Is Your Brain Toxic? 8


Is Your Brain Toxic? Brain health is responsible for so many things- like mood regulation, cognitive function, ability to focus, decision making, sleep function, and more. And preserving it’s well-being is highly overlooked. Most people who I’ve come across that are trying to live a more natural life are quick to do things that support their immune system, their kidneys, liver, or skin…. but supporting Brain health is highly overlooked.

 

Neurons, the Spinal Cord, and the Brain make up your nervous system. Your Brain is the control center for everything! If you suffer from a neurological disorder, experience brain fog, or simply want to boost your brain health, looking at eliminating neurotoxins is a good place to start.

What exactly are neurotoxins?

 

Neurotoxin

 /neu·ro·tox·in/ (noor´o-tok″sin)

“A substance that damages, destroys, or impairs the functioning of nerve tissue.” – Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine.

toxic brain

With Neurological disorders on the rise, shouldn’t we be taking a closer look at neurotoxins? It would make sense to. Some common Neurological disorders include:

ADHD
Autism Spectrum
Tourette Syndrome
Narcolepsy
Multiple Sclerosis
Fragile X Syndrome
Epilepsy
Dementia
Altzheimers
Bipolar Disorder

 

A neurotoxin according to this and other medical definitions, is any substance that damages, destroys, or impairs the functions of our nervous system. Mercury, Lead, Aluminum, and Fluoride are some of the well known ones. But there are many others. It would seem fairly obvious to deduce from this definition then, that the myriad of household and personal products made with chemicals and synthetic fragrances, as well as what we are eating can damage our nervous system. I haven’t bought a household cleaner (other than bleach for limited use) in over 5 years and I will never go back. You can get my DIY Homemade Natural Household Cleaner Recipes HERE!

 

Several years ago I owned a small residential cleaning company. After several months of doing that and networking with other residential and commercial cleaners I realized that if I was going to do this long term, I needed to make a change for my health and my clients’. My throat and lungs burned after working with bleach and comet and lysol bathroom cleaners. I read of other people in my profession developing COPD and that scared me.

 

Equally important to what you use to clean your home, are your personal care products. The skin is the largest and most porous organ in our body. I’m sure you’ve seen the statistics that say 60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream, and I’ve seen as high as 100% absorption rates with armpits and genitalia. Shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body soap, body wash, shaving cream, toothpaste, mouthwash, body lotion, hair gel, hair spray, toner, face moisturizer, make up, perfume, hand soap, hand lotion, hand sanitizer… the list of things we use on a daily basis goes on and on. Now flip those bottles and containers over and read. Can you even pronounce those ingredients?

 

I’m not against feeling clean or looking nice, and I’m not some 100% certified organic fair trade everything Mom. But there are things you can do, on a budget, that will greatly reduce your daily chemical load. I make a lot of our own personal products, and you can read about how I make easy frugal homemade personal care products here {coming soon}. I still purchase some store bought things, but I try to make more conscious purchases. Shampoo, for instance is one of those things. I’ve tried several all natural shampoos and my hair did not like them. But what I did do was shampoo much less (3x a week, max) and switch to Suave Naturals Shampoo. Even with different hair types, shampooing every day is not good for your hair.

 

But what about what we’re eating and drinking? There are many ingredients that are known neurotoxins and carcinogens in our food! And yet, every time I go to the grocery store I see moms filling their carts with hawaiian punch, fruit snacks, fruit loops, and other pre-packaged foods that are laden with toxins. Why? Because our kids love the way they taste and we want to make them happy. But if making your kids temporarily happy means poisoning their brains, is it really worth it? Almost 2 years ago I stopped allowing High Fructose Corn Syrup, Red Dye #40, and Aspartame to come into our household. I started limiting MSG as it was much more difficult to eliminate. I did this because I started finding real evidence that these ingredients are neurotoxins, and I didn’t want to feed that to my kids.

