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How the Heart, Brain, and Gut Influence Mental Health and Identity

Brain Support

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I remember when the medical mantra about brain health was that the brain is more or less fixed. We can’t do much to change the brain.  It’s not just that this is wrong, it also that it was preached to us with such certainty. As if it were settled science. We have the same problem today because so much medical advice is presented as the settled science. Be careful what you believe because some of it will likely be wrong.

“The human brain has always been a source of fascination. For centuries scientists have been trying to unlock its secrets. This has never been more relevant than today, when more people, young and old, are being diagnosed with brain disorders – such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, learning disorders, and dementias – than ever before.
 
In her new book, naturopathic doctor Karen Jensen explores the intricate communication network between the heart, the brain, and the gut. An increasing body of research suggests that these three “brains” all work together to determine our mental, emotional, and physical health. These three brains not only influence optimal brain function but the very essence of our identity.
 
There is growing evidence that nutrients from whole foods, exercise, and supplements are effective, non-invasive ways to support mental health and cognition. Dr. Jensen incorporates a thorough review of the many brain-boosting nutrients essential for healthy three-brain function. Learning about the causes and risk factors associated with brain disorders will give us a greater understanding of what we can do to help prevent and treat these life-limiting conditions.” Dr. Jensen.

The role of the three brains:

Although the head, heart, and gut brains work together, they have obvious different physical functions and they also perform different mental and emotional roles.

  • The head brain analyzes information and applies logic.
  • The heart brain senses the world through emotion and feelings.
  • The gut brain is used for understanding our identity and who we are in the world. The gut brain also helps us learn self-preservation by teaching us to follow our instinct – the “gut feeling” we all experience at times.

When we speak of three brains we are speaking about the emerging science that is identifying neural communications and neurotransmitters that are not found not only in the brain but also in the gut. You may have heard about the “gut brain”. Recent research has revealed that many neurotransmitters including dopamine and serotonin are found in the gut. We have now learned that the heart has its own neurotransmitters and that communication takes place between the heart, brain, and gut. It seems that some of the nutrients recognized for the support for brain structure and function are also helpful in the gut and heart. Should it be a surprise that nutrients that provide benefit in one area of the body would also be beneficial in other areas? Nature is very efficient and we are now discovering how interconnected the various systems in the body are. This may explain why nutrients seem helpful for a wide variety of health concerns, they are used throughout the body.

Did You Know:

  • “Variations in the composition of the gut microbiota have been shown to impact health on many levels, not just in the gut but in the brain as well.
  • Probiotics have been shown to support individuals with mental health issues, as well as problems with bowel function.
  • The heart is a much more complex organ, both of perception and cognition than was previously believed. Scientists have discovered that the heart produces oxytocin, which is beneficial for many mental health conditions, reducing stress-induced cortisol levels, and weight loss.
  • Oxytocin has also been found in the intestinal tract, where it improves gut motility and decreases intestinal inflammation. ” Dr. Jensen.

Dr. Jensen’s book is broken down as follows:

  • Chapter 1 discusses the three brains.
  • Chapter 2 discusses stress and the three brains.
  • Chapters 3 and 4 discuss factors that disrupt three brain health.
  • Chapter 5 discusses using nutrition to achieve optimal brain health.
  • Chapter 6 discusses protecting and supporting brain development in children.
  • Chapter 7 discusses three brain, mood and mental disorders.
  • Chapter 8 discusses sleep disorders.
  • Chapter 9 discusses memory disorders.
  • Includes the Optimal Use Guide.

In this interview, Dr. Jensen discusses her collaboration with Natural Factors. Natural Factors is one of the premier supplement lines in the natural products industry. Natural Factors has created products based on the three brains research. Three Brains Total is a packet of supplements that provide foundational brain support. The rest of the products are targeted for specific support. Their names give you some idea of their target benefit: Mental Sunshine, Higher Thoughts, Best Sleep, Serene Mind and Brain Fix. The information provided by Dr. Jensen in her book and the products created by Natural Factors are complimentary to each other. You can benefit from both. 

