Do you have a leaky brain? I’m not suggesting that brain matter is oozing out of your ears. If that’s the case, then definitely call your doctor! Or better yet, stop by during one of my ER Nurse Practitioner shifts. Just kidding. In all seriousness, lots of people do indeed have a leaky brain. And in my side hustle as a functional medicine practitioner, I help people overcome the symptoms of leaky brain.
In this post, I’ll explain what a leaky brain is, how you know if you have it, and some fairly easy ways to overcome it. Let’s dive in…
What Is Leaky Brain? Is It The Same As Leaky Gut?
You may have heard of leaky gut. Just in case you need a refresher, I wrote about it here. But just to quickly summarize it, leaky gut is when the spaces in between the cells of your intestinal lining are too big. When this happens, large protein molecules from food can leak out of the intestinal tube into the bloodstream. This creates a cascade of inflammation in the body. Over time, this chronic inflammation can trigger autoimmune conditions.
Leaky brain is very similar to leaky gut. Just as our intestinal lining has a protective barrier (made of mucous, friendly bacteria and immune cells), our brain is very protected. Obviously, we have our skull to thank for that. But more than our craniums, we can also be grateful for something called the blood brain barrier, or BBB.
Like a healthy intestinal barrier preventing harmful bacteria, viruses and toxins from escaping into the bloodstream, the BBB is responsible for keeping out substances that can harm the brain.
A leaky brain, then, indicates that inflammatory compounds are crossing the BBB and negatively impacting mood, cognition and even memory.
What Are Symptoms of Leaky Brain?
Leaky brain often accompanies leaky gut syndrome. So it’s hard to tell if a symptom is specifically related to compromised BBB function. It could be that a specific symptom is the result of a gut lining that has become too permeable. Or maybe it’s both organs that are leaky…
We know that the gut and the brain constantly communicate in an open loop feedback. In fact, not too many people are aware of this but the gut’s enteric nervous system operates independently from the brain; it’s like the body’s second operating system.
But in my functional medicine practice, I notice that my clients with leaky brain symptoms tend to be women in their 50s, 60s and beyond. So my theory is that years or even decades of leaky gut—what a doctor officially calls, intestinal hyperpermeability—is what causes leaky brain.
Of course, that’s not always the case. In theory, autism and ADHD may be caused by poor BBB function.
But here are some of the symptoms that usually occur later in life:
- Brain fog, difficulty concentrating
- Headaches and migraines
- Mood disorders
- Chronic fatigue
- Brain-muscle disorders such as MS
- Memory loss, cognitive decline
Again, these symptoms can also be caused by leaky gut. So if you have one or more of these symptoms, can anything reverse leaky brain?
How To Reverse Leaky Brain
If overcoming symptoms on your own seems intimidating and downright impossible, let me help you reclaim your health. As a functional medicine practitioner, I have access to the latest cutting-edge labs and diagnostic tests to reveal what’s really going on in your body.
I’ll chart a plan of action that’s totally individualized; there’s no cookie-cutter approach to treating leaky brain or leaky gut. But some things that I have found helpful for all my clients include:
- Medical-grade omega-3 supplements (fish oil)
- Other anti-inflammatory herbal ingredients
- Supplements that enhance neurotransmitter function
- Testing for nutritional deficiencies
- Eliminating dietary inflammatory triggers
- Enhancing sleep quality
- Stress-management techniques
- Removing environmental threats from the home (mold, endocrine disruptors in household cleaners and cosmetics)
Take The First Step For Reclaiming Your Health!
You can’t banish symptoms overnight. But in just a couple weeks time, you may notice some improvements. The first step to reclaiming your health is to pick up the phone or request an appointment here.