Protect yourself against brain toxinsToxins
Chemicals in pesticides are known brain toxins. Photo credit: The Speaker, Flickr, Creative Commons.
By pH health care professionals
Almost everyone has heard the phrase “mad as a hatter,” but most people don’t know that it originated in 18th century England when hatters exposed to mercury salts literally went “mad” from the toxicity. Three centuries later, toxins in our homes and environment continue to be a threat to healthy brain function.
So what exactly is brain toxicity?
The term refers to “impaired brain function due to the brain’s exposure to, and absorption of, toxins such as solvents, chemicals and heavy metals (like mercury and lead, among others).” Toxicity (how bad toxins are for you) generally depends on concentration, length of exposure, individual susceptibility, and co-exposures to other toxins. Exposure to brain toxins may not be noticeable at first, but brain toxicity may develop over time.
Where do these brain toxins come from?
Some common brain toxins include:
- Household cleaners, solvents and alcohols: such as disinfectants (formaldehyde), dry cleaning fluid (tetrachlorethylene), and paint thinners (toluene).
- High levels of heavy metals: such as mercury, lead and manganese.
- Pesticides: such as chlorpyrifos and DDT/DDE, which are known brain toxins.
- Elements: such as arsenic and fluoride.
- Other chemicals: including plastics (PCBs) and flame retardants (polybrominated diphenyl ethers).
What are the symptoms of brain toxicity?
Symptoms of brain toxicity may appear suddenly or develop over time depending on the toxin, its toxicity level and how long you have been exposed. Sudden symptoms may include headaches, being dizzy or lightheaded, decreased concentration and focus, twitching, weakness, paralysis, numbness, sensitivity and/or sweating. You also may experience cough or difficulty breathing.
Symptoms that develop over time are usually subtler and may include general mental decline, decreased mental processing speed, decreased memory, difficulty managing complex tasks, disorders of coordination and sensory function, and mood disorders. You should see your health care provider if you believe you have any signs of brain toxicity.
What can you do to reduce exposure to brain toxins?
While some toxins produce strong odors, others have none, so trying to detect them by just sniffing the air around you won’t work. Your best approach is to proactively work to avoid or reduce exposure to brain toxins by taking the following steps:
- Use natural cleaning products. Make an effort to avoid obvious more toxic substances.
- Ventilate indoors well when you suspect exposure to harmful agents. You can also overheat your house at 90-100 degrees for one day. The “bake out phenomenon” helps to reduce volatile organic substances.
- Listen to your body. Watch for unusual symptoms such as headaches, flushing or dizziness.
- Be informed. Read warning labels and material data sheets.
- Give your health a boost. Talk to a qualified health care professional about trying nutritional supplements to stimulate detoxification.
- Sweat out toxins. This can be done through intensive cardiovascular exercise or using a sauna (infrared sauna may be especially helpful).
- Eat and sleep well. Eat healthy, organic “brain foods” (especially green leafy vegetables, broccoli and antioxidant-rich foods), and make getting a good night’s rest a priority.
- Give toxins the boot. Shop for non-toxic products and consider getting your heavy metal levels tested.
Leave a comment and let us know the ways you’re going to be proactive!
Enjoy Your Healthy Life!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.
Very good article. Love it. Thanks