This will destroy your health faster than you can say toxic overload
If the phrase heavy metal has you immediately thinking of Metallica, then, unfortunately, I am the bearer of bad news. Heavy metals are any relatively dense metal with a potential for toxicity. In short, heavy metals are to you what kryptonite is to Superman. Why is this important to know?
In one form or another, your body has already come into direct contact with a heavy metal. How well your body handled that exposure depends on the following three things.
1. The substance
2. The amount of time spend coming into contact with it
3. The individual’s ability to detoxify it
Alas, getting heavy metals into the body is the easy part. Trying to unravel the damage done now becomes a process. Not least because symptoms present themselves in many different forms. Before we look for solutions, lets first ask how did we get here?
The Industrial Revolution transformed the manufacturing processes, no question about it. But in our rush for progress, this era also brought with it a wide range of unnatural chemical compounds. Many of these compounds have a toxic element to them. Over the years these poisonous compounds have been quietly seeping into the water we drink, the air we breathe, and even the soil our food is grown in. As a result, most of us now have trace amounts of heavy metals in our bodies, even newborn babies — it’s become the price of modern living.
Once inside the body, heavy metals have the potential to cause a wide range of health problems ranging from acute to chronic. To add to the problem, a susceptibility to one heavy metal can lead to the increased risk of accumulating another.
When the body is forced to deal with substances of a toxic nature, it is forced to rely on the liver, kidneys, lungs, and skin to act as filters. When the burden becomes too great, or too frequent, these delicate organs will become less effective at doing their job. But there’s a bigger problem, can you see it?
The brain doesn’t have a filter; it has a protective barrier around it. It’s there to prevent toxins from entering. But heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and aluminum have the ability to cross that barrier with ease.
THE WEAKEST LINK
But it’s not just the brain that’s exposed, toxic heavy metals can land just about anywhere in the body. They can settle in the kidneys, liver, endocrine glands, and bone. A buildup of heavy metals can also mimic disorders of the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems. Unfortunately, the list goes on and on but for now let’s stay with the brain. The pituitary gland is located deep inside the brain and plays an important part in the endocrine system. There is some evidence to suggest it also plays a key role in our intuition. Once our thoughts become polluted it can become a source of great mental anguish.
Let’s explore this a little.
When a heavy metal is present in the brain rational thinking can become an unachievable skill. At best, foggy thinking becomes the new norm; 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 can’t cope with heavy metal exposure. The negative effects lead to the term “mad as a hatter.” This is a reference to English hat makers who, once upon a time, used heavy metals as part of their hat-making process. These craftsmen were well known for their mental instability, confused speech, and irrational outbursts.
Symptoms were often attributed to the Mercury used in finishing top hats. Once the mercury entered the bloodstream it crossed the blood-brain barrier with ease. Other undesirable traits of these 19th-century hat makers included being quick to anger. Can we say hello to anxiety and depression?
But mercury isn’t the only heavy metal to causes mental problems. Lead is a well-known neurotoxin that has been 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 ill 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, problems start to intensify.
LET’S GET PHYSICAL
Once heavy metals have breached the filtering system, they are free to seek out the weakest link. This is where heavy metals really do a first-class job of messing with our body chemistry.
Heavy metals are masters of disruption and can affect the whole physiology of the body. They will often disrupt minerals found throughout the body. As an example, thallium mimics potassium which can affect nerves and even the cardiovascular system. Cadmium is known to displace zinc, and lead is so chemically similar to calcium it leaches with ease into the bones.
Heavy metals may also compete with essential metallic cofactors for entry into the cells. I had the privilege of speaking at great length on this subject with a leading expert in the field by the name of Dr. Alan Greenberg. At the time of this writing, Dr. Greenberg is an eighty-plus-year-old retired physician. What he doesn’t know about heavy metal toxicity really isn’t worth knowing.
