Many brain-based issues related to dysregulated timing mechanisms and phase relationships due largely to stressors on some level
Rather than compartmentalizing brain issues they are recognized as each part of a larger constellation or spectrum related to dysregulated arousal
The best psychotherapy, brain training or medication cannot put a nutrient there that is not there and cannot remove some offending dietary substance that does not belong. The brain and body need certain raw materials in order to function. PERIOD
BOTTOM LINE: It’s no fun being a prisoner in your own nervous system!
Blood sugar issues are foundational to the regulation or dysregulation of all endocrine function and are important if not key contributors to many issues surrounding mental health
Blood sugar surges generate concomitant surges of both insulin and leptin-- each stimulating sympathetic over-arousal—generating and/or exacerbating anxiety-related disorders.
Blood sugar surges are enormously destabilizing neurologically, hormonally, behaviorally and emotionally.
Glucose in the bloodstream auto-oxidizes which produces potent free radical activity that damages tissues and forms cross-links with proteins called advanced glycosylation end products (AGE’s) known to accelerate the age-associated declines in the functioning of cells ( including brain cells ), other tissues and cause mutations in DNA. This leads to deterioration of brain function over time and increased risk for cancers.
Unhealthy and/or chronic surges of blood sugar are a common source of depression, anxiety, mania, mood swings, hyperactivity, irritability, violent tendencies and cognitive/attention-related dysfunction.
Blood sugar surges deplete the body of magnesium and B-complex vitamins essential to normal, healthy and calm neurological functioning
Addressing blood sugar issues is ESSENTIAL to mental health and stability
WHEREVER neurological, cognitive, attentional or mood-based issues present gluten sensitivity and/or celiac disease should always be included as a suspect
An article in the journal Neurology (Vol 56/No.3 Feb 13, 2005) states that “Gluten sensitivity can be primarily and at times exclusively a neurological disease”, affecting not only the brain and nervous system directly, but also cognitive and psychiatric illness.
In the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry (1997; 63; 770-775) the article states “Our finding…implies that immune response triggered by sensitivity to gluten may find expression in organs other than the gut; and the central and peripheral nervous systems are particularly susceptible.”
A study published in 2009 in the peer reviewed journal, Gastroenterology (July;137(1):88-93) compared 10,000 available blood samples from individuals 50 years ago to 10,000 people today and found that there has been a 400 % increase in the incidence of full blown celiac disease (defined by conventional medicine as a total villous atrophy of the small intestine)!
Gluten can also be looked upon somewhat as a bit of as “gateway food sensitivity”. It is known to increase an enzyme in the body known as zonulin , which controls intestinal permeability.
Elevated zonulin levels in the presence of gluten can also serve to allow other types of undigested proteins to slip past what would otherwise be more selectively permeable barriers and cause additional immunological reactions to other foods.
Carbs, Blood Sugar Dysregulation and Anxiety-Related Symptoms
BLOOD SUGAR ISSUES ARE THE #1 MOST POWERFULLY INFLUENCING FACTOR!
Food (gluten) sensitivities run a very close second
Insulin and leptin dysregulation are both generated by chronic blood sugar surges and both stimulate sympathetic over-arousal
Chronic blood sugar dysregulation leads to excess cortisol/adrenaline production, metabolic syndrome and increased potential for food sensitivities
Excess Carbohydrate Consumption and Blood Sugar Dysregulation consequences
Chronic blood sugar surges cause magnesium loss, necessary for normal parasympathetic functioning (insulin is needed to store intracellular magnesium. Magnesium is needed to produce and utilize insulin. Insulin resistance is depleting of and prevents retention of magnesium) Note: Magnesium loss also results in elevated histamine levels (which functions as an excitatory neurotransmitter).
Excess carbs lead to increased demand for B-complex (especially B1 and B6) and may readily lead to deficiencies
High carb diets tend to be poor protein utilization diets
High carbohydrate consumption can lead to yeast overgrowth
Blood sugar issues (inherent in carbohydrate-based diets) leading to serotonin, B-complex and magnesium depletion
Gluten sensitivity leading to frontal lobe hypo-perfusion and chronic microglial activation, as well as both gut-barrier and blood-brain barrier compromise and the potential for iNOS and autoimmune antibody activation
Dehydration leading to loss of function
Insufficient complete-source protein intake (as with vegetarian or vegan diets or very high carb diets) leading to diminished HCL production and insufficient amino acids for neurotransmitter synthesis
Excessively low fat intake leading to EFA deficiencies, impaired neurological function and absorption/utilization of fat soluble nutrients
Mineral deficiencies such as zinc, magnesium, iron which are normally essential for a positive mood
70% of children with untreated gluten sensitivity/celiac disease show exactly the same abnormal brainwave patterns as those with ADD
A study in The Journal Of Attention Disorders (March 2006, 1-5) stated : “In 132 participants all clinically diagnosed with ADHD ( that’s 100% ) after at least 6 months on a gluten-free diet, all ( emphasis mine ) patients or their parents reported a significant improvement in their behavior and functioning compared to the immediate period before diagnosis and dietetic treatment.”
