Did you know that your brain is 2% of your body weight but uses 20% of your energy? It has 100 billion cells that make a million connections every second. Advances in neuroscience now show that brain development goes on into old age.
The brain continues to grow neural pathways and make new connections through repetitive use. Subtle changes occur in chemistry and brain structure through your whole life. Neurons readjust to damage and degeneration as long as the neuronal cell body is intact, by growing new dendrites and forming new synaptic connections.
Did you know that the part of the brain called the hippocampus has been found to be larger in people who drive a lot such as coach drivers or taxi drivers? It is associated with navigation and memory and has been found to grow the more people use it which is useful in the study of brain illnesses. It was also found that stress shrinks the brain and lessens memory banks.
It was also found that people with Cushing’s syndrome (a hormonal disorder caused by prolonged exposure of tissues to high levels of cortisol which is a stress hormone that puts their systems into overdrive) also have problems with memory and smaller hippocampus.
Studies also show that laughter uses emotional responses of the amygdale, thalamic brain areas and the stem plus the frontal areas. In short it involves a lot of areas of the brain with humour perceived in the right frontal cortex, temporal regions and maybe even the cerebellum but they still don’t know exactly how we determine what is humorous and what is not.
The capacity of the brain to reconfigure wiring is called neuroplasticity. It is this that develops our individuality and is important in protecting people from degenerative age-related illnesses and to help in recovery from brain injuries. It is also involved in changing our minds with deliberate thought processes, introduction of new learnt skills which strengthen the neural pathways.
Natural Health Practitioners can help doctors and surgeons in supporting clients with brain dysfunction, stress, mood disorders, substance abuse or degeneration through correct nutrition, herbal remedies, diet and lifestyle advice as well as using different modalities in treating the body holistically.
The main ways to support cellular health of the central nervous system is through the membranes, mitochondrial function (which has got to do with toxins in the body), neurotransmitters and methylation (which is caused by enzymes that can modify heavy metals). These four areas affect healthy brain biochemistry throughout life. For this we need Omega 3 fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients and mitochondrial nutrients. That is why it is important to have correct nutrition and supplements, take enzymes to ensure correct digestion so the supplements aren’t wasted and to keep the brain active by reading, learning something new, meditation etc and to turn off the TV set sometimes. The brain controls the whole body so look after it.
If you have been having problems with your memory give your natural practitioner a call and see what they can do to assist.