Standard testing for heavy metals is often done by taking blood and urine samples. But Dr. Greenberg holds firm in the belief that the only accurate way to test a person’s toxicity level is by conducting a comprehensive hair sample.
Getting a hair analysis done isn’t difficult and compared to sickness, it’s relatively inexpensive. At the time of writing the test costs around $125. Once you have the test kit, it’s simply a matter of sending away a hair sample in a prepaid envelope. In some states, you may need a licensed practitioner to order the test for you, other states you can just order it yourself online.
The company I used for my hair sample was Doctorsdata. Results are then come back to you in the form of a color-coded print-out (see below). Knowing which heavy metals are present is essential to recovery. Without knowing the cause of your toxicity it can be like running a long race with only one shoe on.
Different heavy metal toxicities require different chelation (removal) methods. With that in mind, I would urge anyone with a heavy metal issue to work with a knowledgeable practitioner.
Once you have the results of a hair test, a baseline can be established. The most obvious first step must be to reduce any further exposure. That said, this is sometimes easier said than done, especially with corporation’s content to pollute our skies and rivers.
It should come as no surprise that some of the highest readings for heavy metals are found in our waterways. Toxic methylmercury is routinely found in many fish supplies. This should be of immediate concern for anyone taking fish oil supplements. Some of the more reputable companies are now offering third-party testing. Third party testing ensures that someone who is perceived to be independent checks the fish for excessive levels of heavy metals.
WHEN SILVER BECOMES MERCURY
In the past, I’ve dealt with my own exposure to mercury, arsenic, uranium, and lead. Hence I have a keen interest in the topic. This also led me to Dr. Chris Shade, Ph.D., whose lectures I have studied at length online.
As both Dr. Shade and Dr. Greenberg pointed out, silver dental fillings contain an element of mercury. Once a “silver” dental filling become an integral part of the tooth, a form of mercury vapor then begins to trickle down into the rest of the body. It does this around the clock, 365 days a year. Over time this buildup has the potential to compound and in the process cause 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. Been there done that, and now have the damned tooth extraction to prove it.
Working with a dentist who fully understands the dangers of this form of mercury is critical. Sadly, most don’t. In Dr. Greenberg’s opinion, these types of fillings should have been banned years ago.
In a complete display of either ignorance or arrogance, some dentists are still putting these “silver” fillings into the mouths of children. Despite a mountain of evidence alerting them to the obvious dangers. I know, right? Why would they put mercury in kids’ teeth?
I actually went through this myself as a child; a dentist was paid to put seven of these large silver/mercury fillings in my mouth. When I look back on my school days I can still recall how my ability to absorb information was greatly hindered. Without the mercury in my mouth, I feel more at peace.
Unfortunately, heavy metals aren’t confined to teeth. Trying to figure this out on your own as I did can be a real source of frustration, especially if you aren’t feeling well, to begin with. I found that the hair sample report helped to take away some of the guesswork. This then allowed me to target my own treatment in a specific direction.
To have a better understanding of this fascinating subject let’s dig a little deeper before we peel away and begin looking at a few practical solutions. Don’t let the science bit scare you away, by the time we end it should all make sense.
Messing with the body’s chemistry is what heavy metals appear to do best. This would include but not limited to messing up enzyme activity. Enzymes are designed to help regulate different processes and make certain chemical reactions happen. Enzymes do this by tying together things like sulfhydryl groups, which are a kind of sulfur.
Enzymes are proteins built of amino acids, and inside the amino acid cysteine groups are the sulfhydryl group. Sulfhydryl groups are great at moving electrons around and holding the good metals in place, such as copper and zinc. Unfortunately, the thing that also likes to link up with sulfhydryl groups is our old friend mercury. Once mercury gets attached, it displaces the copper or the zinc that was supposed to be there. Why is this important to know?
Minerals play an important role in good health, without minerals, vitamins cannot be absorbed. Heavy metals, particularly mercury, block essential minerals like copper and zinc from doing their job.
