“I am not as young as I used to be.”
“I just don’t have the energy anymore.”
“I can’t keep up.”
“I don’t feel like doing anything.”
Sounds familiar? Have family members annoyed with you because you can’t be productive or participate in activities? Some people are really trying and yet there is no energy left in the tank. No emotional motivation to make the first step or to get back up. Burnout, fatigue, and depression are symptoms that are just the tip of the iceberg.
Symptoms are events but Health is a Process
North American’s health care is medical medicine based on symptomatic control. The signs & symptoms are indicators for medical professions to measure the outcome of each case is under control and to observe the survival of the person’s overall condition. Most people who have survived the medical condition simply assumed that their condition is stable and have no need for any further health care.
As we all know that health care is not an episode but a process. Assuming that after a visit to the dentist there is no need for brushing teeth is not what the dentist recommends. Our health is a process of growth and decay at a rapid pace. There are billions of chemical molecules that are being interchanged, modified, consumed, processed, and wasted as a resource for our body to maintain its brain activity.
As we focus our topic to our brain, it is the most sensitive to disturbances in energy generation. The adequate supply of ATP which is a sub-unit of the organic compound for cells to utilize for energy metabolism is essential for life. For the brain, even the short-term interruption of this process can lead to long-lasting and irreversible damage(1). The large cost of energy in neural processing suggests that efficiency will be critical for an organism’s survival (2) A great majority of the energy used by the Central Nervous System (Brain and Spinal Cord) cells is for processes that subserve physiological functioning. Energy requirements may increase many-fold with increasing activity (3). Economizing our energy for the brain is essential for our health care.
Your Phone is Burning You Out
The usage of electronic devices and its complexity has increased since the invention of the smartphone and many other electronic devices. Virtual reality is a full integration of the brain and getting close to a fiction movie called “Matrix.” The multitasking is an addiction that creates a dopamine-addiction feedback loop and increases stress hormone cortisol(4,5). This is the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline, that can overstimulate your brain and cause over-expenditure of energy consumption of the brain. To have such a lifestyle with electronics, it is vital to have maximal physiological activity and not have any energy limitation. Otherwise, it can be a problem for the normal activity of the brain (3).
More Brain Activity=Higher Energy Costs
Most of our electronics require us to use our eyes and hands. This will include sensory and motor control for the brain to expend energy and communicate with the brain for thinking, responding, interpreting, etc for a post on a facebook page. The higher the brain activity, the higher the energy expenditure and faster the fatigue(6). The nerve in the eyes, which interpret the information on the electronic devices, can have a large impact on the energy supply (7).
The lack of supply in energy resources from increased demands leads to many diseases. It is obvious that our brain and the nervous system are becoming maladaptive in the context of modern environment changes. As people get in fight-or-flight mode constantly and become infected or have trauma, the demands for energy resources will be diminished even more (8). A typical example of depression is a result of the brain that is exhausted in neurotransmitters to keep the brain active and productive to adapt to the stressful environment.
Conditions that Cause More Energy Expenditure
Energy expenditure is a well-known topic in neurophysiological science. When this energy expenditure is causing more problems than it should, they start to suspect Dysponesis, Dysautonomia, and Dyskinesia.
Dysponesis is a functional disorder that makes you sensitive to stress and you do not respond well. You do not adapt well, energy efficiency goes down, and you are completely unaware of this situation. “It is basically a reversible physiopathologic state composed of errors in energy expenditure that interfere with nervous system function and thus with control of organ function….. Among the numerous clinical manifestations are fatigue and exhaustion, insomnia, headache, backache, hyperventilation, anxiety and depression, “indigestion,” impotence, frigidity, and spastic colon.” (10)
Dysautonomia refers to an abnormality of the function of the autonomic nervous system. In people suffering from dysautonomia, the autonomic nervous system loses that balance, and at various times the parasympathetic or sympathetic systems inappropriately predominate. Symptoms can include frequent vague but disturbing aches and pains, faintness (or even actual fainting spells), fatigue and inertia, severe anxiety attacks, tachycardia (fast heart rate), hypotension (low blood pressure), poor exercise tolerance, gastrointestinal symptoms, sweating, dizziness, blurred vision, numbness and tingling, pain, and (quite understandably) anxiety and depression (11,12).
Dyskinesia refers to distortion or impairment of voluntary movement. Spinal segmental dyskinesis is a joint misalignment throughout the entire range of motion of the involved joint. It is well known with Parkinson’s disease of increased muscular rigidity and involuntary movements of dyskinesia increase energy requirements(13). Even if we are not diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease we can still have dyskinesia in a different form.
Knowing what kind of neurological activity that might be occurring, we will address all of these conditions and processes on how it happens, how to see the signs, and what would be the solutions in the future articles.
You can not increase your brain’s capacity of how much energy you have. You can economize them, you can save them, and continue intake of nutrients to continue brain activity but you can not have more or keep your brain cells at a rapid activity at a constant rate. You will run out of resources before you know what is going on. People are commonly ignoring signs and symptoms of seemingly minor problems when there are so many things that need attention, such as your baby needs a diaper change or paying the bills.
