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The brain accounts for about two percent of a human's body weight. It demands twenty percent of the blood sugar and oxygen in the body. When the body is deficient in nutrients, oxygen or both, the brain is one of the first organs to suffer. Many supplements can help the brain to operate at peak performance by increasing oxygen levels to the brain and by supplying nutrients essential for proper brain function.
Scientific evidence suggests that schizophrenia, depression and other brain and behavioral disorders can be treated with vitamins, amino acids, essential oils and other nutrients. The standard American diet is lacking in B vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E w/Selenium and iron, just to name a few deficiencies. The average American eats too much fat and too little complex carbohydrates and primary proteins. Problems such as these can create minor or severe imbalances in the chemistry of the brain.
The brain is dependent on oxygen as it is evident that unconsciousness can occur in as little as ten seconds if blood flow to the brain is inhibited. Supplements that increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain can be very beneficial in supporting and increasing mental function. Ginkgo is a powerful antioxidant that acts as a vasodilator (opens blood vessels) and natural blood thinner so that circulation and oxygen levels to the brain are increased. Clinical trials using ginkgo have shown improvement in mobility of the legs, improved brain function and memory help overcoming vertigo (dizziness), elimination of tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and help in treating the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.
Blood sugar is the main fuel of the brain and requires about twenty percent of the body’s blood sugar, more is not better. When blood sugar is too high throughout the body, larger organs in the body’s abdomen switch from fat burning to blood sugar use. Not only is this switch counter productive to weight management, it leaves the brain robbed of its fuel source as the abdominal organs have a much greater combined mass than the brain and uptakes most of the blood sugar.
L-glutamine (used alone or in Focus Attention or GABA Plus) is an amino acid that helps regulate glucose usage in the brain and clear the waste products of its metabolism. L-glutamine can be converted by the body into glutamic acid, which has a calming effect on the brain and can be used as brain fuel. Increased mental focus combined with a generalized calming effect is what many children and adults erroneously seek for when using drugs.
Focus Attention contains DMAE or dimethylaminoethanol. DMAE helps improve memory retention, elevate mood, increase intelligence and expand learning capacity by accelerating the brain's synthesis acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in mental acuity. Focus Attention can be used for children with hyperactivity, shortened attention span, speech problems and learning disabilities.
Red Beet Formula keeps blood sugar levels stable and available to the brain. Stevia is a great sugar substitute that tastes sweeter than white, refined sugar. It does not cause large swings in blood sugar levels but has the effect of lowering blood sugar levels causing the abdominal organs to remain in a fat-burning mode and leaving the blood sugar available for the brain.
Amino Acids & B-Complex
Neurons (nerve cells) must communicate with one another across tiny gaps or synapses. Larger numbers of synapses are associated with increased learning. Impulse transmission across the synapses is accomplished by neuropeptides (specialized proteins) called neuro-transmitters. These neurotransmitters not only aid in brain cell communication, they affect other mental functions such as mood, emotions and pain. Amino acids in the presence of certain Vitamins and Minerals, are necessary for the body to make neurotransmitters. Free Amino Acids and B-Complex are supplements that can supply such neurotransmitter precursors.
5-HTP Power is designed to help the body make a specific neurotransmitter, serotonin, which helps the body to regulate appetite, mood and sleep. 5-HTP Power contains hydroxytryptophan (a form of the amino acid L-tryptophan) and vitamin B6, which the body uses to make serotonin. 5-HTP Power is specially formulated so that serotonin is formed in the brain where it is needed and not in the intestine where it would be wasted.
Blood Brain Barrier
The importance of the brain in sustaining life is well demonstrated by the body's protective coverings of the brain. The brain is encased by a thick boney skull and surrounded by layers of protective membranes called the meninges. These meninges offer not only a physical cushion of webbing and fluid but they offer chemical protection as well. The connective tissue, neurons and capillaries (tiny blood vessels' of the brain and meninges are different than those of most other organs in that they do not allow passive transport of molecules into brain tissue. Each molecule must be "allowed" or "approved" entrance.
