Toxic Metals in Human Health and Diseases

By Dr. Larry Wilson

Toxic metals comprise a group of minerals that have no known function in the body and, in fact, are harmful. Today mankind is exposed to the highest levels of these metals in recorded history.

This is due to their industrial use, the unrestricted burning of coal, natural gas and petroleum, and incineration of waste materials worldwide. Toxic metals are now everywhere and affect everyone on planet earth. They have become a major cause of illness, aging and even genetic defects.

The study of toxic metals is part of nutrition and toxicology, areas not emphasized in medical schools. For this reason, these important causes of disease are accorded little attention in conventional mainstream medicine. This article focuses on the extent of toxic metal problems – sources of toxic metals, symptoms and how to remove them safely, quickly and deeply. This is not an easy task, I might add.

Many methods are used together. Most important, however, is that at the same time we use chelators, antagonists, sulfur amino acids and other methods, we balance the body chemistry very delicately using hair mineral analysis. This is the secret, really, to our success which is great.

Introduction to the Minerals

Minerals are the building blocks of our bodies. They are required for body structure, fluid balance, protein structures and to produce hormones. They are a key for the health of every body system and function.

They act as co-factors, catalysts or inhibitors of all enzymes in the body. Copper and iron, for example, along with other minerals are required for the electron transport system, and thus needed for all cellular energy production.

Minerals are classified into four groups: The macro minerals, or those needed in large quantity, include calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, iron, copper and zinc.

Required trace minerals include manganese, chromium, selenium, boron, bromine, silicon, iodine, vanadium, lithium, molybdenum, cobalt, germanium and others.

Possibly required trace minerals include fluorine, arsenic, rubidium, tin, niobium, strontium, gold, silver and nickel.

Toxic metals include beryllium, mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminum, antimony, bismuth, barium, uranium and others.

These categories overlap slightly because assessing minerals that are required by humans is problematic. Some may be needed in minuscule amounts. Clinical studies to prove this by depriving people of vital minerals would be cruel and possibly disastrous.

Also, note that minerals needed in lesser quantities are usually toxic in greater amounts. Examples are copper, iron, manganese, selenium and vanadium. Even calcium and sodium are quite toxic in excess.

Toxic Metal Dangers

Today mankind is exposed to the highest levels in recorded history of lead, mercury, arsenic, aluminum, copper, nickel, tin, antimony, bromine, bismuth and vanadium. Levels are up to several thousand times higher than in primitive man. In my clinical experience, everyone has excessive amounts of some or all of the toxic metals.

Toxic metals are also persistent and cumulative. The late Dr. Henry Schroeder, MD, who was a world authority on trace elements, wrote:

"Most organic substances are degradable by natural processes. (However), no metal is degradable…they are here to stay for a long time".

Toxic metals replace nutrient minerals in enzyme binding sites. When this occurs, the metals inhibit, over stimulate or otherwise alter thousands of enzymes.

An affected enzyme may operate at 5% of normal activity. This may contribute to many health conditions. Toxic metals may also replace other substances in other tissue structures. These tissues, such as the arteries, joints, bones and muscles, are weakened by the replacement process.

Toxic metals may also simply deposit in many sites, causing local irritation and other toxic effects. They may also support development of fungal, bacterial and viral infections that are difficult or impossible to eradicate until this cause is removed.

The mineral replacement process often involves the idea of preferred minerals. For example, the body prefers zinc for over 50 critical enzymes.. However, if zinc becomes deficient - and our soil and food are very low in zinc today - or exposure to cadmium, lead or mercury is sufficiently high, the body will use these in place of zinc.

Cadmium, in particular, is located just below zinc in the periodic table of the elements, so its atomic structure is very similar to that of zinc. It almost fits perfectly in the zinc binding sites of critical enzymes such as RNA transferase, carboxypeptidase, alcohol dehydrogenase and many others or great importance in the body.

The ability to replace a vital mineral means, however, that toxic metals are not completely harmful. Indeed, they can extend life. They keep bodies functioning when vital minerals are deficient.

An analogy is to imagine taking an automobile journey. If one is far away from a repair shop when a key part like the fan belt breaks, if one had a spare piece of rope, one could tie it around the pulleys and continue the trip slowly.

The rope would not function nearly as well as the original part, but would allow one to keep going. This is how toxic metals can function positively in the body. Many people limp along on grossly deficient diets, and are even born deficient and toxic.

They do not realize their fatigue and other symptoms are due to the presence of incorrect "replacement parts" in their biological engine compartments. Depending on where toxic metals accumulate, the resulting effects may be given names such as hypothyroidism, diabetes or cancer. The idea of preferred minerals is discussed in a theoretical context in the article on this website entitled The Theory of Nutritional Balancing Science.

Modern Diets and Toxic Metals

The danger of toxic metals is greatly aggravated today by the low mineral content of most of our food supply. An abundance of vital minerals protects against toxic metals. Vital minerals compete with toxic metals for absorption and utilization in enzymes and other tissue structures.

