Little do many of us know that as we sit in the comfort of our homes, we may be silently developing brain toxicity!
Yes. 250 pounds per person, per day of toxic chemicals are dumped in the US. In fact, we are surrounded by toxins, to the point that, upon the day of its birth, a newborn baby is born having over 180 toxic chemicals in their body.
Toxins can take many forms:
- Heavy Metals
- Air Pollution
- And more.
And while nobody expects you to have control over your neighbor’s truck spewing out exhaust fumes, you do have some control over your own home environment.
This is your area of agency to lower your body burden and make a huge impact on reducing brain toxicity.
Common Symptoms of Brain Toxicity
The sad truth is that an overwhelming number of toxins you are exposed to, on a daily basis, actually accumulate in your body, putting undue strain on your immune system and ruining functionality on many levels.
And, while your skull does provide some serious protection and tries to keep the bad stuff out, it is not impervious to brain toxicity. A leaky gut and leaky brain can cause systemic problems leading to a cascade of events. And while studies show that your brain does detox during sleep, some toxins can stick around for decades without being drained out.
Here are some common symptoms indicating you might have toxicity in your brain.
- Brain Fog
- Inability to Focus
- Numbness or Tingling in Limbs
- Memory Loss
- Poor Balance
- Mood Swings
- Lower Threshold for Temper Control
The good news is that if you know where to look, you can lower that toxic body burden, reduce your risk of developing an autoimmune condition, and reduce toxicity in your brain, gut, and throughout your body.
Here are a Few Household Toxins that Contribute to Brain Toxicity.
Aluminum can be found in virtually every bathroom or kitchen in the country. It is in most deodorants that are applied directly onto your skin every day, and it can be found in many cosmetics. It is also in the aluminum foil that you probably use to protect your food from burning, or to make cleaning the grill and pots and pans easier.
Problem: Aluminum is a neurotoxin that accumulates and doesn’t readily leave the body. It breaks down when heated, and very small particles can get into your food.
There are, however, a couple of easy ways to purge aluminum from the body.
Hot tip: Drink silica-rich mineral water.
Silica binds with aluminum, making it easier for the kidneys to filter it and get it out of your body. A study showed that after 12 weeks of drinking silica-rich water, aluminum levels dropped up to 70%.
Another hot tip: Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an active ingredient in green tea, has also been shown to improve mortality statistics. Three to four cups a day was cited as the ideal amount to achieve the maximum benefits.
Chlorine in Your Shower and Water
Problem: Chlorine in its natural state is a highly toxic gas. Chlorine is used to kill bacteria that could harm you, but it also kills the good stuff, too – affecting your microbiome and ultimately your gut-brain connection. Links to neurobehavioral problems have been associated with exposure, as well as problems in the brain development of a fetus, and one study noticed higher levels of chlorine in hair samples of dementia patients than people without dementia. To make a bad situation worse, the chlorine in your water binds onto thyroid receptor sites, negatively affecting the functioning of your thyroid.
Hot tip: Get a chlorine shower filter.
Another Problem: What can happen when showerheads get dirty? It’s scary how items that are supposed to clean us can be loaded with things that harm us, and showerheads are no different. Mycobacteria can live in your shower and can cause nontuberculous mycobacterial lung infections through inhalation.
Extra hot tip: Research shows that acetic acid, (AKA vinegar) while non-toxic to humans, was a powerful disinfectant against drug-resistant tuberculosis bacteria in addition to mycobacteria that was disinfectant-resistant.
Plastic food containers
Problem: Toxic chemicals can leach out from plastic into the foods or liquids that you are ingesting. Read my blog on BPAs and brain development.
Rethink putting anything hot like coffee into cups with plastic lids or containers made of plastic. Also, do not reheat ANYTHING you eat in a microwave.
Not so fun fact: Many people are aware of the harmful effects of BPAs and have turned to BPA-free products. One of the favored replacements was BPS. This appears to have similar risks, yet these are not as well-known.
Rule of thumb: The closer something is to nature, the more likely it is to be the healthier option.
Hot tip: Replace that old Tupperware with glass. Glass is inert and will not leach any chemicals into your food or liquids.
Problem: Brain toxicity happens through cumulative exposure to an assortment of toxins. It can cause problems in memory, cognitive function, and mood, as well as give you brain fog. Cleaners are notorious for containing multiple toxins and are responsible for many calls to poison control every year. But you don’t have to accidentally ingest it or have an overdose for your body to have a reaction. Many people are unaware that their bodies are spewing out antibodies for these toxins unless there is an obvious reaction, such as skin sensitivity. But if you clean up your cleaners, you will eliminate toxins throughout your house.
Hot tip: With just a little extra elbow grease, you can easily use non-toxic, affordable alternatives with commonly found ingredients like vinegar, ammonia, or baking soda.
Check it out: See below for my green clean solutions, or pick up a copy of my best-selling book The Autoimmune Fix. All of these cleaners can be found there, too. These are easy DIY formulas that will change the way you clean. They only take a minute to make, are inexpensive to create, and protect you from brain toxicity.
