Lead Toxicity

I’m sad to report that everyone is lead toxic due to it being added to gasoline and emitted from cars for decades. Lead causes fatigue and damage to the nervous, reproductive, and renal systems.  Learn how to detox it!

Lead is extremely toxic to humans. Exposure can happen quietly, without you realizing it, and the damaging effects – primarily to the brain – are often irreversible. In addition to the nervous and reproductive systems, lead impacts both the liver and kidneys (1).

One of the most common consequences of lead toxicity is high blood pressure due to lead accumulation in the kidneys. Detox the lead and people often seeing a normalizing of their blood pressure.

Lead is Stored in Our Bones

Lead accumulates and makes its home in our bones, where the body prefers to store it (2). This is done in an effort by the body to protect vital organs.  From there, it is released into the blood stream.

Women’s bones release lead more slowly into the blood stream than men’s. Meaning, lead can continue to be released into the blood long after exposure. This is of particular importance for women whom are pregnant, as the slower release of lead from the bones could negatively impact a developing fetus (Vigeh).

Once women reach menopause, they have faster bone cell turnover due to lowered estrogen levels. Lead begins leaching into their bodies from the breakdown of bone tissue. Symptoms like fatigue and brain fog begin to occur due to lead toxicity.

How You Are Exposed to Lead

Lead is everywhere. No one can avoid it completely. Too much exposure to this toxic metal places more pressure on our already over-burdened systems that are busy fighting off all the other toxins from our modern-day, industrial environment. Know it’s sources so that you can take steps to protect you and your family.

Lead is in the air due to coal combustion and fossil fuels. We breathe it in. While leaded gasoline is no longer used in the United States, if you live or travel to a developing country that does not use unleaded gasoline, you must beware! You are breathing in neurotoxic lead!

Ready to hear another scary thing? Lead persists for 500 to 1000 years in the environment. So, even though we no longer use leaded gasoline in the U.S., this deadly metal can still be found in the soils where it then gets into our food and water.

That’s right: soil may be contaminated with lead sediment due to industrial or car exhausts, especially in densely populated areas. Growing your own vegetables under those circumstances is not recommended.

In China, the rapid economic development has led to alarmingly elevated lead levels being released into environment due to the mineral processing activities (4). As a result, lead has made its way into the country’s water, soil, crops, and vegetable supplies and the levels here are much higher than other developed countries (4).

Water pipes used to be made of lead and many are still in use. They can leak lead into drinking water and contribute to toxicity that way.

Lead is also found in your beauty products. Yes, you are likely putting lead on your face daily to beautify yourself. Cosmetics, especially lip stick and mascara, have been found to contain shocking levels of lead. Be sure to buy lipstick that has been certified to be free of lead.

Lead was commonly used in house paint until the 1970’s. In 1978, lead-based residential paint was banned from use in the United States (5). But unfortunately, an estimated 30-50% of the population lives in houses built before that time. If you belong to this group, you are at greater risk of inhaling of miniscule paint chips and dust containing lead, and this can lead to lead toxicity (5).

Attention parents: lead is the most common toxicant found in the drinking water of U.S. schools, via water fountains, coolers, and other water outlets (6). Another danger is lead-based paint, as it is the most common source of exposure for children under 6 years of age who have suffered lead poisoning (7).

You need to know these and the other widespread sources of lead so that you can identify how it is entering your body. These sources include:

  • Ammunition (2)
  • Auto exhaust
  • Batteries and battery manufacturing (2)
  • Candle Wicks (8)
  • Ceramics (2)
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Coal combustion
  • Colored inks
  • Cosmetics (2)
  • Root canals
  • Eating utensils
  • Electroplating
  • Farm equipment (2)
  • Gasoline (2)
  • Glass production
  • Glazes for pottery
  • Herbs, especially from India and China (9)
  • Hair dyes, especially black (2)
  • Industrial emissions
  • Jewelry making
  • Lead pipes (2)
  • Lead-glazed earthenware pottery
  • Mascara
  • Meat (if lead shot was used to kill it)
  • Metal polish
  • Milk
  • Newsprint
  • Occupational exposure
  • Paint (2, 5) (CDC)
  • Pencils
  • Pesticide residues
  • PVC pipes
  • Smelters
  • Solders (2)
  • Soil (2, 5, 11)
  • Supplements containing herbs from India and China
  • Cans with lead solder sealing (such as juices, vegetables)
  • Toothpaste
  • Water (city/well/tap) (2, 5, 12)

Knowing all of this, it’s not hard to see how we are exposed to lead in our daily lives, often without realizing it!