However, when food is low in essential minerals, the body absorbs and makes use of more toxic metals. To continue the previous analogy, we are not stocking up sufficiently on factory parts, so we must use the greatly inferior replacement parts – toxic metals. Causes for the low mineral content of almost all agricultural products are primarily:

According to Dr. Weston Price, author of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, primitive man ate 5 to 11 times the amount of the essential minerals in his diet as modern man . The term 'empty calories' aptly describes most of our food today.

Sources and Detection of Toxic Metals

For a more complete list of sources for each of the major toxic metals organized by the metal, see the Reference Guide at the end of this article.

Food Sources. Food grown near highways or downwind of industrial plants may contain lead and other toxic amounts of metals. Even organic home gardens may be contaminated if, for example, old house paint containing lead leaches lead into the soil.

Sprays and insecticides still often contain lead, arsenic, mercury and other toxic metals. Refining of food often contaminates the food with aluminum, as it is found in water supplies everywhere.

Also, food refining removes the protective zinc, chromium and manganese from food and leaves the toxic metals in some cases, such as cadmium. This makes white flour even more toxic, as with white sugar, and is another reason to totally avoid these foods.

Lead is considered the most widely distributed toxic metal due to its many uses in industry. However, mercury, arsenic, cadmium and particularly aluminum are just as widespread if not more, but are less well-studied.

Pesticides used on fruits, vegetables and many other foods may contain arsenic, lead, copper, mercury and other toxic metals.

Mercury and others from the sea. Fish, especially those caught near the coast or in contaminated streams or lakes, are universally contaminated. Mercury is found today in ALL FISH, bar none. Even small fish, which used to be safe, are not any more. This is sad as fish is otherwise an excellent food.

We recommend eating small, cold-water fish such as salmon and sardines no more than twice weekly, and this is because they are such excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids we all require today. These fatty acids are especially important for children and babies, by the way, for nervous system development.

Large fish concentrate mercury a million times or more. The federal government recently issued a warning that pregnant and lactating women should avoid tuna, shark, king mackerel and other large fish. I recommend everyone avoid these fish!

Avoid shellfish. Shellfish and bottom feeders in particular contain excessive cadmium, mercury and other toxic metals. Please avoid all shellfish, forever, as the problem is just getting worse in most nations of the world. Once again, they are not bad foods if they are processed correctly, but the toxic metal levels are incredible at times. This is why many people are "allergic" to them. This is a mild term. They are really poisoned by them.

Table salt has aluminum added as an anti-caking agent. Sea salt is much better. Beverages in aluminum cans or food cooked in aluminum may contain elevated levels of aluminum. Ceramic plates and cookware from other nations often contain leaded glazes that come off onto the food.

Nickel. This is a particularly deadly toxic metal. It is found in large quantity, sadly, in some older metal or even ceramic dental fixtures such as crowns and some wires used in bridges and braces. Be very careful about this because nickel can contribute to cancer and other horrible problems.

If you suspect you have nickel-plated crowns or dental wires of some kind, talk to your dentist about the problem and try to find out the materials in your mouth. One way to save thousands of dollars, though not a perfect solution, would be to coat dental wires and even the sides of crowns with clear nail polish to keep the nickel from rubbing off into the body.

DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME, however, Go to a dental office where they have a suction machine and do it there, or have the hygienist do it for you. Nail polish gives off very toxic fumes and these should never be breathed, ever.

Nickel in much smaller quantity in hydrogenated oils found in commercial peanut butter, margarines including soy margarine and vegetable shortening. Cadmium used as catalysts. p>Aluminum and Drinking Water. This is the most important source of toxic metals for most people. Aluminum, copper, toxic chlorides and fluorides are added to many municipal water supplies.

Aluminum allows dirt to settle out of the water, while copper kills algae that grows in reservoirs. Chlorine is used to disinfect water, although ozone works very well and is a far more healthful treatment.

Wells and even municipal water may also contain some lead, arsenic and other undesirable metals. Galvanized and black plastic pipes can be an important source of cadmium. Lead-soldered pipes and copper pipes may increase these metals in the drinking water if the water is soft. It is an uncommon problem in hard water areas.

Fluoride compounds added to drinking water are extremely toxic. They have found their way into ground water supplies, and thus into the food chain. Fluoride levels in foods processed with water may be very high, especially baby foods and reconstituted fruit juices.

Health authorities who recommend fluoridating the water rarely if ever take into account fluorides already found in natural foods, foods processed with fluoridated water and fluoridated toothpaste. The combination adds up to overload in all cases.

Hydrofluosilicic acid, the chemical often used to fluoridate drinking water, is a smokestack waste that contains lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, aluminum, benzene and radioactive waste material.

Note that carbon and carbon block filters do not remove most toxic metals from water. Only distillation and reverse osmosis remove most toxic metals. Good quality spring water is probably best way to avoid the most common source of toxic metals and at the same time obtain vital minerals.

Airborne Sources of Toxic Metals. Most toxic metals are effectively absorbed by inhalation. Auto and particularly aircraft exhaust, industrial smoke and products from incinerators are among the airborne sources of toxic metals and other chemicals.

Mercury and coal-fired power plants. Burned high in the atmosphere, aircraft fuel deposits everywhere and affects everyone on earth. Burning coal can release mercury, lead and cadmium among other metals. Iranian and Venezuelan oil are high in vanadium.

