Reduce Inflammation, Improve Brain Function

What if I could tell you how to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s by 50% and serious cardiac events by 90%? Lets also add improved attention, mood, skin, joint pain, and resistance to concussion. This treatment intervention will help these and most other conditions by improving the health of billions of your cells, reducing inflammation and improving brain function. At Team Health Care Clinic in Champlin, MN we make sure our patient’s road to restored health starts with addressing this key foundational marker of health.

So what is this foundational treatment? It is omega 3 fatty acids. You probably have heard of this important nutrient– also called fish oils. You may even be taking them. However, if you are like me and almost every one of our patients, you may be missing one very important step to make sure you are benefiting from your fish oils. That step is determining if you are even taking a  therapeutic dose and, if so, whether or not it is improving your health markers.

You can’t know unless you test.

In order to reap the immense benefits of taking omega three fatty acid‘s, you must have therapeutic levels in your blood. Omega-3 deficiency in the United States is rampant. In our informal study of our patients and staff who were actually taking omega-3 fatty acid‘s, over 90% had levels that were determined to be far too low when tested. You can’t know how much omega 3 fatty acids you should be taking unless you test. For this reason we have partnered with a company, Brainspan, to provide this important testing for our patients.

Brainspan tests for inflammation, leaky cells and brain function.

The following foundational markers of health are obtained by this test:

  1. Inflammation ratio looks at an important ration of “bad fats” to “good fats.” Two generations ago that ratio was generally 3:1. Currently that ratio in the US is 20:1 due to our diet changes. If you don’t get your ratio to 5:1 or better you likely have systemic inflammation which ultimately results in chronic disease.
  2. Leaky cell assessment determines your actual omega 3 levels. These fats are critical components of your cell walls. When your levels drop to below 8%, your cell walls begin weakening. The report will tell you how much you need to take and for how long to get to therapeutic levels.
  3. Brain function is assessed using a brief web based cognitive function test for attention, memory and processing speed.

Taking the Brainspan test is easy and painless. The information obtained from the Brainspan test gives our providers an advantage over others who simply make recommendations based on what is generally understood about Omega 3 fatty acids. Our patients often mention that they feel more in control of their health.

Those who are interested in taking the Brainspan test should speak with their provider. If you do not have a provider who offers Brainspan, contact us to purchase your Brainspan kit, currently available in our clinic for $99.

Jay Bertsch, DC

Jay Bertsch, DC

 

4 Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease

At Team Health Care Clinic, we work with people who have dementia or who are concerned and want to prevent it.  I was quite interested when I found an article from a study showing decreased brain size, and therefore risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s, is related to four controllable lifestyle factors.

The study, from the Radiological Society of North America, involved over 1,600 people during the course of seven years. It measured brain size and its relationship to risk factors.  Their conclusion was that decreased brain size and, therefore, dementia is related to these controllable factors.

Alzheimer’s Risk Factors

  1. Alcohol consumptionAlzheimer's is related to decreased brain size
  2. Smoking
  3. Diabetes
  4. Obesity

It turns out that alcohol consumption and diabetes were associated with smaller volume of the whole brain.  Smoking and obesity were linked with decreased volume of the part of the brain associated with memory retrieval as well as emotional and social behavior.

Dementia, of which Alzheimer’s Disease makes up between 50%-70% of the cases, is a growing concern.  As our population ages the incidence of dementia is continuing to grow.  Deaths from dementia have doubled in the last 25 years and care costs are in the hundreds of billions.  Also, there is no treatment for dementia.  Prevention is the key.

The above list is not exhaustive and there are other causes for dementia.  However, these are the biggest offenders and they are preventable!  Dementia is a slow developing, chronic condition closely tied to lifestyle choices.  This means that we have the time and the ability to make changes.  The prescription never changes.  Eat a low starch and low sugar diet, exercise, don’t smoke and drink only in moderation.

Our clinic does provide nutritional and brain health support for all of this.  However, it’s up to you to do the work and help yourself.

Tim Bertsch, DC, DABCI

Tim Bertsch, DC, DABCI

 

Brain Inflammation and Sugar: A Surprising Connection

Inflammation has been a buzzword in recent years as researchers have continued to find links between inflammation and symptoms like headaches, fatigue, memory loss, brain fog and many more. In previous blogs, we have talked about the three needs of a neuron, or brain cell. These include glucose, oxygen, and stimulation. Your brain cannot branch out and make new connections unless it receives proper stimulation to specific areas, and to do this, you must provide the proper chemical environment for those cells to do so. This means having an adequate oxygen supply, and just as importantly, a proper glucose (blood sugar) response.  So, what happens when blood sugar levels are too low or too high? How can this lead to inflammation? And what can I do to prevent this from happening?

Blood Sugar Imbalances

One of the most important things you can do for your brain is to maintain stable blood sugars. When blood sugar is chronically low, it’s called hypoglycemia. On the flip side, if blood sugar is too high, it’s called hyperglycemia or insulin resistance.

Common Symptoms of Hypoglycemia

  • Feeling agitated or nervous
  • Eating to relieve fatigue
  • Becoming light headed if meals are missed
  • Increased energy after meals
  • Cravings for sweets between meals

Common Symptoms of Hyperglycemia/Insulin Resistance

  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Constant hunger
  • General fatigue
  • Fatigue after eating meals
  • Cravings for sweets that are not relieved after eating them

 

How This Leads to Inflammation

When blood sugars are too high, or if one is constantly fluctuating between low blood sugar and high blood sugar, this leads to activation of microglia, the brains immune cells. This directly leads to an inflammatory cascade in the brain, or neuroinflammation. When brain inflammation arises, there are immediate and long-term effects. It immediately slows down transmission speed of signals in the brain, leading to the feeling of brain fog and a drop in brain endurance. In the long-term, chronic brain inflammation will lead to sustained microglial activation and eventually neuronal death. This is why researchers are now referring to Alzheimer’s Disease as Type III Diabetes. Neuroinflammation has many more far reaching effects that we will discuss down the road.

What Can I Do?

Since chronic microglial cell activation has no automatic “off switch” to stop brain inflammation, there are things that can be done to dampen it. These include flavonoids such as apigenin, resveratrol, catechins, rutin, and curcumin. The providers at Team Health Care Clinic often recommend supplements that contain these natural compounds to help support the brain’s fight against inflammation.

Additionally, the same can be said for supporting proper blood sugar levels. Nutrients including chromium, inositol, and L-carnitine have shown to help with stabilizing blood sugar. We often recommend these supplements to a patient who has poor blood sugar levels. Of course, it is imperative to educate our patients on how to maintain proper blood sugar levels through lifestyle modification. This includes eating a breakfast high in quality proteins and fat, having snacks high in protein during the day to prevent hypoglycemic states, avoiding foods high in sugar, especially before bed, and avoiding or limiting caffeine.

Whether you are hypoglycemic, insulin resistant, or a combination of the two, we have the nutrients, knowledge, and education to help you stabilize your blood sugar and dampen or prevent brain inflammation. The health of your brain is as important as any other organ of your body, if not more, so learn to take care of it. Need help in this journey? Contact us today.

Erik Starr, DC

Erik Starr, DC