I’d like my blog articles to be an opportunity to expand on questions I get asked by my patients and pals. Recently, I’ve had some patients deciding to get their body burden of toxic metals assessed as part of our detective work identifying the root cause of symptoms, and some patients choosing to do the test just to remove any obstacles to optimal wellness and disease prevention. In preparing for the test, I’ve been asked, “What do you find when you test for metals?”. Well, for our 6 week Complete Cleanse Program, I prepared for my week of discussing toxic burden testing options by tallying the results of all of my patients who have done metal testing. What I found was that, whether patients were testing because they had symptoms, or because they just wanted to optimize their health, every single one of them came back with elevated lead levels.
Metal Testing Results
HOW DO I TEST FOR METALS?
After telling people what I’ve found, the next question I get asked is, “Where is the lead coming from?”. I’ll get into sources of exposure below, but it’s important here to be clear that the metals measured in this test reflect body stores, rather than current exposures. These levels represent the amount of metals that individual has been exposed to, and unable to excrete, over their entire lifetime. I use the lab Doctor’s Data, and you can read more about the test I use here.
WHY DO I TEST FOR METALS?
- Body burden studies of Canadians done by Environmental Defense Canada have revealed that pollution – including toxic metals – is in all of us.
- Lead is a toxin with no threshold below which is harmless: there is no safe level.
- Metals interfere with neurological function, detoxification, immune function, and hormone balance.
- Lifetime lead exposure increases the risk of chronic neurological problems (Parkinson’s, MS, ALS, tremors), and certain cancers.
WHAT COMMON SYMPTOMS CAN ACTUALLY BE DUE TO LEAD TOXICITY?
- problems with attention and behaviour
- somatic complaints (headaches, stomach aches)
- anxiety, depression, social problems
- brain fog
- difficulty concentrating
- memory loss
- muscle aches
- joint pain
- high blood pressure
WHAT ARE COMMON SOURCES OF LEAD EXPOSURE?
- Dust of homes that were built before lead based paint was eliminated (1978)
- Home renovations
- Dirt and dust in areas where leaded gas was in use for decades (gas stations, highways)
- Water from plumbing
- Fish: tuna, sardine, Atlantic cod, pollock, mackerel
- Wine (organic wine is free of lead)
- Products imported from China (the Dollarstore!)
- Lead glaze on pottery/crystal
- Lead soldered electronics
- Metal wicked candles, mini-blinds (pre-’96)
- Industry that releases lead (smelter, battery recycling plant)
IF I AM FULL OF METALS, HOW DO I GET THE LEAD OUT?
- First, avoid sources of exposure. Visit Purahome to get the right water filter for your home. Reverse Osmosis is effective, but carbon, sand & cartridge water filters do not remove lead! Check the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Database to see if your personal care products are a source of exposure, and to choose make up that is free of lead and other toxins. Don’t buy products from China, and eat safe seafood like wild Pacific salmon.
- A comprehensive protocol is essential to enhance the excretion of toxic metals and prevent tissue damage from their mobilization. Get individualized assessment and treatment done by a licensed physician certified in Environmental Medicine. Here is a list of fabulous EM docs.