13 Powerful Protocol Proven to Help Reverse Brain Damage

2. Eliminate Alcohol

Not too surprisingly, the NFL players in Dr. Amen’s study were encouraged to completely eliminate alcohol.

Alcohol is a neurotoxin and wreaks havoc on the brain by raising cortisol levels, disrupting the blood-brain barrier, and increasing inflammation and oxidative stress (11).

There are ways to protect your brain from alcohol, but you’re better off avoiding it completely, or significantly reducing your consumption, if you’re trying to heal from brain damage. I personally don’t drink alcohol at all anymore.

Other than alcohol, the NFL players were also told to eliminate others drugs, including cigarettes.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough high-quality sleep was another key aspect of Dr. Amen’s therapeutic protocol for the NFL players because it’s so important for brain health.

Deep sleep has been shown to slow down cognitive decline, reduce cortisol levels, promote the regeneration of myelin, increase the growth of new brain cells, and support the blood-brain barrier.

That’s why getting at least 7 hours of high-quality, restorative sleep is so important.

I used to have very poor quality sleep and it was one of main factors that contributed to my poor mental health.

Here are some ways I now maximize the quality of my sleep:

  • Expose your eyes to sun in the morning
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule and go to bed at the same time every night
  • Don’t eat anything for at least 3 hours before bed, other than raw honey, bone broth and MCT oil, which are easy to digest and can actually support sleep.
  • Avoid stimulating movies and TV before bed.
  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon. Most people should completely avoid it after 2 pm. Some may have to cut it out even earlier. I can’t have any after 10 am, otherwise the quality of my sleep suffers.
  • Blue light significantly suppresses your body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep–wake cycle. Therefore, blue light leads to disrupted sleep patterns and abnormal functioning of your nervous system. You can read more about the problem with blue light here. So as soon as it’s dark outside, you should avoid sources of blue light. Turn off household lights or get red light bulbs instead (red light doesn’t disrupt melatonin); install Iris on your computer; and/or wear blue blocking glasses. These glasses block out blue light in your environment.
  • Sleep in a dark environment. Completely black out your room with curtains or wear a sleep mask overnight. Sleeping with lights on in your room decreases neurogenesis and impairs cognitive performance (276). If you need to have light in your room (nightlight or alarm clock), it’s better to have red, orange or amber lighting rather than blue.
  • Reduce stress before bed. I supplement with magnesium and lie on this acupressure mat for 10 minutes before bed.
  • Avoid alcohol before sleep, as it prevents getting into the deeper stages of sleep, which is when the body and brain heal.
  • Melatonin secretion can also be disrupted by EMF exposure, so turn off cellphones, Wi-Fi and other electrical devices while you sleep.
  • Take this sleep supplement, which contains magnesium and other natural compounds that I’ve used over the years to promote the production of melatonin.

4. Reduce Brain Inflammation with Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Your brain is made up of about 60% fat, so you want to eat high-quality fats so that it can rebuild itself.

Omega-3s fatty acids are the highest quality fats for the brain, and increasing your intake of them is one of the most impactful ways to reverse brain damage.

Dr. Amen gave the NFL players 5.6 grams of fish oil each day, containing 1720 mg of EPA and 1160 mg of DHA.

EPA and DHA are omega-3 fatty acids that are necessary for the optimal functioning of your brain and nervous system. They have been shown in many studies to significantly reduce inflammation; improve memory, mood and cognition; and protect against mild cognitive impairment, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (9-10).

They are also the structural components of synapses, and have been shown to support the brains of people with neurodegenerative diseases who have experienced synaptic loss (12).

It’s important to get enough omega-3s because they are essential fats that your body cannot produce itself.

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