When my father was 60 years old, I was surprised to notice early symptoms of dementia during a family weekend get-together. He’d ask Mom a question and then, fifteen minutes later, ask the same question again. This kind of forgetfulness is typical in seniors who are decades older, but is less common in youngsters just approaching their golden years. I wondered if the phenomenon was genetic and made a mental note to watch for early symptoms of my own.
The Alzheimer’s Fog
Dementia (mental deterioration) is organic (physical) damage causing extreme changes in the brain that result in loss of memory. People commonly associate the word dementia with Alzheimer’s disease, an aging-related illness afflicting increasing numbers of seniors. Memory loss from Alzheimer’s is caused by nerve cell death and dramatic tissue loss throughout the brain. The brain shrinks noticeably – actually shrivels up – affecting almost all brain function.
The Alzheimer’s Association published a fascinating ‘brain tour’ on its website which illustrates how the disease changes the brain, rendering it unable to perform. Though Alzheimer’s is by far the most prevalent form of dementia in seniors, responsible for more than 60% of all diagnoses, it certainly isn’t the only degenerative brain condition afflicting golden-agers.
Don’t Have a Stroke!
Vascular dementia, caused by brain damage from a stroke, is the second most prevalent type. Strokes occur when a blood clot blocks blood supply to the brain, leading to the death of a large volume of brain tissue. The longer the brain is deprived of oxygen, the more severe the damage. Vascular dementia occurs within six months of suffering a stroke in approximately 20% of victims. Numbers increase with recurring strokes, which are likely in people who have already survived one stroke.
Fortunately the majority of strokes are preventable, simply by cleaning up the blood – improving circulation via a conscientious effort to avoid blood clogging foods (fried foods, cheeses, foods high in saturated fat, etc), adhering to a raw diet as much as possible (fresh fruits and veggies), and supplementation if needed with a circulation enhancing formula.
After observing Dad’s early brain changes, I also noticed a sudden significant personality change while calling on a long-time insurance client – a male in his mid 70s. He seemed to have gone blank in the eyes since my visit the previous year. He knew me, and then he didn’t. His wife told me that his neurologist (brain doctor) had recently prescribed a new dementia drug meant to slow the progression of his advancing dementia. Four months later, Mr. Rice died with no known physical contributing factor. I was stunned at how quickly he’d deteriorated from normal function, to suffering some memory loss, to dying – all in little more than a year.
Mr. Rice died from a far less common type of dementia – RPD, or rapidly progressive dementia. While most forms of dementia take years to progress toward being fatal, RPD develops suddenly over months, or even weeks, and it can be quickly fatal. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is one type of RDP, a very rare brain-wasting illness that can cause rapid death. Less than 1000 cases per year are diagnosed in the US. Cruetzfeldt-Jakob disease can be inherited or can be transmitted by coming into contact with diseased tissue, via organ transplants or consuming contaminated beef (which is why it’s widely known as Mad Cow Disease.)
Brain tumors and auto-immune disorders can also cause rapidly progressive dementia. Complications of a number of medical conditions can cause decline in brain function while evidencing no other symptoms, such as thyroid abnormalities or auto-immune disorders like lupus. Infections of the nervous system, like meningitis, can cause rapidly progressive dementia, and it’s important to quickly identify and treat the underlying malfunction to avert lasting brain damage.
This Is Personal
Not long after Mr. Rice’s demise, I became personally acquainted with memory loss. Panic began to set in after I started experiencing frequent bouts of short term memory loss, before I even turned fifty years old. Despite my young age, sometimes I was startlingly forgetful. I could be sitting at my desk and get up to perform a routine task in the next room, but by the time I arrived five seconds later, I’d completely forgotten the intended task. Wracking my brain wouldn’t help retrieve the missing information. I became extremely concerned about brain health and, with having two decades of naturopathic self-treating history under my belt, refused to consider seeking a doctor’s advice. Instead I delved into existing research results about causes of and natural treatments for dementia. Prescription drugs were out of the question in my health universe.
My research revealed some astonishing facts and also shed light on Dad’s early memory loss. I realized that his brain malfunction was unrelated to Alzheimer’s disease. He’d created it himself, via poor eating habits.
