Toxic metals - a problem for us all

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We are all toxic with heavy metals! The reason is simple - since man has been mining coal, oil, gas and other minerals he has been mobilising toxic metals into the environment. This is made much worse by heavy metals in regular use in Western lifestyles. The worst offenders are:

  • Mercury - leaks freely from dental amalgam fillings - also silver, nickel, palladium
  • Nickel - widely used in jewelry and piercings, stainless steel saucepans are 14% nickel
  • Lead - present in water, used in paints
  • Aluminium - most deodorants contain aluminium which is readily absorbed through skin
  • Cadmium - the main source is cigarette smoke
  • Gold - often used in dentistry - gold stents for arterial stenting have now been dropped because of high rates of re-stenosis
  • Titanium - often used in tablets and capsules, used in dentistry and surgery

But we all get background exposures from :

  • Food - all chemical fertilisers will be contaminated by toxic metals! Seed dressings are often mercury based.
  • Cosmetics - toxic metals may be used as dyes.
  • Industrial discharges - burning coal, oils and gas will all release toxic metals into the environment. Many manufacturing industries use and release toxic metals.
  • Vaccines - all contain either mercury on aluminium.
  • Prescription drugs - many contain toxic metals such as titanium, often labelled as an "inert". Slow release preparations often have fluoride.

Why are heavy metals a problem?

  • They are directly toxic by inhibiting mitochondrial function (which causes chronic fatigue and accelerates the normal ageing process). Please see Transcriptome profile analysis reflects rat liver and kidney damage following chronic ultra-low dose Roundup exposure Essentially this paper concludes that the most widely used pesticide in Western agriculture causes mitochondrial damage at miniscule doses. Initially this manifests with liver and kidney damage, which is not surprising given that these organs are metabolically highly active.
  • They stick to DNA and can trigger cancer.
  • They may stick to proteins and trigger prion disorders. See Prion disorders: Alzheimer's Disease; Parkinson's Disease; Creutzfeldt-Jacob's Disease & Motor Neurone Disease.
  • They stick to membranes, proteins and other cell organelles which make them look different to the immune system. The immune system tries to get rid of them with Inflammation. This causes further tissue damage.
  • Inflammation has the potential to switch on allergy and autoimmunity - see Category:Allergies, autoimmunity and infections
  • They use up micronutrients in the body as the body detoxes them. So an atom of mercury needs a molecule of glutathione to pee it out - glutathione is also needed for glutathione peroxidase - a vital antioxidant. Indeed it may be that our world is now so polluted that we should all be taking additional glutathione 250mgs daily.
  • They add to our total load of POPs (persistent organic pollutants) and increase risk of multiple chemical sensitivity
  • Almost certainly they are a risk factor, if not cause of, Electrical sensitivity

In chronic fatigue syndrome the commonest metals seen causing problems are first mercury, then nickel, palladium, gold and titanium, but any metal may be involved! I have a recent case of thallium poisoning! In multiple sclerosis nearly all patients have increased sensitivity to a wide range of metals especially nickel, mercury, cadmium and lead. Cholesterol ester needs an essential element such as zinc to make steroid hormones - but replace this with copper, the enzyme does not work and "raw" cholesterol builds up!

Toxic metals accumulate in the heart and blood vessels

Toxic metals are known to cause dysrhythmias and hypertension. Chelation therapy to strip out these metals in heart and arterial disease works extremely well! The problem is that the results of large scale trials get deliberately fudged by those with vested interest in pharmaceuticals! Pharmaceuticals mean treatment for life - chelation is a one off and so much less expensive! What is so interesting about reducing the load of heavy metals is that the arteries actually become less stiff - this can be proved by arteriography.

Toxic metals are known to cause cancer

The best documented examples are:

  • Hormone sensitive cancers, e.g. breast, ovary - nickel and cadmium
  • Lung cancer - nickel, cadmium (the tobacco plant bioconcentrates nickel from soil)

How can we test for them?

There is no one simple test for heavy metals! The problem is that heavy metals are sticky - they bind to body tissues, concentrate in different departments and are excreted in different ways. This is made worse when we are deficient in essential minerals. The body then grabs sometHing similar. So if one is zinc deficient, superoxide dismutase may use a nickel atom instead - it "looks" like zinc but does not do the same job. The enzyme does not work properly. Carbon monoxide poisoning works in the same way - to haemoglobin carbon monoxide "looks" like oxygen. If replaced, the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood is greatly reduced resulting in loss of consciousness and possibly death.

  • Hair analysis is inexpensive. If it shows raised levels of a toxic metal then there is toxicity with that metal. However, a normal result does not exclude a toxic metal. Please see Hair Mineral Analysis
  • Blood levels - many heavy metals concentrate in bone and fat or get stuck onto proteins and so they are hidden from a blood test.
  • Urine test - again, not all toxic metals are excreted in urine.
  • Sweat - ditto
  • Faecal minerals - ditto.

Probably the most reliable test is urine levels before and after a chelating agent. Biolab offer a Toxic elements in urine test. I use this test following a dose of DMSA as a chelating agent, for assessing mercury (and other heavy metal) levels. Urine mercury levels measured after a DMSA load will provide good evidence of mercury toxicity. Test kits are provided on an individual basis ensuring the correct weight-related dose of DMSA is provided. Please, contact the office to confirm the overall price of this test, including the DMSA capsules needed to do the test.

Alternatively Kelmer (DMSA) is a good all-rounder - so start here with a Kelmer test for the likely offenders (Hg, Ni, Pb, Cd, Al) and add in any that the history may suggest. Please see Mercury - Kelmer test for details of the mercury Kelmer test.

Lymphocyte sensitivity testing. Only too often where there is toxicity there is sensitivity and vice versa. A positive sensitivty test almost certainly means there is toxicity! Please see Lymphocyte sensitivity to metals and chemicals

How can we get rid of toxic metals from the body?

There is no point trying to get rid of toxic metals until you have identified as many sources as possible that you can avoid. It is pointless doing mercury chelation if you have dental amalgam fillings.

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