Symptoms of Lead Toxicity in Children

Children are particularly susceptible to the dangers of lead and the adverse health effects of this dangerous metal will be more pronounced in them (13).

There is no safe level of lead exposure for children (5). Exposure to lead – be it in childhood infancy or even in utero – is especially damaging and toxic to a developing nervous system.

In fact, it has been proven that there is a direct link between, “low-level lead exposure during early development and deficits in neurobehavioral-cognitive performance evident late in childhood through adolescence” (2). Lead poisoning in children can lead to such things as brain damage, low IQ, developmental delays, hyperactivity, and even hearing loss (2).

Some of the primary symptoms of lead toxicity include:

  • Loss of memory (2)
  • Loss of Vision (2)
  • Cognitive and behavioral problems (2)
  • Brain damage
  • Mental retardation (2)
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Violence
  • Delays in growth and pubertal development (14)

Health Conditions Caused by Lead

Like many metals, the main target for lead toxicity is the central nervous system (15). But it’s toxic effects don’t end there; lead also affects the immune, renal, reproductive, and hematopoietic (stem cell) systems (16, 17). Lead toxicity also causes oxidative stress, which then leads to free radical damage (2). It is a truly dangerous metal.

Let’s start with its effects on the central nervous system. Lead is a potent neurotoxin that can cause learning and behavioral impairments, especially in young children (7, 18, 19). Exposure to it may result in detrimental effects to both brain development and function (12, 20).

It has also been found that exposure to lead early in life may cause neurode-generation in later life (2). Among the many neurocognitive effects of lead are: brain damage, mental retardation, memory loss, vision loss, behavior problems, antisocial behavior, and even violence (2).

I mentioned that lead also affects hormone production. Lead has endocrine disrupting properties (EDCs), which interrupts hormone regulation in the body (21). Among the hormone activities it interrupts, lead has been shown to inhibit progesterone and impair prolactin production in females; these imbalances can lead to lead to irregular periods.

Lead builds up in the ovaries, which then causes delays in both growth and development during puberty, as well as reduced fertility. cells of the ovary, causing delays in growth and pubertal development and reduced fertility in females. For males, lead negatively affects growth during puberty (21). A 2017 study found that lead toxicity directly impairs sperm function and may lead to such things as low sperm count or testicular degeneration (22).

Exposure to lead may also bring about a deregulation of the immune system, along with reduced immunosurveillance. Immmunoserveillance is critical because it is the process by which the body’s cells scan for foreign pathogens – including toxins and chemicals – as well as for pre-cancerous and cancerous cells (17).

These are a few of the health conditions which may result from lead toxicity:

  • Mitochondrial damage (23, 24)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Aggression
  • Allergies
  • Alzheimer’s (2)
  • Anemia
  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety (2)
  • Arthritis (oust and rheumatoid)
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD) (2, 13)
  • Autism
  • Back pain/problems
  • Behavioral disorders
  • Blindness
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cataracts (2)
  • Cartilage destruction
  • Concentration loss
  • Constipation
  • Convulsions
  • Coordination loss
  • Deafness (2)
  • Dementia
  • Depression (2)
  • Diabetes
  • Disrupts neurotransmitters
  • Dyslexia
  • Emotional instability
  • Encephalitis
  • Epilepsy
  • Fatigue
  • Gout
  • Hallucinations
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure (25)
  • Hostility
  • Hyperactivity (2, 13)
  • Hypertension (2)
  • Hypo-thyroid
  • Impaired glycogen storage
  • Impotency
  • Immune suppression (17)
  • Indigestion
  • Infertility or reduced fertility (14)
  • Inflammation
  • Insomnia
  • Intellectual loss (13)
  • Irritability
  • Joint pain
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Learning disabilities
  • Libido decrease
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Low IQ (2)
  • Memory loss (long term)
  • Mental retardation
  • Menstrual problems
  • Miscarriage
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Myelopathy (Spinal cord pathology)
  • Nausea
  • Nephritis
  • Nightmares
  • Numbness
  • Paralysis
  • Parkinson’s disease (2)
  • Peripheral neuropathies
  • Psychosis
  • Psychomotor dysfunction
  • Pyorrhea
  • Red blood cell damage
  • Renal dysfunction (2)
  • Restlessness
  • Schizophrenia (2)
  • Seizures
  • Sterility
  • Stillbirths
  • Sudden infant death syndrome
  • Tingling
  • Tooth decay
  • Vertigo
  • Violence and aggression (2)
  • Unintentional weight loss