Food for Thought
I discovered that the brain requires an almost constant supply of blood glucose to function normally, and that the brain alone utilizes more than 50% of the body’s total glucose requirement. But the brain cannot store blood glucose. Nor can it function properly when lacking glucose for more than a few minutes. Without the necessary glucose supply, brain cells can’t replicate correctly, and flawed new cells replace dying normal cells. With more and more malformed cells replicating themselves, flawed neurotransmitters can no longer communicate with each other, and messages can’t transmit throughout the brain as originally sent. Broken neurotransmitter connections are potholes on the information highway.
My father never ate breakfast and typically didn’t take the first bite of food until mid-afternoon. He’d eat two small meals within a few hours and, after his body processed the sudden flood of blood glucose, it later found itself deprived until the next flood, eighteen hours later. Year after year, Dad’s brain replicated malfunctioning and non-functioning cells, until his brain consisted of more abnormal cells than normal cells. It was a wonder he could remember his name. Eventually he couldn’t.
This revelation was mind-blowing, in more ways than one, when it occurred to me that my own eating habits imitated my father’s, and I’d unwittingly endangering the health of my brain. My daily routine consisted of hopping out of bed and rushing to get ready for work, racing out the door, and grabbing a cappuccino en route. Breakfast was never a consideration. I’d become absorbed in the business of the day and forget about food until my starving stomach reminded me in mid-afternoon that I’d yet to eat. Even then, there was no time for food. I might open a tin of tuna and gobble it fresh from the can, before resuming office duties. For more than a decade I’d starved my brain of blood glucose, just as my father had for much of his life. I was appalled to realize that my diet had damaged my brain.
Immediately I embarked on an intensive search for a natural product that might restore brain function. In that era, Google wasn’t yet the go-to resource for gleaning information on a topic. Internet search engines were fairly new, and Alta Vista was the search engine of choice. Not many online references were available, so written information and word-of-mouth were my best bets.
Since I already had extended history as a customer with Shaklee and LifePlus, both nutrition supplement companies with excellent products and reputations, I started there. The universe had smiled some luck in my direction by connecting me with LifePlus five years prior, because the company pioneered in inventing a very effective brain supplement formula. Written testimonials from people who’d successfully reversed memory loss by using Brain Formula, even in cases of advanced dementia, convinced me to try it. Brain Formula by LifePlus contains nutrients that actually target neurotransmitter health!
A normal dose of Brain Formula is two tablets daily. I consider two tablets a preventive dose, and I was far beyond needing preventive medicine by the time I was introduced to the product. My self-treatment began with no less than six tablets daily. After three weeks of triple dosing faithfully, I already noticed a marked improvement in my memory, with fewer bouts of forgetfulness. I continued another three weeks with six tablets daily and then reduced the dosage to two tablets, which I continued for probably ten years. Only within the past few years have I reduced intake to a couple of tablets weekly, to prevent future memory loss.
Needless to say, I also altered my eating patterns to prevent future brain cell damage via glucose-starvation. Small healthy meals and snacks throughout the day ensure crucial brain food availability as needed.
Years prior, upon first noticing Dad’s early signs of dementia, I’d urged Mom to purchase nursing home insurance for both of them, while Dad could still pass the requisite memory test, and she did. The purchase turned out to be one of the best financial strategies my parents ever implemented. By the time Dad was in his mid 70s, he was slipping into a mental fog. The family became concerned about his ability to continue driving, as well as Mom’s ability to care for him if he could no longer care for himself.
I suggested Dad take Brain Formula and related my own success story, but Dad refused to take any “pills” – his definition of all drugs and vitamins. So we slipped them into his food. With two months of regular use, Dad’s memory improved so dramatically that my sister could actually trust him to babysit her toddler for an hour, a task he hadn’t enjoyed in several years. Dad’s results satisfied the lingering question as to whether my own experience was just a fluke, with some unknown variable causing my brain to heal. Brain Formula had the identical effect on Dad, gradually reversing his memory loss.
My father’s dementia had nothing to do with Alzheimer’s disease, or with any medical condition that might cause rapidly progressive dementia. His memory loss was brought on by brain starvation.
Many Causes – No Cures
People often don’t realize that dementia can result from so many different underlying causes. Lewy Body Dementia is a less known form that develops as a result of abnormal protein deposits in brain tissue that disrupt normal function. Lewy body proteins (named after the scientist who discovered them) are found in the brain stem, where they deplete the brain of the neurotransmitter dopamine, causing tremors, stiff muscles, sleep disruption, loss of balance, amnesia, confusion … symptoms resembling those commonly manifesting in patients with Parkinson’s disease. The disorder is considered seriously under-diagnosed, despite more than 1.4 million people in the US having been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia.
