Dementias Explained Simply

Dementias Explained Simply

Our modern American Diet causes many illnesses including dementias, strokes, heart attacks, obesity, diabetes, sight and hearing loss. These many illnesses and the foods that cause them complicate my presentations about dementias and consume much time, much more than the 30 to 50 minutes typically reserved for me when I present this information to an audience. I continually search for a way to simplify it; to make it more understandable; to prevent my presentation from exceeding my allotted time.

I believe that I have found this simplification. It allows me to present the major cause of dementias such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases in four bulleted sentences. The first two are as follows:

  • Foods (and beverages) that contain excess sugar, MSG and citric acid cause dementia.
  • These chemicals powerfully stimulate the nerves of taste (neurostimulants).

This stimulation is powerful, powerful enough to carry  a message of delicious taste to our brains. As you bite into a cherry or key lime pie and drink a sweet, citrus drink; you taste delightful sugar sweetness and citrus fruitiness. When you eat a steak seasoned with MSG; the first bite quickly floods your nerves of taste and then your brain with delicious meat flavor: Not on the second or fifth bite but immediately, on the first bite. The magnitude of this overwhelming delicious taste shows the great power of these  chemicals to stimulate nerves.

This power makes citrus, MSG and sugar delicious but also  dangerous. Many studies point out this danger and many people are aware of this danger; if their taste were not so great, they would not eat them. If they stopped eating these flavorful chemicals, they would avoid the so-common addiction to their wonderful taste and avoid the so-frequent illnesses that they cause.

These food chemicals, these neurostimulants, cause their damage quietly and not in the mouth as you eat or drink them. You may have let their lack of harm while in the mouth convince you that they are safe. Actually, in one way you are right, they do not harm you while the food is in the mouth because you swallow the chemicals when you swallow the foods that contain them, freeing the mouth of these nerve-stimulating food chemicals.

To repeat, our look at foods-in-the-mouth shows us that sugar, MSG and citric acid are powerful and quick-acting nerve stimulators. They cause no harm while held in the mouth because they are not held there very long. In the next blog, Dementia in the Tummy, I will examine what happens once they are swallowed.

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’.

Ordinary people are beating Alzheimers

The incidence of Alzheimers disease and other dementias may be subsiding. This decrease is a shock: Why is the incidence of dementia falling? I believe it is because the average American is smart.

I believe average  Americans  appreciates that MSG and refined sugar  cause dementia and they are avoid them, delaying or preventing dementia. An article by Kenneth M. Langa, MD described a welcome trend. Funded by the National Institute On Aging (NIH), and published in JAMA Internal Medicine, November 2016, titled “Comparison of the Prevalence of Dementia in the United States in 2000 and 2012”.  Dr. Langa’s study found that the number of Americans suffering dementia decreased dramatically between 2000 and 2012.

Another suggestion that ordinary people are successfully fighting dementia: In the St.Paul Dispatch, September 2017,  David Pitt noted “An odd trend in wheat country: not enough wheat.” He notes that consumers want more healthy high-protein foods. The protein of wheat has much glutamic acid, the amino acid that makes MSG. Consumers are choosing a lower MSG food and avoiding wheat. This must help dementia decline. It will decline further as doctors learn more about nutrition. They should.  Much food research shows that a good diet helps prevent and treat many diseases. With more knowledge about good nutrition, and more pursuit of a good diet, dementia will fade.

I respect my patients; they taught me much. I believe that their thirst for knowledge and commitment to healthy living is the reason for the fading of dementia. High time this dread disease is placed in the trash bin.

 

 

Dementia’s symptoms: poor sleep

To know if you suffer from dementia, you must know its symptoms. I can teach you these symptoms because I have dementia; I know them.  I will start with sleeplessness, which may be, to the brain, the symptom most destructive. Because of my many experiments with foods and beverages, I have much experience with sleeplessness. I consider myself a typical dementia sufferer, believe that my sleeplessness is typical of dementia, and will use it to teach you.

