Every single day we’re exposed to chemicals and toxins through the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink and bathe in. Over time, these toxic chemicals accumulate in our bodies.
Heavy metal pollutants such as aluminum, lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium can alter and damage cellular function and impair mental and physical health in adults and children. Heavy metals become toxic when they do not get metabolized by the body and end up accumulating in the soft tissue.
Not all metals are toxic though. Certain trace metals are required for optimal health and body balance, such as iron, zinc, copper, chromium, nickel, lithium, manganese and molybdenum, but if there is an excess of any of these they become oxidative and toxic.
Many research studies in the U.S. and Europe have linked heavy metal toxicity such as lead, mercury and aluminum with a wide range of illnesses and health conditions that cause serious damage to the lungs, brain, heart, liver, kidney, bones, GI tract and reproductive systems. Metals can directly and indirectly damage our DNA and can contribute to any imaginable illness.
Signs, symptoms & conditions related to heavy metal toxicity
- Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and all autoimmune diseases
- Mood swings, depression, anxiety, schizophrenic-like behavior
- Neurotransmitter dysfunction
- Thyroid dysfunction and adrenal insufficiency
- Inflammatory brain conditions such as autism, Parkinson’s & Alzheimer’s
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Chronic infections (viral, bacterial, Candida)
- ADD, lower IQ and learning problems
- Food allergies
- Infertility and reproductive problems in both men and women
- Genital malformation
- Brain fog, confusion, forgetfulness, memory loss, dementia
- Hair loss or premature graying hair
- Chronic muscle and tendon pain or any soft tissues of the body
- Kidney and liver disease
- Digestive problems, IBS and gastrointestinal complaints
- Migraines and headaches
- Respiratory, lung and heart problems
- Nervous system malfunctions: burning extremities, numbness, tingling
- Premature aging
- Visual disturbances
Metal toxicity is connected with all sorts of health problems and diseases that many people think are related to just getting older. These are also diseases many doctors suggest managing with drugs. Medical schools have failed to educate doctors of the dangers of heavy metal toxicity. If you ask your doctor to test and rule out heavy metals because you feel a sense of deep heaviness, are tired, depressed or experience achy, sore or chronic joint pain for no reason, all too often the request is dismissed and instead you’ll probably get a prescription for an antidepressant.
Heavy metals build up in the body over time and present no discernible symptoms in the early stages. Toxic metal body burdens are neurotoxic meaning that these metals trigger an inflammatory response and oxidative stress causing adverse symptoms that affect the psycho, neuro, immune and endocrine systems.
The top three heavy metals that are most harmful to our health include arsenic, lead and mercury, which was confirmed by The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) when they compiled a list of the "Top 20 Hazardous Substances."
According to a Brown University study, researchers found that nearly 23 percent of American women of childbearing age met or exceeded levels for all three environmental chemical pollutants (lead, mercury, and PCBs), and 56 percent of the women exceeded the median for two or more of the three pollutants. All but 17.3 percent of the women aged 16 to 49 were at or above the level for one or more of these toxic chemicals that are passed to fetuses through the placenta and to babies through breast milk.
Age is the most prominent risk factor associated with increased odds of having higher levels of lead, mercury and PCBs. Eating fish and heavy alcohol consumption also increase the risk of having higher levels of toxic metals. As we grow older, the risk of exceeding the level in two or more of these pollutants increases. Individuals age 30-39 have 12x risk, and those 40-49 have 30x the risk because these chemicals accumulate in the body over time and also these individuals were born in the 1950s and 1960s before most environmental protection laws were enacted.
Certain occupations are more susceptible to increased risk of toxic metal body burdens. Some of these include plumbers, construction and refinery workers, hairdressers, dentists, lithographers, farmers, painters, auto body paint and radiator repair, miners, welders, fertilizer and pesticide manufacturers.
