February 2013 Newsletter, The Brain Edition
Medicine for the Mind
How to beat the Blues, stay focused and keep your mind sharp at any age.
Does our brain really shrink when we’re pregnant? Is it an inevitable sign of aging that we get cloudy thinking and memory loss? If your grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease does that mean you’re most likely going to get it too? Is it normal to feel sad and anxious on a fairly regular basis?
The good news is that with proper nutrition and supplementation most, if not all of our brains ‘hiccups’ can be corrected.
1. Regulate Blood sugar Levels
Hypoglycemia can cause aggression, brain fog, lower intelligence and decreased concentration. Worse of all, almost everyone one of us, especially our children start the day in just this state. Sugary cereals, toast and jam and coffee, are all stimulants that give us an initial boost followed by a crash.
The Solution: Chose complex carbohydrates and balance every meal with protein and fat. Complex carbohydrate release glucose in a slower rate than processed sugary carbs but even they turn into glucose fairly quickly in your blood stream; so, add almond butter to your whole grain toast instead of jam, oatmeal with nuts and seeds or eggs instead of are all great ways to start the day. Skip store bought fruit juice as it’s full of sugars, both natural and not, and consider juicing your own vegetables and fruits. *
2. Lubricate the gears
Low brain fat levels are associated with depression, dyslexia, distractibility, ADD, fatigue, schizophrenia, memory problems and even emotional instability. 60% of the dry weight of the brain is fat, and in our fat phobic society, the chances that you’re getting all you need without proper supplementation are slim to none. Fact is, your brain really does shrink when you’re pregnant, at least, if you’re fat deficient. The baby will take what it needs from where ever it can get it, so shrinking your brain to get the fats it needs to build its own neuronal connections.
The Solution: Eat nuts and seeds, supplement with a good quality fish oil and stop being so afraid of fats. Unfortunately, due to our current state of ocean affairs, you will be unable to obtain sufficient quantities of fish oil from diet alone – there’s just too much contamination to make it safe. Phospholipids are our intelligence fats, used for both structure and function and this is what’s most likely robbed from moms’ minds by their babes. Ever notice that wild animals eat the brains and organs of their pray? That’s the best place to get these vital fats, but if organ eating turns your stomach, consider adding lecithin granules to your diet, eggs, or a supplement with brain friendly phospholipids such as phosphotidylchoine, serine and or DMAE.
3. Protein is Brain Power
Lack of motivation, anxiety, depression, inability to relax, poor memory and concentration are all associated with amino acid deficiency. Amino acids make up neurotransmitters, the signals used to allow the brain to ‘talk’ to itself and the rest of the body.
Depression and anxiety are never caused by a Prozac deficiency, but they may be due to a serotonin or GABA one. A nick name for ADD is adrenaline deficiency disorder, as many kids with this affliction have been shown to have low levels of adrenaline and / or dopamine in the frontal cortex of the brain.
The Solutions: Eat a wide variety of proteins to ensure you’re getting all the essential amino acids, and make sure you’re getting enough. The average person needs a minimum of 50g of protein a day, that equivalent to 5 eggs, or 9 cups of brown rice at a minimum. A typical day for a man might be 1 egg for breakfast (10g), a 200 g salmon steak for lunch (40g) and a serving of beans with dinner (20g). A vegetarian might have a small tub of yogurt and a heaping tablespoon of seeds on an oat based cereal (20g), with 1 cup quinoa (20g) with vegetables for lunch and beans and rice for dinner (20g).
4. Minimize the Metals
Mercury exposure caused the mad hatter in Alice in wonderland to go crazy. Even low levels of heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, copper and aluminum can affect concentration, IQ, mood, cause aggressive outbursts, fussiness about food, headaches, sinus problems, confusion, anxiety, insomnia and other neurological problems.
The solution: Ensure adequate mineralization to block the binding of metals and consider having a hair mineral analysis to see your body’s mineral status and how good it is at detoxifying.
5. Avoid Brain Pollutants –Alcohol, Oxidants and Stress
Alcohol consumed at higher levels than your liver can detoxify cause harm to your brain. It dissolves those oh so pressure fats, specifically DHA and replaces it with a poor substitute, DPA. Furthermore, it blocks the conversion of fat to prostaglandins, hormone like substances that are involved in numerous functions from regulating blood pressure to neurotransmitter production. It also causes leeching of many vitamins including your B’s, probably why you get that hangover.
