By William L. Wolcott, Author, "The Metabolic Typing Diet"
Toxic metals are a scourge of modern living. Most of us who live in "civilized" societies are continuously exposed to high concentrations of them. Unfortunately, these toxic contaminants have become an integral part of our industrialized culture. Metals like aluminum, cadmium, lead and mercury are commonly found in thousands of different food products, household products, personal products and untold numbers of industrial products and chemicals.
The really bad news is that soon after we're exposed to them, the toxic metals are rapidly removed from blood circulation and shunted away to tissue storage sites in vital tissues where they disrupt our biological systems and wreak havoc on our health.
The presence of toxic metals in our systems is highly significant for they are capable of causing serious health problems through interfering with normal biological functioning. Although they can be found in high concentrations in the body, a number of these heavy metals (aluminum, beryllium, cadmium, lead and mercury) have no known biological function. Others (arsenic, copper, iron and nickel) are thought to be essential at low concentrations, but are toxic at high levels. Generally speaking, heavy metals disrupt metabolic function in two basic ways:
First, they accumulate and thereby disrupt function in vital organs and glands such as the heart, brain, kidneys, bone, liver, etc.
Second, they displace vital nutritional minerals from where they should be in the body to provide biological function. For example, enzymes are catalysts for virtually every biochemical reaction in all life-sustaining processes of metabolism. But instead of calcium being present in an enzyme reaction, lead or cadmium may be there in its place. Toxic metals can't fulfill the same role as the nutritional minerals, thus their presence becomes critically disruptive to enzyme activity.
Because their impact is at such a foundational level, metals can be causal factors in literally any health problem. This is graphically illustrated in the chart below, which summarizes the sources of each of the toxic metals as well as their adverse effects on the body.
If your job or living circumstances expose you to toxic metals, you would do well to minimize or eliminate your exposure as much as possible. Be aware that there are many ways these toxins can be absorbed into your body--through foods and beverages, skin exposure, and via the air you breathe. So, whenever possible, wear gloves, use protective breathing apparatuses, and be sure to obtain fresh air ventilation.
Avoiding Toxic Metal Exposure is Impossible
Such preventative measures are worthwhile and important , but ultimately futile. The inesacpable reality is that it is impossible in this day and age not to be exposed to toxic metals. It is only a matter of how much and how often. So what can we do to prevent their accumulation in our systems and rid ourselves of them if they're already present? Fortunately, a solution is at hand. Eating right for your Metabolic Type can not only protect you from heavy metal accumulation, but can also empower your body to literally throw them out of your system for good.
Accumulation of toxins in the body is not normal. In fact, your body is designed to be healthy and function at peak performance. Every cell in your body knows exactly what to do and how to do it perfectly, whether a liver cell, a brain cell, a bone cell, etc. And along with this, detoxifying is part of the nature of every cell as well. If it wasn't, cells would die from autointoxication from their own waste--produced from their own chemical activities.
The critical factor determining whether or not toxic metals are retained in the body is biochemical balance at the time of exposure (and during the period after accumulation). Remember that the body is designed to detoxify. Think of this natural capacity to detoxify as being like a computer program in every cell that is always trying to run. But the kicker is that cells need "the proper biochemical balance" in order to carry this through:
- For proper chelating factors needed to pick up the toxic metals
- For sufficient energy production to move waste out of the cell
- For the proper selective membrane permeability to hold nutrients in and keep waste out.
It is the differences in the status of these factors between individuals that accounts for variability in toxic accumulation.
If the chemistry is properly balanced, meaning:
- If the cells can produce the energy to mobilize the toxic metals
- If the chelating factors are available in the cells to pick up the toxic metals
- If the cells can efficiently regulate selective membrane permeability
... then the cells will throw out the heavy metals as fast as they are taken in from exposure. Furthermore, as biochemical balance is restored at the cellular level, the innate capacity of the cells to detoxify kicks into gear and past accumulations are mobilized from storage sites for excretion.
But if the chemistry is not balanced, then the body's natural defense against toxic metals is undermined. Having no recourse against the toxic metals, the body is forced to store them away in its vital tissues, where, over time, they can do their insidious work, contributing to all manner of degenerative processes.
When you begin to properly balance body chemistry by addressing the needs of metabolic individuality through Metabolic Typing, the negative and health damaging process of toxic metal accumulation is reversed in a normal, natural way. Now every cell's natural capacity to detoxify is activated, unleashed, restored. As a result, the cells dutifully begin to mobilize the toxic metals if they have been stored and resist their accumulation when exposed.
