Fire in the Brain
A friend is moving cattle through a wild fire damaged area in the Sierras to the protection of green pastures. She describes the earth as a surreal canvas of black and white staying alert to the hidden danger of smoldering fire just beneath the surface.
Of the three primary threats to brain health, inflammation smolders beneath the surface while the brain protects the neurons with the amyloid plaques of Alzheimers Disease (AD). Inflammation is the natural immune system response to invaders; however, chronic exposure to invaders results in an immune response in overdrive – smoldering fire in the brain.
Once believed to be impenetrable, the blood/brain barrier is now known to be comprised by infectious invaders such as viruses, oral bacterias, spirochetes of lyme disease, fungi such as candida albican and black mold as well as proteins modified by binding with glucose to form AGEs, advanced glycation end-products.
Just beneath the surface of everyday life are the the smoldering fires of brain inflammation grow into the flames of AD.
Elevated blood glucose leads to insulin resistance and diabetes. In addition, excess glucose silently attaches to many different proteins, like remoras to a shark creating AGE’s (Advanced glycation end-products). These AGEs cause free radicals to form. Free radicals are unstable molecules which damage anything they bump into such as DNA, cell membranes and blood vessels thus reducing nutritional support to the brain and causing leakiness of the barrier between blood and brain.
Compromised gut health weakens our immune system defense against to the impact of exposure to viral and bacterial invaders. Digestive incompetence; SIBO (small intestine bacteria overgrowth and Candidasis (overgrowth of fungi in the large intestine and colon) disrupt the fueling of the body with nutrients and damages the immune system.
Poor oral hygiene allows damaging bacterias in the mouth to dominate the oral micro-biome and permits the migration of these bacterias across the blood/brain barrier.
Preventing chronic inflammation prevents fire in the brain. The following three habits cools systemic inflammation:
Balanced diet of clean, whole foods dominated by vegetables, healthy fats and proteins reduces blood glucose preventing insulin resistance and diabetes. Ketonic and paleo are examples of brain healthy dietary choices.
Gut health supported by adequate digestive enzymes and gastric acid; maintaining a balanced micro-biome builds the critical foundation of a resilient immune system.
Regular oral hygiene takes on a new importance as it discourages the growth of damaging bacteria.
Need a “Smokey the Bear” to make your way though the fire zone to green pastures of brain health? Functional medicine physicians, nutritionists and holistic dentists know where to look for the smoldering fire beneath the surface and how to stamp out the Alzheimers flames in the brain.