Brain Health

July 2009  Dr. Mom's Natural Solutions Ezine

Did I Just Forget My Keys or Am I Losing My Mind Too?

Have you ever had your keys in your hand one minute and then 2 seconds later, have no idea where you put them? If it happens more often than you think is “typical old age” you might wonder if you are losing your mind. Most people accept forgetfulness as just a part of getting old and hope that it will not turn into dementia or Alzheimer’s later in life. Often we light heartedly chalk it up to “having a senior moment”, but there is also that nagging thought that we may be declining in our brain health and there is nothing we can do about it. This is absolutely WRONG THINKING!!

The human body and mind are a complex, interactive natural machine that we are either maintaining and keeping well oiled, or we are neglecting and running into the ground. Mental illness has the same basic root causes that physical illness has: Nutritional Deficiencies, Toxicities, Physical Trauma, Stress and Wrong Thinking.

Brain Health: The brain requires quite a lot of nutrients to function properly. In general, amino acids along with vitamins and minerals are essential for the formation of neurotransmitters (the chemical messengers that transmit signals from one nerve cell to another). The brain uses sugar for fuel and is very sensitive to blood sugar fluctuations. Eating Complex carbohydrates and avoiding sugary foods and refined carbohydrates keep blood sugar levels even. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) often results in dizziness, weakness, irritability, confusion and forgetfulness. The structure of our brain is made up primarily of fats. Low fat diets, especially in children whose brains are still forming, impair mental development. Those with ADD/ADHD often lack adequate amounts of Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Since our brain is made up mostly of fats, the type of fats we eat dictate the health of our brain. Do you want your brain to be made up of unhealthy rancid, hydrogenated trans fats, or do you want your brain cells to be made up of healthy omega-3-6-9’s. Remember “garbage in” “garbage out”. Toxicities in the body can also affect our mental health by causing inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain. Anti-oxidants are extremely important in this day and age to offset the effects of toxins and the general stress of living in modern society. Heavy metal poisoning has been known to cause a host of mental problems, ranging from autism, ADHD, cognitive dysfunction, personality changes and epilepsy, to paralysis and insanity. The physical health of our brain plays a huge role in our mental health.

Mental Health: How we think and feel emotionally greatly impacts our overall mental health. If we are stressed out and in overwhelm, our brain can literally be in overload, causing forgetfulness, poor focus and irritability. Learning to quiet the mind and relax can have a great impact on your everyday emotional health. Finding a comfortable boundary and being able to say “no” can go a long way toward reducing stress and feelings of overwhelm. Everyone feels sad or depressed occasionally because life contains some sad events; maybe a death in the family or a divorce or a long-term illness or maybe a job loss. It is natural and normal to experience these feelings and even lose some sleep over them. We seem to want to avoid uncomfortable emotions, however, rather than work through them. Many seek medical help with sleeping aids and anti-depressants. The problem with this is that the doctors often don’t give you a game plan to get off of the medication. We are becoming a numbed society living with the terrible side-effects of drug therapy which puts us back into a loop of depression and hopelessness along with the discomfort of their physical side-effects. Medication advertisements admit that 2/3 of patients on anti-depressants are still depressed. There is something really wrong here. We have lost our sense of what is normal.

I truly believe that stress and wrong thinking has brought much disharmony to our mental health status. What thoughts are you thinking? Are your thoughts supporting your health and success or are they sabotaging you? Mental health has a lot to do with how often you bring joyful thoughts and positive feelings into your life verses how often you allow doubts and mainstream beliefs to run your life. Do you believe that forgetfulness is a function of getting old? It may be Common, but it is not Normal. Normal for the human body is great health and mental acuity. Don’t let anyone tell you that it is not. Take a proactive approach to life and create what it is you desire instead of reacting to what happens. Pull yourself out of the “rut” you may be in by evaluating where you are now and where you want to be. Then take the steps to move in that direction. You may need some help with counseling or Theta Healing and you may need to address some nutritional deficiencies, but you are not doomed to a life of depression or dementia. You have the power to be and do what you want. And by the way, you’re probably not losing your mind if you forget your keys. You may just need a little Ginko!