Heavy Metals

on May 28, 2016

Metals are one of the building blocks of our world. They’re found in nature and help us to shape ourselves and the society we live in. But for as precious and useful as metals can be, they walk a fine line between helpful and harmful.

There are a multitude of metals that can be found on the Earth. Of these metals, 35 can be troublesome for human health, and 23 of those are classified as heavy metals. The heavy metals are:  antimony, arsenic, bismuth, cadmium, cerium, chromium, cobalt, copper, gallium, gold, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, platinum, silver, tellurium, thallium, tin, uranium, vanadium and zinc1.

These heavy metals are common in the environment and diets that humans are exposed to on a daily basis. Many of these heavy metals are essential for sustaining life, including human, as they play a critical role in many biochemical and physiological functions of living creatures. The problem, however, is that there is a fine line between the necessary amount of metal needed for proper health, and too much of a metal, which poisons the body and can lead to a multitude of health problems including:  reduced energy levels; improper functioning of the brain, kidneys, liver lungs, and blood. Continued exposure can lead to a progressively worse musculoskeletal and neurological condition, and the person will begin to mimic various debilitating diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy. When exposure to high amounts of heavy metals continues they may even cause the organism to develop cancer1.

Humans are exposed to heavy metals on a daily basis. They enter our bodies via the environment—be it natural or man-made—, our diet, and various products that we use to enhance our lives, such as paint, batteries and thermometers.

There are several ways to combat these issues. The first and most obvious one is avoidance. It’s a generally good rule-of-thumb to live your life by in regards to all its various dangers, but in the case of metals and due to their abundance and necessity, avoidance is not even possible. People need to be aware of what can harm them, as well as how and why, and where these things come from. But most importantly, we need to be able to remedy the situation and relieve ourselves of the metals and poisoning we are exposed to before the problem worsens and the danger becomes imminent.

One of the best ways to do this is to cleanse and detox the body.

Detox has become an increasingly popular word, and there seems to be product after product coming out that claims to “cleanse the body” and promote a healthier, more blissful life2. But one must be cautious whilst determining it’s time to cleanse and purchasing a detox product/program. First you need to check what’s in the product your purchasing:  what ingredients comprise these products; why are they there? What do they claim to do, and what is if any the science that supports it? Once you’ve determined what’s best for you, you’re ready for a better well-being.

 

1) Jaishankar, M., Tseten, T., Anbalagan, N., Mathew, B. B., & Beeregowda, K. N. (2014). Toxicity, mechanism and health effects of some heavy metals. Interdisciplinary Toxicology, 7(2), 60–72.

2) Cohen, M. (2007). ‘Detox’: science or sales pitch? Australian Family Physicians, 36(12).



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