Category Archives: Mind & Memory
Your mind is one of the most valuable assets that you have. It is extremely complex! The brain can change, learn and unlearn via neuronal connections, firing and wiring every day. Though we have come to understand the brain’s function much better, there are still many aspects of this fascinating organ that are unknown to researchers and neuroscientists to this day.
In order to keep this organ healthy and functioning optimally, it must be provided with nutrients. Medicinal herbs can be a great way to boost brain function, help heal, improve physiology, manage conditions and get you back on track nutritionally from previous heart problems that may have affected the brain’s function.
CanPrev’s Mind Pro is a fantastic formula for improving your brain health and contains the following nutrients:
Vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid which help keep levels of homocysteine low, may help reduce irritation and clot formation that can occur inside vessels. This also helps supports proper vascular flow to the brain, which is crucial for bringing nutrients, oxygen and glucose to the brain and for removing carbon dioxide along with other metabolic wastes.
DL-Alpha lipoic acid converts glucose into a form of usable energy for the brain.
Phosphatidylserine (PS), found in soy lecithin, is critical for ensuring the cell membranes are able to release neurotransmitters, which is how cells communicate with each other.
Choline is another substance in this formulation that allows for the production of acetylcholine which easily used in the brain to help with memory and also recovery from degenerative or vascular dementia.
Bacopa is an herb that increases the communication between neurons; to make sure they are signaling thus, allowing information to flow between each neuron to help improve long-term memory.
Ginkgo is another medicinal herb that dilates the blood vessels and decreases clot formation, to ensure smooth blood flow.
The complex cells in the brain, neurons, need to be protected from free radical damage that can be caused by chemicals, smoking, alcohol, fried foods, pesticides and toxins in the environment.
Maintaining the integrity of the blood vessels with antioxidants is important to reduce plaque build up. This allows smooth blood flow and stimulates the production of neurotransmitters that are important for a healthy brain. It is easy to obtain a powerful dose of daily antioxidants through use of CanPrev’s Antioxidant Network.
It contains coenzyme Q10, n-acetylcysteine, zinc, selenium, dl-alpha-lipoic acid, vitamin E and green tea extract. This combination provides an army full of substances that give one of their electrons over to these free radical molecules to make them stable. When they are stable, they are not damaging cells, trying to steal their electrons or continuing the cascade of instability.
Overall, cell membranes are protected, blood vessels flow normally and inflammation is reduced.
Of course, there are other aspects of health that play a role in keeping our minds sharp. Proper nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress and our thoughts all play a factor.
Our focus habits may also have an effect on our brain. Multi-tasking, may not benefit us like we think it does. Your mind may function best when focused on one single moment at a time. Constant distractions and switching between tasks may cause reduce long-term memory and wreak havoc on our minds.
This increasingly is a concern as our smartphones, become our handheld portable internet, email, social media and texting alert hotspots. The more interruptions, the more productivity and long-term memory decline.
Studies have shown that constant multi-tasking can decrease overall productivity, increase mistakes and reduces long-term memory and creativity.
Turning notifications off, mute, or a different setting can reduce this constant source of interrupting that can make you feel like you are being pulled in too many different directions, stressed, anxious, and feel like your memory is failing.
The statistics are shocking: mental illness affects one in five Canadians and costs our healthcare system about fifty billion dollars a year. The cost of treating mental illness and addiction is 1.5 times that of all cancers and seven times the cost of all infectious diseases.
When conventional therapies end up being ineffective or result in a long list of undesirable side effects and dependencies, it’s no wonder individuals suffering from mental illnesses can feel defeated and turn to alternative therapies.
Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mood disorders with anxiety holding the number one spot in Canada. One in four Canadians experiences at least one anxiety disorder in their lifetime. It is not unlikely to find anxiety coexist with depression and the two often occur together. Feeling anxious and sad are natural emotions and it can be difficult to diagnose the severity.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work and relationships. Mental illness is the leading cause of disability and accounts for approximately 30 percent of all short and long-term disability claims. In fact, it is reported to be one of the top three claims made by 80 percent of Canadian employers. Depression and anxiety can be extremely debilitating.
