Table of Contents
Why should toxic elements concern you?
Toxic elements, like chemical toxins, are ubiquitous in your environment. Depending on where you live and where your foods (including herbs) are grown, your toxic element exposures can vary widely.
In addition, agriculture practices (fungicides, herbicides, pesticides, etc.), consumer products (from personal products to building materials), and medicines (prescription and over-the-counter) increase your exposures to toxic elements.
Due to the increase and deliberate uses for decades, toxic elements are now in the air, water, and soil (food sources – plant and animal). As such, whether you realize it or not, you are continually exposed to a variety of toxic elements to some degree.
Why should you be concerned?
- Toxic elements interfere with normal biological functions and processes throughout the mind and body.
- Increased free radical generation (highly reactive oxygen species) increasing the need for specific antioxidants.
- Toxic elements can displace and even replace essential nutritional elements through a process known as molecular mimicry.
- Eventually, toxic element accumulation may cause or contribute toward myriad health problems.
Mercury has a high affinity for reduced sulfhydryl groups, including those of cysteine and glutathione (GSH). MeHg-l-cysteine is structurally similar to the amino acid methionine, and this complex is a substrate for transport systems that carry methionine across cell membranes.Ballatori N. Transport of toxic metals by molecular mimicry. Environ Health Perspect. 2002 Oct;110 Suppl 5(Suppl 5):689-94. doi: 10.1289/ehp.02110s5689. PMID: 12426113; PMCID: PMC1241226. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12426113/
In the context of this review, molecular mimicry refers to the ability of a metal ion to bond to an endogenous organic molecule to form an organic metal species that acts as a functional or structural mimic of essential molecules at the sites of transporters of those molecules. Ionic mimicry refers to the ability of a cationic form of a toxic metal to mimic an essential element or cationic species of an element at the site of a transporter of that element.Bridges CC, Zalups RK. Molecular and ionic mimicry and the transport of toxic metals. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2005 May 1;204(3):274-308. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2004.09.007. PMID: 15845419; PMCID: PMC2409291. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2409291/
Are toxic elements contributing to your health problems?
As you know, many health problems may be associated with toxic elements. Keep in mind, any health problem may require years or even decades of toxic element accumulations combined with nutrient imbalances prior to any manifestations.
The following is an example of four toxic elements common in our society and their inferred tendencies for potential health problems. Inferred tendencies using hair analysis are not diagnostic.
- Aluminum (Al) – Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, memory loss, mental confusion, poor coordination, disorientation, dental cavities, peptic ulcer, anemia, colitis, kidney dysfunction, liver dysfunction, headaches, colic, dry skin, tendency for colds, heartburn, protein deficit, underactive parathyroid, elevated blood ammonia.
- Mercury (Hg) – anorexia, anemia, hair loss, birth defects, brain damage, depression, retinitis, fatigue, hearing loss, hyperactivity, insomnia, kidney damage, memory loss, migraine headaches, mood swings, nervousness, dizziness, schizophrenia, tremors, impaired peripheral vision, numbness, excessive salivation, pain in limbs, muscles weakness, impaired immunity and ataxia.
- Lead (Pb) – arthritis, anemia, anorexia, ADD/ADHD, convulsions, hearing impairment, dyslexia, encephalitis, fatigue, insomnia, MS, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s, vertigo, arteriosclerosis, abdominal discomfort, liver dysfunction, constipation, impotence, infertility, sterility, tooth decay, anxiety, depression, hallucinations, memory impairment, joint pain, learning disabilities, decreased IQ and schizophrenia.
- Cadmium (Cd) – hair loss, anemia, ADD/ADHD, atherosclerosis, arthritis, arteriosclerosis, cancer, elevated cholesterol, cirrhosis, diabetes, enlarged heart, hypertension, hyperactivity, hypercholesterol, emphysema, hypoglycemia, inflammation, lung disease, migraine headaches, osteoporosis, schizophrenia, strokes and vascular disease.
Here are a few potential sources for toxic elements.