Before I realized that I suffered dementia, my sleep was poor. I would quickly fall asleep but then would awaken after four hours. From a sleep that was not deep or healing. The deep and healing part is important because with deep and healing sleep, the mind tucks away information in the proper folders, casts aside worries and fears for a few hours, and rests to restore energy for the trials and tribulations of the next day. If, instead, the sleep is tossing and turning, the sleeper awakes tired, edgy, disorganized and irritated; susceptible to the damage of the aging chemicals.

(To review, I call them the aging chemicals because many of the debilities associated with aging are relieved by lowering the consumption of these diet chemicals . Debilities that are caused, not by age alone, but by the action of these destructive diet chemicals on older people.)

Reducing the eating and drinking of the aging chemicals, citrus, MSG and refined sugar, should pleasingly restore restful sleep. Then, returning again to consuming excesses of these aging chemicals, sleeplessness will most likely  return, often not the night  of the excess but on the night after. Reactions  to dietary  excess often occur hours after the excess and then often to last for 3 days; I do not know why there is that delay or prolonged distress. So, don’t let delayed onset and delayed resolving of symptoms convince you that you are not reacting to the foods you are eating. You are reacting.

I know that the above  description of poor sleep is a bit flowery but I believe it is decently accurate. To help you visualize this situation further, the nerves in many areas of the brain are involved in promoting sleep or inhibiting wakefulness. These nerves must be susceptible, like other nerves, to the overstimulation of nerves caused by MSG, especially if these nerves are also chronically infected by a virus and therefore sensitive to damage caused by citrus. And further damaged by disrupted chemical balance in the body caused by refined sugar. This nerve destruction must promote dementia. Especially since these destructive foods and beverages have been pounding on these nerves for years. (Research indicates that nerve damage is present years before the appearance of dementia).

The above raises two possibilities. 1) sleeplessness harms nerves, thereby promoting dementia. 2) Dementia harms nerves thereby promoting sleeplessness.  I suspect both are true; the reason sleeplessness promotes dementia is that poor sleep harms nerves and the irritation from this nerve damage promotes poor sleep: A reinforcing feedback loop.The same mechanism must also damage the other nerves of the body in the arms, legs, eyes, ears, etc. Determine if you suffer this injury by following the diet I teach you in these blog entries and in my book, Retaining the Mind.

Please help me spread the good news that dementias like Alzheimers disease are controllable and even reversible. If your church, business or social group needs a speaker, contact me at acallergy@gmail.com. 

 

Eating to repair nerves

Retaining the Mind shows you how our diet causes dementia and tells you how to change your diet to recover from it. How to recover the thoughts, plans and purposeful activities certain foods stole from you.

Following the diet is not easy. You must give up  many of the delicious foods that you enjoy. However, if you do not change your diet you may lose what must be more precious to you than delicious foods, your ability to think, plan and care for yourself. You will not enjoy looking back on this day as you sit, confined to a memory-care unit, after your family and friends gave up feeding and cleaning you. Then, you will think, this need not  have happened: If you only had changed what you ate and drank.

In this and next few blogs, I will supplement and sometimes repeat the diet information I gave you in Retaining the Mind. I hope this repeating will help you remember  the information you need to choose the foods and beverages you should eat and those you should avoid. Without this information you may not be following the diet and may not  bring relief to the nerves that the diet damaged.

In this blog I will give you the some general principles that guide me and should guide you as you follow my diet. First, follow this diet as exactly as you can, even compulsively,  for long enough to discover if it helps you. With dementia or any other disease of damaged nerves, it may take months to determine if you have improved. If the diet helps, you should be noticing improvements during this time, improvements such as better memory, deeper sleep, easier movements, less weakness, improved conversation, less need of cane or walker, progressive weight loss and/or other improvements.

