Last Updated on May 4, 2023 by
Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD
Last Updated on May 4, 2023 by
Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD
The word “neurotoxicity” is the condition in which there is any damage to the brain or nervous system itself due to toxins like those listed above.2 Psychiatric symptoms caused by neurotoxin exposures are often overlooked, including anxiety and numerous others.7 Neurotoxicity disrupts the body’s network of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters make up the vast, complicated, chemical messaging system within the body. For some people, it helps to think of them much like an email—when you send an email from your computer to a coworker’s computer to ask them to complete a task, the email travels via the network to its recipient. Cells communicate in a comparable way, sending vital information via chemical messengers to one another through the nervous system.
When these messages are corrupted or nerve tissue is unable to transmit them due to the damage caused by neurotoxins, brain activity is severely disrupted. In addition, these disruptions can affect other body systems via the peripheral nervous system. The result can include psychiatric issues such as anxiety and depression. In turn, patients may turn to other neurotoxic substances for relief, including prescription pharmaceuticals and illegal drugs that can both compound neurotoxicity and lead to substance dependency. Neurotoxin removal assists in the clearing of these toxins.
So, can you recover from neurotoxicity? Yes and no. People developed a basic understanding of neurotoxicity as early as 18503. Since then, the scientific community has stepped up to create a way to reverse the effects and alleviate the problems associated with neurotoxicity including neurotoxin removal methods. However, sometimes permanent damage has occurred before steps are taken to reverse neurotoxicity. The likelihood of severe damage depends on several factors, including the neurotoxin involved, time of exposure, and strength of exposure. In addition, the effects of a neurotoxin depend on the unique individual exposed — some people carry a genetic sensitivity to neurotoxins in much the same way some people are allergic to peanuts.
Abstinence is a key first step to reversing the effects of neurotoxicity, alleviating your symptoms, and allowing your brain to begin healing naturally. Another step involves assisting neurotoxin removal where which medical professionals apply certain therapies to increase the rate of the removal of neurotoxins from the body. In the end, the answer to “Can you recover from neurotoxicity?” is a bit different for everyone depending on the ultimate recovery goal.
Neurotoxin release involves gradual neurotoxin removal from the subject. First, if the individual is currently taking neurotoxic medications or other neurotoxic substances, a physician will supervise their discontinued use. Next, lab testing is necessary, because the medical professionals conducting the process must know which neurotoxins are involved, the length of exposure, and your current health level.
This is for the professional’s edification and your own safety. While neurotoxin-release holistic detox therapies are not harmful on their face, each person is different and has their own unique sensitivities and health issues. For this reason, a comprehensive medical evaluation and lab testing is required beforehand to build a clear picture of each patient.
After testing is complete and you are deemed a good fit for holistic detox, the process can begin.
Depending on your needs, you can expect some or all of the following elements as a part of your holistic detox program:
Physical activity is a healthy practice regardless of your situation, but it becomes even more important in a holistic detox environment. On a cellular level, the release of neurotoxins can occur concurrently with increased physical activity because the lungs and kidneys can perform their work more efficiently. To help the body with cleansing toxins from the body, on an average day with the average person’s metabolism, increasing the heart rate is recommended.
There are many forms of exercise that can accommodate various levels of fitness, especially by taking a gradual approach. Qi Gong, for example, can even be done by both the young and old, as it allows for slow and gentle movements. But one can still generate sweat, and improve circulation and respiration. And, even though the movements are benign in nature, Qi Gong and other forms of exercise can significantly reduce anxiety and depression as demonstrated in clinical studies.23,24
Like exercise, adequate water consumption is a necessity for any human being. In the use of a sauna, however, water is crucial to help the kidneys process toxins4 and encourage their replacement with naturally occurring nutrients. We provide clients at the center with water from a filtration system that filters out toxins and replenishes natural minerals.
A large study published in the World Journal of Psychiatry found that 2 glasses of water a day vs. 5 glasses per day doubled the rate of depression in over 3000 participants in the study. A similar but less significant risk for anxiety was also noted.16
During sauna detoxification, water loss must be replenished adequately to compensate for what is sweated out, so hydration becomes a key component in the use of a sauna. Read more about the use of sauna in neurotoxin release, below.
