The Cause of Dementia Is Staring Us in the Face: Can You Recognize It?
Recently, I met a dementia researcher who informed me that over 100 types of dementia are being studied. The dementia researcher I talked to isn’t interested or invested in saying what causes all this dementia. He is focused diligently on studying the brains of people who died with dementia, creating a taxonomy of variations in dementia, and doing research that might be useful to medical doctors and pharmaceutical companies looking to manufacturer drugs for treatments after neurobiological damage has already happened. But over on the healist side of prevention, we go straight to probable risks and ask: how do we change the bodymindsets that increase the risk into healthier bodymindsets that reduce risk?
Thankfully, we don’t have to study the brains of people who died with dementia to understand dementia. Just look in the eyes of someone who has dementia and you will understand plenty. Including why focusing on preventing it is better than focusing on treatments after you already have dementia.
Having taught cultural studies for many years in universities before becoming a somatic-emotional therapist and wellness educator, I understood that dementia is a spectrum of disorders much like autism, and that, like autism, dementia has multiple causes, and those causes are pervasive, meaning they’re pervasive in the environment. it’s easy to conclude, if you’re cognitively capable of adding 2 + 2 and emotionally intelligent enough to connect the dots, that the general cause of dementia is environmental neurotoxins of which there are many. Neurotoxins are pervasive in our food, our water, our dentistry and in even in our medicine.
What is dementia?
The word “dementia” is used as an umbrella term for many different types of neurological and motor impairment that result from damage to our neurobiology. Our neurobiology is the human technology that enables us to experience embodied consciousness—what we think of as a Self; what we feel as a Self, and what we recognize and remember of our Self. Our neurobiology allows us to remember our past, plan our future, have good judgment, make executive decisions, feel moral reason, bond with others, and feel our emotions. All the things that make us human.
Symptoms of dementia include a long list of neurobiological problems. These are warning signs that our bodymind is having trouble adapting to the environment. Symptoms can include memory loss, poor judgment, communication difficulties, personality changes, cognitive impairment, mood changes, emotional disturbances and, if nothing is done to turn the neurobiological degeneration around in time, loss of awareness of safety, confusion, hallucinations, delusions and even aggression. Loss of motor skills inevitably accompanies these cognitive, psychological and emotional changes, like tremors, unstable gait, balance, and loss of executive decision-making needed to coordinate neuromuscular pathways.
Here’s a good article that describes 13 different types of dementia, so you can keep an eye out for early detection.
How to reduce your risk of dementia
If we want to prevent neurobiological degeneration that can increase our risk of dementia, then we want to prevent exposure to neurotoxins in the environment, right? Isn’t that the logical first step?
But imagine if you were unable to comprehend that logic, as simple as it is. Or remember it. Imagine if you had no emotional response to the necessity of it. Imagine if you didn’t see the correlation, or couldn’t find the words to talk about it. Imagine if you couldn’t comprehend other people trying to talk to you about it. Or recognize those people. Or yourself. And imagine if, during this cognitive and physical decline, you experience emotional changes. You have episodes of emotional outbursts, or periods of depression or anxiety, and then eventually over time your affect becomes flat. Over time, you find it hard to bond with, sync with or connect to people. Including yourself.
For all these reasons, early prevention is the most intelligent response to the challenge of dementia we are facing as individuals, families and as a greater collective. Remember, the most intelligent response is the most adaptive response given the current situation. The key to prevention is to adapt by making changes now—before you become chronically ill.
The big 5 neurotoxins to avoid
Let’s start with obvious neurotoxins we’ve put in our own environment, and do our best to avoid them. None of them were ever as safe as the industries that make them said they were, or paid ad agencies to create science marketing campaigns to say they were. There are many, but here are the big 5:
Overmedication with over-the-counter and prescription drugs that stress kidneys, liver and brain. Also known as medication toxicity. Anticholinergic drugs that block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine are culprits, as are painkillers and even antibiotics.
Mixed neurotoxins radioactive Cesium 137 and atrazine herbicide: when combined, Cesium 137 (from nuclear testing, plutonium production, steam leaks, waste water dumping and nuclear accidents) and atrazine (a common weed herbicide used on a variety of food crops and on golf courses and residential lawns) increase the risk of vascular dementia—the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s.
Eat pesticide and herbicide free
For pesticide and herbicide reduction, the practical solution is to eat smart—choose only organic pesticide-free and herbicide-free whole foods that are high in nutrients and low in toxins. Eating smart means knowing the farmers and the farms where your food is cultured. Give those farmers your food money, and help them help you stay well.
Filter your tap water for drinking and bathing
The brain is mostly made of water. Not coffee, energy drinks, sodas or alcohol. Water. So staying hydrated throughout the day is really important to dementia prevention. Losing your thirst response is a sign of dementia. So don’t push drinking water to the bottom of your list of to-do’s until you get thirsty. And definitely don’t push it until you forget how to feel thirsty. If you often say, “I forget to drink water,” listen to yourself. Take action to change that unhealthy habit now.
