1. The human body in which each of us lives is made up of around 37 trillion cells, to be precise. And every day, about 1-2 percent of the cells are renewing. So, exactly after 90–100 days, a new “me” appears. We remain so busy with our routine lives that we hardly acknowledge this fact, and many of us are not even aware of it. So, ‘change’ is the constant tune, not just within the universe but also within us.
2. Now that we understand that our bodies undergo transformation on a daily basis, So, the question is: how does this self-renewal occur? Let’s go back to our past a little bit. The human body develops from the human embryo, which is fertilized by an oocyte and a sperm cell. This embryo is made up of stem cells. The stem cells are the basic cells (undifferenciated cells) of the human body, which, through the process of mutation and transformation grow into different cells like nerve cells, bone cells, muscle cells, blood cells and so on. Throughout our lifespan, these stem cells undergo cell division and keep replicating; that’s how self-renewal happens.
3. Under normal physiological self-renewal processes, different cells in the body have differing rates of cell division. So, the replication process of various tissues, organs, and blood cells in the body has a different time frame, like the skin epidermal cells, which can take around 10–30 days, whereas a bone cell takes 3 months, or a hair grows about 1 cm in one month, and so on.
4. Though our body is constantly changing due to the continuous self-renewal process through different cell cycles like shedding the old skin cells, renewal of intestinal cell lining, and growing hair or nails on a routine basis, this isn’t a simpler process. The human body is still very complicated and has exceptions. Some cells, such as those in the brain (cerebral cortex), eyes (such as lenses), and heart, do not change from birth to death.
5. But then, why is self-renewal important and must be maintained? Under normal physiological conditions, stem cells have two functions: proliferation and differentiation. Though stem cells have a natural proliferative capacity throughout our lives, disease conditions can affect their physiological self-renewal ability and behavior due to factors such as damage or an unhealthy lifestyle (obesity, lack of physical activity, smoking, or a poor diet).
6. A lack of an appropriate environment within the body or poor maintenance of the human body might eventually lead to the exhaustion of the capacity of stem cell proliferation, which causes premature aging or tissue atrophy. With aging, stem cell activity, tissue regenerative and haemeostasis is significantly declined.
7. Sometime, due to the unhealthy environment within the body, mutations lead to aggressive stem cell division without going through the natural cell differentiation process. This can lead to abnormal tissue growth or cancer in the body. Therefore, the physiological process of stem cell division and the natural stem cell behavior can be affected by four disease conditions, like degenerative, metabolic, cardiovascular, and inflammatory conditions.
8. Regenerative medicine and therapies have arisen as a result of the discovery that defective self-renewal mechanisms in the body are the root cause of malignancies and abnormal cell proliferation. Many disorders are being treated with regenerative medicines based on stem cells. Recent years have seen a significant increase in the use of stem cell treatment to treat a variety of diseases like cancer and disorders including type 1 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Parkinson’s, burns, osteoarthritis, by regenerating cells, repairing tissues, and transplanting organs.
9. The fact about regenerative medicine is that, though it has helped many patients around the world, the cost of treatment is quite high as the procedure is complicated and the failure rate is high. Human stem cell treatment requires culturing human stem cells in a laboratory setting for a longer period of time, which is quite difficult.
10. The market is flooded with products that promote cell regeneration, anti-aging, and longevity. The lofty claims made by these items are still quite dubious. But it is true that some supplements do work to improve health, lower inflammation, and increase immunity. But in the end, having a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, a calm mind, and exercising regularly is all that’s necessary for good health.
Hello everyone! Greetings 🖖 This is my first post after a year long break…
True enough, life is indeed unpredictable. It gives you the most dreadful unexpectedness when you least expect it. That’s what happened to me. Today, when I look back and remember, I still get the goosebumps, the tremble and chill. The misery I went through, will most likely follow me all throughout my life, or for a very long time. The past year was the most challenging and overwhelming for me. In those days, I used to put down my thoughts and feelings to my husband throughout his absence during the difficult times.