These specialized cells that prevent molecule passage are collectively referred to as the blood brain barrier.
Molecules that are essential to the brain such as water, oxygen and glucose (blood sugar) pass through to the brain easily, whereas molecules needed in lesser concentrations such as calcium and potassium pass more slowly. Certain proteins, lipids (fats), creatine, urea, certain toxins and most antibiotics are not allowed passage into the delicate brain tissue. Many nutrients are denied entrance.
Brain-Protex contains antioxidants, like ginkgo, that can cross the blood-brain barrier and other substances that have profound effects on brain tissue. One such substance is phosphatidyl serine, a nutrient that is found concentrated in brain cells. Clinical studies indicate that phosphatidyl serine can help slow mental decline associated with aging.
Phosphatidyl serine has shown benefit for cognitive functions such as attention, short-term memory, apathy, telephone number recall, paragraph recall, name-face acquisition, reading concentration, conversing and misplaced object recall. Test subjects performed better on cognitive tests and Positron Emission Topography (P.E.T.) Scans of their brains showed significantly greater brain activity.
Brain-Protex also contains Huperzine from Chinese club moss. Huperzine prevents breakdown of the neuro- transmitter acetylcholine, vital to memory retrieval and concentration. Brain-Protex helps with memory enhancement, treatment of Alzheimer's disease and possibly Parkinson's, dementia, senile memory deficit, concentration and mental focus. Grapine contains two sources of an antioxidant that can cross the blood-brain barrier making it an important protector of delicate brain tissue from free radical damage.
SAM-e is a raw material for glutathione, the main antioxidant in neutralizing brain toxins and free radicals. SAM-e promotes fluidity of the cell membrane, a process that is essential for proper nerve cell function. Studies have shown SAM-e to have rapid effectiveness in stopping depression. One study showed 100% improvement in less than ten days. SAM-e outperformed pharmaceutics and it did it without side effects. The antidepressant qualities of SAM-e may come from the fact that it seems to support the function of the neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine, both important in preventing depression.
Lecithin is also a good source of nourishment for the brain as it contains trace amounts of phosphaddyl serine and helps the body to build protective myelin sheaths. Myelin is a covering that insulates and protects many neurons. In certain degenerative conditions such as multiple sclerosis, the integrity of the blood-brain barrier is compromised allowing an increased flow of substances that are damaging to brain tissue. For such individuals, MRI scans can show inflammatory damage to the protective myelin sheaths.
Various regions of the brain house concentrations of different types of neurons and neurotransmitters thus creating varied mental functions in different areas. The
cerebrum is the largest and most prominent area of the brain. Its convoluted surface allows for great surface area for more neurons. It controls higher mental functions such as reasoning, memory and intelligence. It also controls most sensory and motor activities along with some instinctual or limbic functions.
Right and Left Hemispheres
The cerebrum is divided into left and right hemispheres. Each hemisphere controls functions on the opposite side of the body and they also create different kinds of thinking. In most people, the left side allows for analytical and verbal skills such as math, reading and writing while the right side allows for spatial and artistic kinds of intelligence.
Connections between the two hemispheres allow for a sharing of learning and memory although most people usually have one dominant hemisphere. The two hemispheres, however, respond independently to odors. Since the left hemisphere is concerned with reasoning, words and logic, it intellectually responds by identifying the odor and possibly making a personal memory connection.
The right hemisphere that deals with imagination, emotion and aesthetic awareness, responds to an odor with a deeper emotional or hormonal reaction, such as pleasure or euphoria. Normally, both hemispheres of the brain work harmoniously to integrate all incoming data, yet researchers have found that when a fragrance which was considered pleasant was inhaled, a wave of electrical activity was noticed in the right hemisphere which then spread to areas of the left hemisphere, as if the brain confirmed that the smell had been pleasant.
