I recently finished reading a fascinating book by Mark Hyman, M.D. called The UltraMind Solution. The book reminded me of how my father at a young age of 52 started to experience mild memory loss with severe depression. At first it was simple forgetfulness of not being able to recall a name or where he placed his car keys. Within a short period of time his brain fog became more complex and he was having a difficult time finding words to complete his sentences. I watched him slowly progress to where he was unable to function normally in society and his deteriorating mind eventually lead to him losing his job. His reasoning became more impaired with sudden behavior changes. I felt helpless as to how I could help him and he later was diagnosed with dementia. Now at age 71 he is unable to speak and the disease has ravaged him. My father suffers from a “broken brain.”
The four time NY Times bestselling author, Dr. Mark Hyman, thoroughly explains in his new book The UltraMind Solution, how the body and mind are a “single dynamic bidirectional system.” One directly influences the other. The impacts of environmental pollutants, poor nutrition, hormonal imbalances, sugar, food additives, food allergies, and stress effect our mood, attention, and behavior. Through the use of Functional Medicine (the whole body approach) Hyman concludes you can correct the imbalances, detoxify your body, and enhance your brain.The second part of the book Hyman introduces The Seven Keys to UltraWellness which form the foundation of the The UltraMind Solution. The seven keys he discusses are optimizing nutrition, hormone balancing, decreasing inflammation, improving digestion, enhancing detoxification, boosting energy metabolism, and calming the mind. He declares each key is essential to repair, renew, and revitalize your brain and help bring your life back into balance to maximize your health. Dr. Hyman even includes quizzes to assist you in identifying where you might be deficient.
In part three he provides a simple six week program to boost your brain power. The principles are to eat healthy, take daily supplements, exercise, relax, live green, and getting enough sleep to restore and regenerate your body. The plan is to remove the processed, high sugar foods, gluten and dairy (main allergens) from your diet which lead to a “broken brain” and replace them with nutritious natural whole-foods. He makes the program easy to follow with the UltraMind Solution Companion Guide you can download free. The guide features a six week eating schedule, shopping lists, recommended foods, foods to avoid, and delicious recipes.
The author makes the book very easy to understand. The concept of the book is to feed the brain with safe natural nutritional medicine to resolve depression, anxiety, brain fog, and to sharpen your mind. To “fix your broken brain by healing your body first.” It is packed with practical methods and information. I enjoyed reading The UltraMind Solution and would recommend the book to anyone looking for healthy alternatives.
The UltraMind Solution Product Description
“Broken brains” go by many names — depression, anxiety, memory loss, brain fog, attention deficit disorder, autism, and dementia, to name a few — and show up in radically different ways from person to person, making each seem like a separate problem.But the truth is that these “diagnoses” are all the result of a few basic problems with our biology. Pinpoint these biological problems, fix them, and let your body’s natural healing intelligence take over to repair your brain. Now you can experience an UltraMind — one that is highly focused and able to pay attention at will, with a strong, reliable memory and a mood that is calm, confident, in control, and in good spirits.We have all heard of the mind-body connection or how our thoughts affect the health of our body. But the reverse is far more powerful: what you do to your body, your basic biology, has a profound effect on your brain.
Have you ever experienced instant clarity after exercise? Alertness after drinking coffee? A mental crash after popping candy? Does your brain inexplicably slow down during stress, while multitasking, or when meeting a deadline? Each is an example of how what we do to our bodies — whether through nutrition, sleep, exercise, or stress — has a dramatic effect on our brains.
Conventional treatments don’t help, or provide only slight benefit, because they just manage symptoms rather than deal with — and heal — the underlying problem. And just as brain problems all stem from the same root causes, they all have the same solution — The UltraMind Solution.
Our ancient genes interact with our environment to create systemic imbalances that affect our brains. Correct those imbalances — most caused by nutritional deficiencies, allergens, infections, toxins, and stress — and you can achieve optimum mental health without drugs or psychotherapy.
The UltraMind Solution is the future of medicine, the culmination of the last twenty years of research on what makes the brain happy, focused, and calm; research that has uncovered a few simple factors that explain why things go wrong and how to fix them.
Don’t wait for this revolution in medicine to trickle into your doctor’s office: it usually takes research twenty years to move from the lab to the patient. The answers are here, right now, in UltraMind Solution.
- Hardcover: 464 pages
- Publisher: Scribner; 1 edition (December 30, 2008)
- Language: English
About Mark Hyman (borrowed from www.drhyman.com)
Dr. Hyman was Co-Medical Director at Canyon Ranch Lenox, an internationally acclaimed health resort where he combined the best of conventional and alternative medicine with a blend of science, intuition, integrity and compassion. He is the co-author of the recent New York Times bestselling book Ultraprevention, the Six Week Plan that Will Make You Healthy for Life, and winner of the Books for Better Life Award. He is also the author and creator of The Detox Box, A Program for Greater Health and Vitality (Sounds True, 2004). He is Editor in Chief of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, the most prestigious journal in the field of Integrative Medicine. You can read more about Dr. Hyman’s background at www.drhyman.com. Dr. Hyman’s first hand experience “My Broken Brain”
Learning, thinking, and speaking were always easy for me. My brain never failed me. In college, I learned thousands of Chinese characters. In medical school, the intricate patterns and names of our anatomy — the bones, muscles, organs, vessels, and nerves — mapped effortlessly into my mind, and the complex pathways of physiology and biochemistry were clear after one lecture and reading my notes. I ran four miles every day to medical school. I took detailed notes in my classes, able to simultaneously listen to, remember, and write down nearly every word my professors spoke.At the end of the day I ran back again to my apartment, did yoga for an hour, ate a freshly prepared whole-foods meal, and studied without distraction or loss of focus for three hours every night. Then I crawled into bed, fell peacefully asleep within five minutes, and slept deeply for seven hours.
