What You Should Know About Heavy Metal Toxicity

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Due to growing awareness, this issue has been heavily researched in recent years, and conclusive evidence is starting to mount.

In the article below we gathered some of the most important metals you should know about, so you can become aware of this concerning matter, do your own further research, investigate about the potential health risks and take appropriate measures when it comes to you and your family's health.

Lead

Lead is a toxic, heavy metal, used mainly in the weapon industry. It is the traditional core material of a bullet. Long-term exposure to Lead may result in Lead poisoning.

To have a better understanding of why it happens, we should first understand its functionality as an element.

Lead is a gray, heavy metal. It is soft and malleable. It is commonly used in various fields and industries due to its heavy weight and resistance to radiation. It can also be found in products we use in our everyday lives such as different types of batteries and glass.

Why Lead Can Be Toxic

Biologically, Lead doesn’t play any role. However, it has a toxic effect on the body after a long-term exposure and it may lead to cancer and birth defects in severe cases.

Moderate exposure to Lead can cause effects that are similar to ageing, while high exposure to Lead may even cause death.

Unlike some metals that are good for us, Lead is not present in the blood naturally, and has no impact on our metabolism. The problem begins when our body absorbs Lead like Calcium and reserves it in the bone tissue. After a long process, Lead enters the blood flow and is then eliminated in the urine.

It is possible to do bloodwork in order to analyze Lead exposure. In the US, the average lead level in the blood is 5-10 mcg/dl, due to exposure to industrial Lead.

In case the Lead level reaches 40 mcg/dl, medical supervision is required. If levels reach 60 40 mcg/dl, an immediate medical intervention is required. At 75 mcg/dl, the poisoning is severe that in order to treat it the patient would need a lengthy and expensive medical treatment.

In kids, a level of 20-25 mcg/dl is considered dangerously high.

What Are the Symptoms and Potential Consequences of Lead Poisoning?

Possible symptoms of Lead poisoning include fatigue, aggression, hard time concentrating, memory loss, reduced sex drive and performance, infertility in men, irregular menstruation cycle and infertility in women, physical and mental development abnormalities in children, insomnia, depression, weight loss, joint pain and more.

Lead in one of several neurotoxic chemicals that may poorly affect brain development and can eventually contribute to psychiatric disorders, like ADHD. Its potential effect on children’s mental health, IQ and development has been evident in research. Lead poisoning can have a negative impact on neurocognitive functioning and potentially worsen preexisting symptoms of autism. Therefore, this has been a cause of concern among for decades.

How to Avoid Being Exposed to Lead:

In the case of Lead, it is easier to avoid exposure than to treat an existing condition.

Lead gets absorbed in our body by inhaling polluted air, accidentally swallowing a toy, using cheap lipsticks, drinking polluted water and working with paint and adhesives.

If Lead is already present in the body, further exposure should be avoided entirely, and the body will gradually eliminate lead through urine. Usually, there is a significant decrease in lead level in the blood after the kidneys eliminate it from the system. However, there is still some amount in the bones, the liver and other inner organs. In women and children, cosmetic products and toys need to be checked before purchasing, since many of these products contain Lead.

How Do I Know if I Have Been Exposed to Lead?

It is recommended to do a hair test for long term Lead exposure.

Aluminum

Aluminum is a relatively common, silver colored metal. It is considered to be the most common metal in nature, and the 3rd most common in the earth’s crust.

It is broadly used worldwide in many industries and products due to its robust qualities. These include aviation industry, motor and railway industry, glass products, deodorants, computers and electronic devices and more.

What You Should Know About Aluminum Toxicity

Aluminum isn’t dangerous to people who are not sensitive to it. However, in the case of excess exposure to the metal, it may cause a variety of adverse symptoms such as chronic itch and skin conditions. It may also be associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, according to some studying.

Some symptoms of Aluminum toxicity include headaches, insomnia, emotional imbalance, memory problems and neurological issues.

If Aluminum toxicity isn’t treated on time, the nervous system and the digestive system can be severely affected. Additionally, Research has found a strong link between aluminum exposure and inflammatory bowel disease. Evidence shows that aluminum is likely to harm gut homeostasis and trigger a wide range of IBS symptoms.

What You Can Do to Minimize Aluminum Exposure

Products which consist of Aluminum are more common than you may think. Many of these are items we use daily. Soda cans, aluminum foil, deodorants and some cooking pots all put us at risk of aluminum exposure, so it is highly advisable to use products made of alternative materials.

In order to check whether you suffer from long-term aluminum exposure, we highly recommend doing a hair test for aluminum.

Mercury

 

Mercury Poisoning – here’s what you should know:

 

Mercury is a silver colored metal and it is liquid at room temperature.

It is often used for production of mirrors, candles, switches, automotive batteries, barometers, thermometers,plant pesticides and more.

The primary routes of exposure are inhalation of mercury vapor and consumption of contaminated fish and seafood.

Mercury has adverse effects on the nerve system and the urinary tract. However, in severe cases, it can also affect the digestive and respiratory system as well as the brain.

In pregnant women,Mercury poisoning may result in health complications and even a miscarriage.