When we were about to go to bed, on the evening of 8th January 2021, around10.30 PM, after dinner and are routine talk, you complained of a headache. I advised you to take a pain reliever, and go to bed. But to my astonishment, you behaved a little different when you were lying on the bed. You asked me to get the tablet and water for you. When I was back from the kitchen with the glass of water, you couldn’t get up from the bed to have the medicine.The water gushed out from your mouth because you were unable to swallow. Then, all of a sudden, I could understand that something was wrong with you. You began to slur your words. Being a doctor myself, I came to know that you were having a transient ischaemic attack or maybe a stroke. I, immediately called emergency service and requested for an ambulance. I fumbled while speaking as I was very nervous. In the interim, I also called our next-door neighbour Jan, a 72 year old retired dutchman who is quite friendly and is fluent in English. When the ambulance arrived, the paramedics examined you and noticed that your left side of the body was immobile. However you were still trying to communicate and was conscious. They hurried you to the emergency room of the nearest hospital in Eindhoven where we reside. Both, Jan and I accompanied you to the hospital. In the ER, I was not allowed inside. We were both waiting outside. At around 11 o’clock, I asked Jan to go back home as he was quite tired and had recently recovered from cancer.
A little later, I was told that they gave you a Morphin injection for your headache and a CT scan was done. Although I was completely shaken, somehow I was calm, still holding on to my gut that things would be all okay. Once the CT scan report came, they confirmed to me that it’s a right brain hemorrhage, which is quite huge and with some strange findings. I was told that they had planned to shift you to a hospital in Tilburg, which is a nearby city, about 45-minute drive from Eindhoven. On top of my shock and cold shivers, I was confused and petrified by this whole chain of events. I was informed that they don’t have the expertise, so that is why you have to be referred to the Tilburg Hospital, which has a better neurological service. Moreover, I was told that your CT scan findings were quite confusing and the bleeding was huge.
Within minutes, the ambulance came and rushed us to Tilburg. Inside the ambulance, you were lying down, still in your senses, tired and awake, complaining of the headache and discomfort. I was sitting next to you and asking you to rest and reassuring you. By almost 12.30 am, we reached Elizabeth Hospital, Tilburg. They rushed you again to the ER. I was allowed to accompany you there. The neurosurgeon on duty examined you and did a scan again. She, too, told me about the right brain hemorrhage and some strange discovery that resulted in the massive bleeding. All the while, I was very worried and heartbroken from inside. I could not hold my tears, cried and felt so helpless. At that moment, I felt that I would lose you and that I had lost everything in life.
Still awake and tired, you were transferred to a medium-care unit to be kept under observation. You asked the nurse if I could stay with you in the room. I know I won’t be allowed in, so I assure you that I will keep waiting outside. During those painful hours, I called your father, back home in India, to inform him about the whole episode. He was totally shocked. I could not hold my tears and was crying on the phone. Then, I called and informed our son too. He was confused and could not believe his ears. He was terrified as well, as he knew that his dad was the fittest one in the family and had never had any kind of illness. I have no idea what went through him at that stage, as he was all alone at home. Due to COVID, he was in our apartment and not in his college hostel. I also informed my sister and my brother-in-law. By that time, it was almost 1.30 AM. I was told to go back home as you were kept under supervision and it was quite stable.
So, while boarding a taxi from Tilburg to Eindhoven, I realised that the coming days were going to be the toughest to handle.That whole night, after reaching home, I cried and cried, just loitering around the house in anguish and pain. I had the impression that I was in for a long, dark journey with no idea what lay ahead.
The following day ,on the 9th of January was even scarier. I was informed earlier that you would be taken to the Operation Theatre for brain angiography. I was in the hospital, waiting to hear about the outcome of your brain angiography. Till 6 o’clock in the evening, there was no news concerning you. I kept enquiring the OT nurse about you. She informed me that you hadn’t been taken out of the OT. My mind was beginning to crawl with fears and anxieties. I was distraught and in panic. The OT nurse then called me at around 6:30 pm and took me to a room. I could sense the worst as I was sitting alone in the room. At that moment, I was terrified and utterly shaken.
Two doctors entered the room and sat in front of the table where I was sitting. One doctor started talking to me about the procedure they had to perform on you. They said that you had an atrioventricular fistula in your right brain which had to be repaired, otherwise the bleeding was profuse. The procedure went well, but you have not yet regained your consciousness from the anesthesia. They were very uncertain about the outcome and that you might have slipped into a coma. They told me that they were expecting the worst scenario, maybe brain death. My whole world was shattered at that moment. I was almost lost and could not stop myself from crying. I was in a complete state of shock. The doctors and staff did try to console me. Jan, our elderly friend, explained to me to take things practically and control my emotions. I called our son, your brother, and my family and informed them regarding your state. I was told to return home and was assured to be informed of any further developments regarding your state. When I got home, it felt like the longest night, the darkest and scariest night of my life. That whole night, I grasped onto my mobile, waiting for any news about you.