How to Support Your Body’s Natural Detox Mechanisms to Eliminate and Protect Against Contaminants

The most serious and harmful effects of lead exposure are often irreversible (1). But you can reduce the toxic effects of this dangerous metal by reducing your exposure in the first place and supporting your body’s natural ability to detox harmful pollutants. Arm yourself with knowledge that will protect both the health of you and your loved ones!

An antagonist is an element that can boost your body’s ability push or detox a contaminant out of the body. The following elements can help facilitate the body’s natural excretion of the lead from your system:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • 3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) – DMSA is a sulfur-containing organic compound that is FDA approved for the treatment of lead and mercury toxicity both in children and adults
  • EDTA
  • Cilantro/Coriander seed oil
  • Taurine

Detecting Lead Toxicity

If you think you’ve been exposed to this pollutant and may have high levels of it in your system, I recommended some testing to determine your level of exposure.

First, a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA). HTMA testing measures heavy metal and mineral concentrations in your hair, which is one of the most common places that heavy metals like to hide. It’s a good way to get a highly accurate snapshot of what’s going on in your body without invasive procedures or expensive scans.

The HTMA testing process is simple (you don’t even need to leave your house). You get a digital kit sent to your email, then you send in your hair sample, and get your results within a few weeks. Testing is both accurate and comprehensive –– an HTMA test will give you information about a wide variety of heavy metals.

Once you have your HTMA test results, you can look at them with a trained practitioner and come up with a personalized plan to support your body’s natural detoxification.

If you think you’ve been exposed to health hazards like lead and it may be hiding in your system, order a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis. From there, you can plan your next steps to reclaim your vitality.

That said, I have found that many people show no lead on a hair mineral analysis but then have toxic levels on a Urine Toxic and Essential Elements Test. That’s why I always like to perform both tests to get a complete picture of one’s toxicity levels. However, lead rarely shows on a hair mineral analysis. It can when someone has been detoxing for a number of years or they are extremely lead toxic.

Urine Toxic and Essential Elements Test is a far more reliable method for determining lead toxicity.  The reason a urine test is so useful and provides meaningful results is that urinary excretion is the major route for the elimination of lead.


If you are concerned about lead exposure, an HTMA is a great place to start. It can give you the information you need to address the root causes of physical and mental health issues. If you suspect you have a build-up of toxins or a micronutrient imbalance, or you have unexplained symptoms like brain fog, weight gain, fatigue, or hair loss, you will certainly benefit from getting an HTMA.

Additionally, a Urine Toxic and Essential Elements Test is a great way of determining lead levels in the body so you can figure out the next steps you can take for your health.

*These statements have not been reviewed by the FDA. A Hair Mineral Analysis (HTMA) is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, reverse, or prevent any disease. It is not intended to replace any other medical test(s) that may be prescribed by your medical doctor.


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Dr Wendy Myers, ND is a detox expert, functional diagnostic nutritionist, NES Bioenergetic Practitioner, and founder of Myersdetox.com. She is the #1 bestselling author of Limitless Energy: How to Detox Toxic Metals to End Exhaustion and Chronic Fatigue . Additionally, Wendy is the host of The Heavy Metals Summit, the Myers Detox Podcast, and the Supercharged Podcast. Passionate about the importance of detox to live a long and healthy life, she created the revolutionary Myers Detox Protocol , and Mitochondria Detox kit after working with thousands of clients, as well as a range of supplements to help you detox from everyday living and maintain a healthy lifestyle!

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