Did you know heavy metals disrupt your body’s mineral balance causing many negative side effects? People who are chronically ill may not realise that it can be the harmful accumulated toxic metals in their tissue cells that are a big part of their problem..
A heavy metal is a dense metal that is (usually) toxic at low concentrations. Although the phrase ‘heavy metal’ is common, there is no standard definition assigning metals as heavy metals. https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-heavy-metal-605190
According to a 2012 review: “Heavy metals are naturally occurring elements that have a high atomic weight and a density at least 5 times greater than that of water. Their multiple industrial, domestic, agricultural, medical and technological applications have led to their wide distribution in the environment; raising concerns over their potential effects on human health and the environment. Their toxicity depends on several factors including the dose, route of exposure, and chemical species, as well as the age, gender, genetics, and nutritional status of exposed individuals. Because of their high degree of toxicity, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, and mercury rank among the priority metals that are of public health significance. These metallic elements are considered systemic toxicants that are known to induce multiple organ damage, even at lower levels of exposure. They are also classified as human carcinogens (known or probable) according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. “
It can get a bit confusing because some lighter metals and metalloids are toxic and, thus, are termed ‘heavy metals’, although some heavy metals, such as gold, typically are not toxic, and therefore not considered to be heavy metals. In general, people understand ‘heavy’ to mean ‘toxic’ in this context.
The most harmful ‘toxic’ metals at low doses are mercury, cadmium, lead and nickel, with copper, aluminium and iron being toxic at high doses. Interestingly, iron and copper are also essential nutrients, excesses or deficiencies of which cause impaired cellular functions and eventually cell death. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16112186/
One of the main reasons why mercury’s effects are so bad is that it is known to block magnesium absorption, which leads to inhibition of metabolism of cells, acidosis and therefore restriction of oxygen, which leads to a cascade of systemic negative side effects.
In a low pH environment you become more vulnerable to anaerobic bacteria and fungi like candida moving in and having you for lunch. So not only does the low pH with associated free radicals break down proteins and collagen structures (making skin, mucosal gut linings and arterial walls thinner), but bad microbes are attracted to feast on the cellular spoils. In other words, you can become a walking compost heap.
History shows us what happens when our toxic metal load gets too high
The use of mercury in products has been with us for ages. It has been incorporated into some medicines and dental fillings, used in thermometers, paint pigments, fluorescent light bulbs, batteries and other industrial processes. It has also been used to extract gold in mining operations since the Roman times.
The term ‘mad as a hatter’ goes back to 18th and 19th century England, when milliners made felt hats, with the felt having been manufactured using mercury. Constant exposure to the mercury out-gasing resulted in the mercury getting into the brain and causing mental illness and ‘madness’.
Many health practitioners say that mercury is the hardest toxic metal for the body to eliminate once it gets in, so limiting environmental exposures is extremely important to preserve good health.
Lead is another toxic metal to watch out for because it can bind magnesium and other essential electrolytes, strangling cell metabolism, oxygen delivery, and entering the brain to cause dementia and mental illnesses.
We know that the widespread use of lead in Roman households led to the fall of the Roman Empire back in 395 AD. They had lead water pipes and drank their wine from lead cups. Up to a few decades ago we still permitted lead in paints and petrol. The 20th century is littered with industrial materials that contained lead. Car exhaust fumes dispersed lead particles into the air and caused many respiratory conditions. Lead exposures are high in mining towns, which is one of the main causes of lowered IQ in children.
Despite some extra regulatory controls that came in to restrict lead and mercury content, a lot of small doses can still add up to excessive amounts over time stored in body tissues.
High aluminium and nickel exposures are also toxic and can disrupt several enzymatic processes, which affect the nervous system, muscles, digestion, fluid balance, blood pressure and bones. Scientists have found significant aluminium deposits in the brain of people with Alzheimers dementia. Aluminium can leach off old cooking pots, be absorbed via a medication or vaccination adjuvants, or be absorbed in industrial environments such as building materials manufacture, the production of fertilizers and fluoride chemicals.
We are unfortunately exposed these days to way too many environmental toxins, which are adversely impacting health.
What are the damaging health effects caused by toxic metals?
If you have toxic metals accumulating in your body, they will block other important minerals which you need, such as magnesium, selenium, iodine and zinc. These important minerals support a wide range of essential enzyme processes – including metals detoxification, antioxidant functions and pH buffering.
This kind of enzyme inhibition increases your risk of an impaired immune system, infertility and more, because the body simply loses its ability to clean out the garbage, to get enough oxygen and to make energy. Toxic metals and chemicals put the body in a straight jacket, not being able to fight back, and leading to autoimmune diseases, thyroid dysfunction, brain and central nervous system damage, liver problems, heart disease, chronic fatigue, neurological issues, skin disorders, neuropathic pain, and depression.
Here is a list of the main adverse effects:
1) Free radical burden to the body, increasing risk of cancer Metal poisoning increases the risk of oxidative stress, which is a disturbed balance between free radicals and antioxidants. This can lead to the development of cancer. Free radicals are aggressive acidic molecules that attack cells and their DNA. We can protect against free radicals with various kinds of antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E plus magnesium, selenium, zinc, Q10 and various herbs.
2) Block magnesium and mitochondrial production of electrical energy (Adenosine Triphosphate = ATP) Toxic metals have such disastrous whole-of-body systemic effects because they hinder the absorption of and block the work of the master mineral Magnesium, which is involved in around 350 direct enzyme reactions, and thousands more as a cofactor to other nutrients. It is essential for mitochondria to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP), our electrical energy currency. When ATP production slows down we get chronic fatigue. There are a number of Mg-ATP study references that show cell respiration is dependent on magnesium, and that production of ATP is inhibited by magnesium deficiency. Here are two of them: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26150063/ and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4217410/
3) Hinders detoxification Magnesium is also essential for the production of the metal-chelating and antioxidant enzymes, glutathione and superoxide dismutase (SOD). Because mercury is notorious for blocking magnesium, that means our detoxification system suffers. It can result in a vicious cycle of toxic overload.