Frontotemporal Dementia, (or frontal lobe dementia) is the direct result of frontal lobe disorders or damage and is responsible for ten to fifteen percent of all dementia diagnoses. The brain’s frontal lobe is responsible for personality, emotions, speech, and behavior. Among the many symptoms of frontal lobe dementia are neglect of personal hygiene, language recall problems and difficulty speaking, inappropriate actions, lack of inhibition, and apathy. This type of dementia appears to have only one known risk factor – genetics. Another type of abnormal proteins, Pick Bodies, are found in brains of people who’ve died after experiencing frontal lobe dementia, but researchers don’t know why they form or how to prevent them. Most people live six to eight years after being diagnosed with frontal lobe dementia but, in some cases, life expectancy is as low as two years.
Static Dementia is an entirely different matter, and I didn’t realize it existed until it too affected our family. One fine March morning, I drove eleven miles across town to visit my parents, and Mom seemed excessively pleased to see me. Out of the blue, she commented, “I can’t believe you came 1200 miles to visit me!” When I reminded her that I lived a few miles away with my son, Tyler, she exclaimed, “So then you know Tyler too?” Tyler was her grandson, whom she obviously remembered. But somehow she didn’t remember that I was his mother … and her daughter! She’d never evidenced even the slightest symptoms of dementia prior to that day.
After consulting my naturopathic physician about Mom’s sudden memory loss, he concluded that it might be caused by long-term narcotics use. Mom had been taking narcotic pain killers for more than thirty years, not realizing that certain drugs can cause chronic cognitive impairment. Some tranquilizers and sleeping pills can also damage the brain with extended use, and older people are more susceptible to drug-induced dementia for several reasons. Due to age-related decreases in kidney and liver function, the body is less able to recover from the effects of any drug ingestion. Aging neurotransmitters increase the brain’s sensitivity to drugs. Consumption of alcohol can compound the effects on the brain of long term narcotics use.
The Long and the Short of It
The difference between Mom’s dementia and Dad’s dementia is that my mother’s memory didn’t deteriorate for the first several years. She simply awoke one day with her mental wires crossed, and they stayed that way. There was no marked evidence of long term or short term memory loss. She’d simply slip in and out of cognizance and would spin the wildest yarns like they were gospel truth. I remember one particular visit when she informed me she’d just won $25,000 and that the timing was perfect, because she was about to depart on a trip to South Africa as a chaperon for a group of foreign exchange students. This occurred after she’d been a resident in a nursing home for four consecutive months.
Doctors, Pills, and Zero Results
When Mom became permanently disabled after a disastrous tumble and could no longer lace Dad’s food with nutrition supplements or monitor his eating schedule, his brain function began deteriorating again due to lack of blood glucose. Repairing the brain once doesn’t guarantee future health – it must be continuously cared for. Dad could no longer be left alone, and the family began searching for the appropriate care setting for him as well.
Part of the admitting process for nursing home eligibility is testing by an MD to verify inability to perform at least routine two personal care functions, such a preparing meals, bathing, dressing, etc. Dad was tested and, as is typical in western medicine, drugs are the only recommended recourse for memory loss. The doctor prescribed the newest wonder drug, which was supposed to restore some brain function. We were actually impressed when Dad’s speech began to return after about two weeks of use. But during the third week, Dad suffered a drug-induced panic attack, during which he suffered hallucinations. That ended the brain drug experiment on Dad.
Today, seven years later, current medications still can’t stop damage to brain cells caused by Alzheimer’s. They can only help stabilize symptoms, and only for a very limited time.
We refused to consider other prescription drugs for Dad’s dementia, with their potential side effects, especially since they do nothing to slow or reverse the underlying disease. And the neurologist wouldn’t hear of treating Dad with Brain Formula. Dad’s memory loss continued to progress slowly; he gradually lost more words. Eventually he didn’t recognize his family, except those he saw regularly. He became increasingly frustrated, unable to communicate or express what he needed. About a month before he died, he didn’t seem to recognize me any more. Five long years after losing the ability to care for himself in his own home, death finally relieved Dad of his suffering.
Western medicine fails to educate aging patients as to what causes dementia, much less what might reverse it. We’ve discussed two specific causes; diet-related brain starvation and drug-induced brain damage. But evidence suggests several other culprits which can lead to memory loss.
