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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Getting Older, Staying Sharp

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Perhaps the most frustrating part of aging is mental decay, or those “senior moments” during which what you want to say or remember vanishes in an instant. Cognitive degeneration can be categorized as cruel, since the very substance of the human experience evaporates, and the dignity of acquired wisdom seems to disappear.

But losing mental agility is not one’s destiny; it is the result of an accumulation of trauma, toxins and even negative thoughts. Degeneration is a process that manifests over time, with contributing factors that need to be identified and then avoided as if your life depends on it (which it does).

Perhaps the most obvious example of mental degeneration is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is essentially the result of a “plaque” that forms over your brain and smothers the tissue, causing it to “shrivel” up. As this process occurs, the brain is unable to function properly, causing both memory and behavioral problems that get worse over time. While searching for the cause of this horrific disease, the components in the plaque itself tell the story. A major component is aluminum, the ubiquitous substance found in everyday products. The variety of products that transport aluminum into your body is amazing.

Pharmaceutical products, adult and children’s vaccinations and common over-the-counter medications such as antacids and buffer aspirin use aluminum. Antiperspirants allow you to smother your armpits with aluminum and other chemicals, then transport it all into your nearby lymphatic system. The food industry, of course, loves this “additive” in products such as baking soda, processed cheese and processed flour. It’s even found in our water supply and the air we breathe.

What can we do to cleanse our bodies from this brain poison and therefore slow the effects of aging? Here are some ideas: Dietary modification is a great start; when you don’t bring it in, you won’t need to take it back out. Read labels and eat unprocessed food. Consume beneficial bacteria or probiotics for optimized banal flora for detoxification. It’s also important to maintain two to three bowel movements daily to avoid reabsorption of any heavy metals, including aluminum.

Detox: Chlorella, garlic, cilantro and colonic therapy are excellent ways to detoxify the body. Antioxidants in general protect essential tissues and help remove accumulating heavy metals from the body and nervous system. Healthy fats, Omega-3s in particular, are excellent for the brain.

As usual, beware of the reactionary model that encourages you to wait to see what happens, and then responds with medication. Instead, proactively seek lifestyle changes and recognize the body’s natural wisdom.

Ty Wade, D.C., has a private practice in Saukville that focuses on holistic family care.

David Wade manages an assisted living home in Sheboygan County. Their next column will appear in the July 17 issue of the
Shepherd.