’s a 10-minute mindfulness clip as an example, but there are lots to choose from on Youtube, so your child can use different ones for variety. My opinion is that moments of down-time are critical, and even more so for the developing brain. Check out my article on White Time that delves deeper into this.

Physical Activity & Brain Function

Regular physical activity is like a magic elixir for cognitive function. It increases blood flow to the brain, improving memory and creativity. So, get those kids moving! Encourage outdoor play, sports, and activities that get their hearts pumping. Who knows, you might even rediscover your inner child as you play tag or hide-and-seek with them – talk about a win-win! 

Consider taking a walk as a family together after dinner. Here are just a few reasons why taking a walk after dinner is so wonderful for the brain: 

  • It’s a great way to bond- your family can “decompress” and share with each other on the day’s events
  • Walking supports digestion, which is closely connected to brain function
  • Walking improves circulation prior to going to bed
  • The burst of oxygenated outdoor air can facilitate an easier transition to dreamland

Brain-Enhancing Supplements and Herbs

Now, let's talk about supplements. No, I’m not advocating for giving your kids a pharmacy's worth of pills. But certain brain-boosting supplements like omega-3 fatty acids and selective vitamins and minerals can provide that extra brain-boosting edge. Some of my top pics are a good whole-food multi, theanine, fish or krill oil, B vitamins, Vitamin C, magnesium, the herbs lemon balm and passionflower, along with prebiotics and probiotics are some to consider. 

Of course, always consult with your child’s doctor before adding supplements to his or her regimen. We don't want them to turn into little brainiacs with superhero side effects!

Limiting Screen Time for Optimal Brain Function

Ah, screen time – the modern-day nemesis of cognitive health. While screens are a part of our lives, excessive use can negatively impact young, developing brains.

Set reasonable screen time limits and encourage alternative brain-stimulating activities. Board games, reading, or engaging in arts and crafts can work wonders. And remember, a tech-free zone during bedtime ensures a more peaceful sleep for everyone! I recommend being screen-free for three hours before bedtime, as the blue light in screens has been shown to impact production of melatonin (aka. the brain hormone).

Cognitive Training & Brain Games

Remember those brain teasers and puzzles from your childhood? Turns out, they were doing more than just giving you a headache – they were exercising your brain! Introduce your kids to cognitive training exercises and brain games. There are some fantastic apps and websites (or better yet, check out those crossword puzzle booklets by the grocery store check-out counter) - these can make learning feel like play. Just don't be surprised when your kids start challenging you to a brain duel!

Side note on screen time: I take the stance that we should limit screen time as much as possible for as long as possible when it comes to our children, and that screen time should be for only two reasons: 1. intellectually beneficial, or 2. gently entertaining. 

The Importance of Emotional Well-Being

Brain health isn't just about IQ; it's about EQ too. Emotional intelligence plays a vital role in academic achievement and overall well-being.

Support your child's emotional well-being by creating a safe space for open communication. Encourage them to express their feelings and teach them healthy coping mechanisms. Remember, a happy heart leads to a happy mind.

Collaborating with Teachers & Schools

Teamwork makes the dream work – and it's no different when it comes to your child's brain health. Talk to your child's teachers and schools about implementing brain-friendly practices in the classroom. Advocate for more physical activity breaks, mindfulness exercises, and brain-boosting activities. If there’s outdoor space nearby, see if the teacher can take the kids for learning walks. Creating an environment where young minds can flourish is a team effort! 

Conclusion

There you have it, folks – an arsenal of brain hacks to supercharge your child's mind as they embark on (or continue) their academic journey. Remember, each child is unique, so feel free to mix and match these techniques to find what works best for your child.

And always remember, you are the ultimate brain coach for your kids. A healthy brain is an unstoppable force! So, let's raise a generation of sharp, creative, and emotionally resilient young minds – ready to conquer the world one brilliant idea at a time!

Curious about how to optimize your and your family’s health? Consider the Empowered Wellness Program. Limited spots available. Schedule a Complimentary Strategy Session today! 

Resource List

References

  1. The Education Trust. (2021). "The COVID-19 slide: What summer learning loss can tell us about the potential impact of school closures on student academic achievement." Retrieved from: https://edtrust.org/resource/the-covid-19-slide/. Accessed 28 July 2023.
  2. National Center for Education Statistics. (2021). "The Condition of Education 2021." Retrieved from: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_tea.asp. Accessed 28 July 2023.
  3. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2018). "PISA 2018 Results (Volume I): What Students Know and Can Do." Retrieved from: https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/pisa-2018-results-volume-i_5f07c754-en. Accessed 28 July 2023.
  4. Anderson, K. E., & Byrom, A. R. (2020). "Impact of Chronic Health Conditions on Academic Achievement: A Systematic Review." Journal of School Nursing, 36(4), 283-302. doi: 10.1177/1059840520912223. Accessed 28 July 2023.
  5. Taras, H., & Potts-Datema, W. (2005). "Chronic Health Conditions and Student Performance at School." Journal of School Health, 75(7), 255-266. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2005.tb07346.x. Accessed 28 July 2023.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2021). "Childhood Chronic Illnesses and Educational Outcomes." Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/chronic-illnesses-childhood-educational-outcomes.htm. Accessed 28 July 2023.

brain

Flowing Towards Brain Wellness: Understanding the Importance of Glymphatic Function & Support

As a restorative physician, I am constantly seeking innovative ways to optimize health and wellness for my patients. In recent years, a fascinating area of research has emerged, shedding light on the crucial role of the glymphatic system in brain health. In this article, I will delve into the intricate workings of the glymphatic system, explore its connection to brain wellness, and discuss strategies to support the function of your brain.

Let’s face it: maintaining optimal brain wellness is paramount for overall health and quality of life. The brain serves as the control center of our body, responsible for coordinating various bodily functions, processing information, and regulating emotions. A healthy brain is essential for cognition, memory, mood, and overall well-being.

  • Cognitive function: A healthy brain enables you to think clearly, concentrate, solve problems, and make decisions. Cognitive decline, such as impaired memory and reduced mental agility, can significantly impact daily life and productivity.
  • Mental health: Brain wellness is closely tied to mental health. Imbalances in brain chemistry and functioning can lead to conditions like anxiety, depression, and mood disorders. By prioritizing your brain health, you can support your emotional well-being and promote resilience in the face of stress.
  • Neurodegenerative diseases: Age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, can have devastating effects on individuals and their families. Maintaining brain wellness through various lifestyle interventions can potentially reduce the risk of developing these conditions or slow their progression.

Where Does the Glymphatic System Fit in?

The glymphatic system, discovered by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center in 2012 (though it could be that the ancients knew about the glymphatics 5000+ years ago…who knows….), is a network of vessels and channels that facilitate the removal of waste and toxins from the brain. This unique system functions similarly to the lymphatic system in the body, clearing metabolic waste products and maintaining brain homeostasis.

How Does the Glymphatic System Work?

The glymphatic system relies on the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and interstitial fluid (ISF) to carry away waste and deliver nutrients to brain cells. During sleep, the glymphatic system becomes highly active, with an increase in the volume of CSF and expansion of interstitial spaces. This surge in activity allows for efficient waste removal. The glymphatic system has a number of critical functions:

  1. Waste Clearance: The glymphatic system acts sort of like a sewage system for the brain, clearing away metabolic waste products, metals, chemicals, inflammatory byproducts, and cellular debris. Failure to efficiently remove these waste products can lead to their accumulation, potentially contributing to neurodegenerative processes.
  2. Nutrient Delivery: In addition to waste removal, the glymphatic system also delivers essential nutrients, oxygen, and other substances required for optimal brain function. This ensures that brain cells receive the necessary resources to perform their functions effectively.
  3. Brain Homeostasis: The glymphatic system helps maintain brain homeostasis by regulating the balance of ions, neurotransmitters, and other chemicals within the brain. This balance is crucial for optimal neuronal communication and overall brain function.
  4. Sleep & Glymphatic Activity: The glymphatic system's activity is closely linked to sleep. During sleep, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) increases, allowing for the efficient removal of waste products. Inadequate sleep or disrupted sleep patterns can impair glymphatic function, potentially contributing to cognitive decline and an increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

 

The Link between Glymphatic Function & Brain Wellness

Impaired glymphatic function has been implicated in various neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and multiple sclerosis. Reduced glymphatic activity may also impact cognitive function, memory, and overall brain health. Furthermore, disrupted glymphatic flow has been observed in conditions like traumatic brain injury, neuroinflammation, and strokes.

Factors Affecting Glymphatic Function

  • Lifestyle Factors: There is emerging evidence that a few key lifestyle and other factors can reduce glymphatic flow. These include:

    • Stress, particularly chronic unpredictable mild stress
    • Smoking
    • Excessive alcohol consumption
    • Overload of iron and other heavy metals such as arsenic (As), manganese (Mn), mercury (Hg), aluminum (Al), lead (Pb), nickel (Ni), bismuth (Bi), and cadmium (Cd) in the brain

  • Sleep: Adequate sleep and quality rest are essential for optimal glymphatic function. Sleep deprivation or disturbances can hinder the clearance of waste products, leading to cognitive decline and increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Diet & Hydration: A nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory diet combined with proper hydration supports glymphatic activity. Antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and plant-based compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats have been shown to enhance brain health.
  • Physical Activity & Exercise: Regular physical exercise promotes glymphatic flow by increasing blood flow to the brain, enhancing waste removal, and supporting overall brain function. Engaging in activities like aerobic exercise, yoga, and tai chi can be beneficial.

