Could Zombies Survive on Today's Brain?

Everyone knows zombies are hungry. 

Naturally, brains are on the menu, and occasionally my six-year-old daughter expresses her concern that a zombie might eat her brain as she sleeps (thanks, ParaNorman). 

But the nerd in me can’t help but wonder why a zombie would want to eat today’s brain.

Eeeeww. We’ve literally turned into the human equivalent of potato chips.

Nutrient-Poor & Toxin-Rich Environment

Today’s brain is full of aspartame, SSRI’s, cadmium, arsenic and mercury, phthalates, benzene metabolites, DDE and BPA. Scientific American even tells us we have fewer memories stored in our brains now that we can rely on “the cloud.”

If we truly look at a zombie apocalypse situation and consider the eventuality of a world without cigarettes, diet sodas, combustion engines, pesticides and herbicides, plastics and EMFs, we’re still left with the mess that’s become of our soil and water supply – which, let’s face it, has become increasingly nutrient-poor and toxin-rich. 

Today’s brain is full of aspartame, SSRI’s, cadmium, arsenic and mercury, phthalates, benzene metabolites, DDE and BPA...the human equivalent of potato chips.

We eat food grown in the soil, animals made up of food from that same soil, and drink the water. Our bodies are designed to take in that substrate from the environment and assimilate it into the body for life functions. 

Even in the best of situations, our bodies take in the bad with the good and sequester it away from the vital organs – usually sending it over to the liver or kidneys to try to modify it for excretion (if possible), or ultimately to the fat or bone for long term storage depending on what it is. Lead looks enough like calcium to incorporate into the bones. Methylmercury complexed to L-cysteine looks enough like L-methionine to pass through the blood-brain barrier and deposit in the brain.     

You Are What You Eat

Needless to say, while on the run from zombies, we’d all be on a pretty serious calorie restricted diet. If our body fat is full of safely sequestered lipid-soluble toxins and other undesirables, what happens when we’re spending our nights running from zombies? I’d imagine some serious lipolysis would be liberating organophosphates and PCBs from fat stores – we might all go just a little bit crazy not only from fear for our lives, but from acute exposure to the poisons within. 

How about those high BPA levels in the body from all the super convenient water bottles we’ve been sucking dry for years? Our BPA-altered stress response would most certainly keep cortisol levels elevated for very long periods of time and ultimately lead to dysregulation. Bone remodeling would favor resorption in our calorie-restricted state and we’d have a lot of lead pumping through our blood as a result. We’d be a bunch of tired and wired, hungry, angry and depressed, fatigued and desperate sacks of flesh moving slowly and aimlessly across the countryside in search of...

Wait a minute. We’re not the zombies. Or are we? I kiss my daughter’s forehead reassuringly as I wonder about such things. 

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