Is this the real cause of the Dementia Crisis?
Updated: Jun 27
Are medications for common conditions such as asthma, inflammation, depression and heart disease the real cause of the rapid cognitive decline in elderly populations? I think they are.
When you've been in the business of promoting good health for more than 40 years, you get a feel for trends. One most disturbing trend I can see is the association of diseases of cognitive decline (Alzheimer's and Dementia) with many popular medicines that are in widespread use nowadays and prescribed sometimes for decades without a break.
The medications that seem to be the most implicated are a wide range of blood pressure medications, cholesterol-lowering drugs, anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs, steroids, antihistamines, various pain medications and blood-thinners.
None of this is a medical mystery. It is just not talked about. It has always been acknowledged that most of these drugs do affect cognition but they are strangely not part of the conversation.
How the HTMA above relates to conditions like dementia and related ailments
High calcium is associated with fatigue, hypothyroidism, plus the gradual development and progression of arteriosclerosis.
Low copper is associated with conditions such as exhaustion, cancer and Parkinson's.
High sodium is associated with chronic stress and high blood pressure.
Low zinc is associated with conditions such as viral, fungal and yeast infections, loss of taste and smell, eating disorders, depression, attention deficit and autism.
High iron to copper is associated with chronic infection of the bacterial or parasitic kind.
Low selenium is associated with chronic inflammation and increased cancer risk.
Even tiny levels of toxic elements such as lead and cadmium (common) are neurotoxins and increase health-risks across the board and, most definitely, dementia.
How prescription drugs drive dementia
There are few if any prescription drugs that do not have a long list of side-effects. Less than 10% and perhaps as few as 1% of all adverse effects ever are reported and get to be recorded on an official database. Bear this in mind when side effects are being explained to you by the prescriber.
When a person is on more than 2-3 different prescription drugs, the number of potential interactions become almost too astronomical and complex to figure out. Drugs companies do not have to research these interactions prior to putting a new drug on the market.
Taking drugs is like being in the lottery: the longer you are on the drugs and the more drugs being taken, the more likely it is that nasty side effects will arise.
There are so many ways the now thousands of prescription and over-the-counter drugs can affect the brain that there is no way I can even begin to list these. But I'll cover some of the most important.
Your brain is only as good as its blood flow: as blood flow diminishes so does brainpower
The main processes that interfere with blood flow to the brain are low blood pressure and the gradual process of calcification of the arteries, including those supplying the brain.
Meds that reduce blood pressure reduce blood flow to the brain.
Many, if not most meds for blood pressure, including statins, inadvertently increase calcification of the arteries. This process of calcification of the soft tissues is seen on the hair tissue test as elevated calcium relative to other minerals.
Steroids and other hormones (HRT), including those for asthma increase calcification of arteries.
It appears that drugs for mood disorders such as SSRI's have a similar effect on tissue calcification.
A note about arthritis
Osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and dementia go hand-in-hand as companion diseases. They are intimately associated. Kissing cousins. As calcium is drawn out of the bones and deposited in the soft tissue, including the blood vessels, the bone thins and the joints begin to disintegrate to a state of catastrophe. People with mildly arthritic joints typically have an acceleration of their joint degeneration, most obvious about five or so years following commencing medication such as for a heart condition.
I argue that hardly anybody dies of old age these days: they die from the combination of medication side-effects and malnutrition.
As people get older their calorie needs may plummet to the point where their daily energy needs could be met by little more than a few wine biscuits, a teaspoon of sugar in their teacup, a tiny serving of reconstituted egg and potato and a plate of ice cream and fruit salad. As energy needs decline with age, the nutrient-density of the food must increase. This is ignored by the dieticians who decide what is fed to the elderly who are in institutional care.
Read this which is relevant to the nutrition of many institutionalised elderly:
Most medications, some more than others, interfere with digestion and/or the uptake of various nutrients. Medications are generally toxic and the body reacts by trying the regurgitate the toxin. This is why anti-reflux medications are often prescribed in conjunction with most medications that are taken habitually.
Anti-reflux medications mostly suppress the production of stomach acid, or they neutralise the acid. While these may reduce reflux or the consequences of vomiting acid up the oesophagus, the longterm consequence is malnutrition and the possibility of nasty diseases of the digestive tract, including IBS, Crohn's, Diverticulitis and bowel cancer.
Low salt confuses, then kills
"Pass the salt", is an expression I doubt is used in elder-care. Salt has been demonised. Salt causes high blood pressure and the best thing to do it cut salt right out of one's diet as much as possible. Yeah-right! This is a health mantra that is simply wrong. Reducing salt consumption may benefit the blood pressure of about 10% of people who are diagnosed with hypertension. For the other 90%, the benefit of excessive salt restriction may be next to nothing. A modest daily intake of salt is fine for most people:
Salt restriction is potentially catastrophic for the elderly
Low salt reduces digestion!
Low salt accelerates osteoporosis!
Low salt increases confusion!
Affects balance and increases stumbling!
Low salt increases infection!
Here's a typical scenario: Grandma is placed on a salt-restricted diet. She rapidly develops osteoporosis and arthritis (no worries there are meds for these!), she gets confused easily (no worries there are more drugs for this), she is placed in a home. She slips and falls, breaking a hip. She is hospitalised. She develops pneumonia and dies shortly after.
It blows me away that discussion about the Tsunami of dementia that is now upon us does not include frank discussion of the possibility that many, if not most cases of dementia have prescription drugs as a major factor in their genesis.
It would indeed be scandalous if the one health crisis that threatens to bankrupt our nation was, in fact, mostly medically induced.
Dementia is like a mugger lurking in a dark alley. It creeps up on its victims from behind. By the time one realises that they are in trouble the damage is done. Do not wait until you have been floored from behind. Stop, turn around, shine a light and look carefully for the potential muggers in your life and do something about them - now!
Dementia is no great medical mystery. The causes are known, but the lights are turned off while all available resources are being sunk into finding the billion-dollar patent drug cure.
Drugs never cure ageing, nutrition and lifestyle-related diseases. They only serve to plaster over the symptoms, ultimately making matters far worse.
Should I stop taking my medications right away?
Of course not! Some medications, such as statins, can be stopped immediately with no side effects other than feeling great, but others, such as anti-depressants and steroids, may have potentially devastating side effects due to their addictive properties.
Drugs that addict are the perfect consumer product!
Consult your doctor and insist on not leaving until you have a plan that has you progressively relying less on prescription medication.
Get informed about what you are taking and why?
One of the most commonly prescribed drugs is for depression and anxiety. It can take as long as a year to overcome the symptoms of withdrawal (all the more reason for seeking effective and healthy alternatives to these drugs in the first place!). Expertly applied nutrition strategies, plus Cognitive Behavioural Therapy counselling are effective interventions for addressing the Root Causes for cases of depression and anxiety.
For more information
Please read this article on the subject of antidepressant withdrawal, written by Dr Kelly Brogan: "How long does antidepressant withdrawal last?"
And here is a followup article from Dr Brogan: Falling Up
For more information in support of what I am saying here, please read this newsletter from Dr Ronald Hoffman: Are some medicines stealing your brain power?
An informative article about the benefits of Turmeric for Alzheimer's: https://lyfebotanicals.com/health/turmeric-for-alzheimers/