“Our bodies have something called a gut/brain axis. What this refers to is that the food you eat, and the health of your gut directly affects the way the brain functions. On the flip side, the brain controls all of the functions of the gut. So, both the gut and the brain’s nerve signals have to work well to keep our brain healthy.”, said Dr. Slininger.
He went on to say, “When someone encounters a mTBI, especially from a blast injury like many military members do, it can cause a breakdown of the brain’s defense barrier called the blood brain barrier. This means that the brain can no longer keep chemicals or unwanted substances from entering the brain tissue.”
Dr. Slininger said when someone who has had a mTBI eats unhealthy, processed, or pesticide laden food, it is common that these chemicals will enter the bloodstream and eventually head to the brain. “Because the brain’s defense barrier is broken down, these harmful substances can enter into the brain tissue causing inflammation and slowing down the healing process and affecting the ability for the brain to keep the gut healthy. This is where the entire gut/brain axis breaks down.” said Dr. Slininger.
According to Dr. Slininger the brain negatively affects the gut, allowing more harmful or inflammatory material into the blood, which in turn makes the brain even more unhealthy.
“This means that eating unhealthy foods while recovering from a recent or past mTBI can prolong or stunt the healing of the brain and nervous system. So, one of the first necessary steps to recovery is to eat a clean, natural, unprocessed diet. The second important side of recovery is to identify the root cause of any nerve signal interference.”, said Dr. Slininger.
Dr. Slininger said often in mTBI’s, the upper neck will misalign from the force of the head injury, causing nerve interference and blood flow issues to and from the brain. There is a very specialized type of care called Upper Cervical Care that addresses these complex spinal misalignments. “
By realigning the upper neck, it is possible to reduce nerve interference, improve brain blood flow, and help the brain filter out any material that should not be in there.” Dr. Slininger.
While Dr. Slininger works to educate the public about brain health, he is also very passionate as a military veteran to help fellow soldiers.
“The military needs to know about the current models that work so they can probably help preserve our military forces, their careers, and their families. This is a major issue, but we’re here to solve it. We are working to get the word out and provide learning opportunities to military medical staff and the VA medical staff through continuing education opportunities. This includes an upcoming MTBI and Concussion Summit this winter.” Dr. Slininger.