Brain Inflammation: Is it overlooked in health conditions, should you be supporting the health of your brain?

Brain Inflammation: Is it overlooked in health conditions, should you be supporting the health of your brain?
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Your brain is an incredibly powerful organ that plays a vital role in all aspects of your daily life, including cognition, memory, motor control, hearing, sight, emotions, attention, concentration, and sleep regulation.

Brain inflammation, also known as neuroinflammation, is a complex condition influenced by various factors. It can significantly impact or contribute to numerous health issues, such as Chronic Depression, Anxiety, Traumatic Stress, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Concussion.


Does brain inflammation play a role across general health conditions like thyroid function, metabolic conditions like insulin resistance and obesity through to hormonal imbalances?


Given the brain's critical role in daily functioning, it is important to consider brain inflammation as a potential factor in various health conditions.

    Voluntastrols bottle shown in the above image is our interim label stock with an expiry date of SEPTEMBER 2025.


    What does brain inflammation look like?

    Many of us tend to overlook our brain health when dealing with various health conditions. Often, our brains give us subtle signs that they need support, but we dismiss these signs as just "aging" or "that's just me".

    Our brains can become inflamed in response to injury, infection, toxins, or autoimmune conditions. Unlike inflammation in other parts of the body, brain inflammation is often subtle and does not typically present as painful conditions, this is because we do not have pain receptors in our brains like we do in other parts of our body. When our brains do become inflamed it can exacerbate other conditions that cause pain.

    Brain inflammation can present as a loss of brain endurance with symptoms like:

    • Brain Fog
    • Anxiety,
    • Forgetfulness – can’t remember where you put things.
    • Mood changes – it may be that you are quick to get angry.
    • Sleep disturbances.
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Difficulty getting words out.
    • Overwhelmed by too much stimulation.
    • Maybe you use to be able to drive for 3 hours, but now you can no longer drive longer than an hour.


    Recognizing these signs and then supporting the health of our brains can provide long term brain health and overall well-being.


    How is Brain Inflammation involved with disease?

    When many of us think of brain inflammation we think of the progressed disease and conditions like:

        • Alzheimer's Disease: Chronic inflammation in the brain is believed to contribute to the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease by accelerating neuronal damage and the accumulation of amyloid plaques.
        • Parkinson's Disease: Inflammatory processes are implicated in the death of dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson's disease.
        • Multiple Sclerosis (MS): MS is characterized by an autoimmune response leading to inflammation and damage to the myelin sheath, the protective covering of nerve fibers.
        • Depression and Anxiety: There is growing evidence suggesting that inflammation within the brain may contribute to the pathophysiology of mood disorders, influencing neurotransmitter function and brain structure.
        • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Inflammation following a TBI can lead to secondary injury and long-term cognitive deficits.

    But remember these are diagnosed conditions.


    Does someone experience subtle signs of inflammation (brain fog, sleep issues etc. ) before receiving a brain related diagnosis?


    In Chronic Brain inflammation leading to degenerative diseases, you don’t wake up one morning with the disease, it is likely occurring months or even years before onset. So, is someone experiencing subtle brain inflammation that is put down to age, or I'm just tired so its shrugged off? Subtle brain inflammation is where nerve conduction decreases, often referred to as brain fog. This can result in symptoms like taking longer to think or find the right words or you may notice that you used to be able to drive for two hours, but now you can only manage driving for an hour; these are signs of reduced ATP (energy) within your neurons, a result of subtle brain inflammation occuring.



    How does your brain become inflamed?

    Our brains can become inflamed from a number of pathways including:

    • Infections,
    • Lung or bladder infections, leads to systemic inflammation with an increase in inflammatory cytokines which can lead to brain inflammation (15, 16)
    • Liver and gut inflammation have direct pathways to the brain via the vagus nerve so when these organs are inflamed, inflammatory cytokines  travel directly to the brain via the vagus nerve causing inflammation in the brain. (17)
    • General inflammation within the body can cause inflammatory cytokines in other parts of the body to turn on brain inflammation. (15,16,17)
    • Reduced antioxidant reserves within the body can increase BBB permeability and lead to brain inflammation, increasing oxidative stress and brain Inflammation. (18)
    • High blood sugar levels leads to inflammation which can damage brain cells. Did you know that Alzheimer’s Disease is now being classed as Type 3 Diabetes (14).






      All of these can impact on two of the brain’s protective mechanisms which can then increase your brain inflammation or be a cause of your brain’s inflammation.

