You have a healthy diet and lifestyle, but why are you still being generally sickly?
The fact is there are hidden causes, which make you and your family sick that you ought to know! One of these hidden causes of illness is heavy metal toxicity!
In this article, you will find out about the health dangers of toxic metals and how you are exposed to them.
What is Heavy Metal Toxicity?
The human body needs some metals to sustain certain organ functions. These metals that are significant to human health are known as essential trace metals. The two essential trace metals that you might often hear of are iron and zinc; there are more on the list though. Iron helps in hemoglobin formation, the component of the red blood cells (RBCs) that transport oxygen from the lungs to the tissues all around the body and is significant in preventing anemia. Meanwhile, zinc is important for the enzyme reactions, which are necessary for various metabolic activities.
On the other hand, there are metals that are not needed in any bodily function and are considered toxic known as heavy metals or toxic metals. The body cannot metabolize (process) these heavy metals, but they are passed up the food chain to humans (bio-accumulative).
Once the amount of heavy metals in the body tissues reach a toxic level, you will experience heavy metal toxicity. This condition happens either due to an acute exposure to a high concentration of heavy metals or chronic exposure to a low concentration, which allowed the toxic metals to accumulate over time.
The top three heavy metals that are discreetly causing various diseases these days are mercury, cadmium and lead. Here are the sources and health effects of these top three heavy metals.
Why is Heavy Metal Exposure Dangerous to Your Health
Toxic metals are literally everywhere- at home, outdoors, school, and workplace. These heavy metals are associated with several diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, mental retardation (MR) and other congenital (inborn-developmental) defects, depression, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, asthma, autism, candidiasis, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, hypertension, infertility, sleep disorders, multiple sclerosis, thyroid disorders, liver disease, kidney disorders and the long list goes on. However, we are often blindly battling with heavy metal toxicity because many of us don’t know when, where and how we get exposed to these toxic metals.
To keep you guided, here are the top three toxic metals with their respective sources of exposure and detrimental effects to health:
The World Health Organization (WHO) considers mercury as one of the top ten chemicals that are a major public health concern. This heavy metal is toxic to the nervous system (brain, nerves), kidneys, lungs, skin, eyes, immune and digestive system.
When you are exposed to mercury, you often have unexplained headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, difficulty sleeping (insomnia), tremors, vomiting, sudden weight loss, loss of appetite, metallic taste in mouth, declining sense of smell, swelling gums, stomatitis, blue line on gums, body weakness, and loss of muscle coordination. Some people complain for digestive problems, difficulty chewing and swallowing.
Mercury exposure also causes high blood pressure, depression, fatigue, anemia, memory loss, kidney failure, anxiety, blindness, nerve damage, dermatitis and psychosis. This toxic metal also causes abnormal nervous and physical development of the fetus during pregnancy resulting in birth defects.
Moreover, the dangers of the mercury made healthcare facilities ban the use of the medical mercury thermometer. However, little did we know that there are more sources of mercury exposure.
Do you have a silver or amalgam dental filling? This is a primary source of exposure to mercury these days. Amalgam dental filling is a mixture of liquid mercury and other metals—mostly 50% mercury. Every time you chew, your dental fillings release tiny particles of mercury, which your tooth roots, mucous membranes of the mouth, gums and stomach lining may absorb.
You may also get exposed to mercury when eating contaminated shellfish, saltwater and freshwater fish and in drinking tap water. Other sources of exposure are air pollution, batteries, cosmetics, electrical devices and relays, explosives, grains sprayed with pesticides, fluorescent lights, mining, paints, and insecticides.
Lead toxicity is widely known for its detrimental effect in children. According to the World Health Organization, children absorb lead 4-5 times more than adults do, which makes them more vulnerable. This heavy metal targets the brain (nervous system), bones, liver, kidneys and pancreas.
Exposure to high concentration of lead even just for one minute is quite dangerous as this heavy metal is a neurotoxin, meaning it attacks the neurons (brain cells). Such exposure may result in convulsion, coma and even death. It also causes mental retardation, reduced IQ level, and attention deficit disorder. For pregnant women, lead exposure may result in minor birth defects, low birth weight infants, premature birth, stillbirth or miscarriage.
If you are suffering from persistent abdominal pain, bone pain, constipation, convulsions, dizziness, headaches, indigestion, loss of appetite, irritability, loss of muscle coordination, memory problems, muscle pains, tremors, vomiting and body weakness, then you might have been exposed to lead. Anemia is also a common health problem caused by lead exposure.
How are we exposed to lead? There are a lot of lead-containing materials in the environment—either we ingest or inhale lead from these sources.
The most popular sources are leaded gasoline and paints. Another dangerous source that parents must watch out for is rubber toys. Sometimes we just don’t mind seeing kids chew or suck these toys, as kids are kids, and doing such things seems part of everybody’s childhood. But mind you, lead from these toys can be enough to poison your child.
Moreover, water pipes also expose us to lead, particularly when plumbers use lead solder in joining copper pipes. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported in 1989 that over 1 million schools (elementary, high school and colleges) have lead-lined water storage tanks and drinking fountains.
