Your Cerebellum is the area of your brain that is white in the picture above. It is a very tightly packed area of the brain, and actually has more neurons than the rest of the brain combined! The reason for this is because it is responsible for coordinating everything in your brain and body.
This small area of your brain makes everything look smooth and coordinated. It coordinated how your body moves, your eye tracking, your balance, your cognitive thought, your emotion, your learning, and much more! It is an extremely important area to keep healthy for your entire life!
So lets dive into some research on the topic of nutrition and lifestyle factors to look at when trying to keep this healthy!
Article: Kharrazian, Datis. Neuroendocrine-Immunology Mechanims of Subtle Cerebellum Impairment. Basytr University California. Funct Neurol Rehabil Ergon 2014.
In this Article he Dr. Kharrazian breaks down the most likely mechanisms for cerebellar degeneration. If we take this information into consideration it gives us great mechanisms to improve cerebellar health!
Gluten- Specific Cerebellar Ataxia
In summary this is a immune system reaction to a portion of wheat called Gliadin. Many people have heard the work Celiacs disease, this is a mechanism for cerebellar damage, but in this article he talks about how even gluten sensitivities can create the same disturbances in the cerebellum. “Gluten ataxia is an immune-mediated disease that is triggered by immune reactions to gliadin. It has been discovered that antibodies produced against gliadin have protein molecular mimicry with the cerebellum. This induces cross-reaction with cerebellum purkinje cells leading to inflammatory destruction and degeneration of the cerebellum.”
What this means is that when you are consuming gluten and gliadin (wheat) your body can create antibodies to them. This activates your immune system and creates inflammation. That inflammation in turn damages neurons in your cerebellum. Who would have thought so much damage to your brain could occur from wheat? The reality is, I see this everyday in my patients, and have seen huge improvements in kids by eliminating this from their diets.
Dr. Kharrazian sites a study that states: in a two year study of 10,000 general neurology referrals per year found anti-gliadin antibodies in 40 percent of cases with idiopathic ataxia, 34 percent in idiopathic peripheral neuropathy, 43 percent with hereditary ataxia, and 17 percent of healthy blood donors.
This means that roughly 40 percent of people that are referred for neurological deficits have sensitivities to gliadin. I would suspect that if we tested every kid that we see with learning issues, balance issues, behavioral issues it would be at least this amount if not more!
*** Simply put if you want a healthy cerebellum take wheat out of your diet! This is one of the most valuable things I have ever done for my own health, and in my patients health!
Thyroid Hormone Dysregulation
Thyroid hormone is extremely important to for basic processing of neurogenesis, precursor cell proliferation, neuronal migration, dendritic and axonal growth, myelination and synaptogenesis Dr. Kharrazian states. What this means is that proper regulation of these hormones allows neurons in your brain to grow, make connections, and heal!
If someone has hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism this needs to be addressed to make sure your brain can stay healthy!
Diabetes and Dysglycemia
Another common issue in the Unites States is the growing issue of diabetes and blood sugar dysregulation. Having appropriate blood sugar is vital for brain health. Increased blood sugar greats chronic inflammation that is detrimental to neuron health!
According to Dr. Kharrazian’s research hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia can cause degenerative changes in the cerebellum. Checking your blood sugar on a regular basis is a good strategy to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and brain health.
From a diet perspective this can many times be maintained by eliminating processed sugars and eliminating any processed foods that add sugar to them. A good example of that is milk, sugar is added to this product to improve taste. Many of the processed foods kids like have large amounts of sugar added and therefore have negative affects on blood sugar and brain function.
A good diet to follow is one that is natural, with whole foods. Also one that is full of organic products and low in processed foods. Another important consideration is consuming meat that is organic and grass fed.
Toxins that Create Cerebellar Deficiencies.
There are many different toxins that a neurotoxic to the cerebellum and avoiding them is vital to having a healthy brain.
Many medications can be detrimental to this area of the brain including anticonvulants, antineoplastics, Lithium salts, amiodarone, and more. Always make sure to look up any medications you are taking to make sure they don’t dysregulate your cerebellum. If you don’t know, make sure and check with you doctor.
environmental toxins can also cause cerebellar dyfunction. the most common metals are mercury, lead, manganese aluminium, thallium, germanium, uranium and vanadium.
other chemicals to watch out for are industrial organic solvents, carbon monoxide, and insecticides/herbicides.
A good rule of thumb when it comes to limiting chemical exposure is to eat organic foods, don’t use harsh chemicals whenever possible, and know what you are putting in your body when it comes to medication!
This is by no means an all inclusive list, just some to give you an idea!
Does anyone else know anything that would contribute to dysfunction in the cerebellum?