Heavy Metals and Toxicity in the Body

The body requires a variety of vitamins and minerals to keep balanced, and like everything, too much of anything can be toxic. This includes metals.

Certain metals such as cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, strontium, and zinc – are essential to health in trace amounts. Others are non-essential and can be harmful to health in excessive amounts. These include cadmium, antimony, chromium, mercury, lead, and arsenic – these last three being the most common in cases of heavy metal toxicity.

The wrong heavy metals that can build up in our body can come from our environment,
water supply, hobbies, and other places, thus a full history of the person’s work and living habits can help pinpoint potential heavy metal sources.

What are the signs or symptoms of heavy metal toxicity? Symptoms of heavy metal toxicity include mental confusion, pain in muscles and joints, headaches, short-term memory loss, gastrointestinal upsets, food intolerances/allergies, vision problems, chronic fatigue, and others. The symptoms are so vague that it is difficult to diagnose based on symptoms alone.

The top three most toxic metals and their symptoms are:

Arsenic
Symptoms include nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, garlic odor on breath, excessive salivation, headache, vertigo, fatigue, paresthesia, paralysis, kidney failure, progressive blindness, and mental impairment. Signs include mottled brown skin, hyperkeratosis (increased pigmentation) of palms and soles, cutis edema, transverse striate Leukonychia, perforation of nasal septum, eyelid edema, coryza, limb paralysis and reduced deep tendon reflexes. Mental symptoms include apathy, dementia, and anorexia.

Lead
Signs and Symptoms include combinations of gastrointestinal complaints, hypertension, fatigue, hemolytic anemia, abdominal pain, nausea, constipation, weight loss, peripheral neuropathy, cognitive dysfunction, arthralgias, headache, weakness, convulsions, irritability, impotence, loss of libido, depression, depression of thyroid and adrenal function, chronic renal failure, gout. A patient with lead poisoning may have a combination of symptoms – or no symptoms at all until the condition has progressed. Mental symptoms include restlessness, insomnia, irritability, confusion, excitement, anxiety, delusions, and disturbing dreams.

Mercury
Mercury toxicity has been linked to, among other things, mercury dental fillings, particularly when people have a large number of them. Symptoms include a metallic taste in the mouth, excess salivation, gingivitis, tremors, stomach and kidney troubles. Mental symptoms include shyness, irritability, apathy and depression, psychosis, mental deterioration, and anorexia.

If you think you have metals in your body, there are labs that can test you. The easiest screening process is a Hair Analysis. Additional testing involves the use of chelating drugs along with a 24-hour urine collection to determine levels of heavy metals. From here, treatment is based on the individual and will usually involve the use of metal chelating drugs or intravenous EDTA chelation. For many patients, intravenous Vitamin C and replacement mineral infusions are also recommended to support the body through the metal removal process. Once laboratory tests indicate that the heavy metals are undetectable, treatment is considered complete. Often many – if not all – symptoms previously experienced will have resolved, though some may linger, indicating residual damage to organ systems. Therapies can then be targeted to these systems and any specific problems remaining.

The following is a list of nutrients that also help facilitate the removal of heavy metals.

Mega H-: The negative hydride ions in Mega H- alter the water consumed with the food and supplements in our diet, to have a lower surface tension and an increased conductivity.

Methionine: Methionine levels are a major determinant in the liver’s concentration of sulphur-containing compounds, such as glutathione and cysteine. As methionine is the precursor for the manufacture of cysteine in the body, extra supplementation of this critical amino acid should increase available cysteine.

N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC): NAC forms L-cysteine, cystine, L-methionine, glutathione (GSH), and mixed di-sulfides. Stimulates the body to produce large amounts of cysteine and glutathione, thus greatly augmenting plasma and red blood cell content of both cysteine and glutathione; Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): MSM, like fresh garlic, provides a bioavailable dietary source of sulfur.

Milk Thistle (silymarin): Silymarin provides support and protection against liver toxins which can cause free-radical-mediated oxidative damage.

Chlorella: Is a food-like all purpose mild chelator of heavy metals; it is a specially processed green-algae type of food that is taken with meals and is quite tolerable and pleasant for many.

Cilantro: stimulates the body’s release of mercury and other heavy metals from the brain and CNS into other tissue. This facilitates the ability to remove heavy metal from the body using other dietary protocols, such as Chorella and other chlorophyll containing herbs such as Nettles and Alfalfa.

Vitamin B6: needed in the metabolic process that converts methionine to cysteine and then into glutathione. B6 is capable of reducing and controlling the swelling and pain associated with the routine tissue and bone trauma resulting from normal dental operative procedures.

Magnesium: Magnesium availablility is essential for the proper functinoing of our immune system as well as hundreds of enzyme systems critical to human health. Organically amino acid-bound ones are more easily absorbed and are less irritating to the gastrointestinal tract as well.

Activated charcoal: taken immediately with chlorella, 15 minutes before drilling/chunking out amalgam, will bind any swallowed mercury and also prevent recirculation in the liver.

Calcium & Vitamin C: Just as lead will displace calcium, calcium is an excellent nutrient to utilize for displacing mercury and lead. Utilizing a combination of minerals, such as magnesium and calcium, is even more effective in clearing metals from the body. Increasing vitamin C intake is a reasonable cost-effective way to control toxic metal levels in the population.

Chlorophyll: chlorophyll binds to heavy metals very well. In fact, it is imperative to choose a reputable source for your chlorophyll, which screens for toxins and heavy metals; or you may be getting more than you want. A good source is juiced raw, organic greens.

Fiber: Fiber, such as oat bran and apple pectin, will bind to metals and help draw them out of the body.

Lipoic Acid: Lipoic acid is a potent antioxidant and has a high affinity for binding to metals. This makes it an excellent choice as a supplement to bind and clear mercury and lead from the system. It is best utilized in combination with conjugating nutrients.

Minerals: A mineral-rich diet acts as a chelating agent. Many minerals will chelate metals, including calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium. Mercury interferes with some functions of selenium, including its powerful antioxidant function and its ability to bind to metals. A good source of bioavailable minerals is from raw sea vegetables and grass juices from wheat, barley, alfalfa, kamut, etc.

Molybdenum: Large amounts of exogenous sulfur (from outside the body) will usurp the body’s stores of molybdenum to metabolize it. An easier solution is to use the nutrients which will facilitate the homocysteine pathway.

Sulfur: Lead, mercury and cadmium steal sulfur from important proteins, which could be enzymes, hormones, or cell receptors. Conversely, sulfur is needed in the liver detox pathway to hook onto these metals and clear them from the body. So, lead, mercury and cadmium depletes sulfur, the very nutrient needed to detox the metal overload. A depletion of sulfur will also adversely affect joint connective tissue growth, since sulfur is an essential precursor to the building blocks of cartilage, namely glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid.

Zinc: Zinc and copper get displaced from metallothionine, the protein that binds and carries them. This destroys many of the zinc-dependent enzymes. Zinc is important for proper functioning in a host of major metabolic pathways; it is a component of over 90 metalloenzymes in the body.