Toxic Metals

Toxic metals are constantly being released into our environment and have been for hundreds of years now.  They are widely used in industry, agriculture, medicine and food processing. Toxic metals are in our air, water and food supply.

Even elements released into the environment over hundreds of years ago are still present and toxic.  They are a significant cause or contributor to chronic illness and are usually not even considered by most medical, alternative, nutritional or other health practitioners.

Whenever a deficiency of essential minerals occurs in the body, they are at risk of being replaced with toxic metals in enzyme binding sites, enzyme systems and body tissues. Enzyme function is absolutely essential for a healthy metabolism as nearly all body processes are controlled by metabolic enzymes.

The metal can occupy the binding sites or the tissues but it will not work the way the preferred nutrient mineral will.  For example, when cadmium replaces zinc in the arteries, it causes the arteries to become stiff and inflexible, raising the blood pressure as the condition worsens.  Cadmium readily replaces zinc, but cannot do the same job in the body.  

Since putting calcium into the bone matrix requires working copper as an essential co-factor, copper toxicity or biounavailable copper can promote the buildup of lead in the bones.  The body can replace the calcium with lead without needing the copper as a co-factor.  A result of correcting the copper imbalance can be a significant release of lead as the copper begins working again.

Toxic Metals

Metal Replacement

Lead replaces calcium, cadmium, and mercury replace zinc, aluminum replaces iron, magnesium and manganese. Substitution allows vital enzymes to continue functioning to some degree but also causes dysfunctions to occur.  Because copper and zinc balance each other, retention of copper will interfere with zinc.  A mercury toxicity can be a trigger to the development of copper toxicity due to its strongly displacing effect on zinc.

Replacement of vital elements with less desirable elements is a basic principle of the survival of all living organisms. Metal accumulation can be an adaptive mechanism and this must be recognized when therapies are initiated to remove them. Nutritional therapy must be seen as not simply alleviation of deficiencies of nutrients, but replacement of less optimal metals and minerals with the ideal essential minerals.

Specific Information on Toxic Metals:




Gut Flora and Metal

Toxic Metal Detection and Detoxification

Hair mineral testing is the best way to detect toxic metals in the body particularly when it is due to chronic low grade exposure. One of the most important findings in toxic metal research is that the metals are easily passed from mother to child through the placenta. More and more children are born already poisoned -- starting life with the metabolic disturbances that they cause.

The autism epidemic, ADD epidemic, learning disability epidemic, and mental illness epidemic along with the increase in childhood illnesses such as asthma, allergies and cancer are all related to this toxic load more and more children are burdened and born with. Testing the hair is vitally important in children with these conditions.

However, the deeper the metals are sequestered into the body tissues such as the liver, kidneys, brain, bones, joints and lungs, the harder it is to detect them.  It is possible to have little or no toxic metal showing in the hair, blood or urine and still have a significant metal burden in the body. In many cases, typical distortions of the nutrient mineral levels in the hair can indicate hidden metals in the body tissues.

Within three days of exposure, the toxic metals have mostly left the blood to be stored in various tissues.  The more fatigued and disturbed the adrenal gland function is, the less the metal will show up on the tests.  It is nearly completely locked into the tissues and is not being mobilized or circulated in the body.  Aluminum, mercury and cadmium are the most commonly seen toxic metals in hair analysis.  They are often mobilized from the body tissues and released during the first year or two of a Nutritional Balancing program.

The Nutritional Balancing program restores balance to the autonomic nervous system.  This promotes all of the parasympathetic body functions such as rest, repair, digestion and detoxification.  (See Regaining Balance for more information on this healing process.) The release of the toxic metals from tissue storage is a strong indicator of metabolic recovery.  All of these metals can cause discomfort as they leave the body. Once significant amounts have been excreted, it is very common to see a major improvement in all kinds of chronic health problems.

Metal Chelation

Metal chelation employs a synthetic amino acid called EDTA or DMSA which attaches to metals that are in a free form in the blood and carries them out of the body through the urine. The chelating agents also pull out large amounts of calcium, magnesium, zinc and other essential minerals.  In fact, they are well known to remove more essential minerals than any toxic metals.  In an attempt to counter this effect, mineral supplements are given.

However, in testing patients who opted for this method, every single mineral level in their hair was extremely low following chelation. The other issue is that in most cases, the metals are sequestered in tissues and organs. They are bound to the body tissues and cannot be picked up by any type of chelator.

Many times, I receive hair tissue mineral analysis test results for a patient who has done a so-called mercury detox in the past, but on their first test, the mercury is still very high. I have repeatedly seen high mercury on a first hair test in people who have had their fillings replaced many years ago and who did chelation in conjunction with the removal, but the mercury was still coming out years later in their current hair growth.

For chronic low grade metal exposure, chelation just isn't very effective.  It's original purpose was to address high level, industrial exposures to toxic metals.  It is supposed to be given within the first three days while most of the metal is still in the blood.  In those cases, it can be very helpful to quickly reduce the toxic burden of the body.

Effective Restorative Therapy
Releases Toxic Metals

To release toxic metals from the tissues, the need for this adaptation or crutch must be removed. The body must have enough bioavailable nutrient minerals to replace the toxic metal as it is mobilized from tissue storage and released from the body. The distorting effects of the toxic metals on the mineral readings in the hair can show the presence of toxic metals in the body even when little or none appear on the hair test.  As the metals clear, we will see characteristic shifts in the minerals as they are returned to their proper places in the body. 

Nutritional Balancing protocols properly given based on a metabolic hair tissue mineral analysis, will balance the oxidation rate, improve the adrenal function and increase the bioavailability of essential nutrients such as zinc, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium and calcium.  This process allows the body to mobilize and excrete all types of toxicity including the heavy metals. As the Nutritional Balancing process continues, biochemical energy production in the cells is restored, and the body's natural ability to chelate and excrete heavy metal resumes. 

Nutritional Balancing gives the body what it must have to release the metals:  effective parasympathetic nervous system activity, a balanced biochemistry with adequate amounts of bioavailable nutrients, adequate energy production, and a restored metabolic function. Once the body has the proper minerals and has improved cellular energy production, it will let go of the metals it has been substituting for them and regain full utilization of the essential nutrients.  This is why just taking nutrients without restoring the ability to use them can fail to work or can cause more problems than the ones they are supposed to solve.