How Do I Know If Inflammation Is Killing My Brain?
People who struggle with memory loss probably don’t think their gut might be to blame.
But it could be.
The gut, or gastrointestinal tract, is home to trillions of microorganisms, both helpful and harmful, collectively known as the microbiome. This community of bugs plays a key role in the health of your brain: Its activities include protecting your gut lining and nutrient absorption, synthesizing vitamins and neurotransmitters, and helping manage immunity, appetite, and blood sugar levels.
When the harmful bugs outnumber the good ones, it can disrupt the gut lining, causing what’s known as a leaky gut, which can lead to chronic inflammation and a host of health problems, from seasonal allergies to autoimmune diseases and even Alzheimer’s.
Chronic inflammation is like a fire inside your body, an insidious, low-level burn that can damage your organs and your brain. Put out that fire and your overall health will improve and you’ll strengthen your memory.
That’s why inflammation is the third risk factor in the Amen Clinics’ new BRIGHT MINDS Program, which identifies and treats the 11 risk factors that can steal your memory and your mind. This approach has been shown to be the best way to keep your memory sharp—for life.
The risks are summed up in the words BRIGHT MINDS, which makes them easier to remember:
B – Blood Flow
R – Retirement/Aging
I – Inflammation
G – Genetics
H – Head Trauma
T – Toxins
M – Mental Health
I – Immunity/Infection Issues
N – Neurohormone Deficiencies
D – Diabesity
S – Sleep Issues
In addition to a leaky gut, other factors associated with chronic inflammation include:
- Low omega-3 fatty acid intake
- Gum (periodontal) disease
- High levels of C-reactive protein (CRP; a measure of inflammation)
- High levels of homocysteine (an amino acid associated with inflammation)
If you suspect chronic inflammation is a problem for you, be sure to include these laboratory tests at your next checkup with your health-care provider:
- C-reactive protein (CRP)
- Omega-3 Index (a measure of EPA and DHA in red blood cells)
Take these simple, smart steps to keep your gut happy and quench chronic inflammation throughout your body:
- Brush your teeth after meals and floss daily
- Take a daily multivitamin/mineral with extra vitamin D
- Supplement with vitamins B6, B12 and folate if homocysteine is high
- Boost your Omega-3 Index above 8 percent: Take a supplement with EPA/DHA and eat more walnuts, salmon, sardines, beef, avocado
- Find and treat sources of inflammation, such as infections
- Eat probiotic-rich foods to increase your healthy gut microorganisms: kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, miso soup, pickles, kombucha tea
- Enjoy more high-fiber foods: artichokes, asparagus, beans, cabbage, chia seeds, root veggies like sweet potatoes, jicama and squashes
- Limit trans fats, omega-6 rich foods (corn, soy, processed foods), sugar, gluten and processed meats
In this video, Dr. Daniel Amen discusses how your troubled gut could be hurting your brain and the steps you can take today to help prevent memory loss.
To learn more about Amen Clinics Memory Program based on Dr. Amen’s BRIGHT MINDS approach, check it out HERE. The breakthrough BRIGHT MINDS plan will help anyone who is struggling with brain fog and memory deficits.