4 Everyday Chemicals That Are Bad For Your Brain

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Eating whole foods is the best recipe for a healthy brain, as it minimizes your chances of consuming chemicals that are bad for your brain’s health.

But whether it’s due to laziness, a busy schedule, a tight budget or anything in between, most of us eat (or have eaten) processed food.

Unfortunately for those who do eat processed food, there can be dangerous chemicals put into them that we don’t even know about. The FDA allows 3,000 additives to be put into U.S. food alone.

But with the epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease, the growing increase in learning and other developmental difficulties in children, people are becoming more and more aware of the issue surrounding brain health.

But what can you do to protect yourself?

There has been a significant link made by researchers and doctors between brain health and certain chemicals used in our food or products. Yet, we still see the same chemicals being used every day.

To help you make more informed choices so that you protect your brain’s health, here are four of the most dangerous chemicals that you’ll find in your everyday life:


1. Fluoride

Photo via cuteimages

Fluoride was for years considered a “miracle” for helping keep teeth strong, so it was added to water in the U.S.

However, since then the chemical has been linked to brain damage, a lower I.Q. in children, dementia, increased tumor and cancer rates, arthritis – the list goes on! In fact, a study funded by UNICEF demonstrated that even the “normal range” of fluoride in water (0.88mg/l) could reduce the I.Q. of over 200 million Americans who are drinking the unfiltered water daily.

In fact, very little evidence supports that fluoride helps fight tooth decay. Any improvement in tooth decay in the U.S. has also been matched in other places that do not put fluoride in their water, such as Europe and developing countries.

But not to worry.

To avoid fluoride, install a water filter in your home.

Unfortunately this means that fluoride in the water still poses an issue for disadvantaged people who can’t afford such devices.


2. Artificial Sweeteners

Photo vai Rawich
Photo vai Rawich

Artificial sweeteners come from the modern-day desire to stay skinny while also indulging in all the delicious food that the world has to offer. You can find artificial sweeteners anywhere! From chewing gum to sodas, cooking sauces, yogurt, chewing gums, even cereals!

Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame has been linked to negative effects on the brain. Aspartame contains a number of harmful chemicals like aspartic acid, methanol and phenylalanine that break down in your body to produce a chemical which has been known to increase the growth of brain tumours.
To avoid aspartame read your food labels and opt for full-calorie drinks and food.

What’s more important? Your weight or your brain?


3. Heavy Metals

Photo via Apolonia
Photo via Apolonia

There are several heavy metals that people are exposed to. The most common being Mercury, Lead and Dioxins.

While Mercury can occur naturally, half of the world’s Mercury is man-made. We’re exposed to these not only from fish, but from vaccines, dental procedures, agricultural chemicals and industrial pollutants.

This is bad news for 630,000 babies that are born every year with brain damage due to Mercury poisoning. It’s because of these statistics that women are advised not to eat fish while pregnant.

PVC has also got a bad name for containing dangerous chemicals, including Dioxins, Lead and Mercury. The chemicals released by PVC from items such as lunchboxes, baby bibs, jewellery and electronics, have been linked with learning and developmental disabilities.

In a 2009 study, PVC that can be found in vinyl flooring, has also been shown to double the chances of children who live in those homes developing autism.


4. Monosodium Glutanate (MSG)

Photo via artur84
Photo via artur84

MSG is a flavour enhancing vegetable protein that was originally considered safe because it was naturally occurring. Discoveries were made that MSG was dangerous as early as the 1950s, yet we still see it in a large portion of our foods today.

MSG is difficult to spot because they are usually marked on the label as a “natural” additive. As the president of the NoMSG, Kathleen Schwartz has pointed out: Anything that tastes good … all of the fast foods, flavored chips, most of the condiments, most salad dressings, most processed lunch meats, most sausages, soups off the grocery shelf,” are probably going to contain MSG.

More recently, Dr. Baylock who is a noted neurosurgeon, discovered that there is link between the damage that MSG can have on the brain and certain diseases such as Alzheimer and Parkinson’s.

  • Sarah Burke

    Sarah is a graduate of the University of College Dublin. After receiving her MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture, she taught High-school English and History for three years before moving to Vancouver to pursue a career in writing. In her spare time, Sarah likes to write poetry, go to music festivals and drink wine. Her favorite food is the burrito. She is an avid reader of fantasy novels, an active participant in feminist circles, and will always have an adventure planned in the foreseeable future. Interesting fact: Sarah is fluent in Irish (Gaeilge).

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