Mood, Memory + Brain Fog: Cleanse Your Brain’s Glymphatic System with Ayurveda

Compelling new evidence shows that getting the correct amount of sleep matters.

In This Article

Do you take care of your lymph? 

lifespa image, increase brain power, graphic, human, clouds

In Ayurveda, we start with an evaluation of the lymphatic system or the rasa dhatu, which acts as the body’s major plumbing system, draining waste and carrying the immune system to and from every other body system. 

lifespa-brain-lymph-diagram
Maps of the lymphatic system: old (left) and updated to reflect the new discovery. Credit: University of Virginia Health System.

A new study has discovered that when people sleep, special lymph channels in the brain, called the glymphatic system, open and drain up to 3 pounds of neurotoxins from the brain and cerebral spinal fluid back into the general lymphatic circulation each year.1-4 The study suggests it takes about 6-8 hours of sleep to complete the brain-drain-plumbing process, which is compelling evidence that getting the correct amount of sleep matters. 

Your Brain’s Hidden Caves Drain Neurotoxins 

The study found that glymphatics are like hidden caves that open during sleep, and, much like the rest of the lymphatic system, drain toxic waste and proteins out of the brain. The study found copious amounts of neurotoxins drain during natural sleep cycles. 

lifespa image, cognitive behavioral therapy, woman yawning

The most well-known neurotoxin, beta-amyloid, is drained through these glymphatics. The problem is that studies show that the less you sleep, the less the glymphatics can work and the more beta-amyloid accumulates in the brain. The catch-22 is that the more beta-amyloid accumulates in the brain, the worse you sleep and the worse your memory can become. Studies suggest that accumulation of amyloid plaque and sleep are bidirectional where the worse you sleep the more plaque accumulates and the more plaque you have the worse your sleep.5 Beta-amyloid plaque has been indicated in numerous cognitive and memory concerns that are only now starting to be more fully understood.6-8 

Tarpaka Kapha: Mood, Memory + Brain Fog 

With the discovery of the brain’s lymphatic (glymphatic) system dumping three pounds of toxins every year during sleep, a new understanding of how the brain washes itself of toxins and emotions has emerged. 

brain size tree in human heads silhouette image

According to Ayurveda, we feel emotional impressions (mental ama) in the emotional heart. This is called sadaka pitta—the aspect of pitta that feels everything. These impressions are then transported to the brain through the carrying channels of prana vata—the emotional aspect of vata. 

Emotional impressions felt by sadaka pitta are carried and written into the memory by prana vata. Memories, impressions, and emotional constrictions are held by tarpaka kapha—the emotional aspect of kapha.13 

Memories are written onto the fatty myelin sheaths surrounding neurons in the brain’s white matter, giving rise to the name tarpaka, which means to retain or record. According to Ayurveda, tarpaka records every human experience, from blissful to traumatic. Even impressions from our ancestors are stored in tarpaka kapha.6

If these tarpaka channels become congested, the mood can shift, memory can become compromised, and the brain can become foggy. The cause of this imbalance can be emotional trauma or the cumulative impact of stress, lack of sleep, and digestive weakness. 

There are many strategies for addressing this imbalance, including Ayurveda’s most powerful glymphatic support, nasya (sniffing herbalized oil into the sinuses).9 

brahmi

 Balancing blood sugar is critical as well to support healthy brain glymphatic and tarpaka function (see my free Blood Sugar Secrets for Health and Longevity eBook).10  Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri), a known brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) supports healthy brain cell production, mood, and memory.11 Another great herbal supplement to consider is brahmi (Centella asiatica), found in LifeSpa’s formula Brahmi Brain, which has been found to support healthy cerebral microcirculation, mood, sleep, and memory.12 

Is your brain draining properly? How do you support your glymphatics? 

We recommend "Cleanse Your Sinuses + Emotional Baggage": https://lifespa.com/k2-deficiency/

References

  1. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/342/6156/373 
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25947369  
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24199995 
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23434588 
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4770804/  
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24493463 
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20802182 
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21212607  
  9. http://www.ayujournal.org/article.asp?issn=0974-8520;year=2009;volume=30;issue=2;spage=188;epage=193;aulast=Bhakti;type=0  
  10. http://lifespa.com/blood-sugar-secrets-health-longevity/ 
  11. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23949198  
  12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3116297/ 
  13. Lad, V. Textbook of Ayurveda: Fundamental Principles. Ayurvedic Press. NM. 2002. P.74 

21 thoughts on “Mood, Memory + Brain Fog: Cleanse Your Brain’s Glymphatic System with Ayurveda”

  1. Very useful informations on an essential health question and probably a precious solution for many discouraged people!Thank you Dr.Douillard!

