What is Heavy Metal Toxicity?
Heavy metals are all around us, in our air, our food, our water and our soils. Some people who are exposed to high levels of toxic metals can display classic symptoms of heavy metal poisoning; people who are chronically exposed to low levels of these metals may not realize it but they suffer from a wide range of health problems.
Toxic metals are aluminum, lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium. Because thousands of tons of industrial waste are disposed of each year, leaching toxic metals into our ground soil, people who try to avoid heavy metal poisoning may still be exposed to low levels for many, many years. When people’s bodies are healthy and fully able to perform proper detoxification, this low-level exposure is likely not to cause health problems. The problem is, we are also exposed to a huge range of other toxins that overburden the systems meant to eliminate waste from our bodies!
How Can Heavy Metal Toxicity Affect Weight?
When we are overburdened with toxins, weight woes appear, no matter how hard we exercise or how much we diet. Heavy metals prevent proper hormone breakdown, which can lead to weight gain or difficulties losing weight. Hormones play a key role in metabolism so when they’re out of whack, there goes your metabolism. Therefore, if you’re struggling to lose weight and you think you may have a heavy metal overload, it might be a good idea to work through a heavy metal detox protocol.
Signs You May Have Heavy Metal Toxicity
Heavy metal toxicity is probably not the first thing you think about when your energy is low or you feel anxious, but these are two symptoms that your body may not be detoxifying these metals properly. (Toxicity is something to definitely consider if you just can’t seem to figure out what’s going on!) If you frequently suffer from food allergies, dizziness, migraines and/or headaches, visual disturbances, mood swings, depression, or tingling or numbness in the limbs, you could also be experiencing heavy metal toxicity.
The brain is especially sensitive to heavy metals so brain fog, confusion and / or forgetfulness are common signs of a problem; in fact, Alzheimer’s disease and ADHD have both been linked to heavy metal toxicity.
What Can You Do?
If you suspect heavy metal toxicity, the first thing you can do is ask your doctor for a hair-mineral and urine analysis. You can also work closely with your nutrition consultant to develop a food and supplement plan to help promote elimination of toxic particles from your tissues. Don’t attempt a detox yourself; heavy metals are dangerous and need to be removed with care.
What Foods Can You Eat?
Pure organic chlorella can bind with mercury and aluminum and help with liver detoxification. It’s important to get organic, clean chlorella because chlorella may actually have traces of mercury in it, as it is a sea algae. (Heavy metals are heavier than water so they sink to the bottom of the ocean and make their way up through the food chain.) Pure organic spirulina is also important as it reduces the toxic effects of cadmium and arsenic. Coriander, turmeric and parsley bind to heavy metals and protect the body from free radicals and inflammation.
Nutrients to consider include vitamins A, B3, B5, B6, C and E; alpha-linoleic acid; and the minerals selenium, calcium, zinc, manganese and magnesium. Your best defense against heavy metals is to take a high-quality multivitamin/mineral complex daily.
Why is our exposure so high?
Aluminum is found in food additives, deodorants, aluminum pots and pans, aluminum foil (including the foil wrapping wine bottles), baking powder, pickles and aspirin. When cooking with fluoridated water in aluminum pans, the amount of aluminum leakage into food and water increases.
Mercury is primarily found in old mercury/silver dental amalgams. Mercury from industrial waste is easily absorbed by certain fish, like tuna. And, mercury is used extensively in health care and agriculture.
Cadmium is found in cigarette smoke and exhaust fumes and overexposure may lead to hair loss and high blood pressure.
Copper and zinc work together to balance each other out, so if your zinc intake is low, copper levels may become too high. We do need copper for some tissue development but we can easily get too much from second hand smoke, meat contamination, insecticides, pasteurized milk, copper pipes and oral contraceptives.
And, lead exposure comes from exhaust fumes, cigarettes smoke, drinking water (from lead pipes) and industrial airborne pollutants.