Heavy Metals and Neurodegenerative Health: Is There a Connection?
Is there a connection between exposure to heavy metals and neurodegenerative health? Are there safe, natural, and effective ways to remove heavy metals and heal the brain? The answers may surprise you. Millions of people worldwide are affected by neurodegeneration health challenges and it is not just the elderly that experience these problems. Memory loss and other hints of neurodegeneration are now happening to individuals in their 30's and younger.
What is Neurodegeneration?
Neurodegeneration occurs when neurons in the brain are unable to function properly, or they die altogether. Declining neurodegenerative health can lead to difficulty concentrating, cognitive challenges, brain fog, and issues with long-term forgetfulness.
What Are Heavy Metals?
Simply defined, heavy metals are metals that can be toxic and hazardous to a person’s health. Even at low dosages and minimal exposure, they are considered dangerous and should be avoided. Here are a few commonly known heavy metals and their sources of exposure:
Arsenic. It can be found in fish, poultry, meat, dairy products, cereals, drinking water, and contaminated groundwater.
Mercury. Exposure can occur from dental fillings, contaminated air, water and food, such as fish.
Copper. Copper toxicity can occur when there is excess copper in the body. Sources of excess copper could include drinking water and eating acidic foods in copper cookware that’s uncoated.
Lead. Drinking water, paint, soil, car batteries, workplace/manufacturing jobs, dust (from chipped paint in the home) and costume jewelry are common sources of lead.
Cadmium. Sources of cadmium exposure include cigarette smoke, hazardous waste sites, and the welding of metals that contain cadmium.
It’s important to know the various sources of heavy metal exposure and taking the necessary steps to avoid them.
The Connection Between Heavy Metals and Neurodegenerative Health
There have been many studies showing a potential to link between heavy metals and neurodegenerative health:
- Scientists have suggested that lead exposure in childhood “may raise the risk of adult neurodegeneration.” Scientists also note children born in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s had the highest levels of lead exposure, and are now entering the ages when brain degenerative symptoms begin to emerge. 1
- Lead, arsenic, mercury, aluminum, cadmium, and some pesticides have also been linked to brain degeneration. The same study found that lead, manganese, some pesticides, and solvents were linked to brain degeneration. 2
- Even though mercury has many uses, including as an antiseptic, dental amalgam, medical preservative, and fungicide, studies indicate it “can cross the blood-brain barrier and the lipid cell membranes and can be accumulated into the cells in its inorganic forms.” The study also notes that mercury was principally involved in oxidative stress and the accumulation of mercury was “a probable factor involved in neurodegenerative progression.”
- Cigarette smoking is one of the most common causes of cadmium exposure. This heavy metal can be stored in the liver, kidneys, and other parts of the body for decades. In addition to impacting brain health and cognitive decline, cadmium has been linked to hepatotoxicity, endocrine, nephrotoxicity, and reproductive toxicities 4
- It can take years for heavy metals to accumulate in the body, with its effects on the body taking just as long to appear. As a result, their link to neurodegenerative diseases may go undetected, which could lead to misdiagnosis and mistreatment. This greatly increases the importance of understanding the potential sources of heavy metals, how they can affect the body and taking the necessary steps to remove them.
Supporting the Brain
In addition to limiting their exposure, removing heavy metals from the body is equally important. This is accomplished at the cellular level, via healthy eating and lifestyle choices as discussed below:
Fasting. Fasting (both intermittent and block fasting) allows the body to heal itself from within. When the body is not using its energy to digest food, it can focus on removing toxins and heavy metals from various parts of the body, including the brain.
In a study using mice, intermittent fasting improved cognitive function and provided protection against amyloid-β (Aβ) damage in mice. Amyloid-β is a membrane protein that is essential for neural growth and repair. Damaged Aβ can increase the risk of brain degeneration. The study also noted that Aβ clearance in the brain played a pivotal role in decreasing brain health risks.
Ketogenic (keto) diet. A keto diet is a high-fat, low carb diet plan that mimics fasting. For many, a keto diet is designed to assist with weight loss and improving a person’s overall health. While on a ketogenic diet, the body breaks down fat into molecules that are called ketones. These ketones become the body’s main source of energy, also known as ketosis.
