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Testing mineral levels and heavy metal toxicity

There a number of tests that can be used to detect heavy metal toxicity in the body. Two of the best tests are the RBC Erthrocyte (Red Blood Cell) Test and a DMSA challenge test. Both are excellent tests. The following is a review of the erythrocyte blood test to check for mineral imbalances or toxic metal poisoning.

Essential minerals

...are necessary for life, assisting in the production of energy and other important biochemical processes.

Mineral insufficiencies, excesses, or imbalances can lead to illness.

Toxic elements, such as mercury or cadmium, may accumulate in the body due to chronic exposure and may lead to illness at very small amounts.

Some elements, such as lead, mercury, and cadmium, become toxic when too many sneak into the body.

This can lead to chronic symptoms, both physical and mental. These minerals are required for the body's structural tissues and for metabolic functions, particularly enzyme reactions. However, deficiencies or imbalances among elements can lead to problems.

For Example:

  • Low zinc is associated with poor wound healing, weight problems, depressed libido, hair loss, and impotence.

  • Low magnesium is associated with cardiovascular problems, depression, and anxiety.

  • Low copper is associated with joint pain, elevated cholesterol, anaemia, and reduced resistance to infection.

  • Low manganese is associated with back and joint problems, hypoglycemia, and allergies.

Such imbalances can result from toxins, an improper diet, genetic predisposition, maldigestion or malabsorption of food, some medications, excess stress or an improper balance of nutritional supplements.

Mineral imbalances are linked to: fatigue, headaches, osteoporosis, malnutrition, depression, hypoglycemia, cancer, aggressive behaviour, allergies, joint pain, diabetes, digestive disorders, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, autism, and hypothyroidism.

Toxic Metals

Toxic metal accumulation is likely in an environment plagued by pollutants.

Toxic metals, normally are present in the body in small amounts.

However, they accumulate with excessive or continual exposure or if your body's detoxifying defences aren't up to par.

These same metals may inhibit enzymes in your body, weaken cell membranes, or impair nutrient delivery, which can lead to illness.

Exposure most commonly occurs through everyday living but may result from an industrial work environment or the home...

Examples include exposure to cigarette smoke (cadmium), hydrogenated oils (nickel), antiperspirants and antacids (aluminum), some toothpastes and cans (tin), tap water (lead), Copper (pipes) and tooth fillings and fish (mercury).

  • Excess lead is associated with fatigue, constipation, insomnia, emotional disturbances, hyperactivity, and learning disabilities in children.

  • Excess aluminum is associated with Alzheimer's disease and may also lead to the depletion of phosphorus in the body, which is critical for bone heath.

  • Excess arsenic is associated with fatigue, skin problems, and tingling in the extremities.

  • Excess cadmium is associated with fatigue, tissue aging, musculoskeletal pain, anemia, and hypertension. RBC erthrocyte is considered the best evaluation of long term mineral status

  • See my article on mercury

If your test reveals high levels of metals it is important to find a Nutritional therapist who is able to prescribe an effective protocol to chelate the toxic metals and decrease the load on your body. Often a multi disciplinary approach is required. For example often I will refer clients to a dentist skilled in safe amalgam removal.

In Hereford I refer clients to Dr. Anita Shukla of Willows dental surgery in Hereford.

Zac Cox In Bristol is another exceptional physician who practices Mercury safe, Mercury free dentistry.

There may be another Certified IAOMT practitioner in your area so please check the IAOMT website for details of a dentist where you live.

For a safe amalgam removal protocol please refer to this list of precautions...

Paul Foley Nutritional Therapist Dip Nut CNM, mBANT, mCNH

Phone; 0759 793 6899 Email; Web;

This was adapted and edited with compliments from Functional Medicine University Paul is currently sudying functional medicine at the university.

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