When used in conjunction with increased exercise and water intake, the process of sweating through the skin can be helpful in neurotoxin removal. Multiple studies have been done on police officers who had work-related drug and toxicant exposures. After 4-6 weeks of regular daily sauna plus oral and IV detoxification supplements, sick days decreased by 90%, sleep time increased by 2 hours on average, and neurotoxicity levels decreased by 2/3.13 A similar study published in the Journal of Toxicology in Industrial Health14 showed symptoms after work-related methamphetamine drug lab exposures decreased to near zero (see chart in the citations below15) after sauna detoxification was completed. Toxic accumulations are typically fat-soluble, for example, heavy metals. We provide the client with chelators and supplements that convert fat-soluble toxins to water-soluble so they can be easily flushed out through sweat and the normal elimination channels. Another benefit of sauna cleansing is that sweating out the toxins bypasses the kidneys and liver, taking the burden off these organs and preventing them from becoming overwhelmed.
Glutathione5 is a very powerful antioxidant essential to the body. Not only does it help the body eliminate neurotoxins, but it can also protect against radiation poisoning and toxicity. To avoid the use of needles, we nebulize (or vaporize) glutathione treatments, allowing the antioxidants to travel directly into the bloodstream without injections.17
N-acetylcysteine is the precursor for natural glutathione production and has received much attention in the medical community because of its importance in the functioning central nervous system as a powerful antioxidant. Studies have found it beneficial to increase glutathione levels, as a novel treatment of various neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders18,19
Developed in ancient China to alleviate the symptoms of many medical ailments, acupuncture is still used around the world today. At ATMC, we have adopted this method in our practice to help our patients recover from neurotoxin exposure. Acupuncture deals with a system of 14 meridians, or pathways, in the body. When these pathways are blocked or congested, it is essential to clear the obstructions to avoid or heal disease or injuries. This careful use of thin, heated needles has been shown to improve nerve signaling. Clinical studies have shown acupuncture increases the number of some central nervous system hormones and neurotransmitters including endorphins and serotonin, with beneficial results for a range of psychiatric disorders.6.10
What some people might view as a treat, we view as a healing practice. While massage on its own may help with detoxification, it fills an important role in our overall program to remove toxins from the body by helping improve circulation. Massage may also help normalize oxygen levels and improve colon, kidney, and liver health, allowing these organs to perform their job of naturally detoxing the body. A relaxed body with relaxed muscles and a calm mind can only help speed up the process. Clinical studies demonstrate that 2 weekly sessions of massage over 4-weeks produced significant improvements in lessening anxiety and depression, as well as increasing positive well-being, self-control, vitality, and general health.11
Unfortunately, many of the chemically-processed foods we put in our bodies increase neurotoxicity. Adding to the importance of clean foods and adequate nutrition, the work of Spencer & Palmer has found that undernutrition in some cases is a prerequisite for neurotoxicity to surface.12 A nutrient-rich diet is key to improving the overall health of the mind and body, freeing us from the burden of neurotoxins. With that in mind, every meal eaten by neurotoxin-detox patients, as well as the general population should be nutritious and toxin-free.
So much information is available on nutrition and its roles in mental health that a short piece like this cannot begin to cover all the points. But for example, vitamin D has been shown in studies to have a positive influence on mental health symptoms such as behavior problems, violence, anxiety, depression, aggression, and many others. In adults, similar results have also been demonstrated.20,21
Lakhan and Vieira’s research indicate other examples of nutritional therapeutic approaches, including Schizophrenia, which is associated with Omega-3 and magnesium deficiencies. Bipolar disorder is associated with vitamin B and Omega-3 deficiency. These and many other nutritional approaches have been found beneficial in symptom treatment, especially where medication is not desired, for various reasons.22
Our clients’ success stories demonstrate the freedom that can occur once you are free from the damage of neurotoxins. In turn, these success stories fuel us to work even harder for each of our patients.