Filter your drinking water and shower water. Because neurotoxins we’re trying to avoid—like dioxin, PCBs, pesticides, herbicides and heavy metals—are pervasive in the environment, they run downstream from commercial farms and industrial manufacturing plants into local waterways where they can settle into soils and stay around for decades or even centuries, because these neurotoxins aren’t water soluble. They don’t break down in water. Remember to filter your shower water too. You can actually get more water borne toxins through the skin and by breathing volatile chemical steam in a hot shower than by drinking them. And make sure your filters remove all toxins, including fluoride and chloramine (a mix of chlorine and ammonia) added to most municipal tap water. There are a lot of water filter products on the market that don’t filter fluoride and chloramine, which are very small molecules.
If you use distillation or reverse-osmosis water filters, make sure you remineralize your water to make it slightly alkaline, as these filters remove all minerals as well as toxins, leaving the water at 5.0 pH—far too acidic to drink every day without making you too acidic. Our blood pH is 7.4. So we like to drink water at around 8 pH. Don’t go crazy. More than 8.0 or 8.5 pH is not necessarily better.
Reduce your exposure to heavy metals in dentistry and vaccines
In order to further reduce your risk of dementia, lower your bioburden of heavy metal neurotoxins, especially mercury, but also aluminum. Together they are a nasty combination for the brain and nervous system, as well as the kidneys, liver and gut.
If you have mercury amalgam dental fillings in your teeth like some 100 million Americans do, think about getting them out. Choose a mercury-free, oral-systemic dentist who uses safe biomimetic dental materials, and who is trained in safe mercury filling removal, and who follows the safety guidelines of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology.
Another source by which we can get neurotoxic mercury and/or aluminum inside of us is via vaccines. The flu vaccine has mercury as a preservative. Other vaccines use aluminum as an adjuvant. Both mercury and aluminum were never as safe to be injected into the body as we were told by the vaccine industry, which in the U.S. has no liability for vaccine injuries. The burden falls on us individually to make informed decisions about vaccine safety, and to value safety over risk when it comes to our longterm health and wellbeing.
By the way if you were still thinking vaccines are safe, you might want to read the “I Thought It Was Safe” chapter of my book Change Your Bodymindset. You’ll find a lot more information there about vaccine safety concerns, about pesticide and herbicide risks, as well as other risks. But more importantly, you’ll also learn about deliberate ignorance, denial and avoidance, and how to change those dysfunctional bodymindsets before they make you sick.
Over-medication is a common cause of dementia that elders are particularly susceptible to, but that teens and even children are also susceptible to. Avoid overusing pharmaceutical medications. Your liver and kidneys will have to break those drugs down, metabolize them, and then excrete them. If these organs of detoxification and elimination get stressed and overwhelmed, and can’t keep up with the toxic load, you can develop multiple chronic illnesses over time—including dementia.
Educate yourself about natural remedies, food as medicine, homeopathy, and herbal treatments so that you can deal with your personal healing crises in life without overusing over-the-counter and prescription meds—including vaccines but also antibiotics, antacids, pain relievers and painkillers. All of those can trigger a downward spiral that can damage your nervous system and diminish gutbrain health.
Finally, detox regularly to reduce your risk of dementia in the future. Once or twice a year, or every quarter, depending on your need, clean out your colon, liver and kidneys to help your body break down and eliminate toxic waste faster. One of the reasons why some people develop dementia and others don’t is the health of their detoxification pathway, also known as the methylation pathway.
For example, do you have a healthy well-formed bowel movement after every meal? Or every day? Or every other day? Or every third day? Constipation and chronic dehydration will make effective detoxification and elimination harder, increasing your risk of dementia and other gutbrain disorders. Help yourself. Make better food choices. Hydrate properly by getting enough water, and also enough magnesium in the right ratio to calcium, and enough potassium in the right ratio to sodium. If you eat too much salt, beware. We need twice as much potassium as sodium, so if you eat more salt you need more potassium to stay in balance for optimal cell hydration. Most Americans lack enough magnesium and potassium. Exercise until you sweat 2 or 3 times a week to help flush toxins out of your system.
Some people have the MTHFR gene mutation that diminishes their methylation and their ability to detox, making it harder for them to eliminate toxins and waste. And these people have higher risk of all sorts of chronic conditions, including dementia. If you have the MTHFR mutation, you really need to detox regularly. But all of us need to detox as part of a healthy lifestyle these days, because we all are being exposed to neurotoxins that have become pervasive in our environment. Check out Dr. Chris Shade’s new 5-day heavy metal detox kit at Quicksilverscientific.com. It’s state of the art.
Change your bodymindset about dementia prevention
Why wait? Why take risks? Why be complacent? Why deny the problem? Why get blindsided by a diagnosis? Instead, up the ante on your basic self-care. To help your gutbrain and nervous system be well, eat enough good fats daily, like coconut oil, virgin olive oil, flax seed oil, hemp seeds, etc. The brain is mostly water, and the rest is fat.
And watch out for drinking from plastic, which—hello!—is a neuroendocrine disruptor. It’s simply not a good idea if preventing dementia is your goal (or preventing cancer for that matter). Nor is it a good idea to have plastic molecules floating around in all our waterways and oceans. They are connected. Inside and outside, we are one with our environment. The sooner we cognize that, and get emotionally honest about the consequences of that realization for our health, the sooner we can take action to reduce our risk of chronic illnesses like dementia.
If you need more information about how to detox and why, check out my 10-day detox challenge.1