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TOXIC METALS in the Body and How they affect your Health

Toxic Metals in the Body


Related Link:

Toxic Metal Detox “Tools”


(1)    In trace amounts, certain metals have benefical physiological functions in the body - physiological trace metals are integral components of specific proteins and one or more enzymes (catalysts in a metabolic or biochemical process):


-       Physiological metals:

         Zinc – constituent of >300 enzymes involved in gene expression, cell growth and repair

         Selenium – component of glutathione peroxidase enzyme needed for production of glutathion – the “king” of the body’s antioxidants

         Iron - constituent of haemoglobin, myoglobin and several enzymes.

         Copper – constituent of hair and elastic tissue in skin, bone and organs


         Chromium (III) – maintains normal glucose metabolism / cofactor for INSULIN






-       Some metals are not physiological  but can be used therapeutically in trace amounts:

         Silver (antibiotic)



(2)    Some metals have no business being in the body at all and generally have a toxic effect on health (even physiological metals can be toxic when their presence exceeds their physiological norm):


-       Health effects of toxic metals:


         They  are a MAJOR cause of immune system suppression


         Babies in utero who  receive toxic metals from their mother across the placental membrane  are more prone to autism, ADD, ADHD, infections, developmental delays and more.


         They increase free radical activity - causing cellular and tissue damage in vital organs


         They disrupt cellular functions.


-       What is the Modus Operandus of “invading” toxic metals?


         They compete with and replace essential minerals (E.g. iodine, zinc, copper, magnesium, and calcium) in enzyme binding sites, to inhibit, overstimulate or otherwise alter the effect of numerous enzymes - sometimes if the diet has not provided the ideal mineral needed for an enzyme to fucntion, these toxic metals play a less-than-perfect “stand in” role for the missing mineral.


         They may replace other substances in tissue structures – E.g. in the arteries, joints, bones and muscles, weakening these areas


         They may deposit themselves at sites causing local irritation, pain and inflammation


-       Health- toxic metals



         Chromium (VI)











      Health effects of toxic metals – even at a low level, toxic heavy metal ions can cause serious health effects, including reduced growth and development, cancer, organ damage, nervous system damage, and in extreme cases, death.


To give an idea of the problems caused by or associated with toxic metals:


         Aluminum has been associated with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, senility, and presenile dementia.


         Arsenic exposure can cause cancer, abdominal pain, and skin lesions.


         Cadmium exposure produces kidney damage and hypertension


         Lead and mercury may cause the development of autoimmunity – whereby the immune system attacks its own cells. This can lead to joint diseases and ailments of the kidneys, circulatory system, and neurons. At higher doses, lead and mercury can cause irreversible brain damage.


      Heavy metals enter the body from various sources (consumed, breathed, transdermally acquired or via other contact):


         Dental amalgam (silver colored ones contain mercury)

         Toxic metals pass through the placenta from mother to child


         Food – Eating any amount of tuna fish, salmon or other larger fish, along with shellfish or seafood and seaweed (except kelp) causes mercury toxicity (shellfish also contain cadmium),  aluminum found in antacids, canned foods, aluminum foil, some baking sodas; arsenic in CAFO-produced meat

         Water – E.g. arsenic , aluminum, copper, and more

         Cookware – E.g iron or aluminum pans contaminate food

         Air pollution – E.g. arsenic, cadmium; coal burning adds mercury to the air, etc.

         Cigarette and marijuana smoke – Cadmium (high levels in smokers); using a water pipe reduces contamination

         Household chemicals – E.g. arsenic in wood preservatives, cadmium in some paints

         Lead water pipes – introduce lead into water

         Gasoline – lead

         Batteries - lead


Miners, electricians, plumbers, auto mechanics and other mechanics in such as diesel engine repair, tool repair etc are at high risk for metal toxicity




      Several methods are used to detect heavy metals (not necessarily accurate methods):

         Hair analysis


         Red blood cell tests – not very accurate, since it is affected by nutrients and toxins in blood plasma


         Liver, other organ or tissue biopsies – painful, invasive and costly


         Fattty tissue tests – these tissues store toxic chemicals more than metals


         Urine challenge test for metals – content of toxic metals in urine is tested 24 hours after injecting a chelating agent. Method is inaccurate, since metals are deeply buried in tissues unreachable by the chelating agent


         Sweat tests


         Stool tests


      Hair samples give meaningful data on heavy metal toxicity – the United States Environmental Protection Agency reviewed over 400 studies of the use of hair for toxic metal detection, concluding that:


“Hair is a meaningful and representative tissue for (biological monitoring for) antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, vanadium and perhaps selenium and tin.“


Probably the best course of action is to just assume you have heavy metals

in your body (on this polluted planet it is highly likely) and do a detox program


How do heavy metals cause problems in the body?


The heavy metal ions form complexes with proteins involving carboxylic acid (–COOH), amine (–NH 2 ), and thiol (–SH) groups


-          These complexes (modified biological molecules) lose their ability to function properly and result in the malfunction or death of the cells - When metal ions bind to these groups, they inactivate important enzyme systems, or affect protein structure ( linked to the catalytic properties of enzymes).


-          Heavy metals may also increase formation of damaging radicals - that can oxidize and cause damage to body molecules, cells and tissues of vital organs.




Chemistry Explained – Heavy Metal Toxins



TOXINS Related Links


-  Toxic Metal Detox “Tools”