On January 10th, I came to the hospital and was informed that you had been shifted to the ICU. The doctors told me that they had to drain a huge bulk of fluid from your brain and that your vitals were stable. I was informed that your MRI scan showed a sub-arachnoid hemorrhage, which got worse due to a congenital defect of the AV fistula. Such cases are rare.The condition was worse as you had hydrocephalus, so the fluid had to be drained to reduce the pressure.
The first time I saw you in the ICU with a ventilator and machines, drains, and drips all over, it was really hard for me. I went near you and called your name. You did respond with a little movement of your right hand. I was relieved and was happy as I could see little hope of light after these 2-3 hard days. That day was quite positive for me as the doctors were happy with you for being responsive to the treatment and procedure. But then, they still reminded me about the uncertainty of your condition. There was still a huge amount of fluid left in your brain which had to be drained continuously. You were still in a comatose state, with a low score on the neurological scale. I was told to call our immediate family members from India as your chances of survival were low. I called our son, back in India, and asked him to pack his bag to come to the Netherlands. I also informed your family and mine regarding your present state. I called your employer and informed them because they had been trying to reach you for the last 2-3 days due to your professional obligations. I also informed my project coordinator and let go of the project that I was doing.
After going through all the procedures of an emergency visa, our son arrived on January 14th. This was a life-changing event for him as well, as he had been very close to you, his father. He did go through an emotional roller coaster during those turbulent days. And, seeing you in that state, he had acted very mature and calm. He has been my biggest support through this storm. Our neighbors and friends have also been very supportive through the difficult time. Your employer has been a great support system for me and our son. We will always remain grateful to everyone who has been there for us through those difficult hours.
You stayed in the ICU for almost 2 months. Everyday, I visited twice, once in the morning and then in the evening. During my time spent with you in the ICU, your eyes remained close most of the time, but you do respond to my touch with right-hand finger movements. Some days were good and positive, while some days were scary. Our son, too, visited you in the ICU. But, he had to leave as his exams were approaching. Your neurological state improved slowly and your vitals were stable. You had gotten out of the ventilator. They decided to shift you to the rehabilitation centre after you regained consciousness.
I was initially quite optimistic and excited about your development and recuperation during your time in the rehab facility. However, because the prognosis was poor, we, also had to deal with a number of setbacks in that situation. Your severe cognitive impairment and short – term memory problems were not responding well to therapy. Your left side is completely paralysed, and there is no recovery. You still struggle with a few cognitive issues. However, you continue to make good progress in terms of your awareness, speech, memory, and physical development every day. Your speech is clear and concise at present.
After more than a year, you are still residing in the rehabilitation facility, and your therapies are still ongoing. I see you almost every day of the week. While we converse and laugh on certain days, other days are sad when therapy doesn’t work out. As I’ve come to terms with your situation, I’ve begun to feel content. My greatest satisfaction comes from watching you smile while I am with you.The hardest lesson life has taught us today is to be cheerful in the moment we share together right now because we don’t know what the future has in store for us. When I see you now, hope is the only thing in which I will still believe and live.
Everybody in this world has a deep longing for love and affection. From the new born to the older adult, everybody yearns the sense of belonging, love and compassion. Social acceptance, being valued, and recognition is longed for by one and all in the human community. Infact, we all deserve our inherent birthright of being loved, happiness, vitality, freedom, fearless and growth. So, then, from where does the negativity arise? A child being born is always happy and cheerful. It is the environment, caregivers, parents, teachers, elders, peers, and the competetive nature of this material world that pushes the child towards negativity, egoistic, pain, fear and unhappiness. These growing years, his interaction with the people around him, the environment that slowly programmed his subconscious mind with doubts, anxiety, worries, sadness, lacks and unhappiness. So, like you and me, every individual has grown up with our share of fear, limitations, and inadequacy.
