Your Brain Breathes Too

Pollution affects our brains!
Glad some neuroscientists are finally taking this more seriously!

Knowing Neurons

I live in Los Angeles and it’s unfortunate, but true, that the brown cloud of smog hanging over our city is as much an icon of LA as the Hollywood hills.  My morning bike commute is spent sucking on the tailpipes of my fellow Angelenos, and it turns out this doesn’t just make me cranky.  A recent article published in Neurotoxicology suggests that those of us who live in urban environments are much more likely to experience cognitive decline with age.  The culprit?  Air pollution.

Your Brain Breathes Too by Knowing Neurons

While air pollution is generally thought of as a modern problem, humans have evolved to handle polluted air from sources such as forest fires and volcanic eruptions.  Coughing removes large particles from the lung, while macrophages, a type of immune cell, are responsible for engulfing and degrading small particles.  However, some particles are so small that they can penetrate the lung wall, and gaseous…

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15 responses to “Your Brain Breathes Too

  1. Thanks for the re-blog!

    • Thanks for sharing the info!
      I look forward to exploring other articles on the blog too. I’m very interested in learning about the brain because mine has been impacted so much by what other people put into the air!
      I would love to see more research on how pollutants affect our brains, because some of us get to experience immediate (and almost immediate or only slightly delayed) effects, possibly in addition to the long term ones that other people may end up with.
      I have seen research that suggests that exposure to some wireless technology might make the BBB more permeable too, but I suspect certain petrochemicals are really good at getting through on their own.

  2. Thankyou Kate for sharing this very important information : )
    This is a very serious situation that sadly seems to be intentionally ignored.
    There is currently an ‘exodus’ from Beijing (China) as such a huge amount of the population is suffering and perishing because of the pollution!
    They like to say ‘it’s all in our heads’ as if MCS and/or EI are ‘psycological illnesses’, collective fobia or imaginations to mislead us but they are being ‘unveiled’ inevitably by the increasing evidence of the contrary.

    I invite you all to read this article by Dr. Pamela Costello MD Phd, a short, comprehensive yet reavealing insight into ‘Neurotoxicity and reversable pain syndromes’ written by a neuro-surgeon. Sorry I *have to write it out cause I can’t figure out how to copy the link here : (

    Big reiki hug to you all : )

  3. I think this is very important information that we should all be aware of.
    I know how confused and frightened I was when I developed severe/disabling MCS and didn’t understand what was happening to me, not only did others think I was going ‘crazy’ and that it was ‘all in my head’ (I was told this by the intern doctors at the hospital!) but I even questioned this myself! This shouldn’t be happening, it’s just so very damaging to someone who is suffering in this way : (

    It’s vital for someone who is suffering from these Environmental Illnesses to understand WHAT IS CAUSING THEIR SYMPTOMS and how to AVOID FURTHER EXPOSURE TO TOXINS thereby controlling symptoms and avoiding further damage to our Central Nervous System.

    We need help and support to heal not to be ignored or margined and made out to be ‘crazy’!

    Please don’t let anyone lead you to believe ‘it’s all in your head’! Actually what’s in your head is probably loads of toxins that are causing ‘physical’ neurological damage. The psycological aspect (anxiety, depression, panick attacks etc.) is a result of the lack of understanding and proper treatment and support for MCS sufferers. MCS has a ‘physical’ cause that are ‘neurotoxins’, it’s not a psycological disorder or ‘all in our heads’!

    This is another ‘short’ but very revealing and comprehensive article by Dr. Costello that I encourage you all to read. We need more MD’s and specialists
    that understand the underlying causes of our illnesses and can offer ‘effective treatment’ and advice!

    There is ‘hope of recovery’ and an effective treatment for EI/MCS that involves not only ‘avoidance of further exposure’ but most importantly ‘removal of the toxic burden’ that is causing the environmental illness or EI.
    This needs to be acknowledged and treatment offered on the National Health Systems and covered by Health Insurance!

    • I have had a few blog posts in the works about neurotoxicity and how the same symptoms are recognized in different circumstances. I just need my brain to work better to be able to pull them together in ways that are easier to understand.

  4. I can really relate to that!
    I’m still ok with comprehension (thank God) but recall and communicating I have real problems with too : (
    I hope to be able to remove the rest of my amalgams to do a safe ‘chelation protocol’ to get the heavy metals out of my neurons and other cells so my brain can recuperate but I just can’t afford it : (
    This summer is pretty toxic too and I can’t avoid all this toxic tresspassing even shut away indoors. My brain seems to have gone on strike : (

    Take good care, God bless!

    • Summer VOCs have been bad here too, my brain functions have taken a beating… Hope things improve for all of us soon!

  5. While I’ve been researching about a safe chelation protocol to ‘remove’ the mercury and other toxic metals from my brain and body I came across some very interesting information on glutation. I remember you said you were researching about it so I’ve copied the page with the info here. It says that it is not recommended as a ‘chelator’ because as it has only one thiol group this will only pick up the heavy metals and move them around (mobilize them) which may cause more harm than good. True chelators have two or more dithiol groups for binding and moving the heavy metals out (excreting them). Hope this makes sense to you, it’s explained comprehensively, easy reading and thoroughly researched information. Very good and important advice too! : )

    It’s under ‘what is oral chelation?’ – true chelators are identified by the presence of two or more dithiol groups-…..

    Hope you find this interesting : )

    • I’ve never heard of glutathione as a chelator before… will look into the article when I am able. Thank you for sharing it.

