The Cure for Brain Diseases is in Your Gut

KetoJoy has a Facebook page, but for any of you who are not on Facebook, I thought I would post this article here:

The Cure for Brain Diseases Is in Your Gut

Researchers are just now starting to link inflammation in your gut with some of the most deadly and debilitating diseases we have.

Why are we making such little progress in our attempts to uncover the causes of various forms of brain degeneration? These days we frequently hear about breakthroughs in our understanding of diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis, but when the discussion turns to the brain, there seems to be very little news.

Medical research continues to operate with a reductionist mentality. The human body is looked upon as simply a compilation of various parts and systems, and each of these is looked upon as functioning independent of the others.

Many attribute the tenants of reductionism to the 17th-century French philosopher and mathematician Renée Decartes, who, in 1637, proposed that the world and all living beings were basically like machines, made up of clockwork mechanisms. In his Discourses, he argued that animate beings could be taken apart, studied, and then reassembled to gain a better perspective as to the meaning of the larger picture.

And so it is that, by and large, research endeavors attempting to understand what causes the brain to degenerate in conditions like Parkinson’s disease or ALS focus on the nervous system. These are devastating conditions for which modern medicine offers up no cure. And it may well be that clinging to this reductionist approach—one that sees the brain and its myriad diseases as existing apart from the rest of the body—underlies our failure to uncover the causes and therefore treatments for some of our most feared maladies.

The counter to this pervasive reductionist mentality is the notion of holism. Holism celebrates the panorama of interrelationships between various body parts and systems and embraces the notion that each of these seemingly disparate parts actually nurtures the others.

Microscopic bacteria living within us may be charting our brain’s destiny.
Here’s another way of looking at it. If a football team is unable to gain yardage, a reductionist perspective would focus exclusively on the quarterback. A holistic perspective, on the other hand, takes a step back and looks at the entire team. It recognizes, for example, that the offensive line plays an important role by protecting the quarterback and giving him time to execute the play while the running backs and receivers also play crucial roles in determining a positive outcome.

Parkinson’s disease is the world’s second-most common neurodegenerative condition. By the year 2030, it’s predicted that the global burden of this disease will affect nearly 10 million people. Unfortunately, researchers remain almost exclusively focused on the quarterback with countless millions of dollars dedicated to “brain research” in an attempt to unravel the mystery of this condition.

Fortunately, vanguard researchers are now recognizing the merits of a more holistic approach. Take researchers at Rush University Medical Center, for one. They’ve begun publishing data demonstrating the significant bowel issues associated with Parkinson’s disease that may actually have a role in its cause.

Dr. Christopher B. Forsyth and his team have recently demonstrated significant gut permeability, more commonly referred to as “leaky gut” in Parkinson’s patients. Their research has further revealed that this increase in gut leakiness enhances inflammation as well as the production of a unique protein—alpha-synuclein—both of which are characteristic of this disease.

This is beyond groundbreaking, it is iconoclastic in that it represents a break from the long-held mentality that brain disease must arise in the brain.
ALS affects as many as 30,000 in the United States, with 5,000 new cases being diagnosed each year. While considerably less common than Parkinson’s disease, ALS is almost uniformly fatal.

And despite the sudden increase in funding for ALS research resulting from the “ice bucket challenge,” again, it may well be that we are simply looking in the wrong place.

In research headed by Dr. Rongzhen Zhang at the University of California, San Francisco, he and his team discovered that, like the Parkinson’s research had revealed, in ALS there is also an increase in the leakiness of the gut. And again, like in Parkinson’s, their research revealed that this mechanism caused a robust increase in inflammation, a mechanism that has long been known to be associated with ALS.

These are but two examples of a welcomed change in mentality as it relates to medical research. Inflammation, as a mechanism, is thought to underlie virtually every degenerative condition that humans experience—including Alzheimer’s disease, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and even cancer. And it has become clear that the integrity of the lining of the gut plays a fundamental role in determining the degree of inflammation that the human body experiences.

