Losing your mind does not have to be a process with no solutions or irreversibility, and is not just a process of aging that we must succumb to because “I am in my 70s”! Nor are brain dysfunctions (especially memory) limited to the aging process. Dr. Mark Hyman wrote an amazing book on broken brains called The UltraMind Solution. Whether we call it anxiety, depression, insomnia, bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia or Parkinson’s, the body can slow down and reverse the disease process. Just ask a functional MD, alternative practitioner or a naturopath how they have seen broken brains improve with detoxification, nutrient repletion, proper nutrition, homeopathy and botanical medicine. It is a miracle to watch because no one wants to face the fear of losing his or her mind and memory!
REM sleep, usually occurring at the end of an 8-hour sleep cycle, enhances memory by securing many of the synapses you create during the day. Interrupted sleep will diminish memory and cognitive function. Each of the five stages of sleep is about 90 minutes long, equaling the need for 7-½ to 8 hours of sleep. Twenty-five percent of Americans suffer from chronic insomnia. Although every person needs an individualized program to overcome sleep disturbances, here are some helpful sleep aids that will also improve memory and brain function:
• Add a 30-minute nap into your day (but no more!)
• Avoid alcohol (interferes with REM), caffeine, sugar, processed foods and low calorie/protein/good fats diets.
• Cleanse the Liver. Liver Balance TCM.
• Treat the adrenal glands … adrenal dysregulation will disrupt sleep. Adaptamax, Adrenal Support or Nervous Fatigue Formula.
• Replenish potential deficiencies with B3 (niacinamide), B1, B12, Chromium GTF, Magnesium Complex, Potassium Combination, L-Tryptophan (AKA ZenBev) or 5-HTP Power (increases the time spent in REM sleep),
• Assess possible food sensitivities - especially wheat, dairy, sugar, corn, soy, eggs and peanuts.
• Assess potential hypoglycemia … stop eating sugar and simple carbohydrates and eat protein and fat combinations one hour before bedtime.
• Direct Sleep Aids: Herbal Sleep, Kava Kava, Melatonin Extra, Passion Flower, Chamomile, GABA Plus, Anxiousless and many more!
Alzheimer’s Disease is a form of dementia and, according to Yale University researchers is caused by a neuron-specific enzyme called STEP (striatal-enriched protein tyrosine phosphatase). High levels of STEP prevent the brain from turning short-term memories into long-term memories and affects proper cognitive function, leading to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and other neurodegenerative disorders. A medication is being developed to decrease high levels of STEP, but according to The Memory Healer Program, the following combinations of foods may accomplish similar results.
Foods rich in carboxylic acids, amine hydrochlorides, benzyl alcohols and iron nitrates have been clinically shown to decrease elevated levels of STEP, resulting in improved memory and cognitive functions. The goal is to combine at least 2 oz. of foods or 8 oz. of liquids from Group 1; at least 4 oz. of foods or a pint of tea from Group 2; at least 1 oz. of foods or 8 oz. liquids from Group 3a, 3b and 3c; and at least 1 oz. of foods or 8 oz. juice from Group 4. Eat each chosen ingredient from each category as a combination meal between 6-8pm.
Group 1: pickles, grapes, apples, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, strawberries, pineapple, lemons, oranges, limes, lime juice, apple cider, apple juice, green tea, chocolate, chickpeas, red beans, black eyed peas, lentils, barley, squash, rhubarb, cinnamon, thyme, cloves, vanilla, lettuce, artichokes, tomatoes.
Group 2: beets, carrots, Jasmine Essential Oil, Ylang Ylang Essential Oil, leafy green vegetables, lettuce, raspberries, tea.
Group 3a: apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, black olives, celery, spinach, apples.
Group 3b: almonds, grapefruit, mushrooms, peaches, bell pepper, radishes, pineapple, cherries, wild rice, apricot, strawberries, bananas, avocados, green tea, lettuce, celery, peas, sweet potatoes, eggplant, green beans, beets, blueberries, pears, grapes, kiwi, melons, tangerines, figs, dates, mangoes, papayas, spinach, broccoli, artichokes, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, lemons, limes, seaweed, asparagus, kale, collard greens.
Group 3c: beef, chicken, turkey, duck, mussels, sardines, anchovies, scallops, shrimp, crab, lobster, cauliflower, spinach, green peas, asparagus, eggs, nuts, oats, milk, yogurt.
Group 4: arugula, rhubarb, cilantro, butter leaf lettuce, basil, beet greens, oak leaf lettuce, Swiss chard, beet juice, spinach, dark chocolate, raspberries, salmon.
• Stress creates a general inability to handle insults by decreasing the body’s healing inflammatory response through the immune system, causing increased risks for brain disorders.
• Poor food choices / lack of good foods.
• Dehydration (Book: Your Body’s Many Cries for Water). The brain is VERY sensitive to dehydration. Daily measure out ½ of your body weight in ounces of water to one gallon.
• Control blood sugar levels, including hypoglycemia.
• Balance the endocrine and nervous systems.
• Add a cleansing program to your life 4 to 5 times/year. A great one for the brain (and cardiovascular system) is The Mega Chel Program for eliminating excess cholesterol, calcium and toxins from the blood vessels for improved blood flow - especially to the brain.
• DHA or Super Omega-3s (both from fish oil) because 35% of the brain is made up of essential 3 fatty acids.
• Super Algae (Spirulina, Chlorella and Lake Algae), Love & Peas and Free Amino Acids. Protein is broken down into amino acids necessary for the production of neurotransmitters, especially dopamine and norepinephrine, resulting in better mood, memory and alertness. Eat 25-30 grams of protein within 1 hour of waking up.
• NutriCalm or Solstic Energy for B-Vitamins.
• Super ORAC (green tea, mangosteen, turmeric, quercetin, resveratrol, apple fruit, acai berry and selenium) for antioxidants.
• Ginkgo/Gotu Kola with Bacopa increases blood flow to the brain.
• Brain Protex
ASSESSMENTS: Tests for possible brain function disorders include: CT Scan, MRI, MTHFR gene mutation testing, genetic testing for apolipoproteinE-e4 (for Alzheimer’s Disease) and SPECT scans.
References: The Memory Healer Program, Textbook of Nutritional Medicine by Melvyn R. Werbach, M.D., Steven Horne references, Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Tori Hudson, N.D and Google/PubMed resources.