Brain Food Brain Food

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Brainfood Research is a Christian organization.  We believe that God the father, sent His only son Jesus, to earth to save us from sin.  The Bible is the inspiring Word of God and through faith we can move mountains.  Bertrand Russell, an atheist, says “The question of life’s purpose is meaningless … unless you assume a God”. In other words, “Without God, life makes no sense.” As Christians, Brainfood Research welcomes and respects everyone. 

Although we are not typically ones to share our Christianity and testimony, it is God’s creation of the human brain which forms the foundation of nutritional neuroscience. Our testimony occurred during a decade of teaching neuroscience at a Christian medical school, where God and His creation of the human body are glorified.  We held hundreds of human brains in the palms of our hands making vertical and horizontal slices to study internal structures. We taught medical and dental students how the brain functions in health and in illness.  One soon realizes that current scientific knowledge is but an infinitesimal fraction of the skill required to design the human brain. Imagine our wonderment of brain exploration and our honor in teaching details of God’s finest creation.

The idea to develop a website to help readers explore neuroscience and nutrition comes in part from Rick Warren’s book “The Purpose Driven Life”.  He speaks of each of us having a unique purpose here on earth and using those special skills to uniquely glorify God.  Pastor Warren speaks of the enthusiasm, energy, and enjoyment that come with serving in a field we love.  Paraphrasing, he says this passion lies with the highest achievers in any field … those who serve not for duty nor profit, but for passion.  This passion drives our missions.

This website was developed for two missions.  The first mission is to teach how Neuroscience blends nutrition, biochemistry and physiology of the brain. Our faith in God’s brain design precedes our faith in His creation of the nutrients necessary for brain structure and function. We honor the scientists who have identified the nutrient composition of the brain. Each nutrient performs perhaps hundreds of tasks. Medicine teaches these nutrients in neuroscience, nutrition, biochemistry and physiology coursework. Medical students memorize and scientists experiment intensely with these nutrients. With this knowledge comes awe and power. Despite medical science’s relentless study of these nutrients, no brain nutrient protocol has been presented and neuroscience has rarely been blended with nutrition. Even a cursory nutrient knowledge gives you, the reader, more control over brain healing.  Our first mission to educate will include writing educational posts at a reading level that all readers are empowered.

Our second mission is to use medical textbook nutrients that comprise brain tissue to begin development of a Brain Nutrient Protocol.  Many nutrients comprise brain tissue.  Assimilating a protocol could help heal concussion, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and perhaps a plethora of neurological disease.  This second mission is premised upon the belief that the brain is highly intelligent and if given appropriate amounts of medical textbook nutrients, the brain has the potential to heal.  We believe that new, fresh nutrients through organic food or high quality supplements are best for brain health.  Forcing a brain to rebuild tissue with a nutrient deficient diet or to rebuild using damaged, recycled nutrients from an injured body, constructs improvisational tissue. While improvisational tissue may appear normal, we question functionality.  There is currently no treatment for concussion, TBI and many types of neurologic disease. One likely reason that no therapy currently exists is that the brain is complex.  A therapy must absolutely be a multi-nutrient solution.  We know and study these nutrients. The concept of a developing a Brain Nutrient Protocol based upon known medical textbook nutrients to fortify brain structure and function is long overdue.

Let’s begin by discussing some basic neuroscience. The nervous system includes a brain and cells responsible for intelligence, coordinating movement, and operating organs. The basic cell in the nervous system is the neuron. Foods and nutrients in our diets or nutrition make the structure and function of the neuron possible. Nutrition is broadly composed of macronutrients and micronutrients. The nutritional macronutrients include fat, protein, and carbohydrate.  Fat and protein more preferentially comprise nervous tissue. Fat, in the form of fatty acids, is the most abundant dietary macronutrient in the nervous system. Fats form a cell membrane which surrounds and protects the neuron. Communication occurs through this cell membrane. Let’s repeat that: the neuron communication involved in thinking and intelligence requires fats or fatty acids to form a healthy cell membrane. Food in the form of omega 3-6-9 oils form these cell membrane fats.  Omega-3 fish oil fatty acid forms the strongest cell membranes in the brain. These specialized fatty acids which form cell membrane are called phospholipids. 

Choline, inositol, and ethanolamine are such cell membrane phospholipids. Since fat is the most abundant brain macronutrient in nerve tissue, omega 3-6-9 oils and the phospholipids will be the first two components of the proposed Brain Nutrient Protocol.

          1. Omega-3-6-9 oils.

          2.  Fat derived phospholipids: choline, inositol and ethnolamine

The second nutritional macronutrient is protein.  Proteins embedded in the cell membrane structure allow for cell communication through the cell membrane. Proteins inside the cell enable cell function. The building blocks of proteins are amino acids. In addition to forming cell protein structures, amino acids also form neurotransmitters which enable neurons to chemically communicate with each other.  Neuron A will release neurotransmitter in the space or cleft between itself and Neuron B to communicate with Neuron B.  Neuron A then recycles its neurotransmitter back into Neuron A.

The chemical reaction to form neurotransmitters requires the help of minerals, a type of micronutrient.  Additionally, minerals function inside the neuron to enable electrical communication via an electrical impulse. Minerals such as calcium, sodium, and chloride are involved with generating a neuron’s electrical impulse.  We will include amino acids and minerals in the Brain Nutrient Protocol.

