The Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) is an example of the pure ingenuity of the human body. The BBB protects our complicated neuro-network from outside pathogens, metabolic changes, and molecular substances that may be harmless to other organs but toxic to the brain.
The blood brain barrier is very selective as to which substances it allows to pass through it. It is these substances, however, which hold the key to brain and overall health, including the proliferation and healing of brain-related and other forms of cancer.
The Blood-Brain Barrier: Sentries at the Border of the Brain
The Blood-Brain Barrier is stitched together with high-density endothelial cells that severely limit its permeability. Vessels of the BBB lack “fenestration,” the process in which pores are able to rapidly exchange molecules between tissue and those vessels. The BBB also has “tight junctions” which further restrict what gets in.
Along its borders, neurons and non-neuronal cells are on constant watch and act as a “detoxification unit.” These cells also maintain the integrity and functionality of the central nervous system as a whole.
All this activity means that,under normal conditions, only substances that meet certain “criteria” are allowed access to the brain. These include very small molecules that are “lipid soluble” and are not “substrates of active efflux transporters (AETs).” These include some gases and water as well as glucose and amino acids that are transported by other smaller substances, namely “carrier-mediated transporters (CMTs)” or “receptor-mediated transporters (RMTs).”
How Inflammation Impacts the BBB
The most important thing to remember about the normal functioning of the BBB is that all this changes with inflammation.
When the BBB becomes inflamed, it is compromised and begins to allow larger particles, including pathogens and “xenobiotic compounds” (i.e. environmental toxins), to pass through its surface. For years, scientists knew there was a connection between inflammation and the weakening of the Blood-Brain Barrier, but they didn’t know what the connection was.
In 2014, however, a joint study of researchers from the UK and the Netherlands discovered a common link: the MicroRNA-155 molecule, which has the ability to create microscopic gaps in neuro-epithelial cells that can then let pathogens through.
Elevated levels of MicroRNA-155 are partly responsible for the condition that is now called “Leaky Brain.” Interestingly, high MiRNA-155 levels are also associated with a variety of cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumors, and breast cancer.
The Leaky Gut-Leaky Brain Connection
The condition that functional medicine experts now call “Leaky Brain” sounds suspiciously like another ailment common in our modern world − Leaky Gut Syndrome. “Leaky Brain” is being connected to anxiety and depression, brain fog, and more severe conditions such as autism and multiple sclerosis. As it turns out, the connection is about more than just a name.
There is a good reason why the gut is called “the other brain.” Both the brain and the gut share many similarities, including a limited-permeability barrier that separates these two systems from the circulatory system. The gut and the brain also share protein substances occludin and zonulin, which help to determine the integrity of both the gut lining and the Blood-Brain Barrier. Tests that determine elevated antibodies for these proteins are one way to find out if you have both Leaky Brain Syndrome and Leaky Gut.
Of course, Leaky Gut has long been connected with the prevalence of many conditions, such as autoimmune disease and allergies. A 2012 study conducted at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia made the connection between Leaky Gut and cancer as well. Guanylyl cyclase C (GC-C) is a tumor-suppressing hormone receptor that resides in the intestinal tract and plays a role in maintaining its structural integrity.
According to Scott Waldman, PhD, MD, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Program at Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center, when GC-C was silenced in laboratory mice, it didn’t just compromise the intestinal barrier’s integrity. GC-C suppression also allowed for increased inflammation and the seepage of cancer-causing agents into the bloodstream, which damaged DNA. Cancers quickly formed outside of the gut area, including in the liver, lungs, and lymph nodes.
In 2011, Chinese researchers discovered Gaunylyl Cyclase-C in the brain as well. Scientists at Peking Union Medical College found the molecule in midbrain dopamine neurons. When GC-C was removed in laboratory mice, they exhibited hyperactivity and characteristics of ADHD. When it was reintroduced, the mice returned to normal.
4 Ways to Reduce Inflammation, Improve Your Brain Health, and Prevent Cancer
There are dozens of ways to reduce inflammation, help heal the gut-brain connection, and prevent cancer. Here are four simple ways you can start doing all three today:
- Limit Your Exposure to Cellphone Electro-Pollution. Studies have shown time and again the devastation that can happen to your brain and body with overexposure to cell phone EMF (electro-magnetic) radiation.Every time you put that cellphone to your ear, here’s what happens: a sensor in the outer membrane of each cell is triggered by the invading radio wave. This causes the cells to introduce a cascade of biochemical reactions as a way of protecting themselves. Stress proteins are then produced which “harden” the cell membrane so that waste material and toxins cannot escape. This creates the build-up of free radicals within the cells. The result? You guessed it. An inflammatory response, the elevation of MiRNA-155 molecules, and the compromising of the Blood-Brain Barrier, which allows toxins to flood the brain.This process could eventually be a trigger for brain tumors and other diseases. In fact, a recent report found that just a half hour of unprotected, close-range cellphone use can increase your risk of brain tumor by 40%!
