Functional Neurology: Diagnosis and Treatment of a Leaky Brain


Our brain is a complex organ that controls many essential functions in our body. Therefore, brain health is vital for our survival. This is where the blood-brain barrier comes in. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) consists of a group of cells held together by “tight junctions” that protect the brain from potentially harmful components in the bloodstream. This security system only permits passage to certain molecules and keeps most other chemicals or substances out. �

Understanding a Leaky Brain

If damage due to an injury or underlying condition occurs, small gaps can start to develop in the tight junctions of the group of cells in the brain and potentially harmful components in the bloodstream can ultimately penetrate the BBB and enter the complex organ. This is known as a “leaky brain”. Several chemicals or substances can commonly cause brain inflammation. Research studies have demonstrated a connection between gut health and brain health. As a matter of fact, scientists have also determined that our gut microbiome, or the bacteria in our gastrointestinal (GI) tract, can affect our brain. �


The stomach and small intestine consist of a group of cells like the blood-brain barrier that also protects the gut from potentially harmful components in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Similar factors that cause a leaky gut can cause a leaky brain, including poor diet, food sensitivities or intolerances, infections, and toxins. Research studies have demonstrated that a protein found in wheat and gluten, known as gliadin, can increase the production of another protein known as zonulin. Zonulin can cause the tight junctions of the gut and BBB to become loose or broken, leading to a leaky brain and a leaky gut. �


Diagnosis of a Leaky Brain

If you suspect that you may have a leaky brain following common causes and symptoms associated with the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier, make sure you talk to a qualified and experienced healthcare professional to receive a proper diagnosis and follow up with treatment. Healthcare professionals can receive a variety of screening tests in order to be able to find out their overall risk of a leaky brain. These can include one or more of the following tests: �


Occludin and Zonulin

The proteins known as occludin and zonulin can help determine both gut and blood-brain barrier permeability in a leaky gut and a leaky brain. According to research studies, increased levels of antibodies combating against occludin and zonulin proteins are another common way to diagnose a leaky brain. �


Genetic Testing

A leaky brain can also be diagnosed using genetic testing. Changes in any of the genes that regulate the cells of tight junctions in the brain, oxidative stress, inflammation, or immune response can cause a leaky brain. Diagnosis of these genes can even further help determine treatment for a leaky brain. �



Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter that helps control signals in the brain. Recent research studies have demonstrated that GABA can penetrate the BBB and enter the brain. A GABA-EEG can help determine how much gamma-aminobutyric acid passes the BBB to cause a leaky brain. �


MMP9 Level Evaluation

Matrix metalloproteinases, also known as MMPs, are enzymes that break down the peptide bonds that hold proteins together. These, however, can ultimately cause the cells of the tight junctions in the brain to become lose and broken, breaking down the BBB. MMPs can also increase after damage, injury, or an underlying condition in the liver or brain, such as a stroke or a traumatic brain injury. Testing for increased MMPs in the bloodstream can help diagnose a patient’s risk of developing a leaky brain. As an initial treatment, several patients can start taking an MMP inhibitor to decrease BBB permeability.


Spectrophotometry and Optical Imaging

The protein known as albumin flows in the bloodstream, however, it can’t penetrate the BBB or enter the brain under healthy conditions. To diagnose a leaky brain using spectrophotometry and optical imaging, healthcare professions may inject albumin with a dye called Evans Blue which only binds and dyes the protein in the bloodstream. Spectrophotometry and optical imaging can demonstrate the amount of Evans Blue dye that has accumulated in the brain. �


Treatment of a Leaky Brain

According to many healthcare professionals, treating a leaky brain ultimately starts by treating a leaky gut. Reducing and/or eliminating all of the factors that cause a leaky gut and a leaky brain as well as including diet and lifestyle modifications can help promote overall gut and brain health. The following steps can help treat a leaky brain by decreasing inflammation in the brain and the body, increasing oxygen, glucose, and other nutrients in the brain, improving the removal of harmful components in the brain, reducing oxidative stress, and restoring the BBB by ultimately repairing cells in the tight junctions of the brain. �


  • Treat bacterial and viral infections
  • Detox from heavy metals and pesticides
  • Prevent exposure to environmental toxins in the air, water, and food
  • Reduce or eliminate food sensitivities and intolerances
  • Avoid sugar and processed foods
  • Reduce inflammation through diet
  • Eat essential fatty acids, including avocado, coconut oil, flaxseed, hemp seed, oily fish, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts
  • Take probiotics to help maintain a healthy gut
  • Seek supplements that help repair the BBB
  • Stop drinking excess alcohol
  • Exercise and practice yoga or mindful meditation
  • Manage stress
  • Get good rest and quality sleep


