Your fascinating brain and how to make it work better

The brain is a fascinating organ. (This post is from my observations and knowledge gleaned. I am not a doctor. ) When God originally created the first humans, Adam and Eve as they are named in the Bible, he made their brains perfect and they functioned as they should, with no disease or chemical imbalance or malformations. Yet Adam and Eve STILL made a poor, life-altering decision. This to me is proof that they had selfishness built into them from day one and of course God knew that they would sin against his simple rules.

People today do not have perfect brains. We are all born with some problem or other,  at the very least, the eventual inevitable degeneration of our bodies, including our brains, that will lead to death. Some are born with worse problems, such as my daughter, whose brain did not finish developing in utero, so she has a condition called Lissencephaly, or smooth brain. Some develop problems later due to other diseases, such as encephalitis or dementia, or they may have mental/emotional conditions such as schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, psychosis, and others that are generally  passed down genetically and often related to metabolic conditions elsewhere in the body.

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My sweet daughter

When a person commits a crime of violence or suicide or doesn’t otherwise act ‘normal’ , they may be called crazy or evil or lazy or various other words. I’m not saying evil doesn’t exist, I believe it does,  but in many cases I think it is at least worth considering the conditions leading up to the crime or act and determining if the person’s brain was in fact not functioning correctly.  Yes, people must be held responsible for most actions, but there are cases where the person was in psychosis or hallucinating or otherwise incapable of making decisions. Post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries can both cause bizarre behavior. Abnormal behavior can be seen as well in babies born from drug-addicted mothers, babies neglected from birth, people living in war-zones and people affected by diseases and things such as lead poisoning and Lyme disease and chronic alcoholism.

There are many interesting, yet sad and difficult, cases of people whose brains have become injured in accidents or are affected by drugs, alcohol, chemicals, allergies, fatigue, hypothermia, heat stroke, heart disease, diabetes and liver disease.  All of these can result in bizarre behaviors that are unusual for the individual. For instance, people may have hallucinations, memory loss, be unable to speak, walk, or see normally, faint, have seizures, angry outbursts, violent or aggressive behaviors, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and nightmares, all because of some temporary or permanent brain malfunction. In some cases the person may be blamed unfairly for their actions that they really had no control over.

The scientific world has barely scratched the surface on understanding the brain. But there is a world of anecdotal information on how changing ones diet, reducing exposure to chemicals, and improving sleep habits can improve many of the problems listed above. For example, the Feingold Diet was one of the early diets created to address the correlation for some people with food additives and hyperactive, aggressive, out of control behavior. Ask any parent of a hyperactive child and they will tell you that there are certain foods ( like Skittles candy or Kool-aid, or apples)  that they would never feed that child because of the awful reactions they would have to deal with. The Wheat Belly book was revolutionary for many people who had no idea that eating wheat  was causing so many of their physical and mental health issues, as well as weight gain. For almost any of the diets that make a big difference in people’s mental health, the main factor is removing the highly processed foods , which almost every type of diet will do. Eliminating packaged, factory made ‘food’ such as cookies, crackers, bread, canned soups, noodles, frozen snacks, sodas, chips and ice cream can and will improve anyone’s health, including their brain health. 

One recent scientific finding is that eating carbohydrates , as in sugar and bread, pasta, etc. is related to Alzheimer’s Disease. This is a huge breakthrough. Another brain related diet factor recently acknowledged, is that the low-fat diet that was recommended for years by doctors actually starved the brain of necessary nutrients. These two findings are just a couple of examples of ways that foods have unknowingly damaged the brains of millions of people.

Vitamins, mineral and amino acids and hormones are all part of a well-functioning brain. When we eat a poor, junk food, Standard American diet, we are depriving our brains of the fuel we need to think clearly, be in control of our emotions, make good decisions, have energy, and feel good in general. Two nutrients that millions of people should be supplementing daily are magnesium and Vitamin D. Taking magnesium not only helps with muscle cramps, constipation, blood pressure and migraines, but also depression! This is one that I personally recommend to everyone. Vitamin D deficiency is very common as well and many doctors are recognizing this and testing for it.  The B vitamins are also very helpful for depression and energy.

Sleep deprivation is a common problem in our always busy society. More people are staying up late on their electronic devices and not getting good sleep. This can lead to depression , clumsiness, and poor decision making, as well as weight gain. The brain needs to rest to function well. It’s important to not eat right before bed, not be on electronics, and not drink alcohol at bedtime, all of which affect sleep quality and rest.

Most of us have the seen the change in behavior of a sober person who becomes intoxicated. They may become the life of the party, talkative, joking, dancing, affectionate, or they may become aggressive, angry, depressed , or even act like a completely different person. The long-term effects of alcohol on the brain and body can be devastating to health.

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/Hangovers/beyondHangovers.htm

Another way the brain can be affected is by prescription medications. Many medications have side effects such as depression, anxiety, irritability, nausea, problems with vision, sleeping, and even suicidal thoughts. It is very important to read the information with your prescription and even do your own online research. Even antibiotics and anti-fungal drugs can have these side effects. Be your own advocate and protect yourself.

Lastly, some of us are unfortunately born with genetic predispositions to certain mental and emotional difficulties that greatly impact our lives. Some of these are metabolic conditions and some are probably more structural such as a small tumor.  Some people also develop conditions over time such as thyroid disorders and hormonal imbalances that are probably genetic and also influenced by diet and exercise or extreme stress.  Some may need medication to deal with these conditions. Other may get enough relief by exercise, diet, sleep and stress management techniques or counselling. Prayer and spiritual beliefs can be helpful as well.

Our brains can be marvelous, creative, and full of good feelings, or they can make us miserable, angry, tired and sad when we are not taking good care of our health or are struck with some infection or disease. Do all you can to protect your most important bodily organ and educate yourself.  If you feel bad and your doctor tells you , “It’s all in your head”, it just might be! Ask, demand, to have some tests performed that check the functioning of your thyroid, liver, vitamin levels, allergies, etc and if the first tests come back normal, as for more specific ones. Don’t just accept a prescription drug when conclusive evidence has not been shown that you need that drug.  The majority of doctors have strong incentives to save money for insurance companies by limiting testing and make money for pharmaceutical companies by prescribing.  Likewise, don’t blame your problems on your brain if you feed it junk and don’t get enough sleep.

 

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