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.


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.

woman sleeping

5 Easy Steps To Sleeping Like A Baby (Again)

Do you find it frustratingly difficult to fall asleep at night? Wake frequently during the night? Weary-eyed at 4AM, without being able to fall back asleep?

The many variations on the theme of insomnia are a major health concern, to the point where the CDC has declared it a public health epidemic. Americans are notoriously sleep-deprived, and the stats in this country are staggering:

  • Approx. 30% of adults have symptoms of insomnia
  • Approx. 10% of the population may suffer from long-standing insomnia
  • Insomnia costs the workforce $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity
  • Insomnia is a major contributing factor to deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes
  • Roughly 27% of working women suffer from insomnia, compared to 20% of working men

Insomnia is defined as: “Difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, or both, despite adequate opportunity and time to sleep, leading to impaired daytime functioning.” Sound like you fit the bill?

In my office, I see lack of good sleep likely undermining or being a contributing factor in many conditions, including chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, and IBS. In fact, studies have shown that ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and stroke. Insomnia can also increase the risk of car crashes, work-related accidents, and cancer.

 

How much sleep is enough?

Here are the recommended number of hours of sleep per age group:

  • 0-1 year: 12-16 hours/day (including naps)
  • 1-3 yrs: 11-14 hours/day (including naps)
  • 3-5 yrs: 10-13 hours/day (including naps)
  • 6-12 yrs: 9-12 hours/day
  • 13-18 yrs: 8-10 hours/day
  • Adults: 7-8 hours/day

 

Bottom Line: The right quantity and quality of sleep is worth it!

Consider these health benefits of good snoozing:

  • Healthy growth and development in kids
  • Proper healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels
  • Improved insulin response - this is the hormone that controls your blood sugar level
  • Improved immune function, enabling your body to fight infections with more oomph and keep inflammation in check
  • Better ability to think, learn, work, and be actively and positively engaged with your environment.

 

How To Get Sleeping Like a Baby Again:

Here are some tried-and-true methods to help encourage great sleep. If you still need help rebooting your sleep after implementing these, consider a Reboot consult.

  1. Create a foolproof sleep environment:
    1. Your bed, pillow, sheets, and blanket should be as clean, natural, and organic as possible. This reduces exposure to toxic chemicals, including formaldehyde, benzene, and naphthalene.
    2. Keep your wifi off at night. Here's why. This is particularly important for individuals who have a known sensitivity to EMFs. But, all of our brains would surely benefit from reduced exposure, especially at night, when our bodies are in repair mode.
  2. Set yourself up for nighttime success with your daytime activities:
    1. Avoid caffeine after noon
    2. Exercise daily, preferably in the morning
    3. Get plenty of fresh air and sunlight
    4. Have dinner by 7:30PM
    5. Get into bed by 9PM in order to be asleep by 10PM
  3. Establish an evening routine to encourage an easy transition to bed. This routine may include:
    1. A warm bath
    2. Meditating
    3. Reading a good book
    4. Spending quality time with loved ones
    5. Try to avoid computer use within two hours of going to bed, as the blue light can suppresses the production of melatonin (aka. our “sleep hormone”)
  4. During the night:
    1. Righto, Keep that wifi off!
    2. Get your room as calm and dark as possible- consider black-out blinds and reduce extra sources of light
    3. Open your window a bit, even if it’s just a sliver, so that the well-oxygenated air from outside can circulate through the bedroom
  5. If you still need some extra supplemental support:
    1. My go-to supplement is NapCaps, which contains herbal extracts of valerian, passionflower, and lemon balm, as well as L-Theanine and 5-HTP. It works wonders for many of my patients (and me)!
    2. 1-2 teaspoons of a gentle lemon balm & chamomile tincture or a cup of tea from these herbs can also be lovely, taken 15 minutes before bed.

It’s ALWAYS important to focus on any underlying factor(s) or conditions egging on that nighttime wakefulness. Salivary adrenal hormone testing can help to determine abnormalities in your circadian rhythm cycling (ie. you should have the “wake” hormones be high during the day and the “sleep” hormones high during the night, but sometimes these levels are turned around or are otherwise abnormal). I use this type of testing often in my office, and have found it to be a foundational part of the assessment process for insomnia.

Want to make an appointment at Reboot Center? Easy!!

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3157657/

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency

https://www.sleepdr.com/the-sleep-blog/cdc-declares-sleep-disorders-a-public-health-epidemic/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

 


Fresh healing herbs

Homeopathy Basics for Beginners & Skeptics

"What is homeopathy, really?"... We integrative physicians get this question a LOT! 