Toxic elements are not only naturally occurring in the environment but they are deliberately used in many consumer products. The following is a short example of common sources for toxic elements. These are not all-inclusive.
- Aluminum (Al) – aluminum cans, aluminum cookware, aluminum foil, processed cheese, bleached flour, antacids containing aluminum, municipal drinking water, baking powders, antiperspirants (including natural crystal), styptic pencils, tooth paste, medications (Al silicate) rat poisons, nasal spray, ceramics (Al 203 clay), FD&C color additives, colloidal mineral products, edible clay
- Mercury (Hg) – tuna, fungicides, algaecides, insecticides, grains, a wide variety of medications, skin lightening creams, body powder, talc, laxatives, cosmetics, dental amalgams, mercury filled thermometers, fabric softeners, wood preservatives, leather tanning products, adhesives, red tattoo ink, florescence lights, Methiolate (Thiomersol or Thiomersal), Mercurochrome
- Lead (Pb) – hair dye, cigarette smoke, metal polishes, pesticides, ceramic glazes, older copper water lines solder, lead water lines (pre 1940), agriculture soils, pottery, candles, cosmetics, toothpaste, colored printed materials, lead shot (firing range and fowl) herbal preparations, boxed wines, lead crystal containers, smelters, battery production, stained glass, indoor shooting galleries
- Cadmium (Cd) – food from contaminated soil, large ocean fish, dental materials, processed meats, coloring agent in some paints, silver polish, rubber carpet backing, horse feed, nickel-cadmium batteries, soft water (galvanized piping), oysters, kidney, liver, burning of petrochemicals (tires and plastics), tobacco, fertilizer, ceramic glazes, refined wheat flour
NOTE: Because toxic elements have become ever-present in consumer products, medications, building materials and other sources, it may be difficult to find the source of any toxic element.
Toxic elements antagonize nutritional elements.
Toxic elements are not only toxic to the mind and body but they also antagonize (interfere with or work against) many vitamins, amino acids, and minerals. The following is a short example of toxic elements effects on nutritional elements.
- Aluminum (Al) – antagonizes calcium, iron, and phosphate.
- Mercury (Hg) antagonizes iron, selenium, copper, zinc, and sulfur.
- Lead (Pb) antagonizes calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, chromium, selenium, manganese, sulfur, and iron.
- Cadmium (Cd) antagonizes calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, manganese, zinc, selenium, and sulfur.
Keep in mind this is a short list of nutrients affected by toxic elements and due to the complexity of nutrient interrelationships, all essential nutrients may be eventually affected either directly or indirectly.
Hair analysis can help reveal your toxic elements!
Our hair analysis is a helpful tool for monitoring your toxic elements in two ways that include:
- Hair analysis can help reveal your constant toxic element exposures
- Hair analysis can help reveal the effectiveness of your detox program
As just seen, you have a tremendous potential for continual toxic elements exposures throughout your everyday environment. If toxic elements (e.g., lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, beryllium, aluminum, etc.) are revealed on your hair analysis, you will need to investigate different aspects of your current environment (foods, herbs, personal products, etc.) for the potential source of your toxic elements.
If you are planning or currently following a detox program, our hair analysis can help reveal whether your detox program is working. However, it is always best to perform an analysis prior to your detox program. By performing an analysis prior to your program, you won’t confuse your current exposures (if any) to toxins being released by your detox program.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports concluded:
It appears to be that if hair and nail samples are collected, cleaned, and analyzed properly with the best analytical methods under controlled conditions by experienced personnel, the data are valid. Human hair and nails have been found to be meaningful and representative tissues for biological monitoring for most of these toxic metals.Jenkins, D. TOXIC TRACE METALS IN MAMMALIAN HAIR AND NAILS. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., EPA/600/4-79/049 (NTIS PB80103997), 1979. https://cfpub.epa.gov/si/si_public_record_Report.cfm?Lab=ORD&dirEntryID=45357
Are you ready to check your toxic element exposures?
Additional page of interest:
- Toxic Element Safety Guidelines: Find out what they don’t include!
- Nutritional Toxins: What are they?
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