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5/14/2019 8:54:24 AM

Dangers of heavy metals poisoning

Symptoms and even chronic diseases related to heavy metal toxicity (also called heavy metal poisoning) is now considered to be a problem that millions of people deal with.

Exposure to toxic heavy metals is believed to be a contributing factor, if not a root cause, of symptoms like low energy, mood disturbances and cognitive changes. Heavy metals first enter your bloodstream from exposure to farmed fish, contaminated water, dental fillings and household products. These metals then travel throughout your body and penetrate the cells of various tissues and organs, where they can remain stored up for years!

How do you treat heavy metal toxicity? Following a heavy metal detox plan is one of the best ways to start reversing symptoms. One thing to be aware of, however, is that while you work on overcoming metal poisoning, you might actually notice some symptoms getting worse before they get better. Potential heavy metal detox symptoms can include fatigue, loss of appetite and digestive issues.

What foods can help remove heavy metals from the body? As you’ll learn more about below, foods to include in a heavy metal detox include leafy green veggies, other non-starchy veggies, herbs, spices, algae and other superfoods, and bone broth.

Detoxifying treatments and certain supplements can also be incorporated into a natural heavy metal diet plan to help support your brain, nervous system, liver and other vital organs. Ready to start cleansing heavy metals and other chemicals from you body? If so, follow the detox diet and treatment plan described below to help rid your body of toxins.

Dangers of Heavy Metals (aka Heavy Metal Poisoning)

What exactly are “heavy metals”? Heavy metals are elements that can be toxic and very dangerous even in low concentrations. Heavy metals that can lead to toxicity (or “poisoning”) include:









Other definitions include manganese, iron, lithium, zinc and calcium (yes, under certain conditions very high levels of even essential minerals can become dangerous)

Heavy metal poisoning describes a number of health problems caused by exposure to environmental metals that accumulate inside the body. According to a report in Scientific World Journal, “Toxic metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury are ubiquitous, have no beneficial role in human homeostasis, and contribute to noncommunicable chronic disease.”

Researchers have identified that significant exposure to at least 23 different environmental metals (called “heavy metals”) can contribute to acute or chronic toxicity. These metals are described as being heavy because they stick around in the body, especially hiding out in adipose tissue (fat cells). They are difficult to get rid of, making them similar to fat-soluble toxins. Body fat tries to protect the organs by trapping certain substances inside, including some metals, which causes them to linger. This is one reason weight loss can sometimes result in heavy metal detoxing, as fat cells shrink and release dormant toxins.

There is virtually no way to entirely avoid heavy metal exposure, considering metals are natural elements found all over the world in the food supply, water and ground. Environmental metals are problematic because over time, they can accumulate within bodily tissues, often without the person who is affected even realizing this is happening. Heavy metal toxicity can result in damaged or reduced mental and central nervous function, plus damage to the vital organs — such as the liver, heart, endocrine glands and kidneys.

Long-term exposure to heavy metals may lead to physical, muscular, and neurological degenerative processes. When they become severe, heavy metal poisoning symptoms can even mimic symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Because heavy metal poisoning symptoms mimic those related to aging (such as loss of memory and increased fatigue), many people blame getting older as the cause of their emerging symptoms, not realizing that heavy metal exposure is a major contributing factor.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Heavy Metal Poisoning?

Some of the most common warning signs that you might be struggling with heavy metal toxicity include:

Chronic fatigue

Autoimmune diseases, including Lyme’s disease

Poor recovery from exercise and weakness

Skin irritation

Neurological disorders

Brain-fog, trouble concentrating, difficulty learning and poor memory

Depression, manic depression and/or anxiety



Digestive issues, such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)

Chronic aches and pains, such as those associated with fibromyalgia


Impaired motor control, hearing, speech, vision and gait


Higher risk for heart attacks

Where Do Heavy Metals Come From?

Mercury poisoning is one of the most common types of heavy metal poisoning. Almost every single person in the world has at least trace amounts of mercury in his or her body. Why? Some of the factors that can cause mercury poisoning (and other types of heavy metal toxicity) include:

Exposure to environmental pollutants, such as traffic fumes, air pollution, food contaminants, cigarette smoke or radiation.

Having metal amalgam dental fillings (silver fillings slowly release mercury into the body).

Eating a poor-quality diet (for example, eating farm-raised fish that carry high levels of mercury). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the most common way we’re exposed to mercury in the U.S. is by consuming fish you shouldn’t eat that contains health-hazardous heavy metals, such as tilefish, swordfish, shark, king mackerel and bigeye tuna. A diet that includes processed foods, especially those that are imported from foreign countries and not organically grown (and even plant foods grown in soil that has high levels of metals) can also be a contributing factor.

Drinking water that is contaminated with trace amounts of metals (such as aluminum).

From birth (heavy metals can be passed down in utero from mother to her offspring).

Exposure or use of household substances that carry mercury, such as adhesives, air condition filters, cosmetics, fabric softeners, felt, floor waxes and polishes, and talcum powder.

Getting tattoos.

Exposure to substances that carry lead, such as some chocolates, canned foods, toothpastes, old paints, insecticides, ceramic and some pottery, and soldered pipes.

Use or exposure to other household items, such as antiperspirants, baking powder, certain baby formulas, plastic toys, antacids, aluminum foil, certain metal pots and pans, stainless steel cutlery, coins, and some makeup.

Possibly receiving certain vaccinations.

In high amounts, mercury is one of the deadliest metals there is. Certain studies have found that when nerves are exposed to mercury, the myelin sheath (the fatty substance that surrounds the axon of some nerve cells and helps with electrical signaling) can become severely damaged, interfering with how nerves communicate.

What are some warning signs and side effects associated with mercury poisoning? These include: changes to the central nervous system, irritability, fatigue, behavioral changes, tremors, headaches, problems hearing, skin damage and cognitive loss.

Can you die from heavy metal poisoning? While it’s rare, it’s possible — in some severe cases, metal poisoning has lead to hallucinations and death.

What Is a Heavy Metal Detox? Plus Benefits of Heavy Metal Detox

If someone has reason to believe that they have had excessive exposure to metals, they should seek medical testing for metal poisoning by speaking with their doctor or integrative practitioner/naturopath. Heavy metal testing in the form of hair analysis or a blood test is now widely available and is useful for confirming suspected toxicity. Even if you choose not to be tested for toxicity, many of the diet and lifestyle changes described below will still be beneficial for immune system function, gut health, liver function and more.

The primary goal of a heavy metal detox is to remove accumulated heavy metals from your brain and nervous system. The kidneys, liver, heart, lymphatic system and respiratory system will also benefit from detoxification, such as a liver cleanse.

How are toxins removed from the body? The most common way is through chelation. Chelation therapy is a medical procedure (although it can also be performed at home) that involves the administration of chelating agents to remove heavy metals from the body by binding to molecules and allowing them to be dissolved and excreted in the urine.

Chelation is central to natural detoxification of heavy metals because it works with glutathione and other small molecules to promote excretion. It’s recommended that it be performed by a doctor since serious side effects are possible, such as removal of essential minerals and cognitive impairment.

Other ways to detox the body of heavy metals include making dietary changes and using herbs and supplements, which help to break down metals into smaller molecules so they can be removed from urine, feces, sweat and even the breath.

Benefits of doing a heavy metal detox include:

Reduced free radical damage/oxidative stress

Improvements in energy levels

Enhanced immunity and gut health

Better digestive function

Improvements in mental performance (attention, memory, learning, etc.)

Improved skin health

Better protection against diseases cognitive disorders and autoimmune disease 
  ( Dr. Josh Axe )
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