Oxidants are the equivalent to rust in your system. They damage DNA, fats, mitochondria, speed up the aging process and impair function overall. Fried foods, smoking and pollution are f 3 of the body’s main oxidants.
Stress: Parts of your brain cells actually shrivel up when exposed to high levels of stress hormone leading to decreased memory and learning ability.
The Solution: Once you notice your gait getting wobbly and speech slurring from alcohol, back off, your liver has reached its capacity. Increase levels of antioxidants such as dark berries and fruits and consider an antioxidant if you’re over the age of 40. Watch out for fried food and ensure adequate nutrition to help the body detoxify and most importantly of all, find ways to de-stress.
6. Brain Nutrients
- B Vitamins: help turn glucose into fuel for the brain, improve memory, help you deal with stress, regulate hormones, curb depression and are necessary in the methylation process, which plays a vital role in genetic expression, neurotransmitter formation, memory and detoxification.
- Vitamin C: Balances neurotransmitters, reduced depression and schizophrenia symptoms, aids memory, supports the immune system and is a weak heavy metal chelator.
- Maximize minerals: Calcium and Magnesium deficiency can lead to nervousness, irritability, aggression, insomnia, addiction and depression. Zinc followed by magnesium are the two most depleted nutrients in people today, due to increased need, low intake and poor absorption. Zinc deficiency is associated with depression, anxiety, anorexia, delinquency, hyperactivity and autism. Poor mineralization decreases the body’s ability to detoxify successfully increasing body burden of heavy metals and neurotoxins. This combination of low minerals and high toxins can cause havoc to numerous body function but definitely compromising intellectual performance and emotional stability.
Listen to your body and trust in the healing power within, when given the right tool your body will enable you to live beyond what is ‘normal’ now.
By Dr. Debbie Smrz
As well as being clinic director and Naturopathic doctor at NatLiving, Dr. Debbie teaching optimum nutrition for the mind at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.
*We love juicing so much we’ve started selling juicers right here. Call us to find out more.
Interview with Chiropractor Dr. Celia, by Dr. Debbie Smrz
I’ll admit I was a skeptic regarding children and chiropractic manipulations. I saw a chiropractor while pregnant with Zack to help him turn when he was breech – and it worked – who then suggested I bring him in when he was a few days old to ‘unwind’ him and adjust as needed. Manipulate my little baby? What possible benefit could it bring? I was quite surprised to learn the answers and to help explain it to you; I interviewed our new DC, Dr. Celia Campoli.
Dr. Debbie – Why would young babies and children benefit from adjustments?
Dr. Celia – Babies and children experience essential developmental changes in the first few years of life. The greatest length development of the spine occurs between birth and the age of 2, with the largest lifetime growth of the brain between birth and the age of 6. Babies and children have neuro-spinal systems that transform and adapt at an amazingly rapid rate … from the birth process, onto learning to crawl, walk, and run, children experience a remarkable amount of learning and growth!
Dr. Debbie – At what age can you start adjusting?
Dr. Celia – We can start to adjust someone at any age! With regards to babies, this can be just hours or days after birth. While the birth of a child is a beautiful moment for a family to experience, the birth process itself can lead to physical trauma affecting the structure of the bones that protect the nerve system. Since the nerve system controls every cell, tissue, and organ in the body, we want to make sure that it is operating without any interference in the system.
Dr. Debbie – What about possible injury? How do you adjust a baby? Does it hurt?
Dr. Celia – Chiropractors undergo intense schooling and clinical training to learn the proper techniques for adjusting people of all ages, including babies and children, and to be aware of risk factors that could lead to possible injury. Pediatric courses in the chiropractic curriculum teach adjusting techniques that are gentle and appropriate for adjusting babies and children in relation to their development, and growth, as well as common interference patterns. A gentle and specific chiropractic adjustment does not hurt, and will often quickly relieve symptoms that children present with by normalizing the function of the nerve system. The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (icpa4kids.org) is a great online resource for parents, with published wellness articles and chiropractic research pertaining to pediatric care.