About Dr. Karen Jensen, ND
Dr. Jensen received her degree in naturopathic medicine from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) in Ontario in 1988. She is a well-known lecturer and has appeared regularly on television and radio stations across Canada. She has also written extensively for health magazines and is the author of Menopause: A Naturopathic Approach to the Transitional Years and Three Brains: How the Heart, Brain, and Gut Influence Mental Health and Identity. She co-authored Stress and the Disease Connection, No More HRT: Menopause Treat the Cause, The Complete Athlete, and The Adrenal Stress Connection. After 25 years in clinical practice, Dr. Jensen has recently retired but continues to write and lecture on the naturopathic approach to wellness. Dr. Jensen also lectures on behalf of Natural Factors.

Natural Factors

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Agricultural hemp is making a comeback in the US.

Hemp is an important agricultural commodity around the world. Hemp played an important role in the growth and development of America as well. Until 1937 when the marijuana tax act criminalized all cannabis including industrial hemp. This is a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water. The road back to US hemp production is just gaining traction.

Hemp based products have been available in the US for probably a decade or so. Products like protein rich hemp seed, hemp oil (not to be confused with CDB Oil), hemp fiber for rope and fabrics have come into the marketplace. These products are made from hemp grown in other countries. Canada for example produces industrial hemp. So the challenge of making industrial hemp legal again in the US been formidable but doable. 

The biggest driver of this movement is the unprecedented emergence and consumer demand for CBD (cannabidiol). What most people don’t realize is that there is a movement to establish agricultural hemp as a viable farm crop once again in the US. The idea that we should grow our own hemp instead of importing hemp products from other countries is finally taking root. It just makes sense.

But how do you create an supply chain where none exists? A few years ago there were no hemp growers or processors in the US. Building a new industry is hard enough, but it is made even harder because of the legal status of all cannabis plants. That began to change with the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill which created a standard or definition of industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana. The distinction is determined by the amount or lack thereof of THC. Industrial hemp has only a minute amount of THC and therefore can be grown in the US legally. 

This is just the first step. You still need farmers and processors and companies to buy hemp raw materials and make consumer goods. There are many products that are derived or manufactured from hemp. How does that happen? Slowly, but it is happening. And that is the topic of today’s interview with Josh Hendrix. Josh is a Kentucky farmer who has worked to bring hemp farming back. He works with CV Sciences to fulfill the dream of an American Hemp Industry. He works with legislators and regulators to forge a new path. It’s a fine line. We must figure out how to fully and finally separate hemp farming from marijuana production. They are not the same thing. Related yes, but not the same. Industrial hemp should be an American product. In this interview, Josh describes the challenges and successes in bringing hemp back.

Josh put his money where his mouth is. He now grows hemp in Kentucky. He works with CV Sciences, a well known producer of hemp based CBD. CV Sciences also has skin in the game. They are very proactive in supporting and financing many of these efforts. This work involves local farmers, local, state and federal lawmakers and regulatory agencies. This is not an easy task. But it is seeming moving forward and making progress. Josh describes the progress, challenges and current state of affairs as it relates to the very new hemp industry.

CV Science is one of the premier CBD Oil producers. They are the manufacturers of Plus CBD Oil. We have numerous interviews here on HealthQuestPodcast.com on the benefits of CBD. Follow the link to access the other interviews. Our guests have included Stuart Tomc, Dr. Amiee Shunney, and Dr. Hector Lopez. In these interviews you have the perspective of a company, a naturopathic doctor, a scientist and now a hemp farmer/activist. 

About Josh Hendrix
Josh was born and raised in the Bluegrass State of Kentucky and a University of Kentucky alumnus, Mr. Hendrix relocated back to Central Kentucky in 2014 on a mission to help rebuild the US hemp industry. Seeing a need to bring farmers, processors, manufacturers and supporters of the industry together, Mr. Hendrix founded the Kentucky Hemp Industries Association that summer and still serves on the Board of Directors. He also became an active member of the US Hemp Round table where he now serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors.

In 2015 he created and became President of Hendrix Hemp, a licensed hemp producer that manages hemp cultivation on his family’s, Mayflower Farm, in Mount Sterling, KY. In early 2016 Mr. Hendrix was appointed to the Technical Advisory Council for the National Hemp Association and in 2017 accepted a role on the Board of Directors for Friends of Hemp. He is also the host of the Hemp Happy Hour, a live radio show and podcast about the emerging hemp industry.

