Toxins: What Goes On Your Body Goes In Your Body

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

In this episode, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen dive into the many toxins (which we may or may not know about) that are finding their way into our body. However, they also discuss the many ways to detox and get those toxins out of the body.


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Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.

Tana Amen: I'm Tana Amen. Here we teach you how to win the fight for your brain, to defeat anxiety, depression, memory loss, ADHD and addictions.

Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we've transformed lives for three decades using brain SPECT imaging to better target treatment and natural ways to heal the brain. For more information, visit

Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceutical products to support the health of your brain and body. For more information, visit Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way podcast.

Daniel Amen: We are so grateful that you are with us. I want to start by reading a testimonial that I just love. "Over a year ago, I fell into a horrendous pit of anxiety and depression and found myself without hope. Using the principles you talk about in the Brain Warrior's Way podcast, I found that my habits were playing a huge part in my spiral. I fixed all of these things and became very serious about brain health, and boom, completely healed."

Tana Amen: I love that.

Daniel Amen: I love that part. It's like, drop the microphone, "Boom."

Tana Amen: Right, walk off.

Daniel Amen: "I'm healed."

Tana Amen: Walk off stage.

Daniel Amen: Now, doesn't always happen like that, but what we want for you is to be serious about brain health, because when you are, you feel so much better and we hope you'll be like this person and say, "Boom, completely healed."

Tana Amen: What I love about that is, there's no fairy dust here. We don't have a magic wand. This isn't a cult, okay? People are like, "I don't understand how this thing works." It works because we're going after all the things that are leading you down that road to depression, anxiety, obesity, losing your memory, and we're going after all of them. We're teaching you, do an assessment, figure out what you're doing that's causing these problems, and we're teaching you not only that you can do it, how to do it, but that it's not that hard.

Daniel Amen: Brain health, I always say, is super easy. It's three things. Brain envy, you've got to care about it, Freud was wrong. Penis envy is not the deal. It's two-and-a-half feet too low in your body.

Tana Amen: Okay, then. I always liked being a girl, so I don't know.

Daniel Amen: He has focused on the wrong organ. Brain envy, you've got to care. Avoid anything that hurts it, and do things that help it. Hopefully you've got to know the list.

Tana Amen: Right, and that's what we do, is we teach you.

Daniel Amen: Do it with a great attitude, because people go, "I don't want to deprive myself," or, "It's too hard." I'm going to find this text from my friend Miley Cyrus who gave me permission, actually, to share it.

Tana Amen: Isn't it fun when you finally get permission to use those? We have so many and we can't use them.

Daniel Amen: Especially from someone as [crosstalk 00:03:30].

Tana Amen: If you've seen her in the news recently, it's hilarious because my daughter follows her a lot, and she was the biggest pothead and she talks about it, she jokes about it. If you've seen any of her recent interviews, they're hilarious when she talks about how much she used to smoke.

Daniel Amen: Last week, I just got to speak to 7,000 teens.

Tana Amen: I'm going to say this, you were in your element. Chloe and I were there. Chloe looked at me and she goes, "What is happening?" She's like, "What is this place?" Literally there were almost 5,000 genius high school kids, they were all geniuses, it was crazy stuff. They already have detected, a 15-year-old who found early detection for prostate, breast, and liver cancer. What? Okay, so these kids are out of control smart, and 5,000 of them. You get up to speak, and you get a standing ovation before you even start. Chloe looked at me and she's like, "What is this? What is happening right now?" She's like, "He's a rock star for nerds." It was hilarious. It was the funniest thing.

Daniel Amen: Our geek concert. I was getting ready for the concert. It's my little Justin Bieber moment, let me have it. I have a part in there on, who has more fun, the kid with the good brain or the kid with the bad brain.

Tana Amen: Right. Who's making good decisions or bad decisions?

Daniel Amen: Who gets the girl and gets to keep her, because he doesn't act like a jerk?

Tana Amen: All the girls start screaming like crazy, because they're like, "No jerks."

Daniel Amen: "Preach it, brother." Who gets into the college they want to get into, who has the best job, takes the coolest vacation, makes the most money? I knew I was going to do that part in the concert, so I text Miley who I knew had stopped smoking pot about 12 weeks ago. I'd actually sent her our study on ...

Tana Amen: Right. It just took a while for it to kick in.

Daniel Amen: 1,000 people, potheads compared to healthy, potheads have lower activity in virtually every area of their brain. Then she stopped and ...

Tana Amen: Let me just say, it's not a judgment. We're not judging you for smoking pot. We're telling you what happens in your brain.

Daniel Amen: Anyway, so I texted her week before last, and I said, "So what do you think? Are you having more fun with your good brain habits, or your bad ones?" She texted me back, "Ha, good!" Exclamation point. "By a billion."

Tana Amen: Yeah. It was really cute.

