Nutrition and the brain

Okay this is the last thing I have to say about this topic, and then I’m moving on!

I did a bit of research and found a couple of articles that I found helpful/interesting:

Neuroscience for kids- Nutrition and the brain

Your brain is like a car. A car needs gasoline, oil, brake fluid and other materials to run properly. Your brain also needs special materials to run properly: glucose, vitamins, minerals and other essential chemicals. For example, the fuel (energy) for your brain is glucose. You can get glucose by eating carbohydrates or other foods that can be converted to glucose.

Your brain must manufacture the right proteins and fats to do things such as grow new connections or add myelin, the fatty sheath to axons. You do this by digesting proteins and fats in food and using the pieces, that is, the amino acids and fatty acids, to make the new brain proteins and fats. Without the correct amount and balance of particular building blocks, your brain will not work properly. Too little (deficiency) or too much (overabundance) of the necessary nutrient can affect the nervous system.

One thing that I found of particular interest:

The Journey Into the Brain
Nutrients must follow a tricky pathway to your brain and overcome several challenges:

1. They must gain entry to your body: if you don’t eat them, they will not be available to your brain.
2. Once in your stomach, they must survive an attack by acid that breaks some foods down.
3. Further along the digestive tract, they must be absorbed through the cells lining the intestine and transported through blood vessel walls into the bloodstream.
4. Traveling in the blood through the liver, nutrients need to avoid being metabolized (destroyed).
5. Once in the bloodstream, nutrients must cross small blood vessels into brain tissue. This transport from the blood to neurons is restricted by the blood brain barrier.

You know how I keep talking about the size of the peptides in milk and wheat? And how they create a “leaky gut” (perforations in the lining of the intestines where stuff leaks out)? Well, here it mentions how it works! If there is a leaky gut, many nutrients are lost and cannot make it to the brain, where they are needed for many functions (particularly to create neurotransmitters).

There’s a lot more info out there. I’ll leave you to do some research to find out if you believe there is a connection between nutrition and brain development.

To close this subject, I just want to emphasize the reason I’ve been talking about this. There are so many things we cannot control with our kids – their skills, equipment, sometimes how much therapy they get, etc. But one thing most of us DO have control over that CAN help our kids is nutrition. I can’t say that better nutrition, removing milk, is going to be a miracle cure. It may be for some kids, but not for all. It definitely hasn’t been for Nathan. All I’ve noticied is a general increase in health, cognition, and well-being. But my belief is that these conditions give our kids a boost for other developmental gains. If your kids is spendinga lot of time sick, think of all the wasted therapy time, etc?? We all know that eating healthy makes our body healthy. Same with our kids. So this is just one piece of the puzzle, which may be significant for some, minor for others, but a part nonetheless.

Okay we’re off to CME, have a great weekend!

Comments

  1. An excellent post, Marcella. I am starting to really “clean up” what Little Man & his brother are eating. I don’t have alot of money to pour into therapies, but I have to feed them. It might as well be good fod. Although, I will miss my “treat” of a #4 McDonald’s breakfast!

  2. I couldn’t agree more. You are right on point here. There is definitely a connection between nutrition and all of the body’s systems. It just makes sense. Taking a look at proper nutrition has been at the forefront of my mind as of late. I’ve consulted with several nutritionists and am taking some new measures. I think proper nutrition is the foundation for all other development, and we’ve got to give our chances every chance to excel.

  3. http://Charles says

    Actually, you have it a little backwards. The problem isn’t that things are leaking OUT of the intestines. The problem is that things are leaking IN to the bloodstream.

    What happens is that foods like wheat and milk damage the intestinal wall, allowing partially digested proteins to enter the bloodstream.

    When that happens, the body creates antibodies to those proteins, and often times those proteins are similar to structural proteins in the body.

    The immune system should defend against foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses, but LGS leads the immune system to begin to attack proteins in the body’s own tissues. That’s the definition of auto-immune disease. The body has an immune reaction against itself.

    So you are basically correct about eliminating the cause of leaky gut syndrome, and milk and wheat are common culprits in this.

    And then the task is to begin to repair the intestinal walls, and there are some supplements that will assist in that process.

  4. Hi Carla, I am so excited that you’re working on LM’s diet!! I promise you, you will be very happy and you will hardly miss your McD’s 🙂

    Tara, that’s great that nutrition is on the forefront! On one of the groups I read, they were talking about a nutritionist called Kelly Dorfman, she seems to be very very good, you may want to give her a call. I’ve never worked with her, but will give her a call soon. But other moms rant and rave about her, and she works with families remotely.

    Charles – thanks for the clarification and the great info! I hope you will do a guest post with more info for us!!! (I sent you an email).

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