This post is the first part out of several in which i divulge what I believe is the most important information from the book UltraMind Solution, written by Dr Mark Hyman M.D.
Disclaimer: I am in no way trying to give the impression that I came up with this information and research by myself, all rights are reserved by Dr. Mark Hyman. Chunks of the text may also be directly quoted from the book without me knowing it.
It’s a good book about nutrition and health in general and it provides a lot of general as well as in depth information, if I were to read just one book about health and nutrition it would probably be this one due to the fact that the book covers a lot of ground and is very easy to read as Dr. Hyman is good at explaining complex matters in a short and concise way.
However I believe that some people may find it too concise (even though it’s roughly 400 pages long) and information-packed.
I just started my own 6 week UltraMind challenge in which I’ll be changing a lot of different eating, sleeping as well as other habits. Most prominent out of these changes is that I’m not doing IF (intermittent fasting) anymore, I’m taking a few new supplements and exchanging my protein powders (whey & casein) for rice protein because I won’t eat dairy products or gluten during these 6 weeks, which is a bit challenging to me as I exercise quite a lot and I really like milk and yoghurt. I’ll come back with some results on that when I finish the experiment, I’ll probably write a post about it.
In the following posts I may end up repeating some of the information that I’ve already mentioned due to my notes from the book being that way, I think it will serve as good repetition for you (repetition must be consistently applied to whatever is of import) and make it stick to your memory.
It would take me forever to write all of my notes into a coherent post, therefore I will leave you with a lot of bullet points from which you may draw the conclusions and I strongly suggest you google anything you don’t understand or find interesting! The following parts will be more fleshy and text-based.
If you apply even half of what I will mention in these posts your life will change.
With that being said, here’s a quote that sums up the whole book:
What you do to your body you do to your brain
-Dr. Mark Hyman
Here’s a picture of Mark Hyman chilling in his library and the book on the right.
- Zinc: Boosts immune system & body’s ability to detoxify itself from things such as harmful metals.
- Magnesium: Deficiency may result in headaches, anxiety and insomnia
- Gluten & mold: May cause inflammation, antibodies attacking one’s own tissue
- Sleep deprivation: Decreases PYY –> hormones that regulate/suppress appetite. Increases the hormone ghrelin –> increased hunger + weight gain. Increases cortisol = BAD
- Cortisol/stress: kills braincells in hippocampus.
- Exercise: increased memory (LGF-1 –>BDNF) + increases production of hormones such as serotonin (vs depression), dopamine (for concentration)
- Zebras don’t get ulcers: Relax, sudden stress, relax. Clear distinction between work & play, life-threatening situations and relaxation.
- Toxins: Stay away from fish in cans, especially the larger ones that eat smaller ones and accumulate larger amounts of poisonous waste such as ddt. (tuna is often bad canned) Be careful with furniture containing formaldehyde
- Drop in IQ has been observed when exposure to lead is in the range of 1-10 micrograms/deciliter. This is very common for children and people living in big cities! :O
- Lead –> lower sex drive, increased risk of stroke & heart attack + much more bad stuff.
- Mercury–> toxic at 1 ppm, “safe” at 0.1 ppm/kg. Children born with high rates of mercury develop their brains worse than a healthy child does.
- EMP (electromagnetic pulses); cellphones, microwaves MAY be harmful. Seems like it but not enough evidence to support the claims, but better safe than sorry!
Fats & your brain
- Omega 3: EDA + DHA(DHA=60% of your brain), eat cod-liver oil, rich in omega-3, vitamin a and vitamin d. Good for everything pretty much..
- Omega 6: Harmful, avoid. Inflaming + irritable
- Phospholipids: PS + PC. Very good, increase memory, attention and detoxification of the body. PC from nuts and eggs. PS from organ-meats, otherwise supplement.
- Essential fats –>Fluid fatty cell membrane –>improves function of hormones, neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin and acecholine=memory) and protein
4 Key roles of Omega-3 fats:
– Building your cell membranes (with the help from phospholipids PC+PS)
– Reducing inflammation –>therefore reducing brain problems such as depression, ADHF, Autism, Alheimer’s.
– Balancing your blood sugar
– Increases the activity of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which works like “a fertilizer for your brain, stimulating new cell growth and increased cell connections”
Without healthy cell membranes you will be deaf to the call of messages coming in
-Dr. Mark Hyman
Cell membranes are made of the following:
– Fatty acids from wild fish and fish oil, omega-3 fats (DHA and EPA).
– Phospholipids, choline from egg yolks, soybeans, peanuts, lentils, sesame seeds, flaxseed. Fats that contain phosphorous, phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphathidylserine (PS) are the two most important ones.
– Cholesterol (from eggs, shrimp, poultry), which acts like glue between molecules.
– Protein, which acts as receptors, transporters, gates, signal transducers. (NECESSARY FOR NEUROTRANSMITTERS)
You may want to supplement with PC if you don’t eat a lot of animal organs (liver, kidney, brains etc), which also may contain a lot of toxins so be careful IF you are eating that.