Supporting Glymphatic Function for Brain Wellness

  1. Dietary Recommendations: A nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory diet combined with proper hydration supports glymphatic activity. Antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and plant-based compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats have been shown to enhance brain health. Consume a nutrient-dense diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids, and anti-inflammatory foods. And stay hydrated - my rule of thumb is to drink ½ of your body weight in ounces of clean water.
  2. Sleep Hygiene: Adequate sleep and quality rest are essential for optimal glymphatic function. Sleep deprivation or disturbances can hinder the clearance of waste products, leading to cognitive decline and increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases. Create a sleep-friendly routine by maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and creating a relaxing sleep environment, avoiding caffeine and stimulating activities before bedtime, and minimizing exposure to screens and stimulating activities close to bedtime.
  3. Exercise and Physical Activity: Regular physical exercise promotes glymphatic flow by increasing blood flow to the brain, enhancing waste removal, and supporting overall brain function. Engaging in activities like aerobic exercise, strength training, mind-body practices like yoga and meditation, and tai chi can be beneficial.
  4. Supplements: Certain supplements, such as curcumin, resveratrol,Acetyl-L-Carnitine, bacopa, theanine, omega-3-fatty acids, ginkgo biloba and green tea extract have shown potential in supporting glymphatic function. Consult with your physician before incorporating supplements into your routine.
  5. Other Interventions: Early morning sun exposure and cold rinses after a hot shower may also be effective in stimulating your glymphatics. 

Photobiomodulation Therapy for Augmenting Glymphatic Function

Exciting new research recently published in the journal Neurology has shed light on the potential effectiveness of photobiomodulation therapy such as near infrared light on improving glymphatic flow. I have been using a photobiomodulation unit at Reboot Center for many different neurological challenges ranging from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to AD(H)D, anxiety, depression, TBI and migraines and even tinnitus. I have a feeling that this will be a field that will be exploding with more research in the next few years, as I’ve had overwhelming positive results. Ask your physician about this type of therapy, if you feel that you might benefit from it! Your brain is worth it!! 

As I always say to my patients: Our body is the only thing we really truly own in this world. So, let’s treat it like royalty, whatever it takes, right?

To Sum it Up...

Optimal glymphatic function is critical if you want to keep your brain healthy, and especially if you are determined to reverse cognitive decline and other brain-specific challenges. By prioritizing quality sleep, adopting a brain-healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise, minimizing exposure to harmful lifestyle factors, and perhaps adding in some light therapy and supplements (check with your doc), you can shift away from the potential gradual decline commonly associated with aging and/or chronic disease, and move towards actively optimizing glymphatic function and promote long-term brain health. You’ve only got one brain! 

As a restorative physician, I encourage you to incorporate these strategies into your daily life and empower yourself to flow towards brain wellness. Because, WHY NOT!!??

Find out more about our cutting-edge BrainReboot Program. Get started on your revolutionary health optimization journey today!  

References

  1. Iliff JJ et al. (2012). A Paravascular Pathway Facilitates CSF Flow Through the Brain Parenchyma and the Clearance of Interstitial Solutes, Including Amyloid β. Science Translational Medicine, 4(147):147ra111.
  2. Xie L et al. (2013). Sleep Drives Metabolite Clearance from the Adult Brain. Science, 342(6156):373-377.
  3. Bacyinski et al. (2017). Alzheimer's Disease and Astrocyte-Neuron Interaction. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 18(7):1411.
  4. Holth JK et al. (2017). The Glymphatic System: A Primer for Clinicians. The Neurohospitalist, 7(3):169-176.
  5. Morris G et al. (2020). Brain Glymphatic System Function is Reduced in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: An Exploratory Study. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 9(8):2548.
  6. “Short-Term Effects of Whole-Body Photobiomodulation on Pain, Quality of Life and Psychological Factors…” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9845459/. Accessed 17 July 2023.
  7. “The Glymphatic System (En)during Inflammation”. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8305763/. Accessed 17 July 2023.
  8. “Astrocytes in heavy metal neurotoxicity and neurodegeneration.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8999909/.  Accessed 17 July 2023.

Image concept of neurons from the human brain.

Top 14 Brain Regeneration Strategies

Contrary to our previous beliefs, we now understand that the structure of our brains is highly flexible and NOT fixed in stone. This revelation makes me wonder what other misconceptions we might have... Because of this remarkable malleability, also called neuroplasticity, the brain can undergo significant regeneration when influenced by various factors.

One key determinant of neuroplasticity is how we engage and utilize our brains. Similar to a muscle, the brain thrives on stimulation and activity. When we challenge ourselves intellectually, learn new things, or tackle complex tasks, the brain responds by reshaping its structure. It's like an ongoing remodeling project up there!

But that's not all. Nutrition also plays a vital role in supporting optimal brain function and maintaining its structural integrity. By providing essential nutrients and following a balanced diet, we fuel the brain's architectural developments.

However, an increasingly more important issue is to be aware of potential toxicities that can negatively impact our brain's structure. Harmful substances, environmental factors, and certain drugs can disrupt the delicate balance, hindering the brain's ability to adapt and restructure and heal itself.

In a nutshell, our understanding of brain health and neuroplasticity has expanded significantly. The brain is a dynamic organ that responds and adapts to our actions, the nutrients we provide, and the toxicities it encounters. By comprehending this remarkable capacity, we become better equipped to optimize brain health and unlock its full potential.

Now, let's explore how the brain changes through its four main mechanisms:

1. Neurogenesis:

Just like a construction crew, the brain generates new neurons. These fresh recruits join the existing neural network, adding extra brain power. It's like expanding the team to tackle new challenges and maintain smooth operations.

2. New synapses:

Think of synapses as the brain's communication highways. When we learn or engage in stimulating activities, new connections form between neurons. It's like adding new lanes to the highway, facilitating faster and more efficient information flow.

3. Strengthened synapses:

With repeated use of a particular neural pathway, synapses become stronger and more efficient. It's like giving them a power boost and upgrading the highway to super speed, ensuring rapid transmission of signals.

4. Weakened synapses:

When connections aren't frequently used, the brain prunes away weaker synapses to optimize efficiency. It's like clearing out the clutter to make room for more important connections, streamlining its operations.

Your brain is the powerhouse of your body, serving as the ultimate command center that keeps your nervous system in check, responds to stimuli, and ensures your safety. It's also the storage hub for memories and the birthplace of learning, cognition, and personal growth. It's where all the magic happens!

Taking care of your brain is vital, and it goes beyond accepting age-related decline. Nutrition, lifestyle choices, and various factors significantly influence brain health. And YES! Your brain has the remarkable ability to generate new brain cells, defying old beliefs.

So, remember to cherish your extraordinary brain, protect it, and provide the care it deserves. In return, it will support you on your journey, continuously adapting and growing along the way.

Dr. Jennifer’s Top 14 Brain Regeneration Strategies:

Brain health and regeneration are key for overall well-being. Incorporating the following strategies into your lifestyle can help promote brain regeneration and optimize cognitive function. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet or exercise routine.

1. Anti-inflammatory Diet:

Adopt an anti-inflammatory eating plan rich in organic fruits, vegetables, whole gluten-free grains, healthy fats (omega-3s), and lean proteins. Limit (or better yet, avoid) processed foods, refined sugars, and saturated fats, as inflammation can impair brain health.

2. Intermittent Fasting

Implement intermittent fasting, where you alternate periods of fasting with eating within a specific time window. This approach supports cellular regeneration, including brain cells.

3. Extended Fasting

Occasionally embark on longer fasting periods (24-48 hours) after consulting a healthcare professional. Extended fasting has shown potential benefits for brain regeneration and cellular repair.

4. Get into Ketosis

Periodically enter a state of ketosis by reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing healthy fats consumption. Ketones produced during ketosis provide an alternative energy source for the brain and may support its regeneration.

5. Support Gut Health

Maintain a healthy gut microbiome through a balanced diet rich in fiber, fermented foods, and probiotics. The gut-brain axis plays a vital role in brain health and regeneration.

6. Stress Reduction

Implement stress management techniques like mindfulness, meditation, deep breathing exercises, and engage with hobbies that bring you joy. Chronic stress can hinder brain regeneration, so finding effective stress relief is crucial.

7. Regular Exercise

Engage in regular aerobic and strength exercises. Physical activity promotes blood flow, oxygenation, and neuroplasticity, enhancing brain regeneration and cognitive function.

8. Practice Gratitude

Cultivate a gratitude practice to enhance your mental well-being and reduce stress. Gratitude exercises have been linked to positive changes in the brain, supporting its regeneration.

9. Prioritize Good Sleep

Establish a consistent sleep routine and create a sleep-friendly environment. Quality sleep promotes brain regeneration, memory consolidation, and overall cognitive function.

10. Optimize Brain Mitochondria

Support mitochondrial health through strategies like regular exercise, a balanced diet, intermittent fasting, and specific supplements (consult a healthcare professional). Healthy mitochondria are crucial for brain regeneration and energy production.

11. Neurobic Exercises

Engage in activities that challenge your brain in novel ways, such as puzzles, learning new skills, or playing a musical instrument. Neurobic exercises stimulate brain regeneration and neuroplasticity.

12. Reduce Toxic Load

Minimize exposure to environmental toxins, including air pollution, pesticides, heavy metals, and harmful chemicals. These toxins can impair brain function and hinder regeneration.

13. Eat more Autophagy-Enhancing Foods, Herbs, and Supplements

Consume foods and supplements that support autophagy, the cellular recycling process. Examples include green tea, turmeric, resveratrol, and foods rich in antioxidants.

14. Heat and Cold Therapies

Consider incorporating heat and cold therapies, such as infrared sauna sessions and cold plunges (under professional guidance). These therapies have shown potential benefits for brain regeneration and overall well-being.

Remember, individual results may vary, and it's important to personalize these strategies based on your specific needs and consult with healthcare professionals for personalized guidance. By implementing these brain regeneration strategies, you can support brain health and promote cognitive vitality.

Brain degeneration is a serious issue that affects loads of people in the US and around the world. It can bring on some not-so-fun symptoms like memory problems, confusion, and mood changes. But don't worry, I've got your back! Start implementing the tips and natural solutions above to help protect your precious brain from degeneration.

