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. In part, that’s because they rarely look at the organ they treat—the brain.

Toxins are one of the major causes of psychiatric issues, but traditional psychiatrists almost completely ignore them. In part, that’s because they rarely look at the organ they treat—the brain. Click To Tweet

The brain-imaging work with SPECT at Amen Clinics reveals that toxic brain patterns are common in people with addictions to alcohol or drugs. Surprisingly, these same patterns can also be seen in people who aren’t substance abusers. Why do their brains look so bad?

In this blog, you’ll discover how everyday toxins harm the brain and contribute to mental health disorders. You’ll also learn how to detox your brain to restore your health and mental wellness.


Based on over 250,000 brain scans at Amen Clinics, it has become clear that environmental toxins—such as toxic mold, inhalants, and pollution—are often to blame for unhealthy brain function.

Environmental toxins impact nearly every aspect of your body and can damage the brain, leading to a variety of physical and mental health symptoms.

From a psychiatric standpoint, exposure to toxins can increase the risk of:

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

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.


  1. Reduce cerebral blood flow: Blood flow is critical for optimal brain function. Anything that restricts blood flow harms the brain and can negatively impact mental wellness.

On SPECT scans, decreased blood flow has been associated with clinical depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADD/ADHD, and more. Research shows that low blood flow is the #1 brain-imaging predictor that a person will develop Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. Disrupt the endocrine system: Toxins interfere with hormone production, which can cause serious imbalances. Having low or high levels of hormones—such as thyroid, estrogen, testosterone, or cortisol—can wreak havoc on your brain and body.

For example, when hormones are out of whack, it raises the risk of mental health symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, mood swings, brain fog, and panic attacks.

  1. Impair the immune system: Your body’s immune system performs two major functions.
  • Defense: It helps defend against external invaders (such as viruses and bacteria) and internal troublemakers (such as cancer cells).
  • Tolerance: It also regulates your tolerance level to environmental triggers, including potential allergens (such as pollen, beestings, and peanuts).

When toxins impair immune system function, it increases your risk of physical conditions, such as autoimmune disorders and cancer. At the same time, it raises the likelihood of developing as mental health issues like anxiety disorders, depression, and even psychosis.

  1. Disrupt the gut microbiome: Poor gastrointestinal health can lead to a condition called leaky gut. This occurs when the gut lining becomes permeable, allowing toxins to enter the bloodstream.

Leaky gut has been associated with a wide range of cognitive issues and mental health problems, such as mood and anxiety disorders, ADD/ADHD, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. Increase the risk of diabesity: Having high blood sugar levels and/or being obese or overweight is known as diabesity. As toxic load rises, so does the risk for this common combination of conditions.

Toxins are also called diabesogens and obesogens because they contribute to both diabetes and obesity. Having one or both of these medical conditions takes a major toll on brain function and mental health.

Obesity is harmful to brain and psychological health and has been associated with increased risk of depression, panic disorder, agoraphobia (fear of going out), bipolar disorder, and substance use disorders.

High blood sugar levels have been linked to shrinkage of the hippocampus, a brain region involved in mood, memory, and learning. Rates of depression and anxiety are two to three times higher in individuals who have Type 2 diabetes compared to the general population. Diabetes is also associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. Damage DNA: This can accelerate brain aging and lead to problems with mood, anxiety, irritability, temper, and irrational behavior, as well as memory.

Research shows that many environmental toxins, including herbicides and sodium benzoate, may damage DNA. A 2023 study found that sucralose-6-acetate, a chemical found in sucralose, may also harm DNA.

  1. Impair enzyme systems: This disrupts many biological processes, including the ability to produce energy and fight free radicals.
  2. Harm detoxification organs: Your body’s detoxification system includes your liver, gut, kidneys, and skin. These organs need to be healthy to do their job.

For example, your liver filters blood to identify and hold toxins. Its enzyme systems break down the toxins, and the liver releases bile to flush them out. Your liver has finite toxin-processing capacity, which means it is highly vulnerable to toxic overload.

Your kidneys filter your blood an astounding 60 times per day. However, kidney function decreases with age by 50 percent from age 20 to 85, so they need your support!

Excessive exposure to toxins can impact the digestive tract, liver, kidneys, and brain. This damage reduces the body’s detoxification system’s ability to do its job, creating an even greater buildup of toxins.

  1. Alter gene expression: In some cases, this may turn on harmful gene variants and/or turn off beneficial ones.
  2. Damage cell membranes: This can also disrupt communication between brain cells.


Reducing or eliminating your exposure to the toxins is the first step to healing your brain and regaining control of your life. To perform a brain detox, following these steps:

  • Clear out any toxin-laden household cleaning products.
  • Toss out personal care products that contain toxins.
  • Stop buying foods that filled with artificial chemicals.
  • Limit your intake of alcohol.
  • Avoid marijuana and other drugs.

By decreasing your exposure to toxins, you can help restore your brain function and may reduce mental health symptoms.

Anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues related to toxic exposure can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.


  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

  16. Great blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers? I'm planning to start my own site soon but I'm a little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I'm totally confused .. Any tips? Cheers!

    Comment by vorbelutr ioperbir — November 28, 2023 @ 1:05 AM

  17. Great blog! thank you for this wonderful information.

    Comment by Doug Morris — February 2, 2024 @ 2:56 PM

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