toxic elements (2)

Detoxification: Toxic and Essential Elements Continued

Toxic elements such as mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, tin and an imbalance of essential elements such as copper, iron, manganese, selenium are detrimental to our health.
Mechanism of Damage caused by toxic elements and essential elements may include:

  • Formation of complexes with Sulfur groups, Carboxyl groups, Phosphoryl groups
  • Inhibition of enzyme function
  • Activation of free radical damage
  • Competition with calcium in regulatory proteins such as calmodulin (cadmium)

Glutathione is an important anti-oxidant. He is rich in sulfur (SH) groups. Toxic elements can combine with the sulfur (SH) groups in the glutathione inhibiting his anti-oxidant functions.

General symptoms caused by toxic elements

Toxic elements may cause different general symptoms. You must remember that these symptoms are not specific to toxic elements and may be the result of many other medical conditions. Some of the symptoms may raise the suspicion to damage caused by toxic elements but the diagnosis of toxic elements requires a complex approach and cannot be made on basis of symptoms alone. On the following paragraph you may find a description of symptoms caused by toxic elements.

Gastrointestinial Symptoms may include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in bowel movement (diarrhea or constipation)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Metallic taste
  • Gum inflammation
  • Loose teeth

Neurological and Musculoskeletal symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Forgetfulness (dentists exposed to mercury score worse in memory tests)
  • Intentional tremor
  • Vertigo
  • Metallic Taste
  • Changes in smell
  • Changes in vision & hearing
  • Changes in speech
  • Poor balance
  • Emotional Instability
  • Anxiety, Poor Sleep, Bad Dreams, Restlessness, Irritability
  • Neurities (Inflammation of nerves causing pain, palsy, foot & wrist drop)
  • Muscle weakness, muscle & joint pains, fatique
  • Gout attacks

Skin symptoms may include:

  • Hair loss
  • Changes in pigmentation, such as vitiligo (White areas on the skin caused by a lack of pigment) and areas of increased pigmentation.
  • Skin rashes
  • Acrodynia/pink disease (Infants & Children exposed to mercury, develop skin rashes, areas of skin desquamation, itchiness, increased sweating & salivation)
  • Dermatitis & hyperkeratosis (Inflammation and hypertrophy of the skin layers)
  • Black & grey lines on the gingiva (May be caused by lead, mercury, silver & iron).
  • Transverse white line in the nails (May be caused by arsenic)

Cardiovascular Symptoms

  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heart beats
  • Cardiovascular Disease

Other symptoms may include:

  • Malaise
  • Weight loss
  • Premature aging
  • Changes in blood cells

Essential elements

Are needed for normal function of our cells. Our body is unable to make them, it means that we have to supply them from external sources such as food and nutrients.
Inappropriate use of essential elements can be also detrimental to our health. Many times the margin between beneficial and damaging can be very narrow.
For example:
Selenium have been associated with thyroid dysfunction, liver damage, impaired immunity cancer (melanoma), nerve inflammation, hair loss
Iron have been associated with liver & heart damage, diabetes, immune dysfunction, hormonal abnormalities, neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson
Copper have been associated with liver & brain damage, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
Manganese was associated with DNA damage and neurological symptoms similar to Parkinson.

Inappropriate use of nutrients may cause more damage then good. Based on results of testing for toxic and essential elements different detoxicfication and chelation protocols are required.

On the following paragraphs you will find information on some toxic elements.


Sourced of Arsenic include:

  • Volcanoes
  • Wells
  • Wood preservatives, paints, fungicides, pesticide
  • Smelting industry
  • Burning of fossil fuel
  • Foods & tobacco treated with pesticides, fish, seafood, algae
  • Breeders using arsenic in order to make the animal fur look better.
  • Medicinal
  • Veterinarian treatment

The absorption of the arsenic is through the gastrointestinal tract. The excretion is slow through the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, skin, respiratory tract, milk, hair.
Arsenic accumulate in different organs such as liver, spleen, kidneys, lung, heart, bones, bowel, skin hair & nail and neural tissue.
Arsenic is causing vasodilatation (dilatation of blood vessels), with secondary increased permeability of the capillary (small blood vessels).
Toxicological effects caused by arsenic may include:
Cardiovascular system

  • Gangrene of the extremities
  • Myocardial damage
  • Decrease blood pressure
  • Edema (swelling)

Liver and Gastrointestinal tract

  • Inflammation in the mouth (stomatitis)
  • Increased salivation
  • Garlic smell
  • Ulcers and bleeding
  • Watery diarrhoea
  • Fat accumulation in liver and liver cirrhosis

Nervous System and Musculoskeletal System

  • Muscle weakness, aches and muscular atrophy
  • Bleeding
  • Damage to the central nervous system and peripheral nerves
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Increased sweating and salivation


