We are exposed to metals from a wide variety of places. They are in our drinking water, in some of our foods, even in our work environment where we breathe in certain toxins. Lead, for example, can come into the body through exposure to metals in paints. We get cadmium from our food, air, and water; mercury from dental fillings and shellfish; and aluminum and excess iron from pots and pans. Many of the metals that are brought into the body are toxic to the brain and central nervous system tissue. They interfere with normal metabolism by disrupting enzyme systems.
The textbook Aluminum and Alzheimer's Disease: An Update presents the relationship between aluminum and mercury poisoning and disease:
"There have been reports of increased aluminum in the bulk of brain tissue in Alzheimer's patients and more recently associations of aluminum with neurofibrillary tangles and neuritic plaques. Aluminum has also been associated with neurofibrillary degeneration in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinsonism type dementia.
"Mercury is released during the placement and removal of amalgams. Areas of concern with regards to mercury exposure include kidney dysfunction, neurotoxicity, reduced immune function, hypersensitivity reactions, birth defects and overall changes in general health."
The Food Additives Handbook reports that lead, cadmium, and arsenic are put into animal feed, as are other heavy metals. They are probably placed there intentionally to remove germs. In addition, aluminum is found in baking powder, table salt, and vanilla powder. It's used as an emulsifier, and as an anti-caking agent.
When testing for heavy metal toxicity, you want to take the entire patient into consideration. Are they having any symptoms that can be related to an exposure to heavy metals? Have they had numerous dental procedures? Do they have decreased memory? Do they have changes in their behavior or mood?
Treating the condition is done via looking at a blood test for vitamins and minerals, looking to see what the person's diet consists of, what they do for work, where they work, what they're exposed to at work, their home environment, doing a 24-hour urine test with an intravenous chelation procedure, and testing for creatinine clearance (kidney function), as well as testing for heavy metals.
The latest and best treatment is a combination of oral vitamins and minerals to maximize immune function, exercise, and intravenous EDTA chelation therapy to remove the metals. Vitamin C is also beneficial. Some people use intravenous vitamin C and alternate that with chelation.
The vitamins and minerals that we recommend are based upon the individual's needs. We check to see if the patient is deficient in different nutrients or if they're not absorbing certain things. The ranges are individually different and depend on the result of the physical exam.
Chelation therapy is a treatment that has been around for many years. It involves using an intravenous application or induction of a protein substance that helps to bind heavy metals, to drag them and throw them out of the body through the urine. It takes about three hours to do. It also has been shown to produce significant changes in plaque deposition in the lining of blood vessels, so it can help to open up circulation. You can detect how well the metals are being taken out of the body by a repeat 24-hour urine test. The chelation for people who have heavy metals may be done once or twice a week for 15 weeks.
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