HEAVY METAL TOXICITY PROFILE
WHAT ARE THE COMMON SYMPTOMS OF HEAVY METAL TOXICITY?
Heavy metal toxicity can produce vague symptoms that sometimes mimic or are mistaken for other chronic conditions such as Autism, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, depression, Multiple Sclerosis, and many other disorders. Symptoms associated with heavy metal toxicity run the gamut. Some people experience fatigue, headaches, and poor memory while others suffer from chronic unexplained infections.
Common symptoms of heavy metal toxicity are:
- Chronic pain throughout the muscles and tendons or any soft tissues of the body
- Chronic malaise – general feeling of discomfort, fatigue, and illness
- Brain fog – state of forgetfulness and confusion
- Chronic infections such as Candida
- Gastrointestinal complaints, such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, heartburn, and indigestion
- Food allergies
- Migraines and/or headaches
- Visual disturbances
- Mood swings, depression, and/or anxiety
- Nervous system malfunctions – burning extremities, numbness, tingling, paralysis, and/or an electrifying feeling throughout the body
HOW DO WE GET EXPOSED TO HEAVY METALS?
Heavy metal toxicity can result from either acute or chronic exposure to heavy metals.
Acute exposure can occur as a result of:
- Receiving vaccinations that contain thimerosal (mercury preservative)
- Mishandled metals at a job site
- Chemical and heavy metal spills–even from a broken mercury thermometer
- Chronic exposure happens over a period of time, and includes:
- Having mercury amalgams (“silver fillings”) in teeth
- Living in a home built prior to 1978 that has lead-based paint
- Smoking and/or inhaling second-hand smoke
- Eating foods (such as mercury contaminated fish) that contain high levels of heavy metals
- Living near a landfill
- Working in an environment where exposure is prevalent, such as at a dentist’s office where amalgam is used to fill cavities
HOW DO WE TEST FOR HEAVY METALS?
Heavy metals are tested in the urine. Since heavy metals are stored in our fat, tissues and bones it is important to stimulate excretion before collecting a urine sample to get an accurate measure of the toxic load in the body. We recommend a “challenge” test using oral DMSA (a powerful chelating agent) that draws heavy metals from the tissues into the blood and then the urine.
At Arizona Natural Medicine, we use Genova Diagnostic’s ‘Toxic Element Clearance Profile’ to test for heavy metals. This test measures urinary excretion of toxic metals, including ‘classic’ toxics such as lead, mercury, and arsenic. This is an ideal test for patients suspected of toxic element exposure whether chronic or acute.
HOW DO WE TREAT HEAVY METAL TOXICITY?
If the test results show elevated levels of toxic metals then your doctor with create an individualized detoxification plan, including oral chelation therapy that helps clear heavy metals from the body and restore health.
If you suspect that you may have been exposed to heavy metals or if you have many of the common symptoms of heavy metal toxicity, ask us about this test at your next visit or make an appointment with are skilled physicians to address your concerns.