Coal plants should have scrubbers, as they do in the United States. However, they do not in some nations such as China, that are in a great hurry to industrialize and do not realize the damage their plants are causing in the entire world thanks to their pollution of the air, water and food supplies.

Other oil is excessive in toxic sulfur compounds. Tetraethyl lead was added to gasoline for many years. Residues are present on pavement and may settle on buildings, cropland and elsewhere. Today, manganese is added to gasoline. Uranium exposure is largely from airborne sources such as nuclear tests and accidental nuclear releases.

Incineration can be clean. Older methods of incineration of electronic parts, plastics, treated fabrics, batteries and even diapers release all the toxic metals into the air. The use of scrubbers and newer methods of very high temperature incineration are much better.

Cadmium and mercury in papers. Cigarette and marijuana smoke are high in cadmium, found in cigarette paper. Pesticides used on these crops may contain lead, arsenic and other toxic metals.

Medications. Many patented prescription and over-the-counter drugs contain toxic metals. Cipro (fluoquinolones) and Prozac (fluoxetine) are fluoride-containing chemicals, for example.

Thimerisol, a mercury-containing preservative, is used in some vaccines, including all flu shots. Independent evaluation of a large study that is part of the Centers For Disease Control Vaccine Safety Datalink concluded that:

"children are 27 times as likely to develop autism after exposure to three thimerisol-containing vaccines than those who receive thimerisol-free versions".

Thiazide diuretics contain mercury. These include Maxzide, Diazide and many others. Antacids such as Ryopan, Gaviscon, Maalox, Mylanta and many others are very high in aluminum. Antibiotics may also contain toxic substances including metals.

Direct Skin Contact. Almost all anti-perspirants and many cosmetics contain aluminum. Dental amalgams contain mercury, copper and other metals. Dental bridges and other appliances often contain nickel.

Prostheses and pins used to hold bones together may contain nickel and other toxic metals. Copper intra-uterine devices, if left in place for years, release a tremendous amount of copper into the body.

Soaps, body lotions and creams often contain toxic compounds. A few hair dyes contain lead. Selsun Blue shampoo contains selenium that is quite toxic in high doses.

Household lawn and garden chemicals may contain lead, arsenic and other compounds. Mercury treated seeds and arsenic-treated wood are other common sources of toxic metals.

Occupational exposure is important for many occupations today. Among the most common are plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, printers, ironworkers, office workers, other building trades and many other occupations.

Workers need to wear gloves, masks and take other precautions when handling inks, metals and other toxic materials. Unfortunately, most occupational exposure occurs without the knowledge of either the worker or the employer today.

Congenital Toxic Metals. This is a vital topic that deserves a separate article, so important is it. Here I will just briefly introduce the subject.

Today, all children are born with some toxic metals acquired in utero. All the toxic metals pass through the placenta from mother to child. This is seen clearly when reviewing mineral analyses of infants. Most have never been exposed to even food, yet their bodies are high in many toxic metals.

The only explanation is that these infants receive exposures in utero during gestation. This is a very sad situation, as these children are born with two strikes against them, so to speak. They are far more prone to autism, ADD, ADHD, infections, developmental delays and more. For more information about this critical topic, see the articles on this website about children's health.

Detecting Toxic Metals in the Body

Toxic metals are not easy to detect. They lodge deep within tissues and organs. The most common methods of detection include hair, urine and feces tests.

Blood tests are only helpful for an acute exposure, such as eating a food contaminated with lead and doing a test soon after. The problem is that toxic metals are removed quickly from the blood and stored in the tissues where they do less damage. So blood tests must be done soon after an exposure, usually within days or weeks at the most, or it will not give accurate results.

Urine and feces challenge tests. These are used widely by holistic physicians. These are done by first administering a drug that removes or chelates toxic metals such as EDTA, DMPS or another drug. Then one collects a 24-hour urine or a feces sample to see what comes out of the body.

This test is good, but certainly does not detect all toxic metals. No chelator will remove anywhere near all the metals. Most chelating agents only circulate in the blood, so they miss many toxic metals that are hidden in the tissues and organs.

Hair testing is also used and can reveal some toxic metals that are deposited in the skin and hair at the time the hair grows. Some of the metals tend to accumulate in the hair, while others do not as much, such as copper.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency reviewed over 400 studies of the use of hair for toxic metal detection and concluded that:

"Hair is a meaningful and representative tissue for (biological monitoring for) antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, vanadium and perhaps selenium and tin."

The author of a study of lead toxicity in Massachusetts school children, Dr. R. Tuthill, concluded:

"Scalp hair should be considered a useful clinical and epidemiological approach for the measurement of chronic low-level lead exposure in children."

Skilled interpretation of the hair analysis is required. For example, we find that if either aluminum, iron or manganese is elevated in the hair, the other two are also present in excess. They will be revealed on future tests, in our experience, as they are being eliminated.

It is true, by the way, that manganese and iron are vital minerals, not toxic metals, they ca be present in a toxic form that must be removed from the body.

Similarly, copper toxicity is often hidden. Other articles detail the indicators on a properly performed hair analysis that indicate hidden copper toxicity.

