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Heavy Metal Toxicity: Dangerous metals and how they shield Lyme and other pathogens
- Heavy metal toxicity is more common than you think. The symptoms of heavy metal exposure range from headaches to constant fatigue. Depending on your level of exposure, you might suffer from serious diseases.
- We’re all exposed to heavy metals regularly. Though the symptoms are hard to pinpoint, heavy metals are in our environment, and food. They’re even in our drinking water. The most common heavy metals include aluminum, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and lead.
- Mercury is highly toxic. Some newborns are being born with high levels of mercury in their systems. Mercury can be found in fish, which is why pregnant women are encouraged to stay away from certain species. Another source of mercury is dental amalgam fillings. 95% of people with central-nervous system disorders have amalgam fillings.
- Lead can be found in lead-based paints, water, and certain rubber products. 64 million homes in the U.S. still have lead-based paint. Lead can also be found in some bone broth powders. This substance has been linked to behavioral and brain disruption, as well as chronic kidney disease.
- Cadmium is linked with various types of cancer. It’s commonly found in cigarettes, but recent studies have linked Cadmium to e-cigarettes too. First-generation e-cigarettes have been found to be rich in chromium, manganese, cadmium, nickel, and lead.
- Aluminum is usually found in antiperspirants and contaminated water. It has been linked to periods of nervousness, osteoporosis, headaches, and more. Aluminum is commonly linked with Alzheimer’s disease. Some studies found that people who died from Alzheimer’s had four times as much aluminum in their system.
- Arsenic is linked to cancer in the human body. You can be exposed to arsenic by breathing in contaminated smoke or wood shavings. Arsenic is also easily absorbed by rice.
- Reducing exposure to heavy metals can be done by changing your dietary habits and everyday behavior. Avoid aluminum cookware and amalgam fillings. Eat foods that are organic and unprocessed, and get plenty of the right nutrients.
Heavy Metal Toxicity: You Can Run, but You Can’t Hide
Most of us don’t spend much time thinking about the threat of heavy metal toxicity. The problem is commonly associated with lead based paints or drinking contaminated water. However, what we don’t realize, is that heavy metals are everywhere.
Today, it’s impossible to avoid all the toxins that could be harming our health in the modern industrial world. But, with the right information in hand, you might be able to avoid some of the most common threats and achieve better health.
One of the biggest groups of health-stealing substances in the world today are heavy metal toxins. Heavy metal toxins include Arsenic, aluminum, lead, mercury, and cadmium. These compounds are found in the crust of the earth, and are associated with illness in adults, and children.
How do you know if you’re suffering with heavy metal toxicity?
Symptoms linked to acute heavy metal toxicity might include:
- Severe convulsions and cramping
- Problems with breathing
- Impaired motor or cognitive skills
Chronic toxicity, where you’re exposed to dangerous metals over a long period of time, is more common, and harder to diagnose. After a while, exposure to heavy metals might cause:
- Aching joints
- Digestive problems
- Issues with regulating blood sugar
- Menstrual difficulties (miscarriage, infertility, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and pre-eclampsia)
Obviously, these vague symptoms can be hard to pinpoint. Heavy metals are in everything from your diet to your environment and its fair to say that most people will experience toxicity at some point in their lives. Add that to the fact that we’re constantly exposed to fluoride in drinking water. Fluoride increases the uptake of aluminum in our bodies.
How much do you know about mercury?
Most people don’t realize that mercury is a very toxic substance. In fact, it’s one of the biggest hazards in the modern world. Every day, you encounter heavy metals, usually from innocent sources such as cookware and fish.
According to a study in 2004 by the Environmental Working group, some newborns are actually being born heavy metal toxic. Samples have shown that blood in some newborns contained around 287 toxins, including pesticides, mercury, and fire retardants.
Where can we find mercury in our daily lives?
First and foremost, the answer could be “fish”. While eating fish presents other health benefits, the concern for mercury contamination has led to new warnings for breast feeding and pregnant mothers.
Industrial pollutants contaminate today’s oceans which means that farm-raised and ocean fish both pick up chemicals in their flesh. Today, the EWG recommends that when eating fish, any pregnant woman should avoid high-mercury species like swordfish, tuna, sea bass, halibut, and marlin.
