We live in an increasingly toxic world. Our food supply, water supply, air, oceans, dental fillings, and even vaccines have been polluted with toxins of all kinds, including heavy metals. Most (if not all) Americans have dangerous amounts of lead, mercury, cadmium, aluminum, arsenic, and/or other such metals in our bodies. Unfortunately, traditional testing using either blood or urine only identifies ongoing exposure. Metals which entered the body through the mouth, lungs, or skin more than a month ago have already found permanent homes in places like the brain, glands (such as the pituitary, thyroid, adrenals, ovaries, and testes), liver, bone marrow, kidneys, blood vessel walls, and fat cells. The body has no mechanism for removing such toxins once they have left the bloodstream.
Where Do Heavy Metals Come From?
Sadly, it all begins before birth. Over half a million babies are born in the U.S. each year with toxic amounts of mercury passed on from their mothers. Over 400 toxic chemicals have been found in placentas and umbilical cord blood. Over a lifetime, we add to that unknowingly by drinking water that has passed through lead pipes, being injected with vaccines containing mercury and aluminum (not to mention formaldehyde and other EPA-listed poisons), touching lead bullets and fishing sinkers, breathing factory-polluted air, eating fish (which concentrate lead, mercury, arsenic, PCBs, etc.), and engaging in a host of other recreational and occupational activities that barrage us with these agents which our bodies were not designed to utilize or effectively remove.
As a society, we are suffering from an increasing incidence of hormone deficiencies, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and so forth. Because this decline in health has been gradual, and is so widespread, we have settled into a certain amount of complacency and resignation about it. We talk about diseases–especially cancer and Alzheimer’s–as if they are random events that strike most of us as we grow older. But there is nothing random or inevitable about it. These are epidemics, and we know what causes them. A similar dynamic has occurred with Ebola: Far more people die of influenza, tuberculosis, and malaria every year than die of Ebola, but the world has become complacent about the former and terrified by the latter. So why should we care about the heavy metals that the overwhelming majority of us have? Because heavy metals have been proven to cause or contribute to all of the following conditions and more:
Cardiovascular Disease (Heart Disease)
Chronic Kidney Disease
Peripheral Vascular Disease
Diabetes and Diabetic Complications
Impaired Memory, Sight, Hearing, and Smell
High Blood Pressure
Impaired Wound Healing
Increased susceptibility to infectious disease
Impairment of hormone production, utilization, and metabolism
So What Can Be Done?
Identify and remove your heavy metals through a process called chelation. Chelation (“key-lay-shun”) traditionally refers to the process of removing heavy metals from the body using a chemical delivered through an IV. The chemical travels throughout the body, attaching itself to metals. Those metals are then removed from the tissues in which they had taken up residence–often for decades–and carried to the bloodstream. From there, the kidneys filter them out and they are removed over the next 24 hours through urination. In order to determine whether you have excessive amounts of such toxins, you can undergo a chelation session followed by a urine collection. That urine is sent off to a laboratory that specializes in such testing. If we find any of the more concerning metals in your test results, you may choose to undergo a series of chelations. This is because a single chelation cannot possibly remove a lifetime of accumulated metals from your organs.
Imagine your friend drops a magnet into a bowl full of iron filings, then pulls it back out and gives it to you. It will be covered with filings. But the magnet can only attract a finite amount of iron at a time. There will be some left behind. And the amount of filings attached to the magnet does not tell you how much iron remains in the bowl. So you clean off the magnet and give it back to your friend, who drops it back into the bowl. How do you know when the bowl is empty? When no more filings come out on the magnet. Of course it would be easier to simply look in the bowl yourself, but we currently have no technology that enables us to measure the total body burden of each heavy metal. We can only measure how much comes out, not how much is left behind.
It was historically believed that chelation helps simply by removing heavy metals from bodily organs. However, studies have demonstrated that it does much more than that. Chelating agents remove calcium from arterial wall plaques, increase blood flow, reduce free radical damage, restore mitochondrial function, reduce inappropriate platelet clumping (thus preventing undesired clotting), and increase tissue flexibility. As a result of all of these mechanisms, chelation has recently been demonstrated to provide added protection against heart attacks in patients with known heart disease who are already taking drugs to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and clotting.
In the Wellness Center, we use both EDTA and DMPS in well-established chelation protocols. While relatively few people have ever heard of these, they are not new. EDTA was actually developed in Germany in the 1930s and has been available in the U.S. for medical purposes since 1948. The safety of both agents has been proven in numerous studies, as well as the experience of thousands of patients in the U.S. and throughout the world. If you are interested in optimizing your long-term health, whether or not you have any symptoms or diseases, you might seriously want to consider undergoing a course–or at least a test–of chelation.