Anxiety has a remarkably high comorbidity with depression and vice versa. The reasons may in part be due to a strong genetic correlation, and possibly partially due to the strong overlap in diagnostic criteria. Similar neuropeptides and pathways are shared in the pathophysiology of these disorders and therefore they commonly occur together and can be thought of as the fraternal twins of mood disorders.
According to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), some GAD and MDD symptoms that overlap includes difficulty sleeping, concentrating, being easily fatigued, and exhibiting psychomotor agitation. It is important to make sure an anxiety diagnosis does not mask that of depression and vice versa because the two often co-exist and the clinical implications can be severe.
Increased risk of suicide, psychiatric hospitalization, disability and decreased compliance with treatment are all hazards of misdiagnosis.
Magnesium and GABA Receptors In The Brain
Magnesium plays an important role in a multitude of biochemical reactions in the body, including the brain. Neurological functions of magnesium include cellular energy production, regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), regulating ion gradients, and neuronal excitability.
Dysregulation of these systems plays an important role in the etiology of both depression and anxiety.
Magnesium has been shown to modulate GABA activity in the brain. Magnesium ions can occupy GABA receptors acting as GABA receptor agonists to help facilitate GABA neurotransmission. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain that plays a role in motor control, vision, and anxiety.
GABA and magnesium bind to benzodiazepine receptors resulting in an anxiolytic effect. These are the same receptors that are targeted with anxiolytic prescription medications like Lorazepam (Ativan) or Diazepam (Valium).
NMDA Receptor Inhibition + Glutamate
Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that plays an important role in the development of the brain and is a key player in neuroplasticity, learning, memory, and locomotion. The amount of glutamate released in the brain is tightly regulated by the central nervous system.
When this equilibrium is disrupted through some form of trauma, glutamate concentrations in the brain can increase. Contrary to its primitive function, in excess, this neuropeptide is toxic and destructive in the brain, leading to neurotoxicity and cell death. Increased levels are found in the brains of patients suffering from major depressive disorder, which may play a role in its pathophysiology.
Magnesium is a very potent inhibitor of NMDA receptors (N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor), which are a subtype of glutamate receptors. Magnesium is a natural antagonist to calcium and exerts its inhibitory effect in the nervous system by blocking the flow of calcium through the voltage-dependent NMDA receptors, preventing an excitatory response in the brain.
A magnesium deficiency coupled with high levels of calcium and glutamate is a recipe for disaster in the brain. This combination can depolarize neuronal membranes and lead to altered synaptic function and the development of anxiety and depression. The NMDA/glutamate pathway is one-way magnesium exerts its anxiolytic and antidepressant effects in the brain.
Up to 80% of the brain uses GABA and glutamate for inhibitory and excitatory responses, respectively.
Magnesium exhibits anti-depressive effects through its interaction with serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine receptors. The mechanism of how this works is not fully understood, but several studies indicate that a relationship does exist. This pharmacokinetic relationship has been illustrated in studies that show an increase in erythrocyte magnesium concentration with the administration of psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants and antipsychotics.
Furthermore, magnesium supplementation has been shown to enhance the activity of antidepressants, demonstrating a synergistic action with these drugs.
This last point is important to consider if you are supplementing with magnesium and also taking an antidepressant drug — such as a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI) like Wellbutrin, a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) such as Pristiq, Cymbalta or Effexor; or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) such as Celexa, Prozac or Zoloft.
Chronic stress leads to excess cortisol levels which can negatively affect other neuropeptides like serotonin and be a contributing factor to anxiety and depression. Magnesium has been shown to play a positive role in the stress response through its influence in the limbic-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis.
Magnesium can reduce the release of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and affect adrenocortical sensitivity to ACTH, which helps to modulate the amount of circulating cortisol in the body. High cortisol levels can also deplete magnesium levels, which further supports the benefits of supplementation.
Choosing the best magnesium for anxiety and depression
Several forms of magnesium exist so it is important to recognize the therapeutic applications of each. Magnesium bis-glycinate is an excellent choice for treating anxiety and depression for the following reasons:
- it is the optimal form for correcting a deficiency due to its superior bioavailability to other forms
- glycine enhances its anxiolytic properties
- it is the optimal form to achieve therapeutic doses without a laxation effect
Why Magnesium Bis-Glycinate?
