Brain Fog: Why Isn’t My Brain Working?
by Datis Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MS, MNeuroSci, FAACP, DACBN, DABCN, DIBAK, CNS (View Dr Kharrazian’s bio at the end of this article).
This new book offers a revolutionary understanding of brain decline and effective strategies to recover your brain’s health!
Have you noticed that your brain function not what it used to be, or you feel like you losing your memory, or that you can’t focus or concentrate, or that you feel that you are shrouded in brain fog? Do you fatigue easily? Have you lost your motivation or zest for life? Have people told you there is nothing wrong with you or you are just getting older? Have you not been the same since a head injury? If so, your brain may be growing old too fast, or degenerating. Modern diets, a stressful lifestyle, and environmental toxins all take their toll on the brain.
This doesn’t just happen to seniors—brain disorders and degeneration are on the rise for young and old alike. The good news is the brain is extremely adaptable and wants to get well. You simply have to know how to feed and care for your brain.
Symptoms of brain degeneration:
- Memory loss
- Lack of motivation, drive or passion
- Brain Fog
- Tire easily working, reading, driving, etc.
- Depression, anxiety
- Poor focus and concentration
- Difficulty learning
- Fatigue in response to certain foods or chemicals
There is an overwhelming amount of research supporting why the brain is affected by inflammation, metabolic disorders, and autoimmunity leading toward it’s rapid degeneration. This degeneration is what we deal with everyday as people. We see ourselves slowing, missing words, developing constipation, constantly stressed, chronic fatigue, forgetting where we parked our car or left our phone, dependency on venti stimulants and energy drinks, brain fog, losing enjoyment for the people and activities in our lives. These things we jokingly snicker about with our friends are early signs of brain decay. Many of these are risk factors for development of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. However, the brain is out of sight, so therefore out of mind. We have accepted these symptoms as normal so they are not seen as red flag warnings of the slippery slope ahead. Instead, nothing is done for them and more demise continues until one day you are sitting on a curb. Waiting. Waiting for help. Help that should have come decades earlier.
Why Isn’t My Brain Working? explores the research regarding brain health and degeneration. It ties together the common problems people have related to poor brain function and creates a model that the reader can finally see that what they are experiencing isn’t normal. Quite the contrary. Finally, someone has explained it for them! More importantly, this book unlocks a great deal of opportunities to create an environment for improving the function of your brain. Not only will you gain a better understanding of the brain, you will understand that proper metabolic function is essential for brain health. You don’t need to be a neurologist to have an appreciation for what can be done to support the most important system in your body.
This book covers a lot of ground. There are things that we commonly think of as being brain related, like head injuries, head aches and changes in our capacity to think and work, but also things we might not so readily associate with our brain, like allergies, body aches and pains, and hormone issues. Why Isn’t My Brain Working? is almost 500 pages in length and, while the author has tried to make it easily readable, it does contain a lot of medical language and supplement and nutrient names that might slow you down.
This book is very comprehensive, at least for a non-medical reader, and I would really recommend it for anyone interested in health and especially for those with any condition or issue they suspect is already, or might in future, affect their brain. Each chapter contains a description of the topic, some relevant case studies, any problems and their possible causes and treatment options, relevant tests that might be useful, and a chapter summary which is a good place to check back and see how much of the information you have retained. In my opinion this is one of those books that needs to be on the bookshelf with a variety of well dogeared sticky notes giving quick access to your family’s areas of concern.
The last chapter of the book contains a valuable Brain Health Reference Guide, which reviews the basics of what you need to know to get your brain back operating well. Although working with a qualified practitioner is frequently necessary, the bulk of the work falls on your shoulders. When it comes to addressing your brain health, your first and most important step (and probably your most difficult) is changing your diet. That’s the bad news. The good news is that many, many people experience profound improvement on a stricter diet and love following it.
Go Gluten-Free. If your brain is not working, a gluten free diet is your first step toward better brain health.
Follow the Leaky Gut Diet. In many cases, going gluten-free is not enough. The recommended diet allows the immune system to rest and the gut to repair, which profoundly impacts brain health.
Stabilize Blood Sugar. Balancing blood sugar is vitally important to brain health. Symptoms of both low blood sugar and high blood sugar are signs your brain be suffering from damage caused by blood sugar imbalance.
Reduce Stress. If you are feeling that you don’t have enough time for yourself, or do not get enough sleep, or do not exercise enough, you may be experiencing too much stress. Reducing the stress response is a way to reduce inflammation on the brain.
Improve Brain Circulation and Oxygen. One of the most vital nutrients for the brain is oxygen. Chronic stress, anemia, smoking, low blood pressure, high blood pressure, poor lung function, poor cardiovascular function and any mechanism that impairs blood vessels, such as diabetes, can impair the flow of blood to the brain.
Dampen Brain Inflammation. The most important steps to reducing brain inflammation are to address food intolerances, blood sugar imbalances, gut infections and inflammation, unmanaged autoimmune disease, poor brain oxygenation, chronic stress,hormonal imbalances and deficiencies.
