Toxic metals - a problem for us all

From DoctorMyhill
Jump to navigation Jump to search



We are all toxic with heavy metals! The reason is simple - since man has been mining coal, oil, gas and other minerals he has been mobilising toxic metals into the environment. This is made much worse by heavy metals in regular use in Western lifestyles.

The Worst Offenders

These are

  • Mercury - leaks freely from dental amalgam fillings - also silver, nickel, palladium
  • Nickel - widely used in jewelry and piercings, stainless steel saucepans are 14% nickel
  • Lead - present in water, used in paints
  • Aluminium - most deodorants contain aluminium which is readily absorbed through skin
  • Cadmium - the main source is cigarette smoke
  • Gold - often used in dentistry - gold stents for arterial stenting have now been dropped because of high rates of re-stenosis
  • Titanium - often used in tablets and capsules, used in dentistry and surgery

Background Exposure

But we all get background exposures from :

  • Food - all chemical fertilisers will be contaminated by toxic metals! Seed dressings are often mercury based.
  • Cosmetics - toxic metals may be used as dyes.
  • Industrial discharges - burning coal, oils and gas will all release toxic metals into the environment. Many manufacturing industries use and release toxic metals.
  • Vaccines - contain either mercury on aluminium.
  • Prescription drugs - many contain toxic metals such as titanium, often labelled as an "inert". Slow release preparations often have fluoride.

Why are heavy metals a problem?

More specifically -
1---In chronic fatigue syndrome the commonest metals seen causing problems are first mercury, then nickel, palladium, gold and titanium, but any metal may be involved! I have a recent case of thallium poisoning! See Mercury - Toxicity of Dental Amalgam - Why you should have your dental amalgams removed
2---In multiple sclerosis nearly all patients have increased sensitivity to a wide range of metals especially nickel, mercury, cadmium and lead. See Potentially toxic elements in the brains of people with multiple sclerosis which concludes that:

Laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry imaging of pons paraffin sections from all MS patients and 12 controls showed that combinations of iron, silver, lead, aluminium, mercury, nickel, and bismuth were present more often in the locus ceruleus of MS patients and were located predominantly in white matter tracts. Based on these results, we propose that metal toxicants in locus ceruleus neurons weaken the blood brain barrier, enabling multiple interacting toxicants to pass through blood vessels and enter astrocytes and oligodendroglia, leading to demyelination.

3---Cholesterol ester needs an essential element such as zinc to make steroid hormones - but replace this with copper, the enzyme does not work and "raw" cholesterol builds up!

Toxic metals accumulate in the heart and blood vessels

Toxic metals are known to cause dysrhythmias and hypertension. Chelation therapy to strip out these metals in heart and arterial disease works extremely well! The problem is that the results of large scale trials get deliberately fudged by those with vested interest in pharmaceuticals! Pharmaceuticals mean treatment for life - chelation is a one off and so much less expensive! What is so interesting about reducing the load of heavy metals is that the arteries actually become less stiff - this can be proved by arteriography.

Toxic metals are known to cause cancer

The best documented examples are:

  • Hormone sensitive cancers, e.g. breast, ovary - nickel and cadmium
  • Lung cancer - nickel, cadmium (the tobacco plant bioconcentrates nickel from soil)


How can we test for them?

There is no one simple test for heavy metals! The problem is that heavy metals are sticky - they bind to body tissues, concentrate in different departments and are excreted in different ways. This is made worse when we are deficient in essential minerals. The body then grabs sometHing similar. So if one is zinc deficient, superoxide dismutase may use a nickel atom instead - it "looks" like zinc but does not do the same job. The enzyme does not work properly. Carbon monoxide poisoning works in the same way - to haemoglobin carbon monoxide "looks" like oxygen. If replaced, the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood is greatly reduced resulting in loss of consciousness and possibly death.

  • Hair analysis is inexpensive. If it shows raised levels of a toxic metal then there is toxicity with that metal. However, a normal result does not exclude a toxic metal. See Smart Nutrition Hair Mineral Analysis Test See the section below for more detailed comment on Hair Mineral Analysis.
  • Blood levels - many heavy metals concentrate in bone and fat or get stuck onto proteins and so they are hidden from a blood test.
  • Urine test - again, not all toxic metals are excreted in urine.
  • Sweat - again, not all toxic metals are excreted in sweat
  • Faecal minerals - again, not all toxic metals are excreted in faecal material

Probably the most reliable test is urine levels before and after a chelating agent. Genova Diagnostics offer a Comprehensive Urine element Profile test. I use this test following a dose of DMSA as a chelating agent, for assessing mercury (and other heavy metal) levels. Urine mercury levels measured after a DMSA load will provide good evidence of mercury toxicity. Test kits are provided on an individual basis ensuring the correct weight-related dose of DMSA is provided. Please, contact the office to confirm the overall price of this test, including the DMSA capsules needed to do the test.

Detailed Comment on Hair Mineral Analysis

This test measures the levels in hair of the following trace elements and toxic metals: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, chromium, manganese, selenium, nickel, cobalt, lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, aluminium.

  • If there are raised levels of toxic minerals then there probably is a toxicity problem.
  • However normal or low levels of toxic minerals does not exclude a toxicity problem. Some people are poor detoxifiers and do not dump heavy metals in hair - they get dumped elsewhere in the body. In a study of autistic children, they were found to have lower levels of mercury in the hair compared to controls! The researchers could not understand this until they realised they were dumping the mercury in their brains instead!
  • The zinc level can be misleading. A low zinc probably means zinc deficiency. A normal zinc may be due to a very low zinc which then makes the hair grow slowly. This slow growth has the effect of concentrating minerals in the hair to give falsely high readings.
  • A high copper suggests inflammation and always needs investigating further. It is often high with the Pill and HRT - this is one of the tests which makes me worry about the Pill and HRT!
  • High nickel (together with high leVels of any metals) also means nickel sensitivity (to jewelry, watches, zips etc)
  • Chromium, cobalt, manganese and selenium levels are probably accurate.
  • I would not take much notice of abnormal calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium or sodium results.
  • Low iron needs further investigation with a ferritin serum test.

However, if all the essential minerals are low (excluding the toxics) I would think of poor nutrition or malabsorption of foods. See Malabsorption - failure to get the goodness from food.

How can we get rid of toxic metals from the body?

There is no point trying to get rid of toxic metals until you have identified as many sources as possible that you can avoid. It is pointless doing mercury chelation if you have dental amalgam fillings.
So, first AVOID toxic metals as much as you can, and then TREAT - see Heavy Metal Poisoning - causes and treatment for further discussion and treatment options.

Other useful webpages

This is a vast area. Please see these other webpages for a fuller picture of the issues:

Illness-specific webpages include -

Related Articles

Related Test

External Links


Sarah Myhill Limited :: Registered in England and Wales :: Registration No. 4545198
Registered Office: Upper Weston, Llangunllo, Knighton, Powys, Wales LD7 1SL, UK. Tel 01547 550331 | Fax 01547 550339