Even using these methods, however, no test I am aware of can detect anywhere near all the toxic metals in the body. Often they are sequestered in hard-to-reach places such as the bones or poorly-perfused fatty tissues.

The best we can do is to know the metals will be revealed as they are excreted through the hair if one performs repeat hair mineral tests while a person is one a nutritional balancing program.

As a clinician, I find the best approach is to assume everyone has toxic metals. This has proven totally true in over 28 years of clinical experience. Any sound health program needs to be designed to remove them.

No method is perfect, but we use hair testing exclusively and find it excellent. It is simple, non-invasive and very inexpensive. However, once again, I do not try to find toxic metals. I know they are in everyone today. I use the hair test far more to design corrective programs than to identify toxic metals.

Other. Electroacupuncture and radionic machines, applied kinesiology and other energetic methods are gaining in popularity. I am not sure of their reliability, however. At times they are dependent on the skill of the operator, for example.

Liver biopsies are definitive for copper, iron and perhaps other metals as well. However, they are costly, invasive and somewhat dangerous, so they are not used a lot.

Normal Hair Values for Toxic Metals

The medical drug culture contributes to many birth defects and problems of pregnancy and birth. A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine found that common prescription and over-the-counter medications increased birth defects in 8000 infants by 120 to 240%.

Did you know that many prescription medications antagonize or deplete nutrients? Folic acid antagonists include tripmethoprim, triampterine, carbamazepine, phenytoin, penobarbitol (Dilantin) and primidone. Antibiotics often kill the beneficial bacteria that produce folic acid, a vitamin necessary to avoid birth defects.

Other problem medications include Aspirin, barbituates, over-the-counter cough medicines containing dextromethorphan, Celebrex, cholestyramine (Questran), Cimetadine, Colistipol, corticosteroids, ethosuximide, hydrochlorthiazide, indomethacin, methotrexate, methsuximide, nizatidine, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, birth control pills, ranitidine bismuth citrate, ranitidine hydrochloride, salsalate, and valproic acid.

Toxic Metals and Toxic Chemicals

This is an important topic because if one checks the various laboratories, the normals will vary somewhat, though not tremendously. We use very tight normal values because I know we can lower the toxic metal values to these low levels with our methods. These methods are described later in this article. Here are normal values that we use:

Lead 0.1 mg% or 1 ppm (parts per million)
Mercury 0.03 mg% or 0.3 ppm
Cadmium 0.005 mg% or 0.05 ppm
Nickel 0.06 mg% or 0.6 ppm
Aluminum 0.25 mg% or 2.5 ppm
Arsenic 0.01 mg% or 0.1 ppm

Symptoms Associated with Toxic Metals

For a complete list of symptoms for each toxic metal, see the Reference Guide at the end of this article.

Toxic metals can contribute to any imaginable illness. For example, lead that replaces calcium in the bones can contribute to weakened bones and osteoporosis.

Cadmium that replaces zinc in the arteries causes inflammation and hardening of the arteries. Iron that replaces zinc and other minerals in the pancreas, adrenals and elsewhere can contribute to impaired blood sugar tolerance and diabetes.

Copper that replaces zinc in the brain is associated with migraine headaches, premenstrual syndrome, depression, anxiety, panic attacks and much more. Mercury and copper that replace selenium in various tissues impairs the conversion of T4 to T3, contributing to thyroid imbalances.

Toxic Metals and Aging. The slow, or not so slow, replacement of vital minerals with toxic metals is an important and neglected cause of aging due to deactivation of enzyme systems and the loss of organ and tissue integrity.

Toxic metal accumulation also feeds on itself. As one's energy production decreases with age, the body is less able to eliminate toxic metals, causing more metal accumulation.

Toxic Metals and Gene Expression. Genetic birth defects may be caused by faulty DNA or by faulty gene expression. Even if one's DNA is perfect, the synthesis of proteins from that DNA can be faulty.

For example, zinc is required for a key enzyme in gene expression, RNA transferase. Not surprisingly, zinc deficiency is associated with conditions such as neural tube defects. A recent article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discussed this hidden cause of genetic defects.

"An alternate form of a gene present in greater than 1% of the population is called a polymorphism".

While the article mainly discusses vitamin deficiencies as a cause for genetic defects, it gives the example that "mutations in Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase cause 25% of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis."

Solutions to Toxic Metal Overload

One should not fear toxic metals. They cannot be completely avoided, but one can minimize exposure with careful eating and a healthful lifestyle.

Also, our bodies have a lot of evolutionary experience with them and effective mechanisms to eliminate them. These can be supported and enhanced by nutritional and other therapies. The following program, when followed faithfully, will lead to the safe removal of toxic metals.

Notice that we use at least 8 methods together. For example, in most cases we do not like chelation therapy used alone as so many doctors use. It is not needed and doesn't work that well. Our eight or so methods together, however, produce excellent results in almost all cases.