By giving these recommendations a go, you might just notice improvements not only in your memory, focus, mood, and energy, but also in your overall health. Pretty awesome, right?

Now, if you're in the market for a coached total health and life optimization journey, Dr. Jennifer has you covered with her curated Transformation Coaching Program. She is here to help you become the best version of you. So don't hesitate to reach out for her deep, strategic, and dedicated support. Check out Transformation Coaching here!


woman thinking

Mind Over Matter: How Your Thoughts Shape Your Health, According to Neuroscience

5 Ways to Shift Your Mindset and Boost Your Health

Are you wondering if your mindset might be impacting your health?

If so, you’re not alone!

Research shows that our thoughts and beliefs significantly impact our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. And by cultivating a positive mindset, we can experience better health outcomes, greater resilience, and reduced stress levels.

Sounds pretty great, right?

But I get it – changing our mindset isn’t always easy, especially when we have long-standing patterns of negative thinking or limiting beliefs. That’s why we’re here to provide practical guidance and actionable steps to help you shift your mindset in a strategic, focused way.

From practicing mindfulness and positive self-talk to trying cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and gratitude practices, we’ll cover a range of strategies you can incorporate into your daily life to improve your health and well-being.

So if you’re ready to totally UNLEASH the power of your mind and start feeling your BEST, keep reading for my top tips and strategies for shifting your mindset and improving your health!

What does it mean to have a positive mindset?

A positive mindset means having a mental attitude that focuses on the positive aspects of situations rather than dwelling on negative ones. It involves cultivating thoughts and beliefs that support well-being, optimism, and resilience, even in the face of challenges or adversity.

A positive mindset includes attitudes such as:

  • Gratitude
  • Optimism
  • Resilience
  • Self-efficacy
  • Mindfulness
  • Compassion

However, having a positive mindset does not mean ignoring negative emotions or denying the challenges that come with life. It’s normal to experience negative emotions, and it’s important to acknowledge and address them, focusing on the positive aspects of the situation and finding ways to move forward in a healthy and constructive way.

The Neuroscience Behind Mindset

Our brains constantly process information and send signals throughout our body, affecting everything from hormone levels to immune responses. And when we experience stress or negative emotions, our brain releases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can negatively impact our health if not managed properly.

On the other hand, a positive mindset can have a range of benefits for health and well-being. Neuroscience research indicates that when we focus on positive thoughts and beliefs, the structure and function of the brain can actually change. 

You’re probably thinking: Really?… A simple thought affects the physical structure of our brain??

YES! You are what you think.  

Studies have found that people who practice mindfulness meditation regularly have increased gray matter density in areas of the brain associated with attention, emotional regulation, and self-awareness. 

Similarly, research has shown that people who engage in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to change negative thought patterns experience changes in brain activity in areas associated with emotional regulation and cognitive control. 

Overall, the neuroscience behind mindset suggests that our thoughts and beliefs massively impact the brain and its functioning. And by focusing on positive thoughts and beliefs, we can enhance our coping skills and resilience, which can help us manage stress and recover more quickly from illness or injury.

How Mindset Correlates to Your Physical Health

Studies show that our thoughts and emotions can impact everything from our cardiovascular health to our immune system and even our lifespan. 

Here are four key areas of your health that are directly impacted by your mindset:

  • Cardiovascular Health: A positive mindset can help reduce stress and promote healthy behaviors like regular exercise, reducing the risk of heart disease and improving overall cardiovascular health.
  • Mental Health: A positive mindset is linked to better mental health outcomes, including a lower risk of depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. This is because positive thoughts and beliefs can help reduce stress and promote a sense of well-being.
  • Immune Health: When we experience positive emotions, our body releases hormones like oxytocin and endorphins, which help boost the immune system and increase its ability to fight infections. A positive mindset can also motivate us to engage in healthy behaviors like getting enough sleep, regular exercise, and a healthy diet, all of which can help strengthen our immune system.
  • Inflammation: A positive mindset helps to train ourselves to cope with stressful situations, which in turn helps control our cortisol levels and prevent inflammatory damage to the body, including chronic issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, and asthma, which are all triggered by inflammation.

These are just a few ways a positive mindset impacts health outcomes. A positive mindset can also lead to better management of chronic illnesses, improve pain management, and decrease our risk of age-related health problems.

5 Ways to Shift Your Mindset and Improve Your Health

Shifting your mindset can be a powerful tool for improving your health and well-being. Changing how you think and perceive the world around you can transform your mental and physical health, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote greater happiness and fulfillment in your life.

Try these five ways to shift your mindset and improve your health:

1. Practice Mindful Meditation

Mindful meditation can be a powerful way to reduce stress, increase focus and concentration, and improve overall health. Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Start with a few minutes each day and gradually increase as you get more comfortable.
  • Experiment with different techniques, including guided, mantra, or mindfulness meditation, to find what works best for you.
  • Be patient. It’s natural for your mind to wander.
  • When all else fails, focus on your breath moving in and out of your body.

Like any skill, meditation takes practice. Be patient with yourself, and focus on the process rather than the outcome. With time and consistency, you’ll experience these powerful practices' benefits.

2. Focus on Positive Self-Talk

Positive self-talk can be a powerful way to boost self-confidence, improve mood, and promote greater well-being. Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Start by paying attention to your thoughts and noticing any patterns or recurring negative thoughts.
  • When you notice a negative thought, challenge it with a positive one.
  • Use positive affirmations to reinforce positive self-talk.
  • Treat yourself with the same kindness and compassion you would offer a friend.

Positive self-talk takes practice, but with time and consistency, you’ll start to notice a shift in your mindset and an improvement in your overall well-being.

3. Build a Gratitude Practice

Building a gratitude practice is a beautiful way to help you shift your focus towards positivity and cultivate greater happiness. Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Begin by identifying one thing you’re grateful for each day.
  • Keep a journal to track your progress and reinforce your positive thinking.
  • Pay attention to the small things to help you stay grounded in the present moment.
  • Express gratitude to others. This is especially powerful when you mentally shift how you feel towards people against whom you have held grudges, and instead of entertaining these old thought patterns, shift and show your gratitude.

Building a gratitude practice will take some getting used to, but by focusing on the positive and cultivating a sense of gratitude, you’ll be on your way to a happier and more fulfilling life. 

4. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy often used to treat a variety of mental health concerns, including anxiety and depression. Here are some tips if you’re considering CBT:

  • Look for a licensed mental health professional specializing in CBT. Try asking for referrals from your care providers, friends, or family.
  • CBT is based on the premise that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all interconnected and that changing our thoughts can lead to changes in how we feel and behave. Be open to trying new things!
  • Set realistic goals for your therapy.
  • Keep an open mind.

Starting CBT can be a big step towards improving your mental health. Still, with regular practice (and some patients with yourself), you can develop new skills and strategies to manage your thoughts and emotions more effectively.

5. Start a Breathwork Practice

Breathwork is a powerful practice that can help reduce stress, promote relaxation, improve lung function, enhance cardiovascular health, boost immune function, and increase overall vitality. By consciously controlling and manipulating your breath, you can bring a sense of calm and balance into your day.

Discover the transformative effects of breathwork with these tips to help you get started:

  • Choose a quiet and peaceful space free of distractions.
  • Start by noticing your breath’s natural rhythm and sensations as it flows in and out of your body.
  • Explore different techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing, box breathing, or alternate nostril breathing, to find what resonates for you.
  • Start with 5-10 minute sessions and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable. 

Breathwork is a personal practice; finding what works best for you may take time. Be patient, listen to your body, and allow the transformative power of your breath to guide you toward improved health and inner peace.  

No matter what practice you choose for enhancing your mindset, it’s important to find activities that resonate with you and that you enjoy so that you can experience their full benefits.

Think Yourself Well 

Shifting your mindset is great for your health and can empower you toward optimal wellness!

You can tap into your inner power and control your health by practicing positive self-talk, gratitude, mindfulness, or exploring alternative therapies. So whether you’re looking to reduce stress, boost your immune function, improve your cardiovascular health, or power your healthspan, there are endless possibilities to transform your life by shifting your mindset. 

Take the plunge and start thinking yourself well, with support from Reboot Center.

Experience Reboot Center’s innovative Empowered Wellness approach. Schedule a complimentary health strategy session to find out more today.

Interested in other ways you can upgrade your brain? Join the BrainReboot Program for a comprehensive assessment and brain revitalization journey.

Resources

1. "Optimism and Its Impact on Mental and Physical Well-Being - NCBI." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2894461/. Accessed 12 May. 2023.

2. "The neuroscience of positive emotions and affect - ScienceDirect.com." https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149763420306801. Accessed 12 May. 2023.

3. "Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter ...." 10 Nov. 2010, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3004979/. Accessed 12 May. 2023.

4. "Neural Effects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Psychiatric ...." 31 Mar. 2022, https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.853804/full. Accessed 12 May. 2023.

5. "The Protective Role of Positive Well-Being in Cardiovascular Disease." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5060088/. Accessed 12 May. 2023.

6. "Mindsets and adolescent mental health - Nature." 17 Feb. 2023, https://www.nature.com/articles/s44220-022-00009-5. Accessed 12 May. 2023.

7. "Mind-Body Medicine and Immune System Outcomes: A Systematic ...." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3516431/. Accessed 12 May. 2023.

8. "Optimism and immunity: Do positive thoughts always lead to ... - NCBI." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1948078/. Accessed 12 May. 2023.

9. "The association of optimism and pessimism with inflammation and ...." 25 Jan. 2010, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2842951/. Accessed 12 May. 2023.

 10. "What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?." https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/cognitive-behavioral. Accessed 12 May. 2023.


woman avoiding diet soda

5 Neurotoxins Found in Food and How to Avoid Them

Have you ever considered that the food you eat might contain harmful substances that are damaging your brain?

