Did you know Alzheimer’s, Depression and even Bipolar Disorder can be linked to inflammation in the brain? This month we have been discussing inflammation and how harmful it can be to our health and now we delve further into inflammation of the brain.  Chronic inflammation is like a fire inside your body. When we learn how to put out that fire we can improve brain power and reduce our risk for chronic disease, even diseases impacting brain and memory.

Factors that can contribute to high levels of inflammation:

  • Leaky gut
  • Low omega-3 fatty acid intake
  • Gum (periodontal) disease
  • High levels of C-reactive protein (CRP; a measure of inflammation)
  • High levels of homocysteine (an amino acid associated with inflammation)
  • Infections
  • Diet lacking in antioxidants and phytonutrients
  • Chronic mental or physiological stress
  • Inadequate sleep
  • High levels of systemic environmental toxins


Working with a functional medicine provider can help you uncover signs, symptoms and markers of chronic inflammation.  With this information we can then formulate a plan to reduce your inflammation and work to improve brain power, memory and mood.  We start with a detailed history, delving deep into you and the timeline of events that has led you to today, as well as evaluating your symptoms and signs using the Functional Medicine Matrix.

In addition, we can use the following tests to evaluate and track your levels of inflammation:

  • C-reactive protein (CRP)
  • Homocysteine
  • Omega-3 Index (a measure of EPA and DHA in red blood cells)
  • SigA/microbiome stool testing

Your inflammation reducing, brain boosting plan may include some of the following steps:

  • Brush your teeth after meals and floss daily
  • Eat polyphenol rich foods like: dark green, dark purple, dark red/blue veggies; coffee (if you tolerate it and it does not adversely affect sleep, mood, etc) or green tea (both very rich in polyphenols); deeply pigmented fruits like blueberries and pomegranates
  • Choose a diet high in healthy fats to help your brain cells signal and communicate.  To balance the increased fat, lower processed carbohydrates.
  • Take a daily high quality multivitamin to support mitochondrial and neurotransmitter health, additional nutrients can be helpful as well; see our facebook live discussions for more information on this
  • Supplement with vitamins B6, B12 and folate if homocysteine is high- be sure to discuss with your Functional Medicine Provider what types of B vitamins are best.
  • Boost your Omega-3 Index above 8 percent: Take a supplement with EPA/DHA and eat more walnuts, salmon, sardines, grass fed beef, avocado
  • Find and treat sources of inflammation, such as infections
  • Eat probiotic-rich foods to increase your healthy gut microorganisms: kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, miso soup, pickles, kombucha, grass fed yogurt if you tolerate dairy.  If you find you can’t tolerate these foods be sure to see your Functional Medicine Provider to discuss your microbiome and potentially test for SIBO.
  • Enjoy more high-fiber foods: artichokes, asparagus, beans, cabbage, chia seeds, root veggies like sweet potatoes, jicama and squashes
  • Get good quality sleep
  • Meditate for at least 5 minutes daily and practice deep breathing.  We like 4-7-8 breathing and encourage our clients to do this before every meal.
  • Use an infrared sauna.  We have on on site at Highlands Health and Wellness that is low in EMF and made of non-toxic wood.   Check out all of the benefits of using an infrared sauna.