  1. Increase the amount of rest and sleep greatly. Extra rest and sleep is critical for any detoxification program for several reasons:
    a) Detoxification takes place mostly when we are resting or sleeping. During the day when one is active, the body is mainly focused on the daily activities, not on elimination of poisons from the body.
    b) Rest and sleep reduce sympathetic nervous system activity. This is so important it is listed as a separately as a powerful method to enhance detoxification of all chemicals, metals and other types of poisons from the body.
    c) Resting and sleeping more conserves the body's energy for healing. Most people use up too much energy in their daily activities. This slows progress tremendously.
    d) The essential organs and glands, such as the adrenals, thyroid, liver, kidneys and others rebuild only when rested.
    e) sleep allows mental and emotional processing to occur. This reduces emotional and mental activity during the day and allows unprocessed emotions to be handled and dealt with far easier. Many people live in continual stress because they do not process each day's events and traumas and this inhibits rebuilding of the body and the elimination of toxins of all sorts.
  2. Inhibit the sympathetic nervous system. This is another key to our programs. Sympathetic nervous system activity blocks the body from adequate elimination. This is well known in medicine. The liver, kidneys, bowel, skin even the lungs are all associated with the parasympathetic nervous system and require strong nervous energy to promote their activity. Sympathetic nervous system activity inhibits these activities powerfully.
    We reduce sympathetic activity in at least six ways:
    a) We have already mentioned getting a lot more rest and sleep. This is a primary method of reducing sympathetic nervous system activity.
    b) Supplements are chosen that are the most parasympathetic possible. These include animal-based rather than plant-based products in some cases. It also includes limiting certain vitamins that are stimulatory and adding more that are sedative in their effect.
    c) The diet is made as non-stimulatory as possible. This means removing all chemical additives, as far as is possible. It means limiting caffeine, sugar, wheat and other stimulating or allergic or sensitive foods in the diet.
    d) The lifestyle must be restful in general. This can have a great deal of influence on the nervous system, even if one is sleeping adequately. For example, a stressful job or a marriage that needs counseling are not helpful. Soft music rather than loud, rock and roll music is preferable, and so forth.
    e) Mental/emotional training using our recommended meditation-observation exercise is also very helpful for some people. For others, we recommend regular prayer, affirmations, positive thoughts and watching out for one's "mental diet". Too much that is on the television, the news and other information sources is harmful to the body's delicate nervous system.
    f) Other ways to sympathetic nervous stimulation are not too much exercise reducing cell phone use, avoiding other radiation sources including even some far infrared saunas that have large carbon pads, reducing noise levels and too much freeway driving. These and many other simple changes together can reduce your stress level dramatically.
    g) Reducing certain imbalances on a hair mineral chart also can dramatically lower sympathetic nervous activity. These include, but are not limited to balancing a fast oxidation rate, reducing a high Na/K or a high Ca/Mg ratio, improving zinc, selenium and chromium status and lowering certain toxic metal levels.
  3. Eat a varied, excellent-quality diet of mineralized foods. The body will absorb and utilize less toxic metals if it receives more preferred minerals. A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition measured the mineral content of organic versus commercial food. Results indicated that food labeled "organic" that was selected randomly from Chicago food markets had an average of twice the mineral content of standard supermarket food.
    The famed people of Hunza who lived to 120 years or longer in excellent health drank glacial runoff that was so mineral-rich the water was cloudy (The Wheel of Health by Carrington ).
    Especially mineral-rich foods include kelp, sea salt and all root vegetables except potatoes and yams. Root vegetables must be cooked at least 45 minutes for their minerals to be most bioavailable.
    Adequate protein, especially animal protein, supplies sulfur-containing amino acids which help chelate toxic metals and support liver detoxification pathways.
    Other high-sulfur foods include egg yolks and vegetables in the cabbage, radish, garlic and onion families. Sulfur is very helpful for detoxification in general, and for mercury and copper, in particular.
    Fiber is also helpful to reduce some toxic metals. It reduces bowel transit time, which can limit absorption of toxic metals.
  4. Improve The Lifestyle and Eating Habits. We emphasize excellent eating habits, such as having regular, sit-down meals. Also, eating quietly and slowly and chewing thoroughly are important for nutrient absorption and proper elimination. Poor habits include skipping meals, only snacking on the run, eating the same foods every day wit no variety.
    A relaxed and positive outlook also greatly facilitates elimination and healing of all illness. We also enourage an attitude of gratitude and avoiding all victim thinking. This include thinking that anyone else is a victim, either. Such apparently small changes in one's thoughts and actions can have a huge impact on general health and the body's ability to heal and eliminate toxic substances.
    We have already discussed other lifestyle changes such as sleeping 9 or 10 hours per night. In some cases, other lifestyle pattern are destructive and must be changed, such as drinking too much alcohol, spending time with negative or destructive "friends" and other things as well.
  5. Other dietary considerations. These include;
    a) void all restrictive and extreme diets. These include strict vegan and vegetarian diets, for example. These are almost always deficient in zinc and many other essential nutrients. Raw food diets, while higher in some vitamins and other nutrients, are usually much lower in vital minerals and raw foods are much harder for many people to digest.
    Cooking does not reduce the mineral content of food and usually makes minerals much more bioavailable by breaking down fiber. Cooking also concentrates the food so that one ends up ingesting many more vital minerals
    b) Avoid living on protein powders and other processed supplements instead of foods. For example, egg or whey protein powder is not a substitute for eating eggs or fresh goat milk. The latter are whole foods that are much richer in many minerals. Food supplements are never a substitute for an excellent diet.
    c) void most refined foods such as white sugar, white flour, table salt and white rice. These are almost devoid of vital minerals and will cause the body to absorb and utilize more toxic metals.
  6. Take Antgonistic Supplemental Nutrients. Supplements can help greatly to reduce toxic metals in the body. For example, kelp is an inexpensive source of iodine that can help remove fluorides, chlorides and bromides from the body by competing with them for absorption and for binding sites in the cells of the body.
    Kelp also contains alginates that help bind toxic metals, some of which are also found in the kelp itself, since it is a sea product.
    Kelp also contains a wide range of vital minerals to body needs to rebuild itself. All act as antagonists to some degree to the toxic metals.
    In addition to kelp, we use a lot of zinc, selenium, calcium, magnesium and other minerals. Calcium and zinc are cadmium antagonists. Selenium and zinc are mercury antagonists, and so forth.
    I worked for a short time at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Heath. We investigated a factory in which workers were fed milk to help avoid lead poisoning. While a bit crude, the principle was sound, as calcium is a lead antagonist.
    Most multivitamins do not contain enough zinc, chromium, selenium, manganese, calcium and magnesium.
  7. Other supplements we use regularly. Most people need a digestive aid. The one we recommend most, GB-3 by Endomet Labs, also helps with liver and kidney detoxification. This is a triple benefit. It also helps kill intenstinal parasites and other infections in the intestines. This is also very important for some people.
    We also use kidney glandular and herbs to support elimination through the kidneys. Others are common vitamins and minerals that help remove toxins, such as low-dose vitamin C and occasionally higher doses for short periods of time, since vitamin C is a natural chelating agent, along with selenium, molybdenum and others.
    Other supplements are used to correct vital mineral deficiencies as revealed on the hair test and to balance the oxidation or metabolic rate. This is critical to enhance the body's adaptive energy. Let us discuss this most important method of eliminating toxic metals.
  8. Improve adaptive energy. Increasing the amount of energy available to the body cells is a great key to toxic metal and toxic chemical elimination. This is overlooked by almost all physicians, even holistic ones. Let us explain how this works in a simple way.
    The body must produce energy in order to eliminate toxins. One would have little luck eliminating toxins from a dead persons because the body's vital energy is gone. Yet this factor of vital energy is often overlooked in nutritional circles. It is emphasized in chiropractic, for example, and even in some forms of homeopathy in which the doctor first tries to build up the patient's energy or vitality before attacking toxic metals in any way.

