BY: Clifford Sonnie, M.D.
Toxic metals are toxic minerals. They are also called heavy metals. We are concerned with them because they can wriggle their way into our bodies and take the place of good minerals. How do we get them? Our environment. We breathe, drink, and eat and therefore we are exposed. Mercury is in the fish we eat. Lead was in the gas we used and the pencils we wrote with. Pollution has put both, with others, in the ground we walk on and in the air, we breathe today. And folks, this doesn’t even scratch the surface. Adding to this is the combined problem of when good minerals combine with toxic ones. For example, mercury alone is toxic, pure, and simple. Add it to zinc with a touch of silver (fillings) and it becomes many times more toxic.
The heavy metals I am concerned about are mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminum, and arsenic. Mercury is from fillings, vaccines, and from the thermometers we used to break and play with the mercury inside. Lead was in the gas and pencils we used and in the paints on many older homes. Cadmium is in car fumes and cigarettes. Arsenic is in weather-proofed wood and aluminum is in many antacids, aluminum foil, and the non-stick cookware we use. All are also in the soil that crops grow in and in the polluted air we breathe every day. Water tables have been contaminated for years and are still in use today. I can’t tell you how many children and young adults that have no cavities, have always lived in new homes and have lead and mercury in them. You see, the problem is that once these metals are in you, the body has a short and very difficult time getting rid of them. Usually, they are stored in the body and over time, the problems start. That is why they must be removed to prevent future health problems.
Ok, so how does it work? Remember I said that metals are minerals. Toxic metals will attach themselves in areas that “good’ minerals should be attached. If we don’t have an adequate diet with good minerals or if we are exposed over time to “bad” minerals (toxic or heavy metals), the toxic metals will attach. When this happens it causes whatever they are attached, to not work properly. This includes the gut, brain, heart, and many other systems.
What does it cause? This list could take the entire paper. In no particular order, this is a much-abbreviated list. Neurological disorders, fatigue, depression, anger/anxiety, memory loss, thinking disorders, gut problems (both ends), joint, muscle pain and weakness, immune disorders resembling MS and ALS, cardiac problems, impotence, infertility, and literally every other issue I have ever come across.
Ok, how do you know if you’ve got heavy metals? Well, I can almost guarantee that every one of you out there has heavy metals. The question is not; if you have them but do you have enough to cause a problem either now or down the road. But first a bit of science. I promise it won’t be that bad. When someone is exposed to toxic metals, they exist in the person’s bloodstream for a short time. This can be a few hours to several days. The vast majority of the metal is then deposited in tissues and organs. There, done with science and it didn’t hurt. Now to the tests. Blood tests test the blood. If you were recently exposed, then, yes the blood test can pick them up. The accuracy of the current tests can’t pick up any minute traces of the metals, but like I said, who cares. I know we all have some. I want to know if it is affecting you. Hair analysis will test for metals that have been in your system over the past couple of months. Again this is a short window but a hair analysis shows us all the minerals (both good and bad) and their concentrations. This is important for us to develop an effective detoxification plan. There is also a test where I give you a medication and I test your urine over the next 12 hours. It is called a provocation test but again only tests for metals that are easily retrievable and doesn’t really tell me how much is “deep down” and whether or not it is hurting me. We use a test called electro-dermal screening. To make a very long story short it electrically tests for metals. It does not test for amounts. It tests to see if the amount you have (and we all do) is enough to affect the body. If it is, we have to get it out.
Now the meat… treatment. I’ve had a lot of people ask me “if toxic metals take the place of “good” minerals, then why can’t I just take a ton of “good” minerals to displace the toxic metals”. Two problems. First, the toxic metal won’t be displaced so easily and how many times have I said, anything in excess is dangerous. If you’ve had a recent exposure and wish to remove the toxins or wish to be proactive then oral preparations are fine. Chorella and cilantro are excellent herbals to use to detoxify the body. Vitamin C is also good. Infrared saunas and colonic hydrotherapy are also effective. All are fine preventive measures we all can do. The real issue is those toxic metals that have been in our bodies for the last couple of months or more. To rid the body of those metals that are deep in us, pharmaceuticals have to be used. DMSA is really effective to mobilize mercury and lead. EDTA, a type of amino acid, is given IV and is the most effective method to rid the body of heavy metals. IV vitamin C is also effective and can be used along with the EDTA.
As you can see, heavy metals are in all of us no matter the age and they are affecting every system in our bodies. Believe me not in a good way either. They can be removed and the results can be remarkable. But this is an area where you need to seek out someone who has been trained, and certified and can offer various treatment regimens. Just don’t go buy the latest “detox” kit from TV or the store as you will be wasting your money and might possibly even hurt yourself. Likewise, for this type of detoxification make sure you seek an MD or DO and likewise discuss this with your family physician. As always the Balance of Life Clinic can help to clarify this issue, especially since this is one of my main areas of interest. Remember, a smart health care consumer is informed and aware.
Clifford Sonnie, M.D., M.P.H. is a physician at the Balance of Life Clinic.