Avoiding The Brain Drain
Dr. Nancy Lin
PhD, Holistic Nutritionist
Stress, Chronic Inflammation, and Nutritional Deficiencies Are Robbing Us Of Our Ability To Think Clearly; Here Are The Steps You Need To Change Your Mindset.
Let’s face it, our collective mental health is suffering; we are seeing record numbers of anxiety and depression cases, brain fog is on the rise, and our ability to think clearly and logically is being compromised by lifestyle choices we are making.
Researchers now know that lifestyle clearly has a dramatic influence on the health of your brain. Your diet, how much exercise you get, the quality of sleep, how you respond to stress, and how you take care of yourself are critical factors in both the short and long-term health of your brain. Considering our current state, it looks like we are not doing a very good job of taking care of our mental health.
Don’t fear because you can turn it around, the health of your brain is not a lost cause, but you need to do something now in order to prevent your brain drain from becoming any worse. Fortunately, there are several, effective lifestyle changes you can make, some starting right now, that can profoundly improve your memory, clear your mind, reduce your stress, and reset your brain health.
Stressed Out: Stress Prevents You From Making Good Decisions
America has become the land of the busy and the home of the stressed. Busy has become the new “good”. Think about it for a minute, when is the last time you asked someone, “How are you?”, and received any answer other than “busy”; busy has become the new good.
Unfortunately, the new good is taking a toll on the health of our brain. Busy equals stress; whether its unrealistic job expectations, paying your bills, or trying to be a “supermom”, there seems to be less and less time to take care of you - and that is not good. In fact, stress is actually changing the physiology of our brains, and not for the better.
Chronic stress starts a long-term chain reaction in your body and your brain. Research confirms that chronic stress, and specifically the overabundance of cortisol, our stress hormone, disrupts our normal brain function and actually kills brain cells and results in your prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for memory and learning, actually shrinking.
If that’s not bad enough, stress also attacks your brain’s ability to regulate essential systems throughout the body, including your immune system, digestive system, and endocrine system; this can lead to increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disease, and chronic inflammation.
Luckily, your brain is very resilient and able to absorb quite a bit of abuse and still recover; it’s a process known as plasticity, and refers to the process of damaged neural pathways in your brain recovering after prolonged exposure to stress.
In addition to better managing your stress through proven stress reducers like exercise and deep breathing techniques, ensuring you are not deficient in the minerals magnesium and boron will also support plasticity and help you better navigate the damaging effects of stress.
Boron: The Little Known Stress Reliever
Boron is an essential trace mineral that supports a number of important functions in your body, including preserving bone density, lessening the effects of arthritis, and helping build muscle; it is also a key mineral in supporting your cognitive health.
Research shows that a boron deficiency contributes to impaired cognitive function and specifically contributes to decreased overall brain function, poor cognitive development, and significant issues with memory and learning.
In fact, supplementing with boron has been shown to aid in significant cognitive improvements in as little as 60 days, including improved dexterity, better hand-eye coordination, reduced brain fog, and significantly better short and long-term memory.
Magnesium Minimizes The Effects of Stress
Magnesium also has been shown to minimize the damaging effects of stress on the brain. Often referred to as the “most powerful relaxation mineral available”, magnesium deficiency has been clearly linked to increased levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Among its many benefits, magnesium increased the release of GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps to block sudden impulses between the cells in your brain and supports relaxation, reduced levels of stress, a balanced mood, and improved sleep.
Magnesium is also a very important for regulating your stress-response system, otherwise known as your “flight or fight” response. In fact, magnesium deficiency is directly related to increased stress and anxiety, which has a profound impact on the amount of cortisol released into your brain.
Boron and magnesium are both essential minerals, they are not produced by your body and must be consumed through food or supplements each day. Unfortunately, the majority of people experiencing mental health issues, and specifically stress-related cognitive issues, are deficient in both minerals.
Trace amounts of boron are found in several natural foods, including beans, walnuts, avocados, plums and oranges. Magnesium can be found in dark, leafy greens, as well as beans, nuts, figs, seeds, and avocados.
If you are not eating these natural foods on a daily basis, you need to supplement your diet with quality supplements sourced from these type of whole foods for proper absorption; otherwise you can easily become deficient in these essential minerals.
Chronic Inflammation’s Little-Known Effects On Brain Health
By now, you’ve heard of how dangerous chronic inflammation is to your health. Normal, or acute, inflammation is the body’s natural way of protecting itself against things that could cause harm, including bacteria, viruses, infections, and environmental toxins. Acute inflammation is an essential function that keeps us healthy; it's typically a short-term response to a temporary situation.
