Burning scalp headaches brain fog - inflammation the cause?


Yes! Over the last 20 years, ample evidence has accumulated to prove that inflammation in the body causes changes in the brain that lead to depression, anxiety, sleep problems, and memory problems. Inflammation comes from the Latin ‘inflammare’ – to set on fire. Our brain is ‘on fire’ when it is inflamed, or when our body is inflamed.

What sets your brain on fire?

Your body experiences inflammation the way your skin reacts to a cut: The area becomes swollen, warmer, and it may hurt. (This happens because there is increased blood flow, increased immune activity, and a change in the chemistry in the area.)

When there is inflammation any where in the body, signals are sent to the brain via various cytokines. The cytokines send signals to the brain via the vagus nerve and other pathways. These cytokine signals then block the brain from making serotonin.

What does the fire do to your brain?

Inflammation affects hormones and other neurotransmitters in your brain. Inflammation drives down the level of serotonin, which can lead to feelings of depression or anxiety, and problems with memory. It prevents melatonin from being produced, which causes insomnia. It causes dopamine levels to rise, which contributes to insomnia, and feelings of anxiety and agitation.

The excitatory neurotransmitter, glutamate, goes up. Over time or with excessive levels of glutamate, anxiety can result. In extreme amounts, glutamate can be toxic to brain cells.

In fact, in depression, a certain type of brain cell-called an astrocyte, actually deteriorates under these circumstance, which permits the inflammation to continue. Now you have a brain that is, if not on fire, at least smoldering.

You too can prevent brain fires!
It’s not as complicated as you might think! Try these suggestions (with your doctors approval of course.)

A) Clean up your diet by eliminating food common allergies-

  • breads
  • gluten
  • milk and dairy products
  • eggs
  • sugar

B) Balance your diet

  • Try the Barry Sear’s “Zone” diet, or one of the diets in my book-“The Anti-depressant Survival Guide”
    C) Keep exercise moderate,
    D) Make sure your air is clean
  • No mold, or things you are allergic to-such as dust mites
    E) Reduce your stress so your adrenal glands can recover their anti-inflammatory function
    F) Clear up all gut issues
  • 70% of inflammation comes from the gut-such as bloating, gassiness, diarrhea, constipation and reflux.
    G) Be sure you do not have any hidden infections.
    H) Drink lots of water
    I) Eat lots of anti-oxidant rich foods
  • Lots of organic colorful veggies, with a bit of fruit

Author [Robert J. Hedaya MD, DLFAPA, ABPN, CFM]




Is your brain on fire with inflammation?

The brain doesn’t hurt like an inflamed knee does, so it’s hard to know if inflammation is happening. However, the brain communicates inflammation in how it makes you feel.

One of the most common symptoms of brain inflammation is brain fog, that feeling of slow and fuzzy thinking. Other common brain inflammation symptoms include depression anxiety, irritability, anger, memory loss, and fatigue. Even getting a song stuck in your head is a symptom.

Of course, other factors can cause these symptoms, but an inflamed and thus quickly degenerating brain is often involved in brain-based symptoms.

For instance, if these symptoms arise after eating certain foods, such as wheat or dairy, that can be a strong clue brain inflammation is at work.

Why inflammation causes brain fog

One of the most common symptoms of brain inflammation is brain fog. Why is this? Inflammation in the brain slows down firing between neurons. Thus the overall operation of the brain slows down. This is what causes your brain function to be foggy, dull, and slow.

In the case of depression, inflammatory immune cells called cytokines hamper brain function and the activity of serotonin a brain chemical needed to feel joy and well-being. For example, depression is a common side effect with the anti-viral drug interferon, which raises cytokine levels.

Also, brain imaging and autopsies show brain inflammation is more common in individuals with autism.

It’s important to take brain inflammation seriously — inflammation in the brain damages and destroys brain cells, speeding aging and atrophy of your brain. This raises your risk for dementia, Alzheimer’s (brain inflammation increases amyloid beta), Parkinson’s and other degenerative brain diseases.

Why does brain inflammation happen

It’s very important to know why your brain is inflamed because this will point you in the right direction to address it and relieve symptoms.

One of the more common causes of brain inflammation is an injury to the head. A brain injury causes the brain’s immune cells, which are different from those in the body, to begin the healing process and removal of dead and damaged neurons.

However, immune cells in the brain do not turn off, especially if there are already other imbalances in the body. This means inflammation in the brain can continue long after injury. This is one reason football players have brain-related issues long after they retire.

