Is it ADHD or something else?

177: How Neuroinflammation Affects Mental Health

In this episode of discovery and empowerment, where each insight gained paves the way toward holistic health and resilience.

Despite its widespread occurrence, many people remain unaware of the prevalence and the profound impact neuroinflammation has on overall well-being. From children to adults, individuals from all walks of life may experience neuroinflammation, whether due to genetic predispositions, environmental factors, or underlying health conditions. And so, recognizing the prevalence of neuroinflammation is the first step in addressing its effects and providing relief to those affected by it.

By raising awareness and promoting understanding of neuroinflammation and its consequences, we can empower individuals to identify underlying issues and seek appropriate interventions to alleviate symptoms and improve their quality of life. Join me in this episode of discovery and empowerment, where each insight gained paves the way toward holistic health and resilience.

Neuroinflammation's impact on mental health.

When we talk about neuroinflammation, we're exploring why it happens and how it affects the brain. These discussions are vital because they lead to identifying root causes and guiding effective interventions. Oftentimes, people seek my guidance after exhausting traditional avenues without success.

Neuroinflammation, observable through techniques like quantitative EEG brain maps, is alarmingly prevalent in children, even more so than in adults. Various factors contribute to this, including dietary choices, stress, genetic predispositions, clinical conditions, infections, and exposure to toxins like mold. It must be noted that this can lead to neurodegenerative conditions. Moreover, long-term inflammation can degrade the brain, which is why there’s an urgent need to address such issues early on.

Neuroinflammation disrupts neurotransmitter function, exacerbating mental health challenges. It compromises the blood-brain barrier, allowing toxins to infiltrate and impairing neural repair mechanisms. This impairment extends beyond physical health, affecting cognitive and behavioral domains, including attention and memory. Often, these cognitive and behavioral changes manifest as symptoms of attention deficit disorders or learning difficulties, potentially obscuring the underlying neuroinflammatory causes.

On a physiological level, neuroinflammation triggers inflammatory cytokines that disrupt neurotransmitter balance, perpetuating the inflammatory cycle. In conditions like PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome) and PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections), the body's immune response can mistakenly attack itself, escalating inflammation further.

Neuroinflammation and its impact on behavior in children.

Stress triggers sympathetic dominance within the autonomic nervous system, exacerbating neuroinflammatory conditions like autism. Post-mortem studies reveal that a staggering 76% of adults show signs of neuroinflammation, underscoring its widespread impact. It manifests in various behavioral changes, such as food avoidance, which often goes unnoticed or dismissed as typical toddler behavior.

It's imperative to acknowledge abrupt changes in behavior as potential red flags signaling underlying neuroinflammatory conditions, underscoring the critical need for heightened awareness. Among these indicators, observable cues such as dilated pupils emerge as valuable markers, offering tangible evidence of substantial inflammation within the brain.

Moreover, neuroinflammation disrupts sleep patterns, exacerbating the condition and hindering the brain's detoxification process. Considering that a staggering 90% of the body's detoxification processes take place during sleep, this sets in motion a relentless cycle of escalating inflammation and compromised neural repair, perpetuating the detrimental effects on overall brain health and function.

To address neuroinflammation, adopting an anti-inflammatory diet is significant. Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet is key to reducing inflammation from the start. The Mediterranean diet is particularly praised for its anti-inflammatory effects. By enjoying the variety of nutritious foods it offers, we have the power to improve how our brain functions, leading to clearer thinking and better emotional health in the long run.

Anti-inflammatory diet, gut health, and detoxification.

Avoiding inflammatory foods like dairy is essential. A comprehensive anti-inflammatory diet emphasizes abundant fruits and vegetables, high-quality proteins, and clean wheat options sourced from regions with stringent food regulations like Europe, New Zealand, and Australia. Certain foods, herbs, and essential oils like parsley and cilantro can aid in reducing neuroinflammation and supporting detoxification, providing additional support for overall well-being.

By focusing on eating Mediterranean-style foods, we can quickly reduce inflammation and see real changes in how our brain works and how we behave. This approach doesn't just fix short-term problems caused by inflammation – it also helps build a strong foundation for long-term brain health and strength.

Additionally, maintaining gut health is crucial due to the real connection between the gut and brain through the vagus nerve. This involves consuming fermented and prebiotic foods along with high-quality probiotics to support neurotransmitter function and reduce inflammation.

Prioritizing detoxification and finding ways to manage stress are also important steps in safeguarding both physical and mental health insofar as stress poses a significant threat to our well-being, underscoring the importance of addressing it effectively. To mitigate stress, various formal treatments are available for conditions like neuroinflammation due to PANS/PANDAS or infectious diseases. However, it's essential to work closely with a healthcare provider to explore appropriate options.

Addressing mental health issues through lifestyle changes.

Embracing a holistic approach involves diligently addressing lifestyle components. When faced with mental health challenges, it's vital to view them as opportunities for the entire family to grow and improve collectively. Moreover, understanding the strong link between neuroinflammation and mental health issues highlights the significance of addressing root causes rather than solely relying on psychotropic medications.

And so, engaging in regular physical activity, with a particular emphasis on activities like walking, plays a crucial role in enhancing lymphatic circulation and facilitating the body's detoxification processes. This becomes especially pronounced after engaging in activities that induce sweating, as sweating helps release toxins from the body. By incorporating consistent exercise into your routine, you not only promote the movement of lymphatic fluid throughout your body but also stimulate the elimination of waste and toxins, contributing to overall health and well-being.

Additionally, the rhythmic motion of walking encourages lymphatic vessels to contract and expand, aiding in the efficient removal of metabolic waste products and toxins from the body's tissues. This holistic approach to exercise underscores its significance not only for physical fitness but also for supporting the body's natural detoxification mechanisms, promoting optimal health and vitality.

Prioritizing quality sleep is equally vital, as 90% of detoxification occurs during sleep. Establishing good sleep hygiene, such as minimizing screen time before bed and using blue-light-blocking glasses, is key. Further guidance on supporting detoxification can be found in resources like my book “It's Going to Be Okay” and other related blogs.

Find the right help and try our Solutions Matcher now:

For more information, you may read the following:

●      Brain Behavior Reset Program

●      Neurofeedback Overview

●      Neurofeedback for Pans and Pandas

●      Clinical Guide Pans and Pandas

To learn more about Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge and science-backed mental health solutions, please visit

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