by: Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
It happened subtly, over the course of a decade or two. Household cleaners went from being largely soap-based to primarily chemical-based. Cosmetics such as lipstick and blush went from being made from bees wax, plant-based extracts, and strawberries to being pumped full of lead, parabens, and synthetic dyes. A loaf of bread went from being nothing more than flour, yeast, sugar, and salt to a confusing concoction of additives and artificial flavorings.
These cosmetics and foods didn’t change the way they looked or functioned on the surface. It’s why so many people didn’t notice. They still looked the same, tasted the same, and had the same function but they were different. Like the 1950s movie, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, familiar, everyday products were changed from natural to synthetic and Americans never realized the difference.
These changes have had a profound effect on not only the intelligence level of the American population but also it’s ability to learn, process, reason, and think for itself. Are Americans really getting dumber? Statistics say yes. In 2011, the average American IQ was measured at 88.54. (Average intelligence is estimated to be 89-100.) This means that a large percentage of the American population is now considered below average intelligence!
Even for those with an IQ considered to be of average or even above-average intelligence, learning and comprehension can still be affected. Recent studies have revealed that 1 in every 6 children has a developmental disability. 1 in 6! This is unthinkable. It means that for every six children in a classroom, one of them will have some sort of difficulty processing, comprehending, and assimilating new information.
What’s caused this sudden rise in developmental disorders? Why are Americans, by and large, becoming dumber than ever before? Could this dumbing down of America be a purposeful, calculated act?
The truth may shock you.
The Chemical Dumbing Down of America
If statistical information is correct, there are a high percentage of people in America with a lowered IQ and/or a developmental or sensory processing disorder as compared to the overall population. When a large percentage of the population is mediocre or confused in their thinking, it makes controlling them so much easier.
This is especially true for those on the autistic spectrum. People with Asperger’s syndrome, for example, tend to have a high moral standard and believe everyone around them is on that same level. They have difficulty telling when they are being lied to or fooled. An entire society of people with this or a similar condition would be incredibly easy to manipulate.
A confused mind also tends to look to others for leadership. It has been proven that individuals who lack education and/or who have a lowered IQ often follow along with the ideals and beliefs of the majority. When critical thinking is affected, Americans who have been dumbed down will look to their televisions and politicians for answers that might not have their best interests at heart.
Chemicals in Food and Environment Make Americans Dumb
The environmental toxins and food additives you come into contact with and eat every single day are altering the way your brain functions. Neurotoxic chemicals and additives are all around us and difficult to avoid, but it’s not impossible. The first step to healing your brain from neurotoxicity and breaking away from the growing accepted norm is to understand what’s dumbing us down in the first place.
Mercury is found in “silver” dental fillings. It is also found in many bodies of water where it ends up in the food chain, especially fish.
As a rule, the larger the fish, the higher the concentration of mercury. Tuna, for example, has a higher average amount of mercury than much smaller fish.
Five grams of fluoride is considered lethal by the FDA yet you consume and use this neurotoxic chemical on a daily basis! Fluoride was first introduced into our drinking water supply on the pretense of preventing cavities.
Studies have shown that fluoride easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and alters the function of neural tissue at the cellular level. This can result in ADHD-like symptoms, behavioral problems, poor impulse control, movement disorders, and even manifestations of psychosis.
- Mental Health Drugs
Millions of children, teenagers, and adults are on some type of prescription drug designed to treat mental health disorders. Though these synthetic drugs usually stop, or diminish, symptoms for a short period of time, they do nothing to treat the underlying cause of the disorders themselves.
Mental health drugs such as Prozac, Paxil, Effexor, and Pristiq have all been linked to suicidal and homicidal tendencies. It has even been suggested that there is a strong connection between the use of these drugs and the rash of school shootings that have happened in the past 15 years.
Artificially altering brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine can have a profound and lasting effect on the brain. Not only can they contribute to the development of irrational behavior, they can cause memory, learning, and cognitive impairment.
Over time, the effect of these drugs wear off and more of them need to be taken to ensure the same effect. If a patient tries to get off of these drugs, the withdrawal symptoms are often much worse than the mental health problem itself.
For some, these medicines can be of great benefit. I am not against their use. My concern is that they are often over-prescribed and the patient is not monitored closely enough for negative changes in behavior.
Cadmium is a toxic heavy metal often found in cheaply-made children’s toys. Cadmium has been shown in clinical studies to disturb central nervous system function by causing apoptosis (early death) of brain cells. It has also been shown to inhibit oxidative DNA repair, which could result in permanent neurological dysfunction. If your children are breathing in the fumes of paints made with cadmium or chewing on toys containing this heavy metal, their mental health could be affected for life.
