Our body, although perfect in design, was never designed for what it is subjected to today. We live in a polluted environment – our food, drink and even the air we breathe are all contaminated with chemicals. In fact, according to Environmental News Network, 2000, U.S. industry releases about 24 billion pounds of toxic substances annually. There are also toxins that we are exposed to in our everyday lives, such as chemicals in cleaners, perfumes and dyes, as well as toxins that our body produces naturally as it carries out normal biochemical processes. Most disconcerting is that all these toxins have the ability to affect human health in a most insidious way. Many chemicals are fat soluble and not readily broken down in the body, and can therefore build up to dangerous levels. The range of health problems this can promote is extensive, including fatigue, headaches, overweight, allergies, hormone imbalance, fibromyalgia, autism, arthritis, cardiovascular disease and so many more.
Our liver is one of the major organs of detoxification. The cells are the trash collection service of the liver, cleaning up blood and lymph, engulfing toxins and secreting enzymes to break them down. If the cells are overworked for too long, the toxins will build up. Luckily we also have organs of elimination, including the skin, lungs, bowels and kidneys. These too must be functioning well in order to clear the debris that the liver has processed. Sadly most of us are simply not functioning at our innate state and can't function with this additional overload. In this day and age, we do not get enough nutrients, vitamins and minerals from our food to help and protect the liver. We must use detoxifying treatments and correctly balanced supplements to aid the body in its cleansing functions.
So many people come in contact with heavy metals and simply are unaware that the products, food, or everyday household items contain them. Below we have shared a short list of metals and where they can be commonly found.
Mercury is not only one of the most dangerous toxins out there; it is also the most common. Mercury is present in food [especially fish], the air we breathe and dental fillings. This is why we have dedicated an entire section to mercury and amalgam fillings.
Lead is a poisonous heavy metal and like mercury it is a potent neurotoxin. Lead is heavily used in the construction industry but is also a major component in certain types of paint and PVC plastic. Most lead poisoning occurs through ingestion or inhalation. Lead is part of the air we breathe and it can be found in certain foods or drinking water. Lead is particularly toxic to children who are also at an increased risk of ingesting the toxin via exposure to lead paints. As lead paint deteriorates, it peels, pulverizes and can then enter the body through hand-to-mouth contact. Lead affects every organ and system in our body. It damages the nervous system and can cause brain and blood disorders as well as kidney damage.
Arsenic is a toxic metalloid [semi metal] widely used as an alloy for copper or lead. It is also used as an insecticide and wood preservative as well as part of animal feed. Arsenic is extremely poisonous and can cause heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases and diabetes. Arsenic contamination of ground water is a serious problem worldwide. In the U.S. arsenic is most commonly found in the ground waters of the southwest. In Wisconsin studies have linked increased levels of skin cancer with arsenic exposure through drinking water. Millions of private wells in the U.S. have unknown arsenic levels and in some areas over 20% of wells may contain levels that exceed established limits.
While not as toxic as mercury or lead, long-term exposure can cause health effects such as osteopenia [a precursor to osteoporosis] and aluminum has also been linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s. Aluminum is found in vehicles, airplanes and packaging but also used for construction, household items and consumer electronics. Most of us absorb aluminum on a daily basis, since it is an ingredient in antiperspirants and widely used as a food additive. While not as toxic as mercury or lead, long-term exposure can cause health effects such as osteopenia [a precursor to osteoporosis] and aluminum has also been linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Cadmium is a toxic metal that is primarily used in batteries. Cadmium is also used in metal plating, plastics and textile manufacturing. Many foods contain cadmium because of its presence in soil and water. It’s estimated that of the 30 micrograms (mcg — millionths of a gram) of cadmium the average person ingests daily, 1-3 mcg is retained by the body. Smokers typically have twice as much cadmium in their bodies as non-smokers due to the large quantities of cadmium contained in cigarette smoke. Cadmium damages lunge tissue and can build up over time to cause kidney, liver, bone and blood damage. Some research also links Cadmium to lung and prostate cancer.
Antimony is a toxic metalloid [semi metal] with similar health effects as arsenic. It is mainly used as a flame retardant and is thus used in children’s clothing as well as aircraft and automobile seat covers. It is also used as an alloy with lead, another highly toxic metal. Antimony dust is harmful and can be fatal. Continued exposure causes lung diseases, heart problems, as well as liver and kidney damage.
