I recently found out that I had heavy metals in my body. I dont know how long they have been there or how I got exposed but I did have a good feeling that the test was going to be positive. Heavy metal toxicity is very common in the population and is often a root contributor to many chronic physical and mental health conditions, like depression, anxiety, heart disease, addiction, cancer, chronic fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, autism, memory loss, dementia, Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, adrenal disorders, thyroid disorders, candida overgrowth, Parkinson’s, chronic pain, hyperactivity, attention deficit, arthritis, MS and other auto-immune disorders, and many more. Identifying whether you have heavy metals in your body is an essential component of all healing paths.
Signs of heavy metal toxicity:
Acute metal toxicity is a lot easier to diagnose than that of chronic exposure. Indications of acute toxicity include:
- Sudden, severe cramping and/or convulsions
- Difficulty breathing
- Impaired cognitive, motor and language skills
Symptoms of toxic build-up due to chronic toxic metal exposure, however, are much more subtle, in large part because these symptoms are so “common,” such as:
- Digestive distress, and reduced ability to properly assimilate and utilize fats
- Aching joints
- Impaired blood sugar regulation
- Female reproductive problems such as menstrual difficulties, infertility, miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, pregnancy-induced hypertension and premature birth
Guidelines for Reducing Your Toxic Metal Exposure
It may seem like a fight you’re destined to lose, however I firmly believe you can reduce you exposure to toxic metals quite dramatically, thereby giving your body a fighting chance to eliminate accumulated toxins and restore health.
These guidelines can help limit your exposure:
- Use glass, cast iron, carbon steel, titanium, and enamel cookware. Both aluminum and non-stick cookware are well known for their toxic dangers, and stainless steel can expose you to carcinogenic nickel.
- Minimize consumption of restaurant food as restaurants are required to use stainless steel pots and vats.
- Avoid stainless steel thermoses; the glass lined kinds are best.
- Avoid cosmetics with aluminum bases, mineral powders that contain bismuth, and aluminum-laden antiperspirants, which have been shown to increase your Alzheimer’s risk by as much as 300 percent!
- Avoid vaccinations that inject mercury or aluminum directly into your bloodstream.
- Avoid and remove dental amalgam fillings.
- Avoid stainless steel orthodontics such as braces and palate wideners.
- Avoid costume jewelry if you are sensitive to metals.
- Avoid smoking and second hand smoke as it causes cadmium poisoning.
- Make sure you purchase your natural herbal remedies from a reputable source with strict quality testing.
- Avoid conventional household cleaning products.
- Avoid conventional insecticides and herbicides. Also be VERY cautious when using the “natural alternative” Borax (boric acid), which can also cause serious health problems, including death.
How to Test for Heavy Metals:
There are a variety of ways to test for mercury and other heavy metals and each one has its strengths and drawbacks. It will vary from practitioner to practitioner on what they feel is best. The options include hair, urine and blood. Each one has merit.
With urine this is usually what is called a chelation challenge. The heavy metals and nutrient metals are measured in the urine and then the individual is given a heavy metal chelator like DMPS or DMSA. Then the urine is collected again and the metals are measured again. This is the method I did originally.This is a common and well-established method used in clinics and doctor’s offices. The benefits for this method are the results are considered to be highly accurate and you have your results quickly. The drawback is you must have it done by a physician, it’s expensive and you must take a chelating agent. Some people get very sick from the chelating agent, because it mobilizes the heavy metals that are dormant, I did. Another benefit of this method is that the results are reliable for both your heavy metals and your nutrient metals (zinc, copper, potassium, selenium etc.) That’s important, because we need to know both.
There are a variety of ways to measure both nutrient and toxic metals within the blood . The RBC method of testing will tell us if there is a recent or ongoing exposure to heavy metals, however it is not a good tool for telling us if there are heavy metals stored in the organs, tissues, cells and fat and it does require a doctors order and a trip to the lab for the blood draw. The blood cleans itself twice a day. Therefore, if toxic metals are showing up in an RBC test, this indicates one of two things. One, there is a recent or ongoing exposure to the metals. Two, the level of metals is so high that the body is saturated with them and the blood is not able to clear them.
The hair analysis is considered by most to be a very reliable and accurate tool for telling us if heavy metals are being stored in fat, tissues, organs and cells and how much is being stored. It is easy, convenient and the most affordable. A hair analysis doesn’t require a visit to the doctors office. You can get a kit sent to your home, collect a hair sample and mail it back to the lab. The results will be sent to you. The drawbacks to this method are that it takes a couple weeks to get results, so not the best way to go if you have an urgent need to have your information and I have been schooled to believe that the hair analysis does not provide accurate and reliable results for the nutrient metals. However, not all practitioners will agree with this. Some of them do use the hair analysis for both the toxic and nutrient metals.
Since my focus is largely on self-care, I like methods that give control to the client and are affordable. So my favorite form I recommend for testing for heavy metals is the hair analysis. However, since the results for the nutrient minerals can’t be relied on with this method and the hair analysis doesn’t tell us about recent or ongoing exposures, then an RBC Mineral test is also called for.
We have toxic metals and nutrient metals in our body. Toxic metals should not be there, but the nutrient metals are fundamental to health. Some of the most common toxic metals include aluminum, cadmium, mercury, antimony, arsenic, lead and others, while some of the most important nutrient metals include potassium, calcium, selenium, zinc, copper, manganese and molybdenum. It’s important to know the levels of both for a variety of reasons. For one, the toxic metals often compete with the nutrient metals. Sometimes you can drive out the toxic metal simply by increasing the nutrient metal that is low.
Now, if I were a physician and had a bricks and mortar health clinic I might prefer to use the urine chelation challenge testing, but that’s not a good fit for my practice which consists of providing my services by phone consultation. So I like to combine the hair analysis with the RBC Mineral test. The hair analysis provides us with the best results for heavy metals that are being stored and the RBC Mineral test provides us with the best results for recent and ongoing exposures and the nutrient metals. The two together, give us everything we need to know.
However, not all hair analysis are created equal. Most labs wash the hair and I am in the camp that believes that washing the hair alters the results and should not be practiced. To my knowledge there are only two labs that don’t wash the hair, Trace Elements Inc. and Analytical Research Labs. I prefer Trace Elements Inc. because they test for a larger amount of toxic metals. You can get the Trace Elements test for only $95 by visiting this link
If you’d like the RBC mineral test, you can set up a phone consultation and I can connect you with my preferred lab, which will also provide you with the necessary doctor’s order. The RBC Mineral can be purchased online and requires no visit to the doctor, but does require a visit to your local lab for the blood draw.
Look out for Part 2 to this discussussion where we will discuss how to detox heavy metals. Let me know if you have any questions!