Homeopathy is commonly confused with naturopathic or herbal medicine. It is not a synonym, but rather a specific modality used within the broad scope of natural medicine. It emerged through observation of the phenomena that “like cures like” in the 18th century. 

Homeopathic remedies are dilute preparations of natural substances sourced from plants, minerals, and even metals or animals. The medicines are typically so dilute that there is not a detectible whole particle of the original substance left (it is mainly water). Homeopathic medicines work through using a specific noxious but minute stimulus to encourage the body's natural ability to heal. This means it is fairly gentle and low-risk.

Sounds great, but how do I know that homeopathy really works?

Since the way homeopathy works seems a little, well, "woo", it rightfully attracts a healthy amount of skepticism. I myself had to be convinced that homeopathy was effective through using it as a patient, as a doctor, and by staying informed about well-designed research studies. 

My personal experience

This is what really got me hooked on homeopathy. As an ND student at Bastyr University, I seemed to have a knack for homeopathic prescribing. I figured I should also try it as a patient because I was a little skeptical about its effectiveness. I had some chronic health conditions and had already tried just about everything to minimize my need for pharmaceutical medications with negative effects. My diet was healthy and clean, I exercised, and I took many herbs and supplements. However, there was something deeper that none of those medicines truly touched. I was left with some very pesky health challenges. Some of the remedies my homeopath had prescribed resolved aspects of my illnesses permanently, quickly and obviously. Other times, healing was more gradual, but sticking with it as part of my regular health care has been priceless. 

As a doctor, I find great joy seeing people who have also tried so many things finally get relief with the right homeopathic remedy. It also works well for those new to naturopathic medicine or with limited resources.

Research in homeopathy 

For folks who also enjoy research, here are brief highlights from a few of my favorite published studies:

A case study that one of my teachers spearheaded showed the successful treatment of chronic Hepatitis C using homeopathy. As Hepatitis C progresses, it causes liver fibrosis that is considered irreversible. Remarkably, in one of the cases, a liver biopsy confirmed that after homeopathic treatment, the patient’s liver fibrosis had reversed (1).

A very well-designed randomized, double-blind clinical trial showed individualized homeopathy to be a safe and effective treatment for depression and menopausal symptoms when compared with both placebo and a standard, well-researched antidepressant, Fluoxetine (Prozac). Side effects were minimal. Both homeopathy and fluoxetine were found to be effective antidepressants for improving depression in climacteric women after a 6-week treatment; additionally, homeopathy, but not fluoxetine, was found to improve menopausal symptoms (2).

"I've tried homeopathy that I picked up over-the-counter, but I am not sure it helped."

I have heard this many times. I almost wish that it was not available over the counter, because that is not how it was intended to be used.

Classical, or constitutional, homeopathic medicine is highly individualized with over 3,000 remedies your practitioner can choose from to match to your specific symptoms. There are remedies that are commonly used and fairly simple to prescribe, ie Arnica for muscle injuries. However, I recommend seeing an experienced homeopath in most cases, since they have the skill set to prescribe remedies that are more likely to work well.

A 2012 NHIS survey found that “homeopathy users who saw a practitioner were significantly more likely to feel that homeopathy was ‘very important in maintaining health and well-being’ and that it helped their health condition ‘a great deal’ than were homeopathy users who did not see a practitioner” (3).

When to consider homeopathy as part of your medical care

Most of my experience and training is in using classical homeopathy to treat mental health and neuropsychiatric disorders. For example, I have seen improve conditions in OCD, ADHD, autism, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, as well as PANS and PANDAS, which are pediatric neuropsychiatric conditions associated with infections. However, it can be used in many other types of conditions, and I have used it for other complaints such as heart palpitations, chronic vaginal pain and/or bacterial infections, chronic sinusitis or digestive complaints.

If you are curious about homeopathic medicine, we offer 15 minute complimentary meet-and-greet visits, at which time we can determine if homeopathy may be a good fit for you and your health needs.

Resources:

  1. Sarter, B., Banerji, P., & Banerji, P. (2012). successful treatment of Chronic Viral Hepatitis With High-dilution Medicine. Global advances in health and medicine, 1(1), 26-29.
  2. Del Carmen Macías-Cortés, E., Llanes-González, L., Aguilar-Faisal, L., & Asbun-Bojalil, J. (2015). Individualized homeopathic treatment and fluoxetine for moderate to severe depression in peri-and postmenopausal women (HOMDEP-MENOP study): a randomized, double-dummy, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. PLoS One, 10(3), e0118440.
  3. Dossett, M. L., Davis, R. B., Kaptchuk, T. J., & Yeh, G. Y. (2016). Homeopathy use by US adults: results of a national survey. American journal of public health, 106(4), 743-745.

