There are 35 metals that are considered toxic to us, though only 23 of them are actually categorized as “heavy metals”. Of these, the 15 most common (and therefore the ones to be most concerned about) are arsenic, bismuth, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, selenium, silver, thalium and zinc. Some of these (such as copper, iron, manganese and zinc) are metals that our bodies require in trace amounts in order for us to maintain good health. However, an overabundance of any of these metals can lead to serious health problems such as reduced function of the brain and central nervous system, alteration to the structure of the blood and major organ damage.
The problem lies in the fact that the body cannot metabolize heavy metals easily, so they bioaccumulate in the soft tissues. Arsenic, lead and mercury are the most frequent sources of heavy metal toxicity.
Symptoms of heavy metal toxicity include chronic pain, general discomfort and fatigue, brain fog, chronic infections, food allergies, gastrointestinal problems, dizziness, headaches and/or migraines, mood swings, depression, anxiety, and feelings of numbness, tingling and burning in the extremities.
If you have many of the above symptoms, there are a few tests you can take to determine if you have heavy metal poisoning. Tests that can determine the presence of heavy metals in your body include a blood test, urine test, x-rays, fecal analysis and a hair and fingernail analysis.
Conventional treatment for heavy metal poisoning usually involves some form of chelation therapy that uses a chelating agent to remove heavy metals from the body. During chelation (from the Greek word meaning “claw”), the chelating agent binds to the heavy metals in the body so they can be excreted.
Following are some tips on how to reduce your risk of heavy metal poisoning:
· Ceramic dishware from some foreign countries can contain heavy metals such as lead and cadmium in their paint. Check to ensure your dishware is free of these substances.