Heavy metal toxicity is extremely damaging to the brain. Neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock is recently voicing serious concerns specifically regarding Chemtrails – the result of a geoengineering phenomenon wherein tons of nano-aluminum particles are routinely sprayed into the atmosphere for weather modification, in an effort to reduce the effects of global warming. Aluminum dust sprayed regularly into the atmosphere results in people breathing heavy metal dust. And since “what goes up must come down”, we’re also inundating our food crops with aluminum dust. Humans are suddenly breathing metal and eating metal on a daily basis. Chemical seeding with aluminum oxide is thought to be responsible for a recent explosion in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and other brain related disorders. Aluminum chloride in antiperspirants is also long suspected of causing brain damage.
Since we’re literally eating and inhaling metal almost continually, we can no longer rely on an occasional detox routine to undo potential brain damage. A smarter approach is to add daily detoxifying supplements to our wellness regimen. Daily use of chlorella and cilantro alone can remove 80% of heavy metals from the body in six weeks. Magnesium protects the cells from damage by aluminum, mercury, lead, cadmium, beryllium and nickel.
Avoid This Brain Poison at All Costs
More and more documentation is surfacing about brain damage caused by the artificial sweetener Aspartame, recently renamed Amino Sweet due to all the negative publicity. Aspartame is being marketed now as a natural sweetener, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Award winning integrative physician, Dr. Joseph Mercola considers aspartame the most dangerous substance by far of all artificial ingredients added to food today, accounting for more than 75% of adverse food reactions that are reported to the FDA. Aspartame’s brand names are Equal, NutraSweet, Spoonful, Equal-Measure and AminoSweet.
Ninety different symptoms have been recognized as being related to aspartame use, including brain abnormalities like migraines, seizures, slurred speech, depression, insomnia and memory loss. Research indicates that aspartame can worsen or even trigger dread diseases like brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and mental retardation.
Aspartame damages the brain by allowing an influx of too much calcium into brain cells, and calcium overload triggers excessive free radicals, which kill neuron cells. Aspartate (aspartic acid) is referred to as an excito-toxin because it overstimulates neural cells to death. Many long term aspartame users experience chronic brain fog.
Long term vitamin deficiencies can result in dementia. A thiamine (Vitamin B1) deficiency, caused by alcohol abuse, can cause memory loss. This type of dementia can be reversed if treated soon enough but, if you’re at risk, it would be wiser to reduce alcohol consumption dramatically and utilize a bio-available multiple vitamin supplement daily to prevent brain damage.
Certain illnesses left untreated can cause dementia, like metabolic imbalances, infections, inner ear disorders, and HIV. Untreated syphilis was deemed responsible for personality disorders and eventual dementia in several notorious historical figures, including Al Capone and Henry VIII.
Brains, just like muscles, need exercise to remain finely tuned. Results from a 10-year study of 2,785 people indicate that regular brain training can reduce the risk of dementia by a whopping 48%. Many websites, such as Neuronation.com, offer free online brain exercises.
I utilize a specific brain training exercise I’ll refer to as cross-training brain-training. I like to train myself to use my non-dominant hand for tasks I’ve always done with the dominant hand, like brushing teeth, shaving, or using a curling iron. Interestingly I find that, within about a month, I can become almost as efficient doing the task with the left hand as I am with the right. Using your non-dominant hand causes increased brain activity and forces your brain to use new neural pathways.
Treating Memory Loss
Protecting yourself from brain-damaging toxins is extremely important in preventing memory loss. But if you’re already experiencing symptoms, don’t wait for them to worsen before taking action.
First ensure that you’re not malnourished. An organic and/or non-GMO, mostly raw diet will provide the best basis for overall health as we age. Ongoing deficiency of vitamins and minerals necessary for brain health is total preventable by supplementing with a quality, bio-available vitamin/mineral product.
A recent University of Oxford study indicates that brain atrophy is slowed by 70% in people who regularly consume a combination of B-vitamins and omega-3. And brain atrophy is a common denominator in the majority of dementia patients.
Brain Formula rescued me from early onset brain fog and completely eliminated my symptoms. It reversed my father’s fog for a season, while it was still available to him. An aging cousin recently began using Brain Formula to find out if it can enhance a healthy brain’s function. I’ll keep you posted.
Most importantly, understand that you (not your doctor) will determine your destiny in regard to brain health in your golden years. Be your own advocate, be proactive, and be prepared with brain food that will facilitate your future participation in lively conversations with your great great grandchildren.
We welcome all feedback, and please feel free to ask questions regarding brain health.