However, chronic inflammation is when your body stays in a constant state of inflammation, and it is not normal. This often happens as a response to things like certain prescription medications, obesity, prolonged exposure to pesticides, stress, chemicals and toxins, and eating a diet high in sugar, trans fats or processed foods. Over time, chronic inflammation can start to cause significant damage to your cells, tissues, and organs and especially your brain.
The most common symptom associated with chronic inflammation in the brain is brain fog, which is characterized by feeling mentally “dull”, easily losing your train of thought, and having trouble focusing on normal everyday tasks. Other symptoms of chronic inflammation in the brain can include feeling depressed, increased fatigue, frequent headaches, and stiffness in your neck.
Natural Ways To Treat Chronic Inflammation In The Brain
The most effective way to treat chronic inflammation is through your diet. Overtime, your brain is exposed to, and accumulates, toxins from several environmental factors, including pesticides from conventional fruits and vegetables, toxins from chemicals used in household cleaning products, cosmetics, and even personal care products like shampoo, soap, and deodorant. As these toxins accumulate in your body, and specifically in your brain, your body responds by treating your brain like it is a threat and your immune system attacks it like it would an infection or allergy.
However, this chronic inflammation in your brain can be addressed through several important lifestyle changes, including changing your diet, exercising, and supplementing with nutrients known to support against inflammation.
As part of an anti-inflammatory diet, you will want to focus on removing inflammatory foods, including dairy products, gluten, conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, sugar, and processed foods. Replace these foods with organic fruits and vegetables, organic grass fed meats, filtered water, and healthy fats, including extra-virgin olive oil, wild-caught seafood, avocados, and a variety of nuts and seeds.
In addition, it’s essential that you supplement your diet with specific nutrients that are proven to protect your brain from the effects of chronic inflammation, including curcumin from turmeric, and probiotics.
Supplementing with specific vitamins and minerals have also been shown to fight inflammation, specifically vitamin D3, beta carotene, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
The B Vitamins: Brain Health Superstars
Not only do the B vitamins, and specifically vitamins B6 and B12, support against inflammation in your brain they are also key nutrients in supporting health, regular brain function, especially as you age. In general, the B vitamins slow mental decline and increase the production of your brain’s neurotransmitters, which are essential for maintaining communication between the brain and your body. Several studies confirm that B vitamins support improved memory and cognitive function.
Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is also essential for brain development in children, and as you age, it plays an important supporting role in your brain’s production of serotonin and norepinephrine, both help to regulate mood, relieve symptoms of depression, and deal with the effects of stress. It’s also an essential nutrient required for the production of melatonin, which regulates your circadian rhythm and supports quality sleep.
Vitamin B6, when combined with Vitamin B12, has also been shown to slow decline in cognitive brain function by lowering homocysteine levels in the bloodstream and may even slow symptoms associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition to slowing cognitive decline, vitamin B12 has been shown to be effective in preventing memory loss, especially in older adults. Specifically, vitamin B12 appears to help prevent brain atrophy and slow the loss of neurons that are most often associated with dementia.
Blueprint for the Perfect Brain Health Multi
When adding a multivitamin and mineral to your diet it’s important to understand that the old-fashioned multi-tablet is cutting it anymore. And probably never did.
A historic 10-year multivitamin study with over 100,000 participants changed everything. It provided the exact blueprint for that perfect multivitamin formula - while also revealing the hidden dangers of daily multivitamin tablets.
For decades, marketers of multi vitamin and mineral supplements (multi’s) have been pushing more is better, often promoting many nutrients in their formulas above the 100% RDA level, that’s the “recommended dietary allowance” set by the FDA.
But is more healthier?
Multiple studies have concluded that the answer is NO! Including conclusions reached by one of the largest and most comprehensive studies ever done on dietary supplements - an independent, multi-cultural study with over 100,000 participants, aptly named “The Multi Study”.
The Multi Study, funded by the US Department of Agriculture, provided all the information you need to know about multi’s. The purpose of the study was simple. Health officials wanted to know once and for all if the multi tablets, we’re really doing what they were supposed to do, provide the right amount of missing vitamins and minerals that we don’t get enough of from the food we eat called the “the nutrient shortfall amount”. The study determined 2 important things about how we get our vitamins and minerals.
The Multi Study laid out exactly which vitamins and minerals our diets are deficient in, and which ones we are not.
The Multi Study provided information on what’s called “the nutrient shortfall” of each vitamin and mineral that we don’t get enough of from food.
Shocking Discovery Revealed in The Multi Study
It was found that American multi-users were simultaneously getting too little of many important key nutrients, while at the same time getting too much, even dangerously high and toxic harmful levels, of other key nutrients from their multi tablet.
The Multi Study Exposed Popular Multi Tablets Formulated All Wrong
The health impacts of this improper nutrient dosing (the wrong amount of a vitamin or mineral), exposed in The Multi Study, can mean serious negative health consequences over time. For example, getting too much iron, which The Multi Study found to be common with conventional multi tablets, can cause your brain to malfunction and age much faster than normal.
