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Metal Toxicity and Testing
aspect of my practice that I want to inform you about is heavy metal
toxicity diagnosis and detoxification. I am referring to the
pollution of our environment and of our bodies with such toxins
as lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, aluminum, nickel, and others.
As part of my program for healthy ageing, I recommend that every
adult undergo testing to determine if there are increased stores
of these toxins in one's tissues.
In the same
way that we are urged to have pap smears, mammograms, digital rectal
exams, prostate specific antigen blood tests, cholesterol and blood
sugar screenings, bone density
tests or colonoscopies, I believe that sometime soon after the age
of 40 years old, we should all be tested for heavy metals. (Some
individuals merit testing prior to 40.) Finding these metals and
detoxifying them from the body is an important way to help prevent
cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, dementia, and
osteoporosis. These are common devastating diseases that occur as
we age, but realize that these diseases don't just appear without
cause. And I believe that in most people these conditions can be
prevented or delayed with the correct measures. Heavy metal detoxification
is one of these measures. And if these diseases are all ready present,
they can be better treated if heavy metal toxicity is addressed.
of lead introduced into our environment since the beginning of the
Industrial Revolution is enormous. From 1720 to 1979, close to 55
million tons of lead were added to the industrial supply in the
USA. More than 7 million tons of lead has been used as lead additives
in the US alone. Much of this lead is now widely distributed on
the earth's surface. For example, lead has been found at levels
of up to 7,500 milligrams per kilogram of house dust and the earth's
crust at levels of only 15 milligrams per kilogram. This means that
urban soil and house dust can contain 33 to 500 times the normal
concentration of earth lead. The bottom sediment of US lakes now
contains about 20 times more lead that they did just 100 years ago."
having an occupational or avocational exposure to such metals, almost
all of us are exposed over the decades of our lives (often without
knowing it). Exposure occurs through our food supply (not just seafood),
water, lead soldered water pipes in our homes or workplaces, cosmetics,
paint, vehicular and aviation exhaust, weed killers, insecticides,
baking powder, deodorant, antacids, mercury containing dental fillings,
first and second hand cigarette smoke, and many more items.
We all have
an innate ability to excrete toxins but with a continual low level
exposure over decades, often combined with inadequate nutrient and
antioxidant reserves, our detoxification and excretory capacity
is overwhelmed and many of us end up accumulating these toxins and
end up storing them in our tissues - our organs, cartilage, bones,
metals are stored in our tissues, some of us might still feel entirely
well. We all have varying capacities to hold and sequester certain
toxins and may not always be adversely affected by them. However,
these silent depots of metals could be like a ticking time bomb,
with the potential over the years to eventually trigger a deterioration
of your health.
Did you know
that nearly everyone with high blood pressure that I have tested
in my office has elevated levels of lead, cadmium, mercury or all
three. Medical textbooks tell us that these metals can cause high
blood pressure. They also relate these toxic metals to: heart
disease, stroke, kidney disease, cancer, osteoporosis, memory/cognitive
disturbance as well as Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
Toxic metals can also be related to fatigue, headaches, depression,
behavioral disturbances, neuritis, neuralgia, paresthesias, multiple
sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, unexplained anemia, and many other
conditions). If you have any of these conditions, I would recommend
that you be tested for toxic metals. If you are well and want to
stay that way and you are a member of our toxic twenty first century
environment, phone us to discuss heavy metal testing.
It is conventional
for doctors to draw blood to test for lead or mercury or other toxic
metals. This test is useful, however, only for acute or significant
daily exposures because metals do not stay in the blood much longer
than a week after exposure. They seek intracellular spaces - tissues
like the organs or bones or brain. In such cases of chronic exposure,
a simple blood test would not show up elevations because it would
not be measuring the compartment where the metals reside.
In order to
more accurately test for chronic exposure or assess for tissue storage,
a chelating agent needs to be given, one that will mobilize the
metals out of their storage compartments into the blood, and then
the blood carries the metals to the kidneys where they are excreted
into the urine. Therefore, the testing I provide includes the administration
of chelating agents intravenously (EDTA and DMPS) or in some cases
orally (DMSA), and then a 6 or 12 hour urine collection. Prior to
testing I require a recent serum creatinine level or will draw a
new onecreatinine is a measure of kidney function. Incidentally,
I no longer do hair analysis testing for heavy metals as I have
found it to be substantially less accurate than the provoked urine
discovered a toxic waste dump in your back yard, and knowing that
you want to live in that house the next 20 or 40 or 50 years, you
would do the right thing and have the toxic site cleaned up in order
to prevent the possible health threat that continual exposure could
foster. To protect your health, it makes sense to have a screening
test to determine if you harbor a silent (or not so silent) internal
toxic waste dump. If elevated levels are found, a detoxification
(clean-up) program would then be in order. Such a program requires
If you have
my book, Optimal Wellness, you can find a
lot more information on toxic metals on pages 277-285. Much of the
information there on heavy metal toxicity is still current, although
since publication, I have modified aspects of my treatment program.
us a call if you are interested in this kind of testing.
This information is provided for educational
purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional
advice. Although the material may help you understand a diagnosis
or treatment, it cannot serve as a replacement for the services
of a licensed health care practitioner. Any application of the material
set forth is at the reader's discretion and sole responsibility.
© Copyright 1999-, Ralph Golan MD
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