Studies are still ongoing, but ketones have been found to provide neuroprotective effects by decreasing the production of free radicals, as well as increasing levels of glutathione. Researchers believe this powerful antioxidant might be a source of protection from neurodegenerative changes. 6
Healthy fats. Healthy fats, such as omega 3 fatty acids help the brain function more efficiently. Other sources of healthy (unsaturated) fats include unsalted nuts (peanuts, cashews, almonds, etc.) and fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, etc.)
Studies indicate elevated cholesterol levels associated with diets high in unsaturated fats (processed foods, fast foods, and foods with little nutritional value) nearly doubled the risk of some brain health challenges. In comparison, a diet high in healthy fats as described above lowered the risk of developing brain health challenges.7
Brain Detox Pathways
In addition to avoiding heavy metals and maintaining a diet that supports brain health, removing existing toxins from the brain is just as important. Instead of being fixated on the various symptoms of neurodegeneration, emphasis must be placed on getting to the cause of the issue.
This means focusing on the cellular level, where the heavy metals are most dangerous. The best results are achieved when the various brain neurons, functions, and systems are kept healthy. Doing so allows the body to remove heavy metals safely and effectively.
In addition to lifestyle changes and diet, supplements can play a pivotal role in removing heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic from your system.
There are harsh, painful detox protocols that make you feel worse before you feel better. And then there are gentle, daily detox formulas like CytoDetox, which helps to bind heavy metals and toxins and gently remove them with zero side effects.
While helping to liberate toxins from the body's organs, glands, cells and brain tissue, it also works to upgrade your cells so you’ll start to feel the difference in your energy and metabolism almost immediately.
That's what makes CytoDetox an ideal supplement for detoxification programs.
When it comes to heavy metals and neurodegenerative disease, the key is to be proactive. Even though signs of heavy metal toxicity may not become evident for years, the risk of exposure is still high. For example, a person could be unaware they were exposed to lead in drinking water or paint chips, cadmium from second-hand smoke, or mercury from fish or dental fillings.
In other words, anyone could have heavy metals in their bodies. By understanding the potential sources of heavy metals and the dangers they cause, a person is one step closer to removing them from their bodies. Take the necessary steps to decrease your risk of being diagnosed with neurodegenerative disease today. Your body will thank you.
1. Reuben A. Childhood Lead Exposure and Adult Neurodegenerative Disease. J Alzheimers Dis. Published. 2018;64(1):17-42. doi: 10.3233/JAD-180267. [PMID: 29865081] PMCID: PMC6454899 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29865081
2. Chin-Chan M, Navarro-Yepes J, Quintanilla-Vega B Environmental Pollutants as Risk Factors For Neurodegenerative Disorders: Alzheimer and Parkinson Diseases. Front Cell Neurosci. Published. 2015 Apr 10;9:124. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2015.00124. eCollection 2015. [PMID: 25914621] PMCID: PMC4392704 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25914621
3. Cariccio VL, Samà A, Bramanti P Mercury Involvement in Neuronal Damage and in Neurodegenerative Diseases. Biol Trace Elem Res. Published. 2019 Feb;187(2):341-356. doi: 10.1007/s12011-018-1380-4. Epub 2018 May 18. [PMID: 29777524] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=mercury+involvement+in+neuronal+damage+and+in+neurodegenerative+diseases
4. Jacopo Junio Valerio Branca, Gabriele Morucci, (et al). Cadmium-Induced Neurotoxicity: Still Much Ado. Neural Regen Res. Published. 2018;13:1879-82. http://www.nrronline.org/article.asp?issn=1673-5374;year=2018;volume=13;issue=11;spage=1879;epage=1882;aulast=Branca
5. Jingzhu Zhang, Zhipeng Zhan, Xinhui Li, (et al). Intermittent Fasting Protects against Alzheimer’s Disease Possible through Restoring Aquaporin-4 Polarity. Front Mol Neurosci. 2017; 10: 395. Published online 2017 Nov 29. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2017.00395 PMCID: [PMC5712566] PMID: 29238290 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5712566/
6. Dariusz Włodarek Role of Ketogenic Diets in Neurodegenerative Diseases (Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease). Nutrients. 2019 Jan; 11(1): 169. Published online 2019 Jan 15. doi: 10.3390/nu11010169 [PMCID: PMC6356942] PMID: 30650523 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6356942/
7. Martha Clare Morris, ScD. Diet and Alzheimer's Disease: What the Evidence Shows. MedGenMed. 2004; 6(1): 48. Published online 2004 Jan 16. [PMCID: PMC1140705] PMID: 15208559 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1140705/#__sec4title
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