If you or any one you know has ever said, “Oh I am having a senior moment”, this article is for you. Alzheimer’s and Dementia are also known as “Inflammatory disease of the Brain”.  There’s research that even speculates that these may also be autoimmune (the body attacking it’s own brain tissue).  If you read on, you will learn of early warning signs of brain degeneration and the stages of dementia/Alzheimer’s.

The brain consumes 20% of the body’s oxygen, 25% of glucose and makes up 2% of the body weight.  The brain never rests.  First it is important to understand how the brain works. It’s a relay station.  Grey matter consists mainly of nerve cells called neurons and specialized non-nerve cells called glia.  The white matter consists of billions of nerve fibers called axons coming from and going to the grey matter. A neuron of the brain kind of looks like a spider web with a long tail called the axon. A neuron, is the central command headquarters and the axon (a single fiber attached to the cell body which carries the nerve impulse to the next nerve cell in line) is a system of supplying energy for maintenance of the cell, support for repair and energy necessary for the generation and propagation of nerve impulses.  A nerve impulse begins on the dendrite or axon and spreads like dominos.

An important mechanisms in the brain neurons is the Calcium Channel and plays a central role in cancer, arthritis, inflammation, strokes, heart attacks, kidney disease, aging and brain degeneration. The axon is a semi-permeable membrane keeping sodium ions on the outside and keeping chloride and potassium on the inside producing a net positive charge on the outside of the axon and a net negative charge on the inside.  When the axon is stimulated the membrane suddenly changes it’s properties, sodium rushes into the interior and depolarizes the axon.  The sodium continues until it reaches the end, sometimes at 200 MPH.  Although it is an electrical impulse, it is a chemical message reaching for the next neuron closing the gaps which are called synapse.  Occasionally the gap is crossed by true electrical conductance but mostly by chemical transfer of information called neurotransmission and the chemical messenger is called a neurotransmitter.  You have probably heard of the chemical messengers or neurotransmitters called serotonin, dopamine, acetylcholine and gaba.  The release of a neurotransmitter is triggered by the flow of calcium ions into the bulbous end of the axon.  The neurotransmitter is then removed so it doesn’t continue to fire.  This is the area where pharmaceutical anti-depressants work.  Why am I telling you so much about this?  Because recent research shows that Glutamate (a protein or amino acid) opens this special channel and as the calcium floods into the neuron, it triggers the neuron to dieWhy is it important to know about glutamate, because it’s in our food.  Yep, in 1948 the armed forces met with the American food manufacturers Pillsbury, Oscar Mayer, Libby, Stokley, Campbell’s, General Foods, and Borden’s to discuss the “enhancer of taste” called MSG.  That’s right, Mono-Sodium Glutamate.  From this meeting with these food manufacturers, they decided to start putting this taste enhancer or Excitotoxin into our food.  It was added to most soups, chips, fast foods, frozen foods, ready made dinners and canned goods.  Diet foods really like it to cover up the bland taste the food would be without it.  MSG is added in disguised forms.  Here is a list;

Additives that always contain MSG ; Monosodium glutamate, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Hydrolyzed Protein , Hydrolyzed Plant Protein , Plant Protein Extract, Sodium caseinate, Calcium caseinate , Yeast Extract, Textured Protein, Autolyzed yeast, Hydrolyzed Oat Flour.

Additives that frequently contain MSG; Malt Extract, Malt Flavoring, Bouillon, Broth, Stock, Flavoring , Natural flavoring, Natural Beef or Chicken flavoring, Seasoning, Spices.

Additives that may contain MSG or Excitotoxins (Taste Enhancers); Carrageenan, Enzymes,  Soy Protein concentrates, Soy Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Fast Food always contains these toxic additives.

Why is this important to you?  Because in recent research these hidden sources of MSG were tested on mice and now science knows that after ingestion of any of these substances that are neurotoxin ‘s, they kill brain neuron’s within 6-12 hours after ingesting.  If you are like me, when I read this I was angry that the FDA would allow such a thing.  The problem is that because it’s 6-12 hours after ingestion, the FDA chooses not to do any research proving that the damage is really related.  Dr. Russell L Blaylock, MD, a neurosurgeon researched it because of the damage he witnessed in the brains of patients.  The glutamate manufacturers and the processed food industries are always on a quest to disguise MSG when adding it to food.  Also Note: that Aspartate (aspartame, artificial sweetener in gum and sugar free items) and L-Cysteine are frequently added to foods, which cause the same destruction to the brain’s neurons.  So read your label’s but better yet eat only whole foods, then you won’t have to read a label.

