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How Leaky Brain Can Lead to Autism, Autoimmunity, Alzheimer’s, and More

How Leaky Brain Can Lead to Autism, Autoimmunity, Alzheimer’s, and More

Jan 24, 2023 | Disease, Disorders, and Illnesses, Holistic Health

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that I may earn a small commission from, at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I use or have used myself. All opinions expressed here are my own.

The Consequences of Leaky Brain

While most of us are familiar with leaky gut, many are not aware that increased permeability can also be an issue with the brain. Characterized by inflammation, mood disorders, brain fog, chronic fatigue, impaired cognitive function, and autoimmunity4, leaky brain syndrome occurs when the blood brain barrier becomes compromised. In turn, this allows viruses, bacteria, heavy metals, and other toxins to cross into the brain, triggering a host of neurological disorders.. Needless to say, leaky brain syndrome is something we would like to avoid. Here’s how to minimize the risk along with the steps we can take to heal the condition if it has already developed.

loaf of artisan bread

How The Blood Brain Barrier Becomes Compromised

Similar to what occurs with leaky gut, the junctions found in the blood brain barrier (BBB) can become excessively permeable when occludin and zonulin3 are produced. These are two proteins that cells release when exposed to bacterial toxins or gluten. Lyme disease, Epstein-Barr Virus, mold, and environmental toxins often are problematic as well. As with many chronic diseases, the problem begins in the gut. And since it has been shown time and again that there is a direct correlation between the health of the gut and the brain, leaky gut and leaky brain typically go hand-in-hand.2

Once the exposure to these stressors occurs in the gut, it triggers a cascade of immune response and inflammation — which leads to a destructive cycle of increasing damage to the gut that encourages additional intestinal permeability. When zonulin travels via the bloodstream to the brain, the same sequence of events is set into motion. The tight junctions of the blood brain barrier become compromised, allowing toxins, pathogens, inflammatory markers, and antibodies to pass through that damage brain cells, creating further inflammation and perpetuating the cycle. This chronic neuro-inflammation1 contributes to a range of conditions, including:

  • anxiety disorders
  • depression
  • poor cognitive function
  • Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • ADHD
  • seizures
  • dementia
  • autism and even schizophrenia

Symptoms such as irritability, dizziness, fatigue, headaches and migraines are common. At this point, you may be questioning how you can avoid developing the condition. Let’s explore several options for reducing the risk and, if you are already showing signs of leaky brain syndrome, how to heal.

pickling spices and vegetables in jar

Best Practices for Brain Health

Our lifestyle choices are directly linked to our level of happiness, contentment, health, and, you guessed it, whether or not we develop leaky brain syndrome. Here are several ways we can boost our resiliency and, in the process, improve our overall health and wellbeing.

Stress Less

As you know, ongoing stress can devastate our health and happiness — not to mention it promotes leaky gut and brain. One of my favorite methods for reducing stress is to practice gratitude. Spending time in nature, laughter, specific breathing techniques, and a regular exercise routine are also exceedingly helpful in calming the stress response and encouraging a healthy body and mind.

Clean-Up Your Diet

Not surprisingly, pro-inflammatory foods will aggravate leaky gut and brain. Because of this, it is best to avoid processed, fried, or refined foods; conventional meat and dairy; refined sugar; trans fats, most vegetable oils, and commercial salad dressings. Also steer-clear of gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley, rye, and spelt. Many have experienced improved health when they eliminated grains altogether. A diet that is high in sugar will inevitably lead to blood sugar imbalances, which is one of top reasons why leaky gut and/or leaky brain develops.

Instead, focus on a whole food, Mediterranean-style diet rich in low-glycemic vegetables and fruits, pastured meat and eggs, wild-caught fish, extra-virgin olive oil, and fresh herbs. For overall gut health, fermented foods such as unpasteurized sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles, and unsweetened yogurt and kefir with active cultures. Our Balanced Gut Blend is also an essential addition to any gut maintenance and healing protocol — more on this below.

