Toxic Metals

A table topped with different types of food.

Trace or Toxic Minerals?

How TOXIC METALS destroy your health :

Your body is made up from elements of the periodic table. Some of them are helpful. We call those essential elements. For example, you may be familiar with some of the “electrolyte” elements: Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium. These macro (used in large amounts) minerals are bio- active, meaning your body uses them every day to maintain healthy cells, muscles and nerve cells. There are also trace or micro (smaller amount) minerals such as selenium, iodine, boron and lithium that have a lot to do with hormone health.

However, there are also many elements that are poisonous to your body. These toxic (or heavy) metals have no known biological role or physiological function. You have heard of some of them such as mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminum, and arsenic. These toxic or ‘heavy metals’ interfere with your normal functioning, undermines good health and causes disease.

Heavy metals have proven to be a major threat to our health. These are labeled as “toxic metals”, that in fact, have no known and may even interfere with metabolic processes. Unlike a few metals, such as aluminum that can be removed through bodily elimination, other metals tend to accumulate in the body.

Toxic metals can be assessed in urine, blood, feces and hair. The simplest, least expensive but also effective test is a hair analysis (head or pubic).

Public health measures have been undertaken to control, prevent and treat metal toxicity that may occur as an occupational exposure, work related accidents and various environmental factors. In general, metal toxicity depends upon the absorbed dose, as well as the route of exposure and duration of exposure. This can result in excessive damage due to oxidative stress induced by free radical formation.

The threats to human health from heavy metals are associated primarily with exposure to lead, cadmium, mercury, and arsenic. Even though adverse health effects of heavy metals have been known for a long time, exposure to heavy metals continues, and is even increasing in less developed countries. These toxic metals are simply everywhere, and almost unavoidable.


Cadmium compounds are used in re-chargeable nickel-cadmium batteries, which are rarely re-cycled, and often dumped together with household waste. Other prevalent sources of cadmium exposure are cigarettes. However, even in non-smokers, food has become a most important source of cadmium exposure.


The general population is primarily exposed to mercury via food as well as mdental amalgam. Eating fish is a major source of methyl mercury exposure. Since there is a risk to the fetus in particular, pregnant women should avoid a high intake of certain fish, such as shark, swordfish and tuna.


The general population is exposed to lead from the air and as well as from the food we eat, in roughly equal proportions. During the last century, lead emissions caused considerable pollution, mainly due to lead emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Children are particularly susceptible to lead exposure due to high gastrointestinal uptake and the permeable blood- brain barrier. Even though lead content in fossil fuels has dramatically decreased over the last decades, the phasing out of any remaining uses of lead additives in fuels should be encouraged, along with the use of lead- based paints and food containers.


Exposure to arsenic occurs primarily via food intake and most importantly by drinking water. In fact, it has been shown that long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking-water is mainly related to increased risks of skin cancer, as well as some other cancers. Occupational exposure to arsenic, usually by inhalation, is associated with lung cancer.