The bad news about EMF exposure is also the good news. Cellular deterioration happens rapidly; each time you are exposed to EMF, your BBB begins to deteriorate. The good news is that the whole process is quickly reversed by simply removing the source of the EMF radiation. Cell phones are a part of our world and are not going away any time soon.
There are things you can do to protect yourself, however. Get in the habit of using your speakerphone when you talk. Also, consider using a scientifically-validated EMF Protection device on your cellphone, as well as other electronics, especially computers and routers that broadcast WIFI.
- Lower Your Consumption of Wheat Products. Even if you do not have Celiac or gluten intolerance, get in the habit of limiting your consumption of commercially-produced breads, pastries, and pastas. Wheat products have been shown to contain a substance called Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA), which has been linked to immuno- and neurotoxicity.For those with imbalanced gut flora, Candida overgrowth, or intolerances to gluten and/or dairy, the presence of gluten and casein (from dairy) can cause “self-intoxication effects” through the production of alcohol-like gaseous substances, especially acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde can affect protein-binding and can lead to malabsorption of B vitamins, which are essential in the production of neurotransmitters and hormone balancing.Japanese health expert and professor Kazudzo Nishi has stated that “at least one in ten psychiatric conditions is due to self-intoxication coming from the bowel.” If you are on a Healthy Breast protocol or have any disease condition, consider eliminating gluten and dairy from your diet completely.
- Get Enough Good Quality Sleep. Melatonin is the only antioxidant known that can bypass the Blood-Brain Barrier. It is produced while you sleep and is produced in the pineal gland, which resides just outside of the BBB. Studies have shown that melatonin stimulates tumor-suppressing genes and counteracts the effects of aggressive estrogens, including toxic “Xenoestrogens” that can lead to breast cancer.Melatonin can also help prevent brain degeneration. Melatonin deficiencies are linked to both Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer. Cell phone EMF exposure can suppress the production of melatonin, which is yet another reason to follow safe mobile phone practices.
- Consider Natural Substances that Promote Brain Health and Lower Inflammation. These include healthy fats,curcumin, and essential oils such as frankincense. The brain is made up of about 60% fat so when you ingest healthy fats such as Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oils, and flax oil, you are not only helping your gut and your whole body, you are helping your brain as well!In addition, studies have shown that the natural substance curcumin, found in the Indian spice turmeric, is one of the few outside substances capable of bypassing the Blood-Brain Barrier. It holds promise for not only its proven anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, but also for its potential in regenerating new brain stem cells.Finally, because essential oils are aromatics made up of tiny particles, they are able to bypass the BBB for healing. Studies using both frankincense and myrrh have shown their effectiveness in generating apoptosis in brain tumors as well as other cancers. Oils such as peppermint essential oil can have an immediate effect on mental alertness and problem-solving skills. Clary sage helps with hormone-balancing and provides an instant sense of calm.
Inflammation Impacts Everything
New scientific evidence about the connection between the BBB, the gut, and inflammation tells us what ancient healing systems have known for centuries. Your health depends on a delicate interplay of substances, communications, and interactions between all systems. What affects one system affects them all.
Science is beginning to discover the particular molecular pathways through which this occurs and it seems that they are all pointing to one main culprit when it comes to disease: inflammation. Become an advocate for your own brain and gut health by making simple changes to your lifestyle and diet that will reduce inflammation and lead to vibrant health!
- The blood-brain barrier (BBB) protects our complicated neuro-network from outside pathogens, metabolic changes, and molecular substances that may be harmless to other organs but toxic to the brain.
- Under normal conditions, only substances that meet certain “criteria” are allowed access to the brain.
- When the BBB becomes inflamed, it is compromised and begins to allow larger particles, including pathogens and “xenobiotic compounds” (i.e. environmental toxins), to pass through its surface.
- “Leaky Brain” is being connected to anxiety and depression, brain fog, and more severe conditions such as autism and multiple sclerosis.
- There are dozens of ways to reduce inflammation, help heal the gut-brain connection, and prevent cancer. Here are four simple ways you can start doing all three today:
1. Limit Your Exposure to Cellphone Electro-Pollution
2. Lower Your Consumption of Wheat Products
3. Get Enough Good Quality Sleep
4. Consider Natural Substances that Promote Brain Health and Lower Inflammation including healthy fats, curcumin, and essential oils such as frankincense