Dr. Debbie – Is this going to create a condition where the child will have to ALWAYS get adjusted?
Dr. Celia – This is a question that I get asked often … with the answer being Yes and No. I welcome anyone to utilize chiropractic care in the way that best suits the needs of your family. Receiving regular chiropractic adjustments keeps you functioning at your highest and greatest potential. I have been getting adjusted since I was 13 years old, and will continue to get checked and adjusted by my chiropractor on a weekly basis because I know how important it is to have the nerve system, the communication system of the body, free of stress and interference. Similar to nutrition and exercise, it is consistency that will make the biggest difference and have the greatest impact on a person’s overall health.
Dr. Debbie – How can adjustments affect brain health, such as sleep, crankiness, hyperactivity, etc.?
Thanks Dr. Celia for sharing.
Speaking from experience, gentle manipulation is possible, and results happen quickly. I injured my knee while pregnant, and the Chiropractor I was seeing manipulated my knee, right into the knee cap with the activator ’gun’ even in the acute state and my healing time was drastically reduced.
Featured Test: Hair Mineral Analysis – Discounted for the month of February to only $75
Hair is a Mirror to your Health
Screening for essential minerals and toxic elements will help provide a comprehensive, metabolic profile of the human body. Using these tools we can learn about your bodies:
1. Burden of Toxic Metals – Which may contribute to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, fatigue, depression, anxiety, infections and many other conditions.
2. Mineral status
3. Glucose Tolerance
4. Adrenal and Thyroid Gland function
5. Oxidative Stress – which damage DNA and are linked to many diseases and cancers.
6. Identifying Disease Trends
We think this test is so fabulous that we’re considering getting the owner of the laboratory facility who runs this test to come give us his trademark seminar “Hair is a Mirror to your health”. If you’re interested, please let us know and we’ll book him if we have enough interest.
RECIPE – Brenda’s Gluten Free Zucchini muffins. Contains nuts.
Walnuts have been promoted as a great brain food, because they look like the brain and are high in Omega 3. All ingredients should be organic, including the eggs. Great way to start the kids off to school, contains enough protein to hold them till recess and kick starts the brain. They are really good!
This recipe makes 1 loaf or 12 muffins.
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 ½ cups freshly shredded zucchini
½ cup coconut oil
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. of vanilla
½ tsp. of aluminum free baking soda
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ cups of BOB’S RED MILL Gluten Free flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
Shred Zucchini and chop the walnuts in a food processor and set aside.
Use a mixer to beat the eggs and add the sugar, oil, vanilla. Add the baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Slowly pour in the flour and xanthan gum until well mixed. By hand, mix in the zucchini and walnuts.
Pour in greased & floured loaf pan and bake at 350F degrees for 45 min.
Muffins bake for 35-40 minutes.
Brain Foods by Vaishna Sathi, BSc, ND (candidate)
If you ever feel that mid-afternoon or even morning slump where you are in complete brain fog, consider adding these foods to your diet:
1. Avocados: Consider slicing them and adding them to salads, sandwiches, on their blended with almond milk and honey. Avocados are rich in oleic acid, which is a type of fat your brain needs and also helps your brain let your body know that are full.
2. Blueberries: Blueberries are rich in flavonoids, which are antioxidants that are essential for brain function, learning ability and memory. Furthermore blueberries are low on the glycemic index and high in fibre. Avoid dried or sweetened blueberries and opt for either fresh or frozen berries. Frozen berries can be easily added to smoothies, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese and are a great quick way to increase your daily fruit consumption. Frozen berries are also very cost effective and can be essentially used throughout the year.
3. Salmon: Salmon is packed with omega-3, an essential fatty acid that improves cognition, improves mood, reduces anxiety, reduces hyperactivity and has been found to prevent onset of mental disease. Opt for organic, wild salmon over farmed salmon if possible. If time is limited, consider canned salmon that can be easily tossed into pastas, added to sandwiches or even eaten on its own with some fresh squeezed lemon juice and olive oil.