“When first starting neurotoxin removal, time appeared to go by very slowly, I felt very antsy, and I was in and out all the time! But when I was in I was sweating buckets, and enjoyed feeling that. I also would exercise when I was in there by bicycling my feet around in air that burned from the heat in the top of the sauna. Soon I discovered that my mind had more clarity, my soul felt a lot more peace and serenity, and in the end overall calmness. I noticed that the skin on my face had not as many wrinkles, and my fingernails had been growing more rapidly. I have so much appreciation for all of the staff and the extraordinary support they provide.” – Anonymous
“Going through this program was a joy and I loved it. I actually could feel myself becoming cleaner, mentally and physically. I feel more aware mentally and I have much more energy. I really love how this process made all of my skin as soft as the bottom of a baby. I would recommend to everyone that they try this detox program at least once. I believe that you only can benefit from this; it is a win-win situation. I also feel deeply grateful for my wife who researched and suggested this program for me. Nowhere in my wildest imagination could there be any other program that could’ve benefitted me more than ATMC.” – Anonymous
“This program has been a bright light inside of my soul and now I have begun to grow again. It made my life become fresh. I feel like I was born again. It made my mind become clear. Sleep just came to me at night and finally I was able to rest after several months of severe restlessness. The toxins were released from my system and my skin was glowing. I had renewed energy and love had grown within me.” – Anonymous
“Approximately eleven days after beginning the program, I started to notice a substantial change in my mood along with a very clear mind. No longer do I sit around and worry about my past or future; now I am able to “be in the present moment” and get the most enjoyment out of my current situation. I am feeling quite confident this time in my capability of returning home and remaining sober. I’m also confident that I am going to start enjoying and living my life to the fullest again, instead of hiding from life behind benevolence induced by drugs.” – Anonymous
Whether you are struggling with an ongoing substance use disorder, depression, anxiety, or other health problems caused by neurotoxins, the professionals at Alternative to Meds Center (ATMC) are here to help you rid your body of these toxins and move towards a healthier, more fulfilled life. We give our clients the processes necessary to begin holistic detox and equip our clients with the tools and education needed to continue achieving results in their day-to-day lives.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of neurotoxin removal and the holistic detox process at Alternative to Meds Center, or simply just speak to one of our compassionate, helpful staff, contact us today. We hope to provide the answers you’re seeking so you can live your best life today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your days.
1. “Chemicals and neurotoxicity,” Chemsec.org [cited 2023 May 3]
2. Neurotoxicity Information Page, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke [cited 2023 May 3]
3. Wennig R “Back to the roots of modern analytical toxicology: Jean Servais Stas and the Bocarmé murder case,” Drug Test Anal. 2009 Apr;1(4):153-5. doi: 10.1002/dta.32. PMID: 20355192. [cited 2023 May 3]
4. “6 Tips To Be ‘Water Wise’ for Healthy Kidneys,” 2015 Apr 28, National Kidney Foundation [cited 2023 May 3]
5. “What are the benefits of glutathione?” MedicalNewsToday [cited 2023 May 3]
6. Li Q, Shi G, Xu Q, Wang J, Liu C, Wang L “Acupuncture Effect and Central Autonomic Regulation,” Published online 2013 May 26, NCBI [cited 2023 May 3]
7. Genuis SJ. Toxic causes of mental illness are overlooked. Neurotoxicology. 2008 Nov;29(6):1147-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2008.06.005. Epub 2008 Jun 24. PMID: 18621076.[cited 2023 May 3]
8. Robertson S “What is Neurotoxicity?” News Medical, updated 2019 Sep 16 [cited 2021 Aug 31]
9. Neurotoxicity, Progress in Brain Research, 2016 [cited 2021 Aug 31]