A general principle I follow concerns following the diet long-term: If the diet does not help you, stop following it. If you find that it helps you, continue to follow it! A second principle, practice moderation in your choice of foods and beverages. You can eat the foods you are trying to avoid, just eat them in the amount you tolerate. What quantity can you tolerate? Only you will know;  tolerance differs from person to person, most probably depending on your own genetic makeup. You will learn this tolerance by watching for worsening of the symptoms that I mentioned above. if they worsen, you are exceeding your tolerance. Don’t feel bad about exceeding your tolerance: You are learning more about yourself and re-proving that the diet helps you. Just return to it to re-control the symptoms.

In my allergy practice, in my food-sensitive patients, I noticed that the patients who followed my diet without testing it at times eventually stopped following the diet. It is not easy to follow a diet that avoids sugar, MSG and citrus so people who did not prove again ( and again) that they should follow it, didn’t. But, people who tested it, and suffered the return of symptoms, then scooted back to the diet because they feared permanent damage from deviating from the diet, they continued to follow it.

And those fears are well-founded: The diet does not cure illnesses, it controls them. If you stop avoiding the foods that damage nerves you will suffer the return of the horrible symptoms the diet relieved. You do not want to hear the click of the lock on the door to the memory unit. Or to hunt for where you stored your cane. Go back to avoiding the excess consumption of the foods and beverages that are damaging your nerves.

Well, you must say to yourself, “What’s this!” A doctor who advocates testing the diet. Yes, you are right, I also test it at times and learned great lessons from this testing. I will take them up in future blogs when we look at how I react to foods.

Please help me spread the good news that dementias like Alzheimers disease are controllable and even reversible. If your church, business or social group needs a speaker, contact me at acallergy@gmail.com. 

 

 

Our diet is making us old

When I see older people slowly, carefully, and with evident pain and distress feeling their way with a cane or walker, I say to myself, is this necessary? When I see older people arising from a chair slowly and carefully, with obvious pain and distress, I say to myself, is this necessary? If I asked a fellow observer why these people are suffering, she or  he might answer, “It is because they are old”. This explanation, while true, so often obscures another very real cause. Let me explain.

Each of us have two ages, chronological (years since birth) and ‘real’ age (how old our bodies and brains feel). People of the same chronological age can have a much younger ‘real’ age; they feel great. Others suffer a far older real age. Why do they feel more aged? You may already guess where I am going with this explanation of real age: ‘How our bodies and brains feel’. It is equivalent to to saying ‘how our nervous systems make us feel’. Or, stated another way, how much our nervous systems are punishing us. Why do they punish us? Because we have punished them for years, daily, and sometimes at every meal we eat during the day.

I know that no peer-reviewed study shows that our foods and beverages cause the tiredness, weakness, falling, body pains and all the other symptoms associated with the aging body. I do not think this can be studied, too many confounding variables. But my patients who followed the diet described in my book, Retaining the Mind often remarked on how much better they  felt, how their pains subsided, how their walking strengthened, how they felt less aged with a diet that avoided the foods and beverages that injure nerves.

You also may find relief from pain and discomfort by changing your diet.

It makes sense that changing the diet quiets many of the symptoms I mentioned above. Symptoms attributed to aging instead of the more important reason, damage to our nervous system through years of consuming the “aging chemicals”. Will everyone feel younger if they avoid the foods and beverages that contain high levels of these chemicals? No, that’s too much to hope for. But I firmly believe that many  women and men, some older and some younger, will find increased joy and comfort with the diet changes I advocate.  After all, does it make sense, as I point out in Retaining the Mind, to keep feeding people who suffer symptoms of nerve damage (such the debilities that accompany aging) a diet with high levels of nerve-damaging foods and beverages?

Perhaps the best way to summarize this message is to relate an experience. I had finished presenting my book to an audience that had received it well. As the room was already pledged to another group, a few of the audience and I recessed to the hall where we continued to talk about the foods that cause such great trouble. One man in our group, a man not old and in obvious great shape remarked, “When I eat sugary foods my whole body aches”. If sugar, one of the aging chemicals, causes a man in the prime of life such pain and discomfort, what is it doing to the aged?