Trapped emotions impact on physical health…
Within this paradigm of limitation and inadequacy in our subconscious mind, we move forward with the life journey. We are then, bombarded with challenges of day-to-day stress, relationship stress, work pressure, financial strain, and other constraints that affect our emotional health even more. Maybe, bad experiences, conflict with parents, loss of a closed one, heartbreak, deep trauma due to a failure, a toxic boss, rejection, and anger can all be overwhelming and add to our emotional baggage. We may think that emotions come and go. We can get over it, quickly or healed after some time. But, the truth is, certain emotions are’nt so superficial. Infact, it has a lasting impact on both our physical and mental health. Studies have shown that certain intense emotions get trapped in particular organs of our body. Like, anger gets trapped in the liver, while hurt, fear get trapped in the heart and so on. Ancient Ayurvedic science which is 5000 years old has rightly pointed out that too much of trapped emotions like anger, worry, chronic stress can create too much heat (Pitta) in the body which may affect the hameostasis and start creating physical illness. So, the emotional component is critical in the overall wellbeing. In reality, it is the emotional health and wellbeing that transcend physical health. Hence, the term disease means (dis-ease, absence of ease).
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017; 2017: 7618419.
Fundamentally, our mind and body are designed to be in a state of growth, restore, repair and relax. Yes, in times of potential threat and danger, the body reacts to the survival mode of fight and flight response. But, then as evolutionary, the body naturally comes back to its state of homeostasis when the threat is gone. The parasympathetic mode’s natural restoration mechanism is greatly affected by the daily’s state of chronic stress, being on the run, and always being overwhelmed. Moreover, this everyday struggle within our emotional health of mental barriers, mindset, limitations, fears, and worries added to day-to-day stress. So, leading a healthy lifestyle and caring about physical fitness has not stopped people from falling sick. People follow the best possible diet, take their best supplements, and follow an exercise routine, yet they fall into various illnesses like chronic diseases, mental issues and autoimmune diseases. Now, it has become very crucial to consider emotional health, a priority before everthing else. Maybe, this is the most critical component in our path of mental, physical, spiritual wellbeing and being a successful person we all longed to be.
It is vital to slow down... It is essential to annalyse our emotional and mental state daily, introspect at times, and slow down to understand what affects us the most. It is crucial to change the way we think, elevate our vibration, be in the positive mind space and overcome the mental barrier if we want to take charge of our mental and physical heath and wellbeing. As, for all of us, it is much easier said than done. But, indeed, we have to put some efforts on our own to make our life the way we want it to be. To take control of our physical and mental wellbeing and be in a happy, comfortable space that we all longed for.
Some ways that we can work towards for self-improvement: 1. Self-acceptance:Being aware and acceptance is an essential and fundamental change. Any circumstances, any issue or conflict that we are facing, in terms of physical or mental health, needs self-acceptance. Self-resisting, self-denial, result in more stress, conflict, and high cortisol release, which makes us unfavourable to heal or change. So, self-acceptance and being self-aware is an essential step towards change. It is necessary to accept, share with a closed one or a therapist and let go the emotional baggage. Sharing with somebody or writing down the emotions and thoughts helps us acknowledge them better and give ourselves time and space to change. Meditation and mindfullness practices also helps us in emotional growth.
2. Victimhood:Instead of living in victimhood mentality, or self-blaming, starting to explore ways and methods to be part of the healing process. Suppose, somebody is being affected by a physical or mental issue must be an integral part of the healing process. Taking responsibility and works towards healing instead of surrendering yourself fully in caregivers’ hands. It is crucial to actively partcipate in the healing process.
3. Self-compassion and patience:It is vital to approach onself with self-compassion. Being compassionate towards self, putting oneself in the right frame of mind dramatically counts. Because failing or falling is the very essence of human nature. Having faith in the Higher Power and a lot of patience is beneficial in the healing process. Because, like good times, adverse times, doesn’t last long too.
Being one of them or maybe, we must have come across people who are overwhelmed with trivial things, or sensory subtleties like a crowded place, loud noises, a strong odour. Or people who get easily stressed out, quickly get hurt or being overly emotional. This happens because such people are born with a particular personality trait and a susceptible nervous system so considered as High Sensitive People.
6 points to understand a high sensitive person:
1. People born with this personality trait is not abnormal, nor this isn’t a disorder. They have this personality because their brain is wired differently. There are scientific reasons for this kind of behaviour. Anatomically, their brain has a prominent insula which is responsible for their heightened state of emotional and sensory sensitivities. Their brain is wired to have a lower threshold for emotional and sensory reactivity. Genetically, they are associated withthe 5HTLPR gene, which is related to mental issues like depression and anxiety. This personality trait is also known as sensory processing sensitivity (SPS).
