If you have muscle tics, depression, brain fog and trouble sleeping, you may just have a heavy metal problem. Millions are at risk from heavy metals in the US. The poisoning can cause anything from allergies to memory loss. Worse, it invades our bodies invisibly, without our knowledge.
The good news is, metal toxicity can be diagnosed and treated. The first step is knowing what to look for. Below, we share the symptoms, tests and treatments for heavy metal poisoning.
What is Heavy Metal Poisoning?
Toxic metal poisoning happens when big bad heavy metals find their way inside our bodies. These metals don’t play nice with our nerves, our brains and other systems. They can cause a truckload of troubles including autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s and even cancer.
So how do metals get inside our bodies? Contaminated foods and drinking water are one potential source. Chromium-6, the nasty Erin Brockovich chemical now threatens 2/3 of all Americans. Beneficial parsley and cilantro, lauded for removing metals from the body, can bond with it in nature and invade us when we eat.
Another source for heavy metal poisoning is common household products. Good ol’ baking powder’s main ingredient is aluminum sulfate. That aluminum can build up in our brains over the years and may lead to Alzheimer’s. Mmm, memory loss.
Even yummy, healthy supplements like spirulina may provide a toxic metal gateway to our bodies. Spriulina grown in contaminated ponds can bond to metal, mainlining it to our bloodstreams through a yummy, “healthy” shake.
Looking for a cleansing drink? Check out our post on the benefits of simple ginger tea.
Heavy Metal Poisoning Symptoms
What are the symptoms of heavy metal poisoning? Unfortunately it’s just not possible to diagnose metal toxicity from symptoms alone. That’s because the list of ailments is as long as a waiting line at the DMV:
- Digestive problems
- Memory loss
- Muscle tics
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
- Skin problems
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Brain fog
- Unsteady gait
One or more of these symptoms doesn’t mean a heavy metal toxic problem. Even having all of them isn’t necessarily a smoking gun. That said, anyone who suffers all the ills above should definitely do a little digging.
Toxic Metal Poisoning Tests
Think heavy metals are lurking in your bloodstream? You may want to try a hair or blood test. After buying one, the subject snips some hair and sends it to a lab. Results come back in about a week.
While hair tests can be a good first clue, they’re not the end of the story. The only way to confirm a heavy metals problem is to see a doctor. Doctors can order different blood and fingernail tests that can reveal a toxic problem for anything from lead to arsenic to mercury to chromium.
Cleaning Out: A Heavy Metal Toxicity Detox
Several good tools can help detox a heavy metal poison problem. The supplements below offer an excellent start:
- Chlorella. Basically pond scum, this freshwater algae carries compounds that bond to heavy metals and remove it from the body. Make sure it’s tested. Those same bonding powers can make it pick up metals where it’s grown.
- Probiotics. These beneficial critters help the stomach clean out baddies before they can enter the system and cause trouble.
- Malate. Malate has been shown to decrease aluminum levels in the brain. What’s malate? It’s an acid that shows up naturally in plant-based foods like apple juice.
Want to know more? See our post on the five amazing probiotics you probably already have in the fridge!
Natural Treatments for Heavy Metal Poisoning
Aside from supplements, wise food choices can help fix a toxic metal menace. Anyone who suspects a dose of metal mayhem should eat:
- Foods high in vitamin C like oranges, kale and grapefruit. Vitamin C doesn’t remove heavy metals but it can stop them from wreaking havoc on the system.
- Leafy greens. Kale, spinach, parsley and cilantro are good at lowering the heavy metal load. Make sure they’re from a trusted source though, since these foods can also carry heavy metals to begin with.
- Water. Believe it or not, our bodies know how to clean themselves out. Keeping hydrated helps the kidneys flush the nasty metals on its own.
- Onions, garlic. These and other high-sulfur veggies help the liver shun the metal monster.