When it comes to cognitive decline, your genes do play a role; however, new research shows that your environmental factors put your brain at risk for cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s. One of the number one offenders in Alzheimer’s risks is your pesticide exposure. According to recent studies, your exposure to harmful pesticides don’t even have to be dramatic;
pesticides left on your food, even in small doses, can build up in your body over time and lead to major problems with your brain function.
One of the major issues with toxic exposure from pesticide use is that, in the United States, agricultural companies and farmers use pesticides before they can be labeled as dangerous. Take DDT, for example. Up until the 1970s, crops were sprayed with DDT, a pesticide that worked by destroying a pest’s nervous system. It was only after they had been used for a while that researchers found out that DDT put the wildlife at risk. The chemicals in the pesticide would gather in animals’ fatty tissues and lead to disease, sometimes even death.
When you take into account DDT’s effect on animals, it shouldn’t be surprising that the toxic chemicals found in this pesticide’s makeup aren’t good for us either. It’s known as a persistent pesticide, meaning that it stays in both the soil and our bodies for years after it has been sprayed. Studies have even suggested that individuals with Alzheimer’s had substantially increased levels of a component of DDT called DDE. What they found was that DDT increases amyloid-β protein in the brain. Interestingly, this protein is found in many Alzheimer’s brains. DDT’s effects also include impairing the brain’s system of clearing out amyloid protein and waste, which means that it builds up in the brain. Another concerning side effect is the way the chemicals interact with your genes.
As I said previously, your genes do play a role; but even if you have genes that are promoting good brain function, DDT can interfere with them and cause cognitive impairment.
It would be easy enough to just stay away from DDT, but unfortunately, there are many other pesticides with the same side effects. Acetamiprid, for example, is a neonicotinoid insecticide that causes memory loss, tremors in your hands, and headaches. You should also be on the lookout for pesticides in the organophosphate class. These pesticides inhibit the nervous system and are known to play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS.
Ok, so you’ll eat organically. Another seemingly simple solution. Unfortunately, your food isn’t the only way these pesticides make their way into your body. Groundwater in residential areas is directly linked to diseases like Parkinson’s.
Researchers have proposed that for every 1.0 µg/L of pesticide in groundwater, an individual’s risk developing Parkinson’s increases by 3%.
Keeping these things in mind, you should also make sure to avoid eating non-organic produce that comes from countries that use DDT in their agricultural practices. You can also keep updated on the fish advisories, which will help you avoid toxins.
These 4 practices will also help protect your cognitive function from pesticide-induced decline.
- Don’t eat conventionally raised livestock that are fed with pesticide-sprayed crops.
- Don’t eat large fish, which often have a buildup of toxins in their fat and tissues.
- Get your produce organically and try to avoid the dirty dozen–the most heavily sprayed produce.
- Test your water and get a certified filter that will get rid of the heavy metals and pesticides.
This means that, while your body is getting zinc, it may not be able to use it. It is more easily absorbed in animal products.
Taking care of your body by avoiding pesticides is a great way to protect your brain health. There are many influences that can lead to an unhealthy brain, which is why my clinic uses cutting-edge testing methods to pinpoint each patient’s individual health risks. From there, we can build a customized treatment plan to address each person’s specific needs.
Looking for an Alzheimer’s Expert in Ballantyne? Come to Novis Health!