Brain Tip #12 Heavy Metals

Exposure to heavy metals is becoming more and more prevalent. So are health issues related to them! What’s worse is their effect on our youth, especially developing fetuses, babies and young children. For adults, heavy metals can have a debilitating effect, causing fatigue and cognitive impairment. That’s why it is so important to be tested. Tests, give you and your doctor an idea of how heavy metals may be impacting your health. Once that is determined you can begin a program for eliminating them from your body and repairing the damage they may have caused.

What is a Heavy Metal?

Most heavy metals are found in the environment and are actually nutritionally necessary for good health. They include trace elements like iron, copper, manganese, chromium and zinc. Some heavy metals are used for medical reasons like those used in diagnostic imaging, or as a shield for radiation and x-rays. Even more metals are used for industrial purposes as in the manufacture of pesticides, textile dyes, batteries, alloys, and building materials.

Why Heavy Metals are Harmful

Certain heavy metals have a special affinity for the central nervous system, impacting different metabolic processes, membrane transportation, methylation (involved with detoxification, check out the paper on autism below) and neurotransmitters.  They have been associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s, autoimmune diseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis, autism, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, allergies and even cancer.

Acute toxicity and associated symptoms are fairly easy to recognize, as they are rapid in onset and usually related to a known exposure. Chronic exposure, on the other hand, is much more difficult to pinpoint as many of the symptoms are similar to those of other health conditions and usually occur slowly over time. For adults in their midlife the symptoms could be mistaken for those of growing older. They may even come and go making the individual postpone seeking help. Symptoms of chronic exposure can be:

  • Impaired cognition
  • Impaired motor and language skills
  • Learning challenges
  • Nervousness
  • Emotional instability
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of energy

These are symptoms seen in adults. Though they can be similar in children, they can also be more insidious, as heavy metals affect the developing nervous system and may impair not only brain development but also the development of the detoxification and immune systems.

Where is Exposure Coming From?

With an increasing number of consumer items being grown and produced in other countries it becomes challenging to pinpoint any one focus point. Heavy metals are found in soil around busy roadways, in the air around smelters, in agricultural areas using pesticides and artificial fertilizers and therefore in the food and water system.  It’s hard to get away from them. Lately, we’ve been hearing about contamination in products coming from China and India. They include children’s toys, grocery bags, cosmetics and more. We can’t really get away from them.

Protecting Our Brains

But we can protect ourselves from their deleterious effects. Getting tested is the first step. Finding out how overloaded your system is with metals and what type, can give you an idea of how aggressive your treatment protocol needs to be for chelating the metals out of your system. Once you have that information you can move on to clearing your system and protecting it from further exposure.

In our clinic we recommend one of two tests: the hair mineral analysis and the urine toxic metal test. You can read about them at our website.

Heavy metal toxicity is a growing concern and not to be taken lightly. It impacts adults, children and developing fetuses. With increasing exposure comes an increasing need for diligence in protection and knowledge. Getting tested for heavy metals gives you one more tool for maintaining and building your brain.

copyright 2011 @ Meza Health Systems, Inc.

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