10-BrainFireMichelle, 52, was a defense lawyer. Her work schedule was so stressful that at times she suffered from social isolation, frequent crying, and even emotional meltdowns. She had more responsibilities than her brain could handle. When she came into my office she started crying within minutes of telling me her story. She told me she had days where she could not think straight or find the words she was looking for. Entire days were a blur where she felt almost useless because her brain would not work. Afraid she might be developing Alzheimer’s she visited a neurologist, who gave her a clean bill of health after a 10-minute visit.

When I examined Michelle it was clear she did not have Alzheimer’s or a disease of the nervous system. Nevertheless, her brain was not functioning at its peak. Her diet was atrocious and void of antioxidants, she smoked cigarettes every day, and she drank way too much alcohol to cope with her stress. It was very apparent her stress load was out of control and her lifestyle full of inflammatory triggers.

After the examination and history I ordered a series of tests, but the results would not come back for a couple of weeks. She insisted she could not wait that long and needed help immediately. I placed her on a brain inflammation protocol of high doses of various flavonoids and antioxidants that have been shown in the literature to dampen brain inflammation by suppressing inflammatory activity of microglia, the brain’s immune cells.

I told her to increase the dose every day to the point her brain fog went away. After a week of taking the supplements she found the dose that cleared her brain fog and allowed her to function again. Because her response to the supplements was positive, it indicated brain inflammation as a diagnostic mechanism. Although the supplements made her feel much better they were still a band-aid approach—her case required tackling the issues causing the brain inflammation.

Brain inflammation can destroy brain tissue just as chronic joint inflammation can destroy joint tissue, leading to joint deformity, stiffness, and pain. If your brain is not working well, you may be suffering from brain inflammation. This is serious because brain inflammation is associated with a significant risk for various degenerative brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s. Even if you do not have brain inflammation, taking antioxidants and certain natural flavonoids can protect your brain similar to the way taking certain antioxidants can protect you heart. In this chapter I will teach you how to recognize brain inflammation and what mechanisms promote it. I also will give you the list of compounds researchers have found help dampen brain inflammation and potentially protect your brain. The information in this chapter is so critical that I personally incorporate all of these strategies for myself and my family despite the absence of any symptoms. If your brain is on fire you need to put the fire out before you lose brain function.

Datis Kharrazian, DC, DHSc, MS, MNeuroSci