The Hidden Cause Of Memory Loss, Depression And Alzheimer’s Could Be Found In Brain Inflammation
Chronic brain inflammation may be the real cause of depression, cognitive issues and other mental issues. However, some anti-inflammatory changes can significantly prevent it.
Body inflammation is the first line of defense of the body against injuries, pathogens and infections. It usually stops after the healing process finishes.
However, serious issues may arise if inflammation does not stop. In addition, it may fight against the body, by protecting body tissues, blood vessels and body healthy cells rather than protecting them. This condition is known as systematic or chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation can be developed at any part of the human body, including the brain.
Brain chronic inflammation, unlike the inflammation caused by arthritis or an injury, does not cause pain, because the brain does not have receptors of pain. However, this does not indicate that it does not cause pain in the brain. It is there, and it secretly harms the most vital organ in the human body.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ACUTE INFLAMMATION AND CHRONIC INFLAMMATION?
Acute inflammation usually starts rapidly and quickly gets severe. The signs of acute inflammation may be present for a few days even though in certain cases they may last for a few weeks.
Instances of conditions, diseases, and situations that can lead to acute inflammation include:
• Acute bronchitis
• Sore throat from a flu or a cold
• A scratch on the skin
• Acute appendicitis
• Acute dermatitis
• Infected ingrown toenail
• Acute sinusitis
• Acute infective meningitis
Chronic inflammation is a long-term inflammation that may persist for a few months or years. It can be caused by:
• Not being able to eliminate the cause of an acute inflammation;
• An autoimmune response to an antigen, i.e. the immune system attacks the body healthy tissue, thinking it is harmful pathogen.
• A low – intensity chronic irritant that persists for a long time.
Instances of conditions and diseases with chronic inflammation are
• Chronic peptic ulcer
• Chronic periodontitis
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Ulcerative colitis
• Crohn’s disease
• Chronic hepatitis
• Chronic sinusitis
SIGNS OF CHRONIC INFLAMMATION
Even though acute inflammation is caused by pathogens and injuries, chronic brain inflammation is mainly caused by unhealthy habits, which stimulate the inflammation response after it stopped being beneficial in the healing process.
Chronic brain inflammation may cause numerous health issues, such as: asthma, allergies, chronic infections, autoimmune diseases, colitis, sinusitis, dermatitis, arthritis, and other health issues ending in –itis.
In addition, it is considered to be a silent killer as it contributes to seven out of ten most leading death causes. Moreover, inflammation prevents the production of energy, thus leading to mental fatigue and low firing of neurons.
It may cause symptoms, such as ADHD, lack of mental clarity, brain fog, depression, anxiety, memory loss, low memory processes and severe neurological diseases, like stroke and Alzheimer’s. Many experts think that depression might not be a disease, but a sign of body inflammation.
CHRONIC INFLAMMATION: AN UNEXPECTED CAUSE OF DEPRESSION
According to the medical community, depression is caused by low levels of good brain chemicals, including often serotonin and occasionally dopamine. However, this is still a theory, even though it is a wildly held one.
Doctors prescribe antidepressants to millions of people, due to their brain model of depression. Nevertheless, these antidepressants work in less than half of those who take them, which makes them less effective than a placebo.
Another theory supports the view that brain inflammation is the main cause of inflammation. It is also known as cytokine model of depression.
Even though it is not a new theory, it has been overshadowed by the theory of neurotransmitter imbalance of depression. Cytokines represent messengers of the immune system. Moreover, some of them prevent the brain inflammation, whereas others boost it up.
Since 1980s, it has been known that inflammatory cytokines turn off the brain inflammation, thus destroying the brain tissue and preventing the proper functioning of the brain.
This also leads to impaired attention and memory, lethargy, anorexia, slow responses, depression, irritability, lack of interest, memory loss, anxiety, schizophrenia, inability to focus, bipolar disorder and high risk of committing a suicide.
The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSSRIs), which are the most popular antidepressants, are considered to function by increasing the levels of serotonin, even though there is evidence that these antidepressants could be anti-inflammatory. In fact, their anti-inflammatory properties, rather than their ability to increase the levels of serotonin, may be real cause that these drugs work for many.
