Study: Fat-soluble Chemicals Linked to Neurological Issues

chemicals and dementia

Chemical exposures increase neurological disease risk

Toxicology Chemist has published findings that irrefutably link exposures to certain toxic chemicals to neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism and other forms of neuropathy.

Large review of toxicology studies

Dr. Harold Zeliger, Ph.D., a certified forensic examiner, conducted a review of 140 toxicology studies to arrive at his conclusions.

Dr. Zeliger found that chemical exposures to lipophilic (fat-soluble) chemicals such as polychlorinated bipehenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides, dioxins, polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and perfluorooctanoic acid esters – in many household and industrial products.

Dr. Zeiliger’s research determined that lipophilic chemicals will invade cells by breaking down their fat-containing cells membranes. This will provide further entry for the many other chemicals that may not be fat-soluble, but are water-soluble (hydrophilic).

These include so many cancer-causing chemicals and neurotoxins win our waters, air, households and foods including many pesticides and herbicides.

How toxins gain access to nerve cells

Dr. Zeiliger also found that these hydrophilic toxins gain access into our nerve cells through the increase in lipophilic chemical exposure. As lipophilic exposure damages cell membranes, there is little defense left for the cells to protect themselves from other toxins.

The increase of such lipophilic chemical exposures over the last half-century also correlates precisely with the increase in many neurological diseases among first-world countries, including multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, ALS, ADHD, autism and others.

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This is consistent with findings among human and animal research illustrating the neurotoxicity of these chemicals.

The research also found that many of these lipophilic chemicals will remain in our fat cells for decades, accumulating to produce neuropathic diseases later in life:

“Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are long-lived and accumulate in white adipose tissue from which they can pass to the blood and be transported around the body. Due to the slow rates of metabolism and elimination, once absorbed, POPs can persist in the body for 30 years or longer and can build up with time to toxic concentrations. This bioaccumulation of POPs with time over many years accounts for the delayed onset of disease following initial exposure.”

Much of the research exposing the link between lipophilic chemicals and neuropathies comes from pharmaceutical studies. Pharmaceutical companies have been blending lipophilic chemicals with hydrophilic chemicals in their medicines in order to increase the absorption and entry of their chemical medicines – many of which are hydrophilic – into cells.

The research has also determined that hydrophilic toxic compounds do not require lipophilic compound exposure concurrently: We don’t have to be exposed to both simultaneously.

Chemicals build up in fat cells

Rather, lipophilic compounds will build up in the system and increase assimilation of hydrophilic toxins long after the initial lipophilic toxin exposures.

This, according to Dr. Zeiliger’s research, will allow many toxins that produce neural damage to penetrate the blood-brain barrier due to the lipophilic toxin accumulation:

“Lipophilic chemicals were found to facilitate the absorption of hydrophilic chemicals across the body’s lipophilic membranes. It is proposed here that the lipophilia of these exogenous chemicals induces neurological disorders by permeating lipophilic membranes, including the blood brain barrier, thus enabling the entry for toxic hydrophilic species that would otherwise not be absorbed.”

These lipophilic exposures can begin during pregnancy. Multiple studies have shown that ADHD is linked with the mother’s exposure to industrial chemicals.

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It is ironic that the very substances – chemicals – that humanity thought it was so smart in inventing and producing are in turn damaging our intelligence in the end in form of dementia and other neurological disorders.

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Zeliger HI. Exposure to lipophilic chemicals as a cause of neurological impairments, neurodevelopmental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2013 Sep;6(3):103-110.

Winneke G. Developmental aspects of environmental neurotoxicology: lessons from lead and polychlorinated biphenyls. J Neurol Sci. 2011 Sep 15;308(1-2):9-15. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2011.05.020.

Harold Zeiger Professional Website


Case Adams, PhD

Case Adams has a Ph.D. in Natural Health Sciences, is a California Naturopath and is Board Certified as an Alternative Medicine Practitioner, with clinical experience and diplomas in Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling, Homeopathy and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 27 books and numerous articles on print and online magazines. Contact: [email protected]

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