How To Support Your Brain With Healthy Fats and Oils
Inflammation of the brain is related to diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Autism, MS, ALS, Chronic Lyme and Mold-Illness. Rika Keck offers advice for supporting our brain with healthy fats and oils.
With Chronic Lyme, the brain and nervous system are severely implicated, resulting in multiple symptoms including spasms, palsy, cognition, memory, Autism – like symptoms etc. Add to that various toxic exposures from gluten, sugars, other infections, vaccinations, the Flu shot and the outside toxic environment, and you can see that the brain membranes need added protection against daily insults.
Neurological diseases are on the increase and the chronic nature of brain inflammation has many root causes, be it environmental toxins, gluten foods that open tight barriers in the gut and brain creating a “leaky gut” and a “leaky brain”. Infections, be it bacterial, vital and parasitic, all come into play and let us not forget about genetic factors that add an additional challenge.
Dealing with brain inflammation requires a whole person approach, personalized nutrition and health building strategies that incorporate nutrition, lifestyle, detox-ability, adrenals and gut health. All are instrumental players in either dialing up or dialing down brain inflammation.
When the blood-brain barrier is “leaky”, poisonous substances and infections have easy access to the brain, creating brain inflammation. This results in multiple symptoms including dysfunctions in the hormonal, digestive, immune and nervous system – besides affecting moods and increasing the risk of early onset neurological diseases.
As the brain is over 60% fat, it certainly makes sense that healthy fats are needed to protect the brain and nerves that are harmed by infections, inflammation and toxins. Saturated fat is a brain anti-inflammatory, while processed vegetable oils in commercial foods (trans fats) are inflammatory.
Over half the fat in the brain is saturated fat.
Grass-fed butter is a super brain food. Besides being rich in anti-inflammatories, it is also rich in nutrients, including butyrate. Butter contains beta-carotene and generous amounts of vitamin A, D, E and K2. It should be a sunny yellow that reflects the vibrancy and nutrition of the green grasses of the pasture (especially during the Spring season).
Cod Liver Oil (CLO), is a whole food source of bioavailable vitamin A and D, and both are important for immune function, bone health, eye and brain function. It will assist in dialing down brain inflammation, improving of cognition and brain function by providing DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid). Many individuals cannot convert beta-carotene (a pre-form of vitamin A) into the ready-to-use form of vitamin A, thus CLO is a great option. Do choose your product carefully as contaminated products are rampant. I consider www.westonaprice.org a great resource regarding quality cod liver oil. Many oils make false claims regarding their ingredients and they are contaminated with toxic materials.
To prevent sensitive oils, e.g. omega-3 oils, from turning rancid in our own bodies, it is essential that we have sufficient vitamin C and E. It is best obtained in the presence of whole foods containing vitamin C, such as lemon juice or organic fruits or vegetables, to prevent oxidation. Therapeutic dosages are often required, however, check in with a practitioner to discuss your unique situation, as it is important to add nutrients to prevent oxidation, and especially is the dirt is restricted because of digestive ailments. There are lab tests available to see which fatty acid supplementation you might benefit from, as not everyone is different. Also start with a whole food approach and optimize absorption before adding supplementation. (Discontinue supplementation before any surgical procedures.)
A side note on vitamins:
The brain and nervous system need vitamins too – but in certain ratios and with co-factors and enzymes that whole foods provide. B-vitamins are very important for brain health and our nervous system, and they cannot be stored in the body thus we constantly have to replenish those vitamins. B vitamins are found in animal sources and plant sources; however, I do recommend supplementation, as with the chronic stress, it is very likely that a deficiency is present.
Do choose a quality product, as cheaper supplements use petroleum or coal tar as sourcing materials…There are whole food and neutraceutical options, discuss this with your doctor as certain genetic factors might require you to have higher therapeutic dosages initially.
Is too much toxic?
Too much supplementation of e.g. vitamin D can cause vitamin A deficiencies, as the ratio with vitamin A must also be considered. Too much supplementation of fat-soluble vitamins can create symptoms of toxicity as fat- soluble vitamins A, D, K, and E can be stored in the body. Whole foods, including butter and cod liver oil, have an optimal ratio.
Brain energy source? The brain can utilize coconut oil for energy and thus is also recommended for neurological ailments including MS, ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Coconut oil is a great fat that the brain can absorb and can rapidly use as energy, as these medium chain triglycerides bypass the liver. An unhealthy and inflamed brain will be an unhappy, tired and depressed brain. If insulin resistance or diabetes is also in play with Lyme-related infections, coconut oil is a helpful brain food. Coconut oil can be used in curries, over steamed vegetables, in a lentil salad, over quinoa or creamed buckwheat. Coconut milk (go organic) can be used in soups, sauces, curries and desserts or shakes.
In a nutshell? We must take care of our brain, we only have one!
***Excerpt from upcoming book: “EAT, DIGEST, NOURISH”***
NY Integrated Health