Tennee | May 1, 2019
The ability to enjoy, perceive, sense and experience life is dictated by the firing rate and health of your brain. It is impossible for a person to become healthy mentally or physiologically without a healthy brain.
– Datis Kharrazian, DC, MS
I have been passionate about brain health, since my own cognitive function was severely compromised when I was struggling with chronic fatigue 6 years ago. I realized I needed help when I was forgetting friends names and going into rooms only to forget why I had went in there. Since I was only in my mid 30‘s I couldn’t chalk it up to “old age” and I knew I needed to find a solution to the debilitating brain fog.
Part of my search led me to read Dr Kharrazians groundbreaking book, ”Why isn’t my brain working” which inspired me to start working with nutrients to regain optimal cognitive function. Due to the results I experienced after implementing targeted neutroceuticals, I enrolled in one of Dr Kharrazians seminars on functional approaches to brain inflammation in San Francisco CA. At the end of the seminar I began to implement the training I received specific for brain health for clients who wanted to “up their ante” brain health wise.
For this blog, I wanted to share a case study on addressing anxiety from a nutritional standpoint. In a world where 1 in 4 people take SSRI’s for mood disorders, I believe that the conventional approaches use too many ”bandaid’s” for symptoms that warrant a deeper dive. Taking steps to uncover the root cause of the brain inflammation while working to lower inflammation and support the brain function is a more functional and sustainable way to address brain health. Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes medication is warranted, but I believe a lot of people are dealing with systemic inflammation that is effecting their brain. Most people don’t associate a leaky gut with a leaky brain, but the two are interconnected. This means that infection in the body can lead to inflammation and infection in the brain as well. The use of nutritional support, herbs and health promoting foods to lower systemic inflammation in order to optimize brain function is vastly overlooked.
In 2017 I began working with a woman in her late 20s who has graciously allowed me to share her story. I changed her name to “Sara” for this case study. Sara was looking for a more wholistic approach to working with her anxiety and depression. Her lab work looked “normal” from her doctors perspective, meaning her markers were in range, and yet she was not feeling “normal” and she did not want to go the traditional route of SSRI’s as she knew people who had experienced “life altering” side effects due to antidepressant use.
In her intakes I found that Sara followed a SAD diet or Standard American Diet and she reported craving sugar and bread often. She often skipped meals and felt shaky later in the day. After using a blood glucose monitor for a few days, she noted that she tended towards low blood sugar with significant spikes after consuming bread and sugary processed foods. Sara’s moods were consistently low which resulted in social anxiety that occasionally led to panic attacks. She had already had a neurotransmitter panel done a year before which denoted low seratonin and high dopamine and borderline high histamine levels. She also had a 23andme genetic panel workup which showed two homozygous mutations for COMT , heterozygous mutation for 1298C MTHRF gene, Vit. D snips two and heterogzygous CBS snips.
The work that I do with FDN revolves around helping each client find underlying “hidden stressors” that cause health issues in the body. I do not treat symptoms, that is reserved for the work with your doctor. I work with the whole body looking to restore the foundation through nutrition, supplements and diet and lifestyle modifications. I also work under doctors which allows me to use a nutritional lens when looking at functional lab work.
After our initial consult I recommended an OAT test to look at Sara’s fungal and yeast load, given her sugar cravings and the fact that high yeast levels can contribute to higher levels of neurotoxins in the brain. I also recommended a food sensitivity panel to determine if certain foods she was consuming were contributing factors to the inflammation in her body.
Working with Sara revealed several “hidden stressors” that took the form of nutrient deficiencies covered in the OAT test (specifically B6 and B12 which correlates with her methlyation issues) as well as a yeast overload that was a contributing factor to inflammation. She also had high levels of quinoliic acid which is viewed as a contributing factor to neurotoxicity and anxiety. The food sensitivity test also found a marker for a sensitivity to Wheat Germ agglutinin IgA.
I also took into account the fact that Sara has a natural tendency towards higher dopamine levels (COMT snp) which when elevated can cause significant mood issues such as depression. Methylation was also important to support with the A1298C snp.
The information from her genetic snps informed me about the specific type of methylated b vitamins that her body needed and I focused on helping her to lower the yeast load in the body while also reestablishing neurotransmitter balance with nutritional support. I did this by focusing on supporting the inhibitory neurotransmitters with support such as l-theanine, 5 htp and GABA. I also recommended the use of pure cbd tincture for anxiety. She responded really well to a nutraceutical loaded with phenols and flavonoids to help support and lower brain inflammation. She also began to eat sardines and take fish oils high in EPA and DHA which have been linked in countless studies to lower anxiety.
The last piece we put in was a methylated b complex that included St Johns Wort to help boost seratonin levels in the brain.
For her homework, she started to use binaural beats at 8.6HZ to reduce anxiety before bed. She also started a practice of observing her thoughts with guided meditation practices to help her break out of negative thought patterns.
The diet piece was tougher than she expected. Even though the only major issue that showed itself on the food sensitivity panel was a IgA sensitivity of the lectin in gluten, it was not something she was excited about changing. This was likely due to the opioid effect that gluten has on the brain. Gluten contains peptides which react with opiate receptors in the brain that mimick the effects of opiate drugs. In other words, gluten is down right addictive. Needless to say there were challenges in the beginning, however she eventually began to embrace the dietary changes when she started to notice that omitting gluten was helping her complexion. After Sara kicked gluten to the curb, she also took steps to eliminate processed foods and even gluten free processed grains ( bread and pastries ) from her diet. With time, she began to shift to a more paleo/keto focused eating style to support her B vitamin uptake while she also started to eat plentiful amounts of leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables to help support her methylation issues. She noticed within a week of removing processed grains that she was thinking clearer in general and her blood sugar levels became more stabilized.
The changes were gradual but around 3 weeks after starting the protocol, Sara reported back to me better moods, less anxiety, less tendencies towards antisocial behavior and her skin began to become noticably clear which was an pleasant side effect of our work together.
I work to help people find answers to their health issues and help to support them on their way to better health. If you would like more information about how I work, please contact me at 7079725893 or radiantrealitynutrition.com
Wishing you a radiant reality!
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