Toxic Metals - the poison everyone has

Toxic Metals – the poison everyone has

Nutrition & Natural Healing Center

Dr. Roger Trubey, Dr.PH, MPH, and Doctor of Integrative Medicine 6320 Oak Hollow Dr. Burleson, TX 76028

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Toxic Metals… The Poison Everyone Has

Some time ago I reviewed several dozen evaluations I had done for toxic, heavy metals on my patients.  It was very disturbing!  100% had heavy metals being excreted in the urine.  But 80% had elevated levels of these elements.  The most common metal excreted in my patient group was aluminum and lead.  But I am also seeing lots of mercury and cadmium as well, some barium, arsenic, and occasionally a few others.  Some of the levels of lead have been nearly off the charts with initial excretion levels of eight, twelve and even twenty times acceptable levels.  And to me this is unacceptable if one is to have long-term good health.  There is no compatibility between seriously elevated levels of these metal poisons and a healthy body.   We have to eliminate these from bodies, but before we look at the specifics on that, we need to look at how they get inside of us in the first place.  We’ll look at the two most common – lead and mercury.

According to the EPA, lead is rarely found in source water, but enters tap water through corrosion of plumbing materials. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures and solder. However, new homes are also at risk, because even legally “lead-free” plumbing may contain up to 8 percent lead.  It has been estimated that 20% of the city water in Washington, DC may be contaminated with lead, pushing the government to provide free water filters for residents.   In addition leaded gasoline was used for decades and much of the lead from auto exhaust still resides in the soil.  In fact lead is generally considered the most common contaminant of soils and because organic mater will bind and hold it, it is likely that lead is a permanent resident.   

Mercury sources are fairly well known.  These include dental amalgams, seafood, in utero from mother to fetus, vaccinations and then industrial and environmental sources.  Volcanic eruptions and hundreds of ocean vents produce natural sources of mercury into our environment.  Some industrial sources have declined, such as lead in gasoline, but what are we to think of the long-term impact of these “curly cue” light bulbs replacing the incandescent bulbs that are still around.  These new light bulbs, now mandated by the federal government to replace our long-used incandescent bulbs, contain mercury and mercury in its worst form – mercury vapor.  Is this not governmental schizophrenia?  And water isn’t the only item we regularly consume that may contain heavy metals – some wines and cheap supplements are also tainted with these poisons.  And every antiperspirant contains aluminum and it does get into the body.  

We must take body loads of these metal toxins like mercury and lead very seriously.   Several years ago the medical journal Circulation published a study on lead and its relation to Heart attack.  They tracked nearly 14,000 adults for 12 years.  The researchers determined that when these individuals had even mildly elevated blood levels they were at increased risk for heart disease by 55%, heart attack by 151%, and stroke by 89%.1 

Another study followed 837 men for 10 years and found that these men with increased bone (for which lead has a strong affinity) and blood levels of lead, to be at increased risk for ischemic heart disease.2

Then in 2006 Science Daily reported on a study by the University of Rochester Medical Center on individuals who are routinely exposed to lead on the job.  They found that these individuals are 50% more likely to die of brain cancer.  And not surprisingly, lead in other studies has been linked to high blood pressure, kidney failure and autism.3

One would think with these “tip of the iceberg” studies, that physicians would be evaluating a good many of their chronically ill patients for heavy metal toxicity.  But it is a very rare physician who does this testing.  Strange indeed, but In fact, it rarely even makes the news. 

But consider mercury as well.  With the growing number of studies and reports, mercury toxicity is clearly getting more alarming every year.  When 300 streams across the U.S. were recently tested, 100% of the fish were found to be contaminated with mercury.4   Mercury has been linked to several autoimmune diseases including arthritis, Lupus and Crohn’s disease.5 Like lead, mercury will accumulate in the bone, but will also find its way into the heart causing cardiovascular disease.   And because of its lipophilic (fat loving) nature, it will accumulate in the brain and the nervous system where it will produce neurological damage and functional deterioration.6,7   Understand then that any neurological disease may have a toxic metal component and more than likely will.

