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  • Writer's pictureLouise H Connolly MD

Treating Central Sensitivity Syndromes

Fix Your Blood Brain Barrier

Then Soothe and Nourish Your Microglia

The famous blood brain barrier

Here's the unifying concept here. Right back down to the basics, the cells in your brain which have become degenerated, unbalanced and inflamed. Which cells are they? They are the microglia, the immune cell guardians of the brain. Why did they get inflamed? Because you have a "leaky brain" or, more exactly. a "leaky blood brain barrier".

We used to think the brain was all about the neurons. We'd map their pathways from one part of the brain to another. Yes, we saw the blood brain barrier. That's all the blood vessels in the brain, each wrapped with a double layer of astrocytes, securely keeping all the bad stuff out of the brain. Or so we thought. Yes we saw the glial cells and the microglia. The Ancient Greeks named them glia, which means glue. All we thought they did was glue things together, sort of like the connective tissue of the brain, so that the neurons didn't get all tangled up. But we were wrong.

Just like you can have "leaky gut", you can have "leaky brain". Yes, the lining cells of your intestines are supposed to let the nutrients in and keep the bacteria out, just like the astrocytes are supposed to upstream in your brain. But they leak. And when the gut leaks the brain follows suit. Thus things that cause a leaky gut also cause a leaky brain. Because no barrier is perfect, it's important to surround it with a layer of immune cells to protect the body. Surrounding your gut is 80% of your body's immune system - that's no typo, 80% ! That leaves the other 20% of the peripheral immune system to take care of the common colds, cuts, allergens and all other invaders which try to bring you down. Coating this gut associated lymphoid tissue is a huge amount of serotonin. Serotonin! In the gut? And you thought serotonin was just a brain chemical involved in depression. The gut and the brain are intimately connected in more ways than one.

So what do YOU think the glial and microglial cells do? (I bet you never thought to ask that question.) The Greeks thought they were glue, connecting the brain side of the blood brain barrier to every single neuron under your skull in multiple different places, holding it all together. But when we talk about a barrier, there just has to be a closely associated immune system to protect it. So, of course this "glue" is the brain's immune system. Glial and microglial cells catch and process out all unwelcome intruders. They protect our thinking and all our autonomic brain processes. If the BBB leaks too much they get inflamed. Then one of the things you can get is a Central Sensitivity Syndrome. Another thing you can get is cognitive impairment.

Most of this information is relatively new. Only last year we discovered that the brain had it's own lymphatic system. Lymphatics drain unwanted material out. If there is a gut associated lymphoid tissue, (GALT), then of course there is a brain associated lymphoid tissue (BALT). So, just how is your BALT today? At any rate, all this neuro-inflammation is a hot topic but most of it's details are still a mystery.

So that's it. You hurt, the doctors can't see your pain. You hurt, and the degree you hurt is out of proportion to your injury. Then you probably have a Central Sensitivity Syndrome based on Inflammation in your BALT affecting your pain/pleasure centers. And your blood brain barrier is leaking. So the first thing you have to do it stop the leak. Like the little Dutch Boy, you have to put your finger in the Dyke.

Stopping the Leak:

First of all, we're back to your diet. So what's the state of your plate? Stop the wheat, sugar, dairy. Eat real nutrient dense foods. In general, those things that heal a leaky gut also heal a leaky brain. Eliminate the toxins, then soothe and heal with basic barrier nutrients like glycine and glutamine. The less trash that gets in through the gut, the less stuff that the blood brain barrier has to filter. A superstar at specifically closing leaky BBB's is resveratrol and the other stilbenes. This is important for all, but more important for those with an ApoE4. (like me)

Nourishing and protecting your Microglia:

Nourish: Lets go back to building blocks: What are brain cells made of? That's right, fat. So what kind of fat makes them function the best? (Hint, it's NOT trans-fats) Here I am talking about Omega 3's. All of them. Structurally DHA is the best, functionally EPA works with Vitamin D. Choline is another basic building block for your grey matter, your autonomic nervous system. So eat your organic eggs. Make sure all these basics are in place because it's hard to soothe a depleted cell.

Breaking the vicious cycle of neuro-inflammation:

Here we need compounds that can legitimately cross the BBB (blood brain barrier). Some of these include magnesium, alpha-lipoic acid, glutathione, taurine, 5 HTP, L-threanine. and melatonin.

Each one of these could take up an entire post! Melatonin alone is so primal and neuro-regenerative it's amazing. Around forever, we don't know how to dose it and use it properly. I'm talking doses above 10mg a night. Most supplements contain far less.

5HTP, an essential amino acid, turns into Serotonin which turns into Melatonin. D3 and Omega 3 facilitate this transformation. .Liposomal Glutathione and Alpha-Lipoic-Acid detox and Deflame. Taurine (another amino acid), frees up cysteine to make more glutathione. It readily crosses the BBB, increasing brain glycine an all important building block for barrier repair as well as brain function. Taurine modulates calcium signalling, stabilizes cellular membrane potentials and, in general makes you feel good and have more energy. And then there is the all mighty Magnesium!

Try it! Try it all! Change your brain into a natural paradise.


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