Toxic chemicals are bad for your brain. Exposure to a common industrial solvent, trichloroethylene, can lead to Parkinson’s disease, and having lead in your body can age your brain by as much as five years. Exposure to toxic chemicals has been linked not just to neurological disorders but to cancer, chronic fatigue, allergies, autoimmune diseases, asthma, liver and kidney damage.
It’s impossible to totally avoid the thousands of chemicals we’re exposed to every day. In fact, our houses, hobbies and heating systems are sometimes the biggest culprits. But these supplements can shield you from their effects.
• Green tea boosts levels of key detoxification enzymes, which belong to the glutathione family, by as much as 80%. These enzymes are crucial to the body’s defense against cancer-causing DNA damage.
• Curcumin (turmeric) inhibits cancer-causing chemicals like benzopyrene (found in charcoal-broiled meat) and can neutralize toxic compounds from cigarette smoke. It makes carcinogens less active and speeds up their detoxification.
• Selenium counteracts heavy metals like lead, mercury, aluminum and cadmium. Selenium is incorporated at the four active sites of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase. This enzyme plays a critical role in protecting against free radical and oxidative damage.
• Calcium helps block the absorption of lead. Calcium and lead are absorbed at the same site in the intestine, and this site prefers calcium. So if you get enough calcium, any lead you ingest will simply be excreted.
• Vitamin E protects cell membranes from lead, mercury, and other heavy metals; toxic chemicals like benzene, carbon tetrachloride, and other cleaning solvents; drugs, radiation, and the body’s own production of free radicals.
• Vitamin C increases the body’s production of glutathione. In one study, red blood cell levels of glutathione rose nearly 50% with 500 mg per day of vitamin C.
• DHA, a component of fish oil, protects brain cells from a chemical neurotoxin that increases your risk for Parkinson’s disease. Research suggests that protective blood levels of DHA can be reached by getting 180 mg a day from fish oil.
The Anti-Aging Bottom Line: It just makes common sense to minimize your exposure to toxins, but also protect yourself with some of the toxin-neutralizing supplements listed above. Other preventative measures include drinking 6-8 glasses of pure water a day and loading up on garlic, onions, cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens, especially enzyme-rich raw veggies.