By: Michele Griffen, Certified Educator in Greenville, SC

amazing brainOur brain is one of the largest organs in our body and consists of around 100 billion neurons (nerve cells). It weighs approximately 3 lbs. and must receive a large volume of blood in order to fuel an incredible amount of nerve activity. The brain constitutes about 2% of our total body weight and yet requires about 20-25% of the body’s oxygen supply which is transported into the brain through the blood brain barrier by the bloodstream.

The human brain is a master regulatory organ that directly and indirectly facilitates all the other organs and tissues in the body.  The brain also facilitates higher cognitive functioning such as thought, reasoning and abstract thinking. Keeping our brain functioning optimally is vital for overall health as well as cognitive health.  Any dysfunction in the brain eventually can adversely affect numerous body functions.

Glucose which is supplied by the blood flowing to the brain is the main energy source for brain cells. Since the brain does not store glucose it must have a constant source from the bloodstream. If the brain had low glucose levels (during a bout of hypoglycemia, for instance), mental confusion, dizziness, and convulsions may occur. If blood flow stops for even a short time the brain can be devastatingly damaged in some or most areas. Excess blood glucose, resulting from either diabetic condition or consumption of refined sugar, can cause damage to the brain cells.

Another factor that damages brain cells is chronic stress. In a 2006 study, chronic stress, long-term was shown to trigger early onset of Alzheimer’s disease and highly elevated levels of generalized brain neurodegeneration. Chronic exposure to hormones released by the adrenal gland during stress has been shown to shrink the brain, and also cause damage to brain cells needed for memory and learning.  Unfortunately, millions of Americans raise their hormone level everyday by consuming caffeinated drinks and foods such as coffee, soft drinks, and chocolate. Caffeine acts as a constrictor of blood vessels and decreases circulation and oxygen to the brain by up or to 30%.

As we know, Ageless Grace can lower stress levels and also gets that blood flowing to our brain! I hope this information is helpful to Ageless Grace Educators and to the people attending your classes.