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. To understand the importance of this, know that mercury totally messes up how these enzymes work.
But it doesn’t stop there.
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. Throw in the mix a destructive heavy metal and the fine balance soon becomes unglued.
Are we there yet?
Copper and zinc are important but so are all the other minerals. Heavy metals have the potential to disrupt just about every mineral in the body sending your whole system out of balance. Given the complex chemistry behind this, can you imagine the complexity of the problem once heavy metals enter the mind?
But it doesn’t stop there; this blocking of essential minerals also takes place in the mitochondria. When the mitochondria take a hit so too does your energy. And hello, to your chronic fatigue.
DON’T BE GREEDY
By now we should realize that heavy metals are not only destructive; they can be very difficult to remove. I would urge you not tackle this problem alone; lord knows getting it wrong is easier than getting it right. Find a medical professional that understands these problems, sadly, all do.
Here’s what you 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 by someone who understands the dangers. 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.
Although my persistence eventually paid off, I went through a heck of a lot of trial and error and some of the error was extremely unpleasant. For this very reason, I cannot stress enough the importance of working with an expert in this field.
Why go slow?
Whenever you have a buildup of heavy metals, there is a very good chance your liver and kidneys aren’t performing optimally. Trying to force out toxic heavy metals quickly will inevitably cause a huge bottleneck. When the heavy metals can’t get out fast enough they are reabsorbed. Why is this a problem?
Think about it, many of these heavy metals may have been stored away for years in separate parts of the body in the hope that they could be processed at a later date.
This storing of these heavy metals could happen anywhere from the muscles to the brain. Along comes your well-meaning doctor who then tries to get them out a little too quickly. Now you have heavy metals circulating the bloodstream with no way out.
The trick to pulling this off is to (a) first help the liver and kidneys with an effective protocol, and (b) go slow. To do this safely, think of chelation as a marathon, not a sprint.
The following information is offered here only as a basic research tool only. Once again, let me stress that your best option is to find a medical professional to work with. Make sure that whoever is treating you has a clear understanding of why it’s important to start small and go slow. It might be someone else’s treatment you are tapping into, but ultimately it is your life.
Your own practitioner will have their own protocol for removing heavy metals. They may look to use supplements like glutathione (GSH) vitamin C, and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM). All three of these work synergistically.
Tip — MSM is widely available in powder form. To check the quality of the product add it to a clear glass of water. Pure MSM will sink straight to the bottom; whatever is left floating on the top of the water is being used as a filler.
Both vitamin C and MSM are precursors to glutathione, which is a substance produced naturally by the liver and is known to be helpful in chelation. Glutathione (or GSH) is an antioxidant most people have probably never heard of but it’s actually super important to help keep everything in balance.
Glutathione is considered the mother of all antioxidants and the master detoxifier. Your body decided Glutathione was so important that needed to be able to make its own. But poor diet, toxins, stress, and too many ongoing infections all help to deplete the body’s glutathione stores.
Taking glutathione in pill form can be tricky because it’s easily broken down and lost in digestion. Some of the better quality products may offer Liposomal Glutathione which has the advantage of being protected from stomach acid.
Glutathione can also be given intravenously by your doctor. There’s a lot of data to support the idea that this may be helpful for people with Parkinson’s disease.
Low glutathione would also be suspected in a body that is simply feeling run down. Instead of paying for treatment, another way to increase your glutathione levels naturally is to eat more avocados.
Glutathione is actually a very simple molecule, a combination of three simple building blocks of protein or amino acids — cysteine, glycine, and glutamine. The secret of its power is the sulfur.
Can you see why nutrition is so important? Sulfur increases glutathione, which means garlic and onions are good sources. Sulfur is a sticky, smelly molecule that sticks to bad things like free radicals, toxins, and heavy metals. It does so with almost magnetic strength. Bottom line: glutathione is critical to our overall health and that of the immune system.