4. Eggs: Egg yolks contain choline, a precursor to acetylcholine which is an essential neurotransmitter that the brain requires for memory and cognition. As well eggs are a great source of protein that not only keeps you full but is a great brain fuel and can assist with preventing morning brain fog. Consider boiling a big batch of eggs in the beginning of the week, storing them in their shells in the fridge and adding them to your meals throughout the week. If anything they make a great on-the-go breakfast snack that can be taken with you as you head out the door in the morning or included in school lunches. A great treat is adding paprika, any desired herbs or even a sprinkle of your favourite hot sauce for an added kick to your eggs.
5. Nuts and Seeds: Nuts contain essential fats which help keep our brains sharp, as well as Vitamin E which is essential to brain function. Opt for almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts. Avoid nuts that have been salted, seasoned or roasted. Seeds including flax and sesame are great brain foods as they contain vitamin E, magnesium, both of which are essential antioxidants for the brain and can prevent oxidative stress to the brain and central nervous system. Try sesame butter as an alternative to mayo, and can be added to sandwiches, salads and used as a condiment. Nuts and Seeds are a great alternative to chips, chocolate and any other mid-day cravings. Consider buying them in bulk, creating a mix of your favourite nuts/seeds and keeping a container at your desk at work, or at home.
Discounted ND services coming in the New Year – book now!
Do you know someone who would benefit greatly from Naturopathic Care but the price is prohibitory? Vaishna Sathiamoorthy is a 4th year intern at the CCCNM* with a special interest in Women’s Health, Pediatrics and Oncology. Vaishna will be working at Naturopathic Living every Wednesday from 2 – 8:30pm starting January and will be offering her services at a greatly discounted rate. All appointments will be supervised by either Dr. Debbie or Dr. Nadine and top quality care assured. To learn more about Vaishna, click here…..
Only 6 more weeks to use up your Health Insurance – Book now to ensure you get the appointment time you want (this is our busiest season J)
Give the Gift of Health this Holiday Season
Gift certificates available for Naturopathic services, massage, reflexology or nutrition counseling at any price point.
The clinic will be closed on December 24th – 26th, Dec. 31st and January 1st and will be running on reduced hours for the rest of the holidays. If you’re running in to pick up a supplement after 3 pm, we suggest you call first, just to make sure someone is available to help you.
Featured Product – 25% off
Pleo-NotaQuent. We love our Pleo-Not remedy for bacterial infections and Pleo-Quent for viral infections, especially those in the lungs, so we’re very excited that they’ve put them together in one new product. We’re thinking this is going to become our #1 go-to for colds this season so we’re ordering in a ton and discounting it 25% so everyone can try it out and report back to us its efficacy.
The flu vaccination is it worth it? – click here to learn more, the answer might surprise you
Have you tried the nebulizer for respiratory infections yet this cold and flu season? Hopefully your immune system has been up to the task, and you already received your Naturopathic Flu shot so you haven’t needed it. But if not, we’re getting very positive reports from those that have come in for a nebulized glutathione treatment greatly expedited their cold and recovery time was much sooner. For more information on the Naturopathic Flu shot and Nebulizer click HERE.
Naturopathic Living is 1 year old this month! Thank you to all who have supported us and helped us grow over this past year. We have learned so much along the way and couldn’t have done it without you! That being said, we want to keep learning and growing for many more years to come. If you would take a moment to respond to our online survey we can strive to be even better for 2013! Click here for our online survey or copy and paste this link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2966FXT into your browser window
Happy holidays from the Natliving Team!
Dr. Debbie, Dr. Nadine, Dr. Tina, Brenda, Vaishna, Dion, Shannyn and Jesseka
Did you know that we have a number of treatment options specific for the season (allergies, cold and flu)? Probably our best kept secret is the nebulizer – where you inhale specific immune boosting substances right into the lungs to help with any upper or lower respiratory tract symptoms. We’ve already put it to use this season with fabulous feed back for allergies and colds. Click here to learn more.
Another interesting fact you might not know, is that as the days get shorter and the angle of the sun changes, we are unable to synthesize Vitamin D from sunlight. Vitamin D is needed for bone health, cancer protection, brain health, immune function and numerous other health concerns. To help you meet your Vitamin D needs, we are pleased to offer Vitamin D at 10% off for the month of October.
Tired of taking daily supplements to boost your immune system? The Naturopathic Flu Shot ($25) may be your solution!
Working with your body to increase your natural immunity, the Naturopathic flu shot is effective and has no harmful side effects.