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Heavy Metals

Mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminum. These minerals are called heavy metals, and they are very damaging to the nerves and blood vessels. Many strange symptoms of numbness, weakness, tremors, learning disabilities, and brain syndromes can be traced to heavy metal intoxication

Mercury is a poison to the human body. It is most toxic in the form of methyl-mercury as found in foods such as fish. It comes out of dental amalgam fillings as a gas on chewing, and we will convert some of the vapor into poison. Lead is also a common poison in our food and environment. It is very damaging to the brains of children. Cadmium is released in cigarette smoke. Aluminum is toxic, yet people still cook in aluminum pots and pans, wrap food in aluminum foil, and use aluminum ( alum) types of antiperspirants.

These minerals are called heavy metals, and they are very damaging to the nerves and blood vessels. Many strange symptoms of numbness, weakness, tremors, learning disabilities, and brain syndromes can be traced to heavy metal intoxication.

A common way to screen for an excess of these heavy metals is by hair analysis. The hair builds up a store of these minerals that reflects the total body exposure over a long time. We cut a sample of hair from the back of the head, send it to a lab where it is burnt and measured. If any heavy metal is above normal, a more sensitive blood, urine or stool test may then be ordered. If we strongly suspect a particular metal, we may skip to the blood test first.

Treatment of heavy metal poisoning is complex. Chelation can be effective for some metals. A chemical is put into the veins which will attach to the metal and carry it out of the body. There are several supplements that also help the body spill the metals out, like vitamin C, alpha lipoic acid, N-acetyl-cysteine, and seaweed products.

There are dentists, naturopathic physicians and medical doctors in our area who have specialized equipment and training to aggressively detox heavy loads of heavy metals.

Tests are repeated during and after treatment to prove it is helping. A hair analysis report will also show levels of other minerals, such as calcium, iron, zinc, sodium, etc. Any mineral can be toxic in excess, and some are definitely a problem if we have too little. However, the hair levels of the lighter minerals does not always show how the rest of the body is doing, and other tests may be needed.

As always, a good history and interpretation of the results by a qualified professional is the key to quality care.