Toxic Food Chemicals and Their Effects on Health and Behavior
Excitotoxins are toxins that will excite the neurons in your brain, hence the word excitotoxicity. What most people do not realize is that these toxins are in the foods that are commonly eaten every day. Children on the autism spectrum and with ADD/ADHD are particularly sensitive to these chemicals because their detoxification systems are not as capable as others to handle them. It is also vital to protect their brains from any further harm.
The flavor enhancer, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), and aspartame, an artificial sweetener, are just two of the many toxic chemicals in the foods we eat. Both are known exitotoxins and are known to cause behavioral problems. Worse yet, these excitotoxins excite neurotransmitters, (the brain’s messengers), causing nerve cells to discharge on electrical impulse. The problem with these toxins is that they will excite brain cells to death. They literally die.
The part of the brain called the hypothalamus has no blood-brain barrier. It also has the highest number of glutamate receptors. This is especially important during puberty because the hypothalamus controls the endocrine system throughout the body. Through this system, the brain regulates growth, metabolism, and the onset of puberty. Due to the rise in hormonal activity during puberty, the effects of MSG are heightened, and can increase episodes of anger and rage.
BABY FOODS MAY CONTAIN THESE INGREDIENTS!
Infant formulas often contain high levels of free glutamate. Of special concern are soy-based formulas, and those that contain casein hydrosolates which come from cow’s milk. Due to their effects on the hypothalamus, the emotional center, and the amygdala, where our brain senses fear, we see behavioral problems, especially anger. Damage from MSG to the hypothalamus in a newborn causes an extreme deficiency of the immune system that can last their entire lifetime.
SUPPLEMENTS THAT BLOCK OR REDUCE EXCITOTOXICITY
Supplements that are known to block excitotoxicity are vitamin B12, ginkgo biloba, grape seed extract, and pycnogenol. Supplements that reduce excitotoxicity are alpha lipoic acid, CoQ10, acetyl L-carnitine, creatine, and all of the B vitamins.
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Also read, How the Foods We Eat Affect Our Brain.
More details are available in my book, Naturally Recovering Autism: The Complete Step-By-Step Resource Handbook for Parents.
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