Environmental Neurotoxins and Alzheimer’s disease

The risk for developing the sporadic (late-onset) form of Alzheimer’s disease is attributable to an interaction of genetic and environmental factors. Cognitive reserve, healthy gut microbiome, and the presence of certain genes constitute protective factors. Metabolic disfunctions such as insulin resistance, advanced age, and the presence of ApoE4 gene are examples of damaging factors.

Among the modifiable environmental factors, lifelong exposure to toxic substances has also been shown to be an important risk factor that has hardly been taken into account by conventional medicine. In contrast, toxin exposure and an existing disturbance of the detoxification capacity have a very important significance for the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease. It is not without reason that the US neurologist Dr. Dale Bredesen has assigned this risk factor its own disease type, the “toxic” type 3 Alzheimer’s disease.

Very little is taught in medical school about toxicology, and the little that is taught consists in dealing with acute intoxications in an emergency context. But the effects of chronic contact with toxic substances are not effectively addressed during medical training. This fact sounds very disturbing considering the “intoxicated” world we live in today.

What can you do:

  1. The first step, of course, is to find out if and what possible toxin overload is affecting the organism. Blood tests provide information, for example, heavy metals such as aluminum, mercury and cadmium. These very substances were found in a study, for example, increased in the blood of Alzheimer’s patients compared to a control group (Xu 2018).
  2. In the second step, the toxins should be removed from the environment or the Alzheimer’s patient should be removed from the “toxic” environment.
  3. Then, detoxification must ensure that the toxins are removed from the body as best as possible.

Read the following sections to learn more about the main toxic substances associated with Alzheimer’s disease, how they specifically act, and what you can do to reduce exposure to them.

  • Pesticides and fungicides have been used in agriculture for a long time.

  • Metals such as mercury, are found in classic amalgam fillings in our teeth. Or the aluminum used in deodorants.

  • Medical drugs have various (side) effects.
  • Cigarettes and alcohol we take care of ourselves to a sufficient extent.

  • Mycotoxins, metabolic products of molds, form in damp buildings

  • Chemical substances are found, for example, in solvents, varnishes and paints, but also in household items (flame retardants, coatings, etc.).

  • Plasticizers are contained in plastics and have hormone-like effects.

  • Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) are pro-inflammatory membrane components of certain bacteria.

  • We find fine dust in the air.

  • Microplastics are already found in our bodies, in water, in soil

  • Radiation probably has an influence on our body cells, in what form we cannot yet finally say

  • Over 500 additives may be added to processed foods.


Xu, L. et al. (2018) ‘Circulatory Levels of Toxic Metals (Aluminum, Cadmium, Mercury, Lead) in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease: A Quantitative Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review’, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 62(1), pp. 361–372. doi: 10.3233/JAD-170811.