How Toxic Metals Harm
|ALUMINUM||alum, aluminum foil, animal feed, antacids, aspirin, auto exhaust, baking powder, beer, bleached flour, cans, ceramics, cheese, cigarette filters, color additives, construction materials, cookware, cosmetics, dental amalgams, deodorants, drinking water, drying agents, dust, insulated wiring, medicinal compounds, milk products, nasal spray, pesticides, pollution, salt, tap water, tobacco smoke, toothpaste, treated water, vanilla powder. ||ALS, Alzheimer's, anemia, appetite loss, behavioral problems, cavities, colds, colitis, confusion, constipation, dementia, dry mouth, dry skin, energy loss, excessive perspiration, flatulence, headaches, heartburn, hyperactivity, inhibition of enzyme systems, kidney dysfunction, lowered immune function, learning disabilities, leg twitching, liver dysfunction, memory loss, neuromuscular disorders, numbness, osteoporosis, paralysis, Parkinson's disease, peptic ulcer, psychosis, reduced intestinal activity, senility, skin problems, spleen pain, stomach pain, weak and aching muscles|
|burning of arsenate treated building materials, coal combustion, insect sprays, pesticides, soils (arsenic rich), seafood from coastal waters, especially mussels, oysters and shrimp||abdominal pain, anorexia, brittle nails, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, chronic anemia, burning in mouth / esophagus / stomach / bowel, confusion, convulsions, dermatitis, drowsiness, enzyme inhibition, garlicky odor to breath / stool, hair loss, headaches, hyper-pigmentation of nails and skin, increased risk of liver / lung / skin cancers, low grade fever, mucous in nose and throat, muscle aches / spasms / weakness, nervousness, respiratory tract infection, swallowing difficulty, sweet metallic taste, throat constriction|
|BERYLLIUM || |
coal burning, manufacturing, household products, industrial dust
|disturbance of calcium and vitamin D metabolism, magnesium depletion, lung cancer, lung infection, rickets, vital organ dysfunction|
|CADMIUM ||airborne industrial contaminants, batteries, candy, ceramics, cigarette smoke, colas, congenital intoxication, copper refineries, copper alloys, dental alloys, drinking water, electroplating, fertilizers, food from contaminated soil, fungicides, incineration of tires / rubber / plastic, instant coffee, iron roofs, kidney, liver, marijuana, processed meat, evaporated milk, motor oil, oysters, paint, pesticides, galvanized pipes, processed foods, refined grains / flours cereals, rubber, rubber carpet backing, seafoods (cod, haddock, oyster, tuna), sewage, silver polish, smelters, soft water, solders (including in food cans), tobacco, vending machine soft drinks, tools, vapor lamps, water (city, softened, well), welding metal||alcoholism, alopecia, anemia, arthritis (osteo and rheumatoid), bone disease, bone pain in middle of bones, cancer, cardiovascular disease, cavities, cerebral hemorrhage, cirrhosis, diabetes, digestive disturbances, emphysema, enlarged heart, flu-like symptoms, growth impairment, headaches, high cholesterol, hyperkinetic behavior, hypertension, hypoglycemia, impotence, inflammation, infertility, kidney disease, learning disorders, liver damage, lung disease, migraines, nerve cell damage, osteoporosis, prostate dysfunction, reproductive disorders, schizophrenia, stroke|
|COPPER ||birth control pills, congenital intoxication, copper cookware, copper IUDs, copper pipes, dental alloys, fungicides, ice makers, industrial emissions, insecticides, swimming pools, water (city / well), welding, avocado, beer, bluefish, bone meal, chocolate, corn oil, crabs, gelatin, grains, lamb, liver, lobster, margarine, milk, mushrooms, nuts, organ meats, oysters, perch, seeds, shellfish, soybeans, tofu, wheat germ, yeast ||acne, adrenal insufficiency, allergies, alopecia, anemia, anorexia, anxiety, arthritis (osteo & rheumatoid), autism, cancer, chills, cystic fibrosis, depression, diabetes, digestive disorders, dry mouth, dysinsulinism, estrogen dominance, fatigue, fears, fractures, fungus, heart attack, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Hodgkin's disease, hyperactivity, hypertension, hyperthyroid, low hydrochloric acid, hypoglycemia, infections, inflammation, insomnia, iron loss, jaundice, kidney disorders, libido decreased, lymphoma, mental illness, migraines, mood swings, multiple sclerosis, myocardial infarction, nausea, nervousness, osteoporosis, pancreatic dysfunction, panic attacks, paranoia, phobias, PMS, schizophrenia, senility, sexual dysfunction, spacey feeling, stuttering, stroke, tooth decay, toxemia of pregnancy, urinary tract infections, yeast infections|
|IRON||drinking water, iron cookware, iron pipes, welding,. foods: blackstrap molasses, bone meal, bran, chives, clams, heart, kidney, leafy vegetables, legumes, liver, meat, molasses, nuts, organ meats, oysters, parsley, red wine, refined foods, shellfish, soybeans, wheat germ, whole grains ||amenorrhea, anger, rheumatoid arthritis, birth defects, bleeding gums, cancer, constipation, diabetes, dizziness, emotional problems, fatigue, headache, heart damage, heart failure, hepatitis, high blood pressure, hostility, hyperactivity, infections, insomnia, irritability, joint pain, liver disease, loss of weight, mental problems, metallic taste in mouth, myasthenia gravis, nausea, pancreas damage, Parkinson's disease, premature aging, schizophrenia, scurvy, shortness of breath, stubborness|
