Another set of toxic compounds prevalent in modern day society are certain HEAVY METALS. Some are already naturally present in the body and required in certain quantities. Zinc, chromium, and copper are heavy metals that can be deadly at high levels, but these elements are vital to support human life in required doses. Using whole food sources is the best way to avoid toxicity. Other elements, however, are not only found to have ‘zero’ benefits to humans, but they are actually HIGHLY toxic! Certain metals, like from synthetic man-made sources, mining, and bi-products from industrial pollution, even at low levels, can be extremely toxic and produce many undesirable effects in the body.
Like xenoestrogens, these heavy metals have the tendency to compete for the receptor sites of other important minerals in the body. They don’t function efficiently and are poor, temporary, weak replacements at best to the required minerals the body’s cells need to communicate with each other and function. It would be like replacing the damaged roof on your house with a wood board; it would protect for a short time, but eventually it would leak and the damage would worsen. For example, aluminum and zinc compete for the same receptor sites. So, when there is a zinc deficiency, aluminum will bind to those sites. Receptor sites that are deficient in calcium can be displaced by toxic lead.
Unfortunately, the conventional medical system doesn’t recognize heavy metal toxicity until the levels are high enough to kill you! These metals disrupt various functions in the body and set the groundwork for disease way before the levels become high enough to kill you directly from it. Like other toxins, heavy metals are acid forming, and accumulation can initiate an inflammatory response damaging fatty tissues like the thyroid and brain. In addition, the acid waste hampers enzymatic function, and wears down detoxification and buffering organs like the liver, kidneys and lungs.
Many leading nutritional doctors, experts, and researchers acknowledge that environmental toxins, including certain heavy metals, are directly related to the onset of most diseases. The most problematic heavy metals in the environment and potentially deadly ones are mercury, lead, arsenic, and cadmium. Everyone ingests at least small amounts of these metals daily. The real problems ensue when these metals bio-accumulate, meaning the body can’t eliminate them fast or efficiently enough so they accumulate in our tissues, fluids, and skeletal systems. Nobody gets cancer from smoking one cigarette, but you would be silly not to recognize the long term detrimental health effects from smoking regularly. These metals and their effects on human health have been studied extensively and examined by the Center of Disease Control (CDC) and international bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO).
Symptoms from metal poisoning can begin with headaches, anxiety, depression, irritability, migraines, tremors, and mood swings. When left unchecked, heavy metal intoxications can damage central nervous function, leading to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Autism, and contribute to the breaking down of the gastrointestinal (GI) track, the overworking and damaging of the kidneys, liver, lungs, endocrine glands like the thyroid and pancreas, the bones, and more. Many metals are implicated in the onset of many autoimmune diseases, as well as many types of cancer. So, we can’t avoid these metals, but we can become more conscious and aware of the potential danger so we can both minimize our exposure to them, and learn how to maximize our body’s potential to allow for their elimination from our systems.
Some of the most prevalent and problematic heavy metals are fluoride, arsenic, nickel, aluminum, mercury, lead, and cadmium, as well as radioactive metals.
Fluoride is present in bones and teeth, and found naturally in low concentrations in certain unprocessed water and foods. Natural fluoride in minimal amounts helps to promote bone and teeth mineralization by supporting the sedimentation of calcium and phosphorus.
Fluoride in its synthetic form is the one added to the drinking water in certain areas and most tooth pastes. It is NOT the natural calcium fluoride that your body uses small amounts of, but synthetic sodium fluoride, which is used to make rat poison and certain pesticides. A small amount in its pure form can kill you.
Before 1945 synthetic fluoride was seen as an environmental contaminant. Fluoride is a toxic by-product of the aluminum and phosphate fertilizer industry. Actually, many lawsuits ensued as a result of the damage done to crops and animals from dumping these by-products into the environment. What transpired next is hard to stomach. Being that natural fluoride was found to benefit bones and teeth, based on very shoddy science, public relations officials were able to convince the public that what was once a toxic waste product, was now an essential nutrient for healthy bones and teeth! Unbelievably, now these industries started making millions selling the fluoride waste products to water and toothpaste companies, while at the same time saving hundreds of millions in environmental cleanup costs. So instead of getting sued for it, these industries were making money off it!
