The purpose of the Brain Center originated from an important observation in our practice as well as from other functional medicine practices around the country. That observation was that individuals with brain dysfunction almost universally have chronic metabolic imbalances. Looking at this correlation from the opposite direction about 75% of individuals with chronic metabolic disorders will report difficulty with anxiety, depression, attention deficit or memory function.
Perhaps the most insightful comment on this relationship comes from Dale Bredesen, M.D., an Alzheimer’s researcher and developer of the most innovative and effective metabolic enhancement treatment programs for cognitive disorders. He comments that Alzheimer’s disease is not as much a brain disorder as it is a brain dysfunction the result of chronic systemic metabolic imbalances. These metabolic imbalances include overweight/obesity, insulin resistance which is a precursor to diabetes, chronic inflammation, nutrient imbalances and several others.
It is not surprising that chronic metabolic imbalances would affect the brain causing problems with mood such as anxiety and depression, cognitive/memory dysfunction, attention problems such as ADHD and sleep problems. After all the brain is the most metabolically active tissue in the body. While it comprises only about 2% of body weight, it uses 20% of metabolic resources such as blood glucose during the awake state. Even during sleep the brain is still very metabolically active transitioning short-term memory into long-term memory and undertaking most of its repair and several other “housekeeping” tasks. In essence, the brain cannot function normally with poor metabolic resources and poor sleep.
The links between metabolic function and brain health:
• The brain is the most metabolically active body tissue. While it is only 2% of body weight, it uses 20% of all energy.
• All neurotransmitters which the brain uses to communicate from cell to cell are made from dietary based amino acids and require specific dietary based nutrients to be enzymatically produced.
• While most other tissues can burn fats in the absence of adequate glucose, the brain cannot make this switch. It is therefore more dependent on stable blood sugar for energy needs.
The first challenge in restoring brain functioning is finding the triggers of metabolic dysfunction which may include diet, nutrient deficiencies and other factors. Once a corrective metabolic program is begun a number of very innovative tools to restore normal balance and functioning in the brain and nervous system can be used successfully. These tools are discussed in the respective sections of the Brain Center.