New study links inflammation with brain fog

New study links inflammation with brain fog

A new study has shown what we have known for some time in functional medicine: Chronic inflammation causes brain fog and mental sluggishness — many people with chronic health conditions report these symptoms.

In the study, 20 healthy young male volunteers received a salmonella typhoid vaccine, which temporarily spikes inflammation. On separate days they received a placebo shot of saline and did not know on which day they received the vaccine.

They were then given cognitive testing in areas challenging alertness, prioritizing sensory information, and the ability to make executive decisions when presented with conflicting information.

The results showed that the area affected by the inflammation from the vaccine was alertness. The other two areas did not change.

The researchers suggested that inflammation impacts brain networks involved in mental alertness and that anti-inflammatory drugs may be warranted.

Functional medicine approaches to brain inflammation and brain fog

Fortunately, functional medicine offers solutions for brain fog and mental sluggishness. The key is to find and address the source of chronic inflammation.

But first, do you suffer from these symptoms associated with brain inflammation?

  • Brain fog
  • Unclear thoughts
  • Low brain endurance
  • Slow mental speed
  • Loss of brain function after trauma
  • Brain fog and fatigue and poor mental focus after meals
  • Brain fog and fatigue from chemicals, scents, and pollutants
  • Brain fog and fatigue from certain foods
  • Depression

While the brain can become inflamed, we may not necessarily know it as we don’t feel pain from brain inflammation (headaches are caused by other mechanisms although brain inflammation can play a role).

Instead, brain inflammation most often manifests as brain fog and sluggish brain function.

This is because brain inflammation hinders energy production in neurons, making it harder for them to communicate with one another. This causes the brain to slow down and fatigue more easily. Things like reading, working, concentrating, or driving for any length cause fatigue.

The brain has its own immune system made primarily of microglia cells. In the past they were considered nothing more than glue that held brain cells together, but now we know they are very important and outnumber neurons ten to one.

The brain’s immune cells do not have a built-in off switch like the body’s immune cells. As a result, brain inflammation can burn through brain tissue like a slow-moving fire, worsening brain function over time. We see this often in people suffering from symptoms from a brain injury they had years ago.

Also, when not fighting inflammation, the microglia cells carry out very important and necessary “housekeeping” work that keeps the brain healthy and functioning.

Healthy microglia get rid of dead neurons, beta amyloid plaque, and other debris that interfere with nerve communication. They also support neuron metabolism and synapses.

This is especially true in children, whose brain immune cells help “prune” developing neural pathways so that the brain develops as it should. Children whose brains are besieged by inflammation suffer from glitches in these pathways and their brain does not follow healthy developmental patterns.

Brain inflammation not only causes brain fog and mental sluggishness, it also accelerates the degeneration of the brain. This raises the risk of neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and more.

In fact, brain aging is linked more to brain inflammation than simply getting older.

What leads to brain inflammation and brain fog?

Basically, chronic inflammation anywhere in the body can inflame the brain. This can include chronic joint pain, infections from bacteria, viruses, or parasites, leaky gut or gut inflammation, or an undiagnosed and unmanaged autoimmune condition.

Inflammation in the body releases immune cells called cytokines. These cytokines can trigger inflammation in the brain.

Brain inflammation is now being recognized as a primary cause of chronic, unresponsive depression. After all, antidepressants do not address brain inflammation.

If you have brain fog or mental sluggishness, see if any of these factors could be contributing:

  • Diabetes and high blood sugar
  • Poor circulation
  • Lack of exercise
  • Chronic stress
  • Heart disease
  • Respiratory issues
  • Anemia
  • Previous head trauma
  • Neurological autoimmunity
  • Gluten and dairy intolerance
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Environmental pollutants
  • Systemic inflammation
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Inflammatory bowel conditions
  • Leaky blood-brain barrier

Taming brain inflammation

If you start to feel more mental clarity when addressing underlying causes of brain fog, that means you’re on the right track.

While working on the dietary and lifestyle factors that trigger brain fog, the following compounds can also help dampen brain inflammation:

  • Rutin
  • Catechin
  • Curcumin
  • Apigenin
  • Luteolin
  • Baicalein
  • Resveratrol

The amount you take depends on the degree of brain inflammation. Ask my office for more information.

