Hidden heavy metals and how they got in your body?
It could be unimaginable for some to think that there are environmental pollutants in our body’s such as toxic heavy metals. Yet the truth is, there are toxic heavy metals in all of our body's. People are always shocked, when they discover they have heavy metal toxins, which is immediately followed by the question “Where did these heavy metals come from? The unfortunate answer is “Everywhere”.
Toxins are so prevalent that the term Xenobiotic has been created, to describe any foreign substance that is taken into the body which is toxic, such as heavy metals or chemicals.
Paracelsus once said “All substances are poisons; it is the dose that makes the poison” Although Heavy metals are everywhere in tiny amounts, it's when they build up and stay in the body, they become a problem.
Just check out one of my first scans below, the heavy metal lead is peaking off the chart. At the time, It was confronting to see this, where did the lead come from and how did I get it? I discovered that lead was a major toxin found in cigarette smoke, old paints and leaded petrol. Having grown up in the 70’s, I literally was surrounded by the stuff. I have never been a smoker, yet passive smoke/smoking was everywhere growing up.
Next was Aluminium, It’s all too common to see elevated aluminium elevated in most of the scans performed. Aluminium is a popular metal that’s low cost, cheap, versatile and is used universally throughout the world. Aluminium didn’t pose a risk to human health until we started digging it out of the ground. It is considered a toxin with no known biological functional heath benefit to the body.
It's well known that aluminium is a neurotoxin that builds up in the brain in addition leading to bone disorders, fatigue disorders, blood toxicity like anaemia and tissue oxidative stress. (Becaria, et al, Toxicology and Industrial Health 2002).
Aluminium toxicity in the environment depends on the location, degree of pollution and level industrialization with higher amounts found in urban settings. Primary exposure of aluminium is from our food chain, drinking water and ant-acid medication. (Q, Niu, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, pg 3, 2018)
The toxicity due to heavy metals may harm or decrease the mental and central nervous activities, damage the lungs, liver, kidneys, blood compositions and other fundamental organs. (Vardhan, et al, journal of molecular liquids, 2019).
I often say, “the longer you have walked upon the earth influences the levels and accumulation of heavy metals within the body”.
When we consume heavy metals, they build up or bio-accumulate in the body which can have physiological and biological implications, metals cannot be metabolized or broken down and are not biodegradable. (Q, Niu, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, pg 3, 2018)
Exposure to metals has increased due to mining, agricultural practices and industrial processes, technology with the bio-toxic effects of metal poisoning becoming more well known. The best practice is heavy metal avoidance in all areas of life, cosmetics, personal care products, food, food packaging and of course environmental reductions.
Lead and aluminium are just two examples presented in this article, the question to ask yourself is what other heavy metals/toxins are we exposed to?
Heavy Metals and Sources of Exposure
Aluminium – Petroleum, Antacids, Astringents, Buffered aspirin, Food additives, Antiperspirants, Cosmetics (Keith et al., 2008), rain water and Sun Screens to aid spread-ability and increased UV protection. Aluminium can also be found in drinking water, aluminium processing, food processing additives, preservatives, colouring agents and leavening agents. (Becaria, et al, Toxicology and Industrial Health, 2002)
Cadmium – Cigarettes, Cigarette Smoke, Increased Volcanic Activity (Atmospheric), PVC Products, Plastics, Nickel-Cadmium Batteries, Phosphate Fertilizers (Godt et al, 2006) Cadmium products (batteries) are not often recycled and dumped with general home waste, which increases environmental emissions /exposure. (Järup, 2003) It has been estimated that 25 000 tonnes of cadmium are released into the atmosphere each year. (Zalups and Ahmad, 2003)
Lead – Paint removal, Ammunition, Lead Batteries, Solder, X-ray Shields, Drinking Water, Lead Pipes, Lead Crystal Glassware, (Pizent, Tariba and Živković, 2012)
Mercury – out gassing from dental amalgams, fish, occupation exposure, volcanic activity, coal burning, mercury spills and contaminated water. (R, Bernhoft, Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2012)
Barium – mining, processing, refining, industrial uses, burning fossil fuels, wastewater, drinking water, food (A, Oskarsson, Barium, 2014), nuts, legumes, milk, seafood, and freshwater fish, foods grown in barium rich soils and urban air (Kravchenko et al, Environ Geochem Health (2014) 36:797—814)
Nickel - Metal objects, cosmetics/makeup, dental materials, jewelry, watches, spectacle frames, coins, toy, tools, metal on clothing, utensils, keys, electronic devices, nickel rich soils, nickel rich foods (chocolate, legumes, shellfish, grains, nuts, soil and canned foods). (Ahlstrom et al, Contact Dermatitis, 2019), combustion of fossil fuels, volcanic activity, mining, steel production, industrial processes, air inhalation and large urban cities (Mania, et al, National Institute of Public Health, 2019)
Heavy Metal Toxicity
We are discovering more and more about the toxicology of heavy metals upon human health and the need for changes and vigilance. Toxic metals are one of the oldest environmental health problems, and more so in the modern era from e-waste, semi-conductor production and nano metals. In future articles we’ll talk more about individual metals and what you can do to reduce exposure and eliminate them from your body.