Wednesday, June 17, 2009

E-ZINE ARTICLE: Protecting the Brain: Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Lyme, MS, ALS, Autism, and Depression

By Heidi Whitaker

(E-zine). In the case of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, MS, ALS, autism, Alzheimer’s, lupus, and Lyme Disease, inflammatory proteins called cytokines cross into the brain. They do so through weakened areas of the blood brain barrier (BBB). In the brain, they cause “brain fog,” sleep disturbances, and increased pain, depression, and anxiety. Certain cytokines can deplete the brain of tryptophan, which is necessary in the production of serotonin.

Low serotonin levels can result in non-restorative sleep, depression, increased stress, increased appetite, increased pain perception because of an increase in Substance P, and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). The decrease in serotonin and increase of Substance P may result in low Growth Hormone (HGH) production, which is characteristic of Fibromyalgia.

This tryptophan deficiency is especially detrimental in those who suffer from depression, anxiety, Chronic Lyme, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia sufferers, who already struggle with low serotonin levels.

It is important to strengthen the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) against cytokine invasion. Cytokines will only cross the BBB in an area that it is weakened. Low levels of vitamin B, a deficiency of certain essential fatty acids, and a viral infection, like a cold or flu can weaken the blood brain barrier. A study published in June 2002, in the scientific journal Differentiation, reported new evidence that mobile phone radiation can also weaken the BBB against harmful substances. (Cordless phones pose the same risk, but to a lesser degree.)

Diet and dietary supplements can strengthen the brain’s protective barrier (BBB) against cytokine invasion. Because vitamin C can strengthen capillaries and the blood brain barrier is made up of capillaries, it is reasonable to believe that vitamin C could provide the BBB with added protection. Additionally, animal studies show that flavonoids, like those found in blueberries, bilberries, and grape seeds can protect the blood brain barrier. These flavanoids can be purchased in supplement form. They are also anti-inflammatory, so they protect the brain by reducing cytokine levels and strengthening the BBB.

Heidi Whitaker is an author, popular speaker, and co-founder of She has dedicated her life to the fight against autoimmunity. To download a free copy of her book "Conquering Autoimmunity" visit

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