Are You Inflaming Your Brain?
The brain and neurological tissue are extremely sensitive regions of the body that are highly susceptible to damage. One of the ways that our body protects itself from the threat of infection is through an immune process called inflammation. When inflammation effects the brain it can do some serious damage.
There are many things that throw off our immune balance and lead to chronic inflammation that can seep into our neurological tissue and cause problems. Our culture is loaded with brain poison. Some of the most damaging brain poisons include the protein gluten, unfermented soy, blood sugar imbalances, poor posture, & a sedentary lifestyle.
One of the most common nutritional/toxicity issues in our society today deals with the common protein found in wheat, barley, rye, oats, kamut, & spelt. Many people in our society have a gluten sensitivity. When they are exposed to gluten there body has differing degrees of inflammatory responses. Some individuals have mild inflammatory reactions while others have severe reactions.
The most vulnerable tissue to the inflammatory cascade in response to gluten is the brain & nervous system. The immune molecules that are secreted (cytokines) destroy brain tissue and cause massive neurological damage. The most common symptom associated with this reaction is “brain fog,” memory problems, and mental fatigue (1, 2, 3).
One of soy’s primary isoflavones, genistein, has been shown to inhibit the enzyme tyrosine kinase in the brain. The highest amounts of tyrosine kinases are found in the hippocampus, a brain region that is essential to learning & memory. High soy consumption actually blocks this mechanism of memory formation (4, 5).
Several studies have associated high intakes of tofu and other unfermented soy products to increased risk of dementia and cognitive impairments (5, 6, 7) . On the flip side, fermented soy products such as tempeh are associated with greater cognitive abilities.
Researchers hypothesize that this is due to the deep fermentation process removing enzyme inhibitors and phytoestrogens. In addition, this process increases folate, which is a critical nutrient for brain and nervous system function.
Blood Sugar Imbalance:
The brain depends on a continual supply of glucose for energy. A 2003 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that people’s memory is harmed by poor blood sugar metabolism (8).
The slower the sugar metabolism in the body, the less fuel is available for the brain to store memories. Stable blood sugar levels are critical for healthy brain and neuronal cells that fire quickly and efficiently. Abnormal blood sugar levels also cause neuronal damage and weaken the protective blood-brain barrier. This makes for easy passage of different toxins and other particles that will disrupt brain function.
A mechanism for Alzheimer’s disease is that of poor blood sugar metabolism. This pre-diabetic disorder opens the door in the blood brain barrier for toxic aluminum particles to cross-over and accumulate in the sensitive regions of the temporal lobe (9, 10, 11).
Sedentary Living & Poor Posture:
The brain depends on oxygen and activation from muscle and joint receptors on a continual basis. A lack of motion equals a lack of oxygen generating energy getting up into the brain. Research has also shown that a sedentary lifestyle impairs the brain’s ability to self-repair by reducing serum IGF-1 levels (12).
Poor posture and subluxated spinal vertebrae cause spinal joint receptors to fire abnormal, corrupted feedback patterns into the brain (13). This causes further brain-body feedback problems and disrupted movement patterns in the body. Chronically poor posture is one of the most detrimental factors for brain function. Here are 5 easy exercises to do regularly to improve your posture.
Sources For This Article Include:
- Gorelick PB. Role of inflammation in cognitive impairment: results of observational epidemiological studies and clinical trials. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 Oct;1207:155-62. PMID: 20955439
- Daulatzai MA. Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity Triggers Gut Dysbiosis, Neuroinflammation, Gut-Brain Axis Dysfunction, and Vulnerability for Dementia. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2015 Feb 2. PMID: 25642988
- Versino M, Biagi F, Bianchi PI, Zardini E, Colnaghi S, Moglia A, Corazza GR, Franciotta D. Gluten sensitivity and the CNS: diagnosis and treatment. Lancet Neurol. 2010 Jul;9(7):653. PMID: 20610340
- Harvey PA, Leinwand LA. Dietary phytoestrogens present in soy dramatically increase cardiotoxicity in male mice receiving a chemotherapeutic tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2015 Jan 5;399:330-5. PMID: 25458703
- Hogervorst E, Sadjimim T, Yesufu A, Kreager P, Rahardjo TB. High tofu intake is associated with worse memory in elderly Indonesian men and women. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2008;26(1):50-7. PMID: 18583909
- Xu X, Xiao S, Rahardjo TB, Hogervorst E. Tofu intake is associated with poor cognitive performance among community-dwelling elderly in China. J Alzheimers Dis. 2015;43(2):669-75. PMID: 25114086
- Roccisano D, Henneberg M, Saniotis A. A possible cause of Alzheimer’s dementia – industrial soy foods. Med Hypotheses. 2014 Mar;82(3):250-4. PMID: 24440006
- Anson RM, Guo Z, de Cabo R, et al. Intermittent fasting dissociates beneficial effects of dietary restriction on glucose metabolism and neuronal resistance to injury from calorie intake. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2003;100(10):6216-6220.
- Iadecola C. Sugar and Alzheimer’s disease: a bittersweet truth. Nat Neurosci. 2015 Mar 26;18(4):477-8. PMID: 25811474
- Moreira PI. High-sugar diets, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2013 Jul;16(4):440-5. PMID: 23657152
- Moreira PI. Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes: an integrative view of the role of mitochondria, oxidative stress, and insulin. J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;30 Suppl 2:S199-215. PMID: 22269163
- Trejo JL, Carro E, Nuñez A, Torres-Aleman I. Sedentary life impairs self-reparative processes in the brain: the role of serum insulin-like growth factor-I. Rev Neurosci. 2002;13(4):365-74. PMID: 12542262
- Proprioceptive input resets central locomotor rhythm in the spinal cat. Experimental Brain Research November 1987, Volume 68, Issue 3