Save The Brain
The Importance of the Brain
These chemical pathways are what make our brains the control central of our body. Our brain tells our body what to do all day, every day, whether we are aware of it or not. It controls how we move, how we process new information, learn and remember, how we feel and process emotions. Even things you don't consciously think about such as your heart beating, your lungs breathing and whether you feel tired or energetic.
Young children's brains are highly adaptable and if one part of their brain is injured, another part may learn to take over some of the lost function. However, as we age, our brains have a harder time making new neuronal pathways which hinders our ability to regain lost brain function due to any sort of damage.
Because the brain controls almost every function of our body, when something goes wrong it can be very serious and affects many parts of your body and health. It's not hard to see why we should be doing all we can to improve and maintain our brain health and function.
The Second Brain
We all have a second brain that resides in our intestinal tract. The 'Enteric Nervous System' in our gut contains 100 million neurons - more than in the spinal cord. Major neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, norephinephrine and nitric oxide are in the gut. Also two dozen small brain proteins, called neuropeptides are there along with the major cells of the immune system. Enkephalins (a member of the endorphins family) are also in the gut.*
In a healthy adult, there are over 40-70 trillion friendly bacteria in our gut and this is called our 'Microbiome'. These bacteria are over 50 percent of our immune system and a huge factor in our digestion of food and our mood and brain function. A healthy gut is vital for a strong immune system, nutrient absorption, balanced mood and clear, focused thinking.
Our two brains are intimately connected and a disruption in one will cause a disruption in the other. If our gut brain is not healthy due to poor diet, toxin exposure, etc... you can bet we'll see symptoms in our head brain as well and visa versa. There is no getting around it. We must do all we can to maintain the health and function of both brains.
The Miraculous Brain
One of the keys for us to understand brain health is that we are born with over 100 million brain cells, called neurons, and they have to last us a lifetime. They develop interconnections with other brain neurons, called the synapse, throughout our life, but the major growth of these synapses is in utero - 4 years of age.
There are chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) that get released in the synapse which allow for the electrical impulse to continue from one nerve to the next. There have been over 150 of these neurotransmitters identified in the human brain, all of which are made and controlled by genes and the DNA in our body. With over 100 trillion connections in our brain, can you imagine how many genes are involved in making these chemicals every second? How is this done? Where is the intelligence and energy coming from to power this incredible machine that is your brain?
This entire process is dependent on Genetic Methylation, or conversion of food forms of B vitamins, into cellular forms so that each time the DNA is copied to make the neurotransmitter it is protected and the chemical process can happen properly. If these methyl groups are not present then chemical pathways don't work and DNA can get damaged and mutate.
You can read more information on Methylation by clicking here.