Check Your Brain Strain

Using your brain is not like using a muscle. So, you can’t strain it like you can a leg muscle. It does seem true that those who don’t use it seem to lose it! So, if your memory is not what it used to be, what’s up with that?

The brain could be said to be an electronic computer system that gathers data from the nervous system and interfaces and co-acts with the endocrine (hormonal) system to increase or decrease body functions.

Because nerve cells have protective fat membranes, the brain is about 60% fat. And it needs the correct dietary fats to function properly. The fats and oils needed for nerve cell protection are not the fats the brain gets in the average American diet. Trans-fats (think French fries, donuts, and mayonnaise) and Omega 6 fats (corn oil) are associated with inflammation. As Yoda might say, that leads to the dark side; pain, heart disease, Diabetes, risk of stroke, and cognitive decline (as in memory and mental sharpness) such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

In fact, researchers consider Alzheimer’s to be Diabetes Type III. So, when your doctor tells you that your blood work says you are at risk for Diabetes Type II you may also be at risk for other diseases that result from blood sugar dysfunction. In addition to Alzheimer’s, these include stroke, heart disease and possibly cancer. All of these diseases of modern civilization are associated with inflammation caused by our high dietary intake of sugar and carbs and insufficient quantities of the types of fat that regulate blood sugar and provide the brain with the right fat it needs to function properly throughout our life. Vegetarian lifestyles bring further risk to the brain because fats occur in fatty-acid chains, and the longer fatty-acid chain fats from animal fats are more brain protective than plant sources of fats.   Yes, that means bacon and butter (along with fish oils) are better for the brain than plant oils, although most natural, unrefined sources of fat have nutrient value.

Usually, by the time that we find out there is brain function decline, it may be too late to restore full function. Add to that the risks we take from contact sports and car accidents and recently brain strain has risen to epidemic levels.

I am always looking for true prevention, and I am very happy to let you know that there is now a lab test called BrainSpan to give you a precise measure of your brain health. A blood spot is analyzed for various markers of whether you are getting the correct fats needed for brain health, and if you are eating too many carbs that lead to inflammation. This is also invaluable data if you are trying to lose weight or handle pre- or existing Diabetes.

The second part of the testing is cognitive (memory and perception and processing speed) performed on a tablet or smartphone, to assess your current state of function. I don’t believe we think with our brains, but they do monitor much of our processing and functionality regarding the body. So, keeping the brain healthy will greatly assist the demonstration of our mental ability. Remember how hard it is to think if you are sick or in pain? A great quality of life has so much to do with the keeping the entire body healthy and whole.

To learn more and view a short informational video go to

I have a very special reason to be concerned about healthy brain function. My dad had a very high IQ and extensive vocabulary from reading thousands of books. But in his later years, he developed dementia, lost his ability to communicate completely, and eventually died of a stroke. There were early signs, but his doctors did not know what was really wrong, nor did they have any effective treatment plan except psychiatric medication. Watching a loved one deteriorate so badly is not something I wish on anyone.

Now there is a way to measure brain health as a baseline, and take any measures needed if there is a risk area. Natural medicine and lifestyle changes can improve test results in 12 weeks.  We can re-measure after a few months, and then on a yearly basis, to ensure long lasting improvement and health. This is a great test for each of us over 40, and a way to test elderly parents for risk, also. And, if your child has any symptoms of cognitive issues, or signs of ADHD, this test will provide helpful information. Kids with food sensitivities can exhibit symptoms when there is nothing physically wrong with their brain. But foods can trigger inflammation that may cause kids to act out.

You don’t need to fear any kind of diagnosis from this test. This is a wellness tool, designed to give you a way to measure your lifestyle choices against the best science on healthy brain aging. Researchers know so much more than your MD or the media. The system is geared towards costly disease-care, not prevention. The science is there, as you can see from the links in this newsletter.

Email me for your kit, or talk to me at your next visit to the office. The test costs $159 for first time testing, and $139 for follow up in six months.

Find out how you are doing, and find out early how to reverse things if there is a problem. We can develop a lifestyle, diet, and supplement program geared exactly to your results.

This test takes the strain our of brain health. You don’t have to worry if your misplacing your car keys is an early sign of Alzheimer’s.  Now you can find out if you will be able to use your noodle when you are dangling grandkids on your knee. Some smart guys figured out how to look beyond the grey matter so we won’t lose our marbles.

My test results are on the way. I’m in this with you.