2.High sensitive person does not necessarily are introverts. A few percentages of people with this trait can behave like an extrovert. Introverts are people who like or enjoy being alone. In contrast, HSP can have deep human connections and can be comfortable with a few set of people. They are sensitive to physical, mental, emotional and sensitive subtleties.
3.High sensitive People are deep thinkers, highly emotional and intense. They are sensitive to the external sensory sensitivities like a crowded place, parties, loud noises, strong smell or any physical sensations. Such personality is gifted with highly creative talents like art, painting, music, writing or in any such creative fields.
4.People with this trait can overthink easily. Overthinking can lead to repeating the same trail of thoughts, which can quickly turn to negative thinking. Repeating the same spiralling thought pattern can also lead to anxiety, depression and stress disorder.
5.High Sensitive peopleare not comfortable with multi-tasking or highly competitive environment. Too many tasks at a time can make them overwhelmed and stressful. So, choosing a profession or a job, which they can enjoy doing is quite crucial.
6.If you are born with this trait, self-acceptance is crucial. Self-criticism doesn’t hold any purpose. Though it is quite challenging to go through the everyday stress of life, living with emotional and sensory subtleties, but they have the capabilities to overcome them. They can thrive and become very successful too. Adjusting the environment according to their convenience and keeping a few trusted friends and family for emotional support is hugely beneficial. As far as physical and emotional strain is concerned, adopting a healthy lifestyle, enjoying a hobby, a daily exercise routine, sleep, mindfulness, meditation can help to lead a balanced life.
Thinking is what makes us the most intelligent species on this planet. It is this thinking what drives us to learn, study, analyze. Thinking makes us competent and innovative and help us to perform a task or job. But, when thinking becomes out of control, nagging and overtime, then, we start creating problems for us. As a habit, overthinking is not uncommon. We all may have it to some degree, more or less. Some realize it and correct it while others may be so drawn to it, which may lead to toxic consequences like anxiety, depression, suicidal tendencies and insomnia.
Ten simple ways to stop overthinking on a day to day basis:
1.Awareness: Before you can change the habit or develop a strategy, it is essential first to be aware of this habit of your mind. Whenever a thought lingers you, there is also some emotion attached to the thought. You start imagining worst possible scenario because the mind tends to think about the negative first. Maybe, this is from the time of evolution of our species, to foresee a potential danger first. So, imagination causes the mind to be strained and anxious. An anxious mind keeps brooding again and again. So, being aware of this state of mind is a fundamental key to change.
2.Reshaping your thought process: Instead of avoiding the thought or running away from it, start to reshape your thinking to a positive one. Instead of imagining the worst scenario, imagine the best scene. Instead of brooding onto the fear, create a strategy and achievable goals.
3.Change your Perspective: This is important because overthinking is ground to fear of losing or failure. So, instead of thinking on the negative terms, start thinking on the time frame—prioritize the perspective. Whether the thought or emotion do hold any value in your future, maybe five years from now or perhaps just next month.
4.Distracting the mind constructively: Many people tend to overthink when they are alone or lonely. So, it is essential to do things or develop hobbies to keep your mind occupied and let out the emotions like painting, dancing, photography, gardening, playing an instrument or even jolting down the thoughts.
5.Perfection: Aiming to be perfect is just not done. This will lead to unnecessary anxiety or stress. Instead, focussing on your progress and growing day by day is the more practical approach.
6.Overcome fear: Fear comes with failure in the past or with a bad experience in the past. But, having a past loss, doesn’t mean you will have the same outcome every time. 7.Realize the truth: The truth is that we cannot predict the future. Future is associated with an element of uncertainty. So, instead of thinking and worrying about the end, it is wiser to focus on the present moment. Focus on all the positive aspects of your life, which makes you joy and cheerful.
8.Accept your worthiness: Overthinking is usually associated with fear of failure, that you are not good enough, not worthy of success. Keep yourself reminding that you are good enough; you are capable enough to accomplish all your goals. 9.Be grateful: Living in gratitude is the most important view in life. We should never forget to be thankful for the life we lead, being able to breathe and for the things and loved ones we have around.
10 Last but not least, the physical body affects the mind and vice versa.So, regular exercise, meditation, walking in nature all help profoundly to keep a healthy mind with a healthy body.
