How to build a healthier brain part 2

Author: Dr. Michelle Durkin on 22 March 2016

brainfalloutRemember from my last article that the brain is the most nutrient dependent, energy dependent, and toxin vulnerable organ we have. That means we have to feed the brain the right nutrients so the brain can produce the amount of energy it needs while at the same time protecting the brain from toxins.

The next nutrient we need to talk about is good quality protein. This does not include meat-like products at the deli counter or hot dogs. Some of the good sources of protein isn’t even meat at all, for example something called spirulina. Protein is important for neurotransmitter function in the brain. Our neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers that allow neurons to “talk” to each other. They include serotonin, dopamine, GABA, and acetylcholine. When we have lack of serotonin we have depression, lack of dopamine results in addictions and ADHD, lack of GABA causes anxiety, and lack of acetylcholine gives us memory loss. Unfortunately anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs are becoming more and more common for all ages.

So what are we eating if we are not eating good fats and quality proteins? We are eating too many processed foods and sugar. How many things on your plate did you make from scratch? How many things on your plate came out of a box? If you want a healthier and smarter brain for yourself and your children it is time to start putting the right building blocks in your mouth. You can’t have the stability of a brick house with straw.

Now I would love to hear from you. What good quality protein are you eating? What is one way you can start incorporating better quality protein into your diet now? Stay tuned for last article in this series when I talk about protecting yourself from toxins on the next Doctor As Teacher Tuesdays!

6 Replies to “How to build a healthier brain part 2”

E Palmer

I have started enjoying spirulina in my diet, but then read that it is contraindicated with breastfeeding. How concerned should I be? Do the benefits outweigh the risks of using it, perhaps with a reduced amount?

Bill Beauchamp

Dr. Durkin,

Another powerful article.

I have always found it amusing when going to my doctor for a check up. He always asks me if I am eating healthy – not what does your diet consist of.

I did presentaions to fibro groups across Southern Ont throughout the nineties and into the early 2000s.

No one wanted to hear about healthy eating and worse, most had no idea what healthy food was.I recall asking a group to eliminate sugar as much as possible and did talk about the benefits of natural sugar from fruit and the unhealthy sugar in store bought juice.

The one comment I got was from the one man in the room. “We have to have some sugar Bill!”

The presentation was not well received so we had a break and ate cookies and cake.

Keep educating people Dr. Durkin; maybe your influence will filter through but I won’t hold my breath!

As always a great teach!


People think they need meat to get their protein, but if you look carefully you can see there is enough protein in a plant based diet. I’m working towards that as I continue to see mounting evidence against meat related to health and environmental impact.

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Hi Elisa,
There are no clinical studies as to whether or not Spirulina is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women or for their children, just as there are no clinical studies on whether or not Tylenol is safe. There is however, a body of evidence of clinical use that hasn’t proven any harm.
Due to the risk of contamination with heavy metals, pregnant women are often advised not to take Spirulina. If you know you have a certified organic source I would continue using it without concern.

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Thanks Bill!

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

I am going to have to disagree with you Robert. Some of my sickest patients are vegan and vegetarian. My education and clinical experience shows just as much evidence to support some meat protein for optimal health, not a lot, and quality matters. I don’t disagree that everyone should be eating more plants as a general rule. The plants (aka vegetables) on your plate compared to meat protein should be in a ratio of at least 2:1.

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