To a greater or lesser degree, most of us are contaminated with heavy metals today – some seriously, some without ever knowing it. It is a subject that just doesn’t cross our everyday minds and physicians are often not alert to the possibility of metal exposure such as lead, mercury, and cadmium.
Acute toxicity – which is most often the consequence of occupational exposure – does tend to be recognized, properly diagnosed, and then treated. Acute toxicities arise from sudden exposures to substantial quantities of some metals, and typically these toxins affect multiple organ systems; commonly the GI tract, cardiovascular system, the brain and nervous system, the endocrine system, kidneys, hair, and nails.
Chronic toxicities are manifested as conditions that develop over extended periods from chronic exposure to relatively low concentrations, for example through conventional cosmetics. Increased cancer risk is a common feature of chronic exposure to certain metals. The exact mechanism of their carcinogenicity is not completely understood, although many cause DNA damage, alter gene function, interfere with innate DNA repair systems, disrupt gene expression, and deregulate cellular functions.
Within the body, heavy metals act as free radicals, causing cellular damage. This results in rapid aging and depletes the body’s natural capacities to heal itself, aggravating disease. Heavy metals slowly accumulate in the kidneys, liver, pancreas, bones, central nervous system and brain where they degrade health without being noticed or diagnosed.
Not all metals are toxic and in fact in trace amounts, some are essential to human biochemical processes. For example, zinc is an important co-factor for several enzymatic reactions in the human body, vitamin B-12 has a cobalt atom at its core, and hemoglobin contains iron. Likewise, copper, manganese, selenium, chromium, and molybdenum are all trace elements, which are important in the human diet. Although these metals are essential to body functions, accumulation past trace amounts may have detrimental effects, should the usual mechanisms of detoxification and elimination be impaired.
Heavy metal poisoning thus means the accumulation of metals in the body past trace amounts. Common examples of metals that are toxic in any amounts are mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic.
The potential for serious health consequences from heavy metal contamination has been documented. Heavy metal intoxications may damage central nervous function, the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal (GI) systems, lungs, kidneys, liver, endocrine glands, and bones. Chronic heavy metal exposure has been implicated in several degenerative diseases of these same systems and may increase the risk of some cancers.
Other symptoms of toxic heavy metal poisoning range from skin ailments, intellectual disabilities in children, dementia in adults, central nervous system (CNS) disorders, nerve damage, organ degeneration, kidney (renal) diseases, liver (hepatic) diseases, insomnia, personality changes, emotional instability, depression, panic attacks, memory loss, headaches, vision disturbances, peripheral neuropathy and carpal tunnel syndrome, blood acidity, lack of coordination (ataxia), hardening arteries, encephalopathy or cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
With several toxic metals lacking robust pathways for elimination, or otherwise remaining in the body for a long time, body burdens of some toxic metals are a major detriment to health. There are many ways to detox from heavy metals, chelation therapy being the most common treatment in terms of acute poisoning, but comes with a smorgasbord of detrimental health and side effects.
It is possible to reduce metal toxicity risk through lifestyle choices that diminish the probability of harmful heavy metal uptake, such as dietary measures that promote daily detoxification. Ensuring that the body’s natural metabolic processes are strong will further assist in naturally excreting heavy metals.
Detoxing from heavy metals has strong anti-aging and health enhancing benefits and daily detoxification is a safe way of supporting your body in naturally eliminating contaminants. Adding antioxidants and zeolite to your daily routine will attract and remove heavy metals from the body, assisting in the maintenance of healthy metabolism.