Air pollution, bathtubs (steel, porcelain or cast iron), batteries, canned foods, hair dyes, leaded glass, pesticides, pottery, solder, tobacco smoke, vinyl ‘mini-blinds’, colored advertisements and newsprint, cosmetics, chemical fertilizers, dust, foods grown around industrial areas, ceramics, soft coal, and tap water are other common sources of lead that we encounter daily.
More toxic than lead and mercury is another heavy metal—cadmium.
Cadmium toxicity vastly affects the brain, heart, blood vessels, kidneys and lungs. This toxic metal is a top contributing factor to the development of major killer diseases including cancer, diabetes and heart disease. It can damage your liver and even cause kidney stone formation. Cadmium exposure weakens your resistance to other diseases as well, as it depresses your immune system response. It causes hypertension, anemia, emphysema, skin problems, hair loss, joint pain, back and leg pain, teeth discoloration, loss of appetite and declining sense of smell.
The primary sources of cadmium toxicity are foods. Many areas where rice and wheat are grown may be contaminated with super phosphate fertilizers and sewage sludge, which are high in cadmium content.
Tuna, haddock, codfish and other large saltwater fish have high cadmium concentration in their tissues too. Refined and processed foods like instant coffee, cola drinks, refined grains and processed meats are sources of cadmium exposure as well. Even the PVC pipes use for water supplies expose our drinking water to cadmium. Other sources of this toxic metal are art supplies, cigarette smoke, air pollution, mining, incinerators, paints, power plants, smelting plants, welding fumes, and nickel-cadmium batteries.
Why Testing Must Be Your First Step To Deal with Heavy Metal Toxicity?
There are many signs and symptoms, as well as diseases that may result from heavy metal exposure. Treating these signs and symptoms and the resulting diseases does not remove the toxic metals in your body. The problem is that many healthcare professionals overlooked heavy metal toxicity as the real cause and primary health problem that should be addressed. Hence, various illnesses will be plaguing you repeatedly with the fact that there are hundreds of toxic metals and chemicals you get exposed to every day despite the healthy lifestyle and diet that you have.
Moreover, heavy metal toxicity is often misdiagnosed because most of its signs and symptoms are similar to the manifestations of other diseases. Also, many healthcare facilities do not have the proper diagnostic tests and equipment to determine if your body is loaded with heavy metals. There are two diagnostic tests for heavy metal toxicity available at Beyond Good Health Clinics:
The OligoScan technology analyses the current mineral status, trace elements and heavy metals level in your body tissues. We use the spectrophotometer, an Oligoscan approved portable device to measure the absorbance of chemical substances. This test also provides a longitudinal follow-up of the heavy metal and mineral status that favors your body’s functional balance.
2. Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis
The Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis measures the nutrient and toxic mineral content of the hair. This is one the most accurate tests for heavy metal toxicity because the hair structure remains unchanged, which means that the minerals and their levels in the hair do not change significantly even if the portion of hair has grown. The analysis provides an accurate data of mineral concentrations that have accumulated in the hair tissue for approximately one to three months. This allows your healthcare practitioner to specifically locate the heavy metals in your body.
If the diagnostic tests imply that you are suffering from heavy metal toxicity, you need to consult your healthcare professional for the best health intervention. You may want to try the following ways to reduce toxic metals within your body.
How to Reduce Toxic Metals Within Your Body System?
Avoiding the sources of exposure prevents further accumulation of toxic metals. However, you need to help your body in eliminating those heavy metals that are already inside your system due to previous exposures. Likewise, there are just so many instances that exposure to these toxic metals is inevitable, which requires you to eliminate them from time to time. Here are some ways to reduce toxic metals within your body:
1. Bath with Purified Bentonite Bathing Clay
Using purified bentonite bathing clay is one of the easiest home remedies that helps in detoxifying toxic metals in your body. You just mix it with your bath water in the tub. Soak your body in the tub not more than 40 minutes (recommended) or for as long as you feel comfortable.
The clay has a negative charge while most toxic metals have a positive charge. Thus, bentonite clay has the capacity to attract and absorb negatively charged toxins. This allows the clay to pull pollutants out through your skin including those toxic metals that accumulated in your body for months or even years.
2. Undergo Chelation Therapy
Chelation therapy is the primary treatment for most heavy metal toxicities. The therapy uses chelating agents, substances that attack and bind with metals, minerals and other chemical toxins in the body.
These agents carry the toxins and eliminate them via the urine and feces. There are two ways to administer chelating agents, either via injection into the blood stream (intravenous) or oral chelation.
In intravenous chelation, the chelating agent EDTA (ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid), a widely studied chelating agent that is consists of synthetic amino acids, is injected into the blood stream. Meanwhile, oral chelation involves ingesting of nutritional food supplements that contain chelating agents, usually a combination of EDTA and several natural chelators like vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, minerals, herbs and phytonutrients. This form of chelation is safe both for adults and children. However, it is much slower acting compared to intravenous chelation.
Keep in mind that chelation therapy must be under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
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