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Hello everybody, this is Dr. Kevin Conners. Welcome to another edition of Conners Clinic Live. Today, we’re going to be talking about brain inflammation because brain inflammation causes inflammation everywhere in your body. And many times a person could have chronic pain that is actually caused from inflammation of the brain. And it really has nothing to do with the area that they have pain.
You see that it’s common with mold patients, common with Lyme patients where they can have pain that seems to migrate. “It’s in my right knee this week. And now my right knee in fine and my left ankle hurts the next week. And why is this? Is it the Lyme that’s moving around? Is it the mold that’s moving around or a, biotoxin or what the world is going on?” Well, it has to do with inflammation of the priatal lobe in the brain or other areas of the brain, thereby it affects where that neurology goes. Brain inflammation causes a whole lot of other things too, as we’re going to see in just a second as well, brain inflammation could be the cause of cancer.
So, that’s a scary thing, right there. Diabetes, obesity, autoimmune diseases, muscle issues, nerve diseases, as well as things that you would normally think of, like headaches and things like that. But brain inflammation can cause all sorts of emotional issues. Dementia is caused from a source of brain inflammation. Anxiety, depression. So there’s so many things that encompass inflammation of the brain because the brain controls everything in the body. So let’s just jump into how we can help reduce brain inflammation. We are not into the causes so much here, but how can we reduce brain inflammation? We really have only so much time in this little episode.
Well, number one is sleep. Sleep is important to reduce brain inflammation because, here’s a cross section of the brain here, the outside surface of the brain here and all your brain cells in here and during the day at an awake time, your cerebral spinal fluid doesn’t really perfuse deep into the brain. But while we sleep, the cerebral spinal fluid perfuses deep into the brain, it helps a wash the brain clean. So the glial cells actually shrink when we’re sleeping, they contract, and then your cerebral spinal fluid is able to perfuse deeper to the brain. And literally that cerebral spinal fluid washes through the open spaces of the brain, and it basically scrubs our brain clean. That’s the problem when we don’t get sleep, we could just become incoherent.
So sleep is so important to get rid of toxins in the brain, your glial cells and your axons and your neurons produce waste as they’re functioning, just like any other cells of the body, a little bit differently, but they still produce waste. And that waste has to be exited. This is what’s called your glymphatic system, where it’s your, it’s your glial cells shrinking causing cerebral spinal fluid to flow through the brain to help clean the brain. Whereas the rest of the body, you have a lymphatic system. In the brain, you don’t have that same lymphatic system, that actually has to do with glial contractions, what’s called your glymphatic system. Kinda neat. Sleep is important. We can’t overemphasize that. So those who love sleep out there, here’s your excuse to sleep. And it’s even found that taking naps during the day, this can take place. So even short sleep periods, this can take place. So another kudos to our nappers out there.
Number two is to decrease your sympathetic nervous system tone. What does that mean? Well, you have two different parts of your autonomic nervous system. Your ANS your autonomic nervous system. Think of that as your automatic nervous system, you have your sympathetic and your parasympathetic, your sympathetic and your parasympathetic, and they work kind of opposites. So, in the heart, the sympathetic increases your heart rate and increases the force of contraction. I like to tell people, think of if a polar bear jumped out in front of you, you want to have a very healthy sympathetic nervous system. Polar bear jumps down in front of you, you better have an increased heart rate to be able to run away for that polar bear. You better have it increased force of contraction to push blood through down to your extremities down to your legs so that you can run really fast and get away from that. You have blood vessel constriction so that blood oxygen can flow quite quickly through the bloodstream. Therefore, you’re going to have an increased blood pressure.
You’re going to Brochial dilation, meaning I need to get oxygen into my lungs quite quickly because I’m going to be running away from that polar bear. And in the gut, you’re going to have decreased motility sphincter contraction. We don’t need to have a bowel right now, decrease secretions. I don’t need to worry about digesting any food correctly right now. I don’t need to move anything through the bowel. All my energy has to go into getting rid of my problem, which is running away from that polar bear. Your parasympathetic nervous system really functions of the exact opposite. Forgive my cold today, I apologize. on the blood vessel. Now it’s believed that there are some vasodilation going on with parasympathetic stimulation, bronchial constriction. There’s no need to have excessive dilation, increased motility, sphincter relaxation, increased secretion. So in a parasympathetic state, we’re digesting our food, we’re detoxifying, and our liver is functioning well, this is a normal state that we want to be in without life crisis.
