The first step in improving cognitive abilities in both autistic children and people with Alzheimer’s is to establish a good aerobic exercise program. Aerobic exercise improves the academic function of children with autism,18 while walking stabilizes cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients.19 Alzheimer’s patients who walked for more than two hours per week had a significant improvement in Mini-Mental State Examination scores, a questionnaire used to estimate the severity of cognitive impairment.19
The next step is to make certain autistic children and Alzheimer’s patients are taking a good B-complex supplement. Vitamins B6 and B12 along with folate help balance methylation so that it’s neither underactive nor overactive. If an individual has a MTHF-reductase genetic defect, supplements of folic acid in the form of MTHF (the active form of folic acid), as opposed to regular folic acid, is often necessary for optimal nutritional support.
Detoxification is another important way to enhance brain health, by removing cognitive-destroying chemicals. A good detox drink can do wonders to rid the body of endocrine disrupters and other toxins.
As noted above, DMSA is also highly effective at removing lead, mercury and other heavy metals. Prior to implementing a detoxification program, ask your doctor to test you for heavy metals and test again after detoxification so you can measure the results of your efforts.
Additionally, today’s diets are deficient in iodine, an important cognitive-enhancing nutrient. Substances we’re exposed to in the environment and in our diets, such as bromide and fluoride, compete with iodine in the body and are another cause of iodine deficiency. Iodine is important for proper thyroid functioning and ensures there is enough energy metabolism in brain cells.20 When pregnant women don’t get enough iodine, it causes severe cerebral dysfunction in the infant.20
Rat studies indicate that iodine deficiencies can cause reduced brain weight and limited myelin formation.21
Different Diseases, Same Causes
At first glance, Alzheimer’s and autism may seem like two different diseases. But a closer look reveals that both of these conditions may be caused by many of the same things, such as exposure to heavy metals and endocrine-disrupting chemicals as well as disruptions to an important process called methylation. Detoxifying the body, exercising and consuming key nutritional supplements can go a long way in boosting cognitive health.