To Conserve and economize energy by stopping all activities is impossible for a busy lifestyle or when you have kids, work, multiple jobs, and etc. Unless you live in a timeless world that allows you to slow down or stop all activities. Trying to limit the amount of brain activity such as fasting from electronics or turning off all phones while driving will be simple things that will help to economize brain activities (16). Simpler tasks instead of multi-tasking all the time will help you from overloading your brain with too many activities. Many monasteries start with very simple tasks and meditation to help in processing, interpreting, detoxing, and rest from the busy world. We can do similar things in our daily activities of living. Keep it simple.
Filtering unnecessary brain activity will be an impossible task. In this modern age of electronics and high-speed internet, we are trying to go faster in getting information and more quantity of information. Unplugging yourself from all this information is what we do when we sleep to regenerate resources. Our brain needs to cut down activities to regenerate and restock resources for the next period of activities. Temporary shut down may be needed for high-stress individuals and constant high brain activities (17). People can take short naps or sessions to meditate and regenerate resources as you reduce the fight or flight response by slowing down to rest and digest. Slow and grow.
Intake of nutrients to continue brain activity in which most people do by taking stimulants such as coffee, eating lunch for energy resources, taking supplements to keep your brain activity to a high level. When your brain is deficient in much needed organic biochemicals for the billions of processing in a split second, this will create a problem so your body will start to take necessary chemicals from other parts of the body. Your body will start to break down muscle, fats, and carbohydrates from all over of your body to fulfill the brain’s needs (14). As the condition gets worse, people develop symptoms that result in prescribed medication. Keeping a good biochemical balance is to provide enough nutrient sources in your meals and supplements. Another way to get more chemicals for brain activity is exercise. This is well known for wellness enthusiasts because by using physical exercises we stimulate hormones and brain chemicals for more motor function stimulation. When we have more motor function stimulation of your muscles, we focus our frontal premotor cortex for muscle function and cognitive function (15). This will help counter the limbic system which causes larger stress response and unstable mood control. Eat well, move well, think well.
Your brain is like a garden. You need to nurture and give good nutrients to the plants. The brain producing complex abstract cognitive thought process is like the garden producing fruits and vegetables that are produced in the garden. The more you try to superficially handle it, or leave it alone, your garden will not be successful. Your brain is the same way and highly functional but vulnerable to problems and disorders.
Functional disorders may confuse people and conventional medical care might just be treating the symptoms but not the cause. High stress and continuous lifestyles stimulation from electronics are usually the stressors. Our brain will decline and degenerate from constant brain activity with no regeneration and rest. To help you allocate your brain’s activity efficiently, chiropractor or other practitioners that understand functional disorders and monitors them is essential. Healthy lifestyles are the key. Keep it simple, slow and grow, eat well, move well, and think well.
- M Erecinska et al./Progress in Neurobiology 73 (2004) 434
- A. Ames / Brain Research Reviews 34 (2000) 62
- Reinecke, Leonard, et al. “Digital stress over the lifespan: The effects of communication load and internet multitasking on perceived stress and psychological health impairments in a German probability sample.” Media Psychology 20.1 (2017): 90-115.
- Paridon, Hiltraut M., and Marlen Kaufmann. “Multitasking in work-related situations and its relevance for occupational health and safety: Effects on performance, subjective strain and physiological parameters.” Europe’s Journal of Psychology 6.4 (2010): 110-124.
- Korf, Jakob., and Gramsbergen Jan B. “Timing of potential and metabolic brain energy.” Journal of Neurochemistry (2007), 103, 1697-1708
- Laughlin, Simon B. “Energy as a constraint on the coding and processing of sensory information.” Current Opinion in Neurobiology (2001), 11:475
- Yun, J Anthoney, Lee Y. Patric, Doux, D, John, Conley, R. Buford, “A general theory of evolution based on energy efficiency: its implication for diseases.” Medical Hypothesis (2006) 66, 667.
- Whatmore G.B., Kohli D.R. (1979) Dysponesis: A Neurophysiologic Factor in Functional Disorders. In: Peper E., Ancoli S., Quinn M. (eds) Mind/Body Integration. Springer, Boston, MA
- Reichgott MJ. Clinical Evidence of Dysautonomia. In: Walker HK, Hall WD, Hurst JW, editors. Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd edition. Boston: Butterworths; 1990. Chapter 76. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK400/
- Dysautonomia, A family of misunderstood disorders. Richard N. Fogoros, M.D., About.com Guide Updated November 13, 201q
- Bachmann, C. G., and Trenkwalder, C. (2006), Body weight in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Mov. Disord., 21: 1824-1830. doi:10.1002/mds.21068
- Gómez-Pinilla, Fernando. “Brain Foods: The Effects of Nutrients on Brain Function.” Nature reviews. Neuroscience 9.7 (2008): 568–578. PMC. Web. 3 Oct. 2018.
- Gomez-Pinilla, F. Zhuoang, Y., Feng Z., Ying G. Fan, “Exercises impacts brain-derived neurotrophic factor plasticity by engaging mechanisms of epigenetic regulation.” European Journal of Neuroscience. (2010) Vol. 33, 3, 383-390
- Brewer, Judson A. et al. “Meditation Experience Is Associated with Differences in Default Mode Network Activity and Connectivity.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108.50 (2011): 20254–20259. PMC. Web. 4 Oct. 2018.