A child’s or infants brain is 4 times more sensitive to these toxins. The amount of MSG in a single bowl of commercially available soup is probably enough to cause blood glutamate levels to rise higher in a human child than levels that cause brain damage in immature animals. MSG is passing through Mother’s Milk also for lactating females.  Excessive glutamate kills neurons but it will also kill neurons that are connected to it.  Continual excessive levels of glutamate or aspartate causes the neurons to burn up, they are excited to death!  Within 15-30 minutes of exposure to MSG, neuron’s swell like balloons. Under a microscope you can see degeneration of small structures within the cell.  Excitotoxins only kill the glutamate and aspartate receptor types and leaves the others alone, this is why we can’t immediately notice the damage.  One thing that makes me angry is that in Alzheimer’s and Memory loss assisted living centers, they are still feeding these people foods containing MSG.

So how do you know if MSG has already damaged your brain, well the earliest warning sign is depression and apathy (No motivation, desire or passion) however, here are the early warning signs of brain deterioration, dementia and Alzheimer’s; 1.  Memory loss that disrupts daily life, i.e. forgets recently learned information, forgets dates and events. 2.  Challenges in planning or solving problems, i.e. makes errors in balancing the check book, makes errors when following a recipe. 3.  Difficulty in completing familiar tasks at home, at work, and at leisure, i.e. needs help with setting electronics. 4.  Confusion with time or place, i.e. loses track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. 5.  Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships, i.e. has difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. 6. New problems with words in speaking or writing, i.e. has difficulty finding the right word or stops in the middle of a conversation.  7.  Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps, i.e. misplace keys, remote control or purse.  8.  Decreased or poor judgment, i.e. shows poor grooming, gives money to telemarketers.  9.  Withdrawal from school or social activities.  10.  Changes in mood and personality.

Late stage symptoms of dementia/Alzheimer’s; 1.  Inability to communicate. 2.  Inability to recognize people, places and objects.  3.  Inability to walk.  4.  Inability to Smile 5.  Facial and extremity muscle contractions.  6.  Inability to swallow.  7.  Seizures.  8.  Weight loss due to lack of eating or inability to eat. 9.  Excessive sleeping.  10.  Constant snacking.

According to the Alzheimer’s association the stages of dementia/Alzheimer’s are; Stage 1.  No impairment and has normal function, normal medical interview and no memory problems.  Stage 2.  Very mild cognitive decline that may be normal age related but forgets familiar words, or the location of everyday objects. Stage 3. Mild cognitive decline (Early stage Alzheimer’s) but has trouble remembering names when introduced to new people, forgets material that one has just read and experiences increasing trouble with planning or organizing.  Stage 4. Moderate cognitive decline (Early state Alzheimer’s).  Forgets recent events, has an impaired ability with mathematics such as counting backwards from 100 by 7’s.  Stage 5.  Moderately sever cognitive decline (Mid-Stage Alzheimer’s). Unable to recall one’s own address or telephone number, becomes confused about what day it is, needs help choosing appropriate clothing for the weather, still does not require assistance with eating or using the toilet.  Stage 6.  Sever cognitive decline (Mid-stage Alzheimer’s).  Has trouble remembering spouse’s name, needs help dressing normally, has bowel and bladder incontinence, has a major personality disorder, tends to wander or become lost.  Stage 7. Very severe cognitive decline (late stage Alzheimer’s). Loses the ability to respond to the environment, must have a caregiver, experiences impaired swallowing.

What Stage are you in? What can you do to keep your brain alive and vibrant? Fill out the Neurotransmitter form that is on my website.  It is a free service to assess that form for you.  Eat only whole foods and make sure your blood sugar is always balanced.  If you don’t understand how to do that, I can help you with that.  Most importantly, one thing that keeps the brain alive and vibrant is stimulus.  Get a brain challenge game or app for your phone and it will stimulate you to think.  Play games like scrabble and other thinking games. If you ever say, I don’t want to think right now, that is a sure sign your brain is degenerating.  Start now with having your body nutritionally balanced and force yourself to keep thinking.  Exercise is also very important.  You don’t have to be an extreme athlete, we just need some cardio exercise at least 3 times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes to help get more oxygen to the brain.

After reviewing an enormous amount of medical and research literature, MSG, Aspartame and other Excitotoxin dietary additives pose an enormous threat to our health, development and functioning of our brains.  Dr. Blaylock calls it the “Creeping Death” when we will still ingest these toxicities believing that it can’t happen to me.  There are many nutrients and herbs that help to protect the brain and by utilizing them will be your best chance to keep your brain healthy.

(References provided upon request)