Archive for health habits
The Brain Trust Program
Dr. Larry McCleary is a neurosurgeon who specializes in pediatrics. I can not imagine a more stressful occupation than operating on the brains of children. Dr. McCleary is so concerned about the effects of our behavior – habits – on our brain he wrote a book about it called The Brain Trust Program.
Habits that Benefit our Brain
Dr. McCleary book points out habits we can develop that benefit our brain. A list of these would include the following bt this list is not exhaustive:
- Eat a well balanced diet that is largely free of highly processed foods
- Keep our weight at the ideal level
- Get some regular exercise that does not bounce your brain
- Have your health screened periodically to detect any problems like high blood sugar, high blood pressure and markers of inflammation like lipid NMR profile, homocysteine levels, maybe hsCRP (CRP is not accurate at low levels. A level 2 has a deviation of 1.0 meaning that the range is 1-3 with 1 or 2 being very good and 3 or above bad. What I encounter is people either are below 2 or above 5 and many I have tested are in the 30′s, 40′s and 50′s.)
Habits that may impair our Brain Health
- Eating Transfats which are vegetable oils (highly processed usually!) that are liquid at room temperature and have been further process to make them solid at room temperature. These are not natural fats, and are harmful to brain health and heart or blood vessel health.
- Receiving regular head trauma from sports or simply jogging too hard or too long – you can check your S-100B levels to find out if what you are doing is having an effect on your brain
- Lowering our CoQ10 levels which happens with one prominent group of chemicals called “Statins” used to treat cholesterol and with drugs for hypertension and diabetes
- Blocking or reducing the absorption of B-vitamins with medications to lower stomach acid, estrogen therapy in birth control and for menopause, medication for osteoporosis and for Parkinson’s disease.
- Regular use of corticosteroids to reduce inflammation mimic the effects of stress reactions on the brain which is directly harmful if prolonged. These types of steroids need to be kept to low doses for the shortest period possible
- Alcohol – a little seems to go a long way. If you drink keep it low meaning less than 7 ounces per week.
- Hypertension that is not controlled and 30% of all people with hypertension are undiagnosed
- Atheroschlerosis – a problem with diet and inflammation and probably a little genetics. If you are at an ideal weight, keep inflammation low in your body (we have information on these issues in our membership site) you can limit this
- Sleep deprivation – we repair and renew during sleep – miss enough sleep long enough and your brain will show the effects.
- Troubles with insulin meaning over stimulation of this hormone by eating too many high glycemic load foods. Alzheimer’s disease has been called diabetes type 3 and indeed research shows troubles using glucose by the neurons when this disease is present. This is bad since glucose is the main fuel for the brain. Supplying our brain with ketones from eating certain kinds of fat can be very beneficial if we do it before symptoms show up
Where can I get more information?
In this post if you signed up for the free stuff, you will be able to access a PDF with information written by Dr. McCleary himself and listen to or download an mp3 of an interview Dr. McCleary gave on the subject of The Brain Trust Program.
Please take the 5 minutes it takes to watch this and answer the questions for yourself. We want to connect you with great advice and coach you to healthy habits. We call this
Personal Health Care Reform