One of the most important elements involved in maintenance of gut wall integrity is the degree of balance and diversity of the various organisms that live within the gut. These organisms and their genetic material are collectively referred to as the human microbiome.

The microbiome is tasked with shoring up the gut lining and therefore reducing permeability. This helps to reduce inflammation in human physiology. When the gut bacteria are altered by any number of events—including overusage of antibiotics, exposure to environmental toxins, and even inappropriate food choices—the integrity of the gut lining can be challenged.

So the dots are being connected. As researchers break the bonds of reductionism and venture forth looking outside of the brain, exciting information is being revealed that may well pave the way to understanding—and possibly curing—devastating neurological disorders. As it turns out, we are just beginning to understand how critical a role is played by the gut bacteria in terms of virtually every aspect of human health and disease. Indeed, it’s a very humbling notion to recognize that microscopic bacteria living within us may be charting our brain’s destiny.

Ironically, Decartes himself may have been first to recognize the importance of the “gut-brain connection” when he wrote this: “Even the mind depends so much on temperament and the disposition of one’s bodily organs that, if it is possible to find a way to make people generally more wise and more skilful than they have been in the past, I believe that we should look for it in medicine. It is true that medicine as it is currently practiced contains little of much use.”

David Perlmutter, MD is a Board-Certified Neurologist and author of Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life.

I have posted other articles and videos about this topic here:

https://ketojoy.com/2014/07/23/excitotoxins-the-taste-that-kills-not-here/

https://ketojoy.com/2014/04/18/you-need-to-know/

https://ketojoy.com/2014/04/30/dietary-healing-from-a-z-getting-the-word-out/

https://ketojoy.com/2014/05/16/a-cure-for-autismasd/

 

 

Zip it up!

Upon digging through one of our freezers the other day, I noticed we had lots of frozen strawberries.  It was actually warm outside on that day – well, above 40 – so I felt like drinking something icy. I guess after you have had ice outside for 6 months, you miss it! 😉   So, I took a couple handfuls of those frozen vine-ripened berries from last summer and threw them in a blender with a little lemon juice, a bit of water and a few drops of liquid stevia  – yum!  


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Of course, then everyone else wanted some. 🙂 

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Autumn then pulled out some of our Zipzicles packages and said, “Hey mom, may I make a batch of that strawberry stuff for some zipzicles?”

And so we did:

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In one batch, we added some yogurt  for a little extra protein 🙂

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This is not so much a keto-treat as it is a great low-carb alternative to the store-bought  frozen pops. However, when Autumn was on the diet, she would make frozen Zipzicles using water and a few drops of flavored stevia – she loved them!  You can purchase liquid stevia drops in LOTS of different flavors:

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They were a great treat she could enjoy while everyone else might be having traditional “Mr. Freeze/Ice Pops.”  Even now, being off her diet, she still loves to make them in the summer!

KETO JOY CONTINUES! 🙂

Get Your Purple On!

Today is “Purple Day” in recognition of Epilepsy Awareness Day.

I was 50 years old before I ever saw a seizure.

Autumn’s Dad, and the rest of Autumn’s siblings, had not seen one either.

Then, we all saw up to one-hundred seizures a day with Autumn.

We were suddenly very aware of Epilepsy!

If you are reading this page, you also are probably very aware of seizures.

You have also probably been afraid, angry, distraught, frustrated, tormented, exasperated and just completely torn up at times.

But, hopefully you also found guidance, instruction, comfort, consolation, encouragement, and compassion from those who have walked this road already.

Whatever help and hope you have found, pass it along to someone else today.  Make others aware of how they can help.

 Keep walking, keep sharing, keep hoping!

Imagine the Hope and Joy of being Set Free from seizures!   🙂

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KETO JOY!

On the Precipice…

…of a New Year.                                                

Are you prepared?

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Each of us will undoubtably have a “precipice moment” this year.

Standing at the brink of something you did not expect.

