How to Reduce Heavy Metal Toxicity
James Jordan, Certified Nutritional Consultant
It was in 1974 that Marvin Gaye’s ecologically inspired hit song “Mercy, Mercy Me” helped bring to the public’s awareness the contamination of our environment with the line, “Fish full of mercury, mercy, mercy me”. Unfortunately the news is no better today.
Although tuna and other large fish consistently have mercury levels far above minimum government safety standards, the public is often the last to know how toxic their food supply is. Over one in five women of childbearing age who had their mercury levels tested from hair analysis showed toxic levels of mercury above the minimum federal government standard. Of course this assumes that the federal level of safe is in fact safe. Most independent studies concluded that there is no safe level of toxic mercury in the body.
These high mercury levels are not just caused by mercury in fish. There are numerous sources for several toxic metals that combine to put you and your family at risk for chronic health problems, low energy and a weak immune system.
Mercury vapors escape from dental amalgams throughout the day and contribute to many symptoms and degenerative health problems including: chronic fatigue, headaches, chronic pain, auto-immune and other chronic conditions such as: MS, ALS, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Parkinsons, Diabetes, Eczema, Urinary and prostate problems, candida over-growth and many more. Mercury is cyto-toxic – toxic to all cells in your body including: brain cells, blood cells, bone cells and poisons your endocrine, immune, digestive and neurological systems. A person with several amalgam dental fillings will excrete as much as 10 times the mercury than a person without amalgam fillings. The mercury does its damage before being excreted by the body.
Having personally suffered from heavy metal poisoning and fortunately recovering I know firsthand the horrible symptoms of this problem, which for me, included: tremendous fatigue, depression, anxiety, pain in the body, constipation and overall horrible digestion, and immune suppression. I also know how it is possible to reduce one’s toxic load of heavy metals and experience a resurgence of energy and health.
One of the reasons for mercury levels going up in our bodies is the lack of proper education as to the sources of toxic metals such as mercury and the lack of responsible regulation and preventive measures by government, the medical and dental professions and industry. For example, according to a Chicago Tribune article from December of 2005, an FDA spokesman said that canned light tuna was arbitrarily labeled low in mercury to “keep market share at a reasonable level”. Industry lobbying often affects official government safety warnings regarding toxic levels of mercury.
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In this article you will learn:
- The primary sources of heavy metal toxicity for the general public
- How heavy metal toxicity effects your health
- The first steps in reducing your heavy metal toxic load
History of heavy metal exposure
The metals accumulate in your cells and tissues, interrupt cellular function, damage DNA and slowly destroy people’s health if they are not removed from your body.
The most common heavy or toxic metals are: mercury, nickel, lead, arsenic, cadmium, aluminum, platinum and copper (the metal form, not the ionic form required by the body). These metals have no function in the body and are hazardous to your health.
Toxic metals, of course, have been around for many centuries and have even been implicated in the decline of the Roman Empire. It is widely accepted by historians that lead contamination of the wine and grape juice drank by Romans from lead lined jugs resulted in the decline of the physical and mental health of the citizens of Rome. Human exposure to heavy metals has risen dramatically since the end of WWII when toxic metal use increased exponentially in industrial processes and products. We are now suffering the consequences of this exposure.
Adverse health effects of heavy metal toxicity
Numerous studies confirm that toxic metals have damaging effects on all the cells of the body and directly impair neurological, immune, endocrine, digestive, respiratory and detoxification functions of the body. Most of this damage is a result of the oxidative damage done to cells from the toxic metals. Even minute amounts of heavy metal exposure can negatively impact your health, but the following factors determine to what degree you will suffer:
- Nutritional status, especially anti-oxidant levels such as vitamins C, E and beta carotene, selenium and glutathione levels.
- Strength of an individual’s detoxification organs: colon, liver, kidneys and lungs.
- Quantity and duration of the toxic exposure.
- Immune system strength.
- Other toxic exposures such as chemicals and radiation levels.
Common sources of metal toxicity and effects
Sources: Aluminum cookware, aluminum foil wraps, antacids, anti-perspirants, baking powder, buffered aspirin, food additives, lipstick, medications, processed cheeses, tap water.
Target organs: Bones, brain, kidneys and stomach
Symptoms and conditions related to aluminum toxicity: Gastroenteritis, kidney damage, liver damage, Neurological damage, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, psychosis, muscle pain.
I have seen high levels of aluminum in most of my clients who get a hair analysis. Along with mercury it is the most common heavy metal toxicity.
Sources: Air pollution, antibiotics given to commercial livestock, coal-fired coal plants, herbicides and insecticides, drinking water.
Target organs: All, especially lungs, skin and gastrointestinal tract.
Symptoms and conditions related to arsenic toxicity: Abdominal pain, burning of mouth and throat, skin and lung cancer, nausea, cardiovascular disease.
Sources: Air pollution, cigarette smoke, art supplies, food grown in cadmium soaked soils, mining, batteries, fungicides, power plant emissions.
Target tissues: brain, hear and blood vessels, kidneys and lungs.