Another major source of mercury is dental fillings. Millions of Americans have one or more amalgam fillings. Though the American Dental Association describes amalgam as a “safe” and affordable material, it contains a mixture of dangerous metals including up to 50% mercury. In fact, 95% of people with disorders linked to the central nervous system, like epilepsy, MS, and paralysis all have silver dental fillings. Chemicals from these fillings are constantly released by chewing gum, brushing teeth, and drinking hot liquids.
If you’re considering having your dental amalgams replaced with non-toxic materials, find a dentist that can remove them safely. While any dentist can replace these fillings, you need to apply proper precautions to prevent the mercury from going getting into your body and eventually to your brain.
Human beings are exposed to lead in many different ways. Some of the major sources of lead poisoning can include:
- Lead-contaminated water
- Lead-based paint
- Lead-based gasoline
- Lead batteries
- Rubber products
- Lead oxide fumes
Though some of the products above are discontinued, we still see the effects today. For instance, estimates suggest that 64 million homes in the US still have lead-based paint.
According to the National Health and Nutrition survey, the amount of children containing lead across the U.S ranged from 1.5% to 36.7%. As with mercury, children are more susceptible to lead-based products than adults. Adults often get the majority of their exposure through work.
Importantly, even low-level exposure to lead, perhaps through living near a toxic facility or drinking contaminated water, is dangerous. For instance, it can cause brain dysfunction in children. There are even risks for behavioral changes in adults, and even chronic kidney disease.
One of the places that lead is found today, besides those mentioned above, is in certain bone broth powders. When exposed to lead, some animals can store the toxin in their bone materials. During 2013, scientists found the levels of lead in bone broth from chickens had high levels of lead concentrations.
Cadmium is a type of toxic heavy metal. It’s linked with cancer in the breast, prostate, pancreas, lung, endometrium, and urinary bladder.
Cadmium is in a host of places, including cigarettes. Experts believe that cigarettes may contain cadmium because of exposure to contaminated soil. One big shock, is that cadmium is also in e-cigarettes.
A study conducted by researchers at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found high amounts of toxic metal in e-cigarette liquids. This study is the first one to examine cross-sections of metals across different e-cigarette brands. It looked at the liquid in five brands of first-generation devices. The study searched for chromium, manganese, cadmium, lead, and nickel.
In first-generation e-cigarettes, the liquid in the device is stored in the cartridge close to the heating coil. Researchers found that all five of the heavy metals they were searching for existed in all five brands. This is very worrying when you consider the fact that all substances can be toxic when inhaled. The researchers believed that the main source of the metals was the coil that heats the liquid.
Right now, scientists aren’t completely sure whether or not the levels of cadmium they have found in e-cigarettes are dangerous. However, they think that their presence is troubling. It could mean that e-cigarette users are inhaling a dangerous number of toxic chemicals.
Currently, the researchers from the study think that the biggest worry are the coils used to heat e-cigarette liquid. Since these coils are the main sources of the metals in the devices, it might be time to explore alternative solutions for heating.
Just like the other elements that we’ve covered so far, aluminum is absorbed by the body and accumulates within your body. It is linked to a range of serious diseases, including extreme nervousness, osteoporosis, headaches, speech disturbances and more.
Aluminum is frequently associated with Alzheimer’s disease too. Some of the patients who have died from Alzheimer’s disease had more than four times the average amount of aluminum in their brain nerve cells.
So, how are we being exposed to so much aluminum? It’s abundant in the environment and is in everything from water, antiperspirant, and even the tools that we use for cooking.
Antiperspirants such as those found in deodorants frequently contain aluminum that is almost instantly absorbed by the body. Most experts recommend avoiding this substance altogether. Deodorants aren’t as dangerous as antiperspirant, but they can also include traces of aluminum.
Water contaminated by aluminum is another serious concern. Studies have shown that Alzheimer’s disease is more common in regions with high levels of aluminum in drinking water. To find out whether you might be at risk from certain toxins and aluminum in your water, you’ll need to have your water sources tested.
Some other common sources of aluminum include:
- Aluminum foil used in cooking
- Aluminum cookware: Some say that these tools aren’t as problematic as some of the other sources of aluminum in this list. However, I believe it is always a good idea to avoid using aluminum cookware.