Exercise shown to improve autoimmunity outcomes

Exercise shown to improve autoimmunity outcomes

Exercise may seem like a bad idea when you feel run down, in pain, or fatigued from an autoimmune disease. Autoimmunity, a disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys body tissue, can make exercise feel like an impossible feat when you’re not feeling good.

However, studies show daily physical activity improves outcomes and helps manage symptoms compared to not exercising at all. This even extends to patients who may stop exercising due to pain, such as in the case of rheumatoid arthritis. No matter how small the effort, something is better than nothing when it comes to regular physical activity and autoimmunity.

Exercise guidelines for autoimmunity

Exercise has many general benefits, the best perhaps being that it simply makes you feel better. People who engage in regular physical activity report less depression and better self-esteem, and are happier. These benefits alone support autoimmune management as a positive mindset is more anti-inflammatory compared to a negative one.

However, when it comes to autoimmunity, exercise delivers specific immune benefits. In fact, you’ll never reach your full potential at managing an autoimmune condition unless regular physical activity is part of your protocol.

In studies, regular exercise has been shown to help dampen autoimmunity in patients with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and other conditions. Studies have also shown that sedentary patients have higher incidences of autoimmune diseases than more active patients.

Research also shows that as a trend, patients with autoimmune disease tend to be more sedentary. This is understandable — autoimmune disease can make you feel poorly much of the time and our cultural depictions of exercise make it seem unattainable. The pressure to be a hard-bodied athlete who flips tractor tires and runs up stadium stairs can lead to resignation instead of physical activity.

But the benefits of physical activity for autoimmunity don’t have to come from intense workouts at a CrossFit gym, long runs, or two-hour weightlifting sessions to deliver benefits. Your fitness level, symptoms, and energy levels will determine what is appropriate for you.

To be effective in managing autoimmunity, exercise can be as simple as a short walk around the block if you’re just getting started. If chronic pain is an issue, exercising in water or on a recumbent stationary cycle may be more appropriate. If you’re feeling good and have been building your fitness, daily high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which activates a wide number of anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating mechanisms, can super charge the autoimmune-dampening benefits of your workouts.

 

While it’s important to exercise regularly, equally important is to not overdo it. Overtraining increases inflammation and can and lead to exercise intolerance, a condition in which exercise makes you feel worse, takes an unusual amount of time to recover from, or triggers a relapse or flare.

Exercise intolerance stems from compromised mitochondria related to chronic inflammation associated with autoimmunity.

Also, for some people with autoimmunity, there are days where they are bedridden with flu-like symptoms and barely able to function, much less exercise. Approach your physical activity habit with common sense and self-compassion — some days it just won’t be appropriate and that’s ok. Ease back into it when you feel better.

If you would like help understanding the Benefits of Exercise for Autoimmunity, you can schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.

Why exercise is good for autoimmunity

The primary benefit of exercise with autoimmunity is that it lowers inflammation and stabilizes immune function. Because inflammatory flare ups provoke autoimmune relapses and tissue destruction, keeping inflammation down and immune function stable is paramount.

Physical activity increases the activity of regulatory T cells. These cells are critical when it comes to managing autoimmunity. As their name implies, they help regulate the immune system when it comes to increasing or dampening inflammation. Exercise has a profound impact on regulatory T cells.

Exercise also shifts the balance between the pro-inflammatory Th1 system and the anti-inflammatory Th2 system to be less inflammatory and more balanced.

It also promotes the release of messenger immune cells called IL-6, which help dampen inflammation.

A study on the effects of exercise on women with lupus showed that three months of regular aerobic exercise modulated immunity and did not trigger inflammation.

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis show milder symptoms and improved joint mobility with regular exercise.

In patients with multiple sclerosis, physical activity enhanced mood and mobility. Exercise lowers the risk of neuropathy in type 1 diabetes patients.

Many people feel they can’t exercise due to pain, but research has shown it reduces pain in patients with fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions that cause pain.

If you feel too unwell to exercise, ask yourself what you feel you can reasonably do and start there. Ask my office for more advice on using physical activity to address autoimmunity.

Want to know more? Schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.

