Here is one: a recent study found a link between children with ADD/ADHD and high levels of chemical pesticides in their bodies. What does this mean & why is this alarming? ADD/ADHD (or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) refers to children who have a severe inability to concentrate. They often act uncontrollably impulsive, even violent, and can have anxiety or other behavioral issues. This cluster of issues is caused by brain chemistry damage or imbalance, most notably low levels of serotonin and dopamine. We’ve all heard of these neurotransmitters, right? They control sex, sleep, appetite, mood, and weight–basically our own natural pleasure chemicals. When they are low, we’re depressed, or we binge eat, or are more attracted to drugs. Recreational drugs boost levels of these brain chemicals to make us feel even better. Antidepressants act on these neurotransmitters (although not in an effective way, but that’s another post for another time).
What’s alarming about this study is that science is finally recognizing that toxicity in our food supply & environment is having a devastating effect on public health–the health of our brain, behavior, and well being. It is no coincidence that levels of autism, ADD, ADHD, depression, anxiety, and behavioral issues in children are on the rise. Our environment is becoming increasingly toxic, and when children consume pesticides on food or are exposed to chemicals, these chemicals build up in their tissues, and their brain chemistry changes. These potent chemicals damage neuron bundles, affecting levels of serotonin & dopamine. And their smaller bodies have trouble detoxifying the quantities of chemicals to which they’re exposed.
Do You Need More Reasons to Eat Organic?
This is a serious problem, folks. Look around you: what’s happening to our environment is a tragedy, between oil spills, pollution, and our food supply. That is the one area we can control. Vote with your fork. EAT ORGANIC. This is a study proving the link between pesticide exposure and disrupted brain chemistry. It is a public health crisis. Think about what teachers have to deal with in the school system, and think about how many of our kids are on legal drugs like ritalin. How many more signs do we need? Some people have effective detoxification systems & can rid themselves of the heavy metals & other toxins to which they are exposed on a daily basis, but others–and developing children especially–cannot effectively detox, and these chemicals build up & create problems.
By lightening our load on the earth, we take a step toward a more natural lifestyle. Supporting organic farming practices keeps these pesticides & herbicides out of our groundwater and away from surrounding communities affected by drift. Farmworkers aren’t exposed to toxins and neither are you–or your children. Get rid of chemicals in your house & in your garden. Grown your own food. Stop applying toxic lotions and cosmetics to your skin. There has never been a more important time to eat organic, especially if you are thinking about having children, or if you have children. Feed them organic. Prepare your body for pregnancy by detoxifying and eating organic. This goes for both men & women! Do it for yourself, the health of your children, and the health of the planet!
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. In addition to her coaching practice, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and kick nagging digestive issues for good. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.