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Unmasking the Silent Threat: A Journey into Heavy Metals Toxicity

In our modern world, heavy metals lurk in unexpected places, posing a silent, but significant threat to human health and the environment. From environmental pollution to diagnostic testing, these toxic substances can wreak havoc on our bodies. 

Read on to learn more about heavy metal toxicity and how it impacts human health. 

What are Heavy Metals?

Heavy Metals are naturally occurring elements with high atomic weights and density. While some heavy metals, like iron and zinc, are beneficial for the body, others, such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and gadolinium are toxic even in small doses. When someone is exposed to heavy metals through inhalation, eating, or drinking, it can leach onto their bones. As they get older, the heavy metals will be released throughout the body, leading to severe health conditions, including neurological disorders, cardiovascular disease, reproductive concerns, and possibly cancer

Sources of Heavy Metals Exposure: 

  1. Environmental pollution: Factories and big cities release heavy metals into the air and water, contaminating surrounding areas.
  2. Food: Consumption of large amounts of fish causes high mercury levels in the body. Also, some conventional farmers spray round-ups on corn, wheat, soybeans, and other crops before it is harvested which could lead to glyphosate poisoning
  3. Water: Contamination of water sources can lead to the accumulation in drinking water. This has been a significant problem in Flint, Michigan, and areas in New Jersey. 
  4. Old Infrastructure: Lead can be found in old pipes & paints. Once these structures start to deteriorate and chip away it can release heavy metals into the air. 
  5. IV Contrast: MRI or CT scans with contrast contain Gadolinium to enhance the visibility of internal structures. Accumulation of Gadolinium can lead to Gadolinium deposition disease (GDD) resulting in skin changes, bone pain, cognitive difficulties, & more. 
  6. History of smoking: High levels of cadmium can be found in individuals who have a history of smoking cigarettes 

Health Effects of Heavy Metals: 

  1. Neurological disorders: Lead and mercury can affect cognitive function, leading to developmental delays, learning disabilities, behavioral problems, Alzheimer’s/Dementia, neuropathy, and other severe neurological conditions later on in life. 
  2. Cardiovascular Issues: Cadmium exposure has been linked to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and strokes. 
  3. Reproductive concerns: Mercury and lead can cause hormonal balance, leading to infertility and birth defects. 
  4. Cancer: Prolonged exposure to certain heavy metals such as arsenic and cadmium, has been linked to an increased risk of cancer. 

Integrative approach to treating heavy metals toxicity: 

  • Heavy Metals testing 
  • Detoxification methods, such as Chelation, Ozone therapy, and supplementation 
  • Diet modification by eliminating foods that have high amounts of heavy metals
  • Lifestyle modifications by eliminating any products in the household that could pose as a threat to heavy metal exposure 

To learn more about integrative medicine for heavy metal toxicity, schedule an appointment at The Center for Natural & Integrative Medicine today!

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