As the years go by it is certainly being made clear that clinicians like myself, and scientists alike, have dramatically underestimated the importance of vitamin D in human physiology. As it turns out, we are now in a position to recognize that we have been significantly off-base in terms of what it means to have a “healthy vitamin D level.” Continue reading
Sleep disorders in the pediatric population are common, occurring in as much as 30-40% of children. When children don’t sleep well, it sets the stage for a variety of other problems including poor general health, fatigue, declining school performance, depression, behavioral issues and weight gain.
A new study reveals an intriguing finding that explains not only what causes some children to struggle with sleep, but more importantly, what might well provide a safe remedy for the problem.
British researchers publishing in the Journal of Sleep Research evaluated the sleep patterns of 395 children aged 7-9 years. In addition, they performed a blood analysis on these children to measure their levels of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid. Continue reading
New and exciting research is revealing a strong connection between our mood and the various bacteria that live within our intestines. This is certainly a sobering notion. Think of it: the bacteria living within the digestive system are, to some degree, involved in determining whether we are happy, sad, anxious or even depressed.
In a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, researchers in the Netherlands explored the idea that changing the array of bacteria in the gut by giving a multispecies probiotic supplement could have an effect on mood. The study provided the probiotic to 20 healthy individuals, none of whom had a mood disorder, over a four week period. A similar group of 20 individuals received a placebo over the same period. At the conclusion of the study, both groups underwent an evaluation to determine their reactivity, in terms of cognitive function, to sad mood. This is a fairly standard research tool that assesses depression. Continue reading
The prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association welcomed in the new year by publishing what will surely become a landmark study. Researchers announced the results of a clinical trial of vitamin E in people with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease, and their findings may well revolutionize our approach to treating Alzheimer’s, a disease affecting more than 5.4 million Americans.
The study looked at the effect of dietary supplementation using 2,000 international units of non-prescription vitamin E daily in a large group of elderly Alzheimer’s patients, and compared their results over an average of around 2.3 years to similar patients who received a placebo, a pharmaceutical (memantine), or a combination of memantine along with vitamin E.
The best results were found in the patients who received the vitamin E alone. In these patients, the annual rate of decline in functional performance was slowed by approximately 20%. Functional performance includes important day-to-day tasks like preparing meals, bathing, shopping and eating.
We’ve all grown up knowing that vitamin D is important for strong healthy bones. After all, that was the reason that labels on milk cartons stated that the product was “fortified with vitamin D.” But research now demonstrates that the role of vitamin D in human health and disease resistance is much more vast than we ever imagined. Even brain health is significantly affected by vitamin D!
ScienceDaily, a well-respected web site for health and other science related information, has published a review of research performed at Peninsula Medical School, the University of Cambridge and the University of Michigan. The research collected data on close to 2000 adults, aged 65 years or older, and evaluated both cognitive function as well as vitamin D levels. The researchers clearly demonstrated that as vitamin D levels declined, so did brain function. In fact, those whose vitamin D levels were the lowest had double the risk of being diagnosed as cognitively impaired. Continue reading
Visit a grocery store or vitamin shoppe today, and you’ll instantly be overwhelmed by the myriad probiotic supplements available to you. With so many different types of probiotic strains and different brands, it may be hard to determine which is best for you.
My advice: focus on the five key Lactobaccilus and Bifidobacterium strains I identify as key in Brain Maker, and look for a supplement that has anywhere from 10-50 billion units/capsule.
Watch this video for more advice on probiotics, including the best conditions for consumption.
Frequently, I see members of this community write in with concerns on how taking an antibiotic may be disrupting the balance of their gut microbiome. Certainly, this is a valid concern, as even the word’s root definition troublingly means “against life.” In today’s video, find my advice for how protect the delicate balance of your microbiome while on antibiotic, the very same strategies I use when I find myself on one.
While we can use food to nurture and protect our bodies and our brains, supplements play an important role in preventing inflammation and helping us achieve total health. In both Grain Brain and Brain Maker, in addition to laying out the lifestyle plan you should follow to avoid brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, I mention some of the most important supplements you can take for your health.
However, I’m often asked what my own daily routine is. Well, today I’m here to tell you.
I’ve presented several videos indicating that lifestyle factors are obviously very important in determining whether your brain is going to be healthy or you are going to be at risk for a degenerative condition of the brain, an example being Alzheimer’s disease. It turns out that the reason that the high carbohydrate, the lack of physical exercise, gluten and other things that lead to inflammation are so important is because they tend to increase, as mentioned, inflammation. The process of inflammation is tied in intimately with increasing free radicals. These are the two pillars. Inflammation and the action of free radicals ultimately damage brain cells and lead to death of brain cells. In this video we will dive deeper into this process and what you can do to prevent it.
Isn’t it incredible to know, and fully appreciate, that our gut bacteria have a powerful role in brain health. So, shouldn’t we be doing everything possible to facilitate the health and balance of this bacteria to cause better health? One way to do this is with probiotics. Learn more in this video.