Coffee enemas can help manage Hashimoto’s

Coffee enemas can help manage Hashimoto’s

The first time you hear about coffee enemas can leave you feeling confused and a little weirded out. But the truth is, coffee enemas have been associated with the following benefits:

  • Pain relief
  • Increased energy
  • Depression relief
  • Improved mental clarity
  • Reduce die-off symptoms during detoxes
  • Helping eliminate parasites
  • Helping improve digestion
  • Helping improve liver and gallbladder function
  • Helping stimulate the vagus nerve and brain function

These qualities can make regular coffee enemas a boost to managing autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

 

Enemas have been used therapeutically since 1500 BC. Coffee enemas, however, have been used in medical settings since around the 1920s. They were once so accepted that the Merck Manual of medicine listed them as a treatment until 1977 — they were removed simply due to lack of room in the manual.

If you would like help understanding Coffee Enema, you can schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.

How Coffee Enemas May Help When You Have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism

Modern life is stressful and toxic and hard on our bodies. Toxins are now in our air, water, food, and everyday products we use.

The liver is a primary detoxification organ and it is overwhelmed in many people today, which contributes to inflammation and autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

 

The liver metabolizes many toxins and eliminates them in bile first through the gallbladder and then the colon. Bile is recycled by the liver up to 10 times. With today’s toxic burdens, this system can become over burdened.

Coffee Enemas Can Support Detoxification in People with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism

Coffee enemas have long been known as a tool for detoxification:

  • Liver Detox: Many people these days have sluggish liver and gallbladder function and thick bile. Caffeine from a coffee enema dilates the liver’s bile ducts, helping eliminate toxins from the liver.
  • Blood and Colon Detox: The lower large intestine absorbs liquids from waste in the colon. It is here where coffee is absorbed and goes to work. Coffee contains palmitic acids that travel from the large intestine to the liver through the portal vein system. These palmitic acids are believed to boost the production of glutathione, the body’s most powerful antioxidant. Your body’s blood supply passes through the liver every three minutes. Because a typical coffee enema last about 15 minutes, this antioxidant boost helps eliminate toxins, cleanse the blood, and prevent the recycling of toxic bile.
  • Improves Tone of the Colon and Motility: It is believed a compound in coffee called theophylline dilates blood vessels in the large intestine, thus boosting blood flow and improving muscle tone and motility. 
This can help people with constipation and sluggish digestive function.
  • Improves Vagus Nerve and Brain Health. Believe it or not, coffee enemas can boost your digestive health by improving your brain health. The act of holding the enema stimulates the vagus nerve, a large nerve that runs between the organs and the brain. This in turn not only helps improve brain health, but also improves overall digestive health and function through improved gut-brain communication. The coffee also stimulates cholinergenic receptors, which support contraction of the gallbladder and intestinal muscles.

Does a Coffee Enema Cause a Coffee Buzz?

While the palmitic acid and other helpful nutrients from coffee travel to the liver, the coffee stays in the lower colon until it is eliminated and typically does not generate a coffee buzz. Most people who get too jittery from drinking coffee feel fine after a coffee enema, if not more relaxed and calmer (probably because of the vagus nerve stimulation). However, people who are fragile and have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism should start with a very diluted coffee solution and perform the enema in the morning in case it overstimulates their system.

How do you perform a coffee enema?

Ask my office for directions on how to perform a coffee enema. We can guide you in how to get started to help  make the experience successful. If you’re like most people, you’ll come to enjoy the benefits of coffee enemas as part of your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism protocol.

Want to know more? Schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.

How to avoid autoimmune flares during holiday travels

How to avoid autoimmune flares during holiday travels

As if managing an autoimmune condition isn’t hard enough, traveling and holiday schedules can make it downright daunting. Staying with relatives, life on the road and in airports, trying to prepare a good meal in a hotel room, and constantly being offered foods that will throw your autoimmune symptoms into a tailspin all present constant challenges. However, sticking to your autoimmune protocol and diet as much as possible will help prevent flares and relapses so you don’t spend the holidays crashed in bed.

So how do you manage? First, check in with your stress levels. Stress is one of the most potent triggers for flare ups, so commit to a no-stress, can-do attitude. You simply need to invest in a little advance planning and strategic thinking.

Following are tips to stick to your autoimmune protocol and diet while traveling.

Don’t let yourself get too hungry! Letting yourself get overly hungry is the biggest saboteur of the best laid plans. It’s only natural to want to eat when your energy is flagging and you’re starving. This will make you more likely to eat trigger foods, such as gluten or dairy.

If you would like help understanding Autoimmune flares during travels, you can schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.

Map out your options at your destination before you arrive. Is there a Whole Foods or other health food market in the area? Will your hotel room have a fridge?