|LEAD||ash, auto exhaust, battery manufacturing, bone meal, canned fruit and juice, car batteries, cigarette smoke, coal combustion, colored inks, congenital intoxication, cosmetics, eating utensils, electroplating, household dust, glass production, hair dyes, industrial emissions, lead pipes, lead-glazed earthenware pottery, liver, mascara, metal polish, milk, newsprint, organ meats, paint, pencils, pesticides, produce near roads, putty, rain water, pvc containers, refineries, smelters, snow, tin cans with lead solder sealing (such as juices, vegetables), tobacco, toothpaste, toys, water (city / well), wine||abdominal pain, adrenal insufficiency, allergies, anemia, anorexia, anxiety, arthritis (rheumatoid and osteo), attention deficit disorder, autism, back pain, behavioral disorders, blindness, cardiovascular disease, cartilage destruction, coordination loss, concentration loss, constipation, convulsions, deafness, depression, dyslexia, emotional instability, encephalitis, epilepsy, fatigue, gout, hallucinations, headaches, hostility, hyperactivity, hypertension, hypothyroid, impotence, immune suppression, decreased IQ, indigestion, infertility, insomnia, irritability, joint pain, kidney disorders, learning disability, liver dysfunction, loss of will, memory loss (long term), menstrual problems, mood swings, muscle aches, muscle weakness, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, myelopathy (spinal cord pathology), nausea, nephritis, nightmares, numbness, Parkinson's disease, peripheral neuropathies, psychosis, psychomotor dysfunction, pyorrhea, renal dysfunction, restlessness, retardation, schizophrenia, seizures, sterility, stillbirths, sudden infant death syndrome, tingling, tooth decay, vertigo, unintentional weight loss|
|MERCURY||adhesives, air conditioner filters, algaecides, antiseptics, battery manufacturing, body powders, broken thermometers, burning newspapers and building materials, calomel lotions, cereals, congenital intoxication, cosmetics, dental amalgams, diuretics, fabric softeners, felt, floor waxes, fungicides, germicides, grains, industrial waste, insecticides, laxatives, lumber, manufacture of paper and chlorine, medications, mercurochrome, paints, paper products, pesticides, photoengraving, polluted water, Preparation H, psoriasis ointment, seafoods (especially tuna and swordfish), sewage disposal, skin lightening creams, soft contact lens solution, suppositories, tanning leather, tattooing, water (contaminated), wood preservatives ||adrenal dysfunction, allergy, alopecia, anorexia, anxiety, birth defects, blushing, brain damage, cataracts, cerebral palsy, poor coordination / jerky movements, deafness, depression, dermatitis, discouragement, dizziness, drowsiness, eczema, emotional disturbances, excess saliva, fatigue, gum bleeding and soreness, headaches (band type), hearing loss, hyperactivity, hypothyroidism, forgetfulness, immune dysfunction, insomnia, irritability, joint pain, kidney damage, loss of self-control, memory loss, mental retardation, metallic taste, migraines, nervousness, nerve fiber degeneration, numbness, pain in limbs, rashes, retinitis, schizophrenia, shyness, speech disorders, suicidal tendencies, tingling, tremors (eyelids, lips, tongue, fingers, extremities), vision loss, weakness|
|NICKEL ||butter, fertilizers, food processing, fuel oil combustion, hydrogenated fats and oils, imitation whipped cream, industrial waste, kelp, margarine, nuclear device testing, oysters, stainless steel cookware, tea, tobacco smoke, unrefined grains and cereals, vegetable shortening||anorexia, kidney dysfunction, apathy, disruption of hormone and lipid metabolism, fever, hemorrhages, headache, heart attack, intestinal cancer, low blood pressure, muscle tremors, nausea, oral cancer, skin problems, vomiting|
Metabolic typing is an essential part of how we care for patients in our clinic. It embraces one of my favorite concepts, to listen to your body and adjust the program based on what your body is telling you. It's worked for me personally, and it has worked for my patients. If you are interested in learning more about my clinic, which is located just outside of Chicago, Illinois, I encourage you to take the Optimal Wellness Center online tour now.
Not only will metabolic typing help your body to rid itself of heavy metals as discussed in the article above, but also it will help you to optimize your weight, increase your energy and emotional well-being, prevent disease and avoid food cravings.
My new book provides a deeper understanding of metabolic typing and a test to assess your general type. William Wolcott, who contributed the article above, is the author of The Metabolic Typing Diet; this is also an important read providing all you need to know about metabolic typing, and a perfect companion book to mine. However you learn your metabolic type, I strongly urge you to do so--otherwise you are not even giving your body a fair chance to succeed at a proper diet.