The next day I got up and did it all over again.
That rhythmic life broke down, as it does for all physicians in training, when I entered the hospital and started pushing my body and mind beyond their limits with regular thirty-six-hour shifts on top of an occasional sixty-hour shift (Friday morning to Monday evening!).
When I went to practice as a small-town family doctor in Idaho, I worked a shortened schedule of only eighty hours a week, seeing thirty patients a day, delivering babies, and working in the emergency room.
From Idaho, I went to work in China for a year, breathing in the coal-soaked, mercury-laden air, before I landed back in Massachusetts, working a crazy schedule of shifts in an inner-city emergency room.
Then suddenly (or so it appeared at the time), my brain broke — along the with rest of my body.
Sitting with patients, I often couldn’t remember what they had just said, or where I was in eliciting their story. I tried to take careful notes and keep track, but I couldn’t focus on conversations, couldn’t remember anyone’s name. I started taking pictures and writing down personal details about my patients to serve as my peripheral memory so I wouldn’t embarrass myself the next time I spoke to them.
During lectures I had to give as part of my job, I would get lost in the middle of a sentence and had to ask the audience what I had just said. When I read a book, I had to go over passages again and again just to glean any meaning. At night, I read my children bedtime stories but had to robotically mouth the words, because I couldn’t simultaneously read aloud and understand what I read.
Sleep eluded me. Exhausted and bone weary, I would lie down in bed at night and remain sleepless for hours. After finally drifting off, I would wake the next morning feeling as if I had never slept.
Depression and anxiety, which I had never known before, became constant companions.
At times I felt I couldn’t go on any longer. My capacity for pleasure and laughter faded into a distant memory.
The worse my body felt, the worse my brain functioned. If my stomach was bloated and swollen and I had diarrhea, I couldn’t think or sleep. If my tongue was inflamed or my eyes swollen and red, I became depressed. If my muscles ached and twitched, I couldn’t focus. If I felt bone-weary fatigue, I would forget what I was saying or why I had just walked into a room.
Some doctors said I was depressed and recommended antidepressants. Psychiatrists suggested antianxiety drugs. My family doctor prescribed sleeping medication. A neurologist told me I had ADD and I needed stimulants. Others said I had chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. All I knew was that my brain was broken, my focus gone, my mood depressed, my memory fleeting, and my body wasn’t working.
All at once, I couldn’t pay attention, remember, or experience joy and happiness. It was as if I had suddenly “contracted” three terrible diseases — attention deficit disorder, depression, and dementia. How could my brain have failed me? The part of me that was strongest suddenly became my weakest link. What had happened?
What I experienced was extreme and I hid it from the rest of the world, except for a very few close friends. I faked it and pulled myself through each day.
But after that summer day in August when my brain broke, weary and fighting brain fog, I began searching for answers.
Piece by piece, cell by cell, body system by body system, I discovered the source of my broken brain. By combing through the literature, consulting with dozens of scientists and doctors, and experimenting with my body and mind, I slowly put myself back together.
It wasn’t one thing that broke my brain. It was everything piled higher and higher until my brain and body couldn’t take anymore. It seemed sudden but was the end of a long series of exposures to toxins, stress, and a strange infection.
The trail led back to mercury poisoning from living in Beijing, China, breathing in raw coal used to heat homes for 10 million people, eating endless childhood tuna-fish sandwiches, and having a mouthful of “silver” or mercury fillings. I was also missing a key gene needed to detoxify all this mercury, which compounded the problem. I found out about this later through careful testing.
Years of sleepless nights delivering babies and working in the emergency room destroyed my body’s rhythms, which I tried to bolster with quadruple espressos, giant-size chocolate chip cookies, and mountains of Chunky Monkey ice cream (I reasoned that was healthy because of the bananas and walnuts!).
Then one late summer day in 1996 I ate or drank something up in a wilderness camp in Maine that infected my gut. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
This book is the story of my healing. It is also the story of the discoveries I made that hold the answer to our current epidemic of broken brains. It offers a solution to your suffering just as it did to mine.
How many of you feel what I felt, at least to some degree?
• Maybe you fear losing your job because you’re tired, unfocused, inattentive, and your memory is failing so you can’t properly perform your tasks at work.
• Do you feel depressed, hopeless, disconnected, and disengaged from your life?
• Do you see your relationships breaking down because you are mentally and emotionally absent or numb?
• Perhaps you struggle to focus so you can help your children with their homework and guide them through life, but feel sure you aren’t living up to your duties as a parent.
• Do you lie awake at night, tormented by the grief and pain of living half a life, and then worry about how you will find a way to wake up early in the morning just so you can get your kids to school?
• Do you forget to meet friends or go to appointments, and then can’t figure out how in the world you forgot?
If so, you aren’t alone. You have been affected by the broken brain epidemic, a terrifying and life-threatening chronic illness that has been largely unaddressed by the medical community, leaving millions of people to suffer alone, trapped in their deteriorating minds.