You can also travel with frozen food you have insulated to heat up at your destination. Some people even bring their own hot plate and cookware.

Also, make sure you have plenty to eat on long flights, such as beef jerky, celery, sardines, olives, coconut meat, and other filling snacks.

Pack plenty of anti-inflammatory support. Traveling during the holidays is stressful. As much as we love them, sometimes our family members can be stressful. Make sure to save space in your check-in luggage for your go-to anti-inflammatory supplements, such as liposomal glutathione, resveratrol, and turmeric. Glutathione is the body’s most powerful antioxidant and essential for preventing and taming autoimmune flares. Liposomal resveratrol and turmeric in high doses are also great.

Early morning flights, long travel days, overstuffed flights, Aunt June’s air freshener, uncomfortable guest beds, and so on — these stressors can deplete glutathione and raise inflammation, so have your arsenal handy.

Effective anti-inflammatory supplements include glutathione precursors such as N-acetyl-cysteine, alpha-lipoic acid, cordyceps, and milk thistle. You can also take s-acetyl-glutathione, or an oral liposomal glutathione. Note that taking straight glutathione is not effective. You also may want to bring a bottle each of a powerful liquid liposomal resveratrol and turmeric — ask my office for more info.

Search ahead for unscented hotel rooms. Sadly, some hotel rooms can knock you over with the sickly perfume stench as soon as you walk through the door. Or the rooms are dusty and stale. Look for hotels that offer scent-free, allergy-friendly rooms with hypoallergenic bedding, air purifiers, and windows that open. Or at least ask them to air out the room for you before you arrive.

Carry a mask to avoid inhaling triggers. Sometimes you’re simply trapped in an environment that is overly scented, smoky, or potentially triggering in some other way. Just in case the woman next to you on the plane reeks of perfume, keep a face mask with you so you can breathe safely. Invest in a quality face mask that allows you to breathe comfortably. If you wear glasses look for one that won’t fog them up. Some companies also make face masks  for children.

Schedule in alone time, time away, and time to rest. It’s too easy for a vacation to feel like an overbearing job. Make sure you take naps, read, meditate, or go for peaceful walks. Stress is one of the most powerful inflammatory toxins, so create and enforce boundaries to keep yours as low as you can.

Want to know more? Schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.

Why it’s important to filter your drinking water

Why it’s important to filter your drinking water

Although tap water is treated to prevent waterborne diseases, you still need to filter your tap water for truly clean water. Treated water protects us from things like Cryptosporidium and Giardia, yet municipal water supplies are loaded with chemicals used for treatment in addition to the hundreds of pollutants that contaminate our water supplies.

The most common chemicals used to treat drinking water are chlorine and chloramine. Chlorine has long been used to treat most water supplies. Chloramine, a combination of chlorine and ammonia, is less commonly used. Unlike chlorine, chloramine stays in the water longer and cannot be removed through boiling, distilling, or letting water sit uncovered.

Both chlorine and chloramine are effective in killing disease-causing organisms, however they are somewhat toxic themselves. Chloramine corrodes pipes, increasing the exposure to lead in older homes. Water that is treated with chloramine should also not be used in fish tanks, hydroponics, home brewing, or for dialysis.

If you would like help understanding Water filter and its benefits, you can schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.

Toxic pollutants in our water supplies

Although chlorine and chloramine prevent water-borne diseases, they unfortunately create carcinogenic compounds by reacting with organic particles ordinarily found in water.

The byproducts they create in this process are more toxic than the chlorine or chloramine alone. Research shows these compounds cause cancer in lab animals, produce inflammatory free radicals, irritate the skin and mucus membranes, impact the nervous system, and are linked to birth defects. Some researchers believe these byproducts are also associated with thousands of cases of bladder cancer each year.

Chlorine, chloramine, and the toxic byproducts they trigger are only part of the picture — our water supplies are contaminated by an estimated more than 100,000 industrial chemicals and heavy metals. These toxins come from car exhaust, pollution, farming, and industrial waste.

Treated drinking water has also been found to contain almost 40 different pharmaceutical drugs. There is no regulation on pharmaceutical drugs in drinking water and experts warn they could accumulate in people’s bodies, potentially interact with medicine people are taking, or contribute to antibiotic resistance.