Manage Neurological Autoimmunity. A common area of autoimmune attack is the brain and the nervous system, which can create diverse symptoms, including weakness, poor brain function, dizziness, burning sensations in the hands and feet, obsessive compulsive disorder. Strategies to dampen autoimmunity include increasing opiods with a positive mental attitude, love, appreciation for life, positive self-esteem and healthy levels of exercise. Other actions to consider are to stabilize your blood glucose levels, and to avoid glutens.
Support Acetylcholine. Foods that acetylcholine activity are high in natural fats, particularly animal fats.
Support Serotonin Activity. There are several nutritional compounds that support serotonin activity, including 5-HTP, Tryptophan, St. John’s wort, SAMe, P-5P. Niacinamide, Magnesium citrate and Folic Acid. It should be noted that most Americans eat enough protein-rich foots to supply precussors for all their amino acids, including serotonin. The bigger issue is general brain health, stress, and blood sugar imbalances, which affect how well the brain is able to uptake and use serotonin precursors.
Support GABA. Gluten intolerance, celiac disease, and autoimmune diseases can trigger an autoimmune reaction against the enzyme GAD which is responsible for making GBA. People with positive GAD antibodies should avoid eating gluten and foods high in artificial glutamates, such as MSG. Many people with GAD autoimmunity can react to foods high in glutamates with extreme anxiety, nervousness, migraines and more.
Support Dopamine. Common presentations of low dopamine can include depression, low libido, inability to gain muscle mass, erectile dysfunction.
Address Hormonal Imbalances. When hormones become imbalanced you lose neurotransmitter activity, which affects how you feel, function and view your life. Hormonal imbalances significantly impact brain brain inflammation and degeneration and considerably speed aging of the brain .
And many, many other items to be considered. Among them would be the elimination of omega-6 fats and the inclusion of omega-3 fats. The average american today eats a ratio of as high as 25:1 (hunter-gatherers ratio was about 1:1). This imbalance creates a very inflammatory environment that plays a role in many chronic conditions. Researchers recommend a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 that ranges from 1:1 to 4:1. Also important is to evaluate and eliminate toxins that reside in the brain. There are reactive tests that can be performed to evaluate your brain chemistry.
In conclusion, this book is about exploring the underlying causes of why your brain isn’t working, why you have a chronic health problem, or why you don’t feel as good as you once did. We are experiencing a critical lack of awareness and care for the explosion of chronic neurological and autoimmune cases in our population today. Medicine is in desperate need of a revolution to address this population and it can only come from you. Our health care model needs an educated and empowered populace to govern their own health and expect more from their doctors, which is an advance that will benefit both patients and doctors.
Book review written for Dr. Dave by Larry Heinrichs
Dr. Datis Kharrazian Biography:
Dr. Datis Kharrazian serves as an associate clinical professor for the Department of Preventive Medicine at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and is an adjunct professor at the National University of Health Sciences and Bastyr University.
Dr. Kharrazian is a faculty member of the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), for which he helps develop programs. IFM provides doctors with continuing medical education credits required for physician re-licensure and is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education
Dr. Kharrazian has been a leading educator in functional medicine and nutrition and has personally trained several thousand health care providers in post-graduate seminars during the last 15 years. These seminars are approved by the post-graduate department at the University of Bridgeport. He also speaks at numerous national and international medical symposiums every year.
He is currently a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, a Diplomate of the Board of Nutrition Specialists, and a Diplomate of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition. He earned a Master of Science in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, a Doctor of Health Science from Nova Southeastern University, a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Southern California University of Health Sciences, and he is currently completing his Ph.D. degree at Nova Southeastern University with doctoral research in autoimmunity and immunology.
Dr. Kharrazian is also currently in a post-doctorate clinical research scholar program at Harvard Medical School. He has published several scientific papers in the fields of nutrition, autoimmunity, and toxicology, and is conducting research in autoimmune molecular mimicry and environmentally induced immune reactivity.
He is on the scientific editorial board for the Journal of Functional Neurology, Rehabilitation and Ergonomics and Alternative Medicine Therapies in Health and Medicine, and is a requested scientific reviewer for several scientific journals.
Dr. Kharrazian has a private practice for patients seeking non-pharmaceutical alternatives to manage chronic conditions through diet, nutrition, and lifestyle applications. His practice has up to a one-year waiting list and is limited to patients suffering from chronic conditions. His global reputation has led to patients from all over the world seeking his care.
As a researcher and clinician, Dr. Kharrazian shares his clinical model in his two best-selling books, Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Test are Normal? and Why Isn’t my Brain Working? Both books have resulted in international explosion of positive testimonials and global interest in his clinical model to address chronic conditions.
Dr. Kharrazian currently works as a clinician, researcher, professor, industry consultant, and author striving to incorporate the most up-to-date, evidence-based concepts into clinical practice and to investigate missing clinical questions through his research. Combining his work as a researcher and as a clinician serving patients with challenging conditions has helped him create a new model of care. He provides clinical information to people suffering from chronic and overlooked conditions. As well, he educates those health care providers who serve a patient population in need of a Dcomprehensive, patient-centered approach.