Thursday, July 24, 2008

Heavy Metals - not just about music anymore

Poison, Guns and Roses, Metallica, this is what has come to mind every time I think of heavy metal. Another mental reference would be a throwback to high school chemistry or even that second semester of General Chem I took in college (snoozer!), that never showed up on the MCAT. But more recently, I've just learned how important or rather detrimental heavy metals are to your health. There are some that we are all aware of because of how toxic they are: mercury, plutonium, and lead are toxic metals that have no known vital or beneficial effect on organisms, and their accumulation over time in the bodies of animals can cause serious illness. I think many of us are doing what we can to avoid mercury exposure by changing to wild fish from safer waters and being careful on the canned fish we consume. But apparently, we are all exposed to other heavy metals, which in trace amounts can be beneficial, but in excess can be toxic and cause a whole host of disorders.

These metals are: iron, aluminum, or beryllium (the fourth lightest element) or such a semi metal as arsenic. Guess what, there's aluminum in toothpaste and deodorant especially solid deodorant and it gets absorbed into the body with little escape mechanism. Using aluminum in baking (aluminum foil! Foil pans, broiling trays etc.), hair highlighting (god I hope not!, but its on there at least one half hour, not to mention what the color chemicals that close to my brain might be doing) or food storage can cause absorption of aluminum into the body. Excess aluminum in the body can cause dementia, heart attacks and heavy metal excess is linked with ADHD symptoms. So perhaps it is not a coincidence that ADHD is so much on the rise nowadays compared to ten or twenty years ago. Perhaps we need to think about switching our deodorants and cookware to avoid this problem. The good news is that zinc acts as an oral chelator to link to the aluminum and get it out of the body. Food sources of zinc include oysters (highest amount of zinc in any food per serving), zinc fortified cereals, grass fed pastured red meat, and organ meats especially. You can also get a good quality zinc supplement. I like usana brands, solgar, and blue bonnet. I'm trying to get my hands on some isagenix which might also be fortified with zinc.

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