Remember the Periodic Table of Elements from high school science class?
It is a chart of the known elements on this planet.
Some of the elements are essential minerals that we need in our bodies like Magnesium, Calcium, Selenium, etc.
But some are known as Heavy Metals that even in low concentrations can lead to toxicity or even poisoning (one large exposure all at once).
Some of the most common heavy metals are:
I have personal experience with Lead Toxicity which you can read more about at the link.
Symptoms of Heavy Metal Toxicity
While heavy metal toxicity probably won’t kill you, it can sure make your life miserable.
Dr. Josh Axe describes some of the most common warning signs that indicate you might be struggling with heavy metal toxicity:
- Chronic fatigue
- Autoimmune diseases, including Lyme’s disease
- Poor recovery from exercise and weakness
- Skin irritation
- Neurological disorders
- Brain-fog, trouble concentrating, difficulty learning and poor memory
- Digestive issues, such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- Chronic aches and pains, such as those associated with fibromyalgia
- Impaired motor control, hearing, speech, vision and gait
- Higher risk for heart attacks
Heavy metals can also significantly weaken your immune system as well, making it harder to get well and stay well.
You probably won’t make much headway with treating these symptoms until you detoxify the heavy metals first.
How Heavy Metals Can Hurt your Brain
Chris Kresser explains how heavy metals harm the brain:
“Heavy metals pass through the blood–brain barrier and accumulate in brain tissue. Once in the brain, they harm neurological function through several mechanisms.
- Heavy metals displace essential minerals such as zinc and iron that are required for neurotransmitter production.
- Heavy metals induce oxidative stress, which reduces neuronal plasticity and impairs learning and behavior.
- Aluminum accumulates in immune cells of the brain. This may provoke an inflammatory immune response that ultimately affects neurological function and behavior.”
How to Test for Heavy Metals
How do you test to see if you have a toxicity problem?
Heavy metal testing can be a controversial topic because each of the currently available methods of testing—hair, urine, and blood—has some drawbacks.
Chris Kresser explains the pros and cons of each:
- “Hair testing. Hair testing has become a popular method for assessing heavy metal status. However, using hair testing alone, we cannot know for certain whether a high level of a metal in the hair reflects a significant body burden of that metal or indicates that the patient is efficiently eliminating the metal through the hair and thus has a low level of it in the body.
- Urine testing. Urine heavy metal provocation tests, which use a chelating agent such as DMSA to provoke a release of heavy metals into the circulation, present problems similar to those with hair testing.
It is possible that a metal may be high in the urine because the body is efficient at excreting it, or it may reflect a high body burden of the metal. Another problem is that reference ranges for provoked urine results have not been developed or validated.
- Blood testing. Blood testing is problematic for assessing heavy metal status because heavy metals typically circulate in the blood for only a short time before becoming sequestered in tissues.
While each of these testing methods can be faulty when used alone, combining a couple of techniques may be a more accurate way to assess heavy metal toxicity.
For example, you could do a provoked (taking a chelating agent such as DMSA or EDTA before the test) and an unprovoked urine test, or a hair test and a provoked urine test.
Combining two tests may paint a more accurate picture of the body’s total heavy metal burden.”
My Test Results
In my case, I did a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) test a couple years back, which showed that I was high in Mercury and Nickel.
A Urine Test (my doctor did not give me a chelating agent aka a provoking agent before the test) showed that I was only high in Thallium, while a Red Blood Cell test taken at the same time showed I was only high in Cesium.
Most recently, a repeat Urine Test using DMSA as the chelating agent revealed that I was extremely high in Lead, high in Mercury, Nickel, Thallium and Cesium.
That test, the provoked Urine test, pulled together the results of the previous tests.
Results can be different for everyone. I agree that a combination of tests is wise.
Thus, my previous journey to detox from Mycotoxins (toxic mold) was derailed until I could get rid of the heavy metals, in particular, Lead.
As I discovered, mold binds to heavy metals. My struggle to detoxify the mold was a futile battle until I could get rid of the Lead and other heavy metals.
How to Detox Heavy Metals Safely
So how do you get rid of them? I was very fortunate to chelate the heavy metals successfully.
That’s the topic of my next discussion, “How To Detox Heavy Metals Safely“.
Join me there to explore which methods are safest for heavy metal detox.
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Joli Tripp and Mind Blowing Wellness are not medical doctors nor licensed medical professionals. No comment or recommendation should be construed as being a medical diagnosis. If you suffer from a medical or pathological condition, you should consult an appropriate healthcare provider.
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