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Check out the second part of Dr Amen’s question and answer segment. If you haven’t listened to part 1, be sure to check it out by going to http://brainwarriorswaypodcast.com/dr-amen-qa-session-1/
Dr Daniel Amen: Yes.
Carol: Hi Dr. Amen, My name's Carol. My question is are all green teas created equal, and are all supplements created equal, and how much green tea do you need in a day?
Dr Daniel Amen: Very interesting question. No, all supplements are not created equal. You want to get brands you trust from people that you trust, because it's one of the big criticisms of the natural supplement industry, is that there are some people who ... What it says on the bottle's not really in the bottle. So trust becomes very important. It's one of the reasons I developed my own line of supplements, because I wanted to give to my patients what is it I would take, and I take ours, because I know they're high quality, there's great quality control, and I can trust them.
Green tea is very interesting. The science behind green tea is becoming stronger and stronger. Brand new study from China that said people who drink three cups of green tea a day had younger looking DNA. Isn't that interesting? As I want my face to look younger, trust me I want my DNA to look younger as well! Interestingly, people who took a multiple vitamin every day also had DNA that looked younger. Now, typically my preference would be decaffeinated green tea, especially after five o'clock, right? Let me just talk about caffeine a little bit. I didn't talk about it much in the show, but less is better.
I was recently at a conference, and one of the very nice spiritual guru men in the department of psychiatry, where I teach at UC Irvine, we're on this panel and he's got an energy drink right in front of him, and I'm like, "Dude, what's the matter with you? Your spirit will die early with this stuff!" Caffeine dehydrates you. We've talked about the brain is 80% water. It increases the stress hormone in your body cortisol, which makes you fat. It fools you into thinking that you don't need to sleep, because it blocks a certain chemical called adenosine, that goes, "Time to go to sleep." Caffeine blocks that, and it's highly addictive.
I see this all the time, "Oh, Dr. Amen, I can't stop my coffee, because if I do I'll get a headache in the morning." And I always go, "Well, what is that called?" It's called withdrawal! Right? It's what we see in addictions. Now, if you have 100 milligrams of caffeine a day, it's not the biggest deal in the world, right? It's one cup, one little cup of coffee. The big problem with obesity in our country, is because the portion sizes in 1982 are about a third or less of what they are in 2010, right? But, a normal size cup is 100 milligrams. A normal size cup of green tea is 55 milligrams. So, you can have two or three cups a day, and it's not likely to unbalance you. The problem with one big cup from any of these places of coffee is 300 milligrams, and now just one of those puts you on the border of something call caffeinism, where your blood pressure can go up, you sweat more, you have trouble sleepin, and so on.
Diet sodas, they often have a lot of caffeine, especially if you go to the energy drinks, which in my mind, should be outlawed. Thank you.
Denise: Dr. Amen, thank you so much for everything you've contributed to us. I'm Denise, and my question is about what your experience has been with people's food allergies to your 50 best brain foods?
Dr Daniel Amen: That's a good question. In our 50 best brain foods, there are some things that people could be allergic to. Like whole wheat. If you're allergic to it, you have to stop it. Anything that's bad for you, you really want to get our of your diet. A lot of people who have trouble losing weight, or people who have emotional problems, you know, they have temper problems, or they go through this mental fog, get a food allergy test! There's a difference between the tests. There's a test called IGE, that's an immediate food allergy reaction, so you get strawberries, and you break out in hives. Most people know their IGE sensitive foods because they make them sick. But, there is another kind of food allergy called delayed food allergy, it's called an IGG test. When you are allergic to those foods, it won't show up for hours, or even a couple of days. So you get a delayed food sensitivity food allergy test. If you're allergic to gluten, or you're allergic to brewer's yeast, which means beer is out. Actually, from a brain science perspective it wouldn't bother me in the least, right?
Then you can get these things out of your diet, and when I get stumped with a patient, I order a delayed food sensitivity test. You have thousands of choices for food. It's not just, "I have to go to the fast food place and get a cheeseburger with fries" You have thousands ... It's one of the things that I've really learned, is I have all these choices, why not make a choice that serves my health, because I've got some serious reasons to live a long time. And [Alais 00:22:07] really locks it in for me.
Denise: Thank you.
Debbie: Hi Dr. Amen, my name is Debbie, and I have a question. I understand the dangers of artificial sweeteners and I kind of don't drink the diet soda, and try to choose stevia. But I love gum, and I think you're going to probably squish the gum, not just from the sugar and artificial sweeteners, but is gum really that great to chew? Because is kind of stimulates your stomach thinking something's coming, and then what kind of sweeteners ... I mean, how can you buy gum and know this is a good artificial one, this isn't?
Dr Daniel Amen: Gum and the gum industry has turned out to be just a nightmare. Why? Because they stopped putting the ingredients on the packaging. They did that because they're putting sometimes two or three artificial sweeteners in the same package, to make it last longer. What I would tell you is there are actually some really good gums out there, sweetened with xylitol. Xylitol is another natural sweetener that's not bad for you, but you need to get online and look at the ingredients in the gums that you like. If they have sugar, or high fructose corn syrup, or aspartame, or sucralose, don't do it. Why? Why are you going to put something purposefully in your body, that's going to upset your cravings? For me, it just doesn't make any sense. I want to have control over my body, but I know that there are companies out there that make chewing gum with other things that are not bad for you. You just have to think about it.
Debbie: So off the top of your head, xylitol's one, are there several?
Dr Daniel Amen: There are many.
Debbie: Okay, I'll check.
Anna May: Hello Dr. Amen, my name is Anna May and you've given us a lot of information today. What I'd like to know is you talked about DHEA, how do you get tested, what is the test, and is the test expensive?
Dr Daniel Amen: It's not an expensive test, when you have your doctor order it, it's called DHEA-S, and if your levels are low, then you can take DHEA and it can really help your levels. Having low levels of DHEA increase your risk for obesity and depression, and many other bad things as well. Think of DHEA as one of the mother hormones that breaks down into other hormones. Low levels can just give you so many problems that you don't want.
Anna May: And what kind of a test do they give you?
Dr Daniel Amen: It's a blood test.
Anna May: It's a blood test?
Dr Daniel Amen: It's a simple blood test.
Anna May: Thank you.
Dr Daniel Amen: You're welcome.
Marguerite : Good afternoon, Dr. Amen, my name is Marguerite. Can you tell me how long does it take for the brain to heal?
Dr Daniel Amen: Oh, that's a great question. How long it takes the brain to heal sort of depends on how bad you've been to your brain. If you've been really bad to your brain, like many of my patients, you will actually begin to see a difference within two months. It's very exciting. Some of our football player brains, these are some, as a group, some of the worst brains that I've seen! Within two months, we see that they score better on the neuropsychological tests we give them for memory and for attention and for reasoning. We also see that their brains, many of them, start to heal as well.
Now, what can give you brain damage? Being overweight can give you brain damage. Having sleep apnea, which often goes with being overweight, can give you brain damage. Having chemotherapy, how unfair is that? But, as it kills cancer cells, it also kills normal cells. Having a lousy diet, not getting sleep, drinking too much. Somebody asked me like they always ask me, "If I just have a big glass of wine every night, is that bad for me?" And the answer is, "Yes! It's bad for you!" According to a study from Johns Hopkins, particularly women, have a smaller brain, and you've heard me say when it comes the brain, "Size really does matter." You don't want to have a smaller brain.
What I've been excited about, almost from the moment I started ordering brain scans, is I can change these damaged brains, and if I do I change your life.
Marguerite : Thank you.
Speaker 11: Something you just said changed the question I was planning on asking you. You mentioned that energy drinks are a horrible thing, and I would love to know more about that.
Dr Daniel Amen: Energy drinks. It's like where do you start? Filled with caffeine and sugar. Sugar promotes inflammation, as we talked about, it increases your cravings, decreases your immune system. One of the things I didn't say in the show, kids who have seizure disorders, when they put them on a ketogenic diet. A ketogenic basically means they take out all the simple sugars and refined carbohydrates in your diet. All of them. 12 studies. At least a 50% reduction in seizure frequency. That's like, "Oh my god!" Decrease the sugar in your diet, and you think better. You feel better. But, "Oh, if I don't have an energy drink, I'll never be able to wake up." Well get more sleep for god's sakes! And stop with the energy drinks, so that you can sleep!
Speaker 11: And taurine?
Dr Daniel Amen: Taurine, taurine is one of the supplements in energy drinks that may actually help balance some erratic brain cell firing. It doesn't give you energy, it's just something they think, "Oh, this could be a good thing in energy drinks." Taurine is not bad for you, but it's not the thing that's giving you the jolt, the jolt is the caffeine, which does four bad things in your brain at least. From dehydrating your brain, to fooling your brain to thinking it doesn't need to sleep, to being addictive, and so on. There's got to be a better way! These things are so freely accessible to our children, of all people. It's like, how crazy is that? What is the matter with us that we allow highly addictive materials, and they don't have a shelf at the grocery store. I told you, my dad's a grocer. They have a whole aisle of stuff that will kill you early! Thank you.