Heavy metals are the most dangerous toxins you’re exposed to on a daily basis. In fact, heavy metal toxicity from metals like cadmium, aluminum, mercury, antimony, lead, and arsenic disrupt your health and lead to conditions like chronic fatigue, hormone imbalance, weight gain, headaches, chronic pain, thyroid disorders, even cancer!
Our bodies cannot metabolize these metals very efficiently; so you need strategies for purging and detoxing them from your body on a continual basis…before they cause disease. Read this article to learn more about how heavy metal toxicity is endangering your health and what you can do about it!
Heavy Metal Toxicity Snapshot
- We carry hundreds of toxins in our bodies and live among tens of thousands, only a handful of which have been tested for the effect on health.
- Some of the most dangerous toxins we contend with are heavy metals.
- Heavy metal toxicity causes many common symptoms of poor health: Fatigue, brain fog, depression, inflammation, weight loss resistance, and more.
- The four heavy metals show up most often in cases of toxicity are copper, mercury, aluminum, and iron. However, many more are found in tests.
- The best test for heavy metal toxicity is hair mineral analysis testing.
- Fortunately, we have ways to safely remove heavy metals from the body.
- A heavy metal detox includes using binders to bind with heavy metals and toxins and then compounds and lifestyle strategies to facilitate their removal from the body.
If you struggle with fatigue, weight loss resistance, brain fog, or pain and inflammation, it’s no wonder — we live in a sea of tens of thousands of toxic chemicals and heavy metals these days, not to mention epidemic levels of chronic health conditions. We are exposed to between 80,000 to 100,000 synthetic toxic chemicals in our environment, only a handful of which have been tested for human safety. We are exposed to far more toxins than our grandparents were 50 years ago and suffer from far more health issues and diseases.
In fact, the World Health Organization says we carry more than 700 chemicals in our bodies, and those are just the ones they tested. With more than 85,000 chemicals in our environment, there is no telling how many we truly have.
Some of the most dangerous of these toxins are heavy metals. Many stubborn chronic health conditions today are simply heavy metal toxicity, which have been shown to contribute to diabetes, cancer, neurological diseases, as well as multiple symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, and weight loss resistance.
The harmful effects of heavy metal toxicity are compounded by the fact that our food today is not only contaminated with heavy metals, but also low in minerals. A body depleted in minerals is more prone to holding onto heavy metals due to structural similarities between minerals and heavy metals. For instance, someone who is iodine-deficient may more readily absorb fluoride and chlorine to “fill in the gaps” from lack of iodine. An abundance of healthy minerals in the body is one of the most basic ways to help protect yourself from heavy metal toxicity.
How Do You Know if You Have Heavy Metal Toxicity?
We all have heavy metals and toxic chemicals in our systems these days; it has become impossible to avoid them anymore. However, you can become more vulnerable to heavy metal toxicity due to health and lifestyle factors.
Do you suffer from any of the following stubborn symptoms from heavy metal toxicity?
- Chronic low energy
- Brain fog
- Stubborn weight gain
- Weight loss resistance
- Mood swings
- Accelerated aging
- Poor immune function (you easily get sick, have an autoimmune disease, or chronic inflammation)
Not only does heavy metal toxicity cause persistent symptoms, it also raises our risk of health disorders. This is because once heavy metals make their way into our bodies — through our skin, lungs, or digestive tract — they can damage multiple organs and systems, including the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, kidneys, hormone function, the liver, and bones.
If you suffer from common heavy metal toxicity symptoms, a chronic health condition, or stubborn symptoms despite eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, you definitely need to consider heavy metal toxicity.
What Are the Most Common Forms of Heavy Metal Toxicity?
Although we are exposed to tens of thousands of environmental toxins and heavy metals, clinically we see a handful of the same ones show up in people.
Below are the heavy metal toxicities we see most often in hair mineral analysis testing.
Copper. Copper is linked with anorexia, fatigue, premenstrual syndrome, depression, anxiety, migraine headaches, allergies, childhood hyperactivity, and learning disorders. We are exposed to copper through copper pipes, anti-fungal products, and animal proteins. It can also be the result of a mineral imbalance.
