How to tell if you have heavy metals in your body--and what to do about them if you do.
There's a lot of talk about various detoxification 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 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 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 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 fillings or from fish, for instance--you could have symptoms of a zinc deficiency 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. Damaged DNA promotes disease and accelerates aging.
This test cannot measure any toxic metals that have already been attached, or bound, to a chelator, such as modified citrus pectin or EDTA. 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 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