By Rory Linehan
- Restoring proper gut function is crucial to reclaiming mental clarity over the long term
- Simply embarking on a healing diet often isn’t enough to reverse brain fog. Lifestyle interventions are essential to maximise brain health and healing
- The 7 simple strategies to boost your brain health include; Sleep,Vitamin D, Music, Exercise, Sex, Omega 3s and Blood Sugar Regulation
In Part 1 of this series, I discussed while there is no single causative factor for brain fog, new research suggests that the breakdown of the gut barrier is the first stage in developing the condition. Thus, restoring the gut’s proper function is crucial to reclaiming mental clarity. Let me make this clear, if you want improved brain function over the long term, you must prioritise your gut health. There are a number of fantastic posts which deal in detail on how to do this, including, here, here, here and here.
My post today outlines 7 strategies that will give you the biggest bang for your buck in lifting your brain fog. Simply embarking on a healing diet often isn’t enough to take back your mental clarity. Please consider both the dietary and lifestyle approaches in the post below in order to maximise your healing.
There is a reason why I have placed sleep first on the list – it is fundamental to proper brain function! Our bodies perform a number of brain-enhancing functions when we sleep, including clearing out toxic molecules associated with neurodegeneration. Furthermore, sleep has been shown to be crucial to memory. Our brains store our long-term memories during REM sleep, in a process called sleep spindles .
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D is important for than just strong bones. According to Dr Perlmutter, Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased risk for brain-related disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and even Dementia. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Neurology, correlated low levels of Vitamin D to a significantly increased risk of developing Dementia.
Music has been shown to boost brainpower. A new Canadian study shows that children who participated in a musical training program improved their verbal intelligence scores in just 20 days. Another study documented that music, coupled with exercise, increased cognitive levels in people diagnosed with coronary artery disease (which has been linked to a decline in brain function). If you are interested in using music to heal, check out this great music-based healing program from Anne Angelone, MS, LAc.
- Exercise (but don’t over do it!)
According to Dr Joseph Mercola, “Exercise encourages your brain to work at optimum capacity by causing nerve cells to multiply, strengthening their interconnections and protecting them from damage”. Research shows that exercise boosts our mitochondria, helping our brains to work faster and more efficiently.
A word of warning for those with chronic disease such as autoimmune disease: High-intensity exercising such as long-distance running can exacerbate your condition. Please check out my article on the exercise for more.
Now here’s a recommendation we can all get behind! A number of studies have shown that regular sexual activity is beneficial for our brain health. A 2014 study from the University of Maryland not only led to the growth and development of new brain tissue but it also improved cognitive function. While a study from 2010 found that sex causes cell growth in the region of the brain instrumental to long-term memory, meaning sex may help prevent memory loss and even Dementia.
- Omega 3
Did you know that approximately 60% of your brain is composed of fats, of which 25% is comprised of DHA (an omega 3 fat)? A diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids is essential to good brain function. Humans cannot produce Omega-3 fats so we must get it from our daily nutrition. Foods rich in DHA include fish and offal, including liver and brain.
A 2015 study shows that omega 3 fatty acids not only have neuroprotective effects, they represent a potential treatment in neurodegenerative and neurological disorders.
- Blood Sugar Regulation
In his best-selling book, Brain Maker, Dr Perlmutter says “blood sugar regulation is priority number 1 when it comes to preserving brain function”. The human brain depends upon glucose as its main source of energy and controlled regulation of glucose metabolism is essential for brain health.
According to a 2013 study, disruption of normal glucose metabolism (e.g. through overconsumption), can lead to cell death in the brain and forms the basis for a number of brain disorders.
Wow, is the word that comes to mind when I think of the response to Part 1 of this Series. I want to thank you for being such an uplifting and inspiring group of individuals! I was overwhelmed with your positivity and curiosity and hope that you found equal value in this concluding post of the series…
As part of the research for these posts, Petra from Petra8Paleo and I (thanks Petra!), invited you to participate in a survey on brain fog. Incredibly, all respondents to the survey reported experiencing brain fog at some stage in their lives and even after embarking on healing protocols such as the Wahls Protocol and the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol. A massive 80% of respondents still experience brain fog, even after having embarked on a healing diet! I’ve included some of the results from the survey below to help give you some perspective on the prevalence of the condition within the community.
Rory Linehan is the blogger behind the Paleo PI. Rory developed acute Mononucleosis in his late teens and slowly watched his health unravel over the following years. He developed rosacea, ocular rosacea, lethargy, brain fog, bloating and depression. He spent years troubleshooting his health to no avail until finding the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). The AIP gave Rory his life back, restoring his mood and energy as well as giving him a new lease on life for which he is eternally grateful. Rory troubleshoots the final pieces of his health jigsaw at the Paleo PI. The site helps others reclaim their health by providing people the tools to troubleshoot their health through his unique three pronged approach: Nutrition, Lifestyle and Mindset. You can connect with Rory at The Paleo PI website through his Facebook page or on Twitter.