On top of that, studies show that fluoride, especially the synthetic form, is not a major mineral necessary to prevent cavities like you were taught!
In one of the largest studies done on fluoridation and tooth decay in the U.S., data was collected from United States Public Health Service dental records of more than 39,000 school children, ages 5-17, from 84 different areas around the US. Records showed that the number of decayed, filled, and missing teeth per child was basically the same in fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas. Toxic fluoride is much more of a problem and NEVER a solution like governmental officials proposed!
In fact, according to the latest national survey by the Centers for Disease Control, 41% of American adolescents now have some form of fluorosis, which can permanently stain and erode teeth. That’s an increase of over 400% from 60 years ago. (CDC 2010)
Worse than that, just like your teeth it can have severe negative consequences for your bones, thyroid, and brain. Even low-level fluoride exposure can lead to fluorosis which causes excessive bone growth leading minimally to pain and stiffness in joints and bones. The bone growth part sounds good, right? Not really; instead of making bones stronger and denser they become porous and more brittle INCREASING the risk of fractures. Similar to arthritis symptoms it can eventually immobilize you. As long as you provide your body with the right building blocks, like a healthy balance of micro and macronutrients, and you’re able absorb them properly, you will have strong healthy teeth and bones.
Additionally, this toxic fluoride competes for receptor sites designated for iodine, negatively affecting the thyroid, and diminishing its function. In turn, cellular metabolism declines leading to weight gain. Overall immunity is diminished as cellular energy slows down, leaving you susceptible to just about any disease. Thyroid hormone is especially critical for brain growth and development in infants and children. Sodium fluoride has also been linked to the disfiguring of enzyme proteins so they are no longer recognizable to the body which can create an autoimmune reaction attacking organs like the thyroid and other vulnerable tissues like collagen. It can damage the collagen that gives your skin its shape and fullness as well as mineralize tendons, ligaments, and muscles leaving you stiff.
If that wasn’t enough, synthetic fluoride can calcify the pineal gland in the brain. Sleep much? The pineal gland is responsible for producing melatonin which regulates the circadian rhythm that allows you to sleep. The pineal gland, also known as ‘the third eye’, has been linked to psychic awareness, intuitiveness, spiritual insight, understanding, and expanded mind capacity. I’m no conspiracy theorist, but if government agencies wanted to dumb us down, sodium fluoride would be a great way to do it!
With all that being said, fluoridated water and products that are contaminated with synthetic fluoride are not beneficial for your health, and should be avoided to say the very least.
Arsenic is present in the body in minute amounts and is naturally occurring in the water, soil, air and certain foods (leafy greens, seafood and some dairy). Overexposure to high concentrations of certain metals found naturally in the earth, like arsenic mineral deposits, can pose a risk to human health if they accumulate in the body, but doses of synthetic arsenic compounds are even much worse, as are all man-made substances. Most of the arsenic found in the soil that taints the food supply is due to contamination from human activities.
The use or exposure to pesticides, insecticides, glass and treated wood production, or residing near hazardous waste sites or power plants, can leave you at higher risk for arsenic toxicity. Overtime, exposure to low levels can disrupt ATP (Adenosine triphosphate – ATP is the currency for cell energy and metabolism) production, cause discoloration of the skin, corns and warts, decrease white and red blood cell formation, cause abnormal heart rhythms, damage blood vessels, and increases the risk of most types of cancers.
Nickel is also present in the body in low concentrations. It assists in the function of certain enzymes, cell membranes and vitamin B metabolism. Nickel is naturally occurring in vegetables, grains, nuts, and legumes. But when it originates from non-organic sources, it can be highly toxic. Nowadays, it is used in some dental crowns, braces, and wires used in bridges. In smaller amounts, non-organic nickel can be found in hydrogenated oils, like margarine and vegetable oils. Over-exposure to nickel induces respiratory complications, immunosuppression, and has carcinogenic effects which can lead to cancer. Just like the synergistic effects of anti-oxidant compounds from whole foods can be highly beneficial, combinations of toxic metals like nickel in dental crowns and mercury in amalgam fillings can be exponentially more toxic.
