There are an increasing number of neurological disorders surfacing perpetually. What makes this “wiring” in our body go haywire?
The brain and the rest of the nervous system is a highly complex, specialized network that is the body’s means of communication with other parts of the body. It directs interactions between and in the body and its environment. It controls movement, balance, coordination, blood flow and all the senses. All organs are influenced by the nervous system.
As with most diseases, our diet and lifestyle are major contributing factors. There are many critical building blocks that build, repair and run the nervous system, and just as an engine of a car can’t run without its proper fuel, neither can the nervous system. This amazing structure needs fats, minerals, amino acids, vitamins and glucose to run properly.
One of the most critical components is fat. The word alone scares most people away. What a travesty! Our brain, nerves and nerve cells are composed mostly of fats. When we avoid healthy fats for fear of gaining weight or cardiovascular disease (a very sad set of mis-information), we deprive the brain of vital nutrients. Fats are necessary for nerve protection and transmission, building the structure of the brain and nerves, and supporting our nervous system hormones (neurotransmitters), and hormone precursors. Dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin are only a few, and collectively referred to as “happy hormones”. They do more than that, and so do the many other hormones involved in nervous system function and communication. They can’t do their job without adequate healthy fats.
Minerals are another essential component necessary for proper nervous system function. There is a delicate balance needed for chemical reactions, so it is important to get minerals in their food forms, not rock forms (like carbonates or oxides). Minerals are only as good as the brains ability to uptake them, and they need fats to do that. Be sure to put butter on your green leafy vegetables (high in minerals)!
Vitamins are also important for healthy “wiring”. Vitamins are quickly utilized by the body, especially during stress, and therefore need to be present on a daily basis. It is wise to check to make sure your vitamins are not synthetic, as most of them are today. Synthetic vitamins just don’t work the same on brain function. According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (Aug-Sept 1940) “Synthetic B vitamins fail in normal growth tests while whole vitamin rich foods correct growth.”
Acupuncture is another help. Acupuncture has been shown to release the neurotransmitters that are needed for pain control, to stimulate the body’s own anti-inflammatory system, help to re-establish brain-body communication, brain and nerve cell development and helps to redefine lost neuronal pathways. It is also effective in supporting immune system health which is needed in auto-immune neurological disorders.
While there are many factors that interfere with healthy function of the nervous system, there is also much we can do to support its healthy wiring.
©2012 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.