What is Neurotoxicity?
The Nervous System
The nervous system is composed of the brain and all of the nerves and nerve cells in the body. The brain is connected to the nerves via the spinal cord. The nerves that affect muscles, organs, bone and other areas of the body arise from the spinal cord.
When you hit your toe on a step, the sensory nerves in the toe send a message via the nerve network to the brain. The brain interprets the impulses and sends a message back to the toe. You in return feel pain and utter “ouch!” All of this happens in a matter of microseconds.
In order for the brain to work and interpret the messages, it needs to be fed. The brain has a twenty percent increase in oxygen consumption over the rest of the body. It also needs glucose for energy. When anything disrupts the brain and its normal functioning, that also affects how the body responds to impulses.
The Effects of Neurotoxins
Neurotoxins are those substances that adversely affect the brain, nervous system and neurons (the nerve cells). These substances can come from different sources. Most often we think about chemical sources like heavy metals, pesticides, cleaning products, chemical waste products and environmental pollution. What you may not consider is that neurotoxins can come from other sources that are meant to help us: chemotherapy, drug therapies, radiation treatment, foods and cosmetics.
The effects of neurotoxins depend on the dosage and the physical attributes of the person. If you are only exposed once a week, it will take longer for the effects to take hold but they eventually will begin to show up when the levels of toxin in your body reach a critical point.
When nerve cells die, this interrupts the nerve impulse pathways in the body. Those affected may suffer from numbness in the limbs, alterations in personality traits such as developing obsessive/compulsive disorders, headaches, sexual dysfunction, memory loss, vision problems, delusions and mental delays.
Once you notice these changes in your body, consult a doctor. They can perform tests to see what damage has been done to your nervous system. In some cases, patients may recover once the offending neurotoxin is identified and eliminated. It could be something that you have encountered in your job, something in your home or even something you are ingesting.
In some cases, full recovery is not possible. Some toxins that affect the nervous system result in permanent changes. Removing the toxin prevents further damage but that is all that can be done.