An event, an action, a word… will all of a sudden place you there…on the edge.

My children have oft heard me utter:

“You never know what you are going to wake up to.”

“Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow.” (James 4:13)

How do you prepare for those moments?

Every hour. Of every day.

“A man reaps what he sows.” (Gal. 6:7)

What you do, and what you think, day after day, will determine your response at the precipice moment.

“So as a man thinketh in his heart, so he is.” (Pro. 23:7)

“Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.”

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What are you thinking on these days?

“Finally brethren, whatever things are pure, lovely, true, praise worthy…think on these things.” (Philippians 4:4)

What are you reading?

What are you listening too?

What are you looking at?

What are you engaging in?

Is it growing you in… Love? Joy? Peace? Patience? Kindness, Goodness….

“The fruit of the spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control.” (Gal. 5: 22-23)

What are you trusting in? 

“I have trusted in your loving kindness.” (Psalm 13:5)

Is it true?

“Thy word is truth.” (John 17:17)

Can it really sustain you?

“Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. “(Psalm 54:4)

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Will it get you to the other side?

“I sought the Lord and he delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 43:4)

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 “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,  knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

May your year be blessed with trials that leave you perfect, complete and lacking nothing!

Holiday Treats Review

I thought it might be helpful to do a “review post” of last year’s Christmas/New Year’s yummy treats and snacks.  Just click on the caption to get to previous post.

Christmas Chocolates

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Easy Skinny Chocolate: This was a Valentines post but you could easily do Christmas molds.

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 Candy Bars!  We made some amazing Chocolate/Caramel Turtles this week.  They were really easy. On a wax paper-lined cookie sheet, arrange each “turtle” with about 3 pecans then drizzle about 1 teaspoon of the caramel sauce and 1 teaspoon of the skinny chocolate.  Put in the freezer for a few minutes to harden and you have deliciousness! If you have a lower ratio you could melt an unsweetened chocolate bar (and sweeten with stevia).

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Kale Chips

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My Favorite Crackers!

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No matter the season…Pizza is always a great treat!

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 and Milkshakes!

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No reason not to enjoy the treats of the season!

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Still enjoying…..Keto Joy!

“Pancakes and French Fries”

That is the name of the handshake reporter Steve Warden taught Autumn when he visited our home last year to write this story on the Ketogenic Diet for The Journal Gazette

Steve, pictured here with Autumn toasting victory over seizures with sugar laden Jamocha shakes, recently ran a great follow-up story in The Journal Gazette which you can read here.*   Steve has a soft heart, a sensitive soul and is a skilled storyteller.

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Before walking out the door of our home last year, Steve said to let us know when Autumn was off the diet so we could (hopefully)  get together for “Pancakes and French Fries.” So, along with those Jamocha shakes, we had “Cowboy Fries”… french fries smothered with cheese and bacon…all hands full…yummmm!  

We’ll have to have him back again for the pancakes. 😉

 

And for anyone reading this on the keto-diet – you can actually make your own keto version of french fries and jamocha shakes – now that’s…

… Keto  Joy!

*A small correction in the article, although I like the name “Chad”, it was actually “Joshua” who did the prayer.

Giving Thanks…Continually

The girls and I were in Colorado Springs last week for a Thanksgiving visit with Kyle, Hope and my Max Man.  Although I had wanted to do a Thanksgiving post, I was a bit distracted…

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Getting ready to decorate…
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A visit to Vail

 

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Check out those shoes – everyone else in Vail Village did!2014-11-28 14.58.24IMG_1929

A view from the beautifully exquisite Broadmoor Hotel:

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2014-11-30 17.40.16That is a 100% real candy gingerbread house behind us!

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There is one picture missing that I wish I did have, and that would be of myself getting off the plane when we landed in Colorado Springs.  I had been extremely nervous about the airplane flight…I barely slept the night before.  I was worried that perhaps the higher altitude and the air pressure of the plane might cause Autumn to have a seizure.