Aluminum is widespread in the earth’s crust, being the third most abundant element after oxygen and silicon. Plant-derived aluminum, which is in the form of aluminum hydroxide, is considered safe. In fact, no studies have ever identified a correlation between aluminum hydroxide and toxic levels of aluminum in the human body. Metallic aluminum, however, can be very problematic when it accumulates in the body. It’s used as an anti-caking agent in baking powder, table salt, and even certain flours. It can also be found in most antiperspirants, cosmetics, cans, cookware, antacids, some drinking water, and vaccines. Certain occupations like mining, factory work, and welding leave workers at risk for exposure to aluminum. When these toxic vapors are inhaled, like often happens in welding, it can get into the bloodstream and make its way into the brain.
Like other toxic heavy metals aluminum can accumulate in the liver, kidneys, lungs, thyroid, and brain. One major reason for this is that aluminum happens to compete with calcium for absorption, so it can de-mineralize bone structure as well. Its toxicity can cause digestive complications and is potentially involved in causing lymphatic and breast cancer. Antiperspirant is one of the biggest culprits. Yes, it prevents the underarms from sweating, but it also traps toxins in the body that want to get out. These toxins can then build up and accumulate in the lymph nodes, where they can cause cell mutations that can lead to cancer. Being that aluminum is known to attack the central nervous system it has been undeniably linked to memory loss, dementia and other neurological disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
A recent study found unmistakable evidence linking occupational aluminum exposure to Alzheimer’s disease. A new case study from Keele University in the UK that involved a 66 year old light skinned man showed excessively high levels of aluminum in his brain tissue. He developed an advancing form of early onset Alzheimer’s disease that took his life. Scientists concluded that the inhalation of aluminum vapors played a prominent role in the accumulation of aluminum in the brain.
Mercury pollutes the air, water, and food supply, basically affecting the entire world. It can be found in dental amalgams, and just by chewing your food alone, mercury can be released via vapors into the bloodstream and accumulate in the bodies tissues over the years. In fact, you absorb up to 80% of the mercury vapors into the body. Unfortunately, this neurotoxin is even used as a preservative in certain vaccines and referred to as thimerosal, having a potentially damaging impact in a child’s neurological system and has been implicated in the onset of Autism.
Nowadays, mercury can be found in most fish, especially large fish that survive in the water the longest like warm water tuna, shark, swordfish, sea bass, and orange roughy. Simultaneously, shellfish can also contain high levels of mercury being that they are bottom feeders and habitats where toxins accumulate most. The safest fish to consume are the ones lowest on the food chain and in the water the least amount of time, like sardines, smelt, krill, anchovies, herring, catfish, salmon, and sole. Shockingly, you absorb nearly 100% of mercury found in fish as it binds tightly to its proteins.
Mercury can damage the brain, nerves, kidneys and lungs, and is associated with acne, allergies, asthma, autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Mercury is lipophilic, meaning it accumulates in the fatty tissues. The brain tissue is made up mostly of fat.
Dr. Mark Hyman, practicing family physician, and nine-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, stated “There’s no doubt about it, mercury is the most ALARMING, disease-causing source of environmental toxicity that I see daily in my practice! Many of my patients have toxic levels of mercury–and they’re not alone. I personally suffered from mercury toxicity and chronic fatigue syndrome–which I cured myself from, in part by getting rid of the mercury in my body. So, I know about this first hand … I became toxic because I polluted myself by growing up on tuna fish sandwiches, eating sushi, living in Beijing, which heats all its homes with coal–the major source of environmental mercury load–and having a mouthful of amalgam (a.k.a. mercury) fillings.”
Moreover, LOW concentrations of cobalt and mercury are able to induce oxidative stress, cell cytotoxicity and increase the production of beta-amyloid plaque which may lead to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. (Olivieri et al., 2002).
Decreased performance in areas of motor function and memory has been reported among children exposed to presumably safe mercury levels with maternal hair concentrations at 10–20 ppm (Grandjean and Weihe, 1998).
