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Protecting the Brain from Environmental Toxin Risks

Dec 30, 2022 ● By Meena Malhotra
Bowl of healthy food nextto a plant of herbs.

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Globally, people over 65 are the fastest-growing segment of the population, and identifying the connection between environmental toxins and neurodegenerative disease is more important than ever. Memory impairment like Alzheimer’s and autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis are some of the most common neurodegenerative diseases where environmental exposures to heavy metals like lead, cadmium and manganese contribute to disease process by increasing neuronal oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammation.
Chronic Exposure to Heavy Metals Can Accumulate in the Body
Chronic exposure to metallic compounds in seafood, pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables and hormones found in many dairy products lead to an overloaded detoxification pathway, increased systemic inflammation and clinical patterns such as immune dysfunction or endocrine disruption.

Lead is a known neurotoxicant which readily crosses the blood-brain barrier. Cadmium promotes deteriorated learning and memory abilities, as well as senile plaque depositions in the brain. Excessive manganese is neurotoxic, and high levels may cause accumulation in the brain.
Early Detection of Heavy Metals is the Key
New methods of assessing these heavy metal concentrations in tissue is helping practitioners identify the patients at risk early and taking action. Not too long ago, the window of opportunity for treatment was often missed, as blood, hair or nail levels did not reflect the tissue concentration as accurately as spectroscopy.
Ways to Support Cognitive Function
  • Therapeutic diets with increased fiber and antioxidants like fruits, nuts, vegetables, spices, low consumption of alcohol and reduced caloric intake may lower age-related cognitive decline and lessen the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases.
  • B vitamins, vitamin D, folate, polyphenols and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids offer neuroprotection in reducing the risk of cognitive decline.
  • Chelation enhances glutathione production in the body.
  • Use of saunas increases elimination of certain toxicants through sweat and urine.
  • Probiotics strains like Lactobacillus rhamnosuspossess antimicrobial abilities and produce antimicrobial metabolites like SCFA, which reduce pathogenic toxins.
Do not assume treatment for heavy metals is done without multiple retests.
Meena Malhotra, M.D., is the medical director of Heal n Cure. For more information, call 847-686 4444, email [email protected] or visit