Balancing the oxidation type and rate. The primary way we enhance adaptive energy using nutrition involves a properly performed and properly interpreted hair mineral analysis. With this simple examination of the minerals in the hair, we can identify what is called the oxidation type and the oxidation rate. The evaluation is made with ratios in a mathematically precise fashion.

We do not endorse other ways to measure the oxidation or metabolic rate and that is important, as many use questionnaires and other methods that we find are not very accurate or helpful.

We can then use foods, lifestyle, diet and other methods to balance the entire body chemistry.

This gentle balancing procedure, done in all nutritional balancing programs, greatly enhances the body's ability to eliminate toxic metals. Random supplementation with products to remove toxic metals, by contrast, does not work well at all in our experience. It can remove some of them, but falls far short of the combination of methods described in this article.

We are extremely careful, as well, that any supplement or any other procedure we use to remove toxins does not interfere with the oxidation rate balance in the body. That would be counterproductive, even if the procedure is excellent for another person with a different oxidation type or rate. I teach this science to anyone who is interested.

Balancing the vitality ratio, the blood sugar ratio and other patterns on the test. Another facet of enhancing energy is to balance other levels, ratios and patterns on the same hair mineral analysis. This again requires attention to the diet, the addition of the correct supplements and avoiding all others, no matter how "excellent" they are for some people. It also invovles lifestyle and occasionally other methods to correct imbalances on the test.

Other ways to enhance energy. These include more sleep and rest, a better lifestyle and care as to mental and emotional aspects of life. At times a stressful or worrisome situation is even reducing the energy level.

We even encourage spirituality because in some people this also assists energy tremendously. Hopelessness, for example, or low self-esteem will impair elimination and lead to disease. Their opposites raise the body's energy and promote healing. These factors are too often overlooked by medical and holistic practitioners.

When needed, other natural therapies such as chiropractic, body work, energy work and others are also most helpful to restore and maintain an optimum energy level.

Purification Symptoms When Metals Are Removed

This topic must not be forgotten in any article about toxic metals. The elimination of heavy metals, as well as the removal of toxic chemicals and chronic infections, almost always will cause symptoms from time to time. These include energy fluctuations, headaches, skin rashes and other symptoms as well.

Emotional and mental symptoms often occur as well. These include feelings of depression, anxiety, irritability, insomnia or mood swings.

All purification symptoms tend to be very temporary. The best way to handle them is to rest more, reduce your nutrition program if you wish and do supportive therapies.

