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The Key to Brain Health: A Holistic Approach

Have you ever wondered about aging and how some people are sharp until the day they die while others are lost? I have, a lot, which has spawned me to seek more knowledge regarding Brain Health…. Embarking on the quest for enhanced brain health often leads me to the crossroads between modern medicine and ancient wisdom. I find this topic challenging because of my own bias towards natural, more “earthly,” things; however, it's imperative to ground my research into evidence-based benefits of nature's bounty while recognizing the importance of our own disciplined lifestyle.



In today's world, we're witnessing the mushrooming rise of an industry worth billions, banking on the premise that consuming external medications can cure or enhance our brain's longevity. Yet, how much truth can really lie within this claim? Reflecting on the profound words of Marcus Aurelius from his "Meditations" – "You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength," I am inclined to ponder on the authenticity of such “western” medicinal promises. In my perspective, the longevity of brain health is intricately connected with our life choices and daily habits. In other words, our lifestyle and choices predict our outcome (aka. Personal Responsibility).

 

Take blueberries, a supposed “superfood” that are celebrated for their rich content of anthocyanins—potent antioxidants with neuroprotective benefits. A wealth of research, including a study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, has shown that these berries can help mitigate cognitive decline and improve memory. (1) Their bioactive compounds reduce oxidative stress (this is key for health) and inflammation, which are critical in safeguarding our neurological pathways. These can be added into a high protein breakfast to reduce carbohydrate levels while boosting fiber intake.


Shifting focus from nutrition to our physical practice, Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training emerges as a cutting-edge exercise technique. It involves restricting venous blood flow return while engaging in low-intensity workouts; the weight selected during BNF exercise has to be at a very moderate to light load. This unique training method has been shown to increase the production of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), a protein integral to brain health. BDNF acts as a neural fertilizer, promoting the survival and growth of neurons and supporting cognitive functions like learning and memory.

 

In regards to supplements, Lion's Mane Mushroom stands out for its cognitive enhancing properties. Studies suggest that its bioactive substances, hericenones, and erinacines, stimulate the growth of brain cells. (2) Moreover, research indicates that Lion's Mane may have the potential to improve mental functioning in those with mild cognitive impairment. These natural aids to brain health are complemented by habits / practices such as fasting and the inclusion of specific nutrients like DHA-rich fish oil. Fasting acts as a metabolic switch, turning on the body's repair mechanisms and improving mitochondrial efficiency. Simultaneously, fish oil enhances neuronal flexibility and communication, which are vital for cognitive agility and mood regulation. Personally, I enjoy Cod Liver Oil as well, offering the same benefits of Fish Oil with a boost of Vitamin D as well.


Yet, it's essential to remember that even when we choose the right things, pairing foods together properly play a role too… for example, high-fat and high-carb diets can undermine these benefits. They can activate the brain's reward system, leading to addictive behaviors and negating the positive impacts of a well-considered nutritional and exercise regimen.


In conclusion, the symbiotic relationship between disciplined lifestyle choices and the strategic use of nature's provisions help pave the way to enduring cognitive youthfulness.


SUMMARY OF HABITS

Eat Blueberries… choose wild organic, which are packed with Anthocyanins is the neuro-inflammatory properties; wild also contain less sugar!

 

Meditation & Breathing… meditation is about changing brain wave patterns, so be still and find your own form that allows you to seek solitude; breathing practices like Wimhoff, for example, can alter your state as well!

 

Sodium… Sodium is a signaler and the Neurons in your brain need sodium

-       Think about supplementing with Magnesium Glycinate… 400-500mg

 

Sauna… high heat creates intercranial pressure, which flushes out brain metabolites, thus benefiting the Glymphatic system

 

Endurance Training… a few times per week can be beneficial for longevity through lactate and BDNF

 

Eat a good amount of Fiber… 80-90% of the serotonin in the brain is from your gut and a healthy gut requires diversity…

 

Try Fasting… this hormonic stressor has been shown to help with mitochondria health, helping them become stronger and more efficient to burn/use energy.

 

Supplement with Fish Oil, well Omega-3… High amounts of DHA… increases cell & membrane flexibility; Cod Liver Oil can be used here too, which also helps provide you with Vitamin D

 

Eat more Cruciferous Veggies… these are great for estrogen metabolism and NRF2 (helps resolve inflammation & oxidative stress caused by free radicals).

 

Avoid High Fat & High Carb Meals… Both stimulate different regions of the brain that are highly addictive because your brain gets high

 

For a journey that's tailored to your specific needs, and for deeper insights, reach out to FMFMark@gmail.com. Let us embark on this path to a sharper more youthful you!!

 

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