Toxic Brain: Symptoms, Causes & Natural Solutions

Toxic Brain: Symptoms, Causes & Natural Solutions

Toxic Brain: Symptoms, Causes & Natural Solutions

Do you ever feel like you’re losing your mind?

You walk into a room only to instantly forget why you went in there.

You get easily irritated over small things (or maybe even nothing!).

Your motivation and drive for work has gone kaput.

You remember lyrics from your favorite high school songs but not what you had for lunch yesterday.

You swear you’re not repeating yourself, but more and more often, your friends and family tell you things that essentially equate to “You told me that already.”

You see your parents getting older, their memory starts lapsing, and you’re filled with anxiety and fear that that’s your fate, too.

The good news is… you’re (probably) not going crazy.

The bad news is… you likely have low-grade “toxic brain.”

Low-grade toxic brain is a condition where your brain’s health is negatively affected by exposure to various harmful factors over time. These factors can include stress, trauma, toxins, infections, and pollutants(1, 2, 3)

When your brain is exposed to these things regularly, it can lead to symptoms like forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, and fatigue(4).

What Is Low-Grade Toxic Brain?

One way to understand low-grade toxic brain is to examine the concepts of “leaky brain” and “leaky gut.” 

You see, your gut has a lining that acts as a barrier, preventing harmful substances from entering your bloodstream. When this lining is damaged, it can become “leaky,” allowing toxins and inflammatory compounds to pass through(5)

This can also happen in your brain, leading to a “leaky brain”(5).

Your gut and brain are connected by something called the gut-brain axis. It’s a direct communication highway, which means that not only can information be passed, but so can the toxins that break free from the digestive system due to leaky gut.

Additionally, many important brain chemicals, like serotonin, dopamine, and GABA, are actually made in your gut. When your gut is unhealthy, it can affect the production of these chemicals, which can then impact your brain function and mood(6).

This is why functional medicine is so crucial for those who experience anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. While most practitioners focus on what’s going on inside the brain, forward-thinking clinicians are now simultaneously addressing gut health when treating mental health issues.

What Causes Low-Grade Toxic Brain?

Many aspects of modern life can contribute to low-grade toxic brain. 

Diet & Nutrient Deficiencies

One major factor of toxic brain is diet. Consuming a lot of processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats can lead to inflammation in your gut and brain(7). This inflammation can damage those protective barriers, making your digestive tracts and your brain more susceptible to toxins and other harmful substances(8).

Even if you don’t eat a lot of processed foods, you can still experience problems with a toxic brain due to nutrient deficiencies

This often results from how our foods are harvested. With commercial farming practices, key nutrients are zapped from the soil, rendering those delightful organic plants you eat not nearly as nutrient-dense as they used to be.

Additionally, herbicides and pesticides have been so widely used for so long that they’ve seeped into the soil via runoff and reached our water tables deep underground. 

It’s incredibly difficult to be completely glyphosate-free these days, which means we still need daily detox protocols (and some deeper protocols a few times a year) to help the body process and protect against the chemicals causing nutrient deficiencies in the body.

Environmental Toxins

Exposure to environmental toxins is also a growing concern. 

Things like heavy metals, pesticides, and chemicals in everyday products can accumulate in your body and brain, leading to oxidative stress and inflammation(9). Even the air we breathe can contain pollutants that harm brain health.


Infections can also contribute to low-grade toxic brain. Chronic infections from viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi can lead to systemic inflammation, which can negatively impact brain function. 

These infections can also disrupt the gut-brain axis, further contributing to cognitive issues and mood disturbances.

Stress & Trauma

Chronic stress is another common issue in modern life. When you’re constantly stressed, your body releases high levels of stress hormones like cortisol. Over time, this can damage your brain’s memory center (the hippocampus) and increase your risk of mood disorders like anxiety and depression(10).

Trauma, whether physical or emotional, can also have lasting effects on brain health. Some research suggests 70% of American adults have experienced some type of traumatic event in their lives. Traumatic experiences can alter brain structure and function, leading to a heightened stress response, difficulty regulating emotions, and an increased risk of mental health disorders(11).

Supporting Brain Health Naturally

While the idea of low-grade toxic brain may seem overwhelming, there are many natural ways to support your brain health. 

One key approach is to focus on a nutrient-dense, whole-food diet. Eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and clean proteins can provide your brain with the nourishment it needs to function optimally(12).

Certain foods are excellent for boosting your brain power, including dark, leafy greens, nuts, avocados, salmon and other oily fish, eggs, and berries. These foods are loaded with healthy fats and antioxidants that help your brain keep operating in tip-top shape. 

Even if the produce you buy is organic, you should definitely give it a good wash before consuming it. There are three simple ways to wash fruits and veggies to effectively remove contaminants.

Also, always remove your food from plastic containers as soon as possible—this will help reduce the risk of toxins from plastics entering your body.

Certain supplements can also help address the root causes of low-grade toxic brain, for example:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish oil): These healthy fats are essential for brain health and can help reduce inflammation.
  • Probiotics: These beneficial bacteria support gut health, which in turn supports brain health via the gut-brain axis. CT Biotic is the perfect blend for brain and gut. 
  • B vitamins: B vitamins are crucial for brain function and help regulate neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine(13).
  • Antioxidants (like vitamins C and E): These nutrients help protect your brain from oxidative stress caused by toxins and pollutants(14).
  • Adaptogenic herbs (like ashwagandha and Rhodiola): These herbs help your body adapt to stress and support healthy brain function(15).

In addition to nutrition, lifestyle practices like regular exercise, stress management techniques (e.g., meditation, deep breathing), and getting enough deep restful sleep are all important for maintaining a healthy brain.

When it comes to dealing with trauma, seeking therapy is a crucial step in supporting your brain health. Various therapeutic techniques, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Somatic Experiencing, and Exposure Therapy, can help you process and heal from traumatic experiences, ultimately retraining your brain to cope with stress more effectively(16)

Trauma and stress can be held in the body’s tissues, not just in the mind. Incorporating gentle, mindful movement practices like yoga, tai chi, qigong, and block therapy into your healing journey can help release stored tension and promote a sense of calm and groundedness.

It’s important to keep your brain active and challenged to retrain it and avoid memory-related diseases and cognitive decline. 

Learning a new skill, such as playing a musical instrument, speaking a foreign language, or taking up a complex hobby like chess or photography, can help stimulate your brain and create new neural connections. 

Think of it like exercise for your brain – just as your muscles need regular use to stay strong, your brain needs ongoing stimulation to maintain its sharpness.

How To Permanently Resolve Your Low-Grade Toxic Brain

While low-grade toxic brain is a common issue in modern life, caused by everyday exposures to stress, trauma, toxins, infections, and pollutants, there are steps you can take to permanently resolve it. 

It all starts in your gut. You first need to “reset” your gut microbiome, then you can detox the body, and then you can optimize brain function—in that order!

The ideal first step is to complete a microbiome test

This simple test can provide valuable insights into the levels of environmental toxins, infections, parasites, and other root causes of low-grade toxic brain present in your gut. 

Armed with this information, we can create a customized protocol to resolve your toxic brain, helping you start feeling better, thinking clearer, and being yourself again.

If you try to skip to the end—without knowing what’s going on inside your unique microbiome environment—chances are high you’ll be wasting tons of time, money, and effort… not to mention not seeing results!

Gut tests and personally tailored protocols are our specialty. To get started, go here to see all the different ways we can help you.

Remember, a healthy brain is the foundation for a vibrant, fulfilling life.

Take Good Care,



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