We remember the saying “mad as a hatter” as coming from Madcap Milliner in Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s book, Alice in Wonderland. But the actual origin of the saying relates to a disease peculiar to the hat making industry in the 1800s. Mercury was commonly used in the process of turning fur into felt, a process which caused this highly toxic metal, to contaminate many of the hat makers.  These symptoms included trembling (known as “hatters’ shakes”), loss of coordination, slurring speech, loosening of teeth, memory loss, depression, irritability and anxiety, what we now call the “The Mad Hatter Syndrome.” We get mercury today from different sources, like the burning of coal and leaching out of amalgam dental fillings, but the effect in some people is the same.

What are we to make of the seriousness of the data where hundreds of studies on toxic metals are now linked to a huge list of symptoms?   Almost unbelievably, it hardly draws a yawn from the medical profession and even an outright fight against amalgam removal by the dental profession!  Individuals will have to do, just what they have been doing for about the last 20 +years – becoming more proactive on their own and seeking solutions outside their physician’s office.  But to do that, they need answers, so let me suggest some of the natural resources individuals can use to remove heavy metals from their bodies.  But first, it is important to note some information from Dr. Boyd Haley, of the University of Kentucky, who has researched the damaging effects of mercury and other toxic metals for many years.  His website reports on data showing that heavy metals have a synergistic effect. In other words, there is a magnifying effect when one is polluted by both mercury and lead.  

Not long ago patient of mine was found to have elevated levels of mercury and cadmium and seriously elevated levels of lead.  She considered the need to eliminate these metals for 3 months but was concerned if it might cause some problems for her kidneys.   But waiting didn’t help; she had a major heart attack and within a week, so very sadly, passed away.

So what can we do?  First, it is a good idea to improve your health and particularly the function of your gut to better facilitate detoxification.  You may need to add some healthy fats and antioxidants and other nutrients.  Decreasing food allergens would be a great help along with digestive enzymes and the addition of friendly bacteria.  You will do yourself a great service to support your liver’s capacity to detoxify as well.  B complex vitamins, along with broccoli and other greens as well as the herb, milk thistle, will be excellent support for this most important organ for detoxification.   

Second, find a practitioner to give you a heavy metal challenge test.   A hair analysis might work, but low levels in the hair are not necessarily an accurate representation of total body load.  

So, find a practitioner to do a challenge test using any one of several chelators like DMPS, DMSA or EDTA.  Chelators are substances that bind heavy metals.  They are used in the process of chelation which is simply the process of removing toxic/heavy metals from the body by chelating agents which have a naturally strong affinity for heavy metals.   EDTA is now available as a convenient suppository or as a liposomal oral agent and is an excellent binder of these toxic metals.   And remember, blood testing for heavy metals as generally done, is a waste of money.

Third, begin clearing out your heavy metals.  The “heavy hitters” of chelation are generally considered to be EDTA, DMPS, DMSA and these are good chelators, but if these are used you will need to do so through your health care practitioner.  But if you do not have access to a practitioner using any of these, there is no need to despair.  There are lots of great foods and supplements that will act as excellent binders of noxious metals.   Here are some safe and effective modalities.  It may take a little longer in some cases, but they will cleanse your body.  If you want to really get to work on these toxic metals, I think the best recommendation is to use Liposomal oral EDTA .  It is much less expensive than doing IV chelation.  It is slightly less potent but for the difference in the price and ease of use, it is my recommendation.

Great food choices include Garlic, Cilantro, and Chlorella.  Garlic is loaded with sulfur and selenium,   both of which are great binders of metals.   Not much more than a teaspoon each day of cilantro will work exceptionally well.  Otherwise use these kitchen herbs at every available opportunity.   Chlorella is an algae and has natural properties that absorb metals.  

For supplement choices you can start with NDF (from the BioRay Company).  To generalize NDF, it is cilantro and chlorella “on steroids”.  Metal Free (by Bodyhealth) is similar, it does have more in its ingredient list but is also more expensive.  Both are superior products in their ability to purge the body of toxic metals.  

