Heavy metal brain cell protection

To follow on from last week’s blog where we looked at the effects of toxins, specifically BPA’s effect on our Endocannabinoid System (ECS) function, let’s look at another harmful toxin.  Cadmium, a toxic metal found in environmental pollutants, which can trigger a cascade of harmful reactions in our brain cells, leading to oxidative stress, inflammation, and even cell death

Here are a few ways people may be exposed to cadmium, including:

  • cigarette smoking – cigarettes contain cadmium. Smokers may receive twice the daily dose of cadmium as non-smokers. (A good reason not to smoke!).
  • food & soil – foods grown in soils with high levels of cadmium. Kidneys and livers of animals and shellfish can also contain higher levels of cadmium.  Phosphate fertilised soils may contain higher levels of cadmium than unfertilised soils. (Making organic choices where possible wouldn’t go astray).
  • industrial zones– some industrial processes, such as metal smelting, release cadmium into the air. Good news though, there are many controls are placed on industry to limit emission levels.

But don’t worry, it’s unlikely that most people would be exposed to a high enough level of cadmium to cause any significant negative health effects.

The health impacts linked with cadmium exposure vary based on several factors: the route of exposure, the quantity absorbed into the body, the duration of exposure, and the individual’s physiological response to it. Following entry into the body, cadmium tends to accumulate in the liver and kidneys before being gradually eliminated through urine.

Regardless, I still thought that it would be interesting to take a look at a study I came across published last year looking at how beta caryophyllene (BCP) offers a potent shield against neurotoxicity caused by this heavy metal toxin.

The research has shed light on the extraordinary protective powers of BCP, particularly in safeguarding our brains from the damaging effects of heavy metals like cadmium. As mentioned above, cadmium can trigger a cascade of harmful reactions in our brain cells, leading to oxidative stress, inflammation, and even cell death. However, BCP swoops in as a natural superhero, combating these threats and preserving the integrity of our brain cells.

Here’s what the researchers found: by pre-treating brain cells with BCP, they witnessed a significant reduction in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), harmful molecules responsible for cell damage. Moreover, BCP bolstered the levels of crucial protective proteins like Nrf2, further fortifying the cells against oxidative stress and inflammation.

But BCP’s protective prowess doesn’t stop there. Not only does BCP neutralise the toxic effects of cadmium, BCP also stepped up to regulate the cell’s natural defence mechanisms, preventing cell death and suppressing inflammation.

What does this mean for you? It means that by incorporating BCP into your wellness routine, you can empower your brain to fend off environmental toxins and maintain optimal function. Whether you’re seeking to fortify your cognitive resilience or safeguard against neurodegenerative conditions, BCP offers a natural and effective solution.

In a world where we are surrounded by toxins and pollutants (it’s hard to escape them), it’s reassuring to know that nature has provided us with potent defenders like BCP. With its remarkable ability to shield our brains from harm, it’s comforting to know that by incorporating BCP into your wellness journey, we can potentially protect and preserve our cognitive well-being.

If you want to know more about how BCP protects against oxidative stress, check out this blog.


Disclaimer:  The information in this post is for reference purposes only and not intended to constitute or replace professional medical advice or personal research. Please consult a qualified medical professional before making any changes to your diet, medications or lifestyle. Effects are provided as a guide only.  Statements have not been evaluated by the TGA.

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