How Heavy Metal Toxicity Can Ruin Your Health

How Heavy Metal Toxicity Can Ruin Your Health

By  Marie Be

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

To a greater or lesser degree, most of us are contaminated with heavy metals today – some seriously, some without ever knowing it. It is a subject that just doesn’t cross our everyday minds and physicians are often not  alert to the possibility of metal exposure such as lead, mercury, and cadmium. In fact, the chronic accumulation of toxic contaminants that may not achieve classic ‘acute toxicity’ thresholds levels receives little attention at all, although it may nevertheless contribute to important adverse health effects. (1)

On the other hand, acute toxicity – which is most often the consequence of occupational exposure – does tend to be recognized, properly diagnosed, and then treated. Acute toxicities arise from sudden exposures to substantial quantities of some metals, and typically these toxins affect multiple organ systems; commonly the GI tract, cardiovascular system, the brain and nervous system, the endocrine system, kidneys, hair, and nails.

Unfortunately, chronic heavy metal toxicity that builds up over longer periods of time often presents with symptomology similar to many other chronic health conditions, therefore may not be immediately recognized or accurately diagnosed by health physicians.

Chronic toxicities are manifested as conditions that develop over extended periods from chronic exposure to relatively low concentrations, for example through conventional cosmetics. Increased cancer risk is a common feature of chronic exposure to certain metals. The exact mechanism of their carcinogenicity is not completely understood, although many cause DNA damage, alter gene function, interfere with innate DNA repair systems, disrupt gene expression, and deregulate cellular functions.(2)

Within the body, heavy metals act as free radicals, causing cellular damage. This results in rapid aging and depletes the body’s natural capacities to heal itself, aggravating disease. Heavy metals slowly accumulate in the kidneys, liver, pancreas, bones, central nervous system and brain where they degrade health without being noticed or diagnosed.

Not all metals are toxic and in fact in trace amounts, some are essential to human biochemical processes. For example, zinc is an important co-factor for several enzymatic reactions in the human body, vitamin B-12 has a cobalt atom at its core, and hemoglobin contains iron. Likewise, copper, manganese, selenium, chromium, and molybdenum are all trace elements, which are important in the human diet. Although these metals are essential to body functions, accumulation past trace amounts may have detrimental effects, should the usual mechanisms of detoxification and elimination be impaired.

Heavy metal poisoning thus means the accumulation of metals in the body past trace amounts. Common examples of metals that are toxic in any amounts are mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic.

The potential for serious health consequences from heavy metal contamination has been documented.(3) Heavy metal intoxications may damage central nervous function, the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal (GI) systems, lungs, kidneys, liver, endocrine glands, and bones (Jang 2011; Adal 2013). Chronic heavy metal exposure has been implicated in several degenerative diseases of these same systems and may increase the risk of some cancers (Galanis 2009; Wu 2012).

Other symptoms of toxic heavy metal poisoning range from skin ailments, intellectual disabilities in children, dementia in adults, central nervous system (CNS) disorders, nerve damage, organ degeneration, kidney (renal) diseases, liver (hepatic) diseases, insomnia, personality changes, emotional instability, depression, panic attacks, memory loss, headaches, vision disturbances, peripheral neuropathy and carpal tunnel syndrome, blood acidity, lack of coordination (ataxia), hardening arteries, encephalopathy or cardiovascular diseases (CVD).(4)

With several toxic metals lacking robust pathways for elimination, or otherwise remaining in the body for a long time, body burdens of some toxic metals are a major detriment to health. (5) There are many ways to detox from heavy metals, chelation therapy being the most common treatment in terms of acute poisoning, but comes with a smorgasbord of detrimental health and side effects.

It is possible to reduce metal toxicity risk through lifestyle choices that diminish the probability of harmful heavy metal uptake, such as dietary measures that promote daily detoxification. Ensuring that the body’s natural metabolic processes are strong will further assist in naturally excreting heavy metals.

Detoxing from heavy metals has strong anti-aging and health enhancing benefits and daily detoxification is a safe way of supporting your body in naturally eliminating contaminants. Adding antioxidants and zeolite to your daily routine will attract and remove heavy metals from the body, assisting in the maintenance of healthy metabolism.

Stay tuned for the next instalment from Marie which will look in detail at  common sources of heavy metal exposure, plus ways to support your body’s elimination processes and reduce the effects of heavy metals exposure. In the meantime, check out these previous article by Marie Be…



[2] Jang, D. H., and Hoffman, R. S. Heavy metal chelation in neurotoxic exposures. Neurol Cin. 2011;29(3):607–22

[3] Galanis, A., Karapetsas, A., and Sandaltzopoulos, R. Metal-induced carcinogenesis, oxidative stress and hypoxia signalling. Mutat Res. 2009;674(1-2):31–5

[4] ATSDR. Detailed Data Table for the Priority List of Hazardous Substances 2011: 1–20. Available online at


Previous articles by Marie Be:

About the author:

Marie Be  150x150 BURN: Health Impacts of Sunscreen Found to be Worse Than UV Damage!Marie Be’s inspiration comes from her mom who always challenged common assumptions and sought to understand for herself the major issues concerning her family and the choices she made on their behalf. She raised Marie and her brother in a rural environment, feeding them the best organic foods, and focused on building strong immune systems in her children through the use of natural plants, herbs and  minerals.

As a fiery teenager, Marie travelled the world in search of purpose and dreamed of positively influencing our society. While earning her first two degrees, in architecture and sustainable development, she worked for Greenpeace and many other organizations of change. Her experience taught her that change cannot be imposed; she now aims at inspiring individuals through education and awareness.

Marie moved to Vancouver to undertake a Masters in Regenerative Sustainability under the supervision of a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. Teaching workshops on well-being, she started observing a widespread desire in our society for both physical and environmental health and sustainability. Feeling the winds of change, Marie founded  Earth for the Sun.

Earth for the Sun was inspired by  nature, the source of life.  By tuning in that source, by acquiring knowledge on ancient herbal traditions as well as new technologies, Marie believes it is possible to use nature’s intelligence and deliver simple and effective health products.  Check out  Earth for the Sun  for more information.

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