In the same study it was also stated that “ All ADHD-like symptomatology patients should be tested for celiac disease with serum screening tests (EnteroLab or Cyrex Labs, please) , as celiac disease could be one of the causes of these neuropsychiatric symptoms. We are convinced that celiac disease may predispose to important mental and behavioral disorders.”
Gluten sensitivity is known to affect frontal/prefrontal lobe perfusion (blood flow) and subsequently impaired mood, memory, planning and judgment faculties, inhibitory capacity and cognitive functioning.
Improvement may typically be seen within several days to about 6 months of totally stopping gluten
Notoriously inaccurate. False negatives are almost more the rule than the exception.
You can take a “positive” result in any test to the bank, but a “negative” in no way implies that gluten sensitivity is not present.
Test for gluten sensitivity using Enterolab ( www.enterolab.com ) - A stool antigen test or Cyrex Labs ( www.cyrexlabs.com ) “Array 3” panel (the new gold standard in gluten sensitivity testing)—includes a multi-peptide panel w/a very high accuracy rate.
Most Common Nutritional Deficiencies Associated With ADD/HD:
Our ancestors didn’t necessarily select food based on the idea of optimizing health and longevity—but rather based on a need for survival. This makes the paleo model only a starting place in the longevity equation.
Nature does not necessarily automatically guide us toward longevity enhancement or optimal health…only modern science is really able to do this
Paleolithic dietary principles can be readily modified in line with modern longevity research to lead to a whole new model for optimal physical and brain health and a longer life
How To Take A Good Thing (the Paleo Diet) and Make It Better
One model that has worked consistently to improve health and longevity across all species (from yeast to primates) is modified caloric restriction
Caloric restriction– (as it turns out) is most effectively applied to carbohydrate and protein consumption
Focus needs to be on NUTRIENT DENSITY and minimization of insulin/mTOR levels (i.e., very low carb/moderate protein)
Dietary fat to satiety serves to eliminate hunger and fibrous vegetables and greens may be used to add desired bulk
Not just monkey business--Researchers confidently speculated that these findings would have considerable implications for combating aging and disease in humans.
Throughout their lives the calorically restricted group maintained superior health and aging-related biomarkers in every area including brain health (also metabolic health and rate, insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular vitality).
The caloric restriction group enjoyed a 3-fold reduction in age-related disease!! Also, they lost fat weight but maintained healthy levels of lean tissue mass.
They additionally retained greater brain volume (which normally shrinks with age and glycation) but more than that they retained superior cognitive function.
In January, 2009, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science published a study entitled "Caloric Restriction Improves Memory in Elderly Humans."
In this study, German researchers imposed a 30 percent calorie reduction on the diets of elderly individuals and compared their memory function with a similar age group who basically ate whatever they wanted. At the conclusion of the three-month study, those who ate without restriction experienced a small, but clearly defined decline in memory function, while memory function in the group consuming the calorie-reduced diet actually increased, and fairly profoundly.
In recognition of the obvious limitations of current pharmaceutical approaches to brain health, the authors concluded, "The present findings may help to develop new prevention and treatment strategies for maintaining cognitive health into old age."
“ R educed fasting insulin levels due to CR led to lower insulin resistance, higher insulin sensitivity, subsequently to improved insulin signaling in the brain and to increased synaptogenesis and neuronal survival”
“ Higher insulin sensitivity due to caloric restriction in our subjects, with subsequently improved insulin signaling in the brain, would be a plausible explanation for the observed memory improvements in the current study.”
Applying Caloric Restriction with Optimal Nutrition (CRON) is a means of taking the best (and oldest—tried and true) diet ever known to humankind, optimizing it for health and longevity
…..and even be able to afford it!
So…what’s the magic formula for long life and freedom from degenerative disease?
The elimination of dietary sugars and starch…or anything that turns into sugar (in other words, minimization of insulin need)
The moderation of protein intake (restricting protein calories to about the RDA: 44-56 grams per day or about 6-7 oz of COMPLETE protein (i.e., animal source). 0.8 grams per kilogram of ideal body weight in protein per day, on average for adults.
The inclusion of as much dietary fat as is needed in order to satisfy appetite (and calm leptin). This amounts NOT to a “high fat diet” but a “high percentage fat diet”.
The more liberal consumption of fibrous vegetables and greens- raw and cooked – for bulk and antioxidant value
Mental and physical health are inextricably entwined
We see the world through the lens that is our blood sugar stability (or instability), our hormones and our neurotransmitters. These will to a significant degree color your perception and experience of your world
There is nothing more stabilizing to the brain than healthy, natural dietary fat…and nothing more destabilizing than dietary sugar and starch.
The more you can come to rely on ketones as your brain’s primary source of fuel the healthier and more stable your brain will be and the more gracefully it will age
Modified caloric restriction (a nutrient-dense diet largely eliminating sugar and starch, moderate in protein, abundant in fibrous vegetables and greens and sufficient in natural dietary fat) adds a longevity and vitality bonus to both physical and cognitive function