Inhalation of essential oils is an excellent way to access and activate the brain as this therapy bypasses the blood-brain barrier. Aroma has been used for thousands of years to uplift and alter one's state of mind. Documents recorded on clay tablets from the Mesopotamia, dating back to as early as 550 BC, show evidence of essential oil use. Today researchers have established a connection between the brain and the power of aromas. Aromas access deep areas of the brain. Brain disturbances can actually develop in an atmosphere devoid of smell.
Fetal studies have shown that if the left nasal cavity is malformed, so is the left hemisphere of the brain. After birth, if air devoid of odors is inhaled, the brain shows further degenerative changes. One of the most coveted items in early space missions became lemon-scented hand wipes. In the controlled atmosphere of space they were the only items with a fragrance. Aromas can have profound physical, mental and emotional effects on the body.
Stimulating Mental Function
Supplements like those described above or any others that increase oxygen or needed nutrients to the brain can assist in increasing the mental functions of the cerebrum. Stimulating essential oils such as Peppermint, Lemon and Rosemary are also useful for improving concentration and memory. Some offices in Japan diffuse essential oils through the air vents to increase workers' productivity.
One study performed in Japan demonstrated the benefits and effects of odor on the body's responses. When the office air of keypunch operators was scented with lavender, errors per hour dropped by 21%, with jasmine by 33%, and with lemon by 54%. The Japanese have now developed an environmental system that delivers aromas through air conditioning ducts under computer control.
The direct effect that the sense of smell can have on the brain suggests why aromatherapy is considered one of the most valuable tools in the treatment of stress and anxiety-related problems. The olfactory nerve, which transmits the sense of smell, is the only cranial nerve (a nerve originating from die brain) that has direct contact with the outside world.
When we inhale an odor, even if it is not consciously perceived, the olfactory nerve changes the chemical message to an electrical one that can then trigger a myriad of possible effects in the brain. Olfactory nerve cells are the only type of nerve cells in the brain that have shown die ability to regenerate. This demonstrates their importance to the brain. The olfactory tract brings the electrical signal to the limbic system.
The limbic system is often referred to as the "old brain" or "smell brain". These nicknames refer to the fact that the limbic system is the seat of instinctual functions and it responds readily to and is directly connected to the sense of smell. It is within the limbic system that memories and life experiences leave their mark (effects of which can literally be seen on P.E.T. scans) and can affect not only one's emotional health but also physical well being. Damaging emotions and life patterns can be addressed and corrected through the neuroemotion release technique called CLEAR™. (CLEAR is a course available through the Tree of Light Institute.]
Supplements can do much to improve health but total health will never be achieved unless emotional issues are addressed also. Access to the limbic system via the use of aromatherapy is a very important part of CLEAR. The limbic system is composed of 34 structures, only a few of which will be discussed here.
Amygdala and Hippocampus
When an electrical signal created from an aroma reaches the limbic system, it is first interpreted by the
amygdala and hippocampus. The amygdala is connected with auditory and visual association centers of the brain and interprets smell, sound and sight. It patterns behavioral responses and regulates instinctual responses to environmental situations.
For example, someone suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may suddenly fall to the ground when he or she hears a car backfire, thinking it is gunfire.
Previous life experiences can cause the amvedala to trigger such an inappropriate response. There are several studies showing that there is actual damage to the amygdala in
PTSD sufferers. That means there can be physical brain changes caused by emotional experiences.
P.E.T. scans confirm that when there is such damage to die aroygdala that inappropriate social response occurs. The hippocampus elicits strong control over the emotions and governs the learning of new activities. So, both the hippocampus and the amygdala are memory centers and play a role in emotional responses. It is at this point in the brain that an essential oil may trigger a recent or distant memory. Aromatherapy is excellent for aiding memory recall.
The hypothalamus is a part of the limbic system located near the center of the brain. It is here that most of the involuntary and endocrine functions of the body, along with many aspects of emotional behavior, are controlled. The hypothalamus has the ability to send signals to other areas of the brain. The hypothalamus is the regulator that decides exactly where the signal goes to next.
