APEX Brain Centers

How Metabolic and Nutritional Therapy Can Improve Your Cognitive Function

The modern lifestyle has led to an increased focus on the link between nutrition, metabolic homeostasis, and cognitive function. One key factor influencing cognitive health is the quality of our diet, as certain dietary components are known to affect brain function directly. For instance, diets high in sugar and unhealthy fats decrease cognitive performance. In contrast, a diet rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory components, and healthy fats can reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

At APEX Brain Centers, we understand the need for a holistic approach to cognitive health, and we have seen firsthand how our functional neurology assessments and interventions become significantly more impactful when combined with metabolic and nutritional therapies. Our comprehensive care focuses on functional neurology,  low-level laser therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, neurofeedback, balance and vestibular therapies, eye movement rehabilitation, frequency-based modalities, and home care programs to support recovery and promote optimum cognitive and mental health.

Incorporating these metabolic and nutritional therapies into our practice has allowed us to help individuals with a wide range of cognitive impairments and learning and behavioral disorders such as anxiety, ADHD, OCD, PTSD, addiction, and more. By addressing the underlying aspects of these conditions through a combination of leading-edge neurological and metabolic rehabilitative therapies, we can empower our clients to improve cognitive function and live healthier, more fulfilling lives.

The Basic Concept of Metabolic and Nutritional Therapy

At APEX Brain Centers, we understand the importance of metabolism and nutrition in maintaining and enhancing cognitive function. Metabolism is the chemical and hormonal process influencing cellular, tissue, or organ functions. These processes are essential for producing energy, repairing the body’s cells, and sustaining life. On the other hand, nutrition involves consuming essential nutrients from our diet to maintain and promote overall health.

A tailored metabolic and nutritional therapy plan is crucial for supporting brain function, energy levels, and general vitality. This customized approach can help clients with various needs, including those suffering from cognitive impairments, learning and behavioral disorders, and brain injuries. Addressing our clients’ metabolic and nutritional needs involves analyzing individual dietary patterns and determining specific nutrient requirements. By ensuring that our clients consume a well-balanced diet emphasizing healthy fats, low sugar/carbohydrate, and moderate protein intake, we can support their overall cognitive health and maximize the effectiveness of our focused therapies. Additionally, our metabolic and nutritional therapy plans often include supplementation to address deficiencies or imbalances that can negatively impact cognitive function.

The synergistic combination of proper nutrition and metabolic support with our other functional neurological therapies allows us to offer a comprehensive care plan for our clients. Our therapeutic approaches can improve cognitive function and overall wellness as we provide targeted treatments to address underlying neurological and metabolic issues.

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The Relationship Between Nutrition and Cognitive Function

Nutrition is vital in maintaining proper brain function, as the nutrients we consume directly affect our mental health. A well-balanced diet, rich in nutrients, has been shown to enhance cognitive abilities in individuals of all ages.

With our vast clinical experience and reliance on objective measures provided through sophisticated laboratory testing, we’re confident in our ability to provide evidence-supported facts on the correlation between nutrition and brain function, drawing from extensive research and expertise in the field. Various studies have demonstrated the importance of both macro and micronutrients in supporting optimal brain health. Essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B and D, and antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables are crucial for maintaining a healthy brain and supporting cognitive abilities.

While the proper intake of essential nutrients is vital for well-being, it is equally essential to avoid potentially harmful substances. Experiencing a nutrient deficiency or consuming unhealthy foods may impair cognitive function or even exacerbate cognitive decline in older adults. In our practice at APEX Brain Centers, we focus on providing comprehensive care to address the needs of individuals with brain injuries, cognitive impairment, and learning and behavioral disorders (OCD, anxiety, ADHD, addiction, etc.) through comprehensive neurological and metabolic treatment programs.

Influence of Diet on Cognitive Health

As part of our comprehensive care, APEX Brain Centers emphasizes the importance of metabolic and nutritional therapies to support optimal mental health.

