The Incredible Brain – And How to Keep Yours Working
Your Brain Repair Program
by Dr. Scott Saunders
The brain is arguably your most important organ. Primarily because it controls everything else. Compared to all the other tissues of the body, it uses the most energy and circulation by far. What’s more, a hard shell protects the brain, which sits in water for added shock-absorption.
It is important to protect your brain in other ways, as well. The “blood-brain barrier” prevents unwanted material, like viruses and bacteria in the blood, from crossing over into the brain tissue. The brain even requires a very specific protein to transport glucose to itself from the blood. Clearly it is important to protect your brain!
- Loss of memory
- Dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Gradual brain shrinkage
In fact, half of all Americans who reach the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s disease.  How can all this happen if the brain is so well-protected?
Even though the array of factors that can cause brain dysfunction is vast, I want to provide you with the most potent brain-protecting information.
The most important issues for the brain are:
- Energy production
Nutrition for the Brain
The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and sugar for energy. In fact, every essential nutrient is used to fuel the brain. Amino acids that come from the protein you eat are the building blocks of your brain’s network. They help make your neurotransmitters.
If your brain becomes malnourished from low oxygen, lack of nutrients, or toxins, then it atrophies and you lose brainpower. Some of the brain cells may die, but they can also go into an unconscious state, called “senescence.”
The brain functions that are lost first are the non-essential ones, such as memory. The essential functions of muscle control, and sensory input are the last to be affected. Thus, a loss of memory may be an early sign of a lack of energy to the brain. Just as our brain influences our health, so our health influences our brain.
What Causes the Brain to Atrophy
1. Lack of oxygen
- Lack of exercise
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Vascular disease
2. Lack of nutrients
- Proteins due to diet or poor digestion
- Good fats
- B-vitamins (especially folate and B12)
- Magnesium, zinc, and trace minerals
- Aspartame (and other sweeteners)
- Heavy metals:
– Sleeping pills
– Allergy medications
– Cholesterol medication
– Pain medications
– Depression medications
The above factors (such as cigarette smoking, medications, obesity, disrupted sleep patterns and poor dietary habits) compromise the integrity of your brain. These irritants stimulate inflammation.
The brain is particularly susceptible to oxidative damage. Energy is generated from food, and regulates growth and change of cells. Too much energy for the brain causes oxidation, damage, or “rust.”
For example, when you have a nice car, you wash and wax it regularly so the paint doesn’t oxidize. Oxidation occurs when energy from the sun and oxygen combine and break down the molecular structure of the paint.
There is no way for the car paint to protect itself. So we keep the car in the garage, put a cover on it, or wax it regularly. The wax absorbs the energy, oxidizes, and comes off – then we replace it. You may not like to wax your car, but it’s better than replacing the paint!
Likewise energy is generated from food, and regulates growth and change of brain cells. Too much energy causes oxidative damage by “oxygen free-radicals.” These are high-energy molecules that damage everything they touch – like the sun. They are especially dangerous to DNA because the damage may cause entire loss of the cell. Losing brain cells is not good for memory! Research has shown that simply eating too many calories can increase the amount of damaging molecules like free radicals that can build up in the brain. When these dangerous little free radical particles become too numerous for the brain to remove, they can lead to problems in cognitive function, death of neurons, premature aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.
All aging is caused by damage to DNA in different cell types of the body. But the brain is especially sensitive to damage because brain cells don’t divide or regenerate. That decay is evident in brain tissue with selective loss of brain cells in areas associated with mobility, learning and memory. This is why those functions deteriorate most rapidly with aging.
We can prevent the “aging” of the brain the same way we can prevent the “aging” of the paint on our car. We just need to know how to do this so hundreds of thousands of Americans like you aren’t robbed of joy and satisfaction in life each year.
The brain’s appetite for energy is great. Thus, we need enough, but not too much energy. How do we walk this fine line?
While there is still a lot to learn about our brain’s metabolism, I have worked out a few ways to help keep your thinking organ in shape, now and as you age.