10 Scary Ways Toxins Poison Your Brain

10 Scary Ways Toxins Poison Your Brain

Did you know that by simply breathing, using a common skin lotion, or sleeping on a certain type of mattress you might be harming your brain? The 3-pound supercomputer between your ears is the most metabolically active organ in your body. As such, it is vulnerable to damage from toxins.

Toxins are one of the major causes of psychiatric issues, but traditional psychiatrists almost completely ignore them. During my first decade as a psychiatrist, I ignored them too. But when I started our work with brain SPECT imaging, I quickly began to notice that the toxic patterns that were common in people who were addicted to substances like alcohol or drugs, could also be seen in people who weren’t substance abusers. Why did their brains look so bad?

The Toxic Toll on Mental Health

In time, it became clear that environmental toxins—such as mold, inhalants, and pollution—were often to blame. Environmental toxins impact nearly every aspect of your body and can damage the brain, leading to a variety of physical and “psychiatric” symptoms.

From a psychiatric standpoint, exposure to toxins can increase the risk of depression, suicide, ADD/ADHD, learning problems, memory problems and dementia, brain fog, autism, temper outbursts, and psychotic behavior. On the physical side, issues can include autoimmune diseases, diabetes, cancer, fatigue, numbness, tingling, tremors, allergies, abdominal pain, diarrhea, smelly stools, bad breath, weight issues, skin rashes, sweats, and more.

Our biological systems get rid of toxins (through the gut, liver, kidneys, and skin), but when those natural detoxification processes are overwhelmed, it can cause problems in the brain.

10 Ways Toxins Poison the Brain and Contribute to Mental Illness

1. Reduce cerebral blood flow, which on SPECT scans has been associated with depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADD/ADHD, and more. Low blood flow is the #1 brain imaging predictor that a person will develop Alzheimer’s disease.

2. Disrupt the endocrine system, interfering with hormone production and causing serious imbalances, and increasing the risk of depression, anxiety, and panic attacks.

3. Impair the immune system, increasing your risk of autoimmune disorders and cancer, as well as anxiety, depression, and even psychosis.

4. Disrupt the gut microbiome, resulting in leaky gut and accompanying problems, such as mood and anxiety disorders, ADD/ADHD, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.

5. Increase the risk of diabetes and obesity, since as toxic load rises, so does risk. Toxins are also called diabesogens and obesogens because they contribute to diabetes and obesity, which raise the risk of anxiety, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease.

6. Damage DNA, which can accelerate the aging of the brain and lead to problems with mood, anxiety, irritability, temper, and irrational behavior, as well as memory.

7. Impair enzyme systems, which disrupts many biological processes, including the ability to produce energy and fight free radicals.

8. Harm organs, including the digestive tract, liver, kidneys, and brain. This damage reduces your detoxification system’s ability to do its job, creating an even greater buildup of toxins.

9. Alter gene expression, possibly turning on harmful gene variants and/or turning off beneficial ones.

10. Damage cell membranes and communication between cells.

In my book, The End of Mental Illness, I provide quizzes to help you determine your level of exposure to toxins. And I introduce you to some people who had been suffering from “psychiatric” symptoms for years before brain imaging revealed that toxic exposure—not “mental illness”—was at the root of their problems. Eliminating exposure to the toxins and putting them on a program helped them heal their brain, regain control of their life, and start feeling like themselves again.

The End of Mental Illness is written by psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and brain health expert Dr. Daniel Amen and relies on the latest neuroscience and leading-edge brain imaging to show that mental health is really brain health. The book reveals that “mental illnesses” are really “brain health issues” that steal your mind, and it shows how minimizing your biological, psychological, social, and spiritual risk factors can help alleviate “psychiatric” symptoms. Order your copy here.

If you want to join the tens of thousands of people who have already enhanced their brain health and overcome their symptoms at Amen Clinics, speak to a specialist today at 888-288-9834. If all our specialists are busy helping others, you can also schedule a time to talk.



  1. This article discusses the problems from the toxins but I am NOT seeing any list of the sources .
    Aside from a generic reference to “certain types of mattresses”, there was no other list of the toxins & their sources .
    Where can we get a list of those ?