 

In the past, mercury was commonly found in diuretic and laxative medication, until it was discovered that those medications were toxic and caused fever, swelling of the lymph nodes, asthma attacks, and in severe cases even sudden death.

 

Popular uses for mercury:

Medicine for treatment of inflammatory skin conditions, dental fillings, fungicides and pesticides and more.  Long term exposure to pesticides can result in Mercury poisoning, chronic exhaustion, damage to the respiratory system and memory loss.

In some places, drinking water is contaminated with Mercury.

In nature,Mercury is present due to volcanic eruptions.

High exposure to mercury has been linked to gastrointestinal problems, ADHD, memory loss,chronic fatigue and more. Additionally, it may produce harmful effects to the nerve system and urinary tract.

Some symptoms of Mercury poisoning include:

·        Metallic taste in the mouth

·        Excess saliva

·        Severe stomach pain

·        Inflammation in the digestive tract

·        Depression

·        Decrease in appetite, weight loss

·        Diarrhea and bloody vomit

·        Swelling and inflammation inside the mouth

 
What may happen if I don’t eliminate Mercury from my system?

Not treating mercury toxicity on time can result in teeth falling out, formation of a blue mark on the gums, cramping and twitching, blockage of the urinary tract, shaking (tremor), blood poisoning and death.

Exposure to organic mercury (main source is consumption of contaminated fish) is even more dangerous since it is more toxic and absorbs faster in the body.

 

 

Why should I check whether my child has been exposed to mercury?

 

Children who are subject to a minor exposure to mercury may experience serious health consequences which, in severe cases, include paralysis, growth abnormalities, hearing impairment, vision loss or damage to the skull. The FDA advises pregnant women and young children to avoid some fish and seafood high in mercury.

If you think you may be suffering from mercury poisoning, you should see a doctor right away.

 

What Kind of Lab Test Should I Do to Check for Mercury Exposure?

The recommended test in this case is a hair test for mercury levels. This can provide valuable information about long term exposure to mercury.

Copper

Copper is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal. In nature, it can be found in basaltic lavas throughout the world.

is safe and even beneficial in low level consumption. A safe level of 50-80 mg can be found primarily in the liver but also in other tissues of our body. It is essential for the production of hemoglobin, myelin, collagen, melanin and more, and it is also responsible for bone and joint health. However, Too much copper can have adverse effects on your health.

Copper acts as a neuro-toxin when elevated and can affect the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, especially dopamine and noradrenaline.

high levels are associated with a variety of symptoms and traits. these include:
- headaches
- fever
- passing out
- feeling sick
- throwing up
- blood in your vomit
- diarrhea
- black poop
- abdominal cramps
- brown ring-shaped markings in your eyes (Kayser-Fleischer rings)
- yellowing of eyes and skin (jaundice)
- psychiatric disorders
- hyperactivity
- irritability
- anxiety
- depression

What causes copper toxicity?

Primary sources of exposure include oral contraceptives, fungicides, drinking water from corroded pipes or using corroded copper drinkware.

Consuming foods rich in copper, such as seafood, beans, potatoes, green vegetables, in combination with dietary supplement that include copper, may lead to acute copper toxicity.

Additionally, some serious illnesses like hepatitis, anemia, thyroid issues and different types of cancer can reduce the liver’s ability to filter out copper, which can result in chronic copper toxicity.

Contact your doctor right away if you think you might suffer from copper toxicity or if you ingested too much copper at once.

Nickel

Nickel is a silver-colored metal that can be found naturally in nature.

It is used to produce various items we use in our everyday life, like jewelry, coins, keys, paper clips, eyeglass frames, pens, orthodontic braces, cooking equipment, zippers, buckles and more.

Chronic nickel exposure, especially in industrial and occupational settings where it is widely used for refining, electroplating, welding and more, can present significant health implications.

When nickel laced dust and fumes are inhaled, the risk for lung cancer and fibrosis can significantly increase.

Nickel exposure can cause oxidative damage and can also have negative effects on the kidneys and liver.

It has also been linked to:

- increased risk of lung cancer

- cardiovascular disease

- neurological deficits

- developmental deficits in childhood

- high blood pressure

Additionally, one of the most common reasons for skin allergies and irritation is nickel allergy. It occurs when the body’s immune system mistakes nickel for a harmful substance. It produces chemicals to tackle the substance,a process that triggers an allergic reaction. This happens every time the person comes into contact with the metal. Consuming foods that contain nickel will cause such a reaction as well.

Risk Factors For Nickel Allergy

there are certain factors that may increase your chances of becoming sensitive to nickel. these include:

  • Wearing jewelry or body piercing made of nickel
  • Working with metal
  • being a woman, since women tend to wear more piercings and jewelry than men.
  • having a family history of nickel allergy
  • being allergic to other metals

A nickel allergy is unlikely to go away, however, it can be maintained by avoiding consumption of certain foods and minimize skin contact with items that contain nickel.

*** BEWELLMED provides professional laboratory services. The content on this website is intended for informational purposes only and does not replace a doctor's medical advice or diagnosis.

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