Tag Archives: brain disease

Does Your Brain Need an Oil Change?

Humans really are fat heads. About sixty percent of the human brain is fat. To maintain proper brain health, you need to get adequate fat from your diet. But, not just any fat will do. Some fats damage the brain. The Standard American Diet (SAD) high in trans and hydrogenated fats worsens inflammation in the body, and this inflammation can damage delicate brain tissues. These unhealthy fats are found in fried foods, shortening, lard, margarine, baked goods, and processed and prepared foods.

Healthy fats help keep the lining of brain cells flexible so that memory and other brain messages can pass easily between cells. Both Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats are important to brain health and should be eaten in a one-to-one or two-to-one ratio to each other. However, the average North American eats these foods in a twenty-to-one to a fifty-to-one ratio, causing a huge imbalance and resulting Omega-3 deficiency. In this ratio, Omega-6 fats can cause or worsen inflammation, for which there is insufficient Omega-3 fats to keep inflammation under control. The typical diet, if it contains any healthy essential fatty acids, usually includes fats found in meat and poultry, or occasionally from nuts and seeds. Most of these fats are Omega-6 fatty acids.

Omega-6 fatty acids are found in the highest concentrations in corn, sunflower, and safflower oils. But, you are more than what you eat. I read somewhere that “you are what you eat eats.” So that means if you eat a diet with meat or poultry that was fed corn, or other grains high in Omega-6s, you’re getting lots of Omega-6s indirectly.

The best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include flax seeds or oil, walnuts and walnut oil, some types of algae, krill oil, and fatty coldwater fish, particularly wild salmon. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a type of Omega-3 fatty acid, makes up a large part of the lining of brain cells, helps to keep the cellular lining flexible enough to allow memory messages to pass between cells, promotes nerve transmission throughout the central nervous system, and protects the energy centers of the cells, called “mitochondria,” from damage.

Fish that contain high amounts of this Omega-3 fatty acid include mackerel, sardines, albacore tuna, salmon, lake trout, and herring. But be aware, some of these fish have become contaminated with mercury and, as you just learned in chapter two, some research links mercury to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. So, it is important to avoid fish that consistently shows up high on the mercury radar, including predatory fish like swordfish and shark, as well as sea bass, northern pike, tuna, walleye, and largemouth bass. Salmon raised in fish farms also frequently shows up with high amounts of mercury, not to mention that farmed salmon often contains antibiotic residues and lower levels of the important Omega-3 fatty acids.

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, PhD, is an international best-selling and ten-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine, whose works include: Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, The Phytozyme Cure. and the upcoming e-book The Vitality Diet.  Check out her natural health resources and free newsletter at www.WorldsHealthiestDiet.com.

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / Stephen Rees

Brain Healing Power of Periwinkle

Periwinkle is a European plant used by herbalists to treat nervous disorders, epilepsy, hysteria, and nightmares.  Exciting new research into this delicately beautiful plant shows that vinpocetine, a derivative of vincamine, a natural compound in periwinkle, helps transport oxygen and glucose to the brain.  Since the brain needs both to function optimally, periwinkle may be beneficial for assisting to ease brain disease. 


 With around one hundred studies conducted on vinpocetine’s effects on humans, mostly in Hungary, it is not surprising that it has been used by Hungarian doctors to treat senility and blood vessel disorders in the brain for twenty-five years.  In these studies it appears to boost memory and cognition in healthy people and in those with mild to moderate forms of dementia.

 A double-blind study in 1985 in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, researchers tested vinpocetine’s effect on the short-term memory of twelve healthy women.  The women who took forty milligrams of vinpocetine three times per day for two days scored thirty percent higher on short-term memory tests than the women in the placebo group.

 In another double-blind study in 1991, published in International Clinical Psychopharmacology, researchers tested 165 people with mild to moderate dementia.  After sixteen weeks, twenty-one percent of those taking thirty to sixty milligrams of vinpocetine daily reported a decline in symptom severity, compared to only seven percent of those taking the placebo. 

 Vinpocetine is a powerful free radical scavenger. Used regularly, periwinkle, or its active ingredient, vinpocetine, may help to prevent senility and dementia, by preventing damage to the blood vessels in the brain caused by free radicals.  Vinpocetine also thins blood, boosts circulation in your brain, and improves the brain’s ability to absorb nutrients, all of which improve brain function.  Research shows that vinpocetine works as well as ginkgo biloba— an herbal superstar for aiding brain oxygenation— in improving memory and cognitive abilities.

 Periwinkle and vinpocetine are showing tremendous promise as a therapy for many brain diseases, especially stroke recovery.  It is used throughout Europe and Japan as a natural therapy for stroke since it helps increase blood flow to areas of the brain with minimal function.

 Experts typically suggest dosages of up to ten milligrams daily, taken with food.  Up to forty-five milligrams is considered a safe daily dose; but, doses above ten milligrams should be supervised by a health care practitioner.  Vinpocetine appears to be safe for short- or long-term use.  The effects tend to be fast-acting, not cumulative.  In rare cases, someone may experience minor stomach upset and a dry mouth.  Check with your doctor before taking either vinpocetine or periwinkle, especially if you are taking blood-thinning medications. 


Michelle Schoffro Cook, DNM, DAc, CNC is a best-selling and six-time book author, whose works include:  The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, The Brain Wash, and Healing Injuries the Natural Way.  She is a doctor of natural medicine, doctor of acupuncture, holistic nutritionist, and energy medicine practitioner.  Her work has been featured in/on:  Woman’s World, First for Women, Dr. Roizen’s YOU: The Owner’s Manual Radio Show, Gaiam Life, Yahoo! Shine, and The Huffington Post.  www.TheLifeForceDiet.com.




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