Conventional Multi Tablets Miss the Mark
The medical researchers’ dual findings from The Multi Study clearly showed that Americans were getting an overdose of certain nutrients, and an underdose of other nutrients, from their multi tablets. In general, the findings concluded that, when diet is factored in, Americans are getting too much of some vitamins and not enough of other vitamins and minerals. These conclusions were presented to the National Institute of Health (NIH), and published in peer reviewed medical journal articles.
A Smarter Way: Formulating the Perfect Multi
Using the real nutrient shortfall Smarter Nutrition formulated 2019’s supplement of the year, Smarter Multi, with just the right amount of each nutrient for optimum health – not too little and not too much. It’s truly the “first and only” perfect multivitamin and exactly what we need daily to help with our cognitive and other health goals.
Smarter Multi: We Eat Plants… We Don’t Eat Dirt!
As with vitamins, getting a daily intake of essential minerals is extremely important for your health. That’s why nutritional experts encourage us to get our minerals from fresh greens, fruits, and vegetables along with a daily supplement. Since your body can’t manufacture minerals, unlike it can with many other nutrients, you cannot truly be healthy without a daily intake of the key essential minerals!
But here’s the problem. Most minerals in multi tablets are synthetic and inorganic, derived from crushing mineral-rich rocks. Now mankind only started taking multi mineral supplements about 60 years ago. But for hundreds of thousands of years humans derived their minerals from food, not rocks. This means they were from organic-food, not inorganic-dirt. So, it’s highly unlikely our genes have yet fully adapted to the “unnatural” inorganic form of minerals in everyday multi tablets.
Using Rocks Versus Fruits & Vegetables Just Isn’t Right
If inorganic “dirt-like” minerals in multi tablets are not natural to the body, then why do the supplement manufacturers still use them? It all comes down to money. It’s extremely cheap and easy just to pulverize rocks, extract the minerals, and press them into a hard tablet. But is this good for you? Here’s some examples of synthetic and inorganic sources of the 5 top minerals used by typical multi manufacturers.
- Calcium. The typical type of calcium in traditional multi tablets is calcium carbonate. Chalk you find in a classroom is mostly calcium carbonate – but have you ever thought about eating it? Calcium carbonate is so very poorly absorbed in the body, to meet your daily requirement for calcium you’d have to take a handful of big, hard calcium carbonate tablets each day. One of the most commonly used sources of calcium carbonate for supplements is discarded oyster shells. This is not a food source!
- Magnesium. Magnesium oxide is the most typical form found in popular multi’s, and its absorption rate is also dismal. It is derived from pulverizing limestone and periclase, a mineral found in marble.
- Potassium. The most common form in multi’s is potassium chloride. It’s found in a rock called sylvite.
- Zinc. The most common form found in multi tablets is zinc oxide, which is also used as a lip and face cream to prevent the skin from sunburn. Most zinc oxide is produced synthetically and inorganically in overseas factories.
- Boron. Although very few multis on the market contain it, though they should, the few that do most commonly use synthetic boric acid as their source. Boric Acid is used as an insecticide, flame retardant, cockroach killer, and as a precursor to many dangerous chemical compounds. Do you really want this in your daily multi?
A Smarter Way – Organic Food Derived Minerals the Brain and Body Crave
Now for the good news, with Smarter’s Multi you’re not stuck with inorganic minerals. You now have a great, natural alternative to poorly digested inorganic minerals found in multi tablets - organic minerals from REAL FOOD!
“Going Organic” now also applies to your intake of daily essential minerals. Your body is much more receptive and responsive to organic minerals from food – real fruits and vegetables. Here are the natural and organic food sources of minerals found in the Smarter Multi. Now compare with the inorganic list above in typical multi tablets. Which would you rather have in your body?
Smarter Multis Natural & Organic Mineral Sources
- Calcium from almonds, Amaranth grain and the superfood red-green algae.
- Magnesium from sesame and sunflower seeds, spearmint leaf, dill and okra.
- Potassium from spinach and banana.
- Zinc from wheat germ, pumpkin seed, watermelon, banana and cocoa.
- Boron from prunes, broccoli, peach and pear.
Smarter Multi – Important Part of a Healthy Daily Routine
Smarter Multi ensures you get the exact right amount of each vitamin and mineral daily. Smarter Multi delivers all your daily essential nutrients in the most bioavailable form possible - not a rock-hard compressed tablet, but vitamins that come in a veggie softgel with a digestive-friendly ginger oil base, and minerals that come in an easy to digest and absorb fine, loose-pack powder.
For your overall brain health and body wellness, Smarter Multi is an important part of a healthy daily routine.
CLICK HERE for more information on brain health and on Smarter Multi, including how to get started!