by: Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
Recently, a German doctor used what he learned on the popular television show “House” to diagnose cobalt toxicity in a 55-year-old man with heart failure. This prompted me to want to bring some attention to a growing medical mystery that’s silently wrecking havoc with our health: Faulty hip implants.
According to a study published in The Lancet, cobalt toxicity caused by metal-on-metal hip implants is a growing problem, which could be potentially life-threatening in severe cases. Many faulty metal-on-metal hip implants cause cobalt poisoning (cobaltism) by releasing metal ions into local tissue and circulatory system.
The symptoms of cobalt toxicity are so wide and varied, they can be difficult to pin down and diagnose. If you or someone you know has recently undergone hip replacement surgery and are experiencing unusual symptoms, it might be beneficial to get tested for possible metal contamination.
Symptoms of Cobalt Toxicity
- Personality Changes
When hip implants are faulty, cobalt leaks into your bloodstream and crosses the blood-brain barrier. This can cause neurological damage and lead to mood swings, anxiety attacks, irritability, and depression.
- Chronic Headaches
- Burning Sensation in Hip
A burning or stinging sensation in the hip is often a tell-tale sign that you may have been the recipient of a fault hip implant.
- Metallic Mouth Taste
A metallic taste in the mouth has a wide variety of causes including dehydration, medication side effect, sinus problems, and heavy metal toxicity. If this metallic mouth taste is accompanied by neurological complaints, it could be the result of cobalt poisoning.
- Cognitive Decline
Since memory loss, mental confusion, and brain fog is often associated with growing older, many victims of a faulty metal-on-metal hip replacement don’t connect their symptoms to their recent surgery. Sudden cognitive impairment should always be thoroughly investigated.
- Degenerative Heart Disease
Degenerative heart disease is a common symptom of cobalt toxicity. Oftentimes, a patient will complain of heart problems soon after the surgery and endure months of frustrating doctor visits and tests before the cause is finally narrowed down.
Heavy metals have a negative effect on your thyroid. Cobalt can stop your thyroid from making enough hormone to function properly. Heavy metals like cobalt also have a negative impact on your liver. In addition to detoxifying your system, your liver is also responsible for the conversion of T3 and T4, essential thyroid hormones. Cobalt toxicity can quickly shift you into a state of hypothyroidism that may completely baffle your doctors.
- Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy is damage to the nerves on the periphery of your body. Fingers and toes are most commonly affected. Symptoms include numbness, burning, tingling, shooting or stabbing pain in your fingers and toes.
Ataxia is a common medical problem that can have many causes, two of them being cobalt toxicity and thyroid disease. Those with ataxia often experience difficulty with coordinating their muscle movements, an awkward and unsteady gate, and uncontrollable eye movements.
- Hearing Loss
Sudden, rapid hearing loss is another tell-tale sign of heavy metal toxicity.
- Vision Loss
According to studies, cobalt toxicity can lead to photoreceptor degeneration, which can cause vision loss in one or both eyes.
- Skin Rashes
When cobalt floods through your body at high levels, your immune system goes to work trying to protect you. This can cause unusual skin rashes.
Diagnosing Cobalt Poisoning
You can detoxify your body from excess amounts of cobalt by using a few natural methods. Bentonite clay helps draw heavy metals from your body because they have a positive charge while the clay has a negative charge. Bathing with the clay in warm water helps open up your pores so harmful toxins can be released.
Studies have also shown medicinal mushrooms to be effective in removing an accumulation of heavy metals from the body. They act as powerful antioxidants that help boost your immune system and heal sustained damage from cobalt poisoning.
Glutathione is another effective natural method for removing heavy metals from your body. Glutathione binds to heavy metals and flushes them from your system. For my patients, I recommend my Diamond Nutritional’s N-Acetyl Cysteine, a precursor to glutathione that helps your body produce more of this natural antioxidant.
Normal cobalt levels measure around 0.019 micrograms per deciliter of blood, or one microgram in the entire body. When cobalt levels reach 0.7 micrograms per deciliter, a patient should undergo regular monitoring blood tests to test for possible complications. When cobalt levels reach 1.9 micrograms per deciliter, your doctor will likely recommend your hip implant be removed and replaced with a safer alloy. Most patients make a full recovery after fault hip implant removal after 6 months.