Degenerative Brain Diseases

In Excitotoxins, The Taste That Kills, I made it clear that there was no evidence that the excitotoxins found in foods are themselves the primary cause of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, but one frightening possibility is that there may be a link between the widespread excitotoxic contamination of our food supply and the heretofore-unexplained dramatic increase in neurodegenerative diseases—which have also begun to occur on average at an earlier age. While these diseases existed long before the introduction of excitotoxic food additives, this does not mean that certain food additives

vaccines rickettsia mycoplasma glutamate vaccines viruses rickettsia mycoplasma prions glutamate oxidized cholesterol LDL HDL

homocysteine heavy metals aluminum p-amyloid oxidized cholesterol LDL HDL

homocysteine heavy metals aluminum p-amyloid

glutamate arachidonic acid quinolinic acid cytokines IL-p IL-2 IL-6 TNF

glutamate arachidonic acid quinolinic acid cytokines IL-p IL-2 IL-6 TNF

FIGURE 7.3 On the left are numerous substances and conditions that can induce excitotoxicity, activating the brain's immune system. Once triggered, microglia secrete large concentrations of arachidonic acid, which promotes inflammation, as well as inflammatory cytokines.

cannot increase the likelihood that a person with a genetic weakness for the disorders will develop the disease.263

We know, for example, that people carrying the apoE4 gene have a significant risk of eventually developing Alzheimer's disease. Now if you happen to carry the apoE4 gene and consume foods high in excitotoxins, your risk of developing the disease will, most likely, be much greater than a person who eats unadulterated foods. Why? Because having the apoE4 gene indicates that you do not have the same level of antioxidant protection as someone without the gene. Excitotoxins significantly increase the brain's exposure to free radicals.

High consumption of excitotoxin-containing foods would increase your risk not only of developing one of these diseases, but could also augment the risk of early onset and severity of the disease.264 1 am shocked when I see patients with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease consuming foods high in these brain-toxic additives. Hospitals can be the world's worst in this regard, and most doctors haven't a clue as to the danger.

I have seen neurological patients with strokes, head injuries, and degenerative brain diseases being fed liquid diets in hospitals that contained as much as five to ten grams of excitotoxins—a huge amount of these toxic substances! Remember, brain disorders are most often accompanied by defects in the gatekeeper mechanism, the blood-brain barrier, and stress and poor nutrition further increase the defects in this protective system.

As a neurosurgery resident in the 1970s, I saw only one case of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in five years. The head of the neurology department also stated that he rarely saw such cases. Today, ALS cases are not at all infrequent. While many factors may account for this dramatic rise, I believe that the massive addition of excitotoxins to our food supply plays a major role in this increase. Other toxins, such as pesticides, herbicides, industrial chemicals, mercury, fluoride, lead, and viral infections, may also make a contribution. But, it should be recalled, many of these environmental toxins share central mechanisms of action-excitotox-icity and free-radical injury in the diseases I have discussed.

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