Daniel Amen: I got to share that at the lecture, and the kids went wild.

Tana Amen: It was really cute.

Daniel Amen: That's what we want for you. Brain health, three things. Brain envy, you've got to care, avoid anything that hurts your brain, drugs, alcohol, head trauma, pot, also bad food, not sleeping, and then do things that help your brain. We came across this study about toxins.

Tana Amen: Right, so, interesting. We're talking about doing all these things that you know, you know you want to do the right things, but what about when you don't know?

Daniel Amen: When you think you're doing the right thing, like putting sunscreen on.

Tana Amen: Right, so any of you who took chemistry, some of you liked it, some of you hated it, but one of the fun parts about chemistry is mixing all these things together and getting crazy reactions. Sometimes they explode, sometimes they turn different colors, all these different things happen, but who would've thought? We think we're doing the right thing. You put sunscreen on your body, and a study just came out, I guess it was at the Moscow State University, just published a study, that basically showed that when you put sunscreen on, which sunscreen by itself can be very toxic if you don't get the right sunscreen-

Daniel Amen: You have to read the ingredients.

Tana Amen: Right, so the app Think Dirty or Skin Deep, both of those apps can really help you, but when you put sunscreen on and you get into chlorinated water, so those of you with kids, my daughter's whole life I've been putting sunscreen on her because she's very, very pale, she's got very, very light skin, so I'm putting sunscreen of 100 on her so she doesn't fry like a little tomato, and then she goes swimming all day, and I keep reapplying it and reapplying it. This new study came out that it said, "Deadly combination of chlorinated water, U and UV rays, can reduce compound in sunblock into toxic chemicals linked to infertility, immune system damage, and even cancer." What?

Daniel Amen: You are so evil.

Tana Amen: I know, and I'm trying so hard.

Daniel Amen: Isn't that awful?

Tana Amen: It's awful.

Daniel Amen: That you think you're doing the right thing, and then you get new information. What I want you to think about is, what goes on your body goes in your body. It's critical that we read the labels, and when I was-

Tana Amen: Those combinations, sometimes the one thing isn't as bad. You mix it with something else, and all of the sudden you have a whole new compound.

Daniel Amen: Then when I was working on "Memory Rescue", my new book coming out in November, which I think you can pre-order on Amazon, it's based on this real simple idea. If you want to prevent Alzheimer's disease, if you want to keep your memory healthy for as long as possible, or get it back if you think it's going to the dark place, you have to prevent all the risk factors that we know destroy your brain. I developed a mnemonic called "Bright Minds" that highlights those 11 risk factors, and the T in "bright" for "Bright Minds" is toxins. As I was working on this book, that's when I developed this idea, "Whatever goes on your body goes in your body." I learned about the app Think Dirty, downloaded it, and started scanning things on my side of the bathroom, and then you started scanning things on your side of the bathroom. We literally threw out 80% of the bathroom.

Tana Amen: Yeah, I didn't tell you, I ended up rescuing most of it for our "end of the world stash", but I figured if we're not going to use it on ourselves, we can even use it as weapons, I suppose. It's now in our apocalyptic room.

Daniel Amen: Terry wants to talk to you about doing a whole series on what to do if there is an earthquake.

Tana Amen: You have no idea. I'm the queen of-

Daniel Amen: Or a nuclear attack, but let's stay with the topic.

Tana Amen: Anyway.

Daniel Amen: Toxins. What goes on your body goes in your body, and this one study just highlights how important it is not to put toxic things-

Tana Amen: Absolutely.

Daniel Amen: On your body. What's a mother to do if she's got a pool and she's got kids?

Tana Amen: Yeah, it's really hard, and it's summer. The pool for me was the best babysitter. Make no mistake about it. You just have all the friends over, go out in the pool, you sit out there in the shade, and you just watch them all swim because-

Daniel Amen: While everybody has sunscreen on, and you're poisoning their little immune systems.

Tana Amen: Who knew, right? Especially if you've got a child like mine who's really, really fair, I'm really fair, she's more fair than I am. I guess the one thing with this study that I'm not clear about that I want to dig into a little more, to answer the question, I want to know which compounds are turning, because there are different types of sunscreen. I have some sunscreens that are natural. Are those breaking down as well? Is it the titanium dioxide, or is it the chemicals? Because titanium dioxide, it's that barrier. I'm thinking that maybe if you get one that's more natural, that has titanium dioxide, maybe it's better, but I don't know yet. I actually don't know.

The other thing is, you can try to do more swimming in the early hours or the later hours, that's another thing. The third thing is, I don't know, try to get some shade over certain parts of your pool, if that's even possible.

Daniel Amen: I like early hours or late hours. Some sun is actually good, because that's how we get Vitamin D.