Mercury. Mercury is ubiquitous in our environment. It gets into our bodies through consuming shellfish and larger ocean fish, dental amalgams, vaccines containing thimerosal, in the air from coal burning, and from its general presence in our environment due to its past use in pesticides. Mercury toxicity is associated with numerous health disorders, including adrenal fatigue, low thyroid function, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, mood and mental disorders, birth defects, decline of cognitive function (learning and memory), immune imbalances, and more.
Aluminum. Aluminum is the most naturally occurring element on the earth’s crust and used extensively in manufacturing, making it a very common toxicity. We are exposed to aluminum through antiperspirants, sunscreens and sunblocks, aluminum cans, and in prescription and over-the-counter medications. Aluminum is linked to Alzheimer’s disease, anemia and other blood disorders, colic, fatigue, dental caries, dementia, hypoparathyroidism, kidney and liver dysfunctions, neuromuscular disorders, weakened bones, and Parkinson’s disease.
Iron. Iron is commonly viewed as healthy, but it can be very toxic if levels are too high. Iron toxicity can come from eating too many “fortified” grain and protein powder products, which use a toxic form of iron. A person can also become iron toxic from a genetic disorder called hemochromatosis, in which the body absorbs too much iron. Iron toxicity is linked to chronic inflammation, diabetes, hypoglycemia, prostate disorders, cancers, anger and rage, and infections.
Many other lesser known heavy metals also commonly show up in people’s hair analysis tests. Although they don’t receive as much attention, they are still important to know about due to their toxicity. Here are just a few:
Cadmium. We are exposed to cadmium through shellfish, coffee, cigarette smoke, legumes, and phosphate fertilizers. It is linked to cancer, weakened bones, respiratory disorders, and cardiovascular disorders.
Thallium. Thallium is more toxic than mercury and is released into the environment through industrial processing and coal combustion. In fact, it’s so toxic it was once used in assassination attempts in Russia. It was also once used to kill rodents and ants and even hair removal. It impacts the central nervous system, gut function and nutrient absorption, and cellular energy production.
Arsenic. We get too much arsenic from conventional poultry products and rice. In fact, people who eat rice and rice products regularly have twice as much arsenic (and 70 percent more mercury!) in their urine compared to people who don’t eat rice products regularly. Arsenic is associated with bladder, lung, and skin cancer, as well as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and neurological disorders.
These examples represent a small handful of the many toxic heavy metals our bodies must contend with on a daily basis through exposure to air, food, and water. Toxins and heavy metals have thoroughly infiltrated all aspects of our environment through pollution, pesticides, and manufacturing.
How to Find Out if Heavy Metal Toxicity is an Issue for You
Although some remedies can help remove heavy metals from your body, which I talk about later in this article, it’s also important to test which heavy metals most affect you. This is because you can target certain heavy metals and mineral deficiencies with specific remedies to help better balance your system. It can also help explain mystery symptoms. For instance, arsenic toxicity inhibits fat release and could be a contributor to weight loss resistance.
The test I see the best results with is a hair mineral analysis test, which shows not only your heavy metal toxicity but also your mineral deficiencies. Hair is used because it is where the body dumps heavy metals and excess minerals to protect the organs and maintain stable blood chemistry.
Paradoxically, high levels of heavy metals in your hair is a good sign, it means the body is dumping them out of the organs. When the hair shows low levels, it may mean your body cannot properly detoxify and the metals are being stored in the organs and tissues. We see levels in the hair when a person undergoes a detoxification protocol. It’s important to note that people not undergoing a heavy metal detox program also see metals in their hair. However, as a detox program begins pushing metals out of the body, we see levels in hair rise. In fact, this makes HTMA testing a great way to monitor progress as hair mineral and metal levels correlate with tissue levels.
How to Safely Detoxify Heavy Metals from Your Body
Fortunately, we have many options for safely escorting heavy metals out of our tissues and organs. Although it’s not possible to completely remove all heavy metals and toxins from your body, integrating detoxification into your daily life is necessary to support our bodies in this industrial era. The human body simply wasn’t designed to process the levels of toxins and heavy metals we are exposed to today.