    Reply
  2. Thank you, John, for not only expanding my grasp of tarpaka kapha, but deepening my whole awareness around the importance of each part of the dinacharya ! Plus, you include your references!! That is so important to me! I am planning to offer a course in ‘Home Care: the basics of Ayurveda’ when I return to my Florida home in October. Those references help spread the credibility of this precious system.

    I might add: I absolutely LOVED your NAMA presentation!! Is there a form of it with references that I could purchase??

    Reply
  3. THANK YOU FOR SHARING THESE BLESSINGS FREELY
    I HAVE LEARNED SO MUCH FROM YOU
    THANKS ALSO FOR THE SUPORT PEOPLE WHO WORK WITH YOU
    I AM SO BLESSED YOU ALL ARE

    PAT

    Reply
  4. Namaste!

    Do you not think that one cannot practice true ayurvedic medicine nowadays anymore, as way back, in India, people had a different consciousness? They also used mantras…even the atmosphere was different?

    Why the romantic picture of the castle, the moon, etc?

    Reply
  5. Thank you so much John for always willing to share your knowledge and in doing so helping us to pay it forward. reading this makes sense since we know that at certain times during the night our organs rejuvenates: why not our brain.
    Again THANK YOU!!!

    Evelyn

    Reply
  6. I have battled breast cancer for 8 years. Now that some of my lymph nodes were removed or treated ,I have to do lymph drainage exercises. It really does drain from my body and I feel better not congested. I was wondering if this could be the reason the elderly get memory loss. Maybe their lymph nodes get clogged and can’t release toxins. Plus, the elderly sleep much lees as they age which sounds like a direct connection with this new study. Thank Dr. Douillard !

    Reply
  7. Thanks for the info Dr. John. After dealing with Lyme for a few years I have been doing a lot to help my body detox. I just ordered some Bacopa so will see how that helps.

    I have used sound vibration machines that help drain the lymph nodes. Do you know if jumping rope can achieve the same affect? Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Nathan. Sorry about the Lyme, very nasty infection and if not caught within 1-2 weeks of infection cannot be killed off through medicine which only carries relief through the blood but the barrelia bacteria burrow where the blood does not flow. I had that for 2.5 years until I heard of an energy healer in Australia Master Healer John Douglas. His spiritual companions, the Master Healing Angels, will kill the bacteria and all co-infections but you have to do the detox to clear it out. There is a special formula for salt baths that help plus other things you have in your kitchen. Anyway you can go to MasterAngels.org for more info. And tonight, Friday evening at 6 pm PDT, 9 pm EDT there is a free Global Karmic Repair process online including a Cosmis Infusion Blessing with Master John Douglas GLOBALREPAIR.com Best wishes for your health – Jennine

      Reply
    • Hi Pat,

      Make sure you see your MD to rule out anything serious.

      From there, blood sugar, deficiencies, blood pressure and electrolyes must be evaluated.

      So sorry, there are so many possible causes for this.

      Be Well,
      Dr. John

      Reply
  8. Hi my name is Leticia. I’m 58 year’s young. I’m a diabetic and have had a Horrible time regulating my sugars. The Drs have told me to lose weight, I did about 180 pound’s,
    I’ve changed my diet, I exercise at least 4 days out of the week, Walk everyday, I garden. My sugars are still out of control. I take insulin everyday, even the doses of insulin have changed Drastically. I’m at a total loss. Dr’s don’t know what to do with me. HELP ANY INFO that might help. Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Leticia,

      You may be interested in Dr. John’s free eBook: Blood Sugar Secrets for Health + Longevity
      bloodsugarhealth.lifespa.com

      Best,
      LifeSpa Staff

      Reply
  9. I can’t get my head round my Energy. I was buzzing yesterday. Today drained. Slept ok. Don’t no the answer. It’s like a mood thing. I used to drink yo alter my mood but don’t now. I did yoga am. Am starting to eat clean. Exercise helps. But can’t understsnd from one day to the next is so different. When I’m like this it’s like I’m paralysed and can’t work. And have to wait for my energy to come back or my mood to shift Help. Please. I don’t want to use stimulants to shift my. Mood. I have coffee I MO duration. And am pretty much vegetarian

    Reply
  10. Does one have to sleep in a laying down position for the neurotoxins to drain at night?

    Thank you for all the work and study you have done.

    Reply

Leave a Comment