Glycine, like GABA, is a significant inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Glycine helps to regulate NMDA receptors and glutamate transmission, thereby creating a sense of calm in the nervous system. Taurine, another amino acid, plays a very similar calming role in the brain.
Very interesting case studies presented by Eby and Eby (2006) demonstrated that 125-300 mg of magnesium glycinate and taurinate per day alleviated symptoms of major depression within seven days.
In addition to its profound antidepressant effects, it also provided relief from a headache, suicidal ideation, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, and short-term memory loss. What a collection of multi-beneficial side effects!
Here at CanPrev, we are all about our community. Because without a platform to connect with individuals – we cannot learn, grow, educate, motivate or inspire. That’s where our ambassadors come in. These individuals are dedicated to living life to the fullest! They are continually learning and growing, sharing their knowledge and experience, in hopes to motivate another and let inspiration, by default, move more and more individuals forward.
For anyone who has thought about giving up on achieving better health – look to these individuals for inspiration in order to improve the quality of your life. Their collective goal is always to offer inspiration and to be a catalyst in spreading CanPrev’s healthy lifestyle vibe across the nation!
Today on the blog we are introducing Mike Levine – from the six!
Entrepreneur, post TBI – Fitness and Health Advocate, Traveler, Mentor, Menswear Stylist and full time Finance Coach – This Toronto based CanPrev Ambassador, continues to inspire us mentally, physically and emotionally. Learning about him and his lifestyle approach, will explain why!
Mike is working on becoming the best version of himself. Just over 4 years ago he suffered a traumatic brain injury, he has since worked to enhance every aspect of his life! Being diligent with nutrition and balancing activities with training routines, helps him stay focused on adding value to his life. Serious stuff! But the kind of stuff, that is truly inspiring and takes courage.
From The Minimalists
We asked Mike how he decides now, post injury, “what makes it to the top of your priority list?” “If I cannot say, Hell Yes! (taken from the Minimalists) to something on my calendar, then there is no time or energy for it”! Pretty gutsy words to live by. We like it!
Today, Mike fully embraces a healthy active lifestyle, both physically and emotionally, implementing mindful daily habits, whether he is at work or play. The emotional work is a necessity given his injury and the symptoms it came with. Rather than be discouraged, his outlook remains positive. He quotes George Mumford regarding his need to transform his lifestyle post accident – “my ass was on fire” and I had no choice. He mentions that his transformation has not moved forward without the support of CanPrev. We are thrilled for him!
When Mike isn’t training, reading or mentoring, he works as a financial coach. He enjoys assisting business owners and high net worth families preserve, grow and live a lifestyle that they worked so hard to attain. He equally enjoys helping others achieve both their financial and personal goals. Mike is grateful that his work is rewarding in this way; his entrepreneurial spirit grows and thrives with this group.
Words From Levine
As an ambassador, I love sharing my knowledge of the various CanPrev products! I have learned so much about the health and wellness industry and am becoming more informed and in tune when someone asks me to relate my experiences. I continue to feel the benefits from supplementing with natural health care products.
Electromag is definitely my number one! I find a positive effect with my sleep patterns. With the added magnesium – it’s great for muscle recovery! I use it during and after workouts for enhanced recovery, hydration and relaxation.
I regularly use a core group of CanPrev products which include: Synergy B, Electromag, Antioxidant Network, Adrenal support, Mind Pro, Omega 3’s, all of which enhance my performance at work and in fitness.
Hideouts in The Six
I really crave and have a fiery passion for health and fitness. You will find me training at the Academy of Lions in a Crossfit class or cycling with my Garrison Bespoke clients and friends; then resetting in a hot yoga class at Moksha Uptown. I recently discovered bouldering (rock climbing) at Joe Rockhead’s – what a blast! A super fun intense workout with friends.
In addition, I run weekly with the Lululemon run crew on Ossington. To accompany my mindfulness practice, I have also incorporated the Muse headband into my daily life (@choosemuse); I have committed to reading a book every 2 weeks for the next year and I love traveling to new exciting cities – all to stimulate my mind. And to add balance, I enjoy spending time at the family cottage in Haliburton; I am really excited to become a part of BIST, The Brain Injury Society of Toronto, where I will be writing for their blog and mentoring someone recovering from a brain injury.
