Complete Guide to Enhancing your ENERGY #3

Health, November 28, 2021

Habits that look after your brain link up well with improving your energy. Supercharge your brain and in turn increase your energy.

3 - Supercharge your Brain

Brain fog is a type of cognitive dysfunction that involves memory dysfunction, lack of ability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity, clouded thoughts, and slowness of thought processes.  You feel sleepy after doing something mentally demanding (job, non-fiction book, driving). Poor resilience to stress means an inability to handle and recover from stress, even minor psychological stress or physical activity can create anxiety or fatigue.

These symptoms are NOT a normal part of aging - they are due to neurons (nerve cell that carries electrical impulses) that are damaged, inflamed, dysfunctional, or aren't communicating with each other well.  This is Brain Cell dysfunction - this is linked up with chronic fatigue, depression, and fibromyalgia. Many studies have shown that brain dysfunction is a key component of chronic fatigue. Depression and anxiety often (studies show 75% of the time) go together. If you have depression you're much more likely to have neurological disease. Over 60% of people with chronic fatigue syndrome are at risk for psychiatric disorders. Cellular conditions in the brain are intertwined.

Depression is one of a family of related conditions sometimes referred as 'affective spectrum disorders' (migraine, irritable bowel disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, generalised anxiety disorder) 

All of these are connected due to the fact they all come down to the same basic type of cellular dysfunction in the brain. This can be broken down to these sub groups but all of these happen simultaneously. 

To fix brain symptoms we must eliminate the root causes

  • Having a disrupted circadian rhythm creates issues.
  • Connection between exposure to chemical toxins and fatigue - research out of Uppsala University Med school in Sweden reported that patients with chronic fatigue nearly always contain abnormal levels of mercury within their cells. Common toxins found in environment - heavy metals, BPA, Glyphosate and pesticides, indoor air pollutants, chlorine, advanced glycation end products (AGEs), food additives, over the counter medication. 
  • Inflammatory diet - chronic inflammation inhibits mitochondrial function. As they sense chronic inflammation they shift into 'defense mode'. Decrease or eliminate highly processed, additive laced, junk food and replace with as much plant based whole food as possible (check out one of my original articles about this https://everfit.co.nz/articles/plant-powered-people )
  • Neurotransmitter Imbalance - Acetylocholine (cognitive function and learning), serotonin (mood.joy and pleasure), GABA (relaxation and calmness), Endorphins (pain reduction and stress response), Dopamine (pleasure, reward, motivation/drive and stress tolerance),  Orexin (energy and wakefulness)
  • Low Vagal tone (LOW ventral vagal tone) 
OLD MODEL (binary, black or white, stress or relaxation) -  SYMPATHETIC (fight or flight), PARASYMPATHETIC (Rest, heal, digest)

 

NEW MODEL - The POLYVAGAL N/S (Stephen Porges view of the Autonomic Nervous System) The N/S is not just in 'stress' mode or 'rest' mode. It's a 'threat sensor' network.

VENTRAL VAGAL (Social Engagement). Safety orientated to the environment.  Joy, the present, curiosity, compassion, mindful, engaging with others. THE PLATFORM FOR WELLNESS

 

SYMPATHETIC (Fight - move towards rage,anger,irritation,frustration/Flight - move away panic,fear,anxiety,worry/concern)

DORSAL VAGAL (Freeze - dissociation, numbness, depression, helplessness, shame, shut down, hopelessness, trapped, emotionally flat) trauma can feed into this - being overwhelmed by stress. 

 

*the 'self-critical perfectionism' personality trait is more prone to create chronic fatigue and high stress state. The mental chatter is usually negative self talk - constant low level stress creates a fatigued state. 

Caffeine Toxicity

If you are addicted to coffee in the morning to get you going this can create some negative neural responses. If you have caffeine daily then you decrease your base line function overall so the 'boost' you receive takes you back to your 'normal'.  Caffeine blocks the adenosine receptors creating an energised effect. This isn't a problem if done now and then - if done daily there are negative effects - you create more adenosine receptors. 

 

Many studies have discovered that caffeine-related performance improvement (the boost) is non-existent without a person going into caffeine withdrawl first. (check out my article on caffeine for more information https://everfit.co.nz/articles/how-much-caffeine-should-you-have-daily )

 

Strategies to overcome Brain fog/fatigue

  • Neuroinflammation reset - Anti-inflammatory diet, lots of sleep (circadian rhythm habits), Re-charge rituals and vagal stimulation, meditation, and yoga.
Powerful substances for supporting brain health - astaxanthin, blueberries, sulforaphane (broccoli), Lions mane mushrooms, curcumin, Omega 3's, Green tea, Bacopa

 

  • Vagal re-charge - recharge rituals to rewire your brain to get to ventral vagal space - feeling safe and engaged. Lower your sensory load - VAGAL stimulation : meditation, singing (powerful way to get out of stress mode), positive relationships, sun exposure, massage, laying down, laughter, Yoga. 

BEST TIME to implement re-charge rituals/habits (look at a couple every day)

-Morning
-Night time

-Brief chunks interspersed throughout the day

 

Brad Dixon is a sports physio, coach, and wellness evangelist based at EVERFIT Physio & Coaching. His passion is promoting enhancing daily habits that nudge people towards potential and save the planet. His book ‘Holistic Human’ is available here - https://everfit.co.nz/Store/Category/Book . The power is in our daily habits! Connect with Brad at www.everfit.co.nz, Facebook, Strava, Instagram (@everfitcoach), and YOU TUBE https://youtube.com/c/EverFITcoach