Parabens are preservatives that give your products a longer shelf-life. Many items would have to be refrigerated to extend their lives if they did not have parabens. You can find it in many health and beauty products to minimize bacteria. However, whatever you apply to your skin can immediately be absorbed into your bloodstream within seconds.
Problem: Parabens mimic estrogen; therefore, they disrupt your hormone system. It is most commonly associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Prenatal exposure to parabens has also been linked with anxiety and problems with learning.
Hot tip: Read labels carefully. If you see the word paraben in an ingredient, avoid it. Look for products that are paraben-free, or better yet, use DIY health products instead.
Problem: What you wash your clothes, sheets, and towels in most likely contains toxins, unless you are actively seeking out non-toxic options, and your skin is in constant contact with these toxins. Just like those multi-cleaners, the sheer number of toxins and the constancy in which you are interacting with them 24/7 through skin contact builds up that body burden, which can cause brain toxicity.
Hot tip: MyGreenFills is a company offering a subscription service that delivers one bottle of laundry detergent which you can refill month after month. This socially conscious company uses all non-toxic ingredients.
Volatile Organic Compounds (AKA VOCs)
Problem: In the first 3 months, the carcinogenic toxins cause off-gassing that you breathe in. This can be from furniture, paint, carpeting, or new construction. These VOCs pose inhalation health risks in new residences and recently renovated homes.
One good whiff of a strong smelling VOC is all you need to know what you are breathing in is toxic. You may immediately feel dizzy or get a headache. Long-term exposure to VOCs has been linked to convulsions, brain fog, memory problems, depression, cognitive impairment, and even paralysis – not to mention other health risks like cancer.
Hot tip: Air within your house has higher levels of contaminants than the outdoors. Get a good air filtration system and open your windows to create airflow and allow for better ventilation. Add a fan to increase better movement of air.
Another Hot tip: When purchasing items, seek out low or VOC-free options. Get VOC-free paint. Also consider the added value antiques have over newer furniture that is off-gassing fumes into your house.
These are only a few of the many toxins that lurk in your home. Whether you breathe them in, absorb them through the skin, or ingest them through food or drink, they enter your body and cause brain toxicity. But by implementing systems changes within your house, you can incorporate a means towards constantly improving your health without much effort. Little by little, your house will become a safer environment to live in for you and your family, as well as friends and neighbors who visit.
In my brain masterclass, I provide a number of resources for eliminating toxins throughout your house, and give you tips to improve your brain’s health by making simple changes each week.
Improving your health can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Making one simple change each week in your environment can vastly improve your overall health and reduce brain toxicity.
Non-toxic Household Cleaners to Reduce Brain Toxicity
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines irony as “the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning.”
‘Cleaners’ should not be polluting your home and environment with toxins. Yet, more often than not, that’s exactly what is happening. Add in hidden ingredients like gluten to a person with wheat-related allergies, and expect inflammatory responses to be triggered.
The average person is exposed to more than 700,000 toxins daily, and some place that number over two million. Your body has a variety of ways to purge toxins from your system, but it was never designed to handle the surge of chemicals you experience today. Some chemicals don’t leave your body for decades! This places a huge toxic burden on your system, putting further strain on your overall health, as well as causing brain toxicity.
Thankfully, with very few ingredients and a little prep time, you can eliminate a bunch of those toxins from your so-called ‘cleaners’.
In my book, The Autoimmune Fix, I share the following green clean formulas that reduce brain toxicity and toxic body burden. These are some of my personal favorites.
All-purpose Cleaner – Mix ingredients in a spray bottle.
1 cup water
¼ tsp organic, gluten-free liquid dishwashing soap
1 T baking soda
½ tsp borax
All-purpose Scouring Powder – Mix in a can with a perforated lid.
1 cup baking soda
10 drops rosemary essential oil
All-purpose Disinfectant – Mix together in a spray bottle.
1 cup water
2 T Castile soap
1 tsp tea tree oil
8 drops eucalyptus essential oil
Glass Cleaner – Mix together in a spray bottle.
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
10 drops lemon essential oil
Porcelain Polish – Mix together in a small bowl.
2 T cream of tartar
½ cup hydrogen peroxide
Wood Floor Cleaner – Mix in a large bucket.
3 T Castile soap
½ cup vinegar
½ cup black tea
2 gallons water
Wood Cabinet Cleaner – Mix in a squirt bottle.
2 cups water
2 T vinegar
1 T lemon oil
Be sure to put labels with the recipes on them. This will make it easy to refill and stick with it. It is also important to remember to use glass spray bottles instead of plastic whenever possible, as glass is inert and does not contain harmful chemicals. Plastic, however, has harmful chemicals that can (and do) leach out into the solutions. Let’s keep these cleaners clean!
You can reuse these glass bottles over and over again for years to come, and the ingredients in these formulas are natural, safe, and affordable.
By limiting toxins that you bring into your home, you are creating an environment that reduces brain toxicity, lowers body burden, supports your health, and supports the health of those who enter that space.