From artificial sweeteners to heavy metals and pesticide residues, these neurotoxins (“brain toxins”) can accumulate in our bodies over time, leading to chronic health problems. 

I will explore the various neurotoxins found in our food and their effects on the brain, plus I’ll provide you with tips on how to avoid them to help protect your neurological health.

What are neurotoxins?

Neurotoxins are substances that can harm or damage nerve tissue or nerve cells (neurons) in the body, leading to various neurological symptoms and disorders.1 

Numerous natural and synthetic sources contain neurotoxins, including plants, animals, and man-made chemicals. Exposure to these toxins can interfere with the normal functioning of the nervous system, disrupting communication between nerve cells. 

Why are neurotoxins so dangerous?

Neurotoxins are particularly dangerous because they can disrupt the normal functioning of the nervous system, which is responsible for controlling and coordinating all the body’s functions. this triggers an immune response that leads to inflammation.2

Some neurotoxins can damage the structure of nerve cells, causing them to malfunction or die. Others can interfere with the release or uptake of neurotransmitters, leading to imbalances that disrupt normal brain function. Still, others can interfere with the production or metabolism of neurotransmitters, leading to similar disruption of brain function.3

Symptoms of Neurotoxin Exposure

The effects of neurotoxins on the nervous system can be acute or chronic, depending on the toxin type and the exposure extent. 

Acute exposure to high levels of neurotoxins can cause the rapid onset of symptoms, such as:4

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Twitching or spasms
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Respiratory distress
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Seizures

The symptoms of chronic neurotoxin exposure can be more subtle and challenging to recognize than the symptoms of acute exposure. Some common symptoms of chronic neurotoxin exposure may include the following:

  • Chronic headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Memory problems or cognitive impairment
  • Mood changes, such as depression or anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Respiratory problems, such as asthma or bronchitis 

Chronic neurotoxin exposure can also contribute to chronic health problems like neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases), autoimmune disorders, and cancer. 

5 Neurotoxins Found in Food and How to Avoid Them

The impact of neurotoxins on brain inflammation underscores the importance of identifying and avoiding these substances whenever possible. 

Here are 5 common neurotoxins found in food and some tips on how to avoid them:

1. Aspartame

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener commonly used as a sugar substitute in various foods and beverages labeled as “sugar-free” or “diet.” You may also be familiar with aspartame in the Equal or NutraSweet packets found on most restaurant tables. 

Studies have linked aspartame consumption to numerous symptoms, including: 5

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Dizziness and vertigo
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomach cramps or abdominal pain
  • Changes in mood or behavior, such as anxiety or depression
  • Skin rash or hives
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Changes in vision or hearing

Plus, aspartame can trigger or worsen symptoms associated with diabetes, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis.6

How to Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

To avoid artificial sweeteners in your diet, start by looking at your food labels. Look for terms like “aspartame,” “sucralose,” “acesulfame potassium,” and “neotame.” There are also several natural sweeteners that you can use, including:

  • Stevia
  • Monk fruit extract
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Coconut sugar

2. Diacetyl

One of America’s favorite low-calorie, high-fiber snacks, popcorn, hides a nasty neurotoxin – diacetyl!

Diacetyl is a chemical compound used as a flavoring agent in some foods, particularly in butter-flavored products such as microwave popcorn, margarine, and snack foods. However, diacetyl is linked to serious respiratory issues that cause inflammation and obstruction in the lungs' small airways, leading to coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.7

In addition to respiratory issues, research has linked diacetyl exposure to oxidative stress and damage to DNA.8 Plus, evidence suggests that diacetyl may be able to cross the blood-brain barrier, potentially causing damage to brain cells and contributing to the development of neurological disorders.

How to Avoid Diacetyl

Popping and flavoring homemade popcorn with natural ingredients such as salt, organic butter or olive oil, and nutritional yeast is the easiest way to avoid diacetyl.

Check the labels if you’re purchasing microwavable or pre-popped popcorn. Several brands are available that don’t have diacetyl, including Quinn, Boom Chicka Pop, and Lesser Evil.

3. MSG

MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a flavor enhancer commonly used in processed foods.9 MSG is made from sodium and glutamate, an important brain neurotransmitter found naturally in many foods. Evidence suggests that excessive glutamate can act as an excitotoxin, causing brain cells to become overactive and ultimately leading to their death.10  

Many people report a wide range of symptoms after consuming MSG, including:

  • Headache
  • Flushing
  • Sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Diarrhea 
  • Numbness and tingling

How to Avoid MSG

MSG is in many processed foods. Read labels carefully and look for products that use natural flavors rather than artificial ones, as these are less likely to contain MSG.

This is also an excellent opportunity to experiment with other seasonings. You can use herbs and spices to flavor your food, and experimenting with different combinations can be fun. Lastly, be cautious when eating out; inquire if MSG is used in the restaurant.

4. Mercury

Mercury is a naturally occurring metal in the environment, including in bodies of water where fish and other aquatic absorb the metal. So even though eating fish can be a part of a healthy, balanced diet, consuming fish high in mercury, such as swordfish, king mackerel, shark, and tuna, can harm your health.11  

Ingesting high levels of mercury can lead to symptoms such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Memory loss
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Moodswings
  • Numbness
  • Tremors

How to Avoid Mercury

To reduce the risk of mercury exposure from fish, I recommend choosing lower mercury species, such as wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, and wild trout, and avoiding or eating species with higher mercury content sparingly, including shark, swordfish, and tuna. It’s also important to pay attention to the source of the fish, as fish from polluted waters may contain higher levels of mercury.

5. Aluminum

Aluminum is a metal commonly found in the environment. Exposure can occur through various sources, including foods such as baking powder, pickled vegetables, canned goods and processed cheese, water, air, and consumer products. 

It’s believed that aluminum interferes with various cellular processes and causes oxidative stress, inflammation, and damage to nerve cells.12 Plus, it has been linked to several neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and ALS.

Exposure to high levels of aluminum can occur in occupational settings. Still, exposure is more common at home through certain types of cookware, antacids, baking powder, and some cosmetics and personal care products. 

How to Avoid Aluminum

Because aluminum is a naturally occurring environmental element, avoiding exposure is impossible. However, you can take some precautionary steps to help reduce your exposure and minimize potential harm to your health.

  • Avoid using aluminum or non-stick cookware; opt for stainless steel, glass, ceramic, or cast iron instead.
  • Avoid aluminum additives, such as baking powder and processed cheese. 
  • Switch out cosmetics and personal care products for aluminum-free alternatives. A great place to start is with antiperspirants or deodorants. 

Additional Neurotoxins to Be Aware Of

There are many types of neurotoxins and new substances are constantly identified and studied. So, I would be remiss if I didn’t include a few additional neurotoxins to look out for.

  • Sucralose: An artificial sweetener used as a sugar substitute in many processed foods and beverages shown to alter brain chemistry and decrease the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut.13
  • Perchlorate: A chemical compound commonly used in rocket fuel, fireworks, and some fertilizers that can contaminate soil and water supplies.14  
  • Red food coloring: A synthetic dye made from chemicals like amaranth and azo dyes used to give foods and beverages a red color. The dye is linked to hyperactivity and behavioral problems in children and may increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer and cause allergic reactions in some people.15
  • High fructose corn syrup (HFCS): A sweetener made from corn starch used in processed food and beverages that contain high levels of fructose, which is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, oxidative stress, and inflammation in the brain.16
  • Trans fats: Unsaturated fats used in processed foods to improve taste and texture that disrupt cell membranes’ function and increase brain inflammation.17 Trans fats have also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic health conditions.
  • Pesticides and herbicides: Chemicals used to kill or control pests and weeds in agriculture that may increase the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and ALS.18 19 They have also been linked to developmental delays, cognitive impairment, and other neurological problems in children and adults.

It’s Not Too Late to Put Your Brain First

To protect our neurological health, it is vital to understand neurotoxins' effects on the brain and learn how to avoid them in our diets. By making conscious choices about the foods we eat, we can minimize our exposure to these harmful substances and promote optimal brain function.

And it’s never too late to put your brain first!

With our BrainReboot program, you will discover your foundational challenges leading to suboptimal brain function. And then, we’ll work together to systemically upgrade both your body and your brain so that you can achieve optimal brain function.

Don’t hit snooze on this unparalleled program!

Get started on your revolutionary brain optimization journey by scheduling a complimentary BrainReboot strategy session

Resources

1. "Neurotoxin - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics." https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/neurotoxin. Accessed 20 Apr. 2023.

2. "Neurotoxicity - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics." https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/neurotoxicity. Accessed 26 Apr. 2023.

3. "Neurotoxicology: what the neurologist needs to know." https://jnnp.bmj.com/content/75/suppl_3/iii29. Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.

4. "Neurotoxicity - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics." https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/chemistry/neurotoxicity. Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.

5. "Neurophysiological symptoms and aspartame: What is the ... - PubMed." https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28198207/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.

6. "Sugar- and artificially-sweetened beverages and the risks of incident ...." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5405737/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.

7. "Respiratory Toxicity of Diacetyl in C57BI/6 Mice - PMC - NCBI." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2669658/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.

8. "Silymarin constrains diacetyl-prompted oxidative stress and ... - NCBI." 2 Apr. 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9135832/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.

9. "Extensive use of monosodium glutamate: A threat to public health?." 19 Mar. 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5938543/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.

10. "Pictorial Review of Glutamate Excitotoxicity: Fundamental Concepts ...." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7973850/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.

11. Neurotoxicity of mercury: an old issue with contemporary significance." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8276940/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.

12. "Aluminum in neurological disease – a 36 year multicenter study - PMC." 29 Nov. 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6550484/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.

13. "Sucralose, A Synthetic Organochlorine Sweetener - NCBI." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3856475/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.