If we’re stuck in this constant crisis mode here, this is not a good thing. We’re not going to be digesting our food, we’re not going to be detoxifying, we’re going to have high blood pressure, we’re going to live in this sympathetic tone, high stress, lot of inflammation throughout the rest of the body as well, not just the brain. And that is very, very unhealthy. So how do we decrease this sympathetic tone? I have a couple of handouts that we give our patients. The sympathetic nervous system is housed at a part of the brain called the mesencephalon. That’s why this handout is titled this. Not something you need to know, but how do you need to decrease sympathetic tone? There’s way, just from a functional neurology point of view to decrease that mesencephalnic tone, and they seem kind of weird, but they actually work and there’s a lot of research behind them.
Wearing rose colored glasses. It’s not just Rose colored glasses. Even sunglasses can help decrease sympathetic tone. Matter of fact, people that are stuck in a higher sympathetic tone tend to have more sensitivity to light because they’re pupils are more dilated in a sympathetic tone as well. I didn’t show on the last slide, but that is one thing with sympathetic tone, your pupils are going to be dilated because you got to see where you’re running to get away from that polar bear. So wearing sunglasses could help calm the sympathetic nervous system, placing a cotton ball in your right ear because it fires back. The way it fires back neurologically, it can decrease the mesencephalon and decrease sympathetic tone. Breathing a foul smell, whatever you consider foul, in your right nostril, closing your left nostril with your finger and putting a smell, a dirty sock or something like that up to your right nostril will stimulate, calming that sympathetic nervous system. Humming or gargling… We’ll talk about that in just a second.
Slow deep belly breathing slows the sympathetic tone down, stimulating the frontal lobe, the prefrontal cortex, typically the right prefrontal cortex in playing memory games, like card games, just like solitaire type card games. Where you lay the cards down, “here’s a jack, where is another jack? Oh, that’s a king.” And that can stimulate a depression in sympathetic tone. If you have a Chi machine, this can be helpful. Use it as a vibration tool. Like, if you have one of those stand-on foot vibrators where you stand-on and exercise, but just standing on that foot vibration or even a handheld vibrator that you can get at target or something like that on your lower extremities can stimulate to calm the sympathetic nervous system.
Dietary concerns that help stimulate, that slow the sympathetics is glutamate, looking at glutamate issues. So glutamates are found in prepared foods, monosodium glutamate is one you’ve probably heard of, but eating tons of meat also because it contains glutamine and will convert to glutamate, can be an issue. So because glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter. That’s the problem with them, if I consume glutamates, MSG in my foods, I have this excess about of excitatory neurotransmitter, and it’s going to stimulate the mesencephalic tone because of the mesencephalon, the sympathetics, are controlled through glutamate. Any inflammatory foods could cause it increased mesocephalic tone as well, like gluten and dairy, you have gluteal morphine and casio morphine receptors in the gut that can stimulate back to the brain. So cutting back on gluten and dairy and even histamines can help calm the sympathetics.
So these are more long-term things that you could do. If you’re under a very stressful period of your life for some reason, looking at dietary things can be extremely helpful, cleaning up your diet, getting rid of prepared foods in your diet, cutting back on gluten and dairy, cutting back on histamine in your diet, can really help calm a person’s mood, can help calm that sympathetic hyper tone that you’re dealing with. And then other emotional things, the mesencephalon and the amygdala are very closely related. Your amygdala is where you house all your emotional memories and past emotional traumas, past physical traumas cam come up in the amygdala. And that stimulates the mesencephalon, which is gonna increase sympathetic. So dealing with that, getting some counseling, dealing with that, can be helpful as well.
This is another handout that we use on how to stimulate the Vagal nerve. The Vagas is your parasympathetic. So if you go back to this slide, remember your sympathetic and parasympathetic, we’re trying to decrease this, and we’re trying to increase this when we’re dealing with inflammation of the brain. So anything you could do to stimulate vagal nerve, well, it’s found that gargling about an eighth a cup of water, 12 times a day for 60 seconds, and you got a gargle really fairly aggressively in order to really stimulate the Vagas nerve. Anything you do to stimulate the gag reflex, just kind of sticking your finger down your throat a little bit to feel like you’re going to vomit almost, stimulates the gag reflex. The gag reflex is from cranial nerve 10. You are stimulating the Vagas nerve, and you will help calm the sympathetics.
