Why are dementia and Alzheimer’s disease so prevalent?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, dementia, or severe memory loss that interferes with daily life, is not part of the normal aging process. Let’s explore some of the reasons why cognitive decline is so prevalent among older adults in the United States and elsewhere.

Changes to our environment and farming methods has had an enormous impact on our food supply and on our brain health.

The soil in which conventionally grown foods is grown is no longer as nutrient-dense as it once was. Pesticides and other chemicals like glyphosate (found, for example, in the product Round-up®) are being used in food growing and harvesting. Seeds have been genetically altered to increase yield, withstand weather, kill insects, and facilitate processing. These seed alterations are producing foods unlike those that we are “designed” to metabolize.

We consume processed foods, typically high in sugars and non-food ingredients that can lead to chronic disease.

Our store shelves are filled with boxes, cans and bags of processed foods. These are typically high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, preservatives and additives; low in fiber; and contain non-food ingredients that our bodies cannot easily absorb and process.

Exposure to mercury and other heavy metals causes systemic inflammation.

Some of the fish we eat contains unhealthy levels of mercury. The body usually responds to these substances by developing inflammation, storing the toxins in our fat tissue, and becoming insulin resistant, to name just a few ill effects. As a result, we are seeing ever increasing levels of pre-diabetes and other chronic health issues starting at younger ages.

Chemicals in our air and water burden the body and brain.

Particles in the air that we breathe at home and at the office; flame retardants and formaldehyde in fabrics, furniture, and carpeting; chemicals in our personal care products and household cleaners—all of these add to the toxic “body burden” we build up over the course of a lifetime.

Stress. Anxiety. Trauma. We are seeing higher levels than ever before, with no abatement in sight.

The very tools we are using to make us more efficient, like computers and electronic devices of all kinds, including “smart” TV’s and appliances, cause disruptions in our bodies and overwhelm our brains.

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