Thallium is a metal that is widely used in the electronics and pharmaceutical industry as well as in glass manufacturing. Thallium is highly toxic and used to be available in the form of rat poison or insecticides. Many countries have cut back its use because of its high level of toxicity and many associated deaths by accident or criminal intent. Thallium tends to accumulate in the body our muscles, heart and nerve tissue. It is a suspected carcinogen [cancer causing substance] and can cause liver, kidney and nerve damage as well as hair loss.
Nickel is another toxic metal that is widely used in many industrial and consumer products, including stainless steel, batteries, coins and special alloys. Humans are exposed to nickel via polluted air and drinking water, certain foods and cigarette smoke. Many foods contain small amounts of Nickel. Higher concentrations are often found in fats and chocolate or vegetables from polluted soils. Nickel is believed to be carcinogenic [cancer causing]. In particular it has been associated with lung, larynx and prostate cancer. Continued exposure to nickel can also cause lung embolism, respiratory failures, heart disorders and an increased probability of birth defects.
In its refined form Uranium is a radioactive metal and we have all heard about its devastating effects. Apart from a wide range of military applications it is also used to fuel nuclear power plants. Uranium is not only radioactive, it is also toxic and exposure even to small quantities can cause serious health effects. It impedes the normal functioning of the kidney, brain, liver and heart and is highly carcinogenic [cancer causing].
• Avoid alcohol and any OTCs (unless prescribed), especially Tylenol (acetaminophen). • Avoid exposure to other toxins and chemicals to decrease body burden. Avoid plastics and many commercial personal care products such as Grecian Formula (contains lead), lipstick (contains aluminum), standard deodorants (aluminum), even cleaning products and artists’ paints. Use natural items including skincare and hair care products. • Evaluate heavy metal toxicity (a biological dentist can assess for proper mercury amalgam removal); consider testing for SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) in detoxification enzymes such MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase), MS (methionine synthase), COMT (catechol-O-methyltransferase), methyltransferases, SOD, NAT, STM1, GSTP1 (glutathione transferases), Apo E 4 (apolipoprotein E 4), and/or impaired metallothionein function. • Consider using a high quality water filtration system such as the Berkey water filter or reverse osmosis. • Engage in movement every day to assist the organs and lymph system with elimination.
Dietary Tips and Caveats:
• Avoid pesticides, herbicides and chemicals by eating organic fruits and vegetables. • Avoid NutraSweet and other artificial sweeteners. Replace sugar with stevia or the polyol sugar xylitol; avoid high fructose corn syrup which contains mercury. • Increase consumption of organic fruits high in vitamin C, vegetables high in carotenes, green vegetables, and especially cruciferous vegetables that supply beneficial isothiocyanates (or their precursor glucosinolates) and stimulate the bitter receptors to modulate healthy gut bacteria and assist with detoxification. • Increase flavonoid-rich foods like apples, celery, onion and garlic, which may assist with inflammation and immune support. • Emphasize omega-3 fats (salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, sardines) and omega-9 fats (olive oil, olives, almonds, hazelnuts, avocados, macadamia oil and coconut oil) to help control inflammation. • Choose wild-caught fish rather than farm-raised fish. • Avoid eating fish that are known for their high levels of heavy metals, such as swordfish, orange roughy, shark, king mackerel, tile fish and sea bass. • Eat foods rich in magnesium, including nuts, seeds and leafy greens. • Consider fermented foods such as natto, miso, and tempeh for optimizing microbiota health. • Complement foods with herbs like cilantro, parsley, watercress, and fennel.• Drink at least 8 glasses of purified water per day; include medicinal herbal teas that contain cleansing herbs such as dandelion, milk thistle, red clover and yellow dock. • Consume the following sulfur containing foods frequently, such as garlic, broccoli, onions, cauliflower, and eggs. • Increase dietary fiber to 50 grams total or more per day to prevent heavy metal gut re-absorption and/or if constipation occurs.
Chiropractic and Heavy Metal Toxicity:
Dr. Clark is highly educated on how the affects of heavy metal toxicity can effect your Neurological system. We use a well-rounded, multifaceted approach to address all the causes and imbalances within the person. Meeting with and guiding you through the steps to establish what is the best road for you to travel.