10 Products That May Cause Dementia
Some commonly used drugs, ingredients or substances may cause memory loss, damage cognition and/or increase the risk of contracting Alzheimer’s disease
It seems every month experts or others claim that some commonly used product causes dementia – one month it's soda pop, the next buttered pop corn or soy tofu. And after one of those times you may have asked yourself, “Why don’t they tell us what doesn’t cause dementia? Wouldn't that would be a shorter list?”
The following compilation tries to debunk such claims by providing objective information in an easy-to-read style. Advice may be given as well – that’s what friends are for. Also keep in mind this list is written in no particular order.
Please keep reading!
1. Proton Pump Inhibitors
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are some of the most widely purchased drugs in the world. Most are relatively cheap, over-the-counter remedies such as omeprazole. (People who want to pay more for essentially the same medicine may buy Nexium.) PPIs are taken by people who suffer from excess stomach acidity, particularly gastroesophageal reflux disease, which can cause lesions in the esophagus. PPIs have many possible side effects, including malabsorption of nutrients such as calcium, iron or vitamin B-12. A shortage of vitamin B-12 in your system can cause dementia or even psychosis – that’s why vegans must take supplements of this vital substance. In order to avoid dementia while taking PPIs, you should take them only for a short period of time or, if you must do so for months or even years, consume the smallest dosage possible, maybe 10 to 20 milligrams every other day. Of course, you could also consult your doctor!
Discovered in 1965, aspartame is an artificial sweetener used throughout the world. Generally found in soft drinks, chewing gum, desserts and thousands of other foods and products, aspartame consumption has been studied by health agencies throughout the world and is generally considered safe to consume. Nevertheless, although approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1974, the usage of aspartame has remained controversial. It would be impossible to list its possible adverse side effects in this small space, but two of them include a link to brain cancer and memory loss. Interestingly, Pepsi stopped using aspartame in its beverages in 2015, instead choosing sucralose, and then began using aspartame again in 2016. To conclude, it appears you should simply flip a coin and then decide if it’s safe to consume any product containing aspartame.
3. Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGE)
As the acronym may suggest, advanced Glycation end-products (AGE) have been linked to many diseases of old age, including atherosclerosis, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. AGE are produced when proteins or fats become glycated when exposed to sugars. This process can take place when meats or vegetables are exposed to high temperatures, thereby creating amyloid or senile plaques, which can accumulate in the brain, a condition long associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Thus you should avoid overcooking food, particularly when barbecuing it in a so-called Western fashion.
Aluminum is one of the most useful metals on the planet, so it’s here to stay, no matter what possible health risks are associated with its usage. But when it is consumed by humans in large amounts it may cause various unhealthy conditions such as digestive disorders. As unbelievable as it may seem, aluminum can be found in many food additives, antiperspirants and antacids. Moreover, maltol, a flavor enhancer, can increase the absorption of aluminum, so you may want to avoid that. Be that as it may, aluminum’s worst possible health risk is that some brain plaques have been found to contain increased levels of aluminum. But whether the presence of aluminum causes something like Alzheimer’s disease or is simply a consequence of this condition, has not as yet been scientifically proven.
5. Urinary Incontinence Medication
Urinary incontinence is a major health problem, especially in older men and women, and numerous anticholiergic drugs are available to treat it, namely Oxybutynin (Ditropan, Oxytrol), Tolterodine (Detrol), Darifenacin (Enablex), Solifenacin (Vesicare), Trospium (Sanctura) and Fesoterodine (Toviaz). Unfortunately, these drugs have many possible side effects, particularly dry mouth, sedation, constipation, insomnia, dizziness and heartburn. But they may also cause confusion, dementia or memory loss, particularly in people who have taken these drugs for long periods of time. Nevertheless, other drugs can be used to flush these anticholiergic drugs for your system. Perhaps you should do this right away!
Found in the mineral fluorite, fluoride is a naturally occurring element found in many foods and beverages, such as black tea, raisins, potatoes, lamb and carrots; fluoride is often found in ground water as well, sometimes at toxic levels. Generally, the amount of fluoride found in the aforementioned substances is very small, less than one milligram per 100 grams, and an adult human can safely ingest up to 10 milligrams daily; but amounts in excess of this can be toxic. Often found with arsenic, another potentially dangerous element, fluoride poisoning has killed people. Moreover, according to reports by the U.S. National Research Council, fluoride can combine with aluminum atoms, creating fluoride complexes, which have been linked to the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. And other studies show that water fluoridation may cause lower IQ in children.
Most people probably know that the element mercury is toxic and that you should avoid contact with it and definitely not eat or drink it! At the very least mercury can cause brain damage in people, including impaired cognitive skills, delirium or psychosis. If a person were to consume mercury, he or she would probably do so by eating fish or shell fish, which often contain methylmercury, a toxic organic compound of mercury. These aquatic animals atop the food chain accumulate mercury in their viscera for as long as they live; so, in theory, the larger ones should be avoided entirely and, in general, people should avoid eating such fish when caught in rivers or lakes, where mercury can accumulate in sediment. Therefore, trout caught in mountain streams or brooks may be okay to eat. Also, mercury may be found in other foods such as rice and high-fructose corn syrup.
8. Monosodium Glutamate
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a naturally occurring amino acid found in tomatoes and cheese. A flavor enhancer and food additive often used with table salt, MSG is found in many processed foods as well. Per their apparent worldwide reputation, Chinese restaurants often use MSG; in fact, when used to excess, MSG may be associated with what’s called Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, which blames MSG for causing headaches, drowsiness and depression, among other side effects. MSG is also an excitotoxin, which suggests it can excite human brain cells to the point of damage or death. Thus, MSG ingestion is sometimes linked to degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or Huntington’s chorea. Nevertheless, the Food and Drug Administration reports that MSG is generally safe to consume.
First produced by Monsanto in 1974, Glyphosate, a herbicide found in products such as Roundup, is used in countries around the world. Because of this nearly universal usage, it may be found in most processed foods - actually in the food - or on it. Glyphosate can be found in ground water supplies as well. Wherever it may be found, it’s supposed to biodegrade within days or weeks, somewhat reducing its potential toxicity. Be that as it may, as of 2017, the state of California listed glyphosate as carcinogenic, though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said otherwise in 2015. As for the possibility of glyphosate causing dementia, it may kill brain cells but, keep in mind, few chemicals have been tested as much as glyphosate, one study is pro while another is con, so which study should a person believe? Simply use glyphosate with caution and avoid eating food that may contain it.
10. Trans Fats
Trans-unsaturated fatty acids, or trans fats, are vegetable fats found in many processed foods such as margarine, snack food, baked goods and cooking oil used in fast-food restaurants. Often blamed for increasing the risk of coronary artery disease, trans fats reduce the effectiveness of HDL (good cholesterol), while raising the level of LDL (bad cholesterol). In addition, tests on laboratory rats have shown that trans fats can reduce neurological function and cause memory loss, conditions similar to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in humans. In 2003, the FDA issued a directive that all foods should be labeled with the content of trans fats, but if the level is below .5 grams per serving, the product can be labeled “trans fat free.” Interestingly, institutional food packaging, such as that used for consumption at schools, does not need to list the amount of trans fats contained therein.
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© 2017 Kelley Marks