                        3. Amino acids

                        4. Minerals

As you know, many neurons have lightning speed communication. Imagine stepping on a thorn. Your foot retracts immediately. These high speed neurons have a special fatty acid and protein coating on their cell membrane called myelin. Myelin facilitates high speed communication by enabling an electrical impulse to skip down the neuron at rates upwards of 300m/sec. The thicker the myelin coating, the faster the electrical impulse. Micronutrients called the B complex vitamins play an important role in myelin formation. Additionally, B complex vitamins help amino acids and minerals form neurotransmitters. We need to include B complex vitamins in the Brain Nutrient Protocol.

5. B-Complex Vitamins

The last nutritional macronutrient category is carbohydrates. Neurons are fuel intensive, and depend primarily upon glucose from carbohydrates as fuel.  A carbohydrate coating called the glycocalyx covers the cell membrane and functions in cell communication. Additionally, carbohydrates in wheat grain are important to the Brain Nutrient Protocol unfortunately, in a deleterious manner. A large percentage of the American diet contains wheat. God gave plants, like wheat grain, defense genes called lectins to act as the plant’s immune system.  These lectin defense genes were originally strong enough to protect the plant from disease, but weak enough for humans to consume. Unfortunately, in the case of wheat, man’s modification of the wheat plant and wheat lectins to grow heartier wheat with a longer shelf life, now causes deleterious effects in the human body. Wheat gluten is now a plastic used to make car parts and credit cards.  Wheat gluten, a now more potent lectin, inflames the tonsils, sinuses, stomach, and intestinal cells.  Damaged and inflamed intestinal cells reduces absorption of nutrients.

As wheat gluten travels through the bloodstream, it attaches to the delicate neuron myelin. The human body’s immune system sees this modified wheat gluten as a foreign invader and releases chemicals in an attempt to destroy the wheat gluten.  This immune system chemical release inflammation and damages the attached neuron myelin. causes  Remember thick myelin enabled fast neuron transmission speeds. So, wheat gluten damaged myelin slows neuron transmission speeds.  Since we need a healthy gut for nutrient absorption and healthy nerve myelin to enable high speed neuron transmission, a wheat gluten free diet will be included in the Brain Nutrient Protocol.

                      6.  Wheat gluten free diet

On the topic of healthy intestinal tissue to facilitate nutrient absorption, let’s discuss intestinal bacteria. Intestinal bacteria keep the intestinal lining and our bodies healthy.  These bacteria help digest food and fight disease. The intestines contain both good and bad bacteria, many are stored in the appendix. The balance of good and bad bacteria in the intestines is much like the balance of cops and robbers in society. A stable society requires more cops than robbers, much like having more good intestinal bacteria helps keep the intestines healthy.  Good bacteria will often eliminate foreign invaders, and keep the intestinal lining healthy for nutrient absorption. Good bacteria are found in probiotics such as yogurt and buttermilk. We need these probiotics for strong intestinal nutrient absorption to help the brain heal.

                     7.  Probiotics 

Let’s review our neuroscience. To build our neuron cell we need a cell membrane which is mainly composed of fats such as omega-3-6-9 fats, especially fish oil, and phospholipids: choline, inositol and ethnolamine. Additionally, the cell membrane contains some proteins which act as communication channels. Inside the cell membrane, proteins and other nutrients are required for cellular operations. Both types of proteins are built from amino acids, the same as a brick wall is built from bricks. With fat, phospholipids and amino acids, we have basic neuronal macronutrient structure.

Now, let’s make our neuron functional. Neurons are unique in that they communicate with a combination of neurotransmitters and electricty. Neurons require neurotransmitters, made from amino acids, to communicate with each other.  Additionally, neurons must generate an electrical impulse inside neurons.  This impulse nutritionally requires minerals (metals). Then, remember we discussed the lightning speed neurons that withdraw your foot when you step on a thorn?  This requires a high speed myelin coating.  Nutritionally, fats, proteins, and B complex vitamins form this high speed myelin coating.  Thus, a functional neuron minimally requires fat, amino acids, minerals, and B complex vitamins.

In summary, we have blended the basic sciences of nutrition, biochemistry and physiology, as they relate to neuroscience, to identify the important nutrients to include in a potential Brain Nutrient Protocol. We have learned that to make a basic neuron’s structure and function, our diets must include omega-3-6-9 fats, phospholipids, minerals, amino acids, and B complex vitamins.  A wheat gluten free diet and probiotics will promote strong nutrient absorption and healthy neurons.  In other words, using information from medical textbooks, we have identified the major structural and functional nutrients that comprise brain tissue should be included in a brain nutrient protocol. Sharing this educational material is our first mission.

Research indicates that if the proper nutrients are provided, the brain may know how to heal many structures. The next important goal and this website’s second mission will be to report on current scientific research publications which are experimenting with our proposed Brain Nutrient Protocol to heal. We want to know what happens clinically when a diet is fortified with the above brain nutrients. These reports will form the majority of the remainder of the information on this website.

After reading this material, do you have a question?  Soon, this website will have email communication available to help educate readers.  These emails will be answered free of charge such that everyone may benefit. That said, Brainfood Research relies upon your financial support to continue the missions of providing textbook brain structural and functional nutrient information and the development of a brain nutrient protocol. Thank you for your support.

Love One Another,

Brainfood Research

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