The best sources of choline are lecithin, which is a dietary source of PC that comes from egg yolks and soybeans.
A fluid membrane improves the structure and function of protein receptors for neurotransmitters like serotonin (depression), dopamine (attention) and acetylcholine (memory). Fluid membranes also improve the function of enzymes and ion channels in the membrane, leading to better cell communication and signals.
Protein – amino acids
(I suggest you look closer at this excellent picture from the book, otherwise I took the privilege of writing out the information for you)
Black = EAA Grey= BCAA (branched chain amino acid,that the body forms by itself out of EAAs) this= Neurotransmitter
EAAs (essential amino acids – which the body cannot produce by itself)
– Tryptophan–>Serotonin –>Both Melatonin & tryptamine
– Methionine –>cysteine–>glutathione
– Phenylalanine–>tyrosine–>thyroxine as well as dopamine–>noradrenaline–>adrenaline
– Lysine –> aspartic acid –>both glutamic acid and asparagine
– Glutamine and Taurine –>GABA(anxiety)
– Glutamine –> pyroglutamate
Tyrosine isimportant for signal transmitting and good brain function), which can also be synthesized in the body from phenylalanine, is found in many high-protein food products such as chicken, turkey, fish, peanuts, almonds, avocados, milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, bananas, and soy products. Tyrosine can also be obtained through supplementation.
Excitatory neurotransmitters: they make you feel happy, energized and stimulated and help you focus, learn and remember. Dopamine and its close cousins (catecholamines) epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Inhibitory neurotransmitters: Make you happy, relaxed and peaceful. GABA + serotonin.
– Dopamine & catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine) = getting focused
– Serotonin = Staying happy
– GABA = Getting relaxed
– Acetylcholine = Learning and remembering
Dopamine is the pleasure and reward neurotransmitter. Responsible for attention and focusing. It motivates you to engage in life. Catecholamines are stimulating and energy-giving.
If you have problems with low dopamine levels or have poor quality receptors of dopamine –> supplement folate,b6,b12 and the protein TYROSINE
The protein Phenylalanine can be supplemented to get catecholamines (epinephrine + norepinephrine)
Serotonin makes you happy. Low levels lead to depression. Eating a lot of refined carbs such as sugars leads to spikes in serotonin and makes you happy – until you crash and feel even worse + gain weight and other negative effects.
Serotonin is created out of protein, tryptophan. Eat a lot of protein to supplement.
WHY YOU HAVE LOW SEROTONIN:
- Cortisol (stress) breaks down tryptophan and that leaves less serotonin.
- Anything that causes inflammation such as grains, sugar, allergies, toxins, infections. The inflammatory messenger molecules called cytokines such as interferon gamma stimulate the enzymes TDO and IDO which break down tryptophan transforms it into the neurotransmitter glutamate which kills braincells.
- Consuming too much sugar and not enough protein in your diet. Consuming too much sugar also makes your blood-sugar imbalanced due to becoming resistant to insulin, if you eat too many processed foods or high sugar.
- Deficiency in vitamin B6, which helps transform tryptophan into serotonin. This deficiency is often caused by drinking too much alcohol, being too stressed or overconsuming medication.
- Deficiency in magnesium. Reasons for being deficient in magnesium à drinking too much alcohol, caffeine, sugar, cortisol.
SSRI = selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Blocks serotonin from being reabsorbed into the nerve cells after it has sent out its “happy” message. This leaves more serotonin to create the same happy messages over again.
Low levels of GABA(gamma-aminobutyiric acid) = Hinders you from effectively recovering and relaxing quickly from stressful or dangerous situations when cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine is released. IT PROLONGS THE RELAXATIONS RESPONSE
Within 60 minutes of taking GABA-supplements or such the body emits alpha-waves of relaxation. GABA increases the immune system, which works best when you are relaxed.
Supplement with: Taurine, b3, b6, b12 and magnesium.
Herbs such as kava, valerian, hops and passion flower.
Acetylcholine: memory, learning, thinking process and concentration.
Supplement with: B5, eggs, choline, PC +PS,
Vitamin A Vitamin B3 (niacin)
Carotenoids Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
Vitamin D Vitamin B6 (folic acid)
Vitamin E Vitamin B12
Vitamin K Biotin
Vitamin C Choline
Vitamin B1 (thiamin) Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
Macrominerals – needed in large amounts
Magnesium Sulfur Phosphorus
Needed in smaller amounts
Essential Amino Acids
Essential Fatty Acids
Gamma linolenic acid (GLA)
Alpha linoleic acid (ALA)
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Eicosapentanoic acid (EPA)
Needed under special (demanding or stressful) situations
Tyrosine –amino acid for brain
Phospatidylserine – special fat
Q10 – coenzyme
Alpa lipoic acid
- The DRI – daily recommended intake of vitamins is based on research of withstanding deficiencies – the bare minimum – not based on living optimally. So take more vitamins than recommended
Here’s part 2!