It turns out that heavy, pesticides, solvents, PCBs, vinyl chloride, and other chemicals and cause or trigger mood disorder symptoms*. How does this happen?
According to Dr. Janelle Sinclair, 4 different mechanisms cause depression.
- Toxins, particularly solvents, heavy metals, and pesticides disrupt neurons' (brain cells') normal abilities to communicate with each other through electrical signals.
- Both mercury and lead are so toxic to the brain that they damage the actual structure of the brain.
- Toxins affect the levels of neurotransmitters available. The electrical signals lead to the creation of neurotransmitters, like serotonin, that travel from neuron to neuron. Too much or too little of these neurotransmitters can affect our mood. An example, provided by Dr. Sinclair is manganese. Manganese reduces serotonin levels. If your serotonin levels are too low, you feel depressed.
- Mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic create free radical damage in the body. In the brain, this can lead to inflammation, and neuronal death.
*Collaborative on Health and the Environment. (2008, November). Mental Health and Environmental Exposures from Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative. Retrieved January 30, 2014, from http://www.healthandenvironment.org/?module=uploads&func=download&fileId=620