Symptoms and conditions related to cadmium toxicity: Anemia, dry and scaly skin, emphysema, hair loss, depressed immune system, loss of sense of smell, lung cancer, back and leg pain.
Smokers should all switch to natural cigarettes, which although addictive, do not contain the toxic chemicals and heavy metals that commercial cigarettes are laced with. American Spirits are one brand I am aware of that is less toxic.
Sources of exposure: Air pollution, ammunition, bathtubs (cast-iron, porcelain and steel), batteries, canned foods, ceramics, chemical fertilizers, cosmetics, dust, foods grown around industrial areas, gasoline, hair dyes and rinses, leaded glass, newsprint, paints, pesticides, tobacco smoke, vinyl mini-blinds.
Target tissues: Bones, brain, heart, kidneys, liver, nervous system and pancreas.
Symptoms and conditions related to lead toxicity: Abdominal pain, anemia, anorexia anxiety, bone pain, brain damage, confusion constipation , fatigue, headaches, hypertension, inability to concentrate, indigestion, memory difficulties, loss of appetite, loss of muscle coordination.
A Center for Disease Control study in 1984 concluded that 3-4 million American Children have dangerous levels of toxic lead in their systems.
Sources of exposure: Air pollution, batteries, cosmetics, dental amalgams, diuretics, electrical devices and relays, explosives, foods (grains), fungicides, fish, insecticides, pesticides, paint, petroleum products, tap water, vaccines, anti-biotics.
Target tissues: Brain, cell membranes, kidneys, nervous system (central and peripheral).
Symptoms and conditions related to mercury toxicity: Abnormal nervous and physical development (fetal and childhood), anemia, anorexia, anxiety, depression, blindness, dizziness, emotional instability, fatigue, headaches, hypertension, insomnia, kidney damage and failure, loss of appetite and sense of smell, nerve damage, metallic taste in mouth, Multiple Sclerosis.
The biggest doses of mercury you get are from your dental fillings which release mercury vapors into your mouth every time you chew food. Fish contaminated from mercury is a close second and the most damaging is from the vaccines children get which lead to gastrointestinal and neurological damage and has been implicated in autism.
I have had mercury toxicity at high levels two times in my life once from my dental fillings and a second time from eating too much mercury contaminated fish. I can’t recommend highly enough to get your mercury levels checked with a simple, inexpensive hair analysis and take appropriate action.
Source of exposure: Appliances, ceramics, cocoa, cooking utensils, cosmetics, coins, dental materials, hair spray, food grown near industrial areas, shampoo, industrial waster, medical implants, orthodontic appliances, water faucets and pipes, tobacco smoke, tap water.
Target tissues: Skin, larynx, lungs, nasal passages.
Symptoms and conditions associated with nickel toxicity: Apathy, Cancer, headaches, fever, dizziness, insomnia, nausea, rapid heart rate, skin rashes, shortness of breath.
Read the above lists over again and notice how the most common human activities expose you to toxic metals. Everything from chewing your food, the foods themselves, drinking water, putting make up on your face and dyeing your hair, breathing the air.
The good news is you can do something about it!
Here are the key steps to reducing your toxic metal load:
1. The first step is to get a baseline hair analysis test. Many health care practitioners are offering these simple, inexpensive tests. I offer this test through my office in Ashland, Oregon. Contact me at (541) 482-2250 to set up an appointment.
Please see more about my detoxification services .
2. Reduce your exposure to toxic metals. See the list I have above and start working on removing the most common exposures. To get your dental amalgams removed go to www.mercuryfree.com ; www.dams.com / 1.800.311.6265 and www.iaomt.org to find a mercury free dentist near you. If you live in or near Ashland, Oregon I recommend Dr. Eugene Robbins, (541) 488-0726.
3. Get an evaluation to determine if you are ready to plunge into a heavy metal detoxification program or maybe start on a colon cleanse and liver cleanse first. An analysis of your health history can help me advise you on where to start, contact my office at (541) 482-2250 and visit my website for a list of my services.
4. Get started on detoxifying heavy metals: A safe place for most to start is with sauna therapy.
5. Start taking chlorella (1-3 tsps/day): chlorella has the most beneficial effect of any food in binding with heavy metals to detoxify them. I carry a colloidal form of chlorella and cilantro combination called Nano-collodial Detox factors (NDF) in my office.
My office number is (541) 482-2250.
6. Reduce your fish consumption to once per week and select low mercury fish such as: tilapia, sardines, Alaskan Salmon and shrimp. MORE…
These few steps will start you in the direction of reducing your toxic metal load. For those of you who have seen me already you know I sound like a broken record when I launch into my underlying causes of illness talk, but I have to emphasize again that all sub-health conditions are caused, primarily, by just three factors:
- Toxins, which are: chemicals, heavy metals and radiation.
- Nutrient deficiencies and imbalances: many possibilities here.
- Unprocessed emotional trauma and chronic stress.
Toxic metals are often the core of one’s deepest toxicities. Once the toxic metal load is reduced chronic infections will abate, digestion and nutrient absorption will improve, memory and brain function will improve and your immune system will get stronger. My clients, as well as myself owe much of our health recovery to addressing underlying heavy metal toxicity.
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