These include extra coffee enemas, drinking distilled water in larger quantities, short, rather than longer sauna therapy sessions, colonic irrigation, Epsom salt baths and others. In almost all cases, this will suffice to move the toxic metals out of the body a little faster and the symptom will disappear.

At times, more vigorous or severe healing reactions occur. Almost any symptom can arise, from a cold or flu to various aches and pains or other types of symptoms.

Usually natural methods will suffice to contain and move the infection through easily. For this reason, we do not recommend medical therapies, as a general rule, during healing reactions.

However, if you are not sure, always contact a person knowledgeable in healing and purification reactions.

In my personal practice, I have never encountered a symptom requiring medical treatment during a nutritional balancing program. One reason for this, I believe, is that I do not use synthetic chelating drugs and we always focus on strengthening the eliminative organs and enhancing overall health. These simple measures can prevent most adverse effects that occur during toxic metal elimination.

Many indoor environments are toxic from the fumes and residues of toxic chemicals. Chemicals brought into the home from a father who works with them is another factor that should be corrected before pregnancy.

Why Hair Electrolyte Levels May Not Shift. If toxic metals are removed from the body by any means, and yet the first four numbers on a hair test do not change much (calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium), then most likely it is because the metals were superficial.

Usually, however, the electrolytes will shift a lot as toxic metals come out of the body. They may temporarily move higher, but eventually they will always move lower toward normal.


Toxic metals are one of the most important causes of ill health today. I predict that removing them will become recognized as a great secret for healing many health conditions.

Toxic metal exposure is higher today than ever before in modern history, thanks to an industrialized world. This will not change anytime soon, so the problem with toxic metals will be with us for many years.

How to eliminate these safely and fully from the human body therefore is a very important subject. No doubt, we will improve our methods over time.

Reducing our exposure is the simplest and most cost-effective way to prevent toxic metal problems. Efforts to clean up the water, food and air have advanced greatly, but more needs to be done. Governments can do their part, but the public must also learn about the dangers of toxic metals and how to avoid them. It should be a top priority in the education of the children.

Young men and especially young women can do much to help the next generation and themselves to avoid toxic metals by improving their health before having children. Dr. Weston Price discovered that in many primitive cultures, prenatal care for young women began at puberty by feeding the women special foods designed to maximize their vital mineral intake.

One can greatly enhance the elimination toxic metals by resting a lot more, reducing exposure, increasing vital minerals in the diet and avoiding mineral-deficient food. Assisting the eliminative organs, improving digestion and increasing vitality or adaptive energy are also excellent methods to enhance the body's ability to remove toxic metals.

In addition, we use targeted supplements to balance the body chemistry and to enhance elimination. Supplements can act as natural chelating agents that remove the metal and antagonists. These compete with toxic metals for absorption and utilization in the body.

The use of inexpensive, near or far infrared saunas and daily coffee enemas are other excellent ways to enhance toxic metal elimination. These are also excellent health insurance and well worth the time and effort these practices require.

Reference Guide
Sources and Symptoms of the Common Toxic Metals

Aluminum - cookware, beverages in aluminum cans, tap water, table salt, baking powders, antacids, processed cheese, anti-perspirants, bleached flour, antacids, vaccines and other medications and occupational exposure.

Arsenic - pesticides, beer, table salt, tap water, paints, pigments, cosmetics, glass and mirror manufacture, fungicides, insecticides, treated wood and contaminated food.

Beryllium - air pollution (burning fossil fuels), manufacture of plastics, electronics, steel alloys and volcanic ash.

Cadmium - cigarettes, (tobacco and marijuana), processed and refined foods, large fish, shellfish, tap water, auto exhaust, plated containers, galvanized pipes, air pollution from incineration and occupational exposure.

Copper - copper water pipes, copper added to tap water, pesticides, swimming in pools, intra-uterine devices, vegetarian diets, dental amalgams, nutritional supplements - especially prenatal vitamins, birth control pills, weak adrenal glands and occupational exposure.

Lead - tap water, cigarette smoke, hair dyes, paints, inks, glazes, pesticide residues and occupational exposure in battery manufacture and other industries.

Mercury - dental amalgams, large fish, shellfish, medications, air pollution, manufacture of paper, chlorine, adhesives, fabric softeners and waxes.

Nickel - hydrogenated oils (margarine, commercial peanut butter and shortening), shellfish, air pollution, cigarette smoke, plating and occupational exposure.


Aluminum – Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, anemia and other blood disorders, colic, fatigue, dental caries, dementia dialactica, hypoparathyroidism, kidney and liver dysfunctions, neuromuscular disorders, osteomalacia and Parkinson's disease.

Arsenic - abdominal pain, abnormal ECG, anorexia, dermatitis, diarrhea, edema, enzyme inhibitor, fever, fluid loss, goiter, hair loss, headache, herpes, impaired healing, interferes with the uptake of folic acid, inhibition of sulfhydryl enzyme systems, jaundice, keratosis, kidney and liver damage, muscle spasms, pallor, peripheral neuritis, sore throat, stomatitis, stupor, vasodilation, vertigo, vitiligo and weakness.

