I noticed the decline about one year ago. I first had difficulty remembering things that I had routinely needed to recall every month – then every week – then every day. Fortunately, I was functional because while I could not recall the information, I still knew where to find it.
I was not ready for dementia. I tried to determine what I had done wrong to bring it on. Was it the effort of doing a Doctorate in Structural Engineering that permanently exhausted my brain? Was it how I slept that put too much pressure on my brain? Researching the subject did not help – so I accepted my fate and prepared to retire after my contracts were completed.
On 15 December 2022, I read a US Consumer Report article on the high levels of cadmium and lead in dark chocolate . For years I had been habitually eating dark chocolate every night before I went to bed. The cadmium level in the brand that I ate was safe, but the lead level was about 1.7 times the maximum allowed in California.
High levels of these heavy metals were associated with memory loss and a host of other ailments. Was this the reason? I did not know, but I stopped eating dark chocolate immediately. Then I purchased the two brands of dark chocolate that I normally ate and had them tested for cadmium and lead. I received the results on 13 Jan 2023.
THE GREAT REVEAL
The Cadmium results were safe for one brand and slightly above the maximum allowed in California for the other. However, the lead levels were gravely concerning. In one brand, the lead levels were five times the maximum safe level allowed in California – in the other brand it was a shocking ten times. This seems to indicate that what is sold in Barbados is not what is sold in the US. For whatever reason, we seem to be getting very dangerous batches.
Was eating dark chocolate the cause of my memory loss? I decided to monitor the effects of abstaining. Five months later, after eating no dark chocolate for the past five months, my memory has gradually returned to about 90% of what it was before I noticed the decline – so, I do not plan to retire anytime soon.
LOOKING OUT FOR YOURSELF
Since we do not have active consumer organisations in Barbados, we need to look out for ourselves – no one is coming to save us. If you are having memory loss and you are not aged, then analyse a list what you normally eat and make the relevant changes. For example, consider eating food with life in itself – like fruits and vegetables. Try drinking water, and exercising until you sweat.
Realising that you are losing your memory can be a terrifying experience. However, it is better to have it come on gradually so that you may make the necessary preparations for your long-term care. I am very fortunate that I found the reason for my condition and made the change that reversed it. Based on my experience, if you think that you are losing your mind – you may find it again.
Grenville Phillips II is a Doctor of Engineering and a Chartered Structural Engineer. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com
 Loria, K. 2022. Lead and Cadmium Could Be in Your Dark Chocolate. Consumer Reports.