4) Increased risk of inflammation Oxidative stress increases the risk of inflammation, which is a common trait of all chronic diseases, including atherosclerosis, autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and cancer.
5) Destroys the body’s utilisation of sulphur and selenium Sulphur and selenium are important for several enzyme processes involved with detoxification. Sulphur is involved with transportation of waste products out of the body. Selenium is important for metabolism, immune defence, cardiovascular health, fertility, skin, bones and hair. Selenium even has anti-cancer properties.
6) Destroys the body’s utilisation of iodine, an important detoxification halogen and vital for thyroid health, metabolism and hormone balance.
7) Destroys the body’s utilisation of zinc If levels of lead and cadmium get too high, zinc can be displaced, which is required for the catalytic activity of at least 100 enzymes and even more as a cofactor with other nutrients. Zinc is of vital importance to our energy turnover, immune defence, fertility, wound healing, memory, vision, hearing sense, taste, skin and mental balance.
8) Creates low pH acidic environments that kill beneficial bacteria, which disrupts the microbiome and hinders proper digestion, leading to nutrient deficiencies.
Avoiding the poisons
Fluoride is a notorious halogen that binds toxic metals into the body tissues and makes it harder for the body to detox. It also binds and steals magnesium, thereby creating magnesium deficiency symptoms over time. It is now ubiquitous in the environment due to decades of drinking water fluoridation, widespread use in medications, pesticides, Teflon, fabric coatings, and fire fighting foams (PFOS). Your tap water can also contain a cocktail of fluoride and heavy (toxic) metals. Best to invest in a good filter if your area is fluoridated!
And we haven’t even mentioned yet the toxic effects on gut and brain of glyphosate used in agriculture, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), or other chemicals and xeno-toxins that mimic estrogen. These nasties are a whole other story in the overall toxic soup that modern societies find themselves in.
Advocates for change promote mindful avoidance of these kinds of toxins and driving the market towards more environmentally conscious and organic products with their purchasing dollars. This is because, by and large, vested commercial interests use toxic metals and cheap chemicals to give them a manufacturing price advantage. When you buy a ‘clean’ organic product, you may pay a bit more for the better quality, but you are taking the chemical dollars away from the market so that making products with toxic ingredients will eventually be abandoned.
How do we remove toxic metals from our body?
Toxic metals can be chelated out of the body via binding agents like EDTA. This therapy is usually done by a doctor.
At home you can use nutritional herbal supplements such as spirulina and chlorella, but it’s very important to check where the spirulina and chlorella have been sourced from (see story here), as they can be grown in polluted water, potentially taking up toxic elements.
Boron, as in sodium borate (aka borax), is also reputed to be a great metals detoxer. It supports magnesium by neutralising the effects of toxic metals as you can read here.
Charcoal, bentonite clay or diatomaceous earth can also help to absorb toxins as they pass through the digestive system, attracting them via their electrical charge and structure, and trapping the toxins so they can be easily removed via the stool.
In addition, it’s best to avoid sugars and processed carbohydrates because they feed the bad bugs and candida that got attracted to the low pH environment and are likely causing microbiome dysbiosis symptoms like IBS, colitis, reflux and SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth). Fasting can help to rebalance the microbiome. To buffer acidosis caused by the toxins you may also need the help of extra sodium bicarbonate. Remember to drink a lot of purified and mineralised water (containing magnesium) – about 3 litres per day for an average adult (more if you are very active and perspire a lot).
Infrared saunas and magnesium baths and footsoaks can help the body excrete transdermally, lifting the load from kidney and liver. Coffee enemas also help support liver detox and are a great way to remove wastes if bowel peristalsis has slowed down. The coffee enema also helps the liver to make more glutathione. If you need a simple laxative you can also use one or two teaspoons of food grade magnesium chloride flakes in a glass of water.
Lymphatic drainage massages using magnesium creams and lotion, as well as gentle exercise can also move the lymph system and help the body eliminate wastes.
Avoid processed foods because they are likely to contain artificial chemical contaminants, whereas organic fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, saurkraut and yogurt etc contribute beneficial gut bacteria that help to mop up the toxins and help you excrete them.
Beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacteria and lactobacillus strains not only help to detox, but also work to maintain a healthy gut lining, produce most of the neurotransmitters used by the brain, and make up a large part of the immune system that protects the body from pathogenic invaders.
SUMMARY: To arrest this negative cascade, use metal-chelating therapies including selenium, sulphur, boron, liver-supporting herbs, fermented foods, charcoal, bentonite or zeolite clay, fasting, saunas and coffee enemas, combined with transdermal magnesium saturation of minimum 1,000mg per day. Magnesium absorption via skin is far more effective than having to digest tablets or powders. When your body needs a lot, transdermal is the best way to go to get high amounts into you (apart from IV).
It is recommended to do these therapies with the supervision of an experienced health practitioner specialising in detoxification, because detoxification can have negative side effects that can be mitigated with the right strategies.
Remember that daily transdermal application can help to lift your magnesium levels optimally without negative side effects. This is especially important when diet is too low in magnesium, digestion is compromised, or too much stress has caused excessive magnesium loss. See the full range of Elektra Magnesium products here at www.elektramagnesium.com.au
by Sandy Sanderson © 2021