The lipstick, blush, mascara, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, and hair care products millions of individuals use every day could are contributing to the dumbing down of America.
Additives such as: Aluminum, amyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, calcium fluoride, dibutyl phthalate, synthetic dyes, formaldehyde, lead acetate, manganese sulfate, methyl methacrylate, p-phenylenediamine, and triphenyl phosphate have all been linked to the development of neurological malfunction and premature brain cell death.
Triclosan is a synthetic antibacterial agent once only used in surgical scrub rooms. It is now being used in hundreds of products ranging from antibacterial hand soap to dental care products. Not only has excessive use of this agent been linked to the development of thyroid and autoimmune disease, it has also been linked to movement inhibition and decreased muscular tone in laboratory rats.
- Air Fresheners
The chemical dumbing down of America continues with air fresheners. I’m amazed at how many commercials depict women running around their homes spraying cans of air freshener on every available surface. Nobody’s home smells this bad (or at least it shouldn’t) and spraying neurotoxic chemicals into the air does lasting damage to our health.
The acetaldehyde, ethyl acetate, and formaldehyde commonly found in commercial air fresheners have all been shown to have a neurotoxic effect on the brain when inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
- Cleaning Products
Could Americans be becoming dumber because of what they use to clean their homes? Very possible. Commercial cleaning products contain a vast array of synthetic chemicals that interfere with healthy brain function. These chemicals include acetone, d-limonene, formaldehyde, fragrance, toluene, and xylene and are all neurotoxic. Each time you clean with them, you’re breathing in toxic fumes that can lead to permanent neurological dysfunction.
As if all the environmental toxins weren’t enough to ensure the chemical dumbing down of America, dozens of neurotoxins also lurk in the food we eat every day. In the past 50-100 years, what Americans consider food has changed dramatically. Now, food-like-products are being put on tables across the nation more often than nourishing whole food.
The Standard American Diet consists of refined flours, synthetic sugars, food additives, and preservatives that do little-to-nothing to nourish the body and contribute to the development of chronic physical and mental disease.
Let’s take a look at these additives a little more closely:
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is an excitotoxin that excites brain cells to a premature death. It has the same effect on your brain as that of a jockey whipping a horse to go and go and go until it drops. This additive is often found in a wide variety of highly-processed foods and hides under twenty-plus different names so it can be difficult to avoid. The savory flavor of MSG makes it highly-addictive and an ideal additive to keep customers coming back for more.
The hearty, meaty flavor of MSG temporarily fools the brain into thinking the body is receiving the meat and fat it needs to thrive. It is only once this additive has been partially digested that the body realizes it’s been tricked and causes hunger pangs once again. The body, starving for real nourishment, is fooled again and again by this addictive chemical.
Aspartame, a synthetic sweetener found in diet coke, has been linked to the development of permanent neurological dysfunction with symptoms ranging from mild behavioral problems to seizure disorders. Aspartame also seems to have a profound effect on learning, memory, and cognition in children and adults alike.
To make matters worse, aspartame is a highly-addictive chemical that causes withdrawal symptoms when consumption is interrupted. The unfortunate aspect of aspartame is that it can take years or even decades for the cumulative effects to be noticed and by the time they are, it’s simply too late to reverse the damage.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are on the rise and, despite contrary claims, are not a natural part of aging. Numerous studies have concluded that these conditions are largely induced by environmental factors, including the consumption of neurotoxic chemicals.
When “Splenda” first hit the market, many of my patients switched from table sugar or aspartame to this so-called new and improved sweetener. Splenda claimed to be “made from sugar so it tastes like sugar” but there’s something they don’t tell you. Splenda (sucralose) is chlorinated sugar and is neurotoxic to humans.
- Food Dyes
Food dyes such as Red #40 and Yellow #5 have been linked to the development of behavioral problems in children including the symptoms of ADHD and aggression. Food dyes can be found in everything from your child’s favorite breakfast cereal to yogurt.
Pesticides are everywhere and we’re using more of them than ever before. Not only are pesticides sprayed directly on our food, pesticides are now being grown into our food by way of genetically modified food! Several pesticides such as organophosphates, carbamates, and the organochlorine pesticides kill pests by directly targeting nervous tissue and destroying it. This doesn’t just affect the insects. Mammals, including human beings, are unable to metabolize them, which means they linger on in the body and brain causing permanent neurological dysfunction.