14. "Perchlorate: Health Effects and Technologies for Its Removal from ...." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2681191/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.

15. "Synthetic Food Colors and Neurobehavioral Hazards - NCBI." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3261946/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.

16. "High fructose corn syrup induces metabolic dysregulation and ...." 29 Dec. 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5747444/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.

17. "The Effect of Trans Fatty Acids on Human Health: Regulation and ...." 14 Oct. 2021, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8535577/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.

18. "Neurotoxicity of Pesticides - PMC - NCBI." 13 Jun. 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6826260/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.

19. "Toxic Effects of Glyphosate on the Nervous System - NCBI." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9101768/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.


woman with brain fog

Chronic Brain Fog and 5 Ways to Beat It

Hold on, what was I talking about?

Darn it! Where did I leave my keys this time?

These statements might sound familiar to you. At some point, we’ve all had these or similar thoughts. Whether you’re unsure what you were talking about after an interruption or where you left your keys, brain lapses happen even to the best of us. 

It’s called brain fog. And it can make you feel unlike yourself, affecting your work, relationships, and mental and emotional well-being. Especially when it becomes an everyday part of your life. 

But what is chronic brain fog, and why does it happen?  

Discover the answer to these and many more questions about brain fog. Plus, learn 5 easy ways that help you can start to overcome it.

What is brain fog?

Brain fog is a general term used to describe a type of cognitive dysfunction where a person experiences feelings of confusion, forgetfulness, and difficulty concentrating.1 Brain fog is a common symptom many experience, particularly when tired or under stress. It can also be associated with various medical conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, and thyroid disorders.2 3 4 Feelings of brain fog may include memory challenges, a lack of clarity, poor concentration, mental fatigue, or even the ability to concentrate.

What are the symptoms of brain fog?

The symptoms of brain fog can vary from person to person. Still, some common symptoms include the following:

  • Memory or recall problems 
  • Feeling mentally sluggish or slow
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Struggling with decision-making or problem-solving
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Headaches
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating

How does it feel to have brain fog?

Brain fog can significantly impact a person’s daily life, making it challenging to perform routine tasks, work efficiently, and engage in social activities. Brain fog can show up in various ways and is unique for each person.

For the most part, brain fog feels like your head is swimming. Like the lights are on, but there’s nobody home. Or that your once full brain is now filled with fluffy clouds. 

You may be unable to concentrate as long as usual, making it difficult to focus on work, conversations, or even reading this blog. Many people share that making decisions, even small ones, becomes challenging. And that an increased intake of coffee, snacks, and alcohol are required to provide temporary relief from the fog. For some, experiencing severe, chronic brain fog, headaches, vision issues, and nausea can occur.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms or feelings associated with brain fog, talk with your healthcare provider so that you can work together to identify and address the underlying causes.

What causes brain fog?

Brain fog can be a symptom of a sleep disorder, bacterial overgrowth, nutrient deficiency, mental health condition, or even a side effect of a chronic condition. There are several possible causes of brain fog, including these most common examples:

  • Poor Sleep. Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep, including irregular sleep and wake times or insufficient sleep, can interrupt the body’s use of melatonin and its natural detoxification process, leading to brain fog.5  

  • Chronic stress. Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your body, constantly activating your fight-or-flight response. Diverting energy away from your body’s typical functions to focus on the stressor leaves your brain exhausted.6  

  • Depression and anxiety. Chronic anxiety or depression can impair cognitive function, impacting attention, memory, and executive function (the mental processes that allow us to plan, focus, and remember).7   This is likely due to the physiological effects of mental health conditions on the brain, including the loss of energy and motivation, which make it difficult to function properly.8

  • Nutritional deficiencies. A lack of certain nutrients, such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, or omega-3 fatty acids, can impair brain function by impairing your energy levels and cognitive function, contributing to your foggy feelings.9  

  • Food Sensitivities. Food sensitivities, such as gluten or dairy intolerance, can lead to cognitive dysfunction by impacting your inflammatory pathways.10  

  • Hormonal imbalances. Changes in hormone levels, such as those during pregnancy, the postpartum period, and menopause, can lead to brain fog while the body works to restore its natural hormone balance.11 12

  • Medications. A common side effect of some medications, such as antihistamines, sleeping pills, and antidepressants, can include brain fog.

  • Chronic health conditions. Chronic health conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, and thyroid conditions are all associated with brain fog.13

  • Heavy metal exposure. Heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic can accumulate in the body over time and cause damage to the central nervous system, leading to common brain fog symptoms such as memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and confusion.14

Brain fog is often due to an underlying condition, environmental, or lifestyle factor, so it’s essential to identify and address the root cause to alleviate the symptoms.

 

5 Ways to Beat Chronic Brain Fog

Here are five easy ways to start overcoming your chronic brain fog:

1. Avoid Potential Triggers

Avoiding potential brain fog triggers as much as possible can help you reduce chronic brain fog. To get started, try avoiding toxins, heavy metals, environmental pollutants, and chemical additives in food. 

2. Implement Healthy Sleep Habits

Getting enough, high-quality sleep is crucial for so many bodily functions. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep each night, so your body and brain get the rest they need. And if you’re having difficulty getting quality sleep, try establishing a regular bedtime routine, avoiding caffeine and alcohol later in the day, limiting your blue light exposure in the evening, and creating a comfortable sleep environment.

3. Get Your Body Moving

Regular exercise is good for both your body and your brain. Routine physical activity can help improve your mood, reduce stress, and boost cognitive function. Find a way to get your body moving that feels good to you, and aim to do that activity for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. 

4. Manage Your Stress

Knowing that chronic stress can cause brain fog makes it critical to find ways to manage your stress. Especially if you experience chronic, high levels of stress. Some effective stress-management techniques include mindfulness practices, meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and spending time in nature.

5. Support Your Mitochondria

Mitochondria are known as the “powerhouses” of our cells, as they produce energy in the form of ATP. Research suggests that supporting your mitochondria may help alleviate brain fog symptoms by helping restore their energy production.15 The first four suggestions for beating brain fog all help to support your mitochondria, but supplements such as vitamin C, selenium, zinc, CoQ10, magnesium, alpha-lipoic acid, acetylcysteine, fulvic acid, rhodiola, and glutathione may also help support your mitochondria function.  

By implementing these strategies, you may be able to reduce or eliminate your chronic brain fog. However, it’s important to talk with your healthcare provider before significantly changing your diet or exercise routine.

Empower Your Brain Toward Optimal Function

Your brain’s health and ability to help you communicate, think, plan, and act are, in many ways, the epilogue of your organs’ functional interactions.

Bolstering and maintaining your brain’s health is interconnected with the health of your entire body. By digging deeper into your brain health, we can identify the foundational challenges leading to your chronic brain fog and empower you to discover your optimal brain function.

Discover how revitalizing your brain can change everything with our revolutionary BrainReboot Program.

Limited spots are available, so sign up today for a complimentary BrainReboot Strategy Session and discover how you can empower your brain toward optimal function.

Resources:

1. "Brain Fog: A Bit of Clarity Regarding Etiology, Prognosis, and ...." 1 Nov. 2021, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34714198/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2023.

2. "Caught in the thickness of brain fog: exploring the cognitive ...." 15 Mar. 2013, https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2013.00063/full. Accessed 27 Feb. 2023.

3. "Fibrofog and fibromyalgia: a narrative review and implications for ...." https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25583051/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2023.

4. "Brain Fog in Hypothyroidism: What Is It, How Is It Measured, and ...." https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/thy.2022.0139. Accessed 27 Feb. 2023.

5. "Selective neuronal lapses precede human cognitive lapses ... - Nature." 6 Nov. 2017, https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.4433. Accessed 27 Feb. 2023.

6. "The impact of stress on body function: A review - PMC - NCBI." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579396/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2023.

7. "Cognitive Functioning in Major Depression – A Summary - PMC." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2759342/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2023.

8. "Unique and interactive effect of anxiety and depressive symptoms ...." 24 Jan. 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4222514/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2023.

9. "Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function - PMC - NCBI." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805706/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2023.

10. "Food allergy induces alteration in brain inflammatory status and ...." 17 May. 2019, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29339006/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2023.

11. "Cognition, Mood and Sleep in Menopausal Transition: The Role of ...." 1 Oct. 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6843314/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2023.

12. "Hormonal Influences on Cognitive Function - PMC - NCBI." 30 Aug. 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6422548/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2023.

13. "The Relationship Between Brain Fog and Medication Adherence for ...." 5 Aug. 2021, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34348493/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2023.

14. "Neurocognitive impact of metal exposure and social stressors ...." 19 Jul. 2019, https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12940-019-0505-3. Accessed 27 Feb. 2023.

15. "Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Chronic Disease: Treatment ... - NCBI." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4566449/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2023.


people exercising

Are You Ready for a Brain Reboot? 4 Easy Ways to Begin Optimizing Your Brain Function

It’s interesting how many patients tell me that they struggle to find the words they’re looking for or to recall names or facts as quickly as they once did. 

Or that they regularly forget things like anniversaries and birthdays (gasp). 

Some bring it up and then brush it off as a typical, undisputable, and irreversible sign of aging. Others share concerns about developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, like their partners, parents, or grandparents. 

While these things aren’t necessarily signs of disease, they ARE indications of “dis-ease” and cognitive decline. But this begs the big question: Can these problems - brain fog, chronic fatigue, adult ADHD, cognitive impairment - be reversed?

I’ll share four foundational strategies to help fast-track you onto a path of optimizing brain function, no matter where your starting point is.

What is brain optimization?

Brain optimization refers to the process of maximizing brain function and improving cognitive performance.1 Based on the latest advances in functional medicine and neuroscience, brain optimization can help improve your memory, attention, creativity, and problem-solving skills and increase your overall brain health and well-being. 

