The human brain is the most complex organ in the body, made up of over 100 billion nerve cells that work together to co-ordinate our physical and psychological actions including movement, emotions, behaviour and sensations.
Being such a key organ, the brain needs protecting so is surrounded by the blood-brain barrier, which is a set of membranes containing specialist cells and blood vessels that act as a filter, only allowing necessary molecules, like nutrients, access to the brain cells.
The central nervous system also contains its own immune system made up of different types of cells that protect the brain and spinal cord from infection, bacteria, toxins and trauma.
But the blood-brain barrier is vulnerable to damage – whether from:
- Blows to the head
- Inflammation in the gut – the gut and brain are directly connected by the vagus nerve, which transmits inflammation responses from gut to the brain
- High cortisol from chronic stress
- Poor blood sugar control
- Ongoing exposure to environmental and /or endo-toxins
When the blood-brain barrier becomes leaky, this triggers the brain’s immune system and the cells that normally protect the brain become over-active leading to a cascade of chronic inflammation.
Chronic neuroinflammation can occur anywhere in the brain so can contribute to a wide range of different conditions including:
- Neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease etc.)
- Multiple Sclerosis
Diet and lifestyle can play a big role in repairing the blood-brain barrier and supporting the brain’s immune system and cellular damage and activity. To find out more join Dr Elisabeth Philipps on 24th November 2020 where she will discuss a functional medicine approach to Neuroinflammation.
Dr Elisabeth Philipps PhD BSc (Hons) BSc Nutr Med
Dr Elisabeth Philipps is a clinical neuroscientist and runs a health consultancy specialising in nutritional neurology, the endocannabinoid system and phytocannabininoids including CBD. She regularly presents at conferences and events, and provides expert opinion for the national press, specialist healthcare publications and health companies. You can contact Elisabeth via social media:
instagram – @drelisabethphilipps
Linked In – Dr Elisabeth Philipps