By Deane Alban
Contributing writer for Wake Up World
You’ve certainly heard the controversy about cell phones. Some experts think they cause brain cancer, while others don’t. But there is an even bigger issue here — how all your electronics affect your brain health, beyond just cell phone use.
Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) and the Brain
Whenever an electric current flows through a wire, an electromagnetic field (EMF) is created. EMFs are produced by electricity flowing through power lines, home wiring, appliances, cell phones, and other electrical devices. You would expect your microwave, cell phone, and WiFi to be high EMF producers, but so are your fridge, hair dryer, vacuum cleaner, and blender.
Radio frequency (RF) is one specific range of frequency of electromagnetic energy used in many types of wireless technologies — including cordless phones, radar, GPS devices, cell phones, and radio and TV broadcasts.
And your brain is exposed to it all.
Here are some of the known ways EMFs harm your brain:
— EMFs create free radicals — unattached oxygen molecules that attack your cells much in the same way that rust attacks metal. Your brain uses a lot of oxygen which is why it’s very susceptible to free radical damage. Free radicals can kill cells and even cause DNA damage.
— Low-level EMFs have been found to rupture delicate brain cell membranes causing them to leak calcium ions. Calcium ions are used by your brain cells to communicate with each other.
— EMFs have been shown to break the brain-blood barrier, allowing toxins and chemicals to enter the brain and seriously affect brain function.
— Over 100 proteins in the brain are negatively impacted by EMF. Proteins are integral in brain cell structure and neurotransmitter formation.
— EMF exposure affects the structure and function of the thyroid. Low thyroid hormone levels can lead to concentration problems, forgetfulness, and difficulty making decisions, as well as muscle aches, fatigue, and weight gain.
— Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman, author of Zapped, reports that patients with a wide range of symptoms, such as dizziness and anxiety, memory loss, ringing in the ears, unrelenting fatigue, and weight gain, can attribute them to high levels of EMFs.
EMFs and Alzheimer’s Disease
In 2008, researchers claimed to have found a direct link between the electromagnetic fields created by power lines and all types of dementia. People living within 150 feet of a high voltage power lines are more likely to die of Alzheimer’s.
Occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields can lead to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. One of the weirdest findings showed that sewing machine operators have four times the risk of Alzheimer’s caused by strong, continuous exposure to EMFs over long periods of time.
Some people are more sensitive to the effects of EMFs than others — in particular, children, seniors, and those suffering from ill health. Even when there is no reason to believe EMFs caused Alzheimer’s, they can make the symptoms worse.
EMFs and Sleep
Dozens of studies have found that even low levels of EMFs can disrupt your body’s production of melatonin. This naturally occurring hormone regulates your sleep cycle and is a potent antioxidant — 5x more potent that vitamin C.
By suppressing melatonin, EMFs deal a double whammy. This disrupts sleep, when memory consolidation and new brain cell generation occurs. And it is no longer available to prevent free radical damage.
Cell Phones and the Brain
Cell phones are a particular worry since they are used so often and so close to the head. You can just as readily find studies to prove they cause cancer as that they don’t.
But there is more than cancer to be worried about. EMFs can penetrate as much as 1-1/2 inches into the brain and lead to headaches, dizziness, sleep disorders, benign tumors, and Alzheimer’s.
The World Health Organization has come down on the side of caution, putting cell phones in the same cancer-causing category as lead, engine exhaust, and chloroform.
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that simply holding an activated cell phone next to your head for less than an hour changes brain metabolism.
Clinical Neurophysiology reports that mobile phone emissions affect the brain’s “cross talk,” slowing down the brain’s reaction time.
I don’t expect you will give up your cell phone. The trend is for people to spend more time on their smartphone and less on their PC, and this is expected to continue. But there are a few common-sense precautions you can take.
- Keep your phone as far away as you can when it’s turned on.
- Turn it off when you can.
- Invest in a cell phone radiation protector.
- Don’t sleep with it on next to your head.
You can see from the infographic below that most people keep their cell phone on their nightstand and use it as an alarm clock. This is a pet peeve of mine. You are exposing your head to unnecessary radiation for 1/3 of your life just to wake up in the morning. This doesn’t make sense. Get an alarm clock, people!
Steps to Protect Your Brain
Science doesn’t yet fully understand what living in this ocean of EMFs is doing to our health, but there is much evidence that it is detrimental to our brains. Here are some common-sense guidelines to reduce your risk.
- Minimize your EMF exposure at night. Keep computers and TVs out of the bedroom or shut off the power to them before sleeping. Place your alarm clock three feet from your head, don’t sleep with your cell phone by your head, and don’t use an electric blanket.
- Protect your brain from cell phone radiation and optimize your signal with a Pong Soft Touch Radiation-Redirecting Case or similiar. A patented antenna redirects the potentially harmful electromagnetic radiation away from your head, reducing your radiation exposure. This allows more radiation to communicate with the cell tower, which optimizes your signal. Your cell phone’s battery life is also optimized, because your phone doesn’t have to work as hard to communicate with the cell tower. A win-win-win situation!
- A great place to learn more about the effects of EMFs is Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn’t Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution by New York Times best-selling author, nutritionist, and First for Women magazine columnist Ann Louise Gittleman. This is an eye-opening read for anyone who is concerned about what electromagnetic radiation is doing to their health. While most of the news is not good, this book claims to share over 1,200 ways to avoid the hazards of electronic pollution. (But who’s counting?) This book brings what could be a complex topic down to earth and gives you plenty of actionable advice.
Click here to find more information on the dangers of EMFs, plus ways you can protect yourself from exposure.
- Cell Phones, EMF Negatively Altering Important Regions of the Brain
- EMF and Radiofrequency Exposure from Cell Phones and Power Lines
- WHO: Cell Phone Use Can Increase Possible Cancer Risk
Recommendedarticles by Deane Alban:
- Protect Your Brain and Bones with Strength Training
- Beat Brain Fog: Know the Causes, Symptoms and Solutions
- 5 Common Food Additives That Are Toxic to Your Brain
- 6 Common Habits that Rob You of Essential Brain Vitamins
- The ABCs of Vitamins for Memory and Brain Health
- The Toll Being Overweight Takes On Your Brain
- Work Smarter, Not Harder: Everyday Memory Improvement Tips
- Eat Your Way Smart With a Brain Food Diet
About the author:
Deane Alban holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and has taught and written on a wide variety of natural health topics for over 20 years. Her current focus is helping people overcome brain fog, “senior moments”, and other signs of mental decline now, and preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia in the future.
The human brain is designed to last a lifetime, but modern life takes a greater toll on the brain than most people realize. Deane teaches the best ways to keep your brain healthy and stay mentally sharp for life at her website BeBrainFit.com.