Coffee enemas or even probiotic enemas can also be very beneficial. We talk about coffee enemas for cancer patients and how good it is to help flush out the liver. But maybe one of the most beneficial things about coffee enemas is it’s a great cranial nerve 10 stimulation. Even singing and humming and such can be a good cranial nerve 10 stimulation as well. So those are good things to do. And I always look at the spiritual aspect of things, we can be so stressed and stuck on a sympathetic tone, sometimes has to do with not really grounding ourselves from a spiritual point of view. And we like to talk about making sure that you are seeking that out as well.
You cannot ignore the gut brain interaction, any inflammation of the gut equals inflammation in the brain. So if you have any food sensitivities that you may not even know about, “Oh, I don’t have sensitivities because it doesn’t affect me at all. My stomach feels fine. I could eat a horse. My stomach has as no issues whatsoever.” But inflammation in the gut, you may not feel in the gut can cause inflammation of the brain and it can cause issues elsewhere. So you eat gluten and you have chronic pain, but you didn’t have any gut problems.
So, people, you know, have a hard time putting those two things together. You have to just understand the physiology between the gut and the brain. So looking at food sensitivities, getting a sensitivity test done can be extremely helpful. Dealing with antibiotic use, eating probiotics and healing the gut, healing he gut should be on everybody’s radar as one of the top things you do. Changing the brain’s chemistry, we’re not going to spend a lot of time with this, but looking at neurotransmitter balance, you could get tested for this, looking at other immune responses that could be taking place in the brain. And of course you have to deal with sources. So if I have Lyme disease or mold toxicity or something like that and I’m not dealing with that, all these things that I’m telling you today can be helpful, but you do need to deal with that source of inflammation as well.
Neurofeedback is another thing that we have used in our office. And now we’re using just a handheld machine that people could put these glasses on and do at home, very inexpensive for about $500. You could get a nice little machine that could really help you sleep. If that’s all it does is help you sleep, it’s already combating our biggest problem here because it can help you detox your brain. And it’s a great little tool, and we sell it at our store. And then there’s also things that you could do to help mimic sleep. So you can mimic sleep through different nutrients that are called central alpha agonists. So CAA central alpha agonists and there’s natural supplements that are central alpha agonists that can help reduce your sympathetic tone as well. I list them here, I won’t go through them all.
Other ones to consider are added ACE inhibitors, natural ACE inhibitors. Now, normally you would think of an ACE inhibitor for somebody who has high blood pressure, but even if they don’t have high blood pressure, using natural ACE inhibitors like Hawthorne, picnoginol, pomegranate, omega 3s and melatonin could be extremely beneficial to reduce sympathetic tone as well. And now CBD oil has been shown to be extremely beneficial to reduce sympathetic tone and that’s why it helps with decreasing anxiety and it really helps decrease glutamate levels of the brain too. So we are really hot on CBD oil and use a lot of that with our patients. It’s probably the number one thing that we use with our patients is CBD oil. Very beneficial, really has no side effects, has no downsides and could use it with little babies. So it’s a great product to use for that.
So your take home today is really, you want to reduce inflammation in your brain and sleep is one of your biggest allies here. So anything you can do to increase sleep, improve sleep, take naps, will be most beneficial. Emotionally ground yourself and decrease your sympathetic tone. We touch on that very heavily in this few minutes that we had together, spiritual grounding, healing your gut- do not ignore that part. So any inflammation of the gut is going to cause brain inflammation. You could do all these other exercises but you got the source of inflammation constantly wrapping up on your brain, you’re going to regret it. And utilizing some nutrients to mimic sleep, like the CBD oil and the natural ACE inhibitors would be very beneficial as well. All right. Thanks for joining me and we’ll see you next time.
Dustin has been passionate about holistic health since he met his wife, Dr Mallory Ranem (Conners) almost 20 years ago. As the Digital Media Manager, he coordinates content across Conners Clinic’s large online presence, including written, video, and audio.