Brain optimization is achieved through various approaches, such as lifestyle modifications, cognitive training exercises, and brain-enhancing supplements to help unlock your brain’s fullest potential. 

Some people seek brain optimization to help with the following:

  • Academic or professional performance
  • Maintaining cognitive function
  • Symptoms of depression or anxiety
  • Traumatic brain injury and concussion
  • ADHD and learning disabilities
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Headaches, migraines, and stroke
  • Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
  • Stress management

Why is brain optimization important?

As you age, you might expect your memory to start slipping or your ability to troubleshoot complex problems to slow down. That’s because, as our organs and cells age, so does our brain.

But thanks to our brain's neuroplasticity, it can reorganize itself by forming new neural connections, effectively modifying, changing, and adapting functionally and structurally as we age.2 This means that through the process of brain optimization, you can revitalize your brain (and body). 

Brain optimization is important for several reasons, including

  • Improved cognitive performance. Optimizing brain function can improve your memory, attention, creativity, and problem-solving skills.3
  • Better overall well-being. Optimizing brain function can enhance overall well-being and quality of life by improving mood, reducing stress, and improving sleep quality.4
  • Prevention of cognitive decline. Brain optimization techniques can help slow down age-related cognitive decline and help maintain cognitive function as we age.5
  • Enhanced brain health. Optimizing brain function can improve overall brain health and reduce the risk of developing neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.6
  • Improved mental health. Brain optimization techniques can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and improve your overall mental health.5 

Brain optimization is important for many reasons, but perhaps most importantly, it can help you lead a healthier, more fulfilling life.

What can cause suboptimal brain function?

Suboptimal brain function can have several causes. Some of the most common factors that can negatively impact brain function include:8

  • Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality
  • Poor nutrition; so many of us in the developed world are ‘overfed but undernourished’
  • Chronic or long-term stress
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Mental health conditions
  • Environmental factors, including an overload of and/or poor elimination of mold toxins, heavy metals, and industrial chemicals

Taking care of your physical and mental health can positively impact your brain function. And optimizing your brain function before you show signs of cognitive decline and help you maintain more significant brain function for longer.

4 Easy Ways to Begin Optimizing Brain Function

If you’re ready to give your brain a boost, I recommend getting started sooner rather than later. You can begin boosting your brain’s performance and resilience with these four easy strategies. 

1. Exercise Regularly

Regular physical activity can enhance brain function by increasing blood flow and oxygen supply. Exercise also promotes the release of endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce stress, negatively impacting brain function. I recommend starting with just a bit more than your current exercise level. It’s better to increase the frequency and amount of exercise gradually, but to stick with it, rather than to implement a ‘weekend warrior’ method of exercising. 

2. Practice Good Sleep Habits

Sleep is essential for optimal brain function. It’s during sleep, and primarily deep sleep, when the brain consolidates memories, processes information, and restores itself. Lack of sleep, esp. deep sleep, can impair cognitive function, attention, and memory. I recommend avoiding screens within two hours of bedtime, getting to sleep before 10PM, and keeping the room cool at night. Get tested for sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, and treat insomnia and frequent waking, as these can impact sleep quality. Consider a biotracker such as the Oura Ring (this link includes a discount coupon) to track your sleep stages.

3. Eat a Nutrient-Dense Diet

Eating a healthful and balanced diet can give the brain the nutrients it needs to function optimally. Focus on foods that help support brain health, such as antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins. And keep in mind that a diet high in saturated fats, sugars, and processed foods can impair brain function. Change it up a bit with your meals- consider a veggie scramble for breakfast, a large chef salad with nuts, fruit, and olives for lunch rather than the standard sandwich for lunch, and soup and salad for dinner. I also recommend avoiding gluten, dairy, sugar, and artificial ingredients, as these can all trigger neuroinflammation. If you don’t know where to start, I recommend the my guided 2-week Paleo Reset Program as a solid start- contact us if this solution makes sense to you.

4. Engage in Mental Stimulation

Regularly engaging in mentally stimulating activities such as reading, puzzles, and learning new skills can help to optimize brain function. These exercises help promote new neural connections and keep the brain active and healthy. Additionally, we can’t forget about socializing. Socializing with others is actually a very complex mental activity, which can can help stimulate the brain and improve cognitive function.

Are you ready for a brain reboot?

Your brain is a brilliant yet incredibly fragile organ, capable of running the show when it comes to communicating, planning, creating, dreaming, learning, and thinking. Not to mention keeping the lights on for all the background systems that keep you alive. 

The brain is truly the master of all organs. 

So, are you ready to reboot your brain and restore wellness to your body?

Now you can, thanks to the BrainReboot Program at Reboot Center

This one-of-a-kind brain optimization program blends leading-edge technologies and ultraprecise lifestyle adjustments with ancient healing principles, providing you with an unparalleled approach to brain revitalization.

How the BrainReboot Program Works

The integrative BrainReboot program fundamentally challenges the Western model of treating brain and neurological disorders. Instead, the BrainReboot program considers the body as a complex, dynamic system where health is achieved via balanced, functional interaction amongst your organs. 

Led by a dedicated Reboot physician, our unique step-by-step process will dive deeply into your health with comprehensive brain and body testing. This allows us to develop an extensive brain optimization solution customized to your brain and your brain only. Plus, you’ll receive real-time feedback on the therapeutic interventions that will be the most effective for your brain and body.

The BrainReboot Program includes the following:

  • Extensive biomarker and gut function testing
  • A brain health-specific history and physical
  • NeuroPhysio evaluation
  • Lifestyle evaluation
  • Neurocognitive evaluation
  • EEG/qEEG scan
  • Targeted advanced glycation testing 

The goal? For you to rethink, reboot, and redefine the rest of your life!

Who can benefit from the BrainReboot program?

Because the BrainReboot program is designed to help you optimize your brain and neurological function by targeting the underlying causes, we’re able to support whole-body healing for adults with:

  • Alzheimer’s disease through Stage 5
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Dementia and mild cognitive impairment
  • Chronic brain fog
  • Post-COVID brain fog
  • Focus & concentration challenges

Are you not experiencing any of these concerns? No problem! The BrainReboot program is designed to help people with a deep desire to achieve even greater cognitive capacity well into their later years.

 

It’s Not Too Late to Put Your Brain First

Through the BrainReboot program, you will discover your foundational challenges leading to suboptimal brain function. And then, we’ll work together to systemically upgrade both your body and your brain so that you can achieve optimal brain function.

“Our mission with the BrainReboot program is to provide you with the strategic tools that help empower your brain toward optimal function, in order to make your brain your best asset.”

–  Dr. Jennifer

Don’t hit snooze on this unparalleled program!

Get started on your revolutionary brain optimization journey.

Resources

1. "Optimizing Brain Performance: Identifying mechanisms of adaptive ...." 26 Jul. 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8112903/. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.

2. "Neuroplasticity - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf." 8 May. 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557811/. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.

3. "Improvement in cognitive performance and mood in healthy older ...." 22 Feb. 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6728443/. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.

4. "Comorbid Chronic Conditions Among Older Adults with Subjective ...." https://academic.oup.com/innovateage/article/4/1/igz045/5687172?login=false. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.

5. "Exploring Interventions to Reduce Cognitive Decline in Aging - NCBI." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2923489/. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.

6. "Optimizing brain health across the life course: WHO position paper." 9 Aug. 2022, https://www.who.int/publications-detail-redirect/9789240054561. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.

7. "Exercise, brain plasticity, and depression - Zhao - Wiley Online Library." 3 Jun. 2020, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cns.13385. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.

8. "Cognitive Health and Older Adults | National Institute on Aging." 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/cognitive-health-and-older-adults. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.


Fresh grapes

12 Nutrients for Improving Cognitive Health & 6 Things to Avoid

The brain is made of some of the most complex, nutritionally demanding, and long-living cells in the body, which like the rest of you, require the proper nutrients to thrive. And scientific studies have shown that our nutritional health plays a vital role in determining how well our brain functions as we age. 

Fortunately, aspects of cognitive health like memory, behavior, and concentration can all be improved with quality brain nutrition found in nootropic supplements.

To help you identify the nutrients that might support your needs, we’ve compiled a list of 12 essential nutrients for improving cognitive health. And, because we couldn’t help ourselves, 6 things to avoid.

What are nootropics?

Nootropics are a diverse group of supplements and compounds that work to improve your cognitive health.1

Nootropic supplements can be used in healthy individuals seeking to improve memory or enhance cognition in addition to helping individuals experiencing cognitive impairment. Many nootropics benefit the brain and your overall health, while others encourage a healthy balance of the nutrients required by the brain. 

How do nootropics help the brain?

Each nootropic works somewhat differently, and there is ongoing research on many of them. However, we do know that nootropics can help improve the brain’s supply of glucose and oxygen, improve blood flow to the brain, prevent damage to the nervous system, and more.

12 Nutrients for Improving Cognitive Health

Numerous brain health nutrients are available to improve your mental capacity or protect your memory and cognitive function as you age. But because they all work a little differently, it’s important to understand how targeted nutrients work. 

Here are 12 of my favorite nutrients for improving cognitive health.

1. Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a naturally occurring compound found primarily in red wine that has been shown to offer significant improvements in concentration, focus, and memory loss by controlling inflammation, boosting dopamine, and fighting brain cell aging.

2. CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a natural antioxidant synthesized by every cell in our body to convert fats into usable energy. CoQ10 helps protect against cellular damage by raising energy levels, benefiting those suffering from age-related cognitive decline or neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or Huntington's.   

3. Glycine

Glycine is a neurotransmitter and amino acid that, when supplemented, can help restore serotonin levels in the brain, thereby helping to improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue.

Glycine can also boost cognition, memory, and mood by helping to improve brain cell signaling, suggesting that it may assist with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. 

