our journey of hope and healing through autism

Book Review: Why Isn’t My Brain Working by Dr. Datis Kharrazian

No kidding, this is the book I’ve been looking for my whole life-or at least the past few years.  As I’ve read and researched, and tried to understand the way the human brain works and where things go wrong, I’ve read medical journal articles, college textbooks, you name it.  I watched an online presentation by Dr. Kharrazian, and could tell that this man had been on the same quest to understand how the brain becomes unbalanced and what to do about it.  I got my hands on the book (thank you public library!) and am so excited about this book!

Here’s a quick video from Dr. Kharrazian about depression that I really liked, to give you a glimpse into what you would find in the book:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88m22iW1VCs

This book puts together the science, symptoms, and natural treatments for brain decline.Dr Kharrazian is fantastic about citing the research that his conclusions are based upon, which I really appreciate. (The book has over 1,000 citations).  I loved that for each factor that may contribute to brain problems, Dr. K. talks about natural compounds, and how they work, but doesn’t endorse or even mention any brands.  His motivation in writing the book is not to earn money by convincing the reader to buy products.

I don’t purchase many books, but I will definitely be buying this one.

Here are some of the things I found fascinating (probably because they relate to questions I had or medical issues our family is working on:

Stress and the Brain-Ch. 6

“One thing people dealing with major or unrelenting stress can do to calm down the influence of stress on the brain is to use phosphatidylserine…Phosphatidylserine dampens the effects of IL-6 (which causes inflammatory) on the midbrain reticular formation.”

Someone in our house hold is using adrenal supports right now, so I found the following interesting:

“Herbal adrenal adaptogens are also powerful support when chronic stress is a problem.   Although I have the word adrenal in there, these herbs do not work on the adrenal glands, but instead on the stress pathways in the brain, particularly in the hippocampus.  Panax ginseng extract, ashwaganda, Holy basil extract, Rhodiola rosea, and eleuthero extract are all powerful botanicals that impact brain chemistry and stress responses in a powerful way.  You can use them individually, but they have a greater synergistic effect when used in combination.”

The Gut-Brain Axis Ch.9

There are a lot of different things that can influence the way the brain and gut interact.  An interesting factor that I am just starting to learn about this is the vagus nerve.

“Lack of sufficient output through the brainstem can impair the vagus nerve, which may result in poor motility and constipation.  Poor motility is a concern because it leads to fermentation in the gut and the overgrowth of intestinal bacteria and yeast.  Any time a patient with a poorly functioning brain complains of chronic constipation, a dysfunction in the gut-brain axis must be considered.”

“As the gut-brain axis loses its efficiciency the vagus nerve also loses the ability to activate the release of stomach hydrochloric acid (HCl) to digest proteins.  People with low HCl may notice they can no longer digest high-protein foods such as meats and eggs without feeling like they have a brick in their stomach.  Or they develop symptoms of burning from the undigested proteins putrefying in the stomach and creating and acidic environment.  Many of these people are diagnosed with acid reflux as a consequence of poor gut-brain axis.”

“An impaired vagus nerve also leads to the development of intestinal permeability, more commonly known as “leaky gut”…”

You can watch a video by Dr. K. on the vagus and activities to help vagus-gut activity:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8nh1WAac34

Someone in our household has uric-acid related problems, so I found this interesting: “Uva Ursi…It’s consituents include Arbutin, hydroquinone, and tannins.  These consistuents have been shown to have antimicrobial properties and also have astringent effects…It has historically been used to…reduce uric acid.  Yeast organisms produce large amounts of uric acid by activating uric acid synthase and promoting inflammation>”

Brain Inflammation-Ch. 10

Causes of Breakdown of the Blood-Brain barrier:

-“Chronic stress, alchohol, elevated glucose and diabetes, chronic environmental exposure, elevated homocysteine, poor diet and antioxidant status, systemic inflammation”

“If you are gluten intolerant a GABA challenge can show you that eating gluten will cause leaky brain for a week or two (which can be restored simply by avoiding gluten)”

“The pharmaceutical industry appears to be focused on developing drugs to shut down microglia cells… However, the drugs success has yet to match the performance of many natural compounds that have demonstrated in peer-reviewed literature excellent microglia-quenching abilities.  They are flavonoids that include apigenin, baicaein, resveratrol, catechin, rutin, and curcumin.  These flavonoids cross the blood-brain barrier and have powerful anti-inflammatory effects in the brain.” (p. 211)

Essential Fatty Acids:

“A paper published in teh American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found in the US healthy dietary intake of omega 3 is 3,500mg for a person eating 2,000 cal/day…This is important to realize because the average EFA capsule is only 1,000mg.This means if you are eating 3,000 cal. a day (the typical healthy calorie intake in the US is 2,000-3,000 cal/day) you should take at least 5 to 6 capsules of fish oil a day to support cardiovascular and brain health and reduce the risk of disease”


One comment on “Book Review: Why Isn’t My Brain Working by Dr. Datis Kharrazian

  1. fit4fifty
    October 27, 2015

    Chapter 9 is the chapter for me. Thanks Becky…I find this all so fascinating.

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This entry was posted on October 27, 2015 by in Uncategorized.
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