At some point, your body will come into direct contact with a toxic heavy metal, no question about it. How well you handle that exposure depends on the following three things.
1. The substance 2. The amount of time spent coming into contact with it. 3. Your ability to detoxify it
It doesn’t matter what your doctor calls it, it ALWAYS involves toxicity — Dr. Sherry Rogers
Heavy metals are a relatively dense metal with an affinity for pushing good health off the edge of a cliff. Trace amounts of heavy metals are now routinely turning up in fruit juice, prescription medications, health supplements, and even baby formula! And yet, when we look at the Earths crust as a whole, those heavy metals were once relatively scarce.
Ever wonder how we got here?
The link between heavy metals and serious health problems can be traced back to the industrial revolution. Back then, manufacturing techniques allowed metals to seep into our waterways, our soil, and the air we breathe.
Today, corporations around the world continue to add toxic materials to our daily products. It’s now commonplace to find lead in lipstick, arsenic in wood preserver, cadmium in batteries, aluminum in deodorant, and the list goes on and on and on.
As a result, getting metals into the body is the easy part. A while a lot can be said for eating healthy, no amount of kale soup is going to chelate heavy metals. Remember, organic food is tested for pesticides, not heavy metals.
The good news is, with the right approach, your body is capable of shedding these toxic substances. In the process, energy soars, brain fog begins to lift, and a peaceful nights sleep becomes achievable. (More on this later).
That said, unraveling the damage caused by heavy metals is a process. Not least because symptoms present themselves in so many different forms. Once we have one health-destroying heavy metal floating around inside us the risk of accumulating another begins to increase.
The difference between sickness and health comes down to how effective your body is at filtering out toxins. The liver and kidneys are the main players taking a hit for the team. But there’s problem lurking, can you see it?
The brain doesn’t have a filter; it has a protective barrier around it. Heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and aluminum are able to sneak past that barrier with ease.
Once inside the brain, the pituitary is left exposed. This small gland is only about the size of a pea but it plays a pivotal role in your health.
The pituitary gland is sometimes described as the “master gland” because the hormones it helps to create have an impact on other parts of the endocrine system, such as the thyroid, adrenal glands, ovaries, and testes. Before we give the pituitary all the credit we should also mention that it gets a little help from the hypothalamus which signals to the pituitary gland when to stimulate or inhibit hormone production.
Stay with me here, the importance of knowing this is about to link back to the important topic of heavy metals. The pituitary gland is a key player in producing melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. As we sleep our bodies do a great deal of detoxifying. On the flip side, without sleep, the brain is deprived of a chance to rest or repair itself.
As we sleep our brains shrink allowing cerebrospinal fluid to flood the area and clear out harmful toxins. Recent research suggests people who sleep better have a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The thinking behind this is that harmful waste proteins linked to Alzheimer’s are washed away as we sleep. Its the equivalent of a cleanup crew coming into clean the store after hours.
Now we come full circle as heavy metals such as mercury, aluminum, and lead unnaturally stimulate the pituitary. This might explain why some folks feel “tired and wired” at bedtime. It can also feel like the mind “chatter” just won’t shut off.
The pituitary gland is important as it also plays a key role in our intuition. When our intuition is off we lose the ability to sense when something is immediately and instinctively wrong. Perhaps here we see the birth pangs of mental anguish and anxiety.
Let’s explore this a little.
When a heavy metal is present in the brain rational thinking becomes an unachievable skill. At best, foggy thinking becomes the new normal; at worst a person is capable of lashing out in either anger or frustration. Perhaps both are consequences of a mind that is slowly being poisoned. Clearly, the human mind cannot cope with heavy metal exposure hence the importance of detoxification cannot be understated.
Lead is neurotoxin associated with major depression, reduced IQ, and anxiety disorders.
It was once speculated that the fall of the mighty Roman Empire was due in part to the introduction of lead plumbing.
Because of their high degree of toxicity, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, and mercury all play a significant role in mental health, although this is by no means a complete list. Bottom line: when the burden of heavy metals overwhelms the body’s ability to detoxify them, health problems begin to intensify.
THE WEAKEST LINK
Unfortunately, it’s not just the brain that’s exposed. Toxic heavy metals can settle just about anywhere in the body. Be it in the thyroid, prostate, heart, muscle, or even bone. When heavy metals settle in their new home they do a first-class job of messing with body chemistry.
Heavy metals are masters of disruption and will often disrupt essential minerals. As an example, thallium mimics potassium which can affect nerves and cardiovascular system. Cadmium is known to displace zinc, and lead is so chemically similar to calcium it leaches into the bones. This process happens faster in a body that is deficient in minerals.
Minerals help to perform functions necessary for life. The five major minerals in the human body are calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and magnesium. These minerals were once found in abundance in the foods we ate. Unfortunately, we now live in a world where food is grown for profit, not mineral content.