Now that you have a clearer visual of the incredible array of neurotoxins Americans are exposed to on a daily basis, it’s easy to see why IQ levels are declining and developmental disorders are on the rise. Since we can’t stop eating and breathing, we have to do what we can to avoid as many neurotoxins as possible, heal ourselves from the effects of them, and find creative ways to increase our intelligence.
Here’s what I recommend for my patients:
- Clean Up Your Environment
The first step to eliminating neurotoxins from your life is to clean up your environment. Get rid of any cosmetics or cleaners that contain neurotoxic additives and replace them with natural alternatives.
You can use a combination of castile soap, vinegar, and baking soda to clean your home. Castile soap also works well as a soap, shampoo, shaving liquid, and laundry detergent. Organic coconut oil can be used as both a hair conditioner and skin lotion. There are plenty of organic cosmetics on the market made from pure ingredients that won’t harm your health.
Replace chemical air fresheners with natural incense, beeswax candles, and/or essential oils.
- Make Dietary Changes
If you’ve been eating a highly-processed food diet for a long time, it can be difficult to give it up. After all, the chemicals in these foods can be very addictive. This is why I recommend my patients gradually wean off processed food instead of giving it up cold turkey. Fast food withdrawal is a real phenomenon and can make making necessary dietary changes difficult.
Oftentimes, it is easier to replace favorite junk foods with more natural alternatives to start. For example, if you really enjoy a chocolate candy bar or a certain type of snack chip, visit a health food store and try to find a similar treat without all the added chemicals.
I also recommend eating as much organic food as possible. Especially produce, meat, poultry, and fish. Read food labels very carefully. Remember, neurotoxic additives such as MSG can hide behind more than a dozen different names. The general rule is if the food you’re thinking of buying has more than 5 ingredients, it’s worth carefully investigating to be sure none of those ingredients can be harmful to your heath.
Test for Heavy Metals
The symptoms of neurotoxicity can be difficult to pin down since they mimic so many different health conditions. If you’ve been tested for heavy metal neurotoxicity before but came up negative, it might be because you received a blood test. Heavy metal toxicity doesn’t often show up on blood tests.
This is why I recommend The Hair Toxic Element Exposure Test from Direct Labs. When you order, Direct Labs will send you a test kit in a prepaid envelope. Just collect and send several small clips of hair and a report will then be sent directly to you and any doctor you authorize.
Clear Mercury Toxicity with N-Acetyl Cysteine
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) is an antioxidant amino acid that is very beneficial. It helps our bodies produce glutathione. One of the many things NAC does is to reduce oxidative stress on the brain and calm the over-stimulation caused by excitotoxin consumption.
Rebuild Your Brain
In addition to the chemical onslaught that has rewired the brains of Americans, I also believe the dumbing down of America extends to modern media consumption. There’s just isn’t enough challenge anymore. Using your brain in different and creative ways can help improve your neurological function naturally.
Here’s what I recommend:
- Play Brain-Training Video Games
Brain-training video games have been shown to improve cognitive function, memory, and problem solving. There are plenty of websites that offer free brain training games to keep your mind sharp and help rebuild damaged neural pathways.
- Read Challenging Books
Page-turning leisure fiction can be a lot of fun to read but it will do little to challenge your mind. Try reading a classic novel and really get into the story and language. Using your brain in this way can help slow down that need for constant visual stimulation and activate a sluggish imagination.
- Spend Time in Nature
Studies have shown that children with ADHD function better in school when they spend more time in nature. Going for a walk or hike helps you to slow down and contemplate life. This can help you feel more connected with the world around you and give you the space you need to come up with new and interesting ideas!
- Exercise Regularly
Neurotoxic exposure can do damage to a part of the brain called the hippocampus. The hippocampus is crucial in the formation of new memories, connecting emotions to memories, navigation and spatial relations. Studies have shown that regular exercise improves the size and function of the hippocampus, leading to better brain function.
- Get Plenty of Sleep
Lack of sleep is a strong contributor to memory problems and cognitive decline. During sleep, your brain processes information from the day before and forms new memories. If you are not getting enough sleep, it can affect your ability to recall old memories and form new ones. Adults need at least 7 hours of deep, uninterrupted sleep each night in order to function optimally.
Americans are being dumbed down. Now that you know what’s causing Americans to become dumber than ever before, you can take steps to eliminate neurotoxins from your life and heal your brain. Start today. In one month, you won’t believe the difference in how you feel.