Contrary to popular belief, brain cells actually can be regrown. Apart from brain damage, certain things like alcohol consumption and drug use have been known to cause brain cell death. When people finally recover from periods of excessive use, they often have a hard time restoring mental/brain function back to proper levels. Most people whom suffer brain damage, rarely make a complete recovery.
Brain damage can be reversed by inducing neuritic growth and neurogenesis. This can be achieved with the following:
It has been seen that exercise is highly effective in stimulating “Neurogenesis” or “regeneration of brain cells”. For the longest time, it was believed that Neurons do not regrow, yet in recent studies, this has been disproved.
The best exercises for the brain would be Yoga, weight lifting and High intensity interval training. Martial arts are also very effective and provides the added benefit of training the mind as well.
Together with this, the use of nootropic herbs and a high fat diet are essential for restoring brain health.
2. Nootropic Herbs:
These herbs improve the function of the brain, and are known for relieving the symptoms of a wide range of neurological disorders including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, as well as minor complaints like difficulty concentrating, and mild memory loss. They nourish the brain and entire central nervous system, via the production of neurotransmitters and the production and release of BDNF – brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which results in better functioning and neuron growth. Before doubting the benefits of these herbs, note that the research on these herbs are pretty outstanding and continue to prove the claims of their efficacy.
Withania Somnifera aka Ashwagandha, a popular Ayurvedic herb, is known for its brain boosting benefits. Ashwagandha contains naturally occuring steroids that stimulate growth, hence why it is used for the purpose of gaining weight. It is also a powerful nootropic and psychotropic, and has a significantly positive effect on neurological health – especially in terms of neuron growth.
Ashwagandha is commonly used in:
-Irritable Bowel Syndrome
-Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
-Premature Ejaculation, and several other sexual dysfunction disorders.
Studies have proven that Ashwagandha improves cognitive function, improves memory, reduces inflammation, reduces anxiety, and provides neuro-protection by inducing antioxidant enzymes.
In the case of Multiple Sclerosis, Ashwagandha can assist in regenerating the myelin sheath by inducing neurogenesis. In research, Ashwagandha induced neurogenesis via multiple mechanisms including the stimulation of production of BDNF – Brain derived Neurotrophic Factor. One of the chemical constituents known as “Withanolide A” is able to induce neuritic regeneration and synaptic reconstruction, meaning is has the ability to reconstruct entire neuronal networks.
Baropa Mennieri improves cognitive function and formation of Acetylcholine, increases Serotonin levels, regulates Dopamine levels, reduces neuro-inflammation and has neuro-protective effects. Animal studies have shown that Barcopa can also boost BDNF levels. (Make sure to use these herbs under the guidance of an Ayurvedic doctor, as they can be dangerous if improperly used.)
Most people are unaware of the proper ways to administer nootropics. Simply taking a supplement may help you with minor things like concentration and memory, but it is not strong enough to treat an actual neurodegenerative illness. It must be administered with a drug carrier and a metabolic stimulant. This ensures that the phytonutrients and chemicals are properly metabolized and directed.
In Ayurvedic medicine, complex medical procedures are done to administer these herbs intra-nasally and sometimes rectally, as these are the most efficient ways to reach the central nervous system. Speak to an Ayurvedic doctor about these procedures if you are interested.
What is seen clinically?
Patients suffering neurodegenerative diseases respond well and show dramatic improvement in symptoms. In my own practice, patients of MS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimers have experienced significant improvement and display signs of reduced disease progression. I have also seen positive results when utilizing these herbs in neuro-muscular conditions like Fibromyalgia as well as hyperactivity disorders like ADHD.
3. High Fat Diet
The brain is made up of fatty material. The entire body is a product of all that we eat. Our cells are nourished by our food and are only able to carry out their functions properly when given the right nutrition. In recent times, people have turned to a low-fat or fat free diet. Most people believe that fats make us fat and unhealthy therefore they must be avoided. However, most people are completely unaware that is quite untrue. Refined carbohydrates is what makes us fat and sick. Sugars and carbs as well as hormonal issues cause weight gain.
Fat is essential for the brain because fats are the building blocks for brain tissue. How can the brain rebuild itself after all the wear and tear if its not given the proper nourishment? If you don’t give a person adequate protein, their muscles waste away, not enough vitamins and various conditions arise, not enough water and we get dehydrated. So what about “not enough fat”? In order to obtain/maintain proper neurological function, the brain must have its proper nutrition, which happens to be “fats”. Carbs may give the brain fuel, but it does not give it the building blocks to rebuild itself. Consume healthy fats such as:
(Always use medicinal herbs under the supervision of a doctor)
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by Dr. Nishal R.
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