Reading and reviewing The Brain Book by Dr. John Hart was a very enlightening experience for me. I am on my own personal journey towards achieving a healthy lifestyle balance and look forward to putting into practice this well-researched advice.
Dr. John Hart is the medical director of Peptide Clinics, which is an online supplier of ‘performance and image-enhancing medications’. He also has his own medical practice which concentrates on optimising our health through a combination of diet, exercise, sleep optimisation, stress management, hormone balancing, gut repair and heavy metal detoxification. His main theme from his copious amount of research is in promoting longevity through changes to lifestyle and diet, and also with an increase of certain supplements to enhance brain health. His premise is that optimal health starts and ends with a healthy brain.
The book is set out in well-defined sections, and each one is a digestible ‘bite of information’ in itself. The reader is introduced to a well-illustrated section on understanding the physiology of the brain and how the brain works. Once the reader has a basic understanding of the brain itself, Dr. Hart moves onto degenerative brain disease and the many causes of this. This is sobering reading, as issues such as oxidative stress, insulin resistance, inflammation, leaky gut, hormone imbalances, sleep deprivation, physical trauma, brain cell toxins, heavy metal toxicity and much more are listed. He discusses at length the process of Alzheimers disease and how it can be hopefully avoided. He includes a good reference guide which helps the reader in better understanding. By this stage I was a bit bogged down with terminology though Dr. Hart does endeavour to keep it as simple as possible (probably not possible with the brain) but I did feel that I had achieved a much better understanding of the stresses that affect our brain, and how it can degenerate through avoidable lifestyle factors.
As a bit of lighter relief, I thought, Dr. Hart then moves onto the things that we as human beings can do to enhance and keep our brains functioning in optimal condition. He discusses the value of brain training (yay for Word Chums) and diet – including a list of brain healthy food to keep our grey matter sharp. He lists the foods that are good for us, and those to avoid. We learn about ‘Nutraceuticals’ food and supplements which contain molecules that protect the brain – these include the DHA’s in fish oil, resveratrol found in dark grapes and red wine, Curcumin found in turmeric, Catechins found in green tea which has antioxidants, and much more as well. Then there are the Neurohormones which are messenger molecules made in the brain which then affect the function of the brain cells. These include Growth hormone, Pregnenolone and many more. Dr. Hart keeps the descriptions concise and easy to understand. I found I had a better understanding of Progesterone and Testosterone and the Thyroid after reading this chapter.
Finally, we get to the good stuff, as Dr. Hart gives a good overview of the different forms of exercise and how it helps our bodies as we age to hopefully age a little slower. He discusses stress management, fun and relaxation, nurturing yourself, adopting a healthy lifestyle, being grateful, and relaxation techniques. There is also good advice on sleep optimisation, something I know I am interested in finding out more about.
Dr. Hart completes his book with a brain health summary which encourages a body and brain assessment. Then he offers simple and ‘doable’ suggestions like getting your 10,000 steps a day, keeping up adequate water intake and not sitting for long periods.
I read this book in one day and found it easy to read and assimilate the information as it is set out in chapters with lots of dot points for easier reference. The illustrations are clear and easy to understand and most difficult medical terminology is explained so the average reader can understand. Dr. Hart does suggest a lot of supplementation for many conditions, something I personally find daunting because of the expense. However, knowledge always empowers and the reader is free to take from this excellent book whatever they need and the message is pretty clear – get proactive in changing our lifestyles, being more active, being community minded, drinking more water to stay well hydrated, learning new things and getting a good nights sleep will help us all to live longer and hopefully not only keep our brains in good condition longer but our bodies as well. I know this is a book that I will keep referring to in the future.