Literature reports that thimerosal has been removed from most, not all the children’s vaccines, but it is still present in flu vaccines given to pregnant women, the elderly, and to children in developing countries (James et al., 2005). While mothers are warned about the consumption of fish during pregnancy, this type of practice is highly contradictory and alarming to say the least.
Depression and impairment of short-term auditory memory was found in workers exposed to low levels of mercury (Soleo et al., 1990).
There are many books written specifically on this one subject matter alone. Mercury is one of the most toxic elements on the whole periodic table and its exposure should be minimized as best as possible!
Just like other toxic heavy metals, even small doses of lead can initiate serious health problems. Besides being found in old paint as most of you know, it can also be present in hair dyes, leaded gasoline, inks, contaminated drinking water, pesticides (found mostly in conventional food products), and cosmetics like lipsticks. Occupational exposure to lead is one of the most prevalent risks. The occupational employees mainly affected are the ones that work for the smelting, refining, alloying and casting industry (19.1%), the lead battery industry (18.2%) and the scrap industry (7.4%). (Exposure to lead, Health and Safety Executive, 2011)
Lead accumulation is particularly dangerous. Lead competes with calcium for similar binding receptor sites, so it mimics calcium and can wind up in your bones. It can be extremely difficult to remove and potentially cause osteoporosis or even bone cancer. Lead can also impersonate calcium in the brain, which can cause dementia and other neurological disorders. Lead can also mimic iron in blood cells resulting in anemia. In addition, this metal can increase uric acid levels in the blood, lowering pH levels and potentially damaging the kidneys.
Besides mineral mimicking, lead, like other heavy metals and toxic substances, increases the permeability of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which protects the brain from harmful substances making their way inside. When this happens, it can result in brain edema, or fluid retention. When this occurs, it deprives the brain of oxygen and allows toxic waste to build up, which can lead to irreversible damage to the Central Nervous System.
A 2000 study (Weiss & Landrigan) pointed out lead’s harming effects on the brain, tying it to anatomic malformations and neurodevelopmental disabilities. They linked high lead levels to learning and memory deficit disorders like ADHD, and increased aggression. Low level lead exposure in children has also been connected to decreased muscle and bone growth, hearing damage, seizures, unconsciousness, autism, and death. Children are more vulnerable at low levels due to increased intestinal absorption, and because the developing nervous system is far more susceptible to toxic substances like lead than the adult brain. In adults, higher levels have been associated with digestive problems, nerve disorders, high blood pressure, memory and concentration problems, muscle and joint pain, male and female fertility issues, increased chance of illness during pregnancy, as well as fetal brain damage or death.
A study published by Canfield and colleagues in 2003 (Canfield et al. 2003) has been extensively quoted and debated globally. According to the authors in Pub Med article, ‘Recent Developments in Low-Level Lead Exposure and Intellectual Impairment in Children’, “showed a dose-dependent decline in cognitive function in a cohort of children whose lifetime peak blood levels never rose above the current World Health Organization/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (WHO/CDC) blood lead level of concern (10 μg/dL) and suggests there is no safety margin at existing exposures.”
The destruction caused by lead can range from memory and learning disabilities to fertility issues, and death! In the majority of cases the symptoms due to lead exposure are misdiagnosed and people are not aware of its potential damage. Most studies that have been performed in the past have been directed at lead poisoning from high levels of exposure as opposed to the damage that has been proven to be inflicted at much lower levels, especially in our precious children. Even though cleansing the body of lead can be a lengthy process, taking proactive measures to limit lead and other toxic exposure, especially to the developing fetus is highly advisable.
Weiss, B., & Landrigan, P. J. (2000). The developing brain and the environment: an introduction. Environmental Health Perspectives Supplements, 108(3), 373-374.-reference
Cadmium can be even more toxic than lead, even with low exposure. Fumes from hazardous waste facilities, fertilizers, batteries, pigments, plastics and cigarette papers are sources of cadmium. This highly toxic substance can contaminate the air, water and soil. Heavier amounts can be seen depending on your location. Cadmium emissions have risen perilously during the 20th century. One reason for this is the fact that products containing cadmium are hardly ever re-cycled so ecosystems are inevitably toxified and human health is impacted as a result. Cadmium gets into our bodies from the food supply as this metal has an affinity for the sulfur compounds in plants.