Boost Sleep Quality

Not only does deep, rejuvenating sleep help to encourage overall health and improved cognitive function, it is also important for detoxification, stress-reduction, and energy. Aim for at least seven hours of quality sleep per night. This post will show you how.

Embrace Intermittent Fasting

Beyond consuming a ketogenic, anti-inflammatory diet, one of the methods I have found most helpful in taming inflammation is to regularly practice intermittent fasting. It is an integral aspect of the protocol I use to manage my multiple sclerosis because it also assists with immune regulation, balanced blood sugar levels, and cellular repair.

Nicoles Apothecary Sleep Blend Tincture

Herbal Solutions

Several botanical formulations offered in my apothecary can help to support you along your healing journey. My top choices for leaky brain include:

Blood Sugar Support. If you need extra help in managing your blood sugar, have a look at our Heart Health Blend. It contains powerful herbs that support the cardiovascular system and eyes, while also encouraging healthy blood sugar levels.

Sound Sleep. If you would like to enjoy a restful night’s sleep, my Sleep Blend Tincture contains potent botanicals that will help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Moreover, it boosts production of GABA, a calming brain chemical that promotes sleep. It also assists in relieving sleep issues connected with menopause, improves sleep quality, and promotes natural sleep patterns — including healthy REM cycles.

Gut Health. To heal a leaky gut and promote a healthy blood brain barrier, our Balanced Gut Blend is an outstanding option. It contains anti-inflammatory and soothing herbs that help to heal the intestinal tract and restore healthy gut function.

Blood Brain Barrier Repair. One of the best natural compounds for healing the BBB is resveratrol. It is well-known for its ability to combat oxidative stress, which can lead to excessive inflammation. It is also antibacterial and antifungal, improves cognitive function, treats Lyme disease, and reduces neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Japanese knotweed is an excellent, bioavailable source of resveratrol and can be found in our Eastern Blend Tincture.

Brain and Cognitive Support. Our Brain Bundle contains a collection of powerful herbal remedies that enhance brain health. This bundle includes dual-extracted, fruiting body tinctures of Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, and Reishi medicinal mushrooms, plus our Lemon Balm tincture.

These 3 mushrooms have unique, research-backed benefits that include: lowering neuroinflammation, stimulating Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), boosting cognitive function, limiting neuronal cell death, enhancing memory, calming stress, combating fatigue, and boosting energy.

Lemon Balm is associated with improvements in memory, mood, and age-related cognitive performance, a reduction in stress and anxiety, and improved clarity and focus.

Interested in learning more about these natural remedies can change your life for the better? Visit the apothecary today!

I hope you have found this post helpful. Wishing you an abundance of good health and happiness!

Nicole Apelian

Nicole’s Apothecary Products in this Post

Nicoles Apothecary Balanced Gut Tincture

Balanced Gut Blend Tincture

Nicole's Apothecary Brain Bundle

Brain Bundle

Nicoles Apothecary Eastern Blend Defense Tincture

Eastern Blend Defense Tincture

Nicoles Apothecary Heart Health Blend Tincture

Heart Health Blend

Nicole's Apothecary Sleep Blend Tincture

Sleep Blend Tincture

  1. Perry V. H. (2010). Contribution of systemic inflammation to chronic neurodegeneration. Acta neuropathologica, 120(3), 277–286. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00401-010-0722-x
  2. Obrenovich MEM. Leaky Gut, Leaky Brain? Microorganisms. 2018; 6(4):107. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms6040107
  3. Fasano A. (2012). Zonulin, regulation of tight junctions, and autoimmune diseases. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1258(1), 25–33. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06538.x
  4. Parodi, B., & Kerlero de Rosbo, N. (2021). The Gut-Brain Axis in Multiple Sclerosis. Is Its Dysfunction a Pathological Trigger or a Consequence of the Disease?. Frontiers in immunology, 12, 718220. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.718220

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