Other causes of brain inflammation include:

  • Chronic inflammation in the body
  • Leaky gut
  • High blood sugar and diabetes
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Food intolerances (gluten is notorious)
  • Chronic stress
  • Brain autoimmunity — a disorder in which the immune system attacks and damages brain tissue. It is more common than people realize.

Take brain inflammation seriously

Brain inflammation means your brain is degenerating (aging) too fast. Brain-saving tips include:

Take flavonoids, plant compounds that have been shown to reduce brain inflammation.

Balance blood sugar. Avoid blood sugar that is too low or too high. Insulin resistance and diabetes are notorious brain inflamers.

Food sensitivities. Gluten commonly inflames the rule. Also rule out dairy, soy, eggs, and other grains as sources of inflammation.

Balance hormones. Low sex and thyroid hormones contribute to brain inflammation.

Heal your gut and promote good gut bacteria. The gut, gut bacteria, and the brain are intimately connected. A healthy brain requires a healthy gut.

Anti-inflammatory nutrients. Glutathione, a powerful antioxidant, can help quench brain inflammation —take the precursors and glutathione recycling ingredients. Sufficient essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K are important, too.

Get functional neurology help for a brain injury. If you injured your brain, even if it was a while ago, you may need functional neurology help to tame brain inflammation and restore function. In functional neurology we can identify problem areas and know which areas to activate and which to dampen to optimize brain function.



Brain on fire

[Robert Dantzer, DVM]

Brain , Volume 142, Issue 3, 1 March 2019, Pages 830–831, https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/awy336


28 January 2019

Article history

The Inflamed Mind , the title of this book, says it all. Inflammation, a response of the innate immune system to injury, does not stay local, at the site of injury, but propagates and influences brain functions. And this influence can lead to depression as we learn from the subtitle.

As one of the pioneers of the research that is described in this book, I can safely affirm that Bullmore has accomplished a tour de force. It is a tour de force not only because the book makes available to the layman what we have learned on the interactions between the immune system and the…



Is Your Brain on Fire?

Could your brain be “burning up” from inflammation, and you may not even be aware of it? Let’s find out. When most people think about inflammation and its effects on health, it carries a bad connotation, such as chronically inflamed joints in someone with arthritis. Not surprisingly, the inflammatory response is far more complicated than that. Acute inflammation is actually part of the natural protective process in the body that helps our immune system defeat foreign invaders from making us sick.[i] However, when inflammation becomes chronic and begins to affect how our brain functions, it may contribute to and worsen a whole host of mental conditions including depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, and even schizophrenia.[ii] [iii]There are many foods we can eat and lifestyle factors we can adopt to help reduce inflammation throughout our bodies and especially our brain.

Acute Inflammation: Why it’s Good

Acute inflammation is part of the body’s defense system against irritants and infection. For instance, if you fall and scratch your knee, and contaminate the wound with bacteria, the immune system will be activated and it will send inflammatory hormones to your white blood cells to “clean up” the damaged skin and destroy the germs. Your skin may turn red and swell up. Once the germs are subdued, your body sends out anti-inflammatory agents that will begin the healing process. When your immune system is working properly there is a natural balance between inflammation and the anti-inflammatory agents.[iv]

Chronic Inflammation: Why It’s Bad

Sometimes the body gets stuck in the inflammatory process and you could develop chronic inflammation. Inflammation over an extended period of time can lead to the damage or destruction of tissue; which can ultimately lead to cardiovascular disease or even cancer. It also can negatively affect your brain – contributing to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and mood disorders like anxiety and depression.[v] In this instance, it’s as if your brain is on fire, and the flames are destroying the most valuable property you own – your brain cells and mental health!

Causes of Brain Inflammation

Below are some of the most common causes of brain inflammation that might be causing you to feel foggy, “sick” or to have trouble focusing for a sustained amount of time.[vi]

  • Head trauma such as a concussion.
  • Unregulated blood sugar, such as diabetes or insulin resistance.
  • Poor blood circulation to the brain.
  • Inflammation in other parts of the body, such as an inflamed gut.
  • Chronic stress
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Obesity
  • Carbohydrates with a low glycemic index (“simple carbs”)

The Link Between Brain Inflammation and Mental Health

Extensive research has shown that brain inflammation is connected to virtually all types of mental illness. As mentioned, mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, as well as more serious conditions like autism and dementia, have all been linked to inflammation of the brain.[vii] There has even been a growing body of research demonstrating that the inflammation could be causal in the mood disorder.

