Is Detoxing Heavy Metals for you?

By Amie Tanner

Heavy metals have been implicated in hypertension, kidney failure, cognitive, gut, thyroid and immune system dysfunction, anxiety, aggression, and many other disorders. 

Every human system requires certain minerals in order for that system to properly function. Iron is necessary for the production of hemoglobin, manganese required for metabolism of carbohydrates and boron essential for absorption of calcium. However, as with most things in Life, too much of a good thing isn’t, and when the levels for these minerals become too high, the Body can no longer metabolize them. When this occurs, they become toxic to the Body. Even more alarming are those heavy metals so prevalent in our industrialized societies, which serve NO biological function but which also are being absorbed in our Bodies. These heavy metals negatively impact the Body by knocking out beneficial minerals, like zinc and calcium, and disabling needed enzymes— resulting in a compromised immune system and widespread inflammation effecting nerves, hormones, digestion and immune functions. 

Heavy metals have been instrumental in advancing society in terms of wealth acquisition and technology; mercury has been used since the time of Spanish conquistadors to remove gold and silver from ore, cadmium is a principal component in semi-conductors. However, the cost for these ‘benefits’ is the clear and present danger to our very own Bodies. Mercury, found in thermometers, is also an immensely toxic byproduct of coal- powered electricity plants (like Progress Energy’s Skyland plant) which emits particles that end up in our water and soil and eventually the fish and nuts WE consume.  Cadmium, used in paint and household batteries, also inhibits calcium metabolism and can be a causal factor in osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Aluminum, found in kitchen foil and deodorants has also been found in the brain scans of those afflicted with dementia and Alzheimer’s.   

The body’s inherent intelligence, “Nature’s Template,” uses detoxification pathways to expel foreign substances. These pathways utilize specific membrane proteins called “transporters” that actively transport nutrients and other essential molecules throughout the human body. These elegantly designed systems impact numerous processes, including detoxification. However, interference from heavy metals weakens and confuses these transporters, leaving them less able to carry out their functions. With this first line of defense diminished, the metals accumulate in the organs, soft tissues, and bones, replace the beneficial minerals, and cause cell enzyme disruption. FEAR NOT… Relief is available and accessible through accurate toxicity testing and treatment options to cleanse the system and fortify it against continued heavy metal exposure.   

Urine-based tests, such as Metametrix’s Porphyrins Profile™, assess the toxicity levels of the heme biosynthetic pathway as well as the level of biochemical damage caused by the heavy metals. Also offered is an Oral Chelation Challenge, the most common used with DMSA dose based on body weight. Other tests used at AIM involve blood-based analysis which confirms recent exposure as well as tests that examine hair for residues of old or chronic toxin exposure. Aided by this detailed data, a therapy is devised that focuses on ridding the body of excess metals while fortifying the detox pathways to facilitate their return to proper ‘health.’ 

One method of metal removal is Chelation Therapy: intravenously delivering EDTA (a synthetic amino acid) into the blood stream, which then binds the metals and assists the Body in toxin elimination. While this method has benefited many, there are risks to those sensitive to the movement of metals through the system, e.g. multiple chemical sensitivity sufferers and autistic children. For this subset of the population, an orally ingested chelator, such as DMSA or QuickSilver Scientific’s Intestinal Metals Detox™, has been shown to be as effective as the IV chelators, just over a longer period of time. This silica-based compound binds the heavy metals and intercepts methyl mercury which may have accumulated in the intestines. Regardless of the delivery method, detox therapy has been shown to facilitate the lowering of toxic metal levels and quenching of free radicals and their reactions, a leading factor in detox pathway distress and inflammation. 

A key element in any protocol used at AIM is the active engagement of the patient in their own healing. The patient is encouraged to participate in supplement and nutritional therapies during and after treatment. These therapies nurture the detox pathways involving methylation (repair of damaged DNA), sulfation (enzyme that renders toxins less active) and glutathione production (an antioxidant that suppresses free radicals in the intestines). 

Metals have been with us since there’s been an ‘us,’ and the use of heavy metals will continue. While we are powerless over these facts, we do retain power over how we respond to and interact with these metals. Our bodies are amazing vehicles, cultivated to endure and thrive.