THE IMMUNE SYSTEM OF THE BRAIN
It is almost unknown that the brain has its own immune system. The brain immune cells, which are known as microglia cells, are the main and the first line of defense of the central nervous system. These brain immune cells should protect the spinal cord and the brain from pathogens and to get rid of metabolic waste, such as beta amyloidal plague in the brain of the patients with Alzheimer’s.
When it comes to weight, 50 % of the brain is made of microglia cells. When a microglia cell is activated, it produces inflammation for its whole lifespan. They cannot be turned on or off. In addition, microglia cells lead to domino effect of additional inflammation by stimulating other microglia cells to get active.
There are numerous lifestyle changes and health factors, which increase the risk of activating microglia cells to cause brain inflammation, including:
• Lack of exercise
• Chronic stress
• A diet rich in carbohydrates
• Head trauma
• Heart diseases
• Substance abuse
• Exposure to environmental chemical toxins
• Exposure to perfumes and other inhalant chemicals
• Lack of vitamin B
• Digestive disorders
• Systemic or chronic inflammation
• A compromised blood-brain barrier
Dr. Datis Kharrazian, an author of ‘Why isn’t my brain working?’, thinks that a compromised blood-brain barrier is the greatest risk factor that causes chronic brain inflammation. The blood-brain barrier represents a fine mesh of specialized cells and blood vessels, whose function is to eliminate foreign substances in the brain. On the other hand, it may become leaky if it is damaged.
This lets pathogens and bacteria go into the brain, which activates the microglia cells to produce brain inflammation. The permeability of the blood-brain barrier also lets the inflammation that comes from any part of the body to enter the brain and being the inflammatory response.
CONTROL BRAIN INFLAMMATION NATURALLY
Inflammation represents a long process, which cannot be eliminated at once, as some inflammatory activity is important.
However, when the inflammation gets out of control, and its effects become counterproductive, you would want to slow it down. Here are some natural ways which will help you put chronic inflammation under control.
CONSUME AN ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET
The type of food you consume can either decrease or increase the inflammation process. When it comes to reducing chronic inflammation, it is best to consume anti-inflammatory food, but to avoid consuming pro-inflammatory foods.
PROVIDE YOUR BRAIN WITH AN OIL CHANGE
One of the basic dietary changes that you can make is to avoid or lower consuming pro-inflammatory onega-6 fats, which are found in vegetable oils, like safflower oil, corn, soy and canola. Moreover, you can use organic coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
In addition, you can consume more anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats by eating fatty fish, such as sardines, mackerel, and salmon. Look for wild-caught fatty fish, which are richer in omega-3 fatty acids, than farmed raised fatty fish.
Moreover, you should also include pasture-fed meat and grass-fed meat in your diet, as well as poultry and eggs, as they have more omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed meat, and less inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids than the mass produced counterparts.
AVOID CONSUMING CARBOHYDRATES, WHICH CONTAIN WHEAT AND SUGAR
Not only the consumption of white sugar increases brain inflammation, but it also affects the communication of the brain cells, lowers thinking, and leads to brain damage and even death.
High levels of chronic blood glucose are closely related to Alzheimer’s, which according to many doctors is a type of brain diabetes.
In addition, you can also use honey in moderation rather that sugar. Moreover, honey has antiseptic, antiviral, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Unlike white sugar, honey contains some antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.
On the other hand, when it comes to wheat products, it is thought that their consumption may cause brain damage in a few days. If you suffer from gluten sensitivity, you should avoid using wheat in your diet in order to be able to lower both brain and gut inflammation.
Even if you do not suffer from gluten sensitivity, it is recommended that you lower the consumption of wheat products. Here is the reason why you should reduce wheat consumption.
You may not know that wheat, whose glycemic index score is 71, increases the levels of blood sugar more than the white sugar, whose glycemic index score is 59. Therefore, eating 2 slices of wheat toast will increase your levels of blood sugar more than eating a candy bar.