All throughout the flight I felt like I was back two and a half years ago…. waiting…and holding my breath… to see if she was going to have “another one.”

She didn’t.

I breathe again.

Oh, the relief I felt as I hugged her getting off the plane…I may not have a picture…but I will never forget the feeling.

And I give thanks…continually! 🙂

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Photo by Samuel Hoffman

Keto Joy!

 

Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus 

(1 Thes. 5:18)

 

 

 

 

Awareness of the Heart

November is Epilepsy Awareness month.  It should be, The “Heart” of Epilepsy Awareness Month.  Earlier this month, I read this on a FB post from Natalie, a mom I have mentioned here before.

Natalie writes:

“November is Epilepsy awareness month. EPILEPSY. a word that is used in my vocabulary since Gianna was 6 months old. A word that I wish never existed. To experience the type of Epilepsy we see every day is unimaginable. No one should see their child go through 1000+ drop seizures a day. Happy that Gianna started CBD a few months ago. Seeing a significant improvement in her cognition and a slight decrease in seizures. We are very hopeful.”

Did you catch that?

Natalie said, “We are very hopeful.”

1000 seizures a day…and she is “very hopeful.”   There is an immense story of a soul in those words.  

How does her mother’s heart keep going?

“Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.” Proverbs 14:10

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Every “cause” has a heart attached to it…a soul that is aching…

…and a story that is being lived out.  

One that knows the depth of sorrow and the joy of tribulation.

All of us carry our own ‘ribbon” for some cause.

Today, tomorrow, this month…when you see a ribbon…

maybe you can take a moment…

to see a heart…feel for the soul…and pray for the story…

even if it is your own.

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”    Romans 12:12

The Results Are In.

Autumn’s last EEG back in February of this year, while she was still on the diet, did not include all the elements that are used to trigger seizures – yesterday’s EEG did. This included flashing strobe lights, inducing breathing hyperventilation and sleep deprivation.  Our neurologist said she wanted to know – and that we would want to know – for sure what these results would really show after 3 months off the diet.

My palms were sweating sitting next to Autumn watching the entire process.

Towards the end of the test, Dr. Kahn, our neurologist, peeked in to see how things were going and I stepped out to talk with her. We went into a room right next door to Autumn and she pulled up the the EEG results on the computer.  She brought up screen after screen of Autumn’s brain waves. As she is scrolling through the pages, I am imagining in my mind what all those lines might mean.  Then she utters these words:

“This looks great.” “Everything looks wonderful.” “Everything looks perfect.”

Tears well up in my eyes and I just look at her; an incredibly relieved smile overcomes my face.

My doubt disappears.

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Whenever you  hear that the diet is too hard…

remember this post…

remember this result….

and know that the results of the the ketogenic diet are pure

KETO JOY!!!!!!!!!

 

What’s up…and coming…

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 2 months since our last post! 

So what has been happening?

 Canning tomatoes from the garden:

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 4-H Chicken Projects and Fair:

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A visit from one of the cutest nephews ever:

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Gram’s 80th Birthday Celebration:

IMG_7289          Autumn’s 10th Birthday!                     

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So, is Autumn completely off the diet? Yes

Does she eat all the food she use to eat? Yes

Is she still seizure-free? Yes

Honestly, I still just don’t understand how diet alone can stop such intense seizures.

But it does. 

So why doesn’t every doctor who deals with Epilepsy know about the diet, and at least give it as an option for patients to try? 

I don’t know, perhaps either lack of knowledge or unbelief.

As you read this, if there is anyone you know who suffers with epilepsy, or is a medical professional that works with epileptic patients, please take the time to spread the word on this powerful tool.  The very best resource for information I know is:

The Charlie Foundation

You might be the catalyst that gives someone else a seizure-free life! 

So, What’s next?

Autumn has an eeg scheduled for later this week to see if her brain activity looks the same as it did while she was on the diet. 

It will be a big day.

Yes, I am a bit anxious.

Yes, I will be posting the results. Stay tuned!

Keto Joy!