There is a strong emerging need to identify the role of diet and nutrition factors in age-related cognitive decline. A diet rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components, such as those found in whole foods like fruits, nuts, vegetables, and fish, may reduce age-related cognitive decline and the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, individual nutrients such as vitamins, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and flavonoids play an essential role in enhancing cognitive performance among healthy older people.

Our foundational neurological and metabolic rehabilitative therapies at APEX Brain Centers make most other treatments more effective, contributing to better outcomes with mental health and other services. We firmly believe that a healthy diet and specific metabolic and nutritional therapies can significantly improve cognitive function and overall brain health.

We understand that diet is crucial to cognitive health and brain function. We aim to incorporate metabolic and nutritional therapies to support our clients in achieving optimal cognitive function and overall brain health, ultimately improving their quality of life.

Protein’s Role in Cognition

At APEX Brain Centers, we recognize the importance of dietary components like protein for cognitive function. Research has shown that protein intake positively impacts executive function and working memory, especially when task demands are high. This essential macronutrient plays a vital role in various mechanisms linked to cognition and overall brain health.

Protein forms the building blocks for neurotransmitters necessary for effective communication between brain cells. Adequate protein intake ensures these neurotransmitters are formed and function optimally, thus supporting cognitive processes. Furthermore, protein and thiamine intake contributes to an excellent overall nutritional status, positively affecting cognition.

We understand that each person has unique needs; thus, we develop personalized nutritional plans to optimize cognitive function and overall well-being. As part of our metabolic and dietary therapies, we emphasize the importance of protein intake to ensure optimal cognitive function. In addition to a balanced diet, various supplementation options can be recommended depending on individual needs.

The Impact of Glucose and Aging on Cognitive Function

Glucose is the primary energy source for our brain and any fluctuations in its supply can subsequently (and significantly) affect brain function. As people age, changes in glucose metabolism may contribute to cognitive decline, further highlighting the importance of maintaining a stable glucose supply for our brain. Just Google Type 3 Diabetes and you will begin to understand how important a concept this is to understand for our aging population.

Aging, metabolic dysfunction, and cognitive impairment often come hand in hand. While these factors are closely related, their causal relationship still needs to be fully understood1. However, we know that glucose metabolism undergoes significant alterations with age, making it crucial to pinpoint nutritional strategies to help protect cognitive function in older adults.

Research has shown that glucose load can have acute effects on memory and cognitive functions, especially in elderly individuals2. Thus, it becomes imperative for us to understand and manage glucose intake for better cognitive health.

In addition to glucose management, attention to nutrient intake and nutritional status is paramount in preventing the loss of cognitive abilities with aging3. Nutrients, such as healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, play critical roles in maintaining cognitive function. Ensuring a well-balanced diet can help reduce the burden of aging-related cognitive impairment.

Combining functional neurology assessments and interventions with metabolic and nutritional therapies significantly enhances the impact and efficacy of cognitive health services. By addressing the underlying metabolic and nutritional aspects, we can improve cognitive function in older individuals and help combat the cognitive decline associated with aging.

Relevance of Gut Microbiota in Cognitive Health

At APEX Brain Centers, we recognize the importance of gut microbiota in cognitive health. The gut microbiome plays a significant role in modulating brain function, ultimately affecting mood and cognitive function. Many studies have shown that an imbalance in gut microbiota can negatively impact the brain’s function, leading to poor memory, reduced attention span, and impaired learning capabilities.

Research has demonstrated that gut microbiota intervention can improve cognition, benefiting visuospatial memory, verbal learning and memory, and attentional vigilance. This research highlights the importance of maintaining a diverse and balanced gut microbiome for optimal cognitive function.

Diet plays a crucial role in shaping the gut microbiome, with specific dietary patterns promoting a healthy microbial balance. At APEX Brain Centers, we encourage our clients to adopt a diet rich in healthy fats, low sugar, antioxidants, and other nutrients essential for optimal brain health. Supporting the gut microbiota through nutritional therapies and supplementation is crucial to our comprehensive cognitive rehabilitation program.