Equally important to removing toxins and heavy metals is supporting your body’s pathways of elimination. If you dislodge heavy metals from tissues, you want to make sure they have a quick passage out and do not redeposit elsewhere, especially in the brain. This means supporting the liver’s detoxification pathways, staying hydrated, sweating, and supporting kidney and bowel function.
Here are some strategies you can start using right away to reduce the toxic load on your body and support elimination pathways:
Grapefruit citrus pectin: This product, made from citrus pulp and peel, is one of the best compounds available to bind with mobilized toxins and heavy metals from detoxing. This is important so they don’t recirculate to lodge elsewhere in the body.
Activated Silica: This is an activated form of silica that binds with and eliminates metals that are traditionally difficult to detox, such as aluminum, thallium, arsenic, and tin.
Infrared sauna: A good-quality infrared sauna is a great way to sweat out toxins as it uses safe, gentle, but deeply penetrating heat to mobilize toxins. It’s important to incorporate hydration and binders like grapefruit citrus pectin with infrared saunas.
Coriander seed oil: Cilantro is a well-known heavy metal detoxifier, as is its seed, coriander. It works well to detox mercury, cadmium, lead, and nickel.
Iodine: Iodine deficiency is the second most common form of deficiency on the plant. Supplementing with iodine can help detox mercury, lead, fluoride, chlorine, and bromine
Liposomal glutathione: Glutathione is our master antioxidant and a powerful protector and detoxifier for the body. Use a liposomal form of glutathione for optimal absorption.
Coffee enemas: Coffee enemas may sound awkward to the uninitiated, but in fact they are a wonderful way to detoxify. The caffeine travels through the portal vein in the intestines to the liver and dilates the blood vessels in the liver, increasing bile flow and stimulating detoxification. Coffee enemas have also been shown to aid in the production of glutathione.
Hydration: It is paramount to stay hydrated with filtered water or spring water to assist your body in flushing out toxins.
IonCleanse foot baths: These foot baths are not only relaxing and a great option for kids, they also stimulate the renal system to increase urinary excretion of toxins.
A whole-foods, anti-inflammatory, organic diet: Eating organic foods helps reduce your exposure to heavy metals from pesticides. Avoiding junk foods and factory farm meats also reduces your toxic burden. If you are sensitive to certain foods, like gluten, removing those can help reduce inflammation in your body and assist with detoxification. Lastly, eating ample amounts of organic produce will help improve mineral status, elimination, and healthy gut bacteria. Together, these factors aid your body in being stronger and more robust in its defense against toxins and heavy metals.
I hope this article helped give you an overview of the health problems of heavy metal toxicity and what to do about. I offer more detailed guidance, support, and direction here.
Click here for References+
- Copper, Chromium, Manganese, Iron, Nickel and Zinc Levels in Biological Samples of Diabetes Mellitus Patients. Kazi, TS, et al. Biol. Trace Elem. Res. 122,1, 2008.
- Metals and Neurotoxicology. Wright, RO, et al. J. Of Nutr. 138,12, 2007.
- Priya, L, Geetha, A. Level of Trace Elements (Copper, Zinc, Magnesium and Selenium) and Toxic Elements (Lead and Mercury) in the Hair and Nail of Children with Autism. Biol.Trace Elem.Res. 2010.
- Afridi, HI., et al. Evaluation of Toxic Elements in Scalp Hair Samples of Myocardial Infarction Patients at Different Stages as Related to Controls. Biol. Trace Elem. Res.134, 1, 2010.
- Mercury as a Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Disease. J. Nutr. Biochem. 18, 2007.
- Determination of Cadmium in Whole Blood and Scalp Hair Samples of Pakistani Male Lung Cancer Patients by Electrothermal Atomic Absorption Spectrometer. Kazi, TG, et al. Sci. Total Environ. 389,2, 2008.
- Karpas Z, Lorber A, Sela H, Paz-Tal O, Hagag Y, Kurttio P, Salonen L., Measurement of the 234U/238U ratio by MC-ICPMS in drinking water, hair, nails, and urine as an indicator of uranium exposure source. Health Phys. 2005 Oct;89(4):315-21.