Ironically, some mainstream doctors may fail to fully grasp the concept of chelation in part, because they receive very little nutritional training. A little odd don’t you think?
The body also has a small reserve of vitamin C, which can quickly become exhausted as toxicity levels increase. These are by no means the only healing tools at your disposal. If you are looking for solutions, you could also target some of your research toward activated charcoal. As well as removing certain heavy metals, activated charcoal can be helpful for stomach aches.
THE HEALING TRIANGLE
In some circles of natural chelation, there is something known as a “healing triangle.” This is a three-part trick consisting of Chlorella, Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), and Cilantro.
In this triangle, the role of cilantro is to stir up heavy metals in the body, hence anyone with a heavy metal issue should go easy with the cilantro part. Here’s why.
Imagine a clear bowl of water with a thin layer of dirt at the bottom. The dirt is representative of the heavy metals. Now take a spoon and stir the water. Think of the action of the spoon as cilantro. That’s a pretty neat trick but remember that this trick comes in three parts. Obviously, using cilantro alone isn’t going to help. Hence the other two parts of the healing triangle are needed.
When you stirred up the heavy metals in our proverbial bucket with cilantro you didn’t offer the heavy metals a way out. Cilantro will then cause a wave of toxic heavy metals to flow through your bloodstream. With nothing in place to catch them, it’s like stirring up a hornet’s nest. However, had you known about the second part of the triangle, all would not be lost.
Again I’d like to stress the purpose of this information is to help guide you toward making better research choices. Ultimately your best option is to work with a well-versed doctor who understands these basic principles. I’m trying to do you a solid here, okay?
So the next part of the trick requires chlorella. Chlorella is freshwater algae that have been shown to be helpful in detoxifying low levels of heavy metals. Once the cilantro has stirred up all those heavy metals, chlorella collects them from the gut. So far so good, but there’s a problem, can you see it?
Remember earlier in the article we learned that some heavy metals have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. As useful as chlorella is at collecting heavy metals in the gut, it’s doing nothing to help remove those deeper set heavy metals now circulating in the brain. This is where the third part of the trick comes in.
ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid) is known to cross into the blood-brain barrier and in doing so binds to heavy metals. Bingo, the triangle is now complete. But only when all are used in conjunction with each other. But the devil is in the details and your individual circumstance will vary greatly. Hence my reluctance to supply you with exact doses.
If circumstances allow, you could try the least invasive option first, which is adding chlorella to the diet. You can buy this in supplement form from any health food store.
Chlorella is a good source of Chlorophyll, Protein, Iron, Magnesium, and amino acids, but it is primarily known as a detoxifying supplement. Simply sprinkle a small amount onto your food or you can dip a sliced apple into it. This also carries the benefit of pectin and can help remove lead.
Also be sure not to underestimate the value of green leafy vegetables. You may have noticed that food keeps emerging as a common thread; there are foods that are helpful and some that are more destructive. Green leafy vegetables are known to help the body detoxify and should be eaten in abundance.
Sooner or later I’m hoping the penny will drop that the food you choose to put into your mouth plays a strong role in linking all of this all together.
If you find yourself in a heavy metal bind it's worth knowing that sweating can help to detoxify heavy metals. This process can be assisted with the use of an infrared sauna. If you have access to a local gym make a point of asking if they have one, infrared saunas are superior as they reach deeper into the cells. And as a bonus, they are more comfortable to sit in.
A final product to have on the checklist is Liquid Zeolite. It’s something I have used on occasion with good effect. Although as with any supplement, it’s important to go for quality rather than price.
What did we learn from this?
The golden rule of detoxification is don’t get greedy. Always start with the smallest dose and go slow. When the burden becomes too great, heavy metals can present a wide range of symptoms. Essential minerals like zinc can be blocked by mercury. Heavy metals are an extremely complicated riddle to solve. It’s best to work with a healthcare professional.
Homework: Please check out my new book!