How to tell if you have heavy metals in your body--and what to do about them if you do.
All of us have been exposed to heavy metals--toxic substances like mercury, cadmium, and lead. They're in our food, our water, and in the air we breathe. There's no way we can escape them, and it's difficult to get rid of them once they've accumulated in our tissues. This is unfortunate because they have been strongly implicated im·pli·cate
tr.v. im·pli·cat·ed, im·pli·cat·ing, im·pli·cates
1. To involve or connect intimately or incriminatingly: evidence that implicates others in the plot.
2. in a great number of health problems including poor memory, low thyroid, a suppressed immune system immune system
Cells, cell products, organs, and structures of the body involved in the detection and destruction of foreign invaders, such as bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. Immunity is based on the system's ability to launch a defense against such invaders. , fatigue, vision problems, and much more.
There's a lot of talk about various detoxification Detoxification Definition
Detoxification is one of the more widely used treatments and concepts in alternative medicine. It is based on the principle that illnesses can be caused by the accumulation of toxic substances (toxins) in the body. products and programs, but often there's insufficient information to hack up the claims made by companies with products to sell. So how do you know that any program or product is effective?
You can get expensive blood, urine, and hair analysis tests to identify heavy metals heavy metals,
n.pl metallic compounds, such as aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, and nickel. Exposure to these metals has been linked to immune, kidney, and neurotic disorders. in your tissues. Many require a doctor's prescription to order them. Then you need to repeat the test to make sure that whatever detoxification program you used was effective. This is expensive--$100 or more for each test.
But you don't have to spend that much. I've found an inexpensive kit that screens your urine for some of the most important heavy metals--and it costs only $25 for two tests. It has some limitations over the more expensive tests, hut it's effective enough to evaluate any detox de·tox
To subject to detoxification.
A section of a hospital or clinic in which patients are detoxified. program designed to eliminate heavy metals.
The more expensive tests, either blood or hair analysis, can test for over two-dozen heavy metals. This one screens you for just a handful. But it isn't necessary to know which heavy metals you have in your body since all of them are toxic. All that you need to know is that you have them. The ones that are tested in this kit are mercury, lead, nickel, and cadmium. It also tests for copper and zinc, as well.
What's wrong with copper and zinc?
No metals, even beneficial ones, should be present in high concentrations. Copper and zinc are essential for various functions from forming collagen to supporting a healthy immune system. When you have too much of either, however, it can mean that you have accumulated other more toxic metals.
Everything has its place in nature, and minerals have been assigned biological spaces that only they should fill. But heavy metals can get into these spaces because they're heavier. In fact, the heavier the metal, the easier it is for it to occupy another mineral's spaces in your body.
Lighter metals can be pushed around and overpowered o·ver·pow·er
tr.v. o·ver·pow·ered, o·ver·pow·er·ing, o·ver·pow·ers
1. To overcome or vanquish by superior force; subdue.
2. To affect so strongly as to make helpless or ineffective; overwhelm.
3. by heavier metals. Cadmium and mercury are heavier than zinc, so they can bully their way into zinc's spaces, preventing zinc from performing its necessary functions. Zinc may he present, but it can't do its job. If you have too much mercury--from dental amalgam dental amalgam Dentistry A filling material that contains up to 50% mercury, silver and other metals. See Alternative dentistry, Fluoridation, Gutta percha, Mercury. fillings or from fish, for instance--you could have symptoms of a zinc deficiency zinc deficiency (zinkˑ d·fiˑ ·sh even when you have enough zinc in your body. The mercury has occupied zinc's biological spaces. So a high level of zinc is often a sign of hidden heavy metal toxicity.
What this test measures
Heavy metals can be stored in your tissues, neutralized by your body, or float around in your urine. The latter are called "free ionic metals." You might think that these are the most innocuous of all. They're not. They are actually the most dangerous. These metals are potent oxidizers. They help generate free radicals, and they damage your DNA DNA: see nucleic acid.
or deoxyribonucleic acid
One of two types of nucleic acid (the other is RNA); a complex organic compound found in all living cells and many viruses. It is the chemical substance of genes. . Damaged DNA promotes disease and accelerates aging.
This test cannot measure any toxic metals that have already been attached, or bound, to a chelator chelator A chemical–eg, EDTA that binds metal ions from solutions. See Chelation therapy. , such as modified citrus pectin pectin, any of a group of white, amorphous, complex carbohydrates that occur in ripe fruits and certain vegetables. Fruits rich in pectin are the peach, apple, currant, and plum. Protopectin, present in unripe fruits, is converted to pectin as the fruit ripens. or EDTA EDTA: see chelating agents. . It screens for heavy metals in their most dangerous form. It indicates high, medium, low, or no amounts of heavy metals.
You can use this test just to cheek screen for heavy metals in your urine. You can also test your drinking water, saliva, and any materials that can be put into water, such as dust, foods, or paint.
You may be a non-excreter
Occasionally, someone who has been exposed to heavy metals gets a test result that indicates no presence of toxic metals. This doesn't mean you're fine. It may mean that your body is storing heavy metals in your tissues rather than eliminating them in your urine. So if your test remained green, take a heavy metal chelator, like modified citrus pectin for one week and then re-test. I'll bet the second test detects heavy metals!
Testing other substances
The directions for testing water, dirt, paint, food, and dust are included in the instructions. This heavy Metal Testing Kit is available for $24.95 from EcoNugenics (800-308-5518).
Detoxification is a complex two-step process. If you have free-circulating heavy metals in your urine, chances are you have some trapped in your tissues. Use a strong, effective chelation Chelation
The process by which a molecule encircles and binds to a metal and removes it from tissue.
Mentioned in: Heavy Metal Poisoning
chelation formula to pull these toxins out of your tissues and remove them from your body. The one I use, because it's safe, effective, and there's science behind it, is PectaSol Chelation Complex. If you'd like to try it, you can get it either from EcoNugenics or through Advanced Bionutritionals (800-728-2288).
Nan Kathryn Fuchs, PhD