Heavy metals are naturally present in nature in small quantities. With industrialization, these quantities never stop raising and they now represent a real danger for everyone.
Acute intoxications are created by short exposure to high doses. High blood or urinary levels, associated with the context, make the diagnostic possible. Conversely, a small but repeated poisoning is much more insidious. Over time, the metals that the body can’t evacuate lodge in various parts of the body and disrupt its behavior. This chronic intoxication could be the source of many diseases.
It should be noted that heavy metals do not belong to the category of toxins. A toxin is defined as a substance that is toxic to one or more living organisms and that is also synthesized by a living organism (bacteria, poisonous fungus, insect or venomous snake), to which it confers its pathogenicity. Heavy metals are not synthesized : they come from an external source .
Although it is possible to be intoxicated without symptoms, heavy metal poisoning can result in the following symptoms :
- Attention, concentration and memory disorders
- Brain fog
- Back pain
- Psychological disorders : irritability, depression, anger, emotional instability
- Digestive disorders
- Sleep disorders
Although the list is not exhaustive, here are the main sources of heavy metal pollution.
- Intensive farming
- Metallurgy and other industries (zinc, lead, cadmium, mercury)
- Dental amalgams (mercury)
- Drinking water (copper, lead, cadmium) (lead in piping)
- Industrial waste : soil pollution
- Fish (mercury)
- Waste treatment (mercury)
- Food additives (aluminum salts)
- Cosmetics (aluminum)
- Drugs (aluminum)
- Vaccines (aluminum)
- Paints (cadmium, lead)
- Smoking (cadmium)
The list is long, and it isn’t really necessary to quote them all. What you need to know is that some are essential to life, in very small quantities, such as iron, copper, zinc and nickel. Without them, the body can not function properly. That being said, they quickly become harmful when their number increases.
Others have no use for the body, and can even prove to be toxic even at very low concentrations : lead, mercury, aluminum, cadmium …
Each metal has its specificity (sources, symptoms, mode of action) but it would be very tedious to list them all here.
The mechanisms of action are not yet fully understood. However, it is known that they block many enzymatic reactions, produce inflammations, and release free radicals . Several studies (see footnotes) have been able to establish links with certain disorders.
The first consequence of an excess of heavy metals in the body is an oxidative stress, generated by the production of free radicals 1.
Heavy metals would also be linked to the degradation of DNA in cells, and lipid peroxidation 2 (this is an oxidation, and thus degradation, of the unsaturated lipids, which may cause a carcinogenic effect).
They can damage the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system 4.
A link is established between heavy metals and autoimmune thyroiditis 5.
They would be related to certain cancers 6.
They are also sadly known to be neuro-toxic : they disrupt cognitive functions (concentration, attention, memory) and behavior (changes in mood and personality). In particular, they would be in some cases related to autism and Alzheimer’s disease 7.
Long story short : you don’t.
The difficulty lies in the fact that heavy metals are hidden in the bones, tissues and organs (lungs, liver, kidneys, brain…).
There are many tests, but none really turns out to be reliable : blood samples, urine, hair…
In the end, only the biopsy is irrefutable… :/
On some other side, I think many lobbies are quite satisfied that there is little to no evidence that they are poisoning us…
Mercury and lead can pass the placental barrier, and fetuses have the ability to capture the mother’s heavy metals. Without knowing it, the mother can consequently intoxicate her child. Although the quantity is low, it accumulates over generations. This could be one of the reasons of the increase of some pathologies.
Mercury can also be found in breast milk.
There is a clear link between macrophagic myofasciitis and the aluminum contained in the vaccines (despite the persistence of some denying people). I will not go further into the subject because I think it deserves a whole article. You should just remember here that if an unexplainable illness appears after a vaccination, there might be a link…
Some people suspect that heavy metals make us more sensitive to electromagnetic waves. They are mainly mobile waves (3G, 4G), Wi-Fi, and DECT (wireless fixed phones). Although nothing is yet proven, I still wanted to mention it because if you are sensitive to the waves …
Would you try drying clothes under the rain ? No ? Before you want to detox your body, it is imperative to start stopping polluting it. Review all sources of pollution (see above) and see if some of them could pollute you in some way.
Examples of what you can do :
- Eat organic
- Stop smoking
- Replace your dental fillings
- Move to a healthier place (the countryside is not necessarily healthier if you end up facing a field full of pesticides…)
- Limit fish consumption (twice a week) and choose the smaller ones, which have lower mercury levels (sardines, herring, mackerel)
- Have your water pipes checked, or install filters on your taps
- Read the labels of your cosmetics
- Read the labels of food products (or better : cook yourself)
- Read the labels of the drugs you use
Heavy metals are not degradable : they must be removed from the body. This process is called chelation (pronounced “kelation“). The chelating elements act as a clamp and attach themselves to the ionized minerals and metals (electrically charged). This results in a stable complex which can then be eliminated by urine. EDTA, DMPS and DMSA are some popular artificial chelators.
The weak point of this method is that it does not distinguish between the “good” and “bad” minerals and metals . It can therefore easily create deficiencies. This is why chelation is generally reserved for severe poisoning.
Moreover, the elimination of its substances is done by the filtering organs : the liver and the kidneys. It is therefore essential to have the health and efficiency of these organs checked before starting.
There are some natural (or almost) chelators, with which the action is usually softer (but I may also not work at all…). Here is the list of the most famous ones :
- Gingko biloba
- Modified Citrus Pectin / Modified Citrus Pectin
- Green vegetables / Broccoli
- Coriander / Cilantro
Heavy metals are increasingly present in our environment, and it is impossible to know precisely how much poison is in our body. Fortunately, it is still possible to limit our exposure. Similarly, a balanced diet, rich in vegetables, should help our body slowly decontaminate.
Although it remains complicated to establish causal links, heavy metals are potentially the source of an unsuspected number of diseases. Let’s protect ourselves !
And you ? Have you ever explored the heavy metal track against fatigue ?
- Advances in metal-induced oxidative stress and human disease.
- Metals, toxicity and oxidative stress.
- The effects of endocrine disruptors as metals
- Biomedical implications of heavy metals induced imbalances in redox systems.
- The role of environmental factors in autoimmune thyroiditis.
- Metal-induced oxidative stress and signal transduction.
- Metal Chelation as a Potential Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease