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How to Heal Your Brain


How to Heal Your Brain

By Annie Osborn, L.Ac., Naturopathic Practitioner

The human brain weighs only three pounds, yet uses 20% of the body’s glucose, or energy supply. The central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) is the center for all physiological mechanisms: digestion, hormone production, immune modulation, learning, memory, mood, sleep and more. Our brains need a constant supply of energy, oxygen, and stimulation to function well. 

The nervous system (brain and nerves) can be thrown off by trauma, stress, injury, surgery, drugs, and abuse, to name a few. Electro-magnetic fields (EMFs) or radio frequency fields such as from cell phones/ towers, WiFi, smart meters, electrical appliances or airport body scans can also negatively affect the brain and nervous system.

A brain or nervous system deficiency can produce mental or emotional symptoms such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, insomnia, poor memory, brain fog, excessive worry, fear, grief, depression or anger. In addition, physical symptoms of imbalance include pain of any sort, numbness, tingling, twitches, jerks, spasms, cramps, neuropathy, chest tightness, shortness of breath, sweats, and an inability of the body to heal, especially from pain conditions.

Key brain neurotransmitters include dopamine, serotonin, GABA, norepinephrine and acetylcholine. 70% of serotonin and 50% of dopamine is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, so a healthy diet is crucial for optimal brain and mood health.

Plasticity, the ability of the brain to adapt or change, is also crucial for optimal brain and mood health. You can increase brain plasticity by learning new ideas, e.g. language, thinking critically, or utilizing therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, light or laser therapy.

Specific Nutrients to Improve Brain Function

I have found after 16 years of clinical practice in natural medicine that certain nutritional supplements are crucial for brain healing. Vitamins such as folic acid, B6, B12, choline & inositol; minerals such as magnesium, potassium (electrolytes); amino acids, either a combo formula or specific ones such as L-Glutamine, L-Carnitine, L-Taurine or GABA; ribonucleic acid (RNA), protomorphogens (PMGs) and healthy fats such as coconut oil or omega 3 oils are especially helpful in improving brain health. These nutrients can be crucial in reducing anxiety or depression, brain fog, negative thoughts as well as improving memory, clarity, motivation, happiness and balancing hormones. Individual needs vary; each person will have different requirements for brain healing.

Stress can increase the adrenal hormone cortisol, which can slow brain function. Indeed the primary adrenal hormones epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine are also brain neurotransmitters of the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight). Thus there is an intimate connection between adrenals, stress and mood. 

In cases of head trauma or brain injuries, I also recommend cranial-sacral or chiropractic for realigning the structure of the fine bones in the skull. 

Lifestyle modifications such as yoga, meditation, & Qi Gong are supportive. One can adopt mindful strategies such as developing the inner observer and retraining the mind to reduce negative or fearful thoughts. These can be replaced with positive, loving or grateful thoughts

Our brain, like our bodies, is capable of healthy cell reproduction, so it is important to supply it with proper nutrients (protein and healthy fats), as well as regular exercise to enhance oxygen uptake & endorphins, and rest for replenishment. The brain neurons (nerve cells) heal, though nerves take a long time to renew. It can happen in 3-5 months, but may require 6-12 or even 18 months to fully recover, such as after surgery. Proper amino acids and above nutrients can speed this healing process. 

To learn more: Successful Brain Fair, Finley Center in Santa Rosa October 10, 10-4 pm INFO:  Donation is $10. 

 Annie Osborn, L.Ac. is a traditional naturopathic practitioner in Santa Rosa for 16 years. She will be offering free muscle response testing (applied kinesiology) demos on brain & nervous system health at the Brain Fair. At 2:45 she will present a talk on Brain/Mood Optimization. or call 707-494-8606