Why Isn’t My Brain Working? | Book Review

why isn't my brain working

Wow, where to start?!  Simply put, Why Isn’t My Brain Working? is a mighty tome of a book.  Packed with information on all aspects of brain physiology, brain dysfunction and the brain’s intrinsic connection to other bodily systems, especially the gut.
This is very much a functional medicine resource for patients and practitioners alike.

Datis Kharrazian is well-versed in his subject matter, having spent over a decade lecturing on chronic illness, autoimmune and neurological disorders to other healthcare providers.  He’s currently an active research fellow for Harvard Medical School, and also an internationally sought-after clinician in the fields of natural medicine, nutrition and lab analysis.
More recently, he’s been given both a special recognition award in 2011 and Researcher of the Year Award in 2017, by the International Association of Functional Neurology.

Why Isn’t My Brain Working? is a meaty 480 pages in length and contains 21 in-depth chapters, each complete with concluding chapter summary.  There are also many patient case studies included throughout (from both Dr Kharrazian’s patients and those of other healthcare practitioners).  Which are good for breaking up the science and illustrating the many conditions he discusses.

At the back as expected in a book this well-researched, you’ll find an extensive 80-pages of scientific references, just in case you want to get into the nitty-gritty of doing your own research and investigations.

Below I take you through a full chapter rundown to give you a taste of all that’s covered in the text.

Why Isn’t My Brain Working? by Datis Kharrazian – Chapter Summary

1  Brain Basics 101

Recap of brain anatomy and physiology.

2  Brain Plasticity & Hope

A look at positive and negative brain plasticity, and the ‘lose it or use it’ principle.

3  The Failing Brain

How brain degeneration manifests, including in terms of fatigue, depression and irresolvable gut problems.

4  The Needs Of The Neuron

Including neuron physiology and function.

5  Blood Sugar Imbalances

Reactive hypoglycaemia, insulin resistance and their impact on the brain and neurotransmitter function.  Dietary guidelines and supplements to balance blood sugar.

6  Stress & The Brain

The severe effects of stress on the brain, including the most common stressor – sugary, high-carb diets.

7  Brain Circulation & Oxygen

Effects of poor brain oxygenation, blood flow, low/high blood pressure and anaemia.  Use of nitric oxide and nutritional supplements to improve brain oxygenation.

8  Gluten Sensitivity & Beyond

Gluten’s effects on the brain, nervous system and gut.  Detailed look at gluten testing and gluten antibodies.  Food sensitivity panels and going fully gluten-free.  Supplements to help with accidental gluten exposure.

9  The Gut-Brain Axis

The connection between gut impairment and brain impairment.  Leaky gut mechanisms, symptoms and autoimmunity.  Vagus nerve impairment.  The Intestinal Permeability Programme.  Supplements and probiotics to help repair the gut lining.

10  Brain Inflammation

Neuroinflammation and microglia.  Leaky blood-brain barrier and the GABA challenge.  Compounds that ease neuroinflammation.

11  What Is Neurological Autoimmunity?

3 stages of autoimmunity.  Antibody testing for autoimmunity.  GAD autoimmunity.  A look at TH-3 and TH-7 immune responses.

12  Introduction To Neurotransmitters

Neurotransmitter types (acetylcholine, serotonin, GABA, dopamine), as well as thresholds, inhibition and excitation, and problems with neurotransmitter release.

13  Acetylcholine

Symptoms of acetylcholine impairment.  Foods and nutritional compounds supporting acetylcholine function.

14  Serotonin

Symptoms of serotonin impairment.  Serotonin 101.  Serotonin’s relationship with oestrogen, 5-HTP, tryptophan, iron, plus other co-factors.  Melatonin and sleep.  Supporting serotonin pathways.

15  GABA

Symptoms of GABA impairment. Nutritional compounds supporting GABA activity.  Autoimmune GABA disorder.  Effects of blood sugar, anaemia, low oxygen and toxicity on GABA production.  The GABA challenge.

16  Dopamine

Symptoms of low dopamine, plus its impact on depression, motivation, mental function and other hormones.  Compounds that support dopamine activity.
Other impacting factors including blood sugar, iron, oxygen, folic acid and P-5-P.

18  The Hormone-Brain Connection

Effects of hormones on neurotransmitters, brain inflammation and physiology.  Also looks at high testosterone, high oestrogen, progesterone, cholesterol, adrenal stress, pregnenolone steal, the menstrual cycle, menopause and hypothyroidism.

19  Alternative Therapies, Brain Stimulation & Brain Function

Improving brain health with brain-stimulating therapies like exercise, music, massage, yoga, acupuncture and chiropractic treatment.

20  Essential Fatty Acids

EFA deficiency.  The effect of incorrect omega-3 and omega-6 ratios on the brain.  Critical importance of EPA and DHA on brain function.

21  Toxins & The Brain

What happens to the brain with loss of chemical tolerance, as well as its causes and testing.  Whether to chelate or not?  Importance of glutathione, the master antioxidant.  Compounds that support glutathione recycling.  Liver detoxification, plus Phase I and Phase II support.  NFKappaB’s role in inflammation.

22  The Brain Health Reference Guide

The final chapter is where the whole of Why Isn’t My Brain Working? gets tied together in a really handy summary.  After all there’s SO much in this book, that drawing it all together is mighty helpful!
This summary gives you a really good jumping-off point if you’re looking to focus on particular areas of relevance for you, and get started with your own brain healing.

So Would I Recommend It?

When all is said and done, would I recommend this book?  Yes, absolutely.
Anyone who has any sort of brain dysfunction, or has a loved-one with brain dysfunction, or is just seriously interested in the subject, will learn a HUGE amount from it.

Furthermore, if you have thyroid dysfunction, depression, anxiety, hormone imbalance or issues with gut health and leaky gut, there is plenty of crossover and lots of valuable info for you also.

Why Isn’t My Brain Working? is eye-opening in showing how the brain-gut-body systems inter-relate and how inflammation impacts them all collectively.  I also think its an excellent resource for anyone looking for a system to get started rebuilding their own failing brain health.

Having said that, because of its depth, this is NOT a book for people who want a quick read or a quick fix.  And of course it’s not meant to be.  It’s filled with science and detailed information on healing at the root cause, and I love it precisely for that reason.

Now I’ve read it through, I know it’s a book I’ll dip into again and again for continued help with my health.  In fact so far, I’ve already put myself in for thyroid and food intolerance testing.  And in order to get my own inflammation down, have initiated some big diet overhauls and started introducing some of the recommended supplements.

What’s exciting is that already after a few weeks, I’m feeling clearer-headed and more motivated.  Which is spurring me on further.

So yes, I’ll definitely be recommending this book to all the science-y folks out there who’ll enjoy the depth of it.  And I know it’ll be the basis for lots more of my own research and articles on my health journey.  Watch out for those!

For anyone, who’s really ready to get to grips with understanding their own health and commit to making some big lifestyle changes, this book is a fab investment and well worth the money.

If you want to buy Why Isn’t My Brain Working? by Datis Kharrazian, you can do so on Amazon UK here.

But of course, that’s just my five cents, maybe you completely disagree?
If you’ve read Why Isn’t My Brain Working? yourself and want to share your thoughts, or just have any questions – feel free to drop a comment below!

Also, don’t forget to check out Dr Kharrazian’s own website, which has tons of info for anyone yearning for more on this subject x

And to read more of my own articles on healing brain dysfunction see…
Clear Brain Fog With These 7 Ancient Herbs

18 Natural Ways To Treat Depression

5 Crucial Foods To Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

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