A pleasant odor can gain deeper access into the brain because the hypothalamus does not reject it. Unpleasant odors are blocked and cause less stimulation to the brain and nervous system. If the signal is not blocked, it can reach the cortex in less than one second. Such rapid access is why inhalation is one of the best ways to gain access to the brain and the reason why many street drugs are snorted through the nose.
Some essential oils that can affect the regulatory action of the hypothalamus are Bergamot, Frankincense and Geranium. These oils help with anxiety accompanied by depression, mood swings, menstrual problems and menopausal imbalance.
Directly beneath the hypothalamus is the pituitary gland. This organ secretes hormones that control many of the other endocrine glands in the body. The hypothalamus produces some hormones that are released by the pituitary gland, and the hypothalamus also controls the production and secretion of pituitary hormones. Alfalfa, Spirulina, Super Algae and Bee Pollen are good sources of easily absorbed amino acids necessary for the production of hormones from the hypothalamus and pituitary gland.
A key product like Master Gland can also be helpful as it contains vitamins, minerals and herbs that nourish many of the glands influenced by these regions of the brain. Due to the connection of the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to the sense of smell and emotions, essential oils are an excellent choice for influencing these regions of the brain.
The pituitary gland can stimulate the release of endorphins that govern pain relief, euphoria and sexual feelings. Therefore, essential oils that are often considered to be aphrodisiacs would also be the ones that influence the pituitary gland, such as Clary Sage, Patchouli and Ylang Ylang.
The thalamus has extensive pathways to and from all areas of the cerebral cortex. It acts as a relay center for all impulses (except the sense of smell) going into the cerebrum. Nerve impulses converge here and undergo some sensory interpretation. The thalamus is the region of the brain responsible for the initial autonomic response to pain. Nerve fibers from pain centers in the brain stem pass directly into the thalamus. Stimulation in these fibers may result in the release of neuro-chemicals called enkephalins. These chemicals are painkillers but serve in making us feel uplifted as well as creating feelings of well being and euphoria.
The ingredients in Relief Formula help to preserve the body's natural painkillers. A combination of willow bark extract, protease enzyme blend, boswellia gum extract, rutin, phellodendron bark extract, dl-phenylalanine work together to prevent the enzyme carboxypeptidase from destroying important enkephalins.
The medulla oblongata, which is located above the brain stem, acts as a relay center for the visceral autonomic center. Meaning, that it controls involuntary functions of the abdominal organs such as breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. The medulla seems to be greatly affected by environmental and emotional stress, creating a group of symptoms in the body often termed as "burn-out."
One common sign of medulla weakness is the tendency for an individual to wake up somewhere between two and four in the morning and then be completely unable to return to sleep. Nervous Fatigue Formula is a Chinese herbal combination that when taken twice a day can generally help the symptoms of stress exhaustion and if also taken before bedtime can usually alleviate the specific insomnia described above.
Professor Linus Pauling won the Nobel Prize twice for what he called orthomolecular psychiatry. He believed, and did much research to prove, that by providing an optimal molecular environment for the brain, various mental disorders could be alleviated. He created this optimal environment by concentrating normal body substances. This is basically what one is doing when the right supplements or essential oils are chosen to alleviate deficiencies or generally support brain function. Proper diet, supplementation and emotional health can assist in nourishing the brain so that it can perform at its best.
What are Neurotransmitters and
how could they be the missing link?
Clinical Research on over 100,000 patients revealed direct link between
the following symptoms & neurotransmitter imbalances
What are Neurotransmitters?
Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring chemicals within the brain that relay signals between the nerve cells and are required for proper brain and body function. The importance of neurotransmitters transcends their role in the brain. Every organ is connected to the brain via a vast network of neurons and receptors. The brain uses neurotransmitters to tell the heart to beat, the lungs to breath, the intestines to digest, the body to produce hormones and thousands of other functions. Optimal and balanced neurotransmitter levels are necessary for healthy functioning not only in the brain but throughout the entire body.