What are Heavy Metals?
Heavy metals are a group of metals defined by density. They're not all harmful. Some are even beneficial. The amount matters as well, where some can be beneficial at a certain level and harmful at a higher level (such as nickel, antimony, manganese, and copper).
- The most potentially toxic ones are mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and lead.
- They can disrupt the body's natural processes in many ways: mitochondrial function, stress hormone production, brain function, adrenal function, thyroid T4/T3 conversion, immune system regulation, virus susceptibility, reduced glutathione stores, increased inflammation, and reduced detoxification.
What Is Glutathione?
- Glutathione is produced in every cell in your body and is essential to detoxification overall, and the detoxification of heavy metals specifically. It acts like a chaperone to transport toxins out of the body. It can also be used as an antioxidant or an anti-microbial, depending on what's needed, and is essential for immune system regulation as well.
- When your glutathione stores are depleted, it can sometimes be beneficial to take it as a supplement.
&What Is Heavy Metal Toxicity?
- Toxicity happens when the level of the toxin goes beyond the robustness&of our body's defense against it.
- Detoxifying heavy metals isn't just about removing them from the body. It's about supporting our body's defense in such a way that&&&&toxicity is less likely to happen.
- It's impossible to live a life where you are never exposed to heavy metals, and it's impossible (and unnecessary) to get them 100% out of the body. Perfection isn't the goal. Instead, the goal is to eliminate major exposures and support our body's ability to detoxify smaller& exposures so they don't negatively impact our health. We can develop resilience and resistance to heavy metal toxicity.
How Do Heavy Metals Get Into the Body?
- Mercury sources: fish, mercury amalgam fillings, skin lightening creams, some vaccines, and some medications made outside of the US. When it comes to fish, there can be a thousand-fold difference in the amount of mercury in a sardine vs. a swordfish. The bigger the fish, the greater the concentration of mercury. Some scientists believe that the selenium in fish protects against the mercury exposure, while selenium is an important antioxidant that supports detoxification, and having a selenium deficiency makes you more susceptible to mercury toxicity, selenium doesn't completely protect against it.& You still absorb mercury that's bound to selenium, and therefore need to pay attention to the mercury content in fish. Download&Mercury in Seafood wallet card.
- Arsenic sources:&drinking water,&rice, and&shellfish.&Arsenic levels vary by geography, with some areas naturally containing higher levels than others. A great first step in minimizing exposure is a good water filter. With rice, arsenic content varies, depending on the soil where the rice is grown. For shellfish, it's the same.
- Cadmium sources: smoking, car exhaust, leafy greens grown near highways.
- Lead sources: drinking water, old buildings with lead paint.
- Remember, we cannot eliminate all exposure, so perfection isn't the goal. Make conscious choices to lower your exposure, and support your body's natural detox pathways to clear the exposures you can't control.&Diversifying your diet is one of the best ways to protect against overexposure to any toxin.
Heavy Metal Testing
- Heavy metals are tested in many different ways. Stool, urine and hair testing reflects the blood pool of heavy metals. Blood testing reflects the tissue pool of heavy metals. Looking at ratios between different types of tests can provide information on the body's ability to defend against and eliminate heavy metals.
- Provoked (Challenge) Tests: A patient is given a chelator to pull the heavy metals out of where they are stored in the body, so they can be measured.&However, the lab values for these tests are then compared to non-provoked samples. Unsurprisingly, almost everyone tests “high” with this method. 30 years ago, this was the only type of testing that was commercially available, and it's still commonly used in alternative health clinics. These tests often cause patients a lot of discomfort as heavy metals are mobilized at a rate faster than the body can eliminate them. Research also shows that chelators only pull from the blood and lymph but not the tissues, so it's an incomplete test. Lastly, if there is a problem with detoxification, you can still get a false negative with this test if the body isn't able to eliminate the heavy metals through the urine.
- Non-Provoked (Ambient) Tests:&These measure the true level of heavy metals in the body, unboosted by a chelator. Non-provoked tests have been available in research settings for quite a while.&&&&
INTRODUCING MERCURY TRI-TEST from QUICKSILVER SCIENTIFIC
- Mercury Tri-Test separately analyzes two different types of mercury: methylmercury (from fish) and inorganic mercury (from dental amalgams, and from the breakdown of methylmercury). These 2 forms of mercury distribute differently in the body, and are excreted differently. Urine contains inorganic but not methylmercury. Hair contains methylmercury but not inorganic. Blood contains both, but higher amounts of methylmercury. The tri-test analyzes hair, blood, and urine. In addition to giving accurate measures, this test also provides information on how the body's natural detoxification systems are working.
- Also blood test measures a wide range of other heavy metals, testing for both toxic exposures and imbalances that can have a side effect of toxicity.
Analyzing Test Results
- Everyone will have some heavy metals in their body, and intervention isn't always necessary.
- Inorganic mercury is more toxic at a cellular level than methylmercury.& For methylmercury, if someone tests within the 75-90 percentile, we recommend they consider detoxification. For anyone testing at 95 and above, it's imperative. For inorganic mercury, we recommend detoxification for anyone within the 50-75 percentile. For anyone testing at 90 and above, it's imperative.
- In addition to heavy metal levels, it's important to look at the functional pathways as well. Supporting those helps detoxify not only mercury, but all heavy metals and other toxins as well.
Where Diet Plays a Role in Detoxification
Nutrition density supports the body’s detox pathways, especially eating a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. Sulfur-rich veggies in particular are detox powerhouses (cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collards, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, garlic, and onion). They contain a number of compounds that are&Nrf2&upregulators, which turn up detoxification.
Two Essential Parts of Detoxification
- Microcosm: cells pushing away toxins, into the blood & lymph supply.
- Macrocosm: the liver, kidneys, and GI tract filtering the toxins out of the blood & lymph, to be eliminated from the body.
- Sometimes when you start a detox protocol (whether through diet or supplements), your blood levels will show an increase in heavy metals before it decreases again. This is a sign that your body is liberating toxins (microcosm) faster than they are being filtered out of the body (macrocosm). Some supplements that support filtration include charcoal, clay, chlorella, and diuretics.
We at Body Energetics, customize your detox plan&acording&to your test results, your current health conditions, your diet&andlifestyle. So the protocol you use focuses on determining what is a hindrance to the body’s natural ability to detoxify. The end goal is rebuilding the body’s resilience to toxins and its natural ability to defend itself.
- Chelation's goal is to go into the cells, pull out the heavy metals, and bind them to the chelators for safe removal from the body. However, it doesn't take into account impaired filtration, which is why some people's health worsens on a chelation protocol.&Chelation was originally created for short-term acute exposures, but most toxicity today has developed through chronic exposure over the years from multiple sources, and a reduced ability of the body to keep up with demand.
- Both stress and leaky gut interfere with detoxification and filtration. And when leaky gut is present, a leaky blood-brain barrier can also be present. That means that when toxins are released into the bloodstream and not filtered out, they can affect brain function.
We try to strike a balance between pushing detoxification enough to get results, without backfiring into side effects and negative symptoms. One key element in our protocols is to support the bile flow by detoxing the Liver and the GI tract for safe removal of heavy metals from the body.