Heavy Metal Sources
|* Amalgams (silver fillings)||* Vaccines and flu shots|
|* Contaminated fish (especially tuna, shark, swordfish)||* Tattoo dyes|
|* Lipstick and cosmetics||* Paint, plastics & enamels|
|* Many Rx and OTC drugs including antacids||* Baby formula and breast milk|
|* Foods sprayed with fertilizers and pesticides||* Some protein powders|
|* Industrial exposure from coal burning||* The water supply|
|* Household cleaning products||* HFCS and processed foods.|
|* Foods cooked in aluminum cookware or foil||* Some chocolate (high in lead)|
|* Metal stints inserted in a surgical procedure||* Exhaust and pollution|
|* Non-organic and GMO foods||* Hair dyes|
|* Grains, candy, soda & baked goods||* Heavy alcohol consumption|
|* Deodorants and personal care products||* Cigarettes|
|* Costume jewelry, batteries, ceramics||* Electronics, lamps & light bulbs|
According to Ellen Silbergeld, Ph.D., a professor at John Hopkins University even low amounts of heavy metals can be harmful.
- There are no safe levels of lead. Brain development is impaired in fetuses and infants exposed to lead. Lead toxicity, even low levels reduces a child’s IQ. For every 17mcgs of lead in the body, IQ is reduced by 10 points! (Richard L. Canfield, Ph.D. New England Journal of Medicine 2002).
- Aluminum is the most abundantly found toxic metal in the Alzheimer brain. It is also highly implicated in Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s.
- Mercury is one of the most toxic heavy metals and very damaging to the cells and organs. It is particularly destructive to the brain, liver and kidney.
- Arsenic and cadmium pose health threats as well.
According to Jonathan Wright, M.D., our cell, tissue and organ function are impaired anywhere toxic metals are deposited. In addition to causing direct damage, the toxic metals also cause damage by displacing nutritional minerals in key positions in cellular function, which results in slowing down or stopping these functions altogether.
It is not possible to completely avoid exposure to toxic metals (Singh 2011), but one can minimize exposure with healthy eating and a healthful lifestyle. Even those who are not occupationally exposed carry certain metals in their body as a result of exposure from other sources, such as food, beverages or air (Washam 2011; Satarug 2010). However, it is possible to reduce metal toxicity risk through dietary and lifestyle choices that diminish the probability of harmful heavy metal uptake and promote the safe metabolism or excretion of ingested heavy metals (Peraza 1998).
Part 2 of this article will cover dietary and lifestyle preventative measures to reduce the risk of heavy metal toxicity and safe, effective methods to detox heavy metals.
Heavy Metal Testing. Blood tests do not accurately measure the accumulation of lead, mercury or other heavy metals at the level of organs and tissues and are pretty worthless for detecting heavy metal toxicity. Hair tests only partially detect metals, unless it is a hair tissue biopsy test.
A simple urine test and a provoking, chelating agent that binds to heavy metals will accurately detect total body load.
In 2005, my test results indicated extremely high levels of lead. In part 2 of this article, I will share with you the tips I personally followed to excrete the high levels of lead from my body.
Be smart. Rule out toxic heavy metals with an inexpensive test. Contact me to order your kit today.
Don’t forget to click “Like” at the top of this article and share this valuable information with your friends, family and loved ones. Thank you!
Part 2 ►Dietary and Lifestyle Preventative Measures to Reduce Heavy Metal Exposure PLUS Safe and Effective Methods to Detox Heavy Metals
Schedule a free-15 minute consult. I consult with men and women around the world via telephone or Skype and with clients locally in the Phoenix area. I will determine the root cause of any health problem and design a lifestyle plan and protocol so you can heal and restore your health.
Copyright © Paula Owens. All rights reserved.
The material in this article and on this blog is copyright material and may NOT be reproduced or copied without written permission. Reproduction of the articles on this blog may be shared and are permissible ONLY when instructions found at the bottom of this blog are followed. Thank you.
- Smart & Simple Detox Tips Safe Enough to Do Every Day
- Mercury in High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Wellness Minute Video: Mercury
- Women 16–49 at risk of multiple pollutants. CDC, NHANES, Environ Res 2012
- Chelation: Harnessing and enhancing heavy metal detoxification—A review. Scientific World Journal, 2013.
- Hazards of Heavy Metal Contamination. Br Med Bull (2003) 68 (1): 167-182.
- EWG: Mercury in Seafood. Which seafood is safe?
- Get this Mercury Heavy Metal Poison Out of Your Body Mark Hyman, M.D.
- Heavy Metals in Garden of Life Raw Protein Powder
- Many Protein Powders Contain Heavy Metals