Unfortunately I watched my mother-in-law deteriorate in front of my eyes and die at the young age of 62 of dementia/Alzheimer’s. Sadly at that time we did not know what to do at that point. Interestingly, she was physically in better shape than most however her mental capacity was very minimal. On top of that, she lost the ability to speak as well. I look back and it was the single most significant event in transforming me as a physician. Even though she was too far gone to turn around, it put me on a journey to research and learn things that I probably would never have. I searched for answers as to how this could happen to someone in their 60’s. Recent literature tells us that losing our memory as we get older is not normal. As I was searching I stumbled across certain things that cause brain damage (dementia /Alzheimers—any way you slice it is brain damage). I was shocked with what I found. Food additives like MSG and artificial sweeteners were huge culprits. MSG in particular excites the brain cells to the point of death while damaging and killing all those that are connected to that same brain cell. Heavy metals such as mercury and aluminum (which we found when we tested mom) have devastating effects on the brain. For example, just look at the mounting evidence for mercury alone. On PubMed there are more than 1500 articles that speak of the toxic effects of mercury…..and the storm around Autism and mercury and vaccines.
My mother-in-law was from Thailand so the potential for high doses of MSG over her lifetime would make sense as Asian cultures tend to use a large amount of it. I was shocked to find that it is in almost all processed foods and this is one of the ways that they make food with hardly and calories and fat taste good. Scary huh?
The great part about the journey has been that I have learned a lot of what you can do to protect your brain. High-quality Omega-3 fats, especially fish oils, are nourishing and protective of the brain and in addition reduce inflammation which is a huge culprit in many of today’s illnesses. Certain vitamins and minerals as well feed the brain. Interestingly, the brain’s main food sources are sugar and cholesterol. Now the sugar that nourishes the brain is not the refined bleached sugar that is in most sweets and packaged foods. The sugar I am describing is mainly from fruits and vegetables. “Cholesterol feeds the brain doc, you must me kidding?” Nope, not kidding. Cholesterol is vital to the brain and hormone production. I am unsure if anyone is looking at the huge push of lowering everyone’s cholesterol and if it ties in any way to dementia. I am not sure if it is a factor, but I simply find it interesting.
So, just a few thoughts on the growing epidemic of dementia. Protect yourself with knowledge.