Stress and Your Brain
It has long been know that stress can affect the human brain. Stress during pregnancy can result in the mother’s excess Cortisol changing the way the baby’s brain deals with stress, leaving the individual with a reduced capacity to deal with stress and leading to a tendency towards anxiety and depression.
Stress and anxiety can have a detrimental effect on our aging process and on the brain.
Hyper anxiety is often caused by stress and will increase your Cortisol as well as Adrenaline and Noradrenaline, the flight and fight hormones, both secreted by the Adrenal glands.
Signs Your Brain May be Ageing:
Prolonged stress will result in symptoms such as tiredness, anxiety and depression, raised blood pressure and sometimes gut problems.
Stress can allow toxins across your brain blood brain barrier (a protective filter which shields your brain and normally allows nutrients in but keeps toxins out) increasing your risk of depression and other conditions. http://www.bmj.com/content/313/7071/1505.2 Chronic stress has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and elevated Cortisol levels have been associated with dementia.
So you can see that it is really important to protect your brain from prolonged stress.
You can de-stress by adequate breathing, exercise, mindfulness, avoiding smoking and exposure to heavy metals.
A specialist can help to reduce oxidative stress by helping you to increase antioxidant enzymes, decrease homocysteine levels, manage your blood pressure, optimise cellular energy and support cell membrane integrity.
Serotonin and Dopamine for the Happy Brain
The gut is your second brain. A healthy gut is essential to health, 80% of receptors for Serotonin, the happy joyful hormone and Dopamine, the pleasure reward and motivation hormone, are in the gut. If your serotonin decreases this can cause depression, PMS and insomnia
An unhealthy gut or a Leaky Gut (increased intestinal permeability) can increase your risk of depression and other conditions
Sunlight, 5HTP, Vitamin B6 and B12, Folate and Magnesium all support Serotonin. Foods such as Turkey, Halibut, Tofu, Banana and Kiwi all increase your Serotonin levels.
Dopamine increases pleasure, reward and motivation and decreases feelings of hopelessness and lack of motivation and Dopamine rich food include meat, eggs, cheese, oats and chocolate.
To boost your brain’s heath consider taking good quality Gingko-Biloba, Rhodiola Rosea, L-Theanine, and Acetyl-L-Carnitine.
Bioidentical Hormones and the Stressed Brain
There are many ways of supporting your memory including bioidentical hormones such as Natural Progesterone. Low Progesterone is often associated with low Dopamine so to improve memory, the hormone Pregnenolone, a precursor of Progesterone and DHEA is often helpful. The Holistic Doctor can prescribe the highest quality bio-identical hormones formulated for supporting your brain function.
8 Tips for Keeping Your Brain Young and Healthy
- Eat foods high in anti-Oxidants such as blueberries, apples, broccoli, green tea
- Dopamine rich foods such as meat, eggs, cheese, oats and chocolate
- Serotonin supporting foods such as turkey, Halibut, Tofu, Banana and Kiwi
- Stress reducing activities such as breathing exercises, mindfulness, physical exercise, hobbies, music, dancing, laughter, spending time outdoors.
- Protect your brain from prolonged stress
- Supplements such as Ginkgo Biloba, Rhodiola Rosea, L-Theanine and Acetyl-L-Carnitine
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night
- Bioidentical hormones such as natural progesterone can support your memory.
Identifying the nutritional supplements you need involves testing you for vitamin and mineral status, biochemical pathways, heavy metal toxicity and environmental pollution.