Brain Fog and Nerve Damage

I told you about Jane (not her real name) and her experience with sugar addiction. While we talked, she brought up another subject. She told me that sweet treats (fructose sugar) makes her suffer ‘brain fog’.

This interested me as I, myself, had just experienced an episode of brain fog: For a day and a half I felt as my brain was operating in a thick fog. I particularly noticed this in my speech. I had to search for each word and phrase in this fog; like I was drawing them from a muddy swamp. This happened several days before my presentation; thank heaven that I had time to recover my ability to speak before I gave my presentation. I have tried to speak when I am suffering active Alzheimer’s: It was utterly disastrous and horribly embarrassing.

I have learned much about Alzheimer’s disease by searching for the cause of any worsening of my symptoms. In the case of this brain fog, I suspect the cause was whole milk. In my book, Retaining the Mind, I discussed the lactose intolerance that has to be present before I feel comfortable diagnosing a case of Alzheimer’s disease. This brain fog episode happened after I had returned to drinking whole milk; I should have tolerated it well as I drank it in small amounts. However, although the amount I drank was small, I must have exceeded my milk tolerance. Evidently, it precipitated an episode of nerve damaged the nerves in my brain impairing my speech. Probably an episode of brain swelling or bloating and not brain nerve death, as speech was much easier the following day. However, I will reduce my milk intake or avoid it entirely to prevent this fog in the future.

What part of the milk caused the fog? Remember that Jane and I suffer from fructose-sugar-craving that may have led to brain damage. From my previous experience with the way foods injured the patients I treated in my allergy practice, and from my experience with sugar sensitivity, I suspect that the sugar of milk, lactose, is the culprit. What caution should you learn from this information? Be careful with milk. Enjoy it if you tolerate it. Do not exceed your tolerance when you drink it, it may be a cause of your symptoms.

Sugar Craving and Dementia

I had just finished speaking to an audience about how our diet promotes many diseases, including dementia. I had stayed at the speaker’s podium after most of the listeners had left when a dear friend, who had been waiting patiently until everyone left, told me about something she wanted to keep secret. To preserve her privacy, I will call her ‘Jane’.

She told me she was so addicted to sugar that she had joined a group formed to treat people with sugar addiction. And she had been attending meeting of this group for years.  And she had been hiding her addiction from her friends for these years.

This news did not shock me as many people share her addiction; it’s why sugar is so hard to take out of the diet. I share her addiction to sugar: It was only my obvious obesity that forced me so many years ago to completely eliminate it from my diet. (helping me to lose 100 pounds – I often marvel that there are many slim people who weigh about a hundred pounds – I have lost a slim person worth of fat by avoiding sugar!!!).

I still, at times, open the refrigerator and look in and I know what I am searching for. Sugar!! I look, even though I know there is no sugar there because I have already eliminated all sugar-sweetened foods and beverages from my home. I think my sugar craving is a sign of addiction.

The sugar I am avoiding is fructose or fruit sugar, naturally present in many natural foods in small amounts that we easily tolerate. Glucose, a sugar better tolerated by the body, gives little sweetness to foods or beverages and is not our concern. Our concern arises because farmers have bred large amounts of fructose into many fruits and food manufacturers have purified it and added it to treats because of fructose’s ability to sweeten these fruits and treats. We react to this higher concentration of fructose because most of us have genes that poorly tolerate this increased concentration (See Retaining the Mind). This poor tolerance gives fructose, in table sugar, honey and other sweets, the power to hurt us badly. In excess, it acts like a poison and promotes common illnesses such as obesity, stroke, myocardial infarction and dementia.

Now, back to my discussion with Jane: I regretted that she kept her addiction secret. Many people, including me, suffer this addiction. Her experience could have helped  us sugar-addicted take the brave step she took to control this unhealthy sugar addiction. Maybe her story will help you face your addiction.

You should find value in one other aspect of my discussion with Jane. I will tell you about it in my next blog, ‘Brain Fog and Dementia’.