By integrating metabolic and nutritional therapies into our treatment approach, based on comprehensive gut/stool laboratory analysis, we have observed that patient outcomes are far more effective. This integration underscores the importance of considering the gut-brain connection in the management of cognitive health and brain function. We remain dedicated to providing leading-edge therapies that address these complex relationships to promote optimal brain health for our clients.

Analysis of Fats, Proteins and Carbohydrates (Macronutrients)

At APEX Brain Centers, we understand the importance of nutritional balance in maintaining and improving cognitive function. One essential aspect of this balance is the intake of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Each of these macronutrients plays a vital role in the body, including the brain.

Fats are essential for proper brain function, as they serve as a primary energy source and help build and protect nerve cells. Healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, have been shown to promote brain health and cognitive function by supporting memory, learning, and mental processing. Including healthy fats in daily meals, such as avocados, nuts, and seeds, can contribute to a nutrition plan that supports cognitive health.

Proteins are crucial for building and repairing tissues, including those in the brain. Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, are vital for neurotransmission and maintaining brain health. Consuming adequate amounts of high-quality protein sources, such as lean meats, fish, eggs, and legumes, can help enhance cognitive function and support brain health.

Carbohydrates serve as the body’s primary source of energy. In particular, glucose metabolism is essential for cognitive function, as glucose supplies the fuel necessary for brain cells to function optimally. However, focusing on consuming complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits (in limited quantities), and vegetables instead of simple sugars is crucial, which may cause an energy crash and negatively affect cognitive function.

Nutrient’s Role in Neurological Disorders

Nutrients play a crucial role in maintaining optimal brain health and cognitive function.

A well-balanced diet rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats can significantly impact our cognitive abilities and overall brain health. Some nutrients that influence cognitive function include omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, B vitamins, and magnesium. These nutrients are known to directly impact brain development, neurotransmitter synthesis, brain cell signaling, and synaptic plasticity.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish, walnuts, and chia seeds, are essential for proper neuronal function. They contribute to forming and maintaining neuronal cell membranes and help reduce inflammation, which is involved in neurological disorders.
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, help protect the brain from oxidative stress and free radical damage. These compounds can be found in many fruits, vegetables, and nuts. A diet high in antioxidants can help maintain overall brain health and cognition.
  • B vitamins: B vitamins, such as B6, B9 (folate), and B12, play vital roles in nearly all aspects of brain function, from energy production to DNA synthesis and repair. Deficiencies in these vitamins have been linked to cognitive decline and neurological disorders. Food sources include dark leafy greens, whole grains, fish, and dairy products.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium is involved in numerous cellular functions, including energy production, DNA replication, and cellular signaling. Magnesium deficiency has been implicated in several neurological disorders. Rich food sources of magnesium include leafy green vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. Specific magnesium supplementation is necessary for proper brain health, and no two forms of magnesium are created equally.

Incorporating these nutrients into your daily diet, combined with targeted metabolic and nutritional therapies, is an important aspect of our comprehensive approach at APEX Brain Centers. 

Exploring the Mediterranean and Ketogenic Diets

Two diets that have garnered attention for their potential benefits to brain health are the Mediterranean and ketogenic diets. Both of these nutritional approaches focus on the intake of healthy fats, which may play a role in supporting brain function and overall health.

The Mediterranean diet is primarily based on the Mediterranean region’s traditional eating habits, which emphasizes the consumption of whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats such as olive oil. This diet also includes moderate amounts of fish, poultry, and dairy while limiting red meat and processed foods. Studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower risk of age-related cognitive decline and may even protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

On the other hand, the ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that aims to shift the body’s metabolism towards using ketone bodies as its primary fuel source instead of glucose. This metabolic state, known as ketosis, has been shown to support various aspects of brain health. Research suggests that the ketogenic diet may influence several biological processes, including mitochondrial energy metabolism, inflammatory processes, oxidative stress, and monoaminergic activity, all of which can impact cognitive function.