EAT ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FLAVONOLS
Flavonols represents a group of anti-inflammatory compounds, which are found in plants. Luckily, it is easily to increase the intake of Flavonols in your diet. The world’s best beverages and favorite foods, like beer, coffee, tea, berries, chocolate, contain great amount of Flavonols.
All types of tea have anti-inflammatory properties even though the green tea is more recommended as it is rich in a unique anti-inflammatory compound – EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). This anti-inflammatory compound easily goes through the blood –brain barrier and prevents damage of the brain cells. In addition, matcha tea is a greater source of EGCG than the green tea.
Red wine is an essential part of the Mediterranean diet, which is considered to be the healthiest diet in the world. Red wine prevents stroke, heart diseases, diabetes and chronic inflammation in the human body.
The healthy benefits of red wine are mainly attributed to the polyphenols resveratol, which boosts up brain health, heart health and longevity.
Almost all herbs and spices have anti-inflammatory properties, so make sure you include them in your diet as much as you can. Moreover, turmeric, rosemary and ginger are among the best herbs and spices used for improving the brain function and its health.
TAKE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY SUPPLEMENTS
If you cannot reduce chronic inflammation with a diet, there are a few anti-inflammatory supplements that can help you. Here are some anti-inflammatory supplements, which also have brain – stimulating properties.
• Fish oil, which is rich in onega-3 fatty acids, is one of the most beneficial anti-inflammatory supplements used for soothing chronic inflammation. The supplementation of fish oil has great effects of enhancing all types of brain functions, as well as mood, memory, mental health and cognitive ability.
• Except fish oil, you can also try krill oil. Krill oil includes tiny crustaceans which are rich in astaxanthin – the most powerful antioxidant.
• Another anti-inflammatory supplement that you can use to lower brain inflammation is curcumin, which is a compound found in turmeric spice (curcuma longa). Not only curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties, but is also has natural antiviral, antifungal, antioxidants, antibacterial and anti-cancer properties.
• In addition, acetyl l-carnitrine is more bioavailable form of amino acids l-carnitrine. Moreover, acetyl l-carnitrine has anti-aging properties on the brain, and it also enhances alertness, mental clarity, memory, moo, focus and processing speed.
• Vinpocetine represents a synthetic compound, which of periwinkle plant (Vinca minor), which improves blood flow in the brain and regulates neurotransmitters to enhance memory, prevent memory fog, enhances memory clarity and slow down the aging of the brain.
• Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) is a herb that has been for many years to enhance physical stamina, improve mood and memory, enhance libido, ad promote longevity. In addition, it is used to treat and prevent depression and anxiety.
• Eat nuts, especially almonds, walnuts and cashews, and avocadoes.
OTHER ANTI-INFLAMMATORY LIFESTYLE CHANGES
Except a healthy diet and food supplements, there are other healthy lifestyle aspects that can lower and prevent chronic inflammation.
• Getting enough sleep is essential for treating and preventing chronic inflammation. By reducing your exposure to artificial light at night, you will be able to sleep better by allowing the production of melatonin in the body. Melatonin is a natural sleep hormone of the body, which also has anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial for the protection of the brain.
• Doing exercise for 20 – 30 minutes a day will help you reduce chronic inflammation, too. What is more interesting is the fact that exercising in moderation is much better than strenuous exercising that can increase chronic inflammation.
• Stress also increases inflammatory cytokines. All stress – reduction techniques, like mindfulness meditation, are considered to reduce chronic inflammation. In addition, it is though that chronic inflammation affects the gene expressions, thus reducing chronic inflammatory activity.
THE BOTTOM LINE OF CHRONIC INFLAMMATION
Body inflammation is a response to pathogens and injuries, which may get out of control and turn into chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation can affect all parts of the human body, as well as the brain, which is the most vital organ of the body. Chronic brain inflammation may lead to numerous brain –related issues, including depression.
Setting up a healthy lifestyle, making necessary changes in your diet and food supplementation, sleeping enough hours, doing regular exercise, and regulating stress levels will help you to reduce chronic inflammation in the brain.