As in a lot of cases, besides occupational exposure, children may be at higher risk for exposure to cadmium. Because it can be found in the food supply, like other toxic substances, cadmium can build in the body over time, and children eat more pound for pound than normal weight adults.
A study was conducted involving close to 2,200 children ages 6 to 15 based on parental reports. The children who had the highest levels of cadmium in their urine were more likely to develop learning disabilities or need special education in comparison to children with the lowest levels of this toxic metal in their urine. The findings are based on parents’ reports of their children’s learning issues.
Occupational exposure involves the smelting and electroplating cadmium containing materials. According to The US Department of Labor, after just ONE day of cadmium fume exposure, workers were seen developing EXTREME weakness, severe labored breathing, as well as coughing and tightness of the chest. Chest radiographs showed signs of pulmonary edema which can lead to death in extreme cases. Chronic exposure has been linked to brain damage from its neurotoxic effects, as well as kidney damage, easily fractured weak bones, certain cancers, prostate and reproductive dysfunction, and hormone imbalance, negatively impacting nearly every system in the body!
According to Perspectives on cadmium toxicity research, “Cadmium exposure has been established to induce cancer in various tissues of laboratory animals. Contrary to early findings of the lack of genotoxicity by cadmium, recent findings of mammalian cell culture studies have revealed genotoxic effects. Furthermore, cadmium exposure at relatively low doses induces circulatory diseases in laboratory animals. It has been established that long-term exposure to cadmium causes renal dysfunction in both humans and experimental animals.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12498323
By eating organically grown meats, fruits, and vegetables, and by cleansing regularly, exposure to cadmium can be minimized, and elimination can be maximized.
Radioactive metals: like uranium, radium, plutonium, radioactive strontium and cesium are found in the environment in increasing amounts from nuclear weapons testing and nuclear power plants, as well as nuclear accidents from Chernobyl, Fukushima, and 3-mile island. High level radioactive isotopes like these can remain in the environment for long periods of time and minimal direct exposure can have fatal consequences. Strontium-90 and cesium-137 for example, have half-lives of about 30 years, meaning half of the radioactive waste will still remain after 30 years. Plutonium-239 has a half-life of 24,000 years!
According to Alan H. Lockwood, MD, a member of the Board of Physicians for Social Responsibility “The discovery of plutonium in the area around the Fukushima plant is another indication of the seriousness of this accident … The dangers of such a release, to public health and the environment, cannot be overstated. If a minute amount of plutonium is trapped in the lung, it will deliver an intense dose of radiation to a very small volume of tissue for a very long time. This makes it highly carcinogenic.”
In this day and age, everyone is exposed to one form of radiation or another, not just those who reside near power plants. Radioactive metals get introduced to our water and food supply and wreak havoc on our body systems as they accumulate. Constant exposure to EMF’s, (direct to an article on EMF’s) also known as Electromagnetic Radiation, is also a major concern. Empirical evidence confirming that EMF exposure damages human cells and causes health problems is very strong.
Young children and infants are more sensitive to the toxic effects of heavy metals and radiation. Their immune systems are still fragile and they consume more food based on their body weight compared to adults which leaves them at high risk. Vaccines with toxic adjuncts and metals exasperate the risk for harm in innocent children especially when the child is under the age of 2, and when there are gut imbalances, which is quite often. In fact, the BBB may not even be fully developed until the age of two making this barrier more permeable at the very least. Additionally, the growing fetus’s brain is highly susceptible to damage as the blood brain barrier is just developing, and the placenta is exposed to the mother’s usually heavy body burden of toxic buildup.
This is why prenatal cleansing is vitally important if you want to increase the likelihood of bearing a healthy child in today’s highly toxic world. Childhood exposure to certain metals can lead to learning and memory impairment (ADD ADHD), nervous system damage, as well as aggressive and hyperactive behavior. At higher levels, heavy metals can cause irreversible brain damage like we see in Autism, which affect’s a disturbing 1 out of 68 children in the US alone.