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[The following is the full transcript of this video blog. Please note that this video, like all of Dr. Chiu's blog videos, features Dr. Chiu speaking extemporaneously– he is unscripted for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!]
What up my friends? I'm Dr. Titus Chiu. And this is the Modern Brain.
If so, then you might be a victim of brain fatigue. In this video, I'll be sharing with you the top five root causes of brain fatigue.
You are unique and your brain is too. So if you're struggling with a brain health challenge, like brain fatigue, we need to do what's right for you and your brain. So the most important first step is to get to the ROOT CAUSE for why you have brain fatigue in the first place.
Brain fatigue can be due to many different root causes, but the underlying common denominator boils down to two things:
If you're not getting enough energy to your brain, your brain cells will become fatigued. It's that simple.
But on the flip side of that, if your brain cells are using up a lot, a lot of energy, you can also experience fatigue.
And those two distinctions are extremely important when we're trying to determine the underlying root cause for your brain fatigue number one, and more importantly, what we can do about it.
What are some examples of how much energy your brain has?
If you don't have enough of the proper nutrients that your brain requires to fuel itself and to give you the energy your brain cells need to perform whatever you're trying to do– if you’re trying to learn something, you're trying to remember things, you're trying to stay awake and focus and present with your friends and family, or you're trying to do your job properly without crashing.
If you don't have the nutrients that your brain needs, then your brain is going to become fatigued. And you're going to experience all the symptoms of brain fatigue.
In addition, if you're not getting enough proper blood flow to your brain, you're also not going to get the acquired nutrients or oxygen to give your brain cells the energy they need to perform your brain functions.
Now, the second thing we need to look at is how much energy your brain uses up. So as an example, if you're working long periods and long stretches of time without taking any breaks, or if you're in school and you're cramming for an exam, then you're using up a lot more energy.
So even if you're getting enough nutrients and you have enough oxygenation to your brain, you're using up all that energy just to maintain sustain throughout the day. So that's one way in which you can be burning up a lot more energy, just because you're using your brain all the time.
Concussion and Brain Fatigue
Another common cause for that is if you've sustained a concussion, which many patients I've worked with, have experienced a concussion. So as an example, many of them were able to do things like work or study or focus or pay attention or be engaged in a conversation with a certain amount of energy.
But then after their concussion, they found that that same level of energy that they're getting to do the things that they're trying to do now after the concussion just didn't cut it. And so it took them two or three or five or ten times longer to accomplish the same thing now as they were able to do easily with the same amount of energy prior to their concussion.
So that's another way of understanding how brain fatigue because by not just how much energy your brain is receiving, but how much it's using up.
So now that you understand the two common denominators, number one: how much energy your brain has. And number two: how much energy your brain is using, you'll now understand the top five root causes for brain fatigue in a much deeper way.
So without any further ado, here are the top five root causes for brain fatigue:
One of the major sources of energy to your brain is glucose. And so if you have blood sugar imbalances from eating too much refined sugars as an example, your brain receives energy but it uses it up super fast. And then you can have a jolt of energy and then crash. So root cause number one for brain fatigue is blood sugar imbalances.
Mitochondria are what are known as the powerhouses of your cells, in particular, your brain cells. Your mitochondria give your brain cells the energy they need to survive and thrive. And so if your mitochondria are burnt out, they're not doing well, and they're not going to be able to give your brain the energy it needs to function properly and you will experience brain fatigue. And so that's the second most common root cause for brain fatigue.
When I say hormones, I don't just mean the sex hormones like estrogen, testosterone, progesterone. Those are very important when it comes to brain health, believe it or not, but what I'm actually referring to here are two very important hormones when we're talking about energy for your brain:
And so if you have imbalances in your adrenal hormones or your thyroid hormones, that can really be a very common root cause for brain fatigue. And so the third most common root cause for brain fatigue is hormone imbalances.
Brain inflammation is when you have high levels of pro-inflammatory chemicals and compounds that we call cytokines, coursing through your blood vessels that are also supplying the nutrients to your brain cells. If in addition to nutrients and oxygen, you also have high levels of these cytokines and inflammatory chemicals, then your brain cells and brain communication can become muffled.
And that can be a major root cause of brain fatigue. And so the fourth most common root cause for brain fatigue is brain inflammation. And finally, the fifth most common root cause for brain fatigue and a very under-recognized root cause I might add is weak neural networks.
So what do I mean by that?
Well, your brain is made up of trillions of different cells, what we call neurons. And all those brain cells communicate with one another and what we call neural networks. And so if you have weakness or a breakdown in communication between those brain cells, that can lead to the symptoms of brain fatigue as well.
Because even if you have enough energy, and your blood sugar is balanced, your mitochondria are healthy, your hormones are balanced, and you don't have brain inflammation– if you have a weakness in the communication pathways between your neural networks, then communication becomes very inefficient.
And so you require a lot more energy, just to do the things that you're able to do before.
Post-Concussion Syndrome and Brain Fatigue
Again, that goes back to the example of patients I work with post-concussion syndrome.
Even though they might have enough energy– they have good blood sugar balance, they don't have a lot of inflammation because they've changed their diet or they've taken supplements– when they have weak neural networks, even though they're getting enough energy, the communication becomes inefficient.
And so the amount of energy that their brain needs to function properly goes way up. If they're not getting a lot more nutrients because of their weak neural networks, then they will experience brain fatigue.
Three ways to strengthen your weak neural networks
So what do we do besides increasing the amount of energy we need to strengthen weak neural networks?
There are many different ways that we can do that. Here are three:
So there you have it, the top five root causes for brain fatigue. By understanding these top five root causes you are one step closer to regaining control of your brain so you can turn your life around.
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My name is Dr. Titus Chiu. Thanks so much for watching and this has been the Modern Brain.