Seratonin is a neurotransmitter, secreted in the gut and the brain. It plays a massive role in our state of wellbeing.It is responsible for giving us a feeling of a happy state of mind, a sense of satisfaction, relief from pain and control our impulses. It helps to co-ordinate the autonomic, motor, cognitive functions, appetite, emotions and feelings. It also controls our circadian rythm, which is the awake sleep cycle as a precursor of melatonin.
Tryptophan — 5 Hydroxytryphtophan —-Serotonin—- N -Acetylserotonin—Melatonin
When serotonin is low, it may give rise to several problems in our overall wellbeing. Before diving into the symptoms, it is essential to know what causes to reduce the level of serotonin in the body:
Causes of Low Serotonin : 1.Sedentary Lifestyle 2.Inadequate sleep. 3.Chronic Brain inflammation 4.Leaky gut syndrome 5.Poor blood sugar control 6.Magnesium deficiency 7.Omega 3 fatty acid deficiency. 8.Vitamin deficiency, namely Vitamin D, B1, B2, B6 and folate.
The different symptoms when the serotonin level is low: 1.Anxiety and Panic attacks 2.Social phobia 3.Mood swings 4.Depression 5.Low self-esteem 6.Overtly sensitive,having a sense of guilt, regrets 7.Trouble sleeping 8.Obsessive behaviour like controlling, impulsive, neat freak.
The serotonin level can be measured by Urine biomarker test (Organic Acid test).
The natural ways to improve the level of serotonin are:
1. Reducing the intake of carbohydrate, especially with a high glycaemic index like sugar, processed food. Also, switching the diet to a moderate amount of carbohydrate with a low glycaemic index like brown rice, whole grains. 2.Exercise increases the tryptophan level and balances the serotonin and dopamine balance. 3. Get better quality of sleep every day by following a routine. Make sure to get up and sleep at the same time daily to keep the awake sleep cycle intact.
4.Exposure to sunlight so the UV light absorbed in the skin can simulate Vitamin D production, which in turn stimulates serotonin production. That is why, in winters, many people suffer from depression and mood swings due to lack of exposure to sunlight. 5.Meditation helps to maintain the serotonin dopamine balance and the calmness of mind. 6.Getting a cold shower of 2-3 minutes will also stimulate the serotonin receptors. So, after a cold shower, people tend to feel relaxed. 7.Getting a body massage also helps to stimulate serotonin receptors.
8. Seratonin boosting foods: Wild-caught fatty fishes, green tea, turmeric, fermented foods, nuts, seeds, low glycaemic fruits and veggies, dark chocolate.
Inositol is a pseudovitamin, more commonly referred to as vitamin B8. Unlike other vitamins, Inositol is not considered essential as the body can make it. The kidneys and other body parts can produce it. Inositol is mostly found in the brain. It is vital for the body because it is involved in several crucial processes of the body namely –
1. Insulin regulation and helps to maintain blood sugar. It can improve the insulin sensitivity of the insulin receptors and reduces insulin resistance. 2. Fat metabolism which prevents the fat from accumulation. 3. Neurotransmitter synthesis like Seratonin which is greatly affected by Inositol. Therefore, it affects our mood and behaviour. 4. Calcium signalling. 5. Epigenetic regulation. 6. Cytosketetal formation.
Because it plays an essential role in these processes, it helps to benefits and improve many chronic conditions like :
Hello everyone ! Have a wonderful and safe Friday 🙋🏻
Generally speaking, after having a heavy meal rich in carbohydrate, we tend to feel lethargic, less attentive and unable to focus. Whereas, a meal rich in protein and fibres, we tend to feel alert, active and in a good mood. We must have noticed that binging on junk food, or refined food in large quantities tend to make us feel exhausted, anxious, depressed and less attentive. So, there is enough evidence to show the high impact of food on mental and brain health. Studies from the past and new emerging researches have given strong scientific evidence regarding the link between dietary pattern and mental health.
6 Relevant facts
1. Though the brain is 2% of the body weight, it utilises around 20% of the body’s energy resources daily. And most of this energy comes from the food we consume daily.Structurally, the brain is composed of mainly fat (about 60%) which are mostly omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Besides, playing an essential role in building the brain structures and development, these fatty acids act as messengers in the functions of brain neurotransmitters which signals neuronal impulses, and also helps in maturation of brain cells and the plasticity of brain cells. More on the sources of omega 3 fatty acids from my post https://wordpress.com/post/healthhappinesshealing.org/3844
2. Nutritionally,the rest of the brain structures are mainly protein, amino acids, glucose and micronutrients. Protein and amino acids are the building blocks of the brain cells. Antioxidants found in fresh fruits and vegetables provide the essential micronutrients that fight the free radicals and enable the brain to remain alert and stable for a more extended period. Essential nutrients found in food like Vitamine B6 and 12, folic acid prevent the process of degenerative diseases in the brain. Trace minerals like sodium, copper and iron also play a role in the cognitive development of the brain.
