There are many heavy metals that can be found in our environment both naturally and from pollution. The term heavy metal is used to describe a group of metals that have similar chemical properties. Not all heavy metals are bad for us. In fact, some of these, including small amounts of copper, iron and zinc, play important roles in our bodies. Heavy metal toxicity can come from metals such as lead, which can be found in paint, as well as many house hold products; Arsenic, which is commonly found in well water and wood products; and Mercury, which can build up in fish that we eat and is sometimes used as a preservative in medications. At very high levels, most heavy metals can cause health problems.1
Exposure to metals can occur from diet, from medications, from the environment, or in the course of work or play. Sources vary, but people can be exposed to heavy metals through food, water, air, and commercial products. In the workplace, people can also be exposed as several industries use or produce metals characterized as heavy metals. Every metal is different in where it originated from and how it reacts in our bodies.
According to Clinical Microbiology Reviews, Wendy Myers, FDN-P, CHHC, says, “Our body allows parasites and Candida (mold) to proliferate, because Candida and parasites eat toxic metals. You do have to bring down your metal load if you’re going to long term get rid of the parasites or candida,” Myers says. “Some parasites can eat five to six times their body weight in metals.”
According to Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, Ph.D., “Toxic metals harm the cells of the body, whereas the invading microbes (including mold) thrive in a heavy metal environment. Research by Ludwig, Voll, and others in Germany and by Omura and myself here in the US, show that microbes tend to set up their housekeeping in those body compartments that have the highest pollution with toxic metals. The list of symptoms of mercury toxicity alone, published by DAMS (Dental Amalgam Support Group) includes virtually all illnesses known to humankind. Chronic fatigue, depression, and joint pains are the most common on the list. The body’s immune cells are incapacitated in those areas, whereas the microbes multiply and thrive in an undisturbed way.”
“The teeth jawbone, Peyer’s patches in the gut wall, the ground-system (connective tissue) and the autonomic ganglia are common sites of metal storage and the place where microbes thrive. Furthermore, those bodily areas are also vasoconstricted and hypoperfused by blood, nutrients, and oxygen, which foster the growth of anaerobic germs, molds, fungi, and viruses.”
How Do I Avoid Heavy Metal Poisoning?
The way to protect yourself and your family from heavy metal poisoning is to identify the source and remove it to prevent any further exposure. There are several different testing methodologies implemented by CMI that identify sources within the environment. Preventing exposure in the first place is ideal. Some easy ways to do this include:
- Limit dust in the environment and remove your shoes when you go inside.
- Be aware of local fish advisories regarding mercury levels.
- Be aware of sources of lead exposure.
- Read labels on products to see if they contain heavy metals.
How Should Heavy Metals be Cleaned?
Before cleaning or mitigating Heavy Metals from your home or office you need to understand the types and extent of the pathogen. Once identified it is important to follow industry guidelines and regulations for proper clean up.
How Do You Test for Chronic Heavy Metal Poisoning?
The best way to test for heavy metals clinically should be recommended by a doctor based on your medical history. Common heavy metals testing within the body is conducted through urine, hair and some are tested for in blood samples. Whether heavy metals in your body are causing health problems is a different question, and must be determined in conversation with your health care provider.
Common Treatments of Heavy Metal Toxicity
The best way to treat for heavy metals poisoning should be recommended by a doctor based on your medical history. Most treatment process involves use of metal chelating drugs or intravenous EDTA chelation. Some patients are also recommended intravenous Vitamin C and replacement mineral infusions that support the body through the metal removal process.
Heavy Metal Remediation
The process of eliminating of abatement or mitigation of heavy metals depends on the type of metal detected within the environment. Different regulations and laws have been developed by the EPA and other government agencies to help protect the general public while considering the process for cleanup.
It is important when choosing a company to perform cleanup for heavy metals such as lead, to check their certifications and licenses before beginning any project. It is in the best interest of the occupants of the home or office as well as those in the immediate area. Furthermore, it is highly recommended to hire a third party testing company like CMI to write the scope of work before remediation begins. After the remediation is complete, it is extremely important to have CMI test the environment post abatement to verify it has been completed correctly and contaminant has been brought back to an acceptable level.
For more information on proper remediation techniques:
EPA – http://www2.epa.gov/lead/evaluating-and-eliminating-lead-based-paint-hazards
Heavy Metal Symptoms
Heavy metal toxicity or heavy metal poisoning can cause a variety of signs and symptoms. While indicators of toxicity vary, several symptoms are often observed and may be telling of heavy metal toxicity:
• Abdominal pain
• Central nervous system dysfunction
• Heart problems
• Fingernail or toenail discoloration
Acute metal toxicity can be a life-threatening medical emergency that may require aggressive treatment in a hospital setting. If you suspect you have been exposed to a toxic metal, seek medical attention immediately.
• Chronic pain throughout the muscles and tendons or any soft tissues of the body
• Chronic malaise – general feeling of discomfort, fatigue, and illness
• Brain fog – state of forgetfulness and confusion
• Chronic infections such as Candida
• Gastrointestinal complaints, such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, heartburn, and indigestion
• Food allergies
• Migraines and/or headaches
• Visual disturbances
• Mood swings, depression, and/or anxiety
• Nervous system malfunctions – burning extremities, numbness, tingling, paralysis, and/or an electrifying feeling throughout the body
Ten Heavy Metal Toxicity Prevention Tips
1. Drink water filtered with a high quality home water purification system. Tap water may contain heavy metals.
2. Avoid unnecessary vaccine. Most vaccines contain harmful synthetic chemicals and many of them contain heavy metals.
3. Eat food that is free of industrial pollutants such as pesticide. Many of these synthetic pollutants contain heavy metals.
4. Avoid using products that are made with aluminum.
5. Avoid taking over-the-counter antacids because many of them contain high levels of aluminum. Aluminum is hard for the body to absorb but the addition of citrate or citric acid can dramatically increase its absorption.
6. Avoid sea food as much as possible because a good portion of sea food contains some levels of mercury. Shellfish is the sea food that you should avoid the most because it usually contains high levels of toxin.
7. Avoid dental amalgams (silver dental fillings).
8. Avoid areas that have dangerous levels of air pollution.
9. Avoid smoking and second hand smoke. Cigarettes are full of heavy metals.
10. Many cosmetics contain harmful synthetic ingredients and a good portion of them contain lead.
Heavy Metal & Your Health
Heavy metals with adverse health effects in humans, such as lead, cadmium, and mercury, present major concerns due to their presence in the environment. There are many documented cases noting the potential for serious health consequences (ATSDR).
Acute heavy metal poisoning has proven to damage central nervous function, the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems, lungs, kidneys, liver and bones. Chronic heavy metal exposure has been implicated in several degenerative diseases of these same systems and may increase the risk of some cancers (CDC).
Heavy metals are ubiquitous in the environment. Humans risk overexposure from environmental concentrations that occur naturally or human activities. It is very important to note that treatment regimens vary drastically and are custom-made to each individual’s medical condition and the occurrence of their exposure. Providing a complete history of the person, including their occupation, hobbies, recreational activities, and environment, is critical in diagnosing heavy metal toxicity. A possible history of ingestion often facilitates a diagnosis, particularly in children. Findings from physical examinations vary with the age of the person, health status of the person, amount or form of the substance, and time since exposure.
It is important to consult a medical professional when dealing with heavy metal poisoning for further information.