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Functional Medicine Explained

Functional Neurology: Causes and Symptoms of a Leaky Brain

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Our brain is a complex organ that controls many essential functions in our body. Therefore, brain health is vital for our survival. This is where the blood-brain barrier comes in. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) consists of a group of cells held together by “tight junctions” that protect the brain from potentially harmful components in the bloodstream. This security system only permits passage to certain molecules and keeps most other chemicals or substances out.  

Understanding a Leaky Brain

If damage due to an injury or underlying condition occurs, small gaps can start to develop in the tight junctions of the group of cells in the brain and potentially harmful components in the bloodstream can ultimately penetrate the BBB and enter the complex organ. This is known as a “leaky brain”. Several chemicals or substances can commonly cause brain inflammation. Research studies have demonstrated a connection between gut health and brain health. As a matter of fact, scientists have also determined that our gut microbiome, or the bacteria in our gastrointestinal (GI) tract, can affect our brain.  

 

The stomach and small intestine consist of a group of cells like the blood-brain barrier that also protects the gut from potentially harmful components in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Similar factors that cause a leaky gut can cause a leaky brain, including poor diet, food sensitivities or intolerances, infections, and toxins. Research studies have demonstrated that a protein found in wheat and gluten, known as gliadin, can increase the production of another protein known as zonulin. Zonulin can cause the tight junctions of the gut and BBB to become loose or broken, leading to a leaky brain and a leaky gut.

 

Causes of a Leaky Brain

As previously mentioned above, a leaky gut is one of the most well-known causes of a leaky brain. Infections, autoimmune diseases, mental health issues, and stress or vagus nerve dysfunction are common factors that may also affect the blood-brain barrier. However, inflammation is generally the source of the problem in most of these brain and gut health issues. Below, we will discuss several factors that can ultimately cause a leaky brain in further detail.  

 

  • Infections can breakdown the BBB and allow bacteria to penetrate and enter the brain
  • Exposure to toxins can cause inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain which can affect the BBB
  • Too much glutamate can increase BBB permeability and permit passage to harmful components
  • Free radicals can also cause inflammation and promote aging, further affecting the blood-brain barrier
  • High blood sugar and diabetes can also cause oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain
  • Increased homocysteine, commonly found in people with heart health issues, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and neurological diseases, as well as in people who survive a stroke, can affect the tight junctions in the group of cells of the blood-brain barrier
  • High-fat, high-calorie diets and obesity can increase oxidative stress and prevent the brain from getting enough oxygen
  • Hypoxia causes the body to have an insufficient supply of oxygen which can further damage the tight junctions of the BBB
  • An injury or an underlying condition in the liver can release a signal, known as MMP9, that increases BBB permeability
  • Insufficient blood flow to the brain and abnormal activity in the brain, which is common in patients with mood changes
  • Poor sleep affects the sleep-wake cycle necessary in the uptake of nutrients and the offload of toxins which increases inflammation
  • Changes in the molecules found between the brain and bloodstream which develop tight junctions in the BBB.

 

Symptoms of a Leaky Brain

A leaky brain can ultimately cause a variety of symptoms. Because various factors may also cause the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier and allow harmful components to penetrate or enter the brain through the bloodstream, it’s essential to be aware of the type of symptoms that can manifest when you have a leaky brain. A leaky brain can cause a variety of symptoms as well as increase the risk of developing various brain health issues, including:  

 

  • Difficulty concentrating and memory loss, also known as brain fog
  • Sudden headaches or migraines that become worse throughout the day
  • Cognitive impairment that may ultimately lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Mood changes associated with anxiety, stress, depression, and schizophrenia
  • Chronic fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest or sleep
  • ADD/ADHD/Autism spectrum disorders
  • Brain health issues and neurological diseases, such as neuropathies or muscular sclerosis
  • Seizures and epilepsy

 

Too much inflammation may cause a variety of brain health issues and neurological diseases associated with the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), also known as a leaky brain. Because many research studies have suggested the connection between a leaky gut and a leaky brain, maintaining a healthy gut microbiome may be an effective treatment for brain health issues and neurological diseases. Scientists have started working towards developing successful ways to allow drugs and/or medications as well as other treatments to penetrate and enter the brain through the blood-brain barrier and from the bloodstream. A leaky brain may be caused by a variety of factors and various symptoms can commonly manifest.  – Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. Insight

 

Our brain is a complex organ that controls many essential functions in our body. Therefore, brain health is vital for our survival. This is where the blood-brain barrier comes in. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) consists of a group of cells held together by “tight junctions” that protect the brain from potentially harmful components in the bloodstream. This security system only permits passage to certain molecules and keeps most other chemicals or substances out.  