 

High Fructose Corn Syrup

If you haven’t done your own research on this, I highly encourage you to do so. HFCS is not natural in any way. Every time I see that commercial sponsored by the Corn Refiners Association I pray that people are questioning why the CRA is trying so hard to convince us all that HFCS is “natural and safe in moderation.” Did you know that mercury is present in most HFCS? Mercury can be hard to detox the body of  and it can make us very sick. HFCS is in obvious foods like sodas, candy, juices, ice cream, popsicles and bakery items. It can also be found in less obvious foods like breads, yogurt, jellies, cookies, chocolate syrup, fruit cups, canned fruit, frozen juice, sauces, salad dressings and more.

 

 

 

Red Dye #40

Red Dye #40 has a reputation of it’s own. It’s also a known neurotoxin. Red Dye also can cause hyperactivity and aggression in children who may be sensitive to it. There was a fantastic video I watched some time ago, where a mom showed how her child (who was otherwise normally well behaved) acted when they ingested red dye foods. Red Dye is found in anything that is red or pink in nature. Like licorice, red candies, gummies, kids vitamins, infant and children’s fever medicines, wafer cookies, jellies, pastries, gum, fruit punch or berry juices, bakery cookies, sprinkles, donut fillings, frostings, popsicles, ice cream, tea drink mixes,  and more.

 

Aspartame

Aspartame is another well known and well documented neurotoxin. Aspartame generally hides in the ‘sugar free’ products that diabetics or people that want to lose weight want to still eat, without the extra carb intake. Why anybody consumes this, is beyond me. If you must have soda, buy a soda maker or buy all natural pop. Aspartame is hidden in things like sugar free yogurt, ice cream, diet soda, candies, chocolates, bakery items, tea mixes, crystal light mixes, and…. surprise! Gum. About 18 months ago I started noticing that ALL brands of mainstream gum now contained Aspartame. So we stopped chewing gum until I could find natural alternatives.

 

Monosodium glutamate

MSG is another chemical that greatly affects how the brain functions. MSG is a flavor enhancer, and food manufacturers started using it to enhance flavor of canned foods that tasted like, well… a can! It has now moved into just about every form of food except fresh produce. There are over 40 different ways MSG can appear on a label. Crackers, chips, lunchmeat, ice cream, cookies, snack foods, frozen foods, sauces, dips, marinades, dressings, canned foods, juices, cereals, drinks and so much more. You can guarantee if anything is low fat or fat free, it will be LOADED with MSG. For me, when I consume it in large doses I feel nauseated and am unable to think an intelligent thought. MSG is really hard to avoid, so I left this one at the bottom of the list of ingredients to tackle.

 

msg labeling names*image source= http://www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources.html

 

A word to the wise, though. Anytime you are seeking to make a major lifestyle change, start small and grow from there. I see this all the time. We try to become vegans or bodybuilders overnight. And we fall off the wagon. If you want to eliminate ingredients from your diet– start with one. It’s a big change and it will change the way you shop and prepare meals. You can start by reading labels and finding out which brands are acceptable and which aren’t, or if a product needs to be cut out of your diet completely. Once you have successfully conquered the removal of one ingredient (or food, or habit) then move on to the next one.

 

Removing as many toxins as possible is a great start to supporting your brain in functioning optimally. There are also things you can do outside of that to support brain function and I will be sharing those things in the weeks to come.

 

I hope this information serves as an eye opener to all that our brains are exposed to and it inspires you to consider eliminating toxins from your home and diet. I would love to hear what things you are working on eliminating, and what adjustments or substitutes you are using!


About katievega

Single mom blogger with passion! I love the forest for the trees, and am fascinated with herbs, plants, and flowers. Mindset training enthusiast. Self admitted coffee junkie and chocolate snob, total foodie, and scent freak. I love playing mad scientist in my kitchen making weird herbal concoctions. My dream day is spent deep in a forest next to a creek, and I LOVE racing quads, dirt bikes, and the occasional 5 speed honda :-)


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