Toxins are all around us, and while we already know how harmful they can be to the body, have you stopped to think about what they can do to the brain? Studies suggest neurotoxins impede brain development in kids, something that might also lead to ADHD, autism, or Parkinson’s later in life.   Keeping your brain free from toxin exposure could go a long way in boosting overall brain health, but if your thoughts are feeling a little sluggish, there might be other things—besides pollution—you should consider.
4 Causes of Brain Fog
If you’re having trouble concentrating, thinking clearly, or even relaxing your mind, your brain may have invasive forces trying to impede your health. Here are just 4 reasons your brain could be foggy.
The body releases cortisol during stress; small bursts can help us manage things during these times. The problem comes in when the body is in a constant stressed-out state.  If a pregnant woman were stressed from poverty, for example, cortisol could ‘“get through the placenta into the fetus, potentially influencing her baby’s brain and tampering with its circuitry.” After birth, the child’s cortisol could, then, continue to sabotage brain development.
2. Air Pollution
One study suggests traffic pollution could be responsible for lower memory test scores and slower cognitive development in kids.  But, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) aren’t only from traffic pollution; they’re also products of everything from burning coal to tobacco smoke, so avoiding them completely might be easier said than done. You can definitely take steps to limit your exposure though.
3. BPA Exposure
BPA is such a nasty toxin that many manufacturers have started making BPA-free products; however, some studies say its substitute bisphenol-S, or BPS, could be just as bad for your brain health, suggesting BPA/BPS exposure could be linked to altered brain growth and hyperactivity.  And always be careful when buying food; there are still a lot of canned goods out there that still use BPA in the linings of cans. 
A new study even suggests type 2 diabetes “is associated with worse performance on cognitive tests measuring abilities involved in the control of emotions, behaviors and thought.”  Because doctors encourage self-management (diet, blood sugar, medication) and many patients already burn out when it comes to managing the disease, this loss of executive function is worrisome, to say the least.
Other Ways to Improve Brain Function
So if you find yourself feeling foggy, there are things you can do. First things first: get outdoors. One study even found being outside was linked to positive cognitive development in kids.  That sounds like a great idea for all ages! Another easy thing is taking probiotics. There’s lots of research that suggests our gut health is directly connected to our mental health.  Exercise is also a great way to rev up the creative and analytical thinking skills.
What would you do when your brain gets a little foggy? Tell us about it in the comments.
- National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. Early Exposure to Toxic Substances Damages Brain Architecture: Working Paper No. 4. National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.
- Weiss, B. & and Landrigan, P. J. The developing brain and the environment: an introduction. Environmental Health Perspectives. 108 (Supplement 3).
- National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. Excessive Stress Disrupts the Architecture of the Developing Brain: Working Paper 3. Updated Edition. National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.
- Sunyer, J. et al. Association between Traffic-Related Air Pollution in Schools and Cognitive Development in Primary School Children: A Prospective Cohort Study. PLOS Medicine.
- Kinch, C. D. et al. Low-dose exposure to bisphenol A and replacement bisphenol S induces precocious hypothalamic neurogenesis in embryonic zebrafish. PNAS.
- Environmental Working Group. BPA in Canned Food. Environmental Working Group.
- Vincent, C. & Hall, P. A. Executive Function in Adults With Type 2 Diabetes: A Meta-Analytic Review. Psychosomatic Medicine.
- Dadvand, P. et al. Green spaces and cognitive development in primary schoolchildren. PNAS.
- Reardon, S. Gut-brain link grabs neuroscientists. Nature. 515 (7526).
Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.