I’ve just returned from attending back-to-back conferences in Integrative and Functional Medicine in California. Highlights of both were fascinating presentations of new scientific data on brain health.
High dose fish oil for traumatic brain injury
Drs. Daniel Amen, Terry Wahls, Dale Bredesen and David Perlmutter presented their research on treatment modalities for traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s) and neurodegenerative disorders such as MS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Especially noteworthy: high dose fish oils, at doses far greater than used in conventional therapies, were found to be especially useful in healing TBI. If you know of anyone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury, you should really check out the Brain Health Education & Research Institute (BHERI) Omega-3 Protocol for Brain Health.
Keeping our brains healthy as we age
Alzheimer’s affects 50 million people over the age of 85. Drugs aimed at helping slow progression of the disease haven’t proven very effective, and the disability caused from AD is devastating to the patient and their families. My mother was diagnosed with AD 10 years ago, shortly after my father passed away, so finding treatment modalities to halt the progression or even reverse Alzheimer’s has my attention.
Some questions asked (and answered) at the conference were:
How can we identify our risk for Alzheimer’s before the disease manifests?
We know from the research that AD starts in the brain decades before there are any symptoms. One option: we know that the APOE gene, specifically Apolipoprotein E e4 allelle (ApoE4) is a major risk factor for AD. If you have a family history, you will want to be tested for ApoE4.
What are some of the major contributing factors that cause the brain to make amyloid, starch-like protein deposits characteristic of AD?
Chronic viral infections, oral bacteria, spirochetes, fungi, biofilms, leaky gut, hyperinsulin states, toxins and heavy metals are all culprits.
What are the risk factors for AD?
Any inflammatory illness increases your risk, as does obesity, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, erectile dysfunction, smoking, drugs and alcohol, sleep apnea, insomnia, excessive stress, untreated ADD, exercising less than twice a week, the standard American diet (SAD), not stimulating the brain through new learning, and increasing age.
What are the best treatment modalities to heal the brain?
*Specific dosing is individualized to each patient.
- Omega-3 fatty acids help inflammation and moodPhosphatidylcholine for brain inflammation
- Gingko and vinpocetine (an herbal extract of the periwinkle plant) improves blood flow and memory
- B vitamins provide nutrients and energy to cells
- Huperzine A, an herbal extract, boosts acetycholine
- Alpha lipoic acid helps with blood sugar stabilization
- N-acetyl-cysteine provides antioxidant support
What are the best sources of Omega-3’s?
It’s always best to get your macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) and your micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) from food sources, which are better assimilated in the body. Best food sources include deep water fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines, walnuts and walnut oil, legumes (dried beans, peas and lentils), purslane (a green vegetable), pumpkin seeds, soy products and some winter squashes.
The National Institutes of Health recommends that you consume at least 2% of your total calories from omega 3 fats. That’s 2,000 mg (or 2 grams) based on an average 2,000 calorie diet. Of course, when we are speaking of brain injuries or reversing chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s, higher doses are recommended. (See the Wahl’s Protocol below).
If you can’t get all your omega-3 intake from food sources, supplement with a minimum 2,000 mg of omega-3 fish oil per day. Always take your omega-3 fish oils with meals, as they are fat soluble and absorbed best with fatty foods.
One of the keys to treating AD, according to Dr. Amen, is to understand that the most prevalent diseases affecting our health today — diabetes, obesity, cardiac disease, cancers, depression and Alzheimer’s — are not separate disorders, but different expressions of the same unhealthy lifestyle. Therefore, they have the same cure.
Treating the inflammation is key! According to Dr. Terry Wahl’s who wrote The Wahl’s Protocol an anti-inflammatory food and lifestyle protocol to reverse neurodegenerative decline in MS, “High dose fish oils at 6-9 grams, under a physician’s supervision, work remarkably well at decreasing the inflammation associated with these disorders.”
Optimize your brain and your health
Finally, if you want to optimize your brain and your health, test the following values and make sure they are optimal:
- Body mass index (BMI) below 25
- Blood pressure 120/80 or less
- Fasting blood glucose <90
- HbAIC- <5.7 accepted range. (Optimally <5.6)
- Fasting insulin (Standard range 2-19. Optimal Functional range-0.-5.0)
- Lipid panel
- High sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) <1.0
- Homocysteine <10
- Vitamin D between 50-80 ng/ml
- Thyroid panel
- Omega-3 Index
When it comes to your health, always include omega-3 fish oils in your daily diet. And don’t skimp on quality by buying cheap brands. Always make sure they are pharmaceutical grade for best results. Quality fish oils can do amazing things for your health! They support your body’s innate ability to heal itself.
Wishing you health & happiness <3
Baked Salmon with Herbs & Lemon
Make delicious and healthy fish such as salmon a part of your weekly diet!
Serves 2, can be easily doubled
12 ounces salmon fillet, skin on (or 6 ounces per person)
1 small shallot, finely chopped (about 1 heaped tablespoon)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped basil (or other herb of your choice)
1 teaspoon dried dill (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
Finely grated zest of a lemon (1 loosely packed tablespoon)
1 tablespoon of olive oil or enough to moisten the herbs
A generous pinch of flaky sea salt
A shallow baking tray
A rack (doesn't need to fit into the tray)
A chef's knife and cutting board
A half-hour before you start: Remove the salmon from the refrigerator, unwrap it, and let it sit on the counter to come to room temperature. Place a pan 1/2 full of water (I use a 8" round cake tin) in the oven on the lower rack and preheat to 250°F.
Prep the herb paste: Finely chop the shallot, parsley, basil, and other herbs. Zest the lemon (I find a Microplane is the best way to go.) Mix the shallot, herbs, and lemon zest in a bowl, and moisten with the olive oil to form a rough paste.
Prepare the baking tray: Lightly oil the rack and place it over the tray. Place the salmon fillet skin-side down on the rack.
Coat the salmon with the herbs: Pat the herbs on top of the salmon, forming a thick layer. I haven't had much luck coating the sides (the herbs usually fall off), but you can certainly give it a try.
Bake the salmon 25 to 30 minutes: Place the salmon in the oven on the middle rack and close the door immediately. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. A thicker fillet will usually need a little longer time. Check for doneness at 20 minutes: Remove the tray of salmon from the oven and close the oven door. (Since the oven is at such a low heat, you want to keep the door closed as much as possible.) Place a knife tip in the thickest part of the salmon and gently pry it open. If the salmon separates into flakes, it's done. If not, return it to the oven for another five minutes.
Garnish and serve: When the salmon is done, transfer it to a cutting board and cut into two pieces. To remove the skin (optional) work the edge of the spatula between the skin and the flesh. By gently wiggling, you should be able to lift the fillet clear of the skin. Sprinkle each fillet with the salt and serve.
New in our office: The Biophotonic Scanner
We are excited to announce the Antioxidant Laser Scanner is a new service we offer to address your overall health care!
Current medical literature suggests that antioxidants can decrease your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Antioxidants slow down the aging process, boost your immune system and decrease pain and inflammation. Antioxidants are responsible for the vibrant colors found in fruits and vegetables, along with compounds found in foods like green tea and dark chocolate.
Scans are offered for $20.00. Should your antioxidant level be low, we will show you ways to reach optimum levels through lifestyle and supplementation protocols. Client re-scans are free of charge. We look forward to providing you with an inexpensive and non-invasive screening tool to improve your health.