Beryllium - adrenal insufficiency, arthritis, bone spurs, bursitis, depression, fatigue, osteoporosis and symptoms of slow metabolism.

Cadmium - hypertension, arthritis, diabetes, anemia, arteriosclerosis, impaired bone healing, cancer, cardiovascular disease, cirrhosis, reduced fertility, hyperlipidemia, hypoglycemia, headaches, osteoporosis, kidney disease, schizophrenia and strokes.

Copper - acne, adrenal hyperactivity and insufficiency, agoraphobia, allergies, hair loss, anemia, anxiety, arthritis, autism, cancer, chronic candida albicans infection, depression, elevated cholesterol, cystic fibrosis, depression, diabetes, dyslexia, elevated estrogen, failure to thrive, fatigue, fears, fractures of the bones, headaches, heart attacks, hyperactivity, hypertension, hypothyroidism, infections, inflammation, insomnia, iron storage diseases, kidney and liver dysfunctions, decreased libido, multiple sclerosis, nervousness, osteoporosis, panic attacks, premenstrual syndrome, schizophrenia, strokes, tooth decay and vitamin C and other vitamin deficiencies.

Lead - abdominal pain, adrenal insufficiency, anemia, arthritis, arteriosclerosis, attention deficit, back problems, blindness, cancer, constipation, convulsions, deafness, depression, diabetes, dyslexia, epilepsy, fatigue, gout, impaired glycogen storage, hallucinations, hyperactivity, impotency, infertility, inflammation, kidney dysfunction, learning disabilities, diminished libido, migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis, psychosis, thyroid imbalances and tooth decay.

Mercury - adrenal gland dysfunction, alopecia, anorexia, ataxia, bipolar disorder, birth defects, blushing, depression, dermatitis, discouragement, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, hearing loss, hyperactivity, immune system dysfunction, insomnia, kidney damage, loss of self-control, memory loss, mood swings, nervousness, numbness and tingling, pain in limbs, rashes, excessive salivation, schizophrenia, thyroid dysfunction, timidity, tremors, peripheral vision loss and muscle weakness.

Nickel - cancer (oral and intestinal), depression, heart attacks, hemorrhages, kidney dysfunction, low blood pressure, malaise, muscle tremors and paralysis, nausea, skin problems, tetany and vomiting.

This list is incomplete. More references, symptoms and toxic metals will be added in the future.

If you are interested in receiving a hair analysis, please contact Joy

1. Schroeder, H., Trace elements and Man, The Devin-Adair Company, CT, 1975.
2. Ibid, p. 154
3. Braunwald, E. et al, editors, Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, McGraw-Hill, Professional, 15th edition, 2001.
4. Pfeiffer, C., Zinc and Other Micronutrients, Keats Publishing, CT, 1978.
5. Kutsky, R., Handbook of Vitamins, Minerals and Hormones, 2nd edition, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, NY, 1981.
6. Ibid., Schroeder, H., Trace Elements and Man.
7. Hall, R.H., Food For Naught, The Decline in Nutrition, Vintage Books, NY, 1974.
8. Anderson, M. and Jensen, B. Empty Harvest; Understanding the Link Between Our Food, Our Immunity and Our Planet, Avery Penguin Putnam, 1993.
9. Price, W., Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, CA, 1949.
10. Stannard, J., Shim, Y.S., Kritsineli, M., Labropoulo, P.,Tsamtsouris, A., Fluoride levels and fluoride contamination of fruit juices, J Clin Ped Dentistry, 1991;16(1).
11. From the warning label on hydrofluosilicic acid, Cargill Corporation, FL.
12. Casdorph, H.R. and Walker, M., Toxic Metal Syndrome, Avery Publishing, NY, 1995.
13. National Autism Association, Press Release, Feb. 9, 2004.
14. Eck, P. and Wilson, L., Toxic Metals in Human Health and Disease, Eck Institute of Applied Nutrition and Bioenergetics, Ltd., AZ, 1989, p. xiv.
15. Shamberger, R.J., Validity of hair mineral testing, Bio Trace Element Res, 2002, 87:1-28.
16. Muir, M., Current controversies in the diagnosis and treatment of heavy metal toxicity, Alternative and Comp Ther., June 1997:170-178.
17. Environmental Protection Agency, Research and Development, Toxic Trace Metals in Human and Mammalian Hair, EPA-600, 4.79-049, August 1979, p. 3.
18. Tuthill, R., Hair lead levels related to children's classroom attention-deficit behavior, Arch Env Health, 1996, 51(3)214-220.
19. Ames, BN, Elson-Schwab, I., Silver, EA, High-dose vitamin therapy stimulates variant enzymes with decreased coenzyme binding affinity: relevance to genetic disease and polymorphisms, Am J Clin Nut. April 2002;75(4):616-658.
20. 1993, J Applied Nut, 45(1). (article on trace mineral content of organic foods versus commercial foods)
21. Mortensen, M.E. and Watson, P., Chelation therapy for childhood lead poisoning: The changing scene in the 1990s, Clin Ped., 1993;32:284-291.
21. Committee on Drugs, American Academy of Pediatrics Treatment guidelines for lead exposure in children, Pediatrics, 1995, 96:155-159.

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