Depression is also commonly found in people who are suffering from autoimmune diseases, gastrointestinal inflammation, cardiovascular diseases, type 2-diabetes, and cancer, all of which have chronic low-grade inflammation as a substantial contributing factor.[viii] Research suggests that dysfunction of the “gut-brain axis” may be the primary cause of inflammation, and that treating gastrointestinal inflammation with Vitamin B, Vitamin D, probiotics, and Omega-3 fats may improve depressive symptoms by lessening inflammation in the brain.[ix]

Anti-inflammatory Food and Lifestyle

The following foods will help to reduce inflammation throughout the body including your brain.

  • Oily fish: salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines
  • Dark green veggies: Swiss chard, kale and broccoli
  • Nuts: almonds, walnuts and cashews
  • Yogurt, with probiotics, helps specifically with gut inflammation
  • Beets: reduce inflammation but may also protect against cancer and heart disease
  • Onions: red or yellow, as opposed to white or sweet
  • Fruits: most fruits’ fiber and antioxidant properties reduce inflammation – especially berries

Lifestyle factors such as reducing stress through meditation or regular exercise has been shown to reduce inflammation. Meditation helps to stop the “danger” signals our brain puts out when we are stressed and exercise helps to flush our bodies of the inflammatory hormones being released due to stress.

While acute inflammation is a necessary response to protect you from infection and foreign particles invading your body, if there are constant triggers of the inflammatory response it can get out of control and become chronic. Adopting a healthy anti-inflammatory lifestyle — making positive changes in diet and supplementation, sleep, exercise, and stress levels — will help turn off the inflammation response in the brain and lead to a healthier brain and overall you. Turn on these simple “fire extinguishers” right away!



One of the points that Dr Bruce sights for brain inflammation is poor blood circulation to the brain.

Basic Treatment - Whilst having my latest crash I decided to raise my thighs up to a 90-degree angle and rest my calf muscle on top of a block. If you don’t have a block just put your knees up in front of you and rest your feet on the bed. You can also use a bed wedge pillow. For longer term treatment an adjustable bed or use a bed elevator (long term methods). However 80-90 degrees seemed to be the most effective method with a severe headache

Within 10 minutes the burning headaches from my crash subsided to a much more manageable state.
I decide to take this concept further by taking 100mg of Gingko (see AWOR warnings on Gingko) which increases blood flow to the brain. This was on an empty stomach.
Shortly afterwards my burning headache completely cleared up for about 3 hours. During that time it felt like a remission from the mental aspects of PFS.
I could now think clearly.

Read the articles on how brain inflammation can affect your serotonin levels and lead to depression. When serotonin is out of balance I’ve read this can affect other hormones such as GABA which we both need for restful sleep.

@Ozeph posted "95% of the serotonin in your body is in your guts. If you have too much of it in the guts, you get diarrhea. Too little, you get constipation.

Plus, low serotonin in the guts would also mean low serotonin in the brain which would imbalance the other neurotransmitters like Dopamine, GABA and Tyrosine. This would lead to lack of signal from brain to the groin and lower testosterone.

I wouldn’t be surprised you also have depression, lack of self confidence and apprehension to confront strong individuals (low serotonin symptoms). If Dopamine, GABA and Tyrosine are also affected, you’d get anxiety, problem sleeping, cramps or spasm, brain fog, lack of concentration, lack of motivation, dissatisfaction and be in a general bad mood.

Those are not so difficult to solve, you just need to give your body what it’s missing."

In the above article by Functional Health Minute it asks Why inflammation causes brain fog. So many here still experience brain fog months after their initial crash. The treatment could well be regular exercise combined with a diet and supplement protocol designed to increase blood flow to the brain.

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Amazing thread thank you for this

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How Do I Know If Inflammation Is Killing My Brain?

People who struggle with memory loss probably don’t think their gut might be to blame.

But it could be.

The gut, or gastrointestinal tract, is home to trillions of microorganisms, both helpful and harmful, collectively known as the microbiome . This community of bugs plays a key role in the health of your brain: Its activities include protecting your gut lining and nutrient absorption, synthesizing vitamins and neurotransmitters, and helping manage immunity, appetite, and blood sugar levels.

When the harmful bugs outnumber the good ones, it can disrupt the gut lining, causing what’s known as a leaky gut, which can lead to chronic inflammation and a host of health problems, from seasonal allergies to autoimmune diseases and even Alzheimer’s.

Chronic inflammation is like a fire inside your body, an insidious, low-level burn that can damage your organs and your brain. Put out that fire and your overall health will improve and you’ll strengthen your memory.

