All of us are born with a certain number of brain cells. Over the course our lives, brain cells inevitably become damaged and die. Yes, the brain actually shrinks, so if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.
This is the process of neurodegeneration. Neurodegeneration is a combination of two words – “neuro,” which refers to nerve cells, and “degeneration,” which refers to progressive damage.
The quicker your brain cells die and degenerate, the faster brain function deteriorates. You start to deal with depression, headaches, anxiety and fatigue. You have difficulty making decisions and suffer from memory loss. This leads to serious neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
When diagnosed early with depression and brain-based fatigue, the prognosis for recovery is generally very good. By the time neurodegenerative disease sets in, there’s not much that can be done.
But there are things we can do to prevent these conditions by slowing down the degeneration of brain cells.
Think about it this way. Millions of Americans wake up in the morning and go the gym to build their bodies. Maybe they eat protein to build muscle mass. Maybe they take calcium to keep their bones strong.
But what are we doing each day to build a better brain? What are we doing to exercise and nourish our brains? What are you doing to get rid of that brain fog you experience every afternoon at work?
It’s time to start addressing brain-based fatigue in the same way that we address metabolic fatigue.
The lifestyle choices we make every day, from the foods we eat to how we deal with stress, have a direct impact on brain chemistry and the rate of neurodegeneration. That’s why interest and research related to neurodegeneration and has taken off in recent years, from the BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies), to DNA mapping of the brain, to the relationship between the immune system and the brain.
And that’s why I’ve made neurodegeneration a primary focus of Natural Healthcare Center for 2016.
We need to open our minds and open our eyes to the data that shows how passive kinetic therapies such as chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, massage, and craniosacral therapy stimulate brain function. Aromatherapy, color therapy and music therapy exercise the brain. As Dr. Daniel Amen points out in his book Change Your Body, Change Your Brain, diet and exercise are critical to optimal brain function.
We need to recognize the fact that most Americans use the mid-brain for the five Fs – fight, flight, fornicate, feed and freeze. We can improve brain chemistry and prevent neurodegeneration by turning off the mid-brain and instead using the prefrontal cortex, which controls thought, love, joy, creativity, innovation and service. We can accomplish this through lifestyle change.
Over the course of this year, I’ll be discussing neurodegeneration more than any other topic. I encourage you to check back often for more helpful information, do your own research, and start making better decisions each day to avoid neurodegenerative disease.