      The Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) – this is a semi-permeable membrane surrounding the brain which regulates molecules and ions to move between the blood and the brain. Its role is to supply the brain with nutrients while preventing harmful substances from entering the brain. General inflammation, trauma, infections, high blood pressure and some medications can weaken the BBB which can allow harmful substances into the brain leading to or increasing brain inflammation. (19,20)

      Glymphatic System – our brain’s lymphatic system is a pathway that the brain uses to clear away debris and toxic waste, which is crucial in maintaining brain health and function. It also helps to regulate fluid balance in brain tissue to maintain a stable environment for proper neuronal function. If this system does not work effectively it may contribute to neurodegenerative diseases and impaired brain function. Our Glymphatic system works while we sleep, so it is important to get adequate amounts of sleep. Unfortunately, as we age the efficiency of the Glymphatic system decreases so it’s important to use the tools we can to support this system. (21)


          Figure 1: The Glymphatic System (23)


      With all these mechanisms in mind, you can see conditions from Thyroid, Coeliac Disease, Diabetes, Hormone Imbalances, Autoimmune Conditions, Depression, Anxiety, Chronic Stress can all either contribute to brain inflammation or be a consequence of brain inflammation.


      What can you do to support your Brain Health?

      1. Get adequate sleep each night.

        • If you find yourself waking in the night, it may be due to your blood sugar dropping. Try taking 1-2 scoops of collagen before bed to support blood sugars.

      2. Support your gut-brain axis.

        • Eat a diverse range of plant fibers as this supports production of short chain fatty acids, which are shown to support a reduction of inflammation not only in the body but in the brain.
        • If you suffer from digestive issues like IBS, acid reflux, etc work with a practitioner that can support you in these conditions while supporting your brain health.

      3. Improve Stress Management. 

      Stress has far-reaching effects on all physiological processes in our bodies and can affect our immune response & cortisol release to name a few that may induce inflammation within the brain.


      4. Keep your brain active. 

      Word puzzles, learning a language, doing tongue twisters, fine motor exercises.  These activate different areas of your brain and can support neuroplasticity within the brain.


      5. Increase your antioxidant levels with exercise and diet

        • Exercise can attenuate neuroinflammation and neurological diseases. This is because exercise has a dampening effect on inflammation in the brain and in the vascular system. You need to work out what is the right exercise and intensity of exercise for you, everyone is different. (22
          • Consider an anti-inflammatory diet to support your brain health – anti-inflammatory, Mediterranean diet or keto diet can all be supportive in reducing brain inflammation.

          6. Consider Voluntastrols

          Voluntastrols have a neuroprotective effect through supporting clearance of toxins and wastes via the glymphatic system, modulation of the mitochondrial membrane potential and cell integrity of neurons.




            Volunstatrols contain Citrus bioflavonoids, compounds derived from citrus peel that are biologically active in the human body. As well as providing antioxidant benefits, these specific compounds have been shown to traverse the blood-brain barrier and exert powerful neuroprotective effects. 

            These plant-derived chemicals protect the neurons by modulating the mitochondrial membrane potential and maintaining cell integrity. They also shield neurons from damaging toxins, suppress neuroinflammation, and promote memory, learning and cognitive function.

            German chamomile is also shown to exhibit potent neuroprotective activity against oxidative stress in the brain, along with important carminative benefits for the CNS. The flavanols found in cocoa powder, particularly epicatechin, have a direct impact on the endothelium lining brain blood vessels.

            They enhance the function of eNOS, a natural enzyme in endothelial cells, promoting vasodilation and enhancing blood flow to the brain (13).


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            1. Dr Jockers. (2024). Brain Autophagy: Healing the Toxic Brain.
            2. Schmoe, J. Dr. (2024). Do you have Brain Inflammation? How to know and what to do.
            3. Schmidt, C. (2021). Inflammation and brain health.
            4. Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K., Derry, H.M. & Fagundes, C.P. (2015) Inflammation: Depression Fans the Flames and Feasts on the Heat, American Journal of Psychiatry 172:11, 1075-1091.
            5. Ross, R.A., Foster, S.L. & Ionescu, D.F. (2017) The role of chronic stress in Anxious Depression: Chronic Stress, Volume 1, SAGE Publications Inc.
            6. Calabrese et al (2014) Brain-derived neurotrophic factor: a bridge between inflammation and neuroplasticity, Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, Volume 8, 134.
            7. Mullally, W.J. (2017) Concussion, The American Journal of Medicine, Vol 130, No 8.
            8. Aalling Jessen, N.A., Finmann Munk, A.S, Lundgaard, I. & Nedergaard, M. (2015) The Glymphatic System – A Beginner’s Guide, Neurochem Res. 40(12): 2583-2599.
            9. Morely, W.A. & Seneff, S. (2014) Diminished brain resilience syndrome: A modern day neurological pathology of increased susceptibility to mild brain trauma, concussion, and downstream neurodegeneration, Surgical Neurology International, 5:97.
            10. Camandola, S., Plick, N. & Mattson, M.P., (2018) Impact of Coffee and Cacao Purine Metabolites on Neuroplasticity and Neurodegenerative Disease, Neurochemical Research.
            11. Kumar, G.P. & Khanum, F. (2012) Neuroprotective potential of phytochemicals, Pharmacognosy Review, 6(12): 81–90.
            12. (2024). Glymphatic system- brain cleansing system.
            13. Nehlig A. (2013). The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 75(3), 716–727.

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