But don’t forget common “ordinary” vitamin C.  This vitamin is a precursor to glutathione, the most important intracellular antioxidant.   Actually, my choice for both of these nutrients is lyposomal vitamin C and lyposomal glutathione.  These nutrients are surrounded by phosphatidylcholine, the substance that is the structural material in every cell wall.  As a result, these nutrients are nearly 100% absorbed and will effectively improve cell function while eliminating heavy metals.  Some consider these lypospheric, oral forms to be as effective as the intravenous route.

Here are some nutrients that you can pick up at most any health food store:

  • NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine).   Cysteine is a sulfur containing amino acid and in itself is a great detoxifier but additionally, it is a necessary precursor to glutathione.
  • Modified Citrus Pectin is made from pith and rinds of citrus fruits.  Its molecular structure enables it to attract positively charged heavy metals and other toxins as well.  
  • Alginates, generally in the form of sodium alginate, from seaweed or brown algae, have a long history of use as a metal detoxifier including its use after the Chernobyl disaster.  It is especially effective in removing metals from the gut.
  • MSM (Methyl-Sulfonyl-Methane) has the sulfur molecule in the middle of it and as such effectively pulls out our toxic metals.

Here are a few other tips “to get the lead out”:

  • Sauna therapy will not only induce the excretion of metals through sweat but also toxic chemicals as well.  The most effective sauna to do this is an infrared sauna. 
  • Test your water for toxic metals or even excess number of metals like copper or iron which in excess is not safe.  The alternative is to get a good water filter.  An inexpensive but effective one is a carbon block filter that removes lead, chlorine and other toxic compounds.
  • It may be questionable as to how much consumed fish will contribute to the body level of mercury.   Fish is loaded with selenium which effectively binds mercury.  But it will be safest to use only wild Alaskan Salmon and other fish known to be low in, or free of mercury.  Avoid all the large ocean fish like swordfish, tuna, tilefish, etc.
  • While detoxifying be sure to use plenty of water to facilitate their removal.
  • Some of the most potent metal chelators like DMPS, DMSA and EDTA will likely not cross the blood-brain barrier.  Most of the other nutrients will.  So if you use EDTA, for instance, and you have effectively removed heavy metals from your body, you may still need to remove them from the brain and nervous system.  At this point you can use NDF or add Alpha Lipoic Acid.  These will effectively cross the blood-brain barrier.  I prefer this method personally even when symptoms suggest the brain is clearly in need of detoxification.

You should take note of two other points.  First, if you are toxic or have chronic illness already, be very cautious about the removal of these toxic metals.  You would be well advised to consult with a health care practitioner, who is well experienced in the removal of heavy metals.  Otherwise, go slow.  

Second, if you have silver-mercury fillings in your mouth, consult with a good biological dentist to have them removed.  I would strongly recommend against using just any dentist; look for one if you can, that belongs to the American Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine (  It will be worth it as they need to be removed correctly.  And once again, if you are sick, toxic or have a chronic illness you probably need to improve your health first, prior to getting your amalgams removed.

If you want to achieve good health, take these steps to rid your body of these toxic, health destroying metals.  You will be very glad you did and perhaps some of your loved ones will as well. 

  1. Blood lead below .48 micromol/L (10 microg/dl) and mortality among US adults Circulation (2006)114(13):1388-94
  2. Environ Health Perspective – 2007 June; 115(6): 871-5
  3. University of Rochester Medical Center. “Study Links Lead Exposure To Brain Cancer In Adults.” ScienceDaily 29 August 2006. 9 February 2011 /releases/2006/08/060828211626.htm.
  4. “Mercury Tainted Fish Found Widely in U.S. Streams” Reuters. March 2010
  5. “Environmental Chemicals and Autoimmune Disease: Cause and Effect”, Toxicology, (2002) December, 181-182:65-70 
  6. “Accumulated evidence on fish consumption and coronary heart disease mortality: a meta-analysis of cohort studies”, Circulation (2004) June 8; 109(22):2705-11
  7. Methylmercury Exposure and Adverse Cardiovascular Effects in Faroese Whaling Men” Environmental Health Perspectives (2009) 117(3) 367-372

Toxic Metals - the poison everyone has

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