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Water and alzheimer's disease and other aging effects

Water Bottle Contaminants

Is heavy metal really bad for you? Okay. We're not talking about the 80s hair bands here. But heavy metals, like aluminum, are thought to be a cause of a sad and debilitating memory-loss disease affecting 4.5 million people around the world. While age is the major risk factor, what we drink and eat as we age could also play a vital role.

Alzheimer's Disease is a progressive illness which affects the areas of the brain that involve memory, intelligence, judgment and behavior. That said, the disease is more than just the memory loss often most associated with it. Daily tasks may even begin to be impossible. As the disease progressives, the symptoms get worse. There is not an exact known cause yet, but in most cases it is due to deterioration of tissue in the brain. The deterioration may be caused by the loss of chemical messengers that in essence tell the brain what to do.

An eight-year French study concluded that people exposed to water with high aluminum concentrates were more likely to suffer from Alzheimer's or dementia. It was noted that aluminum could damage nerve cells and their connectors. The major symptoms of this disease are progressive decline of memory and other higher mental functions. These changes are associated with the loss of brain cells and the development of two kinds of microscopic damage in the brain, which doctors dub the plaques and tangles. The plaques consist of abnormal deposits of a protein, beta amyloid, between the brain cells. The tangles occur within the cells. These are formed from abnormal thread-like deposits of a the protein tau, normally part of the cell's 'skeleton'.

There is much evidence that aluminum is associated with the disease. Studies note that there is a higher concentration of Alzheimer's where there is also a higher concentration of aluminum in the water. In animal tests, aluminum was shown to have negative effects on the nervous system. Also, drugs that remove aluminum from the body are said to decrease the effects of Alzheimer's. Much of this evidence is argued and great research efforts are still being put into the cause of this disease.

Although there is controversy surrounding aluminum, or any other metal, causing Alzheimer's, it doesn't hurt to play it safe by investing in a reverse osmosis water filter or other means to get safe drinking water. In fact, some doctors will state that it is just plain unhealthy for the brain. Also, certain foods contain this metal. In addition, doctors say the mercury is also bad for the brain- a metal found in the flu shot.

A side effect of Alzheimer's, and rightfully so, is depression. When the body is dehydrated, it is more likely to go into depression mode (see related article). So, staying healthy and hydrated can keep an Alzheimer's patient in good spirits.

There are other diseases that come with aging, such as osteoporosis. See our related article.