Water bottles also contain contaminated water

Many people think drinking bottled water is the safe solution but bottled water is contaminated too. It also leeches harmful BPA chemicals from plastic bottles and sends them straight into your system. BPA is a hormone-disrupting chemical linked to multiple health disorders. Plastic water bottles also create serious pollution, particularly of our oceans.

Use a filter for healthier water

Filtering your water with a quality water filter can help reduce your exposure to industrial chemicals, their toxic byproducts, and pharmaceuticals. Invest in a heavy-duty carbon filter, one that will remove particles 0.8 microns or under. Check if your water has chloramine, and if so, look for filters designed to remove it as it is harder to remove.

Also, consider filtering water coming from your bath faucet and shower head. Your skin is very permeable and also absorbs toxic chemicals. Whole-house filters are a good option for this. People who filter their shower water often report improved skin and hair condition.

Want to know more? Schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.

Floss your teeth daily to reduce your risk of stroke

Floss your teeth daily to reduce your risk of stroke

You may be familiar with common stroke-prevention strategies: Exercise regularly, eat plenty of vegetables, minimize stress, and keep inflammation at bay. But did you know taking good care of your teeth and gums is a major way to lower stroke risk?

A new study has found a significant link between stroke and oral bacteria. An analysis of blood clots from 75 ischemic stroke patients found almost 80 percent of them had oral bacteria DNA concentrated in the blood clots that weren’t found in other blood samples from the same patient.

The presence of oral bacteria in blood clots rounds out a much larger picture that shows the role gum disease and oral bacteria play in cardiovascular and neurological health.

The same research team has also found that blood clots containing oral bacteria cause heart attacks and brain aneurysms, that thromboses in the leg veins and arteries contain oral bacteria, and that oral bacteria is linked to heart infection.

Other research has linked oral bacteria from gum disease with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. The bacteria produce toxins in the brain that give rise to the misfolding of proteins in the brain that is the hallmark of Alzheimer’s.

An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot starves a part of the brain of blood flow and vital oxygen, causing massive tissue damage. It is commonly caused by the narrowing and hardening of the arteries from plaquing, or atherosclerosis.

There is evidence that oral bacteria activates platelets and speeds up the development of atherosclerosis and blood clotting.

If you would like help understanding about Dental floss relation to stroke, you can schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.

Here’s a tip to motivate you to floss

We get it, flossing is tedious and annoying. You just want to brush your teeth and be done.

Here’s a little tip that may motivate you to floss and brush more regularly: After you floss between a couple of teeth, smell your floss. If it has a foul odor that’s a sign you’ve got oral bacteria accumulating on your teeth and gums. This is also a sign your breath probably stinks as well! Smell check your floss after flossing each section of teeth — you may find areas that need extra attention.

Reacquaint yourself with healthy flossing and brushing habits and consider investing in a water flossing device. These devices use water to deliver extra cleaning power to the teeth and to stimulate gum tissue, so it stays healthy. However, please note that a water flosser should be an adjunct to flossing and not a substitute. Water flossing is not as effective as using dental floss.

Use functional medicine to prevent strokes

Healthy teeth and gums also depend on a healthy diet and lifestyle. This ties in with general stroke prevention strategies — 90 percent of strokes are caused by dietary and lifestyle habits.

Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of disability.

Studies have found the following factors are the most common causes of strokes:

  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Excess alcohol
  • Stress and depression
  • Diabetes
  • Excess abdominal fat
  • Heart disorders

As research continues, poor oral hygiene may get added to this list.

Functional medicine strategies to prevent stroke

Focus on whole foods, plenty of vegetables, and healthy fats. Ditch the sodas, desserts, sweet coffee drinks, and processed foods. It might be hard at first, but you’ll start to feel heaps better.

Stabilize blood sugar

High blood sugar from too many sweets and processed carbohydrates causes chronic inflammation, which damages and thickens arterial walls and promotes the formation of arterial plaques and blood clots. Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes, increase your risk of stroke by two to four times.

Regular exercise prevents strokes and makes you feel awesome

Exercise is a magic bullet when it comes to preventing strokes and promoting a healthy brain. Regular physical activity keeps blood vessels strong, improves oxygenation of the brain, and increases your metabolism. Exercise after a stroke also significantly reduces the severity of the repercussions and improves recovery.

Ask my office how we can help you lower your risk of stroke and support your brain health.

Want to know more? Schedule a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with Dr. Celaya.

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