Are you been experiencing memory problems, trouble concentrating, brain fog, or constant anxiety? We talk a lot about leaky gut and the complications that result from this condition. However, a similar problem can happen in the brain. There is a clear connection between your brain and digestive system.
“Blood-brain barrier leakage means that the brain has lost its protective means, the stability of brain cells is disrupted and the environment in which nerve cells interact becomes ill-conditioned. These mechanisms could eventually lead to dysfunction in the brain.”
— Dr. Walter H. Backes, Maastricht University Medical Centre
What is Leaky Brain Syndrome?
Your brain houses your memories, your communication and language skills, and your ability to move your body. It also controls automatic functions such as breathing, body temperature, and heartbeat. Your brain is one of the most vital parts of the body, performing important functions, and it needs serious protection.
Despite the brain’s incredible superpowers, there are instances when the brain, as well as the Blood Brain Barrier—or BBB—can be compromised. Leaky brain happens when the protective BBB is breached and naturally occurring substances cross through the walls of the vessels to the brain.
What are the Symptoms of Leaky Brain Syndrome?
The following are common signs of Leaky Brain Syndrome:
A headache is one of the common signs of a leaky brain. The headaches are unexpected and severe. Studies also revealed that pain associated with these headaches is more intense especially when a person is standing.
- Cognitive Decline
This includes memory loss and can happen for various reasons, such as from blood brain barrier dysfunction. Studies have revealed that this dysfunction can contribute to the cognitive decline that is often observed in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
- Chronic Fatigue
Leaky brain syndrome can lead to tiredness that does not go away even with rest or sleep. It has been discovered that the change in BBB’s permeability may resemble the continuing symptoms and signs of chronic fatigue syndrome.
The breakdown in BBB is often observed in patients with serious psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and depression.
Causes of Leaky Brain Syndrome:
- Systemic inflammation
- Oxidative stress
- Autoimmune disease
- Chronic psychological stress
- Head trauma
- Poor diet and food additives
- Disrupted circadian rhythm
- Intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome)
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Environmental toxins and heavy metal
If you are suffering from leaky gut, you are more prone to leaky brain syndrome. Things such as gluten and other known food allergies that damage the villi of the small intestine may eventually damage the blood brain barrier, too. Drug and alcohol abuse also poses risks to BBB permeability.
Infections, environmental toxins, and stress also take their toll on the blood brain barrier. There is a substance in the body known as Zonulin that determines the brain and the gut's permeability. Studies revealed that consuming gluten tend to increase Zonulin levels within the body, resulting in elevated permeability on both barriers. This is also common for individuals with gluten sensitivities to develop both leaky brain and leaky gut.
A healthy, properly-functioning blood-brain barrier is critical for optimal brain and mental health. In order to effectively treat leaky brain, it is important that any issues concerning the gut are addressed due to the connection between the brain and the gut. Gluten must be eliminated from your diet since this increases the permeability of tight junctions, resulting in a broken down BBB. Food sensitivities are often linked to the inflammation.
Many individuals suffer from leaky brain syndrome. If you are at risk for developing this, you need to protect your brain. You should embrace a healthy lifestyle and engage in activities that promote ideal mental health. If you have been diagnosed with leaky brain syndrome, however, there are many effective treatments today that you can consider.
HEAL YOUR GUT Programme
You can start making healthful changes to your diet and lifestyle straight away. Add more vegetables that contain Sulforaphane to your plate. Sulforaphane is a phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts or cabbages. Some studies have shown that Sulforaphane can prevent breakdown of the blood-brain barrier, reduce permeability of the blood-brain barrier, and improve cognitive function after stroke and traumatic brain injuries.
Add more natural anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. Add resveratrol to your diet, which is a beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound found in grapes and raspberries. Pterostilbene is a compound found in blueberries and is very similar to resveratrol, and it has also been shown to protect the blood-brain barrier by reducing oxidative stress. Choose curcumin from turmeric, probiotic (fermented plant-based) foods, healthful plant-based fats like omega 3 fatty acids (which your body cannot produce itself), from hemp, flax, sunflower and chia seeds, plus walnuts.
Make sure that you're getting sufficient Vitamin D, B Vitamins (B12, B6, and B9), magnesium (spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, almonds, avocado and bananas, plus epsom salts baths), also reducing stress and getting enough sleep.
Toss out inflammatory foods, like white flour, sugar and other processed carbs can damage both brain and gut. Avoid alcohol, and acetaldehyde – a byproduct of alcohol metabolism – can also contribute to leaky brain.
Also reduce your exposure to any environmental moulds and EMF's (electromagnetic fields) where possible.
“I have no doubt in my mind that, at the present time, the greatest polluting element in the Earth’s environment is the proliferation of electromagnetic fields.” - Dr. Robert Becker, Nobel Prize nominee
Resource and Research:
Book: Why Isn't My Brain Working, by Dr. Datis Kharrazian
American Chemical Society. "Mercury Can Jump Barrier That Keeps Toxins Out Of Brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 September 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990909080318.htm>.
Immunol Res. 2016;2016:4576012. Epub 2016 Sep 21. Blood-Brain Barrier Disruption Induced by Chronic Sleep Loss: Low-Grade Inflammation May Be the Link. Hurtado-Alvarado G1, et.al. PMID: 27738642 PMCID: PMC5050358 DOI:10.1155/2016/4576012
PLoS One. 2016; 11(5): e0154427. Published online 2016 May 6. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154427
PMCID: PMC4859489 Melatonin Preserves Blood-Brain Barrier Integrity and Permeability via Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 Inhibition Himakarnika Alluri, Rickesha L. Wilson, et al
Georgetown University Medical Center. "Resveratrol appears to restore blood-brain barrier integrity in Alzheimer's disease ScienceDaily 27 July 2016.
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