brain health & diet

"Happiness: a good bank account, a good cook, and a good digestion."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau

All body function is controlled by the nervous system (the brain), and there is a particularly intimate relationship with the digestive tract (the gut).  The digestive tract is deeply embedded with a very specialized nerve system. In fact, when you add the numbers, more nerve material is dedicated to the gut than the Central Nervous System. It is, in some respects, an independent "second brain" in direct communication and influence of the brain via the vagus nerve.  This is why what you eat and the health of your gut is critical to resolving your brain based symptoms with therapies such as neurofeedback or nutrient therapy.

Keeping the gut chronically inflamed will result in full body/brain inflammation, poor digestion and malabsorption leading to nutrient deficiency, and potentially auto-immune responses. If a highly permeable lining within the gut allows proteins normally too large for safe passage into the blood, the body then sees these proteins as invaders, and the immune system is put into excessive work to attack them. In the end, the body ends up attacking its own tissues from this lifestyle induced scenario of large food proteins being in the blood.

Causes of Gut Inflammation

Since gut inflammation ultimately leads to brain inflammation, it is important to understand how to stop gut inflammation if we are attempting to restore brain function. Here is a list of the more understood causes of gut inflammation:

Diet: Eating food allergens; toxic chemicals such as artificial sweeteners, artificial colorings, artificial flavorings, preservatives, herbicides, pesticides (such as glyphosate); processed foods high in toxic chemicals; refined sugars and flours.

Chronic Stress: Living in a prolonged state of vigilance creates damage to every body structure. The body is designed for a life-or-death stress response. This involves the release of powerful chemicals to assist the body in explosive, short lived movement. When these chemicals persist at high levels for extended periods of time, however, they are incredibly damaging to cells and organ systems. This includes the gut. It begins by often lowering stomach acid levels, lowering digestive enzyme production, lower digestive tract muscle motility, and results in direct inflammation of the mucosal lining of the gut. This contributes to the development of increased permeability or Leaky Gut Syndrome.

Candida Albicans Overgrowth: Yeast is a normal part of the environment of the gut. There are trillions beyond trillions of small bugs living within our gut. And we need them to survive. But the balance of bacteria type/amount and yeast type/amount is critical to good health. When certain populations of bacteria get destroyed from harmful agents (i.e., antibiotics, hormones in factory- farmed food sources, chlorine in the drinking water), and certain populations get overfed with refined sugars and overgrow, they can multiply out of control and even mutate into more dangerous strains. Their waste products make us sick, and some grow tentacles and attack our intestinal lining directly even further. They can eventually punch through the lining and travel throughout the body setting up home in organ systems including the brain.

Inflammation: Direct inflammation can occur from low stomach acid or infections such as parasites, as well as yeast overgrowth, bacterial overgrowth, toxic chemical overload, and medications.

Medications: Many people do not realize the impact medications can have on the intestinal lining. Certain medications are well known to cause irritation to the mucosal lining. For example, NSAIDs are a class of drugs used for pain and inflammation but always create some irritation in the gut and lead to blood loss.

Zinc deficiency: Zinc is a critical mineral that is often overlooked on so many fronts. It is involved in over 300 various enzyme reactions. It is essential for building and maintaining the strength of the intestinal wall. It is also in its highest concentration in the brain, and it is critical in the formation of neurotransmitters. Zinc deficiency is involved in inflammation, lowered immunity, and brain chemistry imbalances.

Neuronal Dysregulation Syndrome

Nutrition and lifestyle choices are also a causative factor in Neuronal Dysregulation Syndrome, a condition in which the normal healthy brain waves are not at appropriate levels or at appropriate times or in appropriate areas.

While EEG biofeedback (aka, neurofeedback) can correct these imbalances, it is noteworthy to understand that this imbalance in brain wave patterning can be created directly from not eating enough of some foods and/or eating too much of poisonous toxins and "food-stuff by-products."  It is important to remove the causative factor (such as the neurotoxins MSG or aspartame or anything from  the above list causing gut inflammation) from the diet to prevent continual inflammatory attack on the brain while the brain is being trained and attempting to heal itself.

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Dr. Rimka offers 30, 60, and 90 minute private consultations by appointment to help customize a plan based on your genetics, lab results, and personal goals/challenges for yourself and your children. Education and training is based from a variety of influences including the work of Abram Hoffer, MD, (orthomolecular psychiatry); William Walsh, PhD, (orthomolecular medicine); Ben Lynch, ND; David Perlmutter, MD; Jeff Volek, PhD, RD; and Stephen Finney, MD, PhD.

success stories:

"After experiencing extreme anxiety and debilitating fatigue, I was referred to Dr. Stephanie Rimka for neurofeedback. The atmosphere was kind and supportive. After a couple months, my anxiety and fatigue were improving by leaps and bounds. Still to this day, a year and half later, my work at Brain & Body Solutions has lasted, and I feel better than I have in years."

- E.W., Neuroscientist

I have referred several of my clients to Dr. Rimka for neurofeedback. In conjunction with my therapy, the clients who have completed neurofeedback, have, in my opinion, experienced increased insight and happiness. They have also experienced a decrease in depression, anxiety, dissociation, negative thoughts, and insomnia.

I wish all my clients were willing to incorporate neurofeedback into their treatment.

-Cynthia Cosson, Licensed Professional Counselor, DBT Intensively Trained, Imago Therapist

Like many of her patients, I came to Dr. Stephanie with a complex set of problems—autoimmune disease, insomnia, fatigue, and depression...Dr. Stephanie is knowledgeable in many areas, including women’s health, and her counsel was very beneficial. My health improved, my mental state  improved, and I looked forward to every session.

- Lily, Artist

I  had been diagnosed with complex PTSD. I was unable to focus and felt like my life was over. She was patient, kind, went over and beyond what any other provider ever has. Finally, I have shifted and turned a corner in my life. I believe in myself again and ready to face the world with a much more resilient attitude. Her strong and loving presence is a gift and her commitment to her patients is unwavering. I only wish I had met her when I was much younger but like she says, 'It's never too late to become what you might have been.'

- T.D., Speaker/Performer

We first came to see Dr. Rimka to try neurofeedback for our then 5-year-old son who is on the Autism Spectrum...Dr. Rimka has been an invaluable source of information, inspiration, and healing for us.

- E.S., Supermom

Just wanted to thank you for the work you did with me last time I was home. What a beautiful gift you gave me - you gave me my creativity back! My spirit is definitely lighter and happier to be around!

-Robin, Artist

It is very difficult to put into words exactly how instrumental Dr. Rimka has been in helping my son work through his challenges...Despite being very intelligent, he was so anxious that panic attacks were very common to the point he couldn’t even speak...The gratitude and love that we have for them can never be expressed.  I will be bringing my entire family to Dr. Rimka, and I highly recommend her to my clients, friends, and family.

- Andi, Massage Therapist

Emotionally things feel different since our work together. I feel a certain calmness around decisions, and that's nice! Spiritually I notice my thoughts changing to more positive, inspired ones without even consciously trying. Thank you so much for helping me find myself again.

                                                                                          - Cindy, Retired

I feel great today! In fact, I've never felt better.
I don't know what you did, but you did wonders. Thank you!

- Adrienne, HR Executive