10. Samuels N, Gropp C, Singer SR, Oberbaum M. Acupuncture for psychiatric illness: a literature review. Behav Med. 2008 Summer;34(2):55-64. doi: 10.3200/BMED.34.2.55-64. PMID: 18682338. [cited 2023 May 3]
11. Sharpe PA, Williams HG, Granner ML, Hussey JR. A randomised study of the effects of massage therapy compared to guided relaxation on well-being and stress perception among older adults. Complement Ther Med. 2007 Sep;15(3):157-63. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2007.01.004. Epub 2007 Feb 20. PMID: 17709060. [cited 2023 May 3]
12. Spencer PS, Palmer VS. Interrelationships of undernutrition and neurotoxicity: food for thought and research attention. Neurotoxicology. 2012 Jun;33(3):605-16. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2012.02.015. Epub 2012 Feb 28. PMID: 22394483; PMCID: PMC3437940.[cited 2023 May 3]
13. Hussain, J., & Cohen, M. (2018). Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2018, 1857413. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/1857413 [cited 2023 May 3]
14. Ross GH, Sternquist MC. Methamphetamine exposure and chronic illness in police officers: significant improvement with sauna-based detoxification therapy. Toxicol Ind Health. 2012 Sep;28(8):758-68. doi: 10.1177/0748233711425070. Epub 2011 Nov 16. PMID: 22089658; PMCID: PMC3573677. [cited 2023 May 3]
15. Graph of Pre- and Post saunadetoxification symptom scores from the Sage Journal of Toxicology and Industrial Health [published as open access online, 2012] [cited 2023 May 4]
16. Haghighatdoost F, Feizi A, Esmaillzadeh A, Rashidi-Pourfard N, Keshteli AH, Roohafza H, Adibi P. Drinking plain water is associated with decreased risk of depression and anxiety in adults: Results from a large cross-sectional study. World J Psychiatry. 2018 Sep 20;8(3):88-96. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v8.i3.88. PMID: 30254979; PMCID: PMC6147771. [cited 2023 May 4]
17. Berk M, Ng F, Dean O, Dodd S, Bush AI. Glutathione: a novel treatment target in psychiatry. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2008 Jul;29(7):346-51. doi: 10.1016/j.tips.2008.05.001. Epub 2008 Jun 4. PMID: 18538422.[cited 2023 May 4]
18. Dringen R, Hirrlinger J. Glutathione pathways in the brain. Biol Chem. 2003 Apr;384(4):505-16. doi: 10.1515/BC.2003.059. PMID: 12751781.[cited 2023 May 4]
19. Cooper AJ, Kristal BS. Multiple roles of glutathione in the central nervous system. Biol Chem. 1997 Aug;378(8):793-802. PMID: 9377474.[cited 2023 May 4]
20. Głąbska D, Kołota A, Lachowicz K, Skolmowska D, Stachoń M, Guzek D. The Influence of Vitamin D Intake and Status on Mental Health in Children: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2021 Mar 16;13(3):952. doi: 10.3390/nu13030952. PMID: 33809478; PMCID: PMC7999324.[cited 2023 May 4]
21. Penckofer, S., Kouba, J., Byrn, M., & Estwing Ferrans, C. (2010). Vitamin D and depression: where is all the sunshine?. Issues in mental health nursing, 31(6), 385–393. https://doi.org/10.3109/01612840903437657[cited 2023 May 4]
22. Lakhan SE, Vieira KF. Nutritional therapies for mental disorders. Nutr J. 2008 Jan 21;7:2. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-7-2. PMID: 18208598; PMCID: PMC2248201.[cited 2023 May 4]
23. Lin J, Gao YF, Guo Y, Li M, Zhu Y, You R, Chen S, Wang S. Effects of qigong exercise on the physical and mental health of college students: a systematic review and Meta-analysis. BMC Complement Med Ther. 2022 Nov 8;22(1):287. doi: 10.1186/s12906-022-03760-5. PMID: 36348349; PMCID: PMC9641907.[cited 2023 May 4]
24. Imboden C, Claussen MC, Seifritz E, Gerber M. Die Bedeutung von körperlicher Aktivität für die psychische Gesundheit [The Importance of Physical Activity for Mental Health]. Praxis (Bern 1994). 2022;110(4):186-191. German. doi: 10.1024/1661-8157/a003831. PMID: 35291871.[cited 2023 May 4]
Originally Published Aug. 31, 2021 by Lyle Murphy
Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente. He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.
Lyle Murphy is the founder of the Alternative to Meds Center, a licensed residential program that helps people overcome dependence on psychiatric medication and addiction issues using holistic and psychotherapeutic methods.
Can you imagine being free from medications, addictive drugs, and alcohol? This is our goal and we are proving it is possible every day!
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