4. NMN

Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is a precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), a coenzyme responsible for numerous metabolic processes in the body. NMN helps enhance cognitive health by repairing blood vessels in the brain, increasing blood supply, and improving cerebral circulation. NMN’s ability to lower oxidative stress and increase blood flow can also help improve memory and physical coordination.

5. Melatonin

Melatonin may be one of the most common nootropics, regularly used to help promote quality sleep because of its ability to help regulate the hormones that control your circadian rhythm. Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant that can help protect the brain from oxidative damage after a traumatic brain injury or stroke. 

Melatonin levels and Alzheimer’s disease are also closely linked, with research showing that as melatonin levels decline with age, the incidence of Alzheimer’s increases.

6. Magnesium

Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in your body and is critical for cognitive health. Not only is it necessary for turning your food into cellular energy, but magnesium is also essential for our ability to learn and form memories.

7. Lithium Orotate

Lithium orotate acts as a neurotransmitter in addition to helping increase the production of new brain cells. It’s been shown to improve mood, memory, and cognitive function while reducing anxiety, making this nutrient very popular for patients with depression or bipolar disorder.

8. DHA and EPA

DHA and EPA are both omega-3 fatty acids essential for brain structure development, function, and protection. DHA primarily supports the growth and functional development of the brain in infants; however, it is necessary for maintaining cognitive health in adults. EPA, on the other hand, supports the regulation of cellular inflammation.

9. Taurine

Taurine is one of the most abundant amino acids in the body and can help promote healthy cardiovascular function, mood, and longevity. Taurine helps activate GABA and glycine receptors in the brain, impacting memory and mood while also controlling genes to enhance longevity and inhibit degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.  

10. Bioidentical Hormones

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may also help slow the progressive decline of the brain with age and positively impact focus, memory, and mood.

11. Acetyl-L-Carnitine

Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) is an amino acid that improves blood flow, protects against toxins, and boosts physical and mental energy. ALCAR also acts as a neuroprotective helping to slow the progression of cognitive impairment.

12. Glutathione

Glutathione, commonly referred to as the “master” antioxidant, helps defend most cells from inflammation. As a nootropic, glutathione helps boost memory, improve thinking, and enhance energy levels. In addition, it helps prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

6 Things to Avoid for Cognitive Health

Memory loss and decreased brain power do not have to be a given as we age!

We can help control our cognitive health and utilize many of the nootropics we previously reviewed. However, you can also help maintain your brain health by avoiding these six things:

Glyphosate. Glyphosate is a widely used herbicide associated with various mood disorders, cancer, and kidney damage and is believed to be a primary environmental factor associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Heavy metals. Heavy metals, such as mercury, lead, and aluminum, can build toxic levels in the body and brain, leading to symptoms such as fatigue, memory loss, muscle weakness, and much more. To prevent the accumulation of heavy metals in the body, avoid eating foods high in metals, including the larger fish (blufin tuna, American eel, shark, and swordfish), rice, non-organic vegetables. Unfiltered water can also contain heavy metals, including lead and arsenic, so have your water checked! 

MSG. MSG is a food additive found in many processed foods. Even though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers MSG safe to consume, some studies have indicated that MSG may contribute to obesity, nervous system disorders, and metabolic conditions.

Fluoride. Hgh fluoride levels can cause neurotoxicity in adults and negatively impact cognitive development in children. 

Artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners have been linked to cognitive and behavioral concerns causing symptoms such as seizures, migraines, anxiety, and depression.

Empower Your Brain Toward Optimal Function

Your brain’s health and ability to help you communicate, think, plan, and act are, in many ways, the epilogue of your organs’ functional interactions.

Bolstering and maintaining your brain’s health is interconnected with the health of your entire body. By digging deeper into your brain health, we can identify the foundational challenges leading to your suboptimal brain health and empower you to discover your optimal brain function.

Want a brain upgrade? Join the BrainReboot Program for a comprehensive assessment and brain revitalization journey.

Discover how revitalizing your brain can change everything.

Limited spots are available for our BrainReboot Program.

Sign up today for a Complimentary BrainReboot Strategy Session and discover how you can strategically empower your brain toward optimal function.

Resources

1. "Nootropics as Cognitive Enhancers: Types, Dosage and Side Effects ...." 17 Aug. 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9415189/. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

2. "Benefits and Harms of 'Smart Drugs' (Nootropics) in Healthy ...." 2 Apr. 2022, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35366192/. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

3. "Screening of nootropics: an overview on preclinical evaluation ...." https://research.monash.edu/en/publications/screening-of-nootropics-an-overview-on-preclinical-evaluation-tec. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

4. "A REVIEW ON NATURAL MEMORY ENHANCERS (NOOTROPICS)." 1 Dec. 2013, https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/A-REVIEW-ON-NATURAL-MEMORY-ENHANCERS-(NOOTROPICS)-JoshiPranav-Joshi/a01af800271cf11f4ccb87c7c739d29582bea2f3. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

5. "Long-term effects of resveratrol on cognition, cerebrovascular ...." https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32900519/. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

6. "Prolonged Intake of Coenzyme Q10 Impairs Cognitive Functions in ...." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2744613/. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

7. "a randomized clinical trial with cerebrospinal fluid biomarker measures." https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22431837/. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

8. "A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of coenzyme Q10 and ...." 14 Aug. 2001, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11502903/. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

9. "Multifarious Beneficial Effect of Nonessential Amino Acid, Glycine." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5350494/. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

10. "Physiology, Neurotransmitters - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf." 8 May. 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539894/. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

11. "Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) treatment attenuates oxidative ...." https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31144244/. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

12. "Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) supplementation rescues ...." 10 Apr. 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6477631/. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

13. "Melatonin: What You Need To Know | NCCIH." https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/melatonin-what-you-need-to-know. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

14. "Actions of Melatonin in the Reduction of Oxidative Stress - MoreLife." http://morelife.org/references/full_papers/11060493.pdf. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

15. "Clinical Aspects of Melatonin Intervention in Alzheimer's Disease ...." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3001215/. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

16. "The role of magnesium therapy in learning and memory - NCBI." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507270/. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

17. "Neuroprotective and neurotrophic actions of the mood stabilizer lithium." https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15581403/. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

18. "Nutritional therapies for mental disorders - PMC - NCBI." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2248201/. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

19. "Cognitive enhancement by omega-3 fatty acids from child-hood to ...." https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22841917/. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

20. "Health benefits of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) - PubMed." https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10479465/. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

21. "Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA: health benefits throughout life." 5 Jan. 2012, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22332096/. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

22. "Taurine, Caffeine, and Energy Drinks: Reviewing the Risks to ... - NCBI." 1 Dec. 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5737830/. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

23. "Taurine improves the spatial learning and memory ability impaired ...." 24 May. 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4045917/. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

24. "Taurine as the nutritional factor for the longevity of the Japanese ...." https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19239132/. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

25. "The neurobiology of acetyl-L-carnitine - PubMed." 1 Jun. 2016, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27100509/. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

26. "L‐carnitine for cognitive enhancement in people without ... - NCBI." 26 Mar. 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6464592/. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

27. "Metabolism and functions of glutathione in brain - PubMed." https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10880854/. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

28. "Elevation of Glutathione as a Therapeutic Strategy in Alzheimer ...." 12 Oct. 2011, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3277671/. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

29. "Toxic Effects of Glyphosate on the Nervous System - NCBI." 21 Apr. 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9101768/. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

30. "Heavy Metals Exposure and Alzheimer's Disease and Related ...." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7454042/. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

31. "Developmental fluoride neurotoxicity: an updated review - PMC - NCBI." 19 Dec. 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6923889/. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

32. "Neurophysiological symptoms and aspartame: What is the ... - PubMed." https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28198207/. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

33. "Associations between moderate alcohol consumption, brain iron, and cognition in UK Biobank participants: Observational and mendelian randomization analyses." July 14, 2022, https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1004039/. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

 


clock

Chronological vs. Biological Aging: What’s the Difference and Why It Matters

The Role Of DNA Methylation In Aging & Longevity

Many people connect the idea of aging with pain, sickness, and disease.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

In fact, an increasing number of our patients are looking for ways to slow down the effects of aging and increase their longevity. Or, more simply put, they are exploring ways to increase their “healthspan.” 

Thanks to ongoing scientific advances, we now have very effective ways to monitor the speed at which our bodies are aging and how things like diet, exercise, and lifestyle can turn back the hands of time. 

Chronological vs. Biological Aging

If you’re interested in extending your healthspan and reducing your risk of disease and premature death, it’s essential to start by understanding the difference between your chronological and biological age. 

Chronological age is the number of years that you have been alive. And as much as we might want that number to change, it is unchangeable. Your chronological age is also your primary risk factor for many chronic diseases, mortality, and decreases in bodily functions, such as hearing, eyesight, and memory.

Biological age, on the other hand, is a numerical assessment of the level of damage and loss of function that your cells, tissues, and organs have acquired. Ultimately, this damage will determine your risk for disease and your ability to live a long and healthy life.

Why Is Your Biological Age Important?

Your biological age is an indicator of how your body is aging and how your current dietary and other lifestyle habits, toxic exposures, stress, and other variables are impacting your health over time.1

Even though you can’t do anything about the number of years you’ve lived on this planet, you can influence your biological age. This means you can reduce the damage to your cells and improve your biological age by making lifestyle and other changes over time.

How Is Biological Age Calculated?

Research has provided several different biological age calculators using your chronological age and specific blood test results. Dr. Steven Horvath and his team developed one of the most well-researched biological age calculators, the epigenetic clock.2

At the core of Dr. Horvath’s research and the research behind the other biological age calculators is the theory that changes in your genetic material are the key component in measuring biological age, and that by measuring these changes, we can assess how our health interventions impact our aging.  

Understanding the science of epigenetics is essential to fully appreciate how biological aging calculations work.3

What Is Epigenetics?