My transformation and transition is improving and I hope – will continue! I remember to take some time be grateful everyday.
We are thrilled to have Mike be apart of our ambassador team! A truly dedicated soul to finding personal wellbeing, by choosing daily, no matter the obstacles – to live life to the fullest and have a blast doing it! Levine reminds us to listen to that voice in our heads. The one that is telling us to work at becoming our best self, on all levels! He reminds us that there is no time like the present to find positivity and to make doing what you love, a priority.
Find Mike @thescenelevine
From misplacing your car keys to forgetting your glasses on top of your head, everyone has a blip in memory from time to time. But what happens when you regularly feel as if you’re unable to focus, concentrate or even make the simplest decisions?
You’re probably experiencing a bout of brain fog – the vague sense that there’s something you need to do or say, but for some reason, you can’t quite remember.
While not as dramatic as the plot in James Herbert’s best-selling horror novel, The Fog, about a deadly mass of water particles in the air that drives its victims insane after they come in contact with it, suffering a temporary bout of brain fog can be unnerving.
If you’re otherwise healthy and get that foggy feeling every now and then, a few tweaks to your lifestyle should help lift the fog. If any condition persists, however, such as brain fog, it could be a signal of an underlying health condition. Consult your naturopathic doctor or other health care practitioner.
A head in the clouds
For an organ about the size of a small head of cabbage, your brain does remarkable work throughout your entire body. It controls all the body’s functions such as talking, swallowing, walking, and more. It also reminds you to blink, regulates your breathing and helps you to read printed words.
Although not a medically recognized term, brain fog seems to be a real symptom and happens to most of us at some point in our lives, according to Dr. Michael Segal, founder and chief scientist at SimulConsult.
Brain fog is:
- Difficulty focusing (inattention, difficulty correlating information, getting anything done takes a long time)
- Clouding of consciousness, lack of mental clarity
- Confusion; confusional state
- Difficulty retrieving memories (forgetfulness) and difficulty choosing words (some have wondered whether they are getting Alzheimer’s disease)
Why we get lost in the fog
Not enough sleep
The No. 1 cause of brain fog is lack of sleep.
“We all need between seven and nine hours of sleep in order to think clearly, and most of us just don’t get enough,” says registered nurse and homeopath Janet Neilson. “One or two nights a week of decent sleep just doesn’t cut it.”
If, despite good amounts of sleep, the brain fog symptoms persist, then chances are high that the culprit is food, either the type of food consumed (alcohol, sugar, refined carbohydrates,caffeine) or a deficiency. Restrictive eating habits, such as vegetarian or vegan diets can sometimes lead to a B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 can only be found in animal protein and it is an essential nutrient for mental clarity.
Allergies cause the body to produce high levels of histamine. Histamine can cause brain fog, especially if one doesn’t have enough of an enzyme needed to break down histamine quickly enough. Common food allergen culprits involve specific proteins or antigens such as gluten (wheat, spelt, rye, barley and oats), casein (all dairy), yeast and food additives.
Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar
Irregular eating patterns can lead to low blood sugar levels or, alternatively, a diet high in excessive levels of carbohydrates (breads, pizzas, sugars) can lead to swings in blood-glucose levels.
Every time an individual gets hypoglycemic they are damaging their brains.
Circadian rhythms can be thrown off balance due to the extensive use of electronic devices. Bright lights coming off electronic devices can throw off the body’s rhythms and lead to circadian disruption that is similar to jet lag.
Some people are more sensitive to this than others. Additionally, the frequency with which young people are checking their devices creates a type of attention-deficit that can directly contribute to a lack of focus or motivation.
How to get clear-headed again
Taking daily supplements can help your brain do all the things it needs to, even when you’re sleeping. Here are some suggestions worth considering:
- CanPrev’s Mind-Pro™ can be taken chronically for general symptoms of brain fog or acutely prior to when extreme concentration or focus is required
- To feel clear-headed, practice good sleep hygiene and get up and go to bed at the same time each night
- Exercise (daily!) increases blood and oxygen flow to the brain. Both are vital for optimal brain performance