Toxins and Mental Health

Your brain is an extremely complicated organ. As the center of your nervous system, it controls mental processes and physical actions, including things you may take for granted, like simple movements of your body parts. The brain controls the information flow through the body and natural processes like breathing, blinking, or digesting food. These are called involuntary actions reactions we really don’t control. On the other hand walking, reading, talking, or running around are all voluntary actions we do because we want to.

Your brain consumes 80% of the energy you produce. It also needs nutrients.

To have a healthy, well-functioning brain, we need to eat specific high-quality foods including seaweed, fatty fish like wild salmon, oysters, tuna, nuts, seeds, eggs, avocado, leafy greens, and so on. The human brain is 60% fat no wonder we require healthy fatty acids. Despite what you’ve been told, cholesterol is also one of the most important nutrients for our brain health and cholesterol deficiency is proven to be one of the causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Cholesterol also helps us synthesize Vitamin D from sunlight, and this powerful vitamin supports good mental performance and immune function. Iron makes us able to break down proteins to make neurotransmitters, the inhibitory and excitatory chemicals that transmit signals in our nervous system. Without enough iron, we can experience not only anemia, dizziness, or headaches, but also depression, brain fog, confusion, and lack of energy and motivation.

The brain is extremely sensitive to nutrient deficiencies, but also to unhealthy lifestyle factors like lack of sleep, too much stress, or too much exercise (physical stress). Our prefrontal cortex, part of the brain that stores information about our personality expressions, decision making, and social behavior, can get severely damaged when we do not get enough rest, time for regeneration, and specific nutrition.

Our mind and body are not separated from each other. It is important to recognize that our physical health reflects on our mental health. Poisoning our bodies with inappropriate edible substances, medications, drugs, or neurotoxins will influence our state of mind, our ability to think, make decisions, and experience happiness. Having a healthy gut is crucial to mental well being. Some scientists call our gut the second brain because there are about 100 million neuron cells embedded in our digestive tract.

Having a healthy body equals having a healthy brain and the other way around too. Stress can disrupt healthy digestion, and eating the wrong food can mess with your mood. When we are nervous about some event (e.g.. wedding, job interview, or school exam), we tend to have gut symptoms, often constipation or diarrhea. When we consume bad food and our gut gets irritated, it usually makes us mentally dull as well some refer to having brain fog. With this in mind, we should focus on having a diet that nourishes our body as well as our brain.

What happens when we constantly keep our brain malnourished, deprived, and deficient? We see it all around us nowadays. People suffer from mental issues, behavioral problems like ADHD, we see aggressive teenagers at school, bullying each other, parents unable to control their hyperactive children’s tantrums, and in worst cases, people shooting each other for no particular reason. In December 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed twenty-six people at elementary school after shooting his own mother and then killed himself. Lanza was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder as well as an obsessive-compulsive disorder as a teenager and was treated with psychotropic drugs. Investigation of his case showed that he stopped taking the medication after four visits to his doctor. Supposedly, Lanza was a mentally unstable young man with some alarming behavioral issues. One wonders what role his nutrition and microbiome might have played as well.

In many similar cases, the perpetrator is usually someone with major or minor mental problems, someone treated with medications proven to have severe side effects. These people had something in common, and that something was poor brain health. Should we blame guns for school shootings, or should we blame the health care system? Should we trust the pharmaceutical industry and our government, when they offer us pills for everything, including treatment for side effects of the original treatment? Is there something we can do to break the vicious cycle of money, power, and influence in our healthcare system? Are we ready to do what’s right instead of what’s good for the entrenched interests? Our future may well depend on it.

Author: Nina Vachkova