  6. Oops! Sorry I made a mistake copying that link here it is corrected:

    Hope this works now! : ) I keep forgetting to double or triple check everything! : (

    • Thanks Therese…
      Again, I’ve never heard anyone claim glutathione is a chelator, simply that it is something that is adversely affected in many of us so we need help to make enough of it in our bodies (that’s a really simplistic and unscientific explanation, but I don’t have the energy to search for a good explanation right now).
      Dr Grace Ziem and other environmental medicine doctors prescribe nebulized glutathione for some people with chemical injuries, as it is very helpful , but it’s been years since I read the scientific reasons about why and how…

  7. I’m trying to study and assimilate as much as possible about how we develop MCS/EI. Andrew Cutler’s book on Amalgam Illness is very comprehensive and explains how heavy metals (toxic metals) and other Xenobiotics interfere with our ‘natural detoxification pathways’ so that we are not able to detox adequately, this is what happens in MCS, the ‘toxic body burden’ is just building up to the point where it’s overflowing and causing toxic injury, the toxins just keep getting ‘moved around’ in our bodies until the body manages to find somewhere safe to ‘store or isolate’ these harmfull toxins as it is unable to ‘excrete them’.

    The liver (a main organ of detoxification) is essential in metabolism and detoxification. Where there exists ‘deranged liver metabolism’, usually toxic induced, the necessary enzymes for Phase 1 & 2 metabolism are mostly deficient as the pathways may be blocked or their funcion compromised.

    These bits of info are from ‘Amalgam Illness’ by Andrew Cutler;

    ‘Glutathione conjunction’ occures in Phase 2 liver metabolism and is necessary to metabolize and detox Xenobiotics, drugs and other substances of dietary or Endogenous origin.

    People with slow phase 1 metabolism will have problems with colorings (natural and artificial) and spices in foods, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and will take a while to clear out chemicals they are exposed to.

    Fast phase 1 metabolizers will make certain compounds MORE toxic and if they are also slow phase 2 metabolizers they will also have MCS.

    Phase 2 metabolism has many parallel paths. One of them is ‘glutation conjunction’, which removes hydrocarbons from the body as well as heavy metals. It also reflects the amount of glutathione available in the cells as an antioxidant. When glutathione conjunction is slow it will slow the liver’s excretion of hydrocarbons and heavy metals in the bile.

    This is best corrected with N-acetylcysteine (NAC), precursor to glutathione, and much more effective in elevating liver glutathione than either cysteine or glutathione itself.

    Supplementary glutathione itself is of very little value since your gut should digest it. If you are not digesting efficiently you will soon need to take other things to make your gut digest it because ‘letting undigested things like glutathione into your bloodstream will soon cause major allergy problems’.(?)

    If metabolic problems become severe chemical sensitivity sets in.

    Xenobiotics (heavy metals, synthetic chemical compounds, etc.) have their effect by taking up the active site (binding sites) of certain enzymes where some other metal or mineral is supposed to be sitting, compromising their functioning and rendering them useless for necessary metabolism. Thus these enzymes stop detoxifying pollutants and naturally occuring toxins and the victim becomes more sensitive to air quality, foods and chemicals.

    I suppose that glutation is supplemented to aid the body’s natural detox pathway through the liver but a comprehensive liver detox test should be carried out to tell you whether you have high or low cysteine and glutathione, which supplements to specifically take and whether you are a fast or slow phase 1 metabolizer, etc. before trying anything that is known to ’cause major allergy problems’ (?)

    Hope this helps to understand when and why low glutathione may be a problem in MCS and ‘why or when supplementing glutathione could be contra-productive’ at least by Dr. Andrew Cutler’s books and experience.

    I will try to find out why taking glutathione may cause ‘major allergy problems’ (?) as this seems contrary to it’s functions. Could be that at high blood levels it may be quite toxic (?) like taking vit B12 at high doseage for ‘methylation pathways’ (?)

    • Thanks so much for going to all this trouble!
      I wish my brain was adjustable enough to process new info now (or even read complex stuff)- it has been stuck on a variation of “stunned” for most of the spring and summer…
      The dental extraction really helped for a while, but pesticides and other summer VOCs have been a big problem. Now there is 2-3 weeks of painting happening on the other buildings here, and although they chose something low VOC, that does not mean non-toxic and without fungicides, mildewcides and other cides etc… things my brain doesn’t function as intended with…

  8. Air Pollution and Children: Neural and Tight Junction Antibodies and Combustion Metals, the Role of Barrier Breakdown and Brain Immunity in Neurodegeneration.


    Millions of children are exposed to concentrations of air pollutants, including fine particulate matter (PM2.5), above safety standards. Mexico City Metropolitan Area (MCMA) megacity children show an early brain imbalance in oxidative stress, inflammation, innate and adaptive immune response-associated genes, and blood-brain barrier breakdown.

    . Air pollution exposure damages epithelial and endothelial barriers and is a robust trigger of tight junction and neural antibodies. Cryptic ‘self’ tight junction antigens can trigger an autoimmune response potentially contributing to the neuroinflammatory and Alzheimer and Parkinson’s pathology hallmarks present in megacity children.

    The major factor determining the impact of neural antibodies is the integrity of the blood-brain barrier.

    Defining the air pollution linkage of the brain/immune system interactions and damage to physical and immunological barriers with short and long term neural detrimental effects to children’s brains ought to be of pressing importance for public health.

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