Epigenetics is the study of how our environment and behaviors impact how our genes work. 

Epigenetics looks at the biochemical layer on top of our DNA, which helps regulate how the body uses our genetic material4. In other words, depending on the epigenetic patterns on a particular gene, that gene may be “turned on” for use by the body or “turned off” and not used by the body. 5

For example, as we age, we want to turn on genes that fight cancer or other diseases and turn off (or turn down) those that promote inflammation. Unfortunately, this is the opposite of what typically happens as our chronological age increases. But by understanding how epigenetic changes affect which genes are turned “on” or “off,” we can connect how our environment and behavior impact our genes. 

DNA Methylation & Aging

The most prominent and well-researched epigenetic mechanism is DNA methylation.

Although methylation is a simple biochemical process – it’s the transfer of one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms from one substance to another – it significantly impacts many biochemical reactions in the body5. Methylation helps regulate the activity of the cardiovascular, neurological, reproductive, and detoxification systems, including those related to:6

  • DNA production
  • Estrogen metabolism
  • Neurotransmitter production
  • Detoxification
  • Liver health
  • Cellular energy
  • Fat metabolism
  • Eye health
  • Histamine metabolism    

What all of this is telling us, is that your epigenetics change as you age and that these changes can impact your health in a variety of ways, including your susceptibility to infections and certain types of cancers.  7,8

Why Is DNA Methylation Important For Aging?

Simply put, methylation decreases with age and disrupts cellular function so that cells can no longer efficiently do their jobs. This cellular decline in efficiency is believed to be the underlying cause of aging signs, including changes in skin tone and texture, the appearance of wrinkles, changes in hair color, increased joint pain, and so on.9

How To Improve Your Biological Age

One of the most exciting things about epigenetics research and DNA methylation is that epigenetic patterns are modifiable, and methylation sites appear to adjust rapidly to environmental inputs. So, once you know your biological age, you can identify options to potentially lower your biological age, including:

Diet: Biological aging nutrition research suggests that a nutrient-dense diet high in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains can lower your biological age10. In addition, I always recommend that my patients limit their intake of sugar, alcohol, and “chemical foods” (aka. processed, packaged foods).

Exercise: Research into biological aging has identified a connection between excessive activity levels and lower biological age; however, not all studies agree that increased exercise has as much impact.11,12 There seems to be a healthy amount of exercise that is most effective for reducing biological age - not too little and not too much. Focus on aiming for 30 minutes of activity 5 days a week.

Stress: Biological age appears to increase with both physical and psychological stress., Incorporating ways to manage and mitigate stress13,14, including mindfulness meditation, can significantly impact your biological age.

Sleep Habits: If you’re struggling to get good quality sleep, it may negatively impact your health and longevity and increase your biological age.  Quality sleep is vital to your health, and if you get improved deep sleep, in particular, it can positively impact your biological age15. It’s during deep sleep that our bodies restore, revitalize, and repair damaged cells and tissues.

Physical Environment: Environmental toxins found in food, personal care items, air, soil, water, and dirty electricity present a real threat to your biological age. You can reduce your biological age by avoiding or reducing your exposure to common environmental toxins.16

Uncover Your Biological Age & Improve Your Longevity

Calculating your biological age and understanding your DNA methylation processes give you a powerful snapshot of your current health and what steps you can take to turn back your bio clock.

Are you interested in reversing your biological age, extending your healthspan, and reducing your disease risk? Experience Reboot Center’s innovative Empowered Wellness approach. Schedule a complimentary health strategy session today.

Resources:

  1. "First hint that body's 'biological age' can be reversed - Nature." 5 Sep. 2019, https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02638-w. Accessed 15 Dec. 2022.
  2. "DNA methylation-based biomarkers and the epigenetic clock theory ...." https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29643443/. Accessed 15 Dec. 2022.
  3. "What is Epigenetics? - CDC." https://www.cdc.gov/genomics/disease/epigenetics.htm. Accessed 15 Dec. 2022.
  4. "The epigenetics of aging: What the body's hands of time tell us." 26 Mar. 2021, https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/epigenetics-aging-what-bodys-hands-time-tell-us. Accessed 15 Dec. 2022.
  5. "The Role of DNA Methylation in Aging, Rejuvenation, and ... - NCBI." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3482848/. Accessed 15 Dec. 2022.
  6. "DNA Methylation and Its Basic Function - PMC - NCBI." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3521964/. Accessed 15 Dec. 2022.
  7. "Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection Induces HDAC1-Mediated ...." 2 Dec. 2015, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26697414/. Accessed 15 Dec. 2022.
  8. "Blood-based DNA methylation as biomarker for breast cancer." 14 Nov. 2016, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27895805/. Accessed 15 Dec. 2022.
  9. "Epigenetic factors in aging and longevity - PubMed - NIH." https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19768466/. Accessed 15 Dec. 2022.
  10. "Biological Age Is Associated with the Active Use of Nutrition Data." https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/11/2431. Accessed 15 Dec. 2022.
  11. "Deep learning for biological age estimation - Oxford Academic." https://academic.oup.com/bib/article/22/2/1767/5828124. Accessed 15 Dec. 2022.
  12. "Leisure-time physical activity and DNA methylation age—a twin study." 19 Jan. 2019, https://clinicalepigeneticsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13148-019-0613-5. Accessed 15 Dec. 2022.
  13. "Psychological and biological resilience modulates the effects of ...." 27 Nov. 2021, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-021-01735-7. Accessed 15 Dec. 2022.
  14. "The Link between Chronic Stress and Accelerated Aging - PMC - NCBI." 7 Jul. 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7400286/. Accessed 15 Dec. 2022.
  15. "Role of sleep quality in the acceleration of biological aging and its ...." 14 Apr. 2022, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acel.13610. Accessed 15 Dec. 2022.
  16. "Dna Repair: As Influenced by Age, Nutrition, and Exposure to Toxic ...." https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.1201/9781315150284-3/dna-repair-influenced-age-nutrition-exposure-toxic-substances-ronald-hart-ming-chou-ritchie-feuers-julian-leakey-peter-duffy-beverly-lyn-cook-jack-lipman-kenji-nakamura-angelo-turturro-william-allaben. Accessed 15 Dec. 2022.

woman meditating on beach

Mindfulness Meditation and Chronic Disease Management

Mindfulness meditation is not only good for stress-reduction, it has a plethora of other health benefits. Many illnesses can be mitigated, if not completely managed, through a consistent meditation practice. It is a powerful “self-healing" tool that is fairly easy to implement.

Meditation has been shown to have positive changes that can actually affect function and structure in the brain. In addition, it may improve other markers of health and well-being, some of which are discussed below.

For those wondering if meditation may help you, I’ve provided a short summary of some of the research that has been done to show its benefits in the following conditions:

Immune health

Stress has a large impact on the immune system. Auto-immune conditions (ie. the immune system “attacking” the body) are typically managed through pharmaceutical medications. Natural medicines can also help modulate and improve immune function, but addressing the mind and spirit is key. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to help lower markers such as the main stress hormone, cortisol, in addition to lowering inflammatory markers often implicated in auto-immune conditions, such as TNF-alpha and C-reactive protein (1).

For those who are susceptible to recurrent infections, Mindfulness Meditation can be very effective. In fact, a 9-month randomized controlled study including 154 adults showed a decreased incidence, severity and duration of upper respiratory illnesses such as colds and flus with such meditation (2).

Chronic pain and depression

Mindfulness meditation may significantly decrease chronic pain as well as depression (3). The prefrontal cortex plays a role in depression while it also modulates and can lower pain perception, mainly through dopamine. Meditation is one of the activities that stimulate this area, which is why it can be so effective (4).

Similarly, people with diagnosed fibromyalgia benefit from meditation and other activities that help them practice “acceptance, non-attachment, and social engagement” (5).

Type 2 Diabetes and Hypertension

An 8-week study with 49 participants showed that those attending mindfulness classes twice weekly had significant health improvements, including lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and inflammatory markers over the control group, who attended a health education class. Participants practicing meditation also showed increases in focus, confidence, relaxation, and happiness; decreases in fatigue, anger, and loneliness (6).

Other Conditions 

Anxiety, sleep problems, and fatigue are among other conditions that mindfulness meditation may help manage (6).

With all the promising benefits of meditation that have been shown thus far, it would be wonderful to see more research with documented clinical success. However, if you are willing to implement a consistent practice, you may cultivate your own "self-healing" experience!

Resources

  1. Pascoe, M.C., Thompson, D.R., Jenkins, Z.M. and Ski, C.F., 2017. Mindfulness mediates the physiological markers of stress: systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of psychiatric research95, pp.156-178.
  2. Barrett, B., Hayney, M. S., Muller, D., Rakel, D., Ward, A., Obasi, C. N., … & West, R. (2012). Meditation or exercise for preventing acute respiratory infection: a randomized controlled trial. The Annals of Family Medicine10(4), 337-346.
  3. Hilton, L., Hempel, S., Ewing, B.A., Apaydin, E., Xenakis, L., Newberry, S., Colaiaco, B., Maher, A.R., Shanman, R.M., Sorbero, M.E. and Maglione, M.A., 2016. Mindfulness meditation for chronic pain: systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Behavioral Medicine51(2), pp.199-213.
  4. Ong, W.Y., Stohler, C.S. and Herr, D.R., 2019. Role of the prefrontal cortex in pain processing. Molecular neurobiology56(2), pp.1137-1166.
  5. Adler-Neal, A.L. and Zeidan, F., 2017. Mindfulness meditation for fibromyalgia: mechanistic and clinical considerations. Current rheumatology reports19(9), p.59.
  6. Lee, S.H., Hwang, S.M., Kang, D.H. and Yang, H.J., 2019. Brain education-based meditation for patients with hypertension and/or type 2 diabetes: A pilot randomized controlled trial. Medicine98(19), p.e15574.