Identifying Toxic Heavy Metals in the Body

Environmental toxicity is a growing problem that threatens to undercut the amazing advances in lifespan and life quality created through public health and conventional medicine. Toxicity is becoming a hidden public health emergency.

While issues relating to population-wide mercury toxicity due to vaccines have largely been laid to rest, major concerns remain relative to very low heavy metal and solvent exposures in vulnerable fetal and infant populations. These exposures have been attributed to maternal fish consumption and environmental toxins in air, food, water, and households.

Exposures to toxins across the lifespan add to our body burden.

Identifying toxins in the body can be challenging. When dealing with heavy metals, there are several key testing methods that can be utilized.

Testing for heavy metal content within serum represents the steady state between exposure, body burden, and elimination. High values indicate that there is recent exposure to significant amounts of the heavy metal or that elimination and detoxification is impaired.

Heavy metal levels within red blood cells represent exposures that are two to three months old (the life cycle of a red blood cell.) In these cases the exposure must be identified and removed immediately. Remember, there is no good or acceptable level of heavy metals in our bodies. Heavy metals do no definable good for our system. Even low levels below what conventional medicine thinks is acutely problematic are harmful to us.

If these levels are measurable, and especially if they are high, then urine testing is done. An initial urine sample is taken to indicate the baseline amount of metals that our body is eliminating on its own. On the next day an additional urine sample is collected under the influence of a chelating agent. The chelator attaches to the metal ion and captures it so that it can more easily be excreted and not re-absorbed in the gut. This second sample represents what additional metal content can be removed from the body with help. The difference between the amount removed on Day 1 and the amount we can help be removed on Day 2 represents a surrogate measure of your “body burden.”

“Body burden” is not a discrete absolute number. We can never really define the total amount of a metal that is in the body. Rather, it allows us to have a measure of how effective our removal strategy may be. If the post-chelator test is more highly positive than the pre-chelator test, oral chelation is appropriate and desirable.

Hair testing is also used by some practitioners, especially if they are using a more intense and potentially damaging chelating process to remove metals. Stool testing for heavy metals is also done to document that heavy metals are being effectively excreted through the gut.

As you can see, each of these methods gives us different types of information. We usually check red blood cell levels and urine levels. We find this prudent approach allows us to identify how severe the problem may be, how urgently removal must occur, and gives us the ability to track the effectiveness of our interventions.