Why Has My Brain Stopped Working?
Gillian, 42, a mother of two children, 4 and 6, worked as an accountant. She had a loving husband and a successful career she had worked very hard to create for herself. Gillian always had an incredible memory and could always count on her brain. However, over the past few years she noticed she could not remember phone numbers long enough to put them in her iPhone and was unable to keep up with her work and family responsibilities. She knew she was no longer really dependable at work, which really bothered her. But that was nothing compared to the guilt and frustration she felt, as she was not able to be the mother she wanted to be. She suffered from bouts of depression and, although she was not a fan of medication, her depression had got so bad she began taking antidepressants. The medications worked at first but she ceased taking them after she stopped noticing any benefits after a couple of months. She also started to develop digestive problems, including bloating and bouts of constipation. Gillian had always been the sort of person who could read a book in one sitting and remember everything she read. Now she could no longer focus and would begin feeling drowsy after reading just a few pages. She was also failing to remember what she had read after reading just one paragraph.
Gillian is displaying signs of neurodegeneration or the early signs of dementia, which include:
- Fatigue promoted by brain activity
- Poor Digestive Function
According to a study commissioned by the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, in 2011, nearly three-quarters of a million Canadian’s were living with cognitive impairment, including dementia. That equates to 15 per cent of Canadians 65 and older and if nothing changes in Canada, it is estimated that this figure will almost double to 1.4 million by 2031. Today, the economic impact of these figures is staggering, with the combined medical and lost earnings costs of dementia total of $33 million per year. Again if nothing changes, to prevent this disease the cost is estimated to climb to a mind-blowing $293 billion a year by 2040.
So what could have caused Jillian’s brain to so obviously degenerate at a relatively young age.
It is impossible to avoid some degree of neurodegeneration as our brain cells begin dying the moment we are born. However, certain factors will kill your brain cells at a much faster rate, including:
- Poor blood sugar regulation (Alzheimer’s is referred to as the “diabetes of the brain”
- Hypoxia (or reduced oxygen to the brain, often caused by poor circulation and anemia’s)
- Hormonal Imbalances
- Poor methylation (leading to elevated body Homocysteine levels and atrophy of the hippocampus part of the brain
- Traumatic brain injury.
So how can Gillian help herself and slow down her neurodegeneration.
She can do this by beginning to implement some of the following recommendations:
- Limit food toxins: These include gluten, genetically modified crops (soy, corn and canola) and sugar especially (corn syrup).
- Ensure adequate nutrient levels: Especially those needed for oxygen delivery (B12, iron and folate).
- Improve levels of Omega 3: Increased DHA, which is found in Omega 3 oils, has been found to increase brain function and plasticity.
- Improve digestion. There is a saying in functional medicine, “Fire in the gut equals fire in the brain.” i.e. inflammation in the gut will cause inflammation in your brain.
- Keep mentally active. Without constant stimulation neurons will atrophy and die.
- Keep active. Exercise is one of the best ways to increase blood flow to the brain.
- Ensure adequate sleep. Poor sleep has been shown to sabotage brain health.
I hope you found these ideas useful. More importantly, I hope you do something with them.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.