Next time you see a person using a cane or walker, think to your self, “Is this necessary”? Next time you indulge in that sweet treat, think to yourself, “Is this necessary?”

Dementia affects all nerves

One unified system

The best known of the diseases that damage nerves in the brain is Alzheimer’s disease. But,  it is not the only dementia. Among other nerve-damaging diseases are vascular and frontotemporal dementias and the dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease. They can all degrade speech, thinking and purposeful activity. They are all horrendous and disabling,

 

We possess other nerves that are not in the brain: They also are susceptible to damage and death. They include nerves of the arms and legs with the nerves in the arms leading to muscle weakness in the muscles of the upper extremity.  The nerves to the legs are particularly susceptible to damage, resulting in the numbness and weakness of the feet and lower legs that destroys the sense of balance that these nerves provide, forcing the use of canes, walkers and wheelchairs. This nerve destruction in the legs is especially marked in people with pre-diabetes and diabetes and is considered a reason for diabetic lower extremity infections that sometimes lead to amputation.

 

The above list of nerve destruction in various body parts is nowhere near complete. However, I hope they give you the idea that when we discuss any particular disease, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s dementias—or numb feet or stumbling—we are really discussing a wide-spread damage of the nervous system. I strongly believe that when a nerve disease, like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases, or vascular or frontotemporal dementia, afflicts one part of our nervous system, in this case the brain, it is also affecting every other nerve in the body.

 

Comparing our nervous system to a tree may help you understand my point. The trunk of the tree is attached to all the leaves on the tree through the branches, even the smallest leaf on the branch at the greatest distance from the trunk. The tree is all one unit, an integrated whole. Our nervous system is like this tree, one unit, an integrated whole, with the brain attached to every nerve in the body, even the nerves furthest from it such as the nerves of the feet. Although we may notice disease in only one part of the nervous system, the whole nervous system is involved in disease.

 

My next blog and a request for help

In my next blog, I will return to this subject and discuss the reason for regarding the nervous system as a unified, integrated whole. In the meantime, help me spread the good news that dementia can be controlled and reversed. I know it can be reversed as I have experienced this reversal and want to help others to recover thought, speech and purposeful activity. If you are aware of a group that would profit from this news, please have them contact me through my website, www.drwwalsh.com.

This website also contains several other blogs and my speech that supplements the information in my book, Retaining the Mind. 

Fighting Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease destroys the mind and then steals away life. This is a dread disease but it can be controlled and reversed. I did it and, with my help, you may be able to do the same.

 

The National Institute on Aging of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services calls Alzheimer’s disease “irreversible” and “progressive” and always deadly. If the NIH describes Alzheimer’s disease as progressive, irreversible and deadly, why am I telling you that you can resist this bleak fate and even recover? Much of the damage to in dementia arises from the foods and beverages we eat and drink. Changing our diet gives us a magnificent chance of recovery.It may allow you to recover your ability to think, talk and care for yourself.

 

As an allergist I diagnosed and treated hundreds of patients who suffered from the foods they ate and the beverages they drank. From them I learned which foods contribute to the brain destruction called dementia. I also have personal experience with this horrible disease because I suffer from Alzheimer’s and I have learned to fight it. I changed my diet and it worked. In Retaining the Mind, I tell you about my battle with Alzheimer’s disease and the diet that helped me fight this battle.

 

If you suffer diseases of nerve deterioration such as Alzheimer’s, or any of the other dementias including the dementia accompanying Parkinson’s diseases, you have choices. You can deteriorate gracefully, surrounded by family and friends as your thinking, conversation and self-care slowly wither away. And die bravely. Or, you can follow the treatment I describe in Retaining the Mind, the treatment I used to find my path to recovery from this nerve-destroying monster.