Natural sources of vitamin B9

Folate on the Brain: A Natural Approach to Treating Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism is more a constellation of symptoms than a disease with a single cause. In fact, there is often more than one causative factor involved in autism and similar diagnoses. One basic tenet of naturopathic medicine is to treat the cause. In autism spectrum disorders (ASD), many cases have a genetic component that is “hard-wired”, so to speak, and therefore not theoretically treatable. However, some genetic changes have associated treatments. And if these and other contributing causes are also successfully identified and treated, this can result in significant improvements.

One area of focus is identifying and treating issues with how the body utilizes folate, an essential nutrient also known as vitamin B9. Folate is required in multiple metabolic processes required for healthy brain function. Some of these processes ultimately make DNA and RNA as well as keep harmful chemicals that may cause neuro-inflammation at bay.

Rich sources of folate include dark leafy greens, asparagus, beats, chickpeas and liver. Folate is generally absorbed in the small intestine. After absorption, it requires a specific protein transporter called folate receptor alpha (FRα) to make its way to the brain.

MTHFR and beyond:

The methyltetrahydrofolate (MTHFR) gene has been a hot topic in research for many chronic health conditions - from ASD to autoimmune conditions and cardiovascular disease. This gene produces the MTHFR enzyme, which helps convert circulating folate, which is in the form of tetrahydrofolate (THF), to its usable form, 5-methyl-tetrahydofolate. Mutations in the MTHFR gene have been found to be somewhat more prevalent in ASD(1). These mutations are fairly common, and supplementation of methyl folate can be helpful in mitigating its effects. That being said, MTHFR is only one small piece to a larger picture—think of an engine that has several gears required for it to work properly. If one gear breaks, others get overloaded and dysfunction ensues. There are other mutations, or polymorphisms, that can affect the pathways that MTHFR is connected to; these have also been shown often to be present in ASD(1). Generally speaking, these polymorphisms lead to trouble in detoxification pathways, DNA and RNA repair, changes in neurotransmitter levels, and increased oxidative stress, all of which can affect the brain. In ASD, these polymorphisms have associations with decreased cellular uptake of folate as well as depleted sources of SAMe, cysteine and glutathione. It is important to note that there is variability across the spectrum, depending on the particular genetic profile of the person(2). This is why testing for these polymorphisms should be an essential diagnostic tool. With testing, nutrient supplementation can be optimized to meet the specific needs of the individual.

-The folate cycle & related pathways-

-The folate cycle & related pathways-

Arguably more important than MTHFR or related polymorphisms, recent research shows that many people with ASD may have trouble getting folate to the brain. This may be attributed to the presence of antibodies to FRα, a specific transporter that is required to allow circulating folate into the fluid surrounding the brain.  A study of 93 children with ASD showed that 75.3% of them had antibodies that either bound to or blocked FRα, thereby inhibiting the uptake of folate into the brain.  In study participants that had antibodies to FRα, high doses of leucovorin, which contains a metabolically active form of folate called folinic acid, significantly improved language and communication as well as attention and stereotypical behavior.  This means that in individuals who test positive for FRα antibodies, high doses of folinic acid may yield a dramatic improvement.  

Beyond supplementation, a low-allergenic diet can lower the body’s immune response in general. Specific food allergies or sensitivities can be tested for via skin prick or serum testing. Adhering to such a diet can result in fewer FRα antibodies and improved folate uptake.  

Please consult with your or your child’s physician to discuss an optimized diagnostic and treatment regimen, for what could quite possibly result in dramatic improvements!

Sources:

  1. James, S. J., Melnyk, S., Jernigan, S., Cleves, M. A., Halsted, C. H., Wong, D. H., Gaylor, W. (2006). Metabolic endophenotype and related genotypes are associated with oxidative stress in children with autism. American Journal of Medical Genetics. Part B, Neuropsychiatric Genetics: The Official Publication of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics, 141B(8), 947–956. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.b.30366
  2. James, S. J., Cutler, P., Melnyk, S., Jernigan, S., Janak, L., Gaylor, D. W., & Neubrander, J. A. (2004). Metabolic biomarkers of increased oxidative stress and impaired methylation capacity in children with autism. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 80(6), 1611–1617.