When it comes to nutritional therapy, a combination of a well-formulated dietary plan and our foundational neurological and metabolic rehabilitative therapies can significantly increase the effectiveness of our functional neurological approaches. By incorporating elements of the Mediterranean and ketogenic diets, we aim to support our clients’ cognitive function and overall well-being, helping them achieve improved brain health.

Importance of Vitamins (Micronutrients) in Brain Function

In our practice at APEX Brain Centers, we have found vitamins essential for maintaining and improving cognitive function. Specifically, vitamins such as folate, vitamin A, and vitamin C play a crucial role in brain functioning. We will briefly discuss their significance in this section.

Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is vital for proper brain function, supporting the production and repair of DNA, synthesizing neurotransmitters, and utilizing amino acids. A folate deficiency can lead to cognitive impairments such as memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and even mood disorders. In our experience, providing adequate folate levels through metabolic and nutritional therapies can significantly enhance the effectiveness of other interventions for cognitive impairment.

Vitamin A, essential for healthy vision, is also vital in brain and neuroimmune function. It supports the maintenance of neurons, enables the production of neurotransmitters, and helps with memory formation. Ensuring an adequate intake of vitamin A in combination with other therapies can help promote better cognitive function and enhance the treatment outcomes for individuals with brain injuries, learning, and behavioral disorders.

Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, is crucial for a healthy immune system and plays a significant role in brain health. It helps in the production of neurotransmitters, protects the brain from oxidative stress, and aids in the regeneration of other essential antioxidants. We have found that incorporating vitamin C in our metabolic and nutritional therapies contributes to positive outcomes in managing cognitive impairments and brain injuries.

Proper vitamin intake is essential for optimal brain functioning. We emphasize the importance of incorporating vitamins such as folate, vitamin A, and vitamin C, among many others, in our metabolic and nutritional therapies at APEX Brain Centers. This comprehensive approach allows us to address cognitive impairments, learning and behavioral disorders, and brain injuries more effectively, ensuring our clients’ best possible outcomes.

Probiotics and Gut-Brain Axis Regulation

Building on our earlier discussion of the gut microbiome, we recognize the massive importance of the gut-brain axis in cognitive health. The gut-brain axis is a network of connections between the gut and the brain, allowing for bidirectional communication. This communication is primarily mediated by the gut microbiome, which can modulate various processes, such as neurotransmitter production.

Probiotics play a significant role in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. Research has shown that probiotics, particularly strains of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, may improve depression and other mental and cognitive health conditions. Moreover, probiotics have been found to influence the regulation of the gut-brain axis, contributing to improved cognitive function.

To optimize gut-brain axis functioning, we implement metabolic and nutritional therapies that incorporate probiotics into individualized treatment plans to maximize gut-brain axis functioning. By doing so, we aim to support the health of the gut microbiome and subsequently improve cognitive function.

By studying the relationship between the gut-brain axis, probiotics, and gut microbiome via sophisticated laboratory analysis, we can better understand how these factors collectively impact cognitive health. As we continue to explore these connections and their therapeutic potential, we remain committed to incorporating leading-edge strategies and approaches into our practice. This knowledge enables us to provide the most effective and comprehensive care possible for our patients at APEX Brain Centers.

Effects of Blood Glucose and Body Weight on Cognition

Blood glucose levels and body weight play significant roles in cognitive function, with several studies emphasizing their impact on cognition over time.

Chronic fluctuations in blood glucose can have detrimental effects on cognitive performance. According to a study, although an acute rise in blood glucose levels may provide short-term improvements, maintaining stable blood glucose levels and avoiding larger peaks and troughs can lead to better cognitive function and reduced risk of cognitive impairment in the long term.

In addition, obesity or carrying excess body fat can negatively impact the brain due to inflammation and hormonal imbalances. It has been observed that adipokines, such as interleukin (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), and leptin, can cross the blood-brain barrier and affect cognitive function. These inflammatory markers, in conjunction with high blood glucose levels, can contribute to cognitive decline.

