Common metals in dementia link

Metals are everywhere -- they're in your food, in your water and they could even be in the very air you're breathing right now, especially if you're in a polluted big city.

Some metals such as copper are essential in very small doses.

But many are dangerous, and even the necessary ones can cause serious harm if you get more than trace amounts -- and new research confirms something I've said all along: Exposure to metals can cause brain damage, cause memory loss, speed cognitive decline and even lead to dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

And that includes essential metals such as the copper I just mentioned.

Copper is critical to nerve and bone as well as hormone secretion, but new research shows how too much of this metal can actually short circuit the blood-brain barrier.

That's the security system your brain relies on to keep toxins out.

As copper breaks down that barrier, a protein responsible for the removal of amyloid beta plaques stops working. And as the protein stops working, those plaques accumulate, according to experiments on mice and human brain cells.

These are the very same plaques that mark dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Along with copper, a second new study finds that another metal we're often exposed to -- iron -- might cause some of the brain damage associated with dementia in a very different way.

Iron, it seems, can destroy the tissue that coats neurons, leaving them unable to communicate.

When they can't communicate, the same plaques I just mentioned begin to appear. These plaques in turn destroy more tissue, disrupting that communication even further and allowing still more plaques to gather.

Because this brain damage strikes so early -- even before the plaques appear -- iron doesn't show up in the parts of the brain affected during the late stages of Alzheimer's.

But when researchers compared the brain scans of Alzheimer's patients to those of healthy patients, they found the ones with the disease had high levels of iron in the hippocampus.

That's the part of the brain responsible for the formation of memories -- and the very first part of the brain damaged by Alzheimer's.

But while copper and iron are two of the metals that cause brain damage and cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms, they're not the only ones. Aluminum, lead, mercury, arsenic, manganese and more can all damage the brain and lead to any number of serious health problems, up to and including dementia.

The challenge here is to make sure you get the metals you need only in the right amounts, and avoid completely the ones you don't.

With metals in so many places, it's no easy task -- but you can start by drinking only water filtered with either reverse osmosis or a water distiller, as water is a common source of metals exposure.

Second, limit your exposure to foods known to be rich in metals, such as shellfish, red meats and organ meats.

Finally, get tested by a holistic physician. Even if you've been exposed -- even if you're already starting to suffer from metals accumulation -- it's not too late to stop or even reverse the brain damage and save your brain.

There are a number of natural detoxification regimens such as chelation that can remove the metals from your body, but the best approach for you will depend on the metal or metals that you've been exposed to.

Work with a holistic physician on this. And if you're in the southern California area, I can help.

Contact my clinic to make an appointment for my complete metals testing and detoxification program. Not in California? Not a problem -- I'm also available for telephone consultations.

Call 855-DOC-MARK for more information.