Recently I was at a brain inflammation conference, it’s diagnosis and treatment, in Carlsbad California. It was taught by a fellow chiropractic neurologist, Dr. Datis Kharrazian PhD, DC, DABCN whose work I have been following for decades. See more information about him here. https://drknews.com/. In attendance were about 100 different professionals , mainly chiropractors and medical doctors, all of whom had a practice whose focus was on functional medicine.
Here are some important takeaways from the conference. There are numerous things that can cause your brain to be inflamed including eating an inflammatory diet, faulty detoxification including issues with the digestive tract and / or liver, excess toxic chemical and toxic metal accumulation and infections to name some of the more common items.
What was stressed is that at some point in some people their brains pass a critical point and become “primed”. A classic example of this is a person sustains a traumatic head injury – this can occur with or without a loss of consciousness – which then sets the stage so that even years later the person is more susceptible to an additional insult which could be another brain trauma, an infection such as the flu or bladder infection, or even lesser severe stressors such as an ongoing leaky gut or a significant stress event can then set off the brain to be in a primed state. When the brain is primed, it is easily set off with more trivial stimuli such as alcohol or decreased sleep. An inflamed brain that is primed is much more difficult to work with. The glial brain cells which are responsible for the brains inflammatory and immune protection, have literally changed shape and become dysfunctional. A stroke or even mini strokes that up to 40% of the elderly may have, can also be the initial significant event (like the traumatic brain injury discussed). If one has increased blood pressure they are at risk of having some of these mini relatively asymptomatic, strokes. For those in their 60’s, 20-30% of this group have silent strokes. In the 70’s this number increases to 30-40%.
A person with an inflammatory brain situation in the early stages will have complaints of brain fog, reduced brain endurance such as fatigue with increased standing, reading, concentration, music, light or listening to lectures. They will have increased reactions to chemicals, scents, foods and WiFi.
At a more advanced stage of brain inflammation you will see complaints of depression, excess sleep, fatigue and loss of motivation.
To better diagnose the condition there is a blood test from Cyrex labs, array 20, that can be done for about $225 that will tell you whether or not the blood brain barrier (BBB) is intact. If it is not, then lots of potentially toxic agents can cross over into the brain setting off more inflammation and disease. If this test is positive you retest it every 2 months to check your progress on it’s repair.
What to do about healing an inflamed brain? First is getting a handle on whether or not the BBB is intact. Is the brain primed? Unfortunately a brain MRI will not give you this information. Do they have a history of a traumatic brain injury? All these make for a potentially slower recovery.
Here are some basics on helping to calm down brain inflammation and assisting in it’s healing:
Obviously eat a healthy diet. Lots of vegetable are important and a Vitamix for a morning drink was recommended. Depending on the state of the brain degeneration, ideally change over to a ketogenic diet. If you have kidney issues, this may not be feasible. After your good on the ketogenic diet you add intermittent fasting.
Obesity promotes brain inflammation. Good solution here is a ketogenic diet.
Avoid common food allergies which include Dairy, Gluten, Soy and Eggs, Corn and GMO foods. You can run blood tests from Cyrex to see what foods you are reacting to. At minimum for sure gluten and dairy free diet.
No fried foods. No hydrogenated fats. No Alcohol. No Sugar.
Proper sleep. No alcohol. Exercise twice per day for 10 minutes. Exercise is a whole chapter in itself as it must be properly regulated. Do not over fatigue yourself.
Supplements to take include Alpha Lipoic Acid, DHA from fish oil, Ginko Biloba, Resverotrol, Glutathione, Curcumin, Vinpocetine and Butyrate, green tea, magnesium and CBD. Even on a preventative basis one should be taking in a cocktail of some of the above noted flavinoids.
Some blood tests to monitor along the way to get a read on the amount of your inflammation include: HgA1c, hsCRP, Homocysteine, GGT and your serum iron and ferritin levels.
If you would like to discuss this further please email me or contact my office at 805-569-5000 to schedule an appointment.
Dr. Jacob Bastomski, a board-certified chiropractic neurologist, has served the Santa Barbara area since 1981. As a Santa Barbara chiropractor, Dr. Bastomski seeks to improve health through functional neurology and clinical nutrition.
Please contact us anytime at (805) 569-5000 if you’re looking for a holistic approach to alleviate a chronic condition, especially if traditional medical approaches have failed. Dr. Bastomski’s Back to Health Wellness Center is located at 1900 State St. Suite H in Santa Barbara.