Tana Amen: Right, but we mostly overdo it, and that's the hard part. Where we live, people tend to overdo it and damage their skin and cause problems, because it's sunny all year long. That's hard. Any suggestions?

Daniel Amen: I tell my patients 20 minutes a day, the sun is good because-

Tana Amen: It doesn't have to be in the hottest part of the day.

Daniel Amen: It helps elevate your Vitamin D levels, never get burned, burn's bad, but we were made in the sun. We evolved in the sun.

Tana Amen: You can go at 10:00 in the morning, you can go at 4:00 in the afternoon.

Daniel Amen: The dermatologists won and they made everybody afraid of the sun, and there's a higher incidence of breast cancer and other-

Tana Amen: Depression.

Daniel Amen: Forms of cancer with Vitamin D levels low. Brand new study just out today. Studies are just on and on, over and over with Vitamin D, that the incidence of colon cancer significantly higher in people who have low levels, versus though who have high levels. Normal is between 30 and 100. For people who are above 40, compared to people below 20, they have half the risk of cancer.

Tana Amen: Wow.

Daniel Amen: You can cut your risk in half, and so I would advocate some sun, 20 minutes, never get burned, and cover up. More hats, less sunscreen, especially if you're going to go in a pool that has chlorine.

Tana Amen: I just noticed something as I did a little bit of reading really quickly. One of the chemicals that is bad, avobenzone. Take a look at sunscreen and see if avobenzone, and that's a derivative of a compound called dibenzoylmethane. Avobenzone is the most popular UV filter in the world, so it's not titanium dioxide. Apparently that's the one mostly used, the chemical, and that's the one that's been studied in this ... Oh, it's also in lipsticks and other cosmetics, so pay attention.

Daniel Amen: You have to be careful who you kiss. Did you know, and I also talk about this in the book, that 60% of the lipsticks sold in the US has lead in it? I call it the kiss of death.

Tana Amen: Especially the long-wearing ones. I just wanted to make sure I put that out there, because that is good to know. Look for one that's more natural, that doesn't have that in it, that might be using titanium dioxide. Also it says to avoid, we already knew this, and those apps we told you about will actually help you, avoid aldehydes, phenols, and acetylbenzenes. Those apps will show you if those are in your products.

Daniel Amen: The cool thing about Think Dirty is it'll tell you on a scale of 1 to 10 how quickly your products are killing you, and so you get a choice. Another thing I've been thinking about a lot recently is the brain hates change. The brain hates change. When people get this idea, it's like, "What could I do," your brain wants to default to what it's always done, even though it may not be good for you. That's why we say this is a war. That's why the podcast is called the Brain Warrior's Way, because you're actually in a war with your own brain that wants to keep doing the things it's always done.

Tana Amen: A few things you could do to detox, let's talk about that really quick. If you've been doing some of these things, detoxing is really important, so we want to leave you with some things you can do to detox. On a regular basis, didn't you say there was a study about people who use a sauna?

Daniel Amen: I did. If you think about detox, I don't know about you, I think we're the same, but I'm not really a fan of two-week cleanses. I'm a fan of living your life detoxed.

Tana Amen: Well, two-week cleanse, I'm not a fan of juice cleanses. That's not realistic to do long-term juice cleanses.

Daniel Amen: Or eat like crap most of the year and then do a two-week cleanse.

Tana Amen: Right. No, live clean.

Daniel Amen: I'm a fan of living your life getting rid of the toxins in your life. To detox, you want to support the four organs of detoxification. Your kidneys, drink more water.

Tana Amen: Right. Skin.

Daniel Amen: Your gut, eat more fiber. Move it on out.

Tana Amen: Water.

Daniel Amen: Your liver, I like N-acetyl cysteine, and kill the alcohol, I'm not a fan because it is hard on your liver, as is fructose, fruit sugar. Your skin and sweating is one of the most important things to detox.

Tana Amen: Right. Sweating, so saunas.

Daniel Amen: Intense exercise, and there's a study from Finland that showed people who took the most saunas had the lowest incidents of dementia.

Tana Amen: If you don't have access to a sauna, one thing that a lot of people do is, you can do dry brushing, like with a loofah on your skin, dry, brush the dead skin off. A lot of people do that, and you can make your shower steamy and hot. Saunas are better if you can get one, if you have a gym or somewhere you go to, but if not, then at least get your shower steamy for a while. That's actually a good substitute, and make sure you're drinking a lot of water. Now notice, liver, skin, kidney ...

Daniel Amen: Gut.

Tana Amen: Gut. Water for all of them. Water, water, water. One thing Chloe and I do in the mornings, we haven't gotten you on board yet, you'll do the lemon in your water, but we do lemon water with ginger and cayenne pepper, because it's supposed to be detoxifying. It's good for not only your skin, but your liver and getting everything going, and it's sort of alkalinizing. It's an alkaline type of reaction in the body.