- Over-the-counter drugs: A lot of medicines are rich in substances that most people know nothing about. Anti-diarrheal drugs, antacids, and drugs for inflammation and pain all include aluminum.
- Baking powders: Some baking powders might include aluminum as an additive. To reduce your exposure to this substance try getting your baking powder from a health food store. Remember to check your labels too.
- Refined flours and foods: Refined foods, processed cheese and common table salt.
Finally, arsenic is probably the heavy metal that most people recognize to be toxic. Organic arsenic compounds are in pesticides, while in-organic options are used as preservatives. Once arsenic is in the environment, we can’t destroy it, and most of the compounds dissolve in water.
Usually, we’re exposed to arsenic through occupational hazards. Some people encounter the substance because they live near waste sites. You might also encounter arsenic because you breathe in burning smoke or sawdust from wood treated with arsenic. Arsenic also shows up in some drinking water. It has been linked to cancer in the lungs, skin, bladder, nasal passages, kidney, prostate, and liver.
Being exposed to arsenic doesn’t mean that you’ll instantly experience serious symptoms. However, low-level and frequent contact with arsenic can lead to:
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Decreased production of white and red blood cells
- Vomiting and nausea
- Damage to blood vessels
- Pins and needles
- Appearance of warts or corns on the torso or soles of feet
One of the most worrying sources of arsenic in today’s environment is rice. Rice easily absorbs arsenic from soil, irrigation water, and even the water we cook with. Recently, the potential for arsenic toxicity has hit the headlines regarding children and infants. The FDA highlighted that rice formulas should not be a primary source of nutrition for children.
Reducing Exposure to Heavy Metals
Though heavy metals seem to be everywhere, you can still fight back against them. Reducing your exposure to heavy metals could actually make you feel a lot healthier every day. Some of the things that you can do to reduce exposure include:
- Using cast iron, glass, ceramic and stainless steel cookware instead of non-stick and aluminum.
- Avoid cosmetics with aluminum bases as well as aluminum antiperspirants and mineral powders that contain bismuth.
- Avoid and remove amalgam fillings. I recommend working with a health care professional that is knowledgeable about heavy metal detoxification before getting your amalgam fillings removed.
- Avoid costume jewelry
- Avoid smoking, second-hand smoking and smoking e-cigarettes.
- Limit your use of household cleaning products that contain heavy metals.
- Avoid using conventional herbicides and insecticides.
It’s also important to be cautious with your diet when you’re reducing your exposure to heavy metals. Making sure that you avoid the right substances and eat the right foods to improve your body’s ability to fight back against problems. Remember to:
- Eat foods that are unprocessed and organic. Stick to natural foods and avoid sugar when possible.
- Eat foods that are locally grown.
- Eat unpasteurized products for dairy such as fermented foods.
- Eat around one third of your foods raw.
- Get plenty of healthy fats such as omega-3 and reduce your intake of omega-6
The Bottom Line
As the world gets more contaminated the knowledge of environmental toxins isn’t optional. Heavy metals are abundant around the world today and they can cause a host of dangerous health conditions. Knowing the kinds of heavy metals and reducing our contact with them could help us to live healthier, longer lives.
Most people don’t realize this, but heavy metals can actually form the parts of the biofilm in our systems that stop our immune systems from eliminating pathogens like Lyme. Basically, biofilms are inter-connected groups of microbes that gather together and attach to a surface. Usually, they’re made up of a combination of magnesium, calcium, mercury, copper, lead, and other trace metals. To get rid of the dangerous microbes hiding beneath a biofilm, you need to get rid of the biofilm.
Chelating agents can be used to degrade biofilm by binding the metals required for pathogen aggregation. If biofilms and heavy metals are allowed to accumulate, you may be creating a protective system inside of your body that protects dangerous pathogens, and stops disease-causing substances from being removed. This could even lead to chronic Lyme disease, and other long-term conditions.
Though you might not be able to avoid exposure to heavy metals completely, you might be able to reduce the amount that you consume or inhale each day. This means that you could have a better chance of fighting off illness, disease and more.
If you are suffering with any of the symptoms above or suspect you have heavy metal toxicity, check out my At-Home Program.