    Comment by Mary Newton — February 10, 2020 @ 3:33 AM

  2. Yes….when you mention “Breathing”…..this is how I got my toxins…!!!
    Starting with the spring to fall seasons the pesticides/herbicides/glyphosate is saturated in the air and you breathe them in…!!!
    ALSO I may add mold to the list that I have breathed in while remodeling.
    So far the worst that I have heard is the LYME bacteria in the air….!!! Yes U heard me…..I personally know the holistic clinic that performs water and air samples and have found the Lyme bacteria in the AIR…!!! I find this very disturbing.They also have found the Lyme bacteria in water but that took investigating and found in the past that the land owned years ago had an exotic animal farm..!!
    I have contacted Lyme doctors and Lyme organizations about Lyme being in the air to prove me wrong and I haven’t received on reply.
    If you didn’t know new technology called “Quantum Field Agriculture” uses no fertilizers,no herbicides or pesticides which means NO more round-up….!!! This world has lost 100 years of progress due to the suppression of technologies…!!!

    Comment by John — February 10, 2020 @ 4:43 AM

  3. Help

    Comment by Edward J Alger — February 10, 2020 @ 5:04 AM

  4. Is that really your comment after all that note? That’s all the take away you had? Well, breathing here was refereeing to speed and volume of air intakes and you being able to regulate these factors not the quality of the air nor the airborne bacteria’s and viruses.
    In general that’s the main issue for publishers and great information outside of the boxes that been drowned for public to live in. It’s hard to be really heard and taken in without any mental health patient taking stab at it.

    Comment by Dan — February 10, 2020 @ 5:57 AM

  5. Hello Edward, thank you for reaching out. We’d be happy to contact you directly to see how we can assist you with resources and information.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — February 10, 2020 @ 8:45 AM

  6. No fair teasing us – I read the whole article and you never told us about what mattress or what lotion. sigh
    Not helpful, just generated fear.

    Comment by Joanne — February 10, 2020 @ 8:52 AM

  7. Thank you, Mary Newman, Yes where is the List of Toxins????
    And, Joanne your statement is so TRUE!!!

    Comment by Molly — February 10, 2020 @ 10:43 AM

  8. I have to agree with Mary. Where is the list?
    And the Mattress, what kinds are harmful,
    I watched a ad featuring the Dyson hand held vacuum cleaner.
    You should vacuum them the mattress each time you make your bed.


    Comment by Jim Wencel — February 10, 2020 @ 12:17 PM

  9. Here are links to additional resources regarding toxins:
    Video: https://youtu.be/Sw__CF68Fis

    Comment by Amen Clinics — February 10, 2020 @ 12:51 PM

  10. Hello Joanne, here are some additional resources regarding toxins:

    Video: https://youtu.be/Sw__CF68Fis

    Comment by Amen Clinics — February 10, 2020 @ 12:52 PM

  11. Am interested in this to improve my marriage

    Comment by Tammy — February 11, 2020 @ 3:35 AM

  12. I have had Mental Problems all my life. I would like to know if what you are saying has affected me in any way!

    Comment by Bula Osbourne — February 12, 2020 @ 3:52 AM

  13. Thank you, for all this valuable information. I have been sharing your information on my Facebook. Of late there has been a lot of Posts on my News Feed of Others Desiring to be more understanding of Mental Illnesses. Growing up anyone having Mental Health issues were thought to be crazy and we were told to stay away from those people. Many Wrong thoughts were planted in our heads & hearts as Children. I myself was diagnosed with Acute Depression at the age of 19. I am 69 and Thank God, I understand why I was diagnosed. But there was No help from Doctor’s or Family. I am sure your Books Dr. Amen, will educate our seeking desired answers and reading all these helpful articles. It’s the Applying of your years of study that we need to take to heart and walk in Mental Heaking. Sincerely, CCF.

    Comment by Carole Christine Flynn — February 12, 2020 @ 2:15 PM

  14. Any water damaged material or really any material can form mold. If you suspect mold toxins are effecting your health The Great Plains Lab Mycotox profile can test for toxins in your urine.
    If you want to test an environment for mold exposure Mycometrics supplies tests that address that. If you want to learn more about Mold toxins and health effects visit Richie Shoemakers website. I hope this information is helpful to you.

    Comment by Bob Schnitzlein — March 12, 2020 @ 8:18 AM

  15. Breast implants(both kinds) and silicone devices are leaching toxins into hundreds of thousands of people. There are over 50 known chemicals(heavy metals included) that “gel bleed” over time in the body causing damage to many organs and bodily systems, and driving the autoimmune system crazy. I highly recommend all women who have these, to please seek out a reputable surgeon to remove “Explant” these toxic, ticking time bombs, with a full 100% capsulectomy. Just sharing and spreading awareness because it’s happening worldwide to millions! They need to be taken off the market!

    Comment by Tia — July 7, 2023 @ 10:39 AM

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