Introduction to Brain Health
Mitochondria play a critical role in supplying energy to the brain. When mitochondria deteriorate or become dysfunctional, the result is detrimental to the plasticity or adaptability of neurons. This loss of neural plasticity is a big part of aging, mental illness and neurological disorders.
Although it accounts for 2% of body weight, the brains oxygen consumption accounts for 20% of total body energy demands. It’s high rate of metabolic activity make it especially vulnerable to depression, anxiety, mental illness and neurological disorders if energy disruptions from dysfunctional mitochondria become regular occurrences.
At the molecular level, the first line of protection from oxidative damage to the brain is provided by chaperones and endogenous proteases that detect and eliminate abnormally folded and aggregated proteins generated by ROS.
In TBI (traumatic brain injury), damage to the delicate tissues and neural connections in the brain lead to oxidative damage almost immediately and the subsequent buildup of abnormal aggregated proteins called tau tangles or neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs).
It’s critical to restore optimal mitochondrial function as soon as possible in any situation where the brain is vulnerable to excess oxidative damage or NFTs. If mitochondrial dysfunction is severe and overwhelms the protective mechanisms in the brain, dysfunctional organelles break open, releasing a series of apoptopic factors resulting in cell death. Sometimes when cells such as neurons are damaged, this can result in irreversable damage to the brain. Thus, optimal brain function depends on optimal mitochondrial function.
It’s estimated that in the next 30 years, half of the aging population will suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. A characteristic feature of all forms of AD is progresive cell (neuron) death in brain regions that require a high level of plasticity. Once again, the accumulation of NFTs points to mitochondrial dysfunction as a problem that results in higher brain ROS.
At the mitochondrial level, neurotoxic effects impede the OXPHOS by depleting ATP levels. Without a test to determine early implications of mitochondrial dysfunction, brain nutrition becomes critical for optimal neuro function.
Low functioning mitochondria in the brain are more sensitive to death from toxins and ROS damage. Some common signs of mitochondrial dysfunction include
- Migraine Headaches
- Muscle Weakness
- Poor Balance
- Chronic Fatigue
- Digestive Problems
- Problems Regulating Temperature
- Vision or Hearing Disturbances
In addition to the BX Protocol upregulating mitochondria and optimizing energy within cells, specific nutrition recommendations for brain health include
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
As outlined in the first nutrition module, brain function relies heavily on nutrients found in fruits and vegetables, naturally occuring fats, amino acids and co-factors like choline found in eggs. The risk of brain and mitochondrial dysfunction will continue to be tied to poor diet quality and oxidative damage.
The BX Protocol along with optimal nutrient intake can be life changing for most clients wanting to optimize brain function.