We’ve been discussing which toxins can cause mental health problems, and how you might be exposed to them. Today let’s discuss WHY toxins can cause depression, anxiety & affect the brain.
Remember your thoughts are affected by the chemicals that are in your brain. So if your brain is physically unwell, your brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) can be affected, which can lead to low mood, anger, mood swings, anxiety and fatigue.
Toxins can Cause Depression
Toxins and chemicals can cause depression in a large number of ways. Each toxin affects the nervous system and brain by a different mechanism, although each can have numerous affects. Let’s take a look at a few ways that certain toxins and chemicals can affect the function of the brain and cause depression.
4 Ways Toxins Impact the Brain
Toxins that Damage the Structure of the Brain
Mercury and lead are both known are neurotoxins because they are so toxic to nerve and brain cells. They can negatively affect intelligence, behavior, mood, and coordination. These heavy metals are known to damage the structure of the brain. There is also evidence that certain toxins including lead can stop the creation of new nerves (neurogenesis) in the adult brain.
The Level and Activity of Brain Neurotransmitters are Affected
Neurotransmitters are the chemicals in the brain that allow brain and nerve cells to communicate. Many toxins are known to affect the levels or the activity of these neurotransmitters.
For example, manganese is known to reduce dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. As you know if you don’t have enough serotonin you can have depression. Dopamine is the brain chemical that helps you enjoy pleasure- so if you have low levels of dopamine, it’s hard to enjoy life.
Toxins Promote Free Radical Damage and Inflammation of the Brain
Toxins such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury create free radical damage in the body. Free radical damage in the brain can lead to inflammation, damage, swelling, and death of nerve and brain cells.
Toxins Reduce Communication Between Brain Cells
Toxins can affect how the nerve and brain cells send and receive messages. Certain heavy metals, pesticides, and solvent chemicals actually reduce the ability of the nerves to send their (electrical) signals.
Toxins are just one physical cause of depression. To find out about the other physical causes of depression including hormonal imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, and food intolerances- get a copy of my free report. It includes a questionnaire so you can find out what physical imbalances are causing your depression (because everyone’s different).
Talk to you again soon.
All the best
Dr Janelle Sinclair
BSc, MSc, PhD (Biochemistry), NZNMA