Daniel Amen: Cayenne pepper boosts blood flow to the brain, so it can help wake you up.

Tana Amen: Right. Some people are sensitive to it, you don't have to put that in, so that's actually really good, so drink more. Green drinks, a lot of people like green drinks for detoxifying, and that's good, they are detoxifying. However, every time we say this there are some people who either have thyroid or kidney problems. Yes, you do have to know if you have thyroid or kidney problems. There are things in green drinks that are like goitrogens, so you want to be careful. Know and talk to your doctor if you're not support to eat-

Daniel Amen: Explain what that is. People don't know what that means.

Tana Amen: Goitrogens are, sometimes a lot of-

Daniel Amen: Goitrogens.

Tana Amen: Right. Things that can affect your thyroid that actually lead to goiters or problems with your thyroid.

Daniel Amen: Your big thyroid.

Tana Amen: Right. Some doctors don't want you eating excessive amounts of green, leafy vegetables. It doesn't mean no green, leafy vegetables, it means excessive amounts. Juicing, like green juices, can sometimes, they're obviously a concentrated form.

Daniel Amen: When you have green juices, be careful about the amount of sugar in them.

Tana Amen: Yeah, I get mine with no fruit. I don't do apple in mine. If anything, I might do a half of a beet, because that's good for your liver, it's good for blood flow, but don't let them put two beets in it because that's too much sugar. The other thing is for your kidneys, be careful because kidneys are one of the organs of detoxification. If you have kidney stones, so it's funny, I actually went on the website for the American Kidney Association, and they don't recommend not eating greens. Most doctors will tell you to stop eating green, leafy vegetables if you have kidney stones. The Kidney Association is like, "Yeah, that's not good for you because vegetables are so valuable for so many things." What they do say is, "Don't eat an excessive amount and don't vary them a ton." You want to be eating consistent amounts.

They actually recommend other ways of managing your kidney stones, like drinking a lot of water. You can go on their website and get all of this, and we have other podcasts and I have other YouTube videos where you can actually that information. For your kidneys, if you are trying to limit your oxalates, then don't drink an excessive amount of green drinks. That's what you need to know about green drinks.

Daniel Amen: Awesome. The last thing in detoxifying your body is get rid of the toxic thoughts you have.

Tana Amen: It actually affects your body, doesn't it?

Daniel Amen: The toxic people. You have to be careful with both of those.

Tana Amen: Isn't that interesting that toxic thoughts create a toxic body?

Daniel Amen: Every thought you have affects every cell in your body. Toxic thoughts are like pollution in the Los Angeles basin.

Tana Amen: The thing that I think stuck with me the most when I first met you was seeing the before and after skin of the woman who was focusing on gratitude in one skin, and then was focusing on something she hated in the other skin. It didn't look like the same person.

Daniel Amen: No, it deactivated her brain in a very negative way.

Tana Amen: That shocked me, which means it's also changing chemistry.

Daniel Amen: It changes chemistry, absolutely, and I knew that a long time ago. We do a lot of bio-feedback here. We hook up your hand temperature, your heart rate, your muscle tension, how you breathe, how much you sweat. Ever since 1989 when I started Amen Clinics, I'd do a word association test for people to see what triggered stress in their body. When they thought about negative things, immediately their hands get colder, the hands get wetter, their muscles get more tense, their breathing changes. It happens immediately. When they think about positive, happy, hopeful things, their skin gets drier, their hands get warmer, their muscles get more relaxed.

Tana Amen: Interesting.

Daniel Amen: Their breathing becomes deeper and more regular, and it happens immediately. Toxic thoughts change your body immediate.

Tana Amen: As somebody who's had cancer, and who was really sick as a kid and who had lots of other health issues, when I heard that and saw that, I went, "Whoa, okay. You mean growing up in a toxic environment when I was a kid, just might've had something to do with that?" Now I can't change what happened in the past, but I can certainly focus on making it better going forward.

Daniel Amen: As somebody who has two black belts, that took a lot of work, and it took a lot of discipline. What I want our listeners to do is discipline their minds to get them going in a helpful direction. That takes work. It takes some discipline that you don't have to believe every stupid thought you have, and that's why whenever you feel sad, mad, nervous, or out of control, we want you to write down your thoughts. It's really the best way to detoxify your brain, is write down your thoughts, correct them, and get them going in a more helpful direction.

Tana Amen: Absolutely.

Daniel Amen: Stay with us. You're listening to the Brain Warrior's Way.

Tana Amen: Thank you for listening to the Brain Warrior's Way podcast. We have a special gift for you. It's an opportunity to win an evaluation at the Amen Clinics. All you have to do is subscribe to this podcast, leave a review, and rate us on iTunes.

Daniel Amen: To learn more about Amen Clinics and the work we do, go to You can also learn about our nutraceutical products at Thanks for listening.