At this point, it’s prudent to mention that a decrease in minerals can happen gradually over time. This can cause a real disconnect between exposure and sickness the insidious build-up of heavy metals.
WHEN SILVER BECOMES MERCURY
In the past, I’ve successfully dealt with my own exposure to mercury, arsenic, uranium, and lead. Hence I have a keen interest in the topic. This led me to the work of one of the worlds leading experts, Dr. Chris Shade, Ph.D.
As Dr. Shade pointed out, “silver” dental fillings contain an element of mercury. Once they become an integral part of the tooth, mercury vapors begin to trickle down into the rest of the body. This happens around the clock, 365 days a year.
Over time this buildup compounds causing a multitude of health problems. Removal of silver fillings is the only way to prevent further exposure. However, in the wrong hands, removal can add to the problem. Working with an educated dentist who fully understands the dangers is critical. Sadly, most don’t.
Most heavy metals experts agree that these types of fillings should have been banned years ago. Despite a mountain of evidence alerting dentists to the obvious dangers, some continue putting “silver” fillings into the mouths of children. The idiotic argument often put forward is that metal fillings are stronger, sheesh, thanks for nothing.
Unfortunately, heavy metals aren’t confined to teeth. It should come as no surprise that some of the highest readings for heavy metals are found in our waterways. As such, methylmercury is routinely found in many fish supplies. The higher up the food chain you go the higher the concentration of mercury. Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, and Tilefish are all notoriously contaminated.
Sardines are a better choice. Not only are sardines lower in the food chain they also contain selenium. This can have a protective effect on any potential mercury exposure.
Fish oil supplements can be a hidden source of heavy metals. Some of the more reputable supplement companies offer third-party testing. Third party testing ensures that someone who is perceived to be independent checks the fish for excessive levels of mercury.
MASTERS OF DISRUPTION
Remember, what heavy metals do best is disrupt, it’s their party piece if you like. This includes messing up enzyme activity.
Enzymes help regulate different processes in the body. They also make certain chemical reactions happen. Whenever a cell needs something done in a hurry it uses enzymes to speed up chemical reactions. Enzymes are special types of proteins. Like all proteins, they are made from strings of amino acids.
Inside the amino acid, cysteine group is the sulfhydryl group. Sulfhydryl groups are good at moving electrons around and holding the good metals like copper and zinc in place. Unfortunately, old friend mercury also likes to link up with sulfhydryl groups. Once mercury gets attached, it displaces the copper or the zinc that was supposed to be there.
Why is this important to know?
Zinc is required for the catalytic activity of more than 300 enzymes; it’s involved in the synthesis and metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, nucleic acids, and other micronutrients.
Copper and zinc are a team that likes to work together. Copper is important for a healthy heart, bones, and brain development. Zinc is an immune-system booster that helps the body stay healthy. But everything it’s a delicate balancing act. Copper and zinc have an interesting relationship. The intake of one causes the other to decrease in the body. A healthy balance between the two is critically important to prevent a buildup of toxicity in the body.
Are we there yet?
A destructive heavy metal causes this fine balance to become unglued. And while copper and zinc are important so are all the other minerals. The heart needs calcium, magnesium, and potassium or it simply won’t pump smoothly. Heavy metals mimic essential minerals and prevent them from doing their job. When this happens, heavy metals can send every system in the body out of balance.
Now, can you imagine the complexity of the problem once heavy metals cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the mind? Can we expect to see a little brain fog? I think so.
I’m sure many have heard the term “mad as a hatter”. A reference to English hat makers who, not so long ago, used heavy metals as part of their hat-making process. These craftsmen were well known for their irrational outbursts and depressive bouts. Symptoms were attributed to the Mercury used in finishing top hats. Once mercury entered the bloodstream it was really only a matter of time before it crossed the blood-brain barrier.
Alas, problems don’t stop with mental anguish or brain fog; once heavy metals disrupt enzyme production essential nutrients are blocked from reaching the mitochondria. Perhaps this is the reason why so many people dealing with an unresolved heavy metals issue often complain of debilitating fatigue.
Think of mitochondria as the battery inside your watch, when the battery runs down the watch slowly runs down. Mitochondria are the tiny powerhouses inside the cell. When the mitochondria take a hit so too does your energy.
By now you should be realizing that heavy metals do a pretty good job at messing with our health.
In my coming posts, I’ll show you how to test yourself for heavy metals. I’ll also share some effective detoxification protocols you can try at home. Others, you may need the services of a medical professional who fully understands the process. Here’s what we need to remember.
Whenever an attempt is made to remove heavy metals, the golden rule is don’t be greedy. This simply means that chelation (removal of metals) needs to be done slowly. Detoxification is a marathon race, not a sprint. Any attempt to do this too quickly will cause you to crash and burn. Trust me, I’ve been there and you don’t want that.
Without a clear plan, heavy metals can be an extremely complicated riddle to solve. Stay tuned, solutions are coming!