By Rachel Green, CPT
Did you know immune and brain function go hand in hand? Many of the factors that maximize brain function do the same for your immune system. On Friday February 19th I met with Dr. Eric Hassid a neurologist and holistic and integrative practitioner for Sutter Medical Group to discuss brain and immune health.
According to Dr. Hassid, a healthy diet is one of the most important aspects of keeping the brain and immune system healthy. Sometimes a healthy diet is unable to provide all of the vitamins needed for optimal brain function. Although you should continue eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, supplements are a great way to fill the gaps in the nutrients missing from your diet.
Here are 5 neurologist recommended supplements you should take for improved brain and immune function:
Omega 3 6 9
Flaxseeds are small seeds that provide healthy omega-3 fats and fiber. Up to 70% of the brain is made up of fat. Although the brain runs on carbohydrates, fat plays a huge role in many brain processes. The brain needs plenty of fat like omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in both fish and flaxseeds. Omega 3 6 9 supplement is very beneficial, however pure fish oil inhibits the omega 6 pathway. For optimal intake, try a mix of flaxseed and fish oil for your omega supplement. Flaxseed contains tons of fiber. New studies suggest a high fiber diet may reduce inflammation, therefore decreasing risk of neurodegenerative disease, cognitive decline, and memory loss with aging. You can buy ground or whole flax seed and put it in smoothies, oatmeal, and more.
As you age, vitamin D levels decline. This is associated with cognitive decline and mental impairment. Vitamin D is important for brain health and immune function. Deficiency is linked to increased autoimmunity and vulnerability to infection. New research has shown cognitive impairment was four times greater in elders with vitamin D deficiency. Dr. Hassid recommends 2,000 IU’s on vitamin D per day.
Phyto nutrients are found in fruits and vegetables. Phytonutrients are packed with antioxidants which can repair DNA from damage due to toxins. They have many benefits like improved immune function and reduced risk of diseases. Dr. Hassid recommended getting your phytonutrients from plants like watercress and green tea. Water cress is full of vitamin A and C. Vitamin A helps maintain organ health and Vitamin C supports immune function.
Magnesium may help prevent or manage memory loss, depression, anxiety, and neurodegenerative diseases. Magnesium plays a large role in cell function by preventing overstimulation of nerve cells which may lead to cell death. Low magnesium levels could potentially lead to oxidative stress and neuronal cell death. Magnesium can be found in the multivitamin listed above or you can take it on its own.
Turmeric is a spice found in the Turmeric plant and commonly used in Indian, Southeast Asian, and Middle Eastern dishes. Curcumin, found in turmeric, may help reduce inflammation and prevent disease. This antioxidant may slow age-related cognitive decline and potentially prevent depression. You can add turmeric to your food dishes to increase your daily intake. However, turmeric and curcumin don’t absorb well and consuming this in a dish will not provide the desired effect. Supplements are a great way to ensure you’re consuming enough and experiencing the anti-inflammatory benefits. Black pepper is an important addition to a turmeric supplement to increase the amount of the substance absorbed into the body.
Dr. Eric Hassid, M.D., is a holistic health practioner. Dr. Hassid’s practice focuses on treatments for cognitive disorders, movement disorders, chronic pain, memory and aging disorders, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and more. For more information on Dr. Hassid’s practice, Click Here.