This amazing guest post was written by Dr. Andreia Horta, ND and Dr. Emily Lipinski, ND, founders of Infusion Health! You can check out their website here!
Depression is one of the most common mental health issues in North America. Lifetime prevalence of depression varies widely, from only 3% in Japan to a staggering 17% in the US!!! In most other countries the number of people who would suffer from depression during their lives falls within an 8–12% range.
People are most likely to suffer their first depressive episode between the ages of 30 and 40, and there seems to be a second, smaller peak of occurrence between ages 50 and 60. Why is the provenance of depression in the U.S. so high and seemingly increasing? Known risk factors for depression are alcohol and substance abuse, sleep disturbance, bereavement, medical conditions, family history, and being female (yes, woman are most likely to have a depressive episode in their life compared to men!).
It has also been suggested that pollution and toxic chemicals that we are exposed to can influence depression. Only a few studies have evaluated the association between air pollution and depressive symptoms in humans but they have demonstrated that toxic chemical may affect mood. In Canada, researchers reported short-term effects of air pollution on emergency department visits because of depression and suicide attempts.
Another study found that increased pollutants in the air were significantly associated with depressive symptoms measured repeatedly among an elderly population in Korea. Other studies have suggested a chemical that was found in plastics know as PCB as another risk factor for depression. PCBs are manufactured chemicals that were produced for nearly 50 years in the United States before they were banned in 1977. PCBs were banned because of their potential carcinogenicity, however, some of their effects may still persist in the environment.
Chemicals used in cleaning supplies, air fresheners and perfumes have been linked to depression, as well as other major health risks. A study led by Alexandra Farrow of Brunel University in the United Kingdom linked air fresheners in the home to higher incidence of diarrhea and earaches in infants and headaches and depression in their mothers. Not to mention common chemicals found in cleaning products and air fresheners have also been linked to:
- reproductive abnormalities
Personally, we don’t use commercial household cleaners or air fresheners to avoid these potential risks! We simply make our own cleaners, and add essential oils for added anti-bacterial action and for freshening the air. Even better, certain essential oils are associated with boosting the mood.
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Simple and affordable recipes for cleaning solutions
All Purpose cleaner
Mix equal parts white vinegar and water. Add tea tree oil or lavender oil to the mixture, adjust amount for desired smell. You can make this ahead of time and bottle it, or just make as needed when cleaning.
Tile Grout Cleaner
Mix 1 part water and 3 parts baking soda mixed into a paste. Apply to grouty area and then scrub with a scrub brush or tooth brush and remove with a warm cloth.
Mix equal parts lemon juice with sea salt and scrub. Baking soda can also work well.
Just add white vinegar to toilet!! …and maybe a little essential oil for freshness. Scrub as usual with toilet bowl cleaner.
Essential oils sprinkled around the house smell great, or an essential oil diffuser is also a great option for freshening the air.
Here’s to a fresh, clean and chemical free home!
- Andrade L, Caraveo-A.. Epidemiology of major depressive episodes: Results from the International Consortium of Psychiatric Epidemiology (ICPE) Surveys . Int J Methods Psychiatr Res. 24 March 2006;12(1):3–21. doi:1002/mpr.138. PMID 12830306.
- Kessler RC, Berglund P, Demler O. The epidemiology of major depressive disorder: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NC
- Eaton WW, Anthony JC, Gallo J. Natural history of diagnostic interview schedule/DSM-IV major depression. The Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area follow-up. Archives of General Psychiatry. 1997;54(11):993–99. doi:1001/archpsyc.1997.01830230023003. PMID 9366655S-R). JAMA. 2003;289(203):3095–105. doi:10.1001/jama.289.23.3095. PMID 12813115
- Lim Y-H, Kim H, Kim JH, Bae S, Park HY, Hong Y-C. Air Pollution and Symptoms of Depression in Elderly Adults. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2012;120(7):1023-1028. doi:10.1289/ehp.1104100.
- Carpenter, D.O., Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs): routes of exposure and effects on human health. Reviews On Environmental Health, 2006. 21(1): p. 1-23.
- Farrow A, Taylor H, Northstone K, Golding J. 2003. Symptoms of mothers and infants related to total volatile organic compounds in household products. Archives of Environmental Health 58(10): 633-641.
- AOEC (Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics). 2012. Asthmagen compilation – AEOC exposures codes. www.aoec.org
- Arif AA, Delclos GL, Serra C. 2009. Occupational exposures and asthma among nursing professionals. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 66(4): 274-278.
- Environmental Working Group (EWG) 2016.
- Sherriff A, Farrow A, Golding J, Henderson J. 2005. Frequent use of chemical household products is associated with persistent wheezing in pre-school age children. Thorax 60(1): 45-49.
- Steinman D. 2010. Results of Testing for 1,4-Dioxane by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry.
- Till C, Koren G, Rovet JF. 2001. Prenatal exposure to organic solvents and child neurobehavioral performance. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 23(3): 235-245.
- Till C, Westall CA, Koren G, Nulman I, Rovet JF. 2005. Vision abnormalities in young children exposed prenatally to organic solvents. Neurotoxicology 26(4): 599-613.
- van Rooy FG, Houba R, Palmen N, Zengeni MM, Sander I, Spithoven J, et al. 2009. A cross-sectional study among detergent workers exposed to liquid detergent enzymes. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 66(11): 759-765.
- Vanhanen M, Tuomi T, Tiikkainen U, Tupasela O, Voutilainen R, Nordman H. 2000. Risk of enzyme allergy in the detergent industry. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 57(2): 121-125.
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