3. Emerging studiesin the past and present times have shown significant evidence to prove that healthy dietary habits have reduced the risk of mental health issues like depression and anxiety and even cognitive impairment.
A meta-analysis of many studies showed with Modified Mediterranean diet: A diet which encourages large quantities of fruits, vegetable, legumes, olive oil, nuts and fishes with a moderate amount of meat and regular exercise and active lifestyle has shown to significantly improved the depression symptoms and level of depression rating measured by MADRD scale (Montogomery Asberg Depression Rating).
4. Studies have also shown that a healthy wholesome diet with many nutrients has substantial evidence to improve inflammation in the body and brain health and thereby improved the symptoms of depression which is linked to inflammation. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) level also increases with a healthy diet. A healthy diet also changes and improve the gut microbiome in 3-4 weeks. And gut health is strongly linked with brain and mental health.
5. Food has a direct correlation with the blood glucose level in the body and brain health. Food with the high glycemic index, a carbohydrate-rich diet or maybe pasta or white bread releases glucose rapidly into the blood following which there is a dip in blood sugar which can affect our brain health like inability to focus, attention and mood. Inversely,after consuming food with a low glycemic index like oats, grains, legumes cause a slow, steady release of blood glucose which in turn help in a stable level of attentiveness and a good mood.
6. Finally,the variety of sources of food which boost brain and cognitive functions are fatty fishes, nuts, whole grains, legumes, turmeric, ashwagandha, dark chocolates apart from a wide range of vegetables and fruits. Brain supplements are useful too but required to be used under clinical supervision. Brain exercises like solving challenging problems, puzzles, memorising, physical body co-ordination exercises, yoga and meditation are useful for brain health.
The cell membrane of each cell in the body consists of phospholipids which has omega-three fatty acids as a component. Physiologically, omega three fatty acids help in the metabolic processes of energy production and individual organ function of heart, lungs, immune system, blood vessels and endocrine system. Therefore, it should be an essential part of our diet. It’s defficiency leads to many physical and mental diseases and symptoms like the autoimmune disorders, heart problems, COPD, skin and eye problems and even depression. Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids which are called essential fatty acids because they cannot be synthesised in the body and has to be consumed from dietary sources. The average recommendation for an adult is 1200mg of Omega 3 fatty acids per day.
There are three types of omega-three fatty acids : ALA – Alpha Linolenic acid EPA – Eicosapentaenoic acid DHA – Docosahexaenoic acid.
The benefits of omega-three fatty acids are immense.The most critical effect in the body is in the inflammatory process. Whenever, there is a trigger of inflammatory response like microbial infection, physical or metabolic tissue damage and stress (mental or physical), there are molecular and cellular events taking place, causing an alteration in the genes, and the cells produce a different pattern of proteins. The white cells in the blood interact with the endothelial cells and initiate the inflammatory process and as a result of which many chemicals are produced which causes further tissue damage. And when the inflammation process continues, irreparable tissue damage occurs and metabolic changes appear in the organs of the body. When omega-three fatty acids, EPA and DHA are supplied or increased in the diet, they alter the composition of the inflammatory cell phospholipid and thereby change the cell phenotyping and reduces the overall inflammation process.
In case of heart problems, more supply of EPA, DHA lower the triglyceride level and reduces the risk of a cardiovascular event like a stroke, heart attack. Researches also show a high intake of Omega 3 helps in lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s, disease, dementia and other cognitive issues. It also reduces the risk of certain cancers like breast cancers and colorectal cancers. It is also beneficial for eye health and the joints so required in the improvement of Rheumatoid arthritis.
Naturally, Omega 3 fatty acids are found in wild fishes like salmon, sardines, tuna, anchovies, herring, and mackerel. Plant seed oils like canola, flaxseed oil, chia seeds and soybean. Nuts like walnuts are extremely rich in omega-three fatty acids. Supplementation is generally recommended under Physician’s guidance.