The Long Search for Balance
The mind decides what we eat, how we live and if we exercise. The mind determines sickness and/or wellness. The mind and the brain are intimately connected. Our brain is an insulin sensitive organ. A poor diet, we’re told, wears out insulin receptors, shortens telomeres, changes moods, shrinks brain size, and increases our risk for premature aging.
The sensation we have when our brain is ‘out to lunch’ is REAL and nothing could be more serious than the disrupted nature of poor nutrition, poor gut microbiome, refined sugar, chemicals and dyes, that poison and kill brain cells. The end result …increased chances of losing our mind.
The gut microbiome is an endocrine organ. It influences, stress, metabolism, reproduction, weight, sleep, hormones, the central nervous system, brain function, and our neurotransmitters.(1) Poor gut microbiome keeps us sick, fat, depressed, forgetful, and lethargic.
There are significant breakthroughs on why we feed the mind with excellent self-care habits, nutritional foods, and positive emotions. We’re also learning how to recognize self-neglect and toxic exposures that can steal our memory and energy reserves. Why is this important?
We taste, communicate and feel with our brain. All self-care habits will affect our very survival.
My father had suffered from Alzheimer’s 25 years before he was diagnosed. That means he was about 50 years old when he started losing his mind. His comfort foods included coffee, pastrami sandwiches, donuts, coke syrup, and always had a bowl of ice-cream before bed. But truth be told, he was NEVER comforted. He was full of aggression most of the time and suffered from insomnia all the time. He traumatized all that had the pleasure to know him.
Brain Facts and the circadian system.
Insomnia is linked to a diet full of sugar, obesity, and a toxic brain. Relying on sugar from early morning until late evening is like relying on battery acid. This means weight gain from a poor diet not only negatively changes our gut microbiome, but it also destroys sleep patterns which is directly linked to obstructive sleep apnea.(2) Sugar causes depression, inflammation in all bodily systems, depletes Vitamin B12 and plays a causative role in poor cognition, low energy, and a smaller brain size. Inflammatory conditions in the gut are also a precursor to diabetes and Alzheimer’s. This is not such a new idea considering poor gut microbiome can change DNA, brain chemistry, behavior, and increase risk for insulin resistance and inflammation.(3) Coming full circle, the central nervous system runs on gut bacteria,(4) and gut microbiome regulates sleep, moods and stress levels.(5)
Healthy happy neurotransmitters rely on healthy foods. This is because there’s more serotonin and melatonin in our gut than in our brains. Serotonin regulates a wide variety of brain functions, mood, and behaviors such as circadian rhythms and assist the hormone leptin as an appetite suppressant.(6) This means, as humans, we don’t need to search for the right OTC diet pill because neurotransmitters, hormones, and gut microbiome are balanced. Neither do we need drugs to boost serotonin levels.(7)
Melatonin works best when we are exposed to natural sunlight, less stress, and less air pollution. Notably, we’ve found air pollution is notorious for increasing our chances of Alzheimer’s.
Two foods that impair neurotransmitter production are opioid peptides from dairy and wheat related products. In dairy products you can find growth hormones and the protein casein. Both are not good for brain health. In wheat you can find Cycocel, a synthetic hormone growth regulator, and pesticides such as malathion.
Oral contraceptive use can decrease serotonin levels and increase cortisol levels. “When neurotransmitters are disrupted we have increased risk for oxidative stress and central nervous system disorders including delirium.” (8)
Poor moods and depression are associated with poor neurotransmitter function and increase risk for insomnia.(10) Poor sleep habits are also related to mental illness.(9)
Depression can increase when taking medications that negatively affect gut microbiome and increase risk for insomnia. For instance, SSRI’s,(11) Statins, (12) Synthroid, and Ritalin can be linked to both negative changes in blood glucose levels and can increase insomnia.
Prolonged stress and cortisol imbalances,(13) leads us into high blood sugar levels, obesity, and diabetes. Respectively, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes have a direct relationship with insomnia, dementia and Alzheimer’s.