 

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, and nervous health issues or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900

 

Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez  

 

References:

  • Mindd Foundation. “What Causes Leaky Brain? Repairing the Blood-Brain Barrier.” Mindd, 11 June 2019, mindd.org/leaky-brain/.

 


 

Neurotransmitter Assessment Form

 

The following Neurotransmitter Assessment Form can be filled out and presented to Dr. Alex Jimenez. The following symptoms listed on this form are not intended to be utilized as a diagnosis of any type of disease, condition, or any other type of health issue.  

 


 

Additional Topic Discussion: Chronic Pain

Sudden pain is a natural response of the nervous system which helps to demonstrate possible injury. By way of instance, pain signals travel from an injured region through the nerves and spinal cord to the brain. Pain is generally less severe as the injury heals, however, chronic pain is different than the average type of pain. With chronic pain, the human body will continue sending pain signals to the brain, regardless if the injury has healed. Chronic pain can last for several weeks to even several years. Chronic pain can tremendously affect a patient’s mobility and it can reduce flexibility, strength, and endurance.  

 

 


 

Neural Zoomer Plus for Neurological Disease

 

Dr. Alex Jimenez utilizes a series of tests to help evaluate neurological diseases. The Neural ZoomerTM Plus is an array of neurological autoantibodies which offers specific antibody-to-antigen recognition. The Vibrant Neural ZoomerTM Plus is designed to assess an individual’s reactivity to 48 neurological antigens with connections to a variety of neurologically related diseases. The Vibrant Neural ZoomerTM Plus aims to reduce neurological conditions by empowering patients and physicians with a vital resource for early risk detection and an enhanced focus on personalized primary prevention.  

 

Food Sensitivity for the IgG & IgA Immune Response

 

Dr. Alex Jimenez utilizes a series of tests to help evaluate health issues associated with food sensitivities. The Food Sensitivity ZoomerTM is an array of 180 commonly consumed food antigens that offers very specific antibody-to-antigen recognition. This panel measures an individual’s IgG and IgA sensitivity to food antigens. Being able to test IgA antibodies provides additional information to foods that may be causing mucosal damage. Additionally, this test is ideal for patients who might be suffering from delayed reactions to certain foods. Utilizing an antibody-based food sensitivity test can help prioritize the necessary foods to eliminate and create a customized diet plan around the patient’s specific needs.  

 

Gut Zoomer for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

 

Dr. Alex Jimenez utilizes a series of tests to help evaluate gut health associated with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). The Vibrant Gut ZoomerTM offers a report that includes dietary recommendations and other natural supplementation like prebiotics, probiotics, and polyphenols. The gut microbiome is mainly found in the large intestine and it has more than 1000 species of bacteria that play a fundamental role in the human body, from shaping the immune system and affecting the metabolism of nutrients to strengthening the intestinal mucosal barrier (gut-barrier). It is essential to understand how the number of bacteria that symbiotically live in the human gastrointestinal (GI) tract influences gut health because imbalances in the gut microbiome may ultimately lead to gastrointestinal (GI) tract symptoms, skin conditions, autoimmune disorders, immune system imbalances, and multiple inflammatory disorders.  

 




 

Formulas for Methylation Support

 

XYMOGEN’s Exclusive Professional Formulas are available through select licensed health care professionals. The internet sale and discounting of XYMOGEN formulas are strictly prohibited.

 

Proudly, Dr. Alexander Jimenez makes XYMOGEN formulas available only to patients under our care.

 

Please call our office in order for us to assign a doctor consultation for immediate access.

 

If you are a patient of Injury Medical & Chiropractic Clinic, you may inquire about XYMOGEN by calling 915-850-0900.

For your convenience and review of the XYMOGEN products please review the following link. *XYMOGEN-Catalog-Download  

 

* All of the above XYMOGEN policies remain strictly in force.  

 


 

 

Dr. Alex Jimenez

Specialties: Stopping the PAIN! We Specialize in Treating Severe Sciatica, Neck-Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sports Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal mobility, posture control, health Instruction, functional fitness, and structural conditioning. We use effective "Patient Focused Diet Plans", Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Cross-Fit Protocols, and the Premier "PUSH Functional Fitness System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. Ultimately, I am here to serve my patients and community as a Chiropractor passionately restoring functional life and facilitating living through increased mobility.

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