  • Hair loss (Alopecia)
  • Increased skin pigmentation (on the neck, nipple, eyelids)
  • Hyperkeratosis (hypertrophy and thickening of the skin)
  • Dermatitis
  • Ulcers


  • Arsenic was associated with increased risk of skin, liver and lung cancer


  • Kidney damage (manifested by blood and protein in urine) and bone marrow damage


Cadmium sources include:

  • Foods such as leafy vegetables, grain & cereals from contaminated soil
  • Cigarettes
  • Metal factories
  • Batteries
  • Plastic industry
  • Airborne caused by incineration of plastic materials, batteries

The absorption of cadmium is mainly through the respiratory tract and less through the bowel.
Cadmium accumulates in different organs especially in the liver & kidneys. Its half-life is 10 to 30 years. The elimination of the cadmium is mainly through the gastrointestinal tract and less through the kidney.
Toxicological effects caused by cadmium:
Chronic exposure to cadmium may cause:

  • Cancer of skin, lung, prostate and stomach
  • Lung damage (fibrosis and emphysema)
  • High blood pressure
  • Bone damage with decreased bone mineral density and increase risk of fracture
  • Kidney damage causing malfunction of kidney tubules and increased loss of protein and ß2 microglobulin.
  • Liver inflammation
  • Loss of smell
  • Yellowing of teeth


Lead sources include:

  • Paints
  • Cans
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Leaded gasoline
  • Battery manufacturing
  • Ceramics
  • Demolition sites
  • Leafy vegetables (from contaminated soil)
  • House dust

The absorption of lead is through inhalation, gastrointestinal tract, skin (organic lead in gasoline), intramuscular (from gun shot). The half-life of lead is 25 days and 25 years in bones.
Tissue accumulation:
Lead accumulates in different organs such as bones, kidneys, liver and brain. High calcium and phosphate intake increase the accumulation of lead in bones.
Lead toxicology:
Chronic exposure to lead was associated with:

  • Gastrointestinal tract symptoms such as loss of appetite, constipation or diarrhea, metallic taste, nausea, bleeding, vomiting, abdominal pain (lead colic)
  • Kidney damage
  • Hematological (blood) changes such as low blood (anemia), disturbances in the formation of heme(part of hemoglobin), and aggregation of RNA in the red blood cells.(See Figure 1.1)
  • Neurological and musculoskeletal symptoms such as muscle pain and weakness, joint pains (lead may predispose to gout attacks because it impairs kidney transports of urates), fatigue, muscle atrophy, nerve palsy & inflammation, headaches, poor sleep and bad dreams, poor balance, falls, changes in behaviour, irritability, confusion, changes in memory and concentration and changes in vision
  • Kidney damage (nephritis, high uric acid, hypertension)
  • Premature aging


Source of mercury include:

Occupational exposure

  • Chemical and metal processing industry
  • Electrical equipment
  • Automotive (batteries) and building industries
  • Medicinal and dental services (thermometers, dental amalgam)

Environment exposure

  • Fish
  • Inhalation of vapour from dental amalgam (dental amalgam contains 50% metallic mercury)
  • Drinking water contaminated by toxic waste
  • Fumes from incinerators burning waste products (especially medical and hospital industry)
  • Herbicides and fungicides
  • Grain treated with mercurial fungicides
  • Preservatives in medication
  • Products employed for laundering hospital linen and in gardening

Absorption of mercury is through the skin gastrointestinal tract and inhalation.
‘Mercury accumulates in different organs especially in the brain and kidneys but also in liver, spleen, intestinal wall, heart, skeletal muscles, bone marrow, the placenta and breast milk.
Toxicological effects caused by mercury
All forms of mercury are toxic. This include metallic (Hg0) mercury found in dental amalgam, thermometers, some batteries, mercurous (Hg+) and mercuric(Hg++).
Chronic exposure to mercury may cause:
Gastrointestinal symptoms

  • Gingivitis and stomatitis
  • (inflammation of the mouth)
  • Metallic taste
  • Loosening of the teeth
  • Increased salivation
  • Colitis

Neurological symptoms

  • Behavioural changes
  • Fatigue and drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Tremor
  • Memory Loss (Dentist with occupational exposure to mercury score less in memory testing)
  • Poor sleep
  • Neuritis (inflammation of nerves)
  • Changes in balance

Respiratory Symptoms

  • Cough
  • Lung fibrosis
  • Lung infiltrate
  • Bracing difficulties

Kidney damage
Cardiovascular damage

  • Hypertension
  • Increase lipid peroxidation and risk of heart attack
  • Accelerated progression of atherosclerosis
  • Changes in heart rate

Hypersensitivity to mercury have been described with all types of mercury including laundering of hospital linen, gardening products, dental fillings, ointments and diuretics. The symptoms may include:

  • Asthma
  • Fever
  • Skin rash, redness, urticaria, vesicles
  • Acrodynia (pink disease) described in infants and young children exposed to mercury.