Many of you may have come across an article this past week explaining that a missing link between the immune system and the brain may have been discovered. This article (found here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150601122445.htm) explains that lymphatic vessels, which carry immune cells and inflammatory chemicals, may be found where they have never thought to be before: in the BRAIN! Why is this important? Because it explains what I have always seen clinically and learned in naturopathic medical school: that inflammation in the rest of your body does affect what is going on in the brain. You all as patients know this to be true. When you are flared in the body, you don’t feel right in the mind. You may feel anxious, irritable, tired, depressed, or brain-fogged. This can be explained by this most recent discovery. Inflammation impacts your neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) by increasing an excitatory, neurotoxic brain chemical called glutamate. It also causes low serotonin and shunts all of your serotonin into two inflammatory brain chemicals called kynurenic acid and quinolinic acid. These brain chemicals not only damage your brain cells, but make you feel real crummy when you are inflamed. By discovering that lymph vessels are found in the brain, we now have a reason for HOW the inflammation gets into the brain to cause these brain chemical alterations. If this interests you, we can easily test your kynurenic acid and/or glutamate levels with a very cost-effective at-home urine collection. If these levels come back elevated, we can treat them with nutrients like anti-inflammatories, magnesium, B vitamins, Scutellaria baicalensis, quercetin, apigenin, NAC, and other nutrients depending on the severity of the result.
Who should care about this? Patients with systemic inflammation that are also feeling brain fog, anxious, depressed, or irritable. We know now that the inflammation in the rest of your body and the immune system that is overactive in other parts of your body is crossing into your brain and causing chaos. If your child has PANDAS or Autism, this is crucial information for you. Balancing brain chemicals is one part of the process, but more importantly, we need to balance the immune system and reduce inflammation. If you have Multiple Sclerosis, we know now that inflammation systemically needs to come down. If you have RA, Lupus, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, allergies, or even eczema, this is relevant information for you.
What do you need to do? Consider measuring kynurenic acid or glutamate like I mentioned above. This will tell us how much inflammation is in the brain. Secondly, continue working on reducing inflammation through an anti-inflammatory diet and anti-inflammatory supplements. Third, find the source of the inflammation. Where is it coming from? Is it from diet, stress, toxicity, gut infections, viral infections? Finding the cause of inflammation will make it much easier to reduce systemic inflammation, which will reduce brain inflammation!
Call us at (203) 806-5138 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in having your brain inflammation measured and find the possible cause of anxiety/depression, brain fog, memory loss, irritability, and more. We can also set up an appointment to discuss these findings in more depth to evaluate if the testing is necessary for your particular case.