Tips for a Better Brain
Dr. Steve Parcell
Supplements: (once results are achieved lower doses can be taken)
- High dose multivitamin mineral (all the B vits plus minerals)
- DHA 300 mg
- CoQ10 100 mg to 300 mg
- Alpha lipoic acid timed release 200-300 mg
- N acetyl cysteine 600 mg/day
- Phospatidylserine 100 mg
- Vinpocitine 5mg twice a day (do not take if on blood thinner)
- Vitamin D 400 iu to 10,000 depending on blood levels
- Oxidative Stress Test
- FIA 5000 (intracellular nutrient analysis)
- Homocysteine (toxic to the brain)
- Fatty acid analysis (show levels of good and bad fats in your body)
- Antigliadin antibody test (gluten sensitivity test)
- ApoE genotype (Athena diagnostics, genova): there are three types of ApoE genes. ApoE2, ApoE3 and ApoE4. Apo E2 and ApoE3 are considered good because they function as important antioxidants in the brain. ApoE4 is closely correlated with Alzheimer’s disease, other neurological problems and has no antioxidant function. The purpose of testing is so that optimal preventive strategies can be implemented.
- C reactive protein. This is a marker of inflammation. The higher the number is the more likely it is that your brain is under free radical attack.
Sleep: Get at least 7-8 hours per night. We sleep 20% less than we did 100 years ago. Sleep helps restore levels of neurotransmitters and allows the brain to repair itself from free radical damage. If sleep is a problem we will give you something for this. Don’t drink alcohol within three hours before going to bed, don’t exercise too intensely in the evening and avoid very stimulating movies after dinner.
Fats: The brain needs fat more than any other nutrient because the brain is made of fat. The problem is that if we feed it unhealthy fats we get an unhealthy brain. Cut out trans fats and eat saturated fats in moderation. Omega three fats are important. Researchers now think that people should test the levels of various fats in their cells. I agree with this because I have started seeing saturated fat deficiencies as well as omega three and omega six deficiencies.
Stress: Control stress before it controls you. Chronic stress can raise levels of cortisol which if elevated over time can damage the brain and disrupt neurotransmitter levels. We can talk to you about reducing stress or coping with it. One excellent way is use a new interactive software programs that teaches you to control your stress response. We like this because one you are trained on how to use it you can load the software onto your computer at work or at home.
Exercise: Exercise is a great stress reliever. It burns up stress hormones quickly and is a good mood booster. Studies have demonstrated exercise may be an antidote to excess caffeine. Excess caffeine can raise stress related chemicals such as norepinephrine while physical exercise can reduce norepinephrine. Just by walking 20 minutes day you can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s by 30%. The minimum is 30 minutes 5 days a week.
Recreation: Leisure activities are also good for reducing the effects of stress.
Toxins: We are exposed to neurotoxins everyday that can damage the brain. They are in food (mercury in fish, aluminum, plasticizers in food containers and pesticides in produce), personal care products (aluminum), in the home (lead, mold). Exposure to neurotoxins can speed up brain degeneration and accelerate brain aging.
What to do: Buy organic, natural foods, avoid fish with high mercury content (swordfish, tile fish, shark, tuna, king mackerel), read labels for aluminum content. Be especially careful of antacids, deodorants, processed cheese and cookware.
MSG (monosodium glutamate), aspartame (nutrasweet) and hydrolyzed vegetable protein: These are all exitotoxins, chemicals that can cause brain cells to become over stimulated triggering a surge of neurotransmitter activity that can damage brain cells. Aspartame, not an exitotoxin per se, is metabolized to aspartate, a known exitotoxin. Some people are more sensitive to exitotoxins than others but it is generally best to avoid them altogether.
Cell phones: When you use a cell phone, you hold it right up to your head and directly bombard your brain with radio waves. Animal studies have shown that radio waves emitted by cell phones can cause cancerous tumors indicating that this could also happen in humans. While not shown to be unsafe yet by the FDA I recommend limited use of cell phones. Earphones should be considered mandatory if you use your cell phone for more than 3 minutes per day.
Prescription drugs: A number of common drugs can cause depletion of important nutrients needed by the brain. We prefer to discuss this with you in person.
DHA: Docahexaenoic acid, or DHA, is a major component of fish oil. DHA is vital for normal brain development for the fetus and infant and for the maintenance of normal brain function throughout life. DHA is taken up by the brain in preference to other fatty acids and is incorporated into the phospholipids of the cell membranes of brain cells and the retina. DHA-containing phospholipids in the cell membranes of the neurons appear to be necessary for neurite elongation and formation of synapses. DHA-containing phospholipids in these cells are believed to be vital for cell signaling. DHA is the prominent structural fatty acid in the gray matter of the brain and retinal tissues of humans, as well as other animals.
CoQ10: CoQ10 has antioxidant activity in mitochondria and cellular membranes, protecting against damage of brain neurons. It also inhibits the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol. LDL-cholesterol oxidation is believed to play a significant role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.CoQ10 levels decrease with aging in humans. Why this occurs is not known but may be due to decreased synthesis and/or increased fat oxidation which occurs with aging.
NAC: A recent study suggests that NAC might have some favorable impact on age-related memory loss. NAC also works to increase glutathione an important antioxidant for the brain
Phosphatidylserine: Phosphatidylserine has demonstrated some usefulness in treating cognitive impairment, including Alzheimer’s disease, age-associated memory impairment and some non-Alzheimer’s dementias.
Vinpocetine: Vinpocetine enhances cerebral circulation, keeping needed energy and oxygen flowing to the brain. Vinpocetine, a phytonutrient found in the periwinkle (Vinca minor) does this without reducing blood flow elsewhere in the body. It does this by reducing excessive activity of the enzyme phosphodiesterase in the brain – a mechanism similar to Viagra.
Vinpocetine also supports the availability of oxygen by helping red blood cells to “flex” their shape so as to more easily deliver oxygen to the brain. Additionally, vinpocetine allows blood sugar to cross the blood-brain barrier more efficiently, and makes it easier for brain cells to take up and release glucose. Scientists have been able to show that these properties provide protection against brain damage that follows a stroke.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D rapidly increases the in‑vitro genetic expression of tyrosine hydroxylase by threefold. Puchacz E, Stumpf WE, Stachowiak EK, Stachowiak MKVitamin D increases expression of the tyrosine hydroxylase gene in adrenal medullary cells. Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1996 Feb;36(1):193–6.Summer sunlight increases brain serotonin levels twice as much as winter sunlight, a finding compatible with both bright light in the visible spectrum and vitamin D affecting mood.
Lancet. 2002 Dec 7;360(9348):1840–2.Vitamin D is widely involved in brain function with nuclear receptors for vitamin D localized in neurons and glial cells. Genes encoding the enzymes involved in the metabolism of vitamin D are expressed in brain cells. The reported biological effects of vitamin D in the nervous system include the biosynthesis of neurotrophic factors, inhibition of the synthesis of inducible nitric oxide synthase and increased glutathione levels, suggesting a role for the hormone in brain detoxification pathways.