HOLISTIC HEALTH - December 2018
Broken Brain: Heal your body, heal your brain
by Nancy Russell, M.D
Are you struggling with symptoms of: anxiety, depression, brain fog, traumatic brain injury, memory loss, or Alzheimer's? Your brain could be at serious risk. The Broken Brain docu-series shows you how to protect, change, and improve your brain. The series presented cutting edge information where world-class leaders on brain health come together to share in layman’s terms. Mark Hyman, M.D., leading functional medicine physician and nationally known author, was the host of the Broken Brain docu-series.
Dr. Mark Hyman’s journey began when his health went down hill and he felt like he was suffering from symptoms of dementia, ADD, and depression all at once. He struggled to get well as he went from doctor to doctor to doctor. He was labeled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, depression and stress; was given anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication, and ADD medications, but he did not get well. After researching his issues, he discovered the work of Dr Jeff Bland and Functional Medicine.
Dr. Hyman worked with a functional medicine doctor to get to the root of his problems by taking a detailed personal, environmental, and nutritional history—and then performing alternative testing and evaluation. His new physician discovered that he was mercury toxic, mold toxic and had hidden infections. So Dr Hyman basically peeled the onion of his story using the roadmap of functional medicine and was able to get to the bottom line of how to get better. It was a powerful process for him to discover a whole new way of thinking about his brain. He realized that nutrition played a very important role in healing.
As Dr. Hyman learned more about functional medicine, he realized he was looking at how the body effects the brain. Once he started treating patients for their physical problems, their mental problems got better. So he began by treating the foundation of health. There may be psychological issues, trauma and/or stress, but those are much easier to deal with once you’ve built the foundation of health.
Everything we put in our body and subject our body to can affect our whole health. Functional medicine starts with having a healthy soil to nourish the body so you can create a foundation to reset and heal your body. The foundation is based on very simple principles; nutrition, exercise, stress management, sleep, and relationships. All form the basis of creating a healthy human, and if you don’t get those supported, the rest of it may not work.
Nutrition principles to follow are to minimize sugar and flour products, stay hydrated with good water, eat whole foods and less processed foods, eat healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds, avoid vegetable oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and eat plenty of vegetables, especially leafy greens. If you change your diet, get plenty of sleep, start an exercises regimen, work on stress, relationships, and spirituality and can’t find optimal health on your own, seek help.
Functional medicine physicians and practitioners get to know you as an individual, strive to get to the root of your problems, and work together with you in a partnership. A personalized program to health and wellness can start you on the road to success. It is like peeling the layers of the onion or finding the pieces of the puzzle—or as Dr Hyman suggests—finding all the tacks in your body. If you have two tacks and take one tack out, you don’t necessarily get 50 percent better, you have to find the other tack! It is a process and it takes time and working together for your very own solution.
To give an example of a dementia patient that presents to the physician: the work up starts with nutrition and looking for nutritional deficiencies, especially vitamin D, vitamin B-12 and magnesium. Next, assess the gut (or gastro-intestinal health as some functional medicine physicians call the gut, the second brain). Assessing for digestion, absorption, metabolism, good and bad bacteria, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, candida or other yeast overgrowth, and parasites can help get to the root of the problem. Also checking for food allergies and sensitivities and treating with an elimination and four-day rotation diet. Other areas that need to be addressed are brain neurotransmitters, hidden infections, and hormonal health—especially thyroid and sex hormones. This is a complex evaluation and your input is important.
Educate yourself and take action steps to improve your lifestyle today and you can be proactive and prevent many chronic health problems, despite your genetic make-up. Your genes may “load the gun” but it is your lifestyle that pulls the trigger. The first step is to minimize sugar and processed foods. Begin your journey to optimal health today.
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Nancy Russell, M.D. has been a holistic Internal Medicine physician in the Kansas City northland for over 30 years at 5140 N. Antioch Road in Kansas City, MO.
Her phone number is 816-453-5545 and website is www.nancyrussellmd.com where you can get more information. Dr. Russell is board certified in holistic medicine and is a member of the American Holistic Medical Association and a prior board member.