Comprehensive Approach to Cognitive Health Enhancement

To help our clients maintain their cognitive function and prevent cognitive impairment, we emphasize the importance of metabolic and nutritional therapies in our practice at APEX Brain Centers. In addition to these measures, our approach includes:

  • Functional neurology assessments: We design individualized treatment plans to assess the underlying neurological factors contributing to cognitive dysfunction.
  • Low-level laser therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and neurofeedback help boost the brain’s healing process and improve cognitive function.
  • Balance, vestibular therapies, and eye movement rehabilitation: We aim to enhance coordination and mental processing through targeted exercises and therapies.
  • Metabolic and nutritional therapies: We determine the optimal balance of healthy fats, proteins, and other essential nutrients to sustain cognitive function and promote brain health.

Metabolic and Nutritional Therapy for Specific Neurological Conditions

At APEX Brain Centers, we have seen the impact of metabolic and nutritional therapies on various neurological conditions. Some of the most common conditions in which these therapies have been beneficial include Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, brain injury, and other neurological disorders.

Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, affects memory and cognitive abilities. Research has shown the importance of nutrition in managing Alzheimer’s symptoms and potentially slowing disease progression. For instance, a Mediterranean diet—high in healthy fats, antioxidants, and plant-based foods—is associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and improved cognitive function4. In our practice, we incorporate metabolic and nutritional therapies to support overall brain health for individuals with Alzheimer’s.

Parkinson’s disease is another common neurological disorder with motor and non-motor symptoms. Dietary interventions, such as increasing antioxidant-rich foods and healthy fats, have been found to support overall brain health and potentially manage Parkinson’s symptoms. At APEX Brain Centers, we include customized metabolic and nutritional therapies for our clients with Parkinson’s disease and other functional neurology assessments and interventions.

For individuals experiencing various neurological conditions, it’s essential to address the underlying nutritional and metabolic aspects of brain health. Our expertise in functional neurology, low-level laser therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, neurofeedback, and more has proven valuable in combination with metabolic and nutritional therapies. 

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  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5166514/
  2. https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article/73/2/92/1820349
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27116240/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9833464/

Dr. Michael S. Trayford is a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and Neurofeedback Specialist with over 20 years of experience in the practice of advanced functional neurology. He is one of the most highly sought-after brain rehabilitation specialists because of the life-changing outcomes his patients consistently experience. After over a decade in private practice and working alongside other pioneers in the field, Dr. Trayford developed his multimodal intensive brain training and rehabilitation program built around the science of Neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to learn and grow dependent upon the stimulation it receives from its environment. He later founded APEX Brain Centers to combine his ground-breaking rehabilitation approach with a unique patient and caretaker-centered care model. Under Dr. Trayford’s leadership, APEX Brain Centers has successfully treated thousands of patients and earned the reputation of a world-renowned brain training and rehabilitation practice. Since its inception, Dr. Trayford has been a leader of the Brain Training revolution treating patients worldwide. In addition, he is a published journal contributor and international lecturer. His experience with various patients of all ages and neurological conditions has given him a unique perspective on brain health and human performance. He is also well-versed in collaborating with other health care professionals, making him an invaluable asset to any care team. Dr. Trayford was awarded the Functional Neurologist of the Year distinction by the International Association of Functional Neurology and Rehabilitation, where he is a proud member and conference lecturer. Currently, he serves on the Advisory Council for the Dementia Society of America and the Board of Directors for the International Society for Neuroregulation and Research. He is also a servant leader who has dedicated his adult life to serving multiple communities through Rotary International and other notable causes. When he’s not treating patients, Dr. Trayford usually reads or researches anything related to the brain, human performance, and leadership. He also loves spending time outdoors with his wife Denise, their two daughters, and dogs in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina. https://www.linkedin.com/in/drmichaeltrayford/

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