Too much inflammation may cause a variety of brain health issues and neurological diseases associated with the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), also known as a leaky brain. Because many research studies have suggested the connection between a leaky gut and a leaky brain, maintaining a healthy gut microbiome may be an effective treatment for brain health issues and neurological diseases. Scientists have started working towards developing successful ways to allow drugs and/or medications as well as other treatments to penetrate and enter the brain through the blood-brain barrier and from the bloodstream. A leaky brain may be caused by a variety of factors and various symptoms can commonly manifest.� – Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. Insight


Our brain is a complex organ that controls many essential functions in our body. Therefore, brain health is vital for our survival. This is where the blood-brain barrier comes in. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) consists of a group of cells held together by “tight junctions” that protect the brain from potentially harmful components in the bloodstream. This security system only permits passage to certain molecules and keeps most other chemicals or substances out. �


The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, and nervous health issues or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.�


Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez �



  • Mindd Foundation. �What Causes Leaky Brain? Repairing the Blood-Brain Barrier.� Mindd, 11 June 2019,



Neurotransmitter Assessment Form

Neurotransmitter Assessment Form AE260 (1)


The following Neurotransmitter Assessment Form can be filled out and presented to Dr. Alex Jimenez. The following symptoms listed on this form are not intended to be utilized as a diagnosis of any type of disease, condition, or any other type of health issue. �



Additional Topic Discussion: Chronic Pain

Sudden pain is a natural response of the nervous system which helps to demonstrate possible injury. By way of instance, pain signals travel from an injured region through the nerves and spinal cord to the brain. Pain is generally less severe as the injury heals, however, chronic pain is different than the average type of pain. With chronic pain, the human body will continue sending pain signals to the brain, regardless if the injury has healed. Chronic pain can last for several weeks to even several years. Chronic pain can tremendously affect a patient’s mobility and it can reduce flexibility, strength, and endurance. �




Neural Zoomer Plus for Neurological Disease

Dr. Alex Jimenez utilizes a series of tests to help evaluate neurological diseases. The Neural ZoomerTM Plus is an array of neurological autoantibodies which offers specific antibody-to-antigen recognition. The Vibrant Neural ZoomerTM Plus is designed to assess an individual�s reactivity to 48 neurological antigens with connections to a variety of neurologically related diseases. The Vibrant Neural ZoomerTM Plus aims to reduce neurological conditions by empowering patients and physicians with a vital resource for early risk detection and an enhanced focus on personalized primary prevention. �


Food Sensitivity for the IgG & IgA Immune Response

Dr. Alex Jimenez utilizes a series of tests to help evaluate health issues associated with food sensitivities. The Food Sensitivity ZoomerTM is an array of 180 commonly consumed food antigens that offers very specific antibody-to-antigen recognition. This panel measures an individual�s IgG and IgA sensitivity to food antigens. Being able to test IgA antibodies provides additional information to foods that may be causing mucosal damage. Additionally, this test is ideal for patients who might be suffering from delayed reactions to certain foods. Utilizing an antibody-based food sensitivity test can help prioritize the necessary foods to eliminate and create a customized diet plan around the patient�s specific needs. �


Gut Zoomer for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

Dr. Alex Jimenez utilizes a series of tests to help evaluate gut health associated with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). The Vibrant Gut ZoomerTM offers a report that includes dietary recommendations and other natural supplementation like prebiotics, probiotics, and polyphenols. The gut microbiome is mainly found in the large intestine and it has more than 1000 species of bacteria that play a fundamental role in the human body, from shaping the immune system and affecting the metabolism of nutrients to strengthening the intestinal mucosal barrier (gut-barrier). It is essential to understand how the number of bacteria that symbiotically live in the human gastrointestinal (GI) tract influences gut health because imbalances in the gut microbiome may ultimately lead to gastrointestinal (GI) tract symptoms, skin conditions, autoimmune disorders, immune system imbalances, and multiple inflammatory disorders. �



Formulas for Methylation Support

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Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C.,C.C.S.T

Welcome-Bienvenido's to our blog. We focus on treating severe spinal disabilities and injuries. We also treat Sciatica, Neck and Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sport Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal mobility, health, fitness, and structural conditioning. We use Individualized Diet Plans, Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Adapted Cross-Fit Protocols and the "PUSH System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. If you would like to learn more about a Doctor of Chiropractic who uses advanced progressive techniques to facilitate complete physical health, please connect with me. We a focus on simplicity to help restore mobility and recovery. I'd love to see you. Connect!

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