You might not see them, but heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury are all around us. They might be in the water we drink or dust that we breathe. And they’re definitely in the ground we walk on.
Fortunately, acute heavy-metal poisoning from environmental pollution isn’t common in the United States. But chronic, low-level exposure, coupled with certain products we use and foods we eat can lead to serious health issues.
While it is impossible to side-step every possible exposure, research can guide us on known dangers to avoid. And if you have been affected, there is a way to test for heavy metals and cleanse your system.
There are many known associations between heavy metals and disease. Here are just a few examples:
Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
Mercury has been directly linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease by multiple studies, according to Dr. Charles Williamson, the co-director of the Toxic Studies Institute.
Two of the foremost sources of mercury are consumption of fish – tuna has the highest mercury content — and the use of dental fillings that contain mercury.
Research done by Louisiana State University, also has linked aluminum to Alzheimer’s-like memory impairment. Naturally occurring aluminum is the third-most abundant element on earth. It is in drinking water from plants that use aluminum salts to purify water. Its also in antiperspirants, cookware, baking mixes and other packaged foods.
The Louisiana State University study also concludes that: “Out of all the Alzheimer’s disease drug treatments tried to date, chelation using an aluminum chelator has been shown to be one of the most effective therapeutic strategies yet.”
Though experts continue to debate the research, and the research is not conclusive, a link between aluminum in antiperspirants and breast cancer has been suspected for many years. Some of the latest research is getting closer to the answer.
Learning Problems, Hormonal Disturbances and More
It is common knowledge that lead is a dangerous heavy metal, which the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warns humans should avoid exposure to entirely. This is why there was such a loud public outcry when high lead levels came up a few years ago in Flint, Michigan’s water supply.
So why was the reaction not equally loud in 2007 when the first serious investigation of lead in lipstick was conducted by the nonprofit Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which tested a range of products and found traces of lead in 61 percent of name-brand lipsticks?
Making matters worse, heavy metals like lead, arsenic, mercury, aluminum, zinc, chromium and iron have been found in many personal care products, ranging from teeth whiteners and skin creams to eyeliners and lipsticks that millions of consumers use every day!
Heart and Cardiovascular Disease
Researchers at Cambridge’s Department of Public Health and Primary Care carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies covering 350,000 unique participants from 37 countries. They concluded that exposure to arsenic, lead, cadmium and copper – but not mercury – was linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.
“It’s clear from our analysis that there’s a possible link between exposure to heavy metals or metalloids and risk of conditions such as heart disease, even at low doses – and the greater the exposure, the greater the risk,” says Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury, the study’s first author. “While people shouldn’t overly worry about any immediate health risk, it should send a message to policymakers that we need to take action to reduce people’s exposure.”
Worldwide, those with the greatest exposure to arsenic, lead, cadmium and copper were 30- to 80-percent more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those at the lowest exposure.
Detoxifying with Probiotics
In addition to avoiding all known sources of problematic metals, I cannot stress enough the wonders of probiotics. Fermented foods are rich in probiotics. They promote healthy bacteria in the gut. In turn, this supports the immune system and modulates inflammation, helping your body produce B complex and K vitamins. They help to detoxify your body of harmful heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury.
Probiotics also can help shorten the duration and intensity of colds, flu and even allergies. Foods rich in probiotics include yogurt, kefir, miso, natto, sauerkraut, kimchi, raw pickles, olives, and fermented vegetables. Also, buttermilk, raw whey, raw vinegars and sourdough.
Heavy Metal Testing and Chelation
Because we are surrounded by toxic heavy metals regularly, it is important to have periodic testing. I do a lot of heavy metal testing. Because heavy metals quickly absorb, blood tests are not accurate. Except in cases of acute heavy metal poisoning.
In my opinion, the best way to test for heavy metals is to do a hair analysis. Hair readily absorbs, and accumulates, heavy metals from the blood, including cadmium.
I use the Hair Toxic Element Exposure Test by Doctor’s Data. When you order, Direct Labs will send you a test kit in a prepaid envelope. Just collect and send several small clips of hair. A report will then deliver directly to you and any doctor you authorize.
Depending on the level of heavy metal(s) found. A personal detoxification program, using chelation supplements, dietary changes and avoidance will help you rid your system of heavy metal.
From there, eating a healthy diet filled with fiber and antioxidants will boost your immune system, protect you from heavy metal exposure, and decrease your risk for developing more serious disease.