Authors: Naturopaths Audrey Marco and Kimberly Orbons, published 22/01/2016
Heavy metal toxicity and mineral deficiencies are one of the major contributors to many of today’s chronic diseases, ill health and hormonal imbalances; the most well-known toxic heavy metals are Aluminium, Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury. However there are many other that may be added to the list such as Fluoride and Antimony.
Now, on the scientific periodic table of elements different molecules are scaled based on molecular weight and structure. In other words ‘heavy’ metals are named based on their chemistry, which in turn affects how well our cells are able to manage or move them. Heavy Metals (HM) are metallic elements found in our polluted environment which can cause damaging effects to our health even at low concentration. They do build up, particularly in animals higher in the food chains, and that means us! There are many ways of reducing HM exposure, such as investing in a good quality water filter. But have a read of 6 big ways these molecules can affect you.
1 – DETOXIFICATION PATHWAYS
Also known as methylation, the chemical and nutritional pathways in our Livers have essential roles in maintaining optimal health. From the regulation and conversion of sex hormones estrogen and testosterone, to bile production for the gut, providing glycogen for energy, regulating immune cells and filtering both nutritional absorption and chemicals from the blood. In other words, your Liver has more important things to do than clear out excess or additional toxic loading from our environment. Nutritional factors like activated folate and B12, selenium zinc and magnesium have important uses in all human tissues, the more we use them up to eliminate HM in our Livers, the faster we run out of them. From allergies and food intolerance’s or hormone synthesis, methylation pathways in our Liver need to be open and functional. The accumulation of HM such are mercury, copper and cadmium can affect all other systems and have been found to inhibit thyroid functions and regulation too.
The problem with HM is that they often gets stored in our fat cells, most of our hormones are produced from fat cells (cholesterol). Furthermore depending on our own detoxification abilities, HM tend to accumulate over the years; in turn toxins like heavy metals affect hormones and create hormonal imbalances that lead to weight-loss resistance. Real and lasting weight loss is not possible when the body is in a state of toxicity, despite following a healthy diet and exercise regime.
3 – BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
Clinical investigation comparing arsenic, cadmium, and lead in mothers with insulin-dependent diabetes and their infants, to mothers without diabetes and their infants found that levels of all these metals were significantly higher in the women with diabetes and their infants than in the women without diabetes and their infants. The researchers performing the investigation went on to suggest that these HM likely play a role in the onset and further development of diabetic states (http://ow.ly/XnRxR). Further investigation into the effects of Mercury was linked to its activation of branches of the immune system in non-obese diabetic mice, an animal model of type 1. When it activates this particular part of the immune system in question, Mercury then suppresses a different part of the immune function, which otherwise would have delayed diabetic development (Brenden et al. 2001).
In parts of Italy where the incidence is particularly high, those with type 1 Diabetes did have lower levels of certain metals than control groups tested, including chromium, manganese, nickel, and zinc ( http://ow.ly/XnRP1).
4 – METAL OR MINERAL BLOCKADES
This is a relatively new term within Integrative health treatment, as pathology and chemistry assessments develop in greater accuracy and more research on health becomes available. Many useful minerals like Copper and Zinc compete for cellular absorption in the gut, liver and even our cell receptors. Any HM or excessive level of mineral can ‘block’ the others, inducing a deficiency like state not related to dietary intake.
If our minerals and HM are imbalanced, we block essential tissue functions. Zinc is essential for immunity mood and thyroid hormones. Every molecule counts, and while copper is essential in trace amounts an excess will block zinc from your tissues, have a read here about this topic.
5 – NERVOUS SYSTEM AND NEUROTRANSMITTERS
Heavy Metals have been found to disrupt neurotransmitter in the brain and are associated with not only chronic diseases but particularly with behavior changes, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. There was a surge on public interest recently in regards to evidence linking Aluminium levels and Alzheimer’s, a condition which affects not only memory but mood regulation by Serotonin and Dopamine. Time to ditch that commercial deodorant, applying aluminium directly onto skin over lymphatic ducts is definitely a bad idea.
6 – BONE DENSITY
The Parathyroid hormones play a predominant role in maintaining healthy skeletal tissue, Calcium does not magically appear in our bones! The inner layers of bone are actually quite spongey in their structure. Nutrition like Vitamin D3 and K2 are certainly important co-factors, but there is one big mineral that many forget – Silica! We use Silica for all structures in the body, not just beautiful hair skin and nails. Silica is used to detox and eliminate HM like Aluminium, so no wonder thyroid patients get such poor hair skin and nail health.
Physical assessment of actual levels are much more accurate than blood testing and even hair mineral analysis as these other methods do not indicate to a patient their own cellular levels. As every patient is not the same, the treatment methods for heavy metal elimination may not be the same.
The Lucy Rose Clinic uses the latest, most accurate technology to adequately test for Heavy Metals toxicity: the OligoScan. The method used by OligosScan to obtain the results on the amount of trace elements and minerals, in the tissues is done using a light spectrometer. It is referred to as a quantitative analytical method (which consists of measuring the absorbency or the optical density of a chemical substance). The basic principle is that every chemical compound absorbs, emits or reflects the light (electromagnetic radiation) on a certain range of wavelengths based on their actual weight (HEAVY metals, remember?). The more the sample/material is concentrated, the more it absorbs the light within the limits of proportionality expressed in the law Beer-Lambert. These spectrometer methods are used in multiple industries such as chemistry, pharmacy, environment, food-processing industry, biology, medical, clinical, industrial and many others.
In the clinical applications, the optical methods are used to examine the blood or the tissues for clinical investigation. It is literally using radiation free, non invasive scanning to assess how many metals or minerals are in the living tissue.
This is a non-invasive, fast and accurate test which can be performed in clinic. Reports generated may also tell patients about salt and mineral balance for hydration, and provide assessment of the health effects of their current HM balance. As every patient is not the same, the treatment methods for heavy metal elimination may not be the same.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Audrey Marco – Canberra
Adv Dip of Naturopathy, Dip of Herbal Medicine – College of Naturopathic Medicine in London
Audrey grew up in Provence, South of France where she developed her passion for Herbal Medicine from an early age. She is passionate about helping people gaining optimum health and energy to able them to live a fulfilling life. She understands how Endocrine hormonal balancing is a beautifully complex and essential system for providing a healthy state to our bodies. Audrey has since moved to Canberra and completed an accreditation course at CIT in order to comply with Australian regulations and standard. Restoring full health and attaining wellness is an exciting process; Audrey has experience both in Pharmacies and Health food store where she has developed a strong understanding of a united system of health care with the management of allopathic and Complementary medicines.
Kimberly Orbons -Adelaide
Adv Dip Naturopathy, Adv Dip Western Herbal Medicine
Head Naturopath Kimberly Orbons is passionate about encouraging and empowering each person to facilitate their own good health with Nutrition, Herbal Medicine and preventative lifestyle management. Using a combination of diagnostics and symptomatology to identify the different metabolic processes contributing to disease allows her to treat the root or cause of poor health, providing relief of symptoms and long term recovery. Kimberly believes it is extremely important to build a personalized healing plan, taking all the complexities of a patient’s health and illness into consideration. Her consults have a strong focus on client care and treating each patient as an individual, and may therefore co-ordinate with other medical treatments. The goal is to establish each patient’s ability to live in the best possible state of health, naturally.