Our memories, and our memory, are precious to us! Memory loss is not an inevitable part of aging!
My 102 year old patient told me one day that he was tired because he had been up until early in the morning working on a presentation for work! Writer, actor, producer and director George Abbott brought his hit show Broadway back to Broadway when he turned 100. (From The Joy of Not Working by Ernie J. Zelinski). It is not inevitable that memory will decline with age!
The important thing is to get to the root of the problem if memory has started to slip, or to take steps to protect it if it is still sharp. We can take steps to preserve our memory! Here are some of the things we can do:
- Check your B12 levels. Memory loss, confusion, and disorientation are symptoms of B12 deficiency. If B12 is low, proper supplementation can protect your memory. Check folate levels also, since folate and B12 support each other in protecting the nervous system.
- Try to sleep enough. Sleep deprivation can affect memory.
- Drink enough water. Dehydration can cause confusion and memory problems.
- Exercise. Exercise can improve blood flow to the brain.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking decreases blood flow to the brain.
- Talk to your doctor to see if any of your prescription medications can affect your memory and if so, if any of these medications could be eliminated or reduced. Statin drugs have been associated with memory loss and cognitive problems (scroll to the section on Statins). Acid suppressing drugs may impair digestion (scroll to the section on Acid Suppressing Drugs) and prevent essential nutrients from getting to the brain and the body.
- Talk to your dentist about amalgam fillings you have that could be exposing you to mercury. This is an important issue for the memory!
- Look at the tests given by Genova Diagnostics to get to the root of memory problems. You might find a vital clue! As noted below in Tom Warren’s experience, nutrient levels and adequacy of stomach acid for proper digestion should definitely be investigated.
- Read Beating Alzheimer’s: A Step Towards Unlocking The Mysteries Of Brain Diseases by Tom Warren. As stated on the cover this is “the remarkable story of how one man reversed the devastating symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease.” Tom Warren was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease at age 50 when his CT scans of the brain showed brain atrophy. After four years of extreme effort to get to the root of the problem and recover, his CT scans showed that the Alzheimer’s had reversed and the brain atrophy was no longer seen. This result was considered impossible! An important finding for him was that he did not have the stomach acid to digest his food and important nutrients were not getting to his brain and his body. He found that the mercury in his dental amalgams (fillings) was a major part of his problem, as were allergies. His book is a wealth of information for anyone who would like to protect his/her brain or who is troubled by any stage of memory loss and seeks an answer. Tom Warren shows that persistence and effort can pay off!
Mercury and Memory – More Information
The information that follows is taken from Whole Body Dentistry: A Complete Guide to Understanding the Impact of Dentistry on Total Health by Mark A. Breiner, DDS.
Dr. Boyd Haley, former head of chemistry at the University of Kentucky, tested numerous heavy metals and found that only mercury could cause the tangles and amyloid plaques that are the hallmark signs of Alzheimer’s Disease. Soon after, he became aware that each “silver filling” was actually composed of forty to fifty percent mercury. Mercury vapor continuously escapes from these fillings and any stimulation to the fillings due to chewing, grinding, drinking hot liquids, etc. increases the amount of vapor. Mercury vapor was found to have the same type of harmful effect as elemental mercury. Even though mercury was the only one of the heavy metals that affected the tubulin of the nerve cells, thus resulting in neurofibrillary tangles, other metals increased the effect of the toxicity of the mercury. “Non-toxic levels of zinc and cadmium decrease the amount of mercury needed to interfere with the tubulin.” (p. 103)
” ‘As stated earlier, the presence of amyloid plaques in the brain is a distinguishing sign of Alzheimer’s Disease.’ Research exploring this aspect of AD [Alzheimer’s Disease] has shown that exposing nerve cells to a minute amount of mercury causes them to increase their secretion of amyloid protein, resulting in the formation of amyloid plaque.” (p. 103)
“As a result of his findings and those of other researchers done around the world, Dr. Haley believes that it is reasonable to assume that mercury must be considered a major risk factor for AD, if not causal.” (p. 104)
“According to the World Health Organization, the major source of mercury burden in the body is from fillings, not from food or the environment.” (p. 104)
“The amount of mercury in the brain is directly proportional to the number of fillings in the mouth.” (p. 105)
Dr. Breiner makes the point that not everyone with amalgam fillings will get Alzheimer’s Disease. He explains: “An explanation for this may be found in research that deals with a gene protein called APO-E. It has been shown that there are four types of APO-E proteins. Those who have APO-E4 have a higher incidence of AD and early onset. Interestingly, those with APO-E2 and APO-E3 have much less likelihood of getting AD than those who have inherited the APO-E4 gene … Testing for these proteins may be a good idea for those worried that they may be at risk for Alzheimer’s.” (p. 105)
Statin Drugs and Memory – More Information
Duane Graveline, M.D., M.P.H., A NASA flight surgeon, experienced transient global amnesia while taking statin drugs, and later developed an ALS-like condition characterized by permanent and progressive muscle and nerve damage.
In his words, “Early on my NASA doctors told me my amnesia response to statins was nothing but a coincidence but I persevered to write my first book, “Lipitor®, Thief of memory” and now find that over 1,000 cases of amnesia and memory loss have been reported to the FDA, just from Lipitor® alone.” From The Statin Damage Crisis by Duane Graveline, M.D.
” … cognitive deficits of all kinds appear to be our primary clinical indicator of cholesterol lack…” From The Dark Side of Statins by Duane Graveline, M.D.
“It was only in 2001 that Pfrieger (1) reported on the importance of cholesterol to the formation and function of memory synapses and found that the glial cells of the brain provided for “on the spot” brain cholesterol manufacture. Of course, glial cell cholesterol synthesis is inhibited by statins, just as any other cell carrying the mevalonate pathway. This has finally given a rational explanation for the bizarre cognitive side effects being reported by the thousands. Now we had a mechanism for amnesia, confusion, disorientation, forgetfulness and even aggravation of pre-existing senility … As a species, we have evolved with glial cell synthesis to meet our brain’s need for cholesterol. Pfrieger further explained that the cholesterol carried about in the blood is not available to our brains. The combination of the cholesterol molecule with our bloodstream’s LDL carrier results in much too large a molecule to pass our ‘blood brain barrier.’ … The glial cells, our only source of brain cholesterol, are inhibited by statins just like every other cell in our bodies. Without sufficient availability of cholesterol, memory must falter. It is inevitable!” From The Dark Side of Statins by Duane Graveline, M.D.
(1) Pfrieger F. Science. 9 November 2001
So How Would You Respond?
“My memory is not what it used to be. But what do you expect at my age?”
This is like the story of the 85 year-old woman who went to her doctor with knee pain. He told her that, at her age, this was normal. She replied: “But doctor, my other knee is 85 years old too and it doesn’t hurt.”
Don’t accept the fact of memory loss without a fight. Fight to keep your memory or fight to get it back!