Do you have frequent headaches, insomnia, irritability, a low sex drive, or tremors accompanied with mood problems, nausea, depression, memory difficulties, trouble concentrating, poor coordination, and with constipation? You may attribute these symptoms to other problems and may not recognize that they may be caused by excessive heavy metals in your system, specifically lead poisoning.
Researchers all over the world including our own investigations across West Africa confirm that people are carrying high amounts of the heavy metal, Lead in their systems. Lead is not only linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, and kidney failure, it is now also connected to the epidemic of children with ADHD, developmental and learning problems, and autism.
Recent findings by the Journal of the American Medical Association and New England Journal of Medicine reveal nearly 40 percent of all Americans are estimated to have blood levels of lead high enough to cause these problems; it could be higher in many countries in Africa, especially those involved in artisanal mining.
WHAT IS HEAVY METAL POISONING?
Heavy metal poisoning is the accumulation of heavy metals, in toxic amounts, in the soft tissues of the body. Symptoms and physical findings associated with heavy metal poisoning vary according to the metal accumulated. Many of the heavy metals, such as zinc, copper, chromium, iron and manganese, are essential to body function in very small amounts. But, if these metals accumulate in the body in concentrations sufficient to cause poisoning, then serious damage may occur. The heavy metals most commonly associated with poisoning of humans are lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium. Heavy metal poisoning may occur as a result of industrial exposure, air, soil or water pollution, foods, medicines, improperly coated food containers, or the ingestion of lead-based paints.
LEAD POISONING IN NIGERIA
Recently on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 the 2nd international conference on lead poisoning associated with artisanal gold mining in Nigeria, with special focus on prevention, was held at the Nicon luxury, Abuja, Nigeria. Experts from various parts of the world, gathered to assist in thinking through the solutions to what is a serious public health problem especially in Zamfara and Niger states, Nigeria. His excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, declared the conference open.
The event was organized by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development in collaboration with Médecins Sans Frontières. It provided a platform for key national, regional and international stakeholders, to come together to develop a multisector, interdisciplinary, and pragmatic national strategy, for forestalling future outbreaks of lead poisoning associated with artisanal gold mining, and to prevent re-contamination of previously re-mediated sites.
The first international conference on lead poisoning, a joint effort of the Federal Ministry of Health and Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF, was held in Abuja in May 2012. The 2012 conference mostly covered technical aspects of environmental management and the treatment of poisoned children.
POTENTIAL MERCURY POISONING IN GHANA
Recently also in Ghana, the government has been very much concerned with Artisanal small-scale mining (ASM). ASM is not new in Ghana. Known as galamsey, artisanal mining has been going on since pre-colonial times and the number of artisanal miners is believed to be in the tens of thousands today. The Government of Ghana has become concerned and worried because of the impact of ASM on the environment and people. In spite of its positive socio-economic contributions, it is well known that artisanal mining of gold contributes in no small measure to land degradation, loss of biodiversity and natural resources, deforestation, water pollution, etc.
Accompanying the socio‐economic growth which ASM provide, however, have been increased environmental complications – namely, mercury pollution and land degradation. However, the majority of the populace, particularly those engaged in gold mining, are unaware of the dangers posed by the use of Mercury in mining operations. The need to regularize artisanal gold mining is long overdue in many areas of Africa. A legal regime for mines of every size, leading to a transformation of the artisanal mining sector into a legal, regulated industry, will help minimize the impact of toxic heavy metals on the environment and people.
Artisanal gold mining (AGM) with mercury (Hg) has been a subject of keen interest and intense debate by the public, international agencies and many environmental pressure groups lately, because of Hg’s toxicity to living organisms in general. The disaster in Minamata, Japan, where several mass poisonings involving Mercury attracted the general attention of the scientific community towards the end of the 1950s, is still fresh in memory. The inhabitants living in fishing communities along Minamata Bay suffered an epidemic of neurological disorders, which were afterward attributed to Mercury(Hg) poisoning from fish consumption from the bay. Subsequent investigations revealed contamination by industrial discharges of Hg