Currently Mr. Hendrix serves as the Director of Business Development – Domestic Production for CV Sciences, Inc. where he works with numerous universities, farmers, businesses, and organizations to help facilitate the infrastructure necessary to establish a modern domestic supply chain for hemp in the United States.

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256 – Nutrition for Children – My Interview with Jolie Root

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We face a growing challenge with childhood health. It seems that more and more children are experiencing significant health issues more so than in the past. Parents are rightly concerned and always want to do the best for their children. Easier said than done. When we begin to consider the many ways in which children can be adversely affected it can be overwhelming. Perhaps even more daunting is how do we raise healthy children in today’s environment.

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255 – Testing Your Antioxidant Status – My Interview with Dr. Russell Jaffe

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Antioxidants are an interesting topic. Everyone seems to understand that antioxidants are important for good health. After that it all gets fuzzy. I admit that my own understanding of antioxidant function is limited. What actually is oxidative stress? What does the oxidative test measure? What are the differences between the many foods and supplement forms of antioxidants? What are free radicals? Those are a few of the questions answered in this interview with Dr. Russell Jaffe.

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254 – Clinically Effective Prostate Support – My Interview with Josée Fortin

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In this interview Dr. Josée Fortin discusses the challenges that most men will face with swelling prostate. She discusses the reasons that men develop BPH and some of the lifestyles factors that can influence the state of prostate health. She also discusses Prostasan. Prostasan is a clinically studied form of Saw Palmetto extract. When searching for a prostate formula look for one where the clinical studies were done on that specific product. You want to know that you are buying the clinical form. Prostasan has 3 published clinical studies showing efficacy.

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253 – The Health Benefits of Mushrooms – My Interview with Jerry Angelini

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In this podcast I am interviewing Jerry Angelini. Jerry is the National Science Educator for Host Defense Organic Mushrooms. We will discuss the broader topic of beneficial mushrooms. Of the hundreds of mushrooms that have been identified there are only a few that we consider as beneficial. Most of the mushrooms considered beneficial are the ones that have been used for centuries in traditional cultures. So with the anecdotal knowledge and today’s scientific capabilities we can now consider these mushroom as serious contributors to human health. 

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252 – All About Protein – My Interview with Neil E. Levin

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In this interview Neil E. Levin will discuss the importance of protein in human nutrition. We will also discuss some of the health concerns related to protein. Considering that protein is one of the macro nutrients, it makes sense that we understand its benefits.

What are proteins and why are they important?
What are amino acids?
What are the recommended levels of protein?
What are differences between sources of protein?
What happens if protein is deficient?
What adversely affects protein digestion?
What improves protein digestion?

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251 – Predictive Biomarker High Sensitivity CRP – My Interview with Dr. Russell Jaffe

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One of the reasons that inflammation is so devastating is that chronic, highly active inflammation from one cause will adversely affect many other structures and functions in the body. One problem will lead to others. The drugs used to treat the disease will likely contribute to additional problems. The drugs cannot heal chronic inflammation. Only your body can do that and only if you put into place that which leads to healing. The good news is that even serious chronic condition can be dramatically improved in a few months with the serious application of healing lifestyle, diet, and supplementation.

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250 – Is CBD Oil a Drug or Nutrient? Or Both? – My Interview with Dr. Hector Lopez

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There is a great deal of excitement over CBD Oil. With good reason. It’s safe and effective for everyday use by consumers and it has properties that can be exploited pharmaceutically. In fact there is ongoing clinical research using CBD for serious health conditions. In this interview with Dr. Hector Lopez, we will explore the difference between the drug development and research and the consumer applications of CBD.

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249 – Behind the Scenes at NutriGold Supplements – My Interview with Chad Kelly

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I have often said companies need two things to succeed; image and substance. A company with image but no substance is selling you fluff. A company with substance and no image, gets lost because no one knows about them or what they do. You want to buy from companies that have substance first as that is the most important thing. It is when you want to look deeper into the substance of a company that the distinctions become clearer. That’s what this interview is exploring with Chad Kelly, Senior Educator for NutriGold Supplements.

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