That’s why inflammation is the third risk factor in the Amen Clinics’ new BRIGHT MINDS Program, which identifies and treats the 11 risk factors that can steal your memory and your mind. This approach has been shown to be the best way to keep your memory sharp—for life.

The risks are summed up in the words BRIGHT MINDS, which makes them easier to remember:

B – Blood Flow

R – Retirement/Aging

I – Inflammation

G – Genetics

H – Head Trauma

T – Toxins

M – Mental Health

I – Immunity/Infection Issues

N – Neurohormone Deficiencies

D – Diabesity

S – Sleep Issues

In addition to a leaky gut, other factors associated with chronic inflammation include:

Low omega-3 fatty acid intake
Gum (periodontal) disease
High levels of C-reactive protein (CRP; a measure of inflammation)
High levels of homocysteine (an amino acid associated with inflammation)

If you suspect chronic inflammation is a problem for you, be sure to include these laboratory tests at your next checkup with your health-care provider:

C-reactive protein (CRP)
Omega-3 Index (a measure of EPA and DHA in red blood cells)

Take these simple, smart steps to keep your gut happy and quench chronic inflammation throughout your body:

Brush your teeth after meals and floss daily
Take a daily multivitamin/mineral with extra vitamin D
Supplement with vitamins B6, B12 and folate if homocysteine is high
Boost your Omega-3 Index above 8 percent: Take a supplement with EPA/DHA and eat more walnuts, salmon, sardines, beef, avocado
Find and treat sources of inflammation, such as infections
Eat probiotic-rich foods to increase your healthy gut microorganisms: kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, miso soup, pickles, kombucha tea
Enjoy more high-fiber foods: artichokes, asparagus, beans, cabbage, chia seeds, root veggies like sweet potatoes, jicama and squashes
Limit trans fats, omega-6 rich foods (corn, soy, processed foods), sugar, gluten and processed meats

In this video, Dr. Daniel Amen discusses how your troubled gut could be hurting your brain and the steps you can take today to help prevent memory loss.

Amen Clinics Memory Program based on Dr. Amen’s BRIGHT MINDS approach,

For those in the US you can access a service to help you with brain fog.



Stress could be another theory behind the reason for a burning scalp after a crash. There is a protocol below but check everything before you attempt to take it. Quercetin is included for is an anti-androgenic see Endocrine disrupting activities of the flavonoid

Burning Scalp Syndrome

We all get an itchy scalp from time to time, but imagine a burning, painful sensation (similar to a sunburn on your scalp) that never goes away.

It’s a condition referred to as burning scalp syndrome.

Unfortunately, many doctors have a hard time diagnosing (and thus treating) the condition, leaving sufferers frustrated and at their wits’ end.

Symptoms include burning, itching, scalp sensitivity, pain when combing/brushing/styling, and may even result in hair loss.

Causes of Burning Scalp Syndrome

The number-one cause of burning scalp syndrome is chronic stress, whether from daily stressors or anxiety, depression, and even recovering from an injury.

A neuropeptide called Substance P is the culprit. Substance P is the key “first responder” to stresses in your life. When stress becomes chronic, Substance P builds up and becomes too excessive for your body to handle.

Aside from burning scalp syndrome, other issues such as restless leg syndrome, digestive woes, vaginal discomfort, hives for no reason, and even conditions such as fibromyalgia can all be caused by excessive amounts of Substance P.

Treatment Options

After studying the syndrome, Dr. Ward Bond has come up with certain protocols to address it.

Your diet is extremely important. Eat as naturally as possible and stay away from artificial ingredients and bad fats. Good fats have been found to bring relief to some patients, particularly flax oil and borage oil.

Magnesium is crucial as well. Low magnesium levels enable excess Substance P to respond. Dr. Bond prefers the Natural Vitality brand Natural Calm and advises to take it in morning and again in the evening.

You can also ingest cayenne internally. This tricks the nervous system into thinking an injury has occurred, but triggers the release of excess substance P.

Quercetin removes Substance P from the nervous system as well, and is also a natural antihistamine.

Acetyl L-Carnitine gets the left and right sides of the brain to communicate more efficiently and also reduces Substance P levels. This improves focus and optimizes release of serotonin and dopamine.

Regular exercise and stretching can also be beneficial, as well as focusing on the good in your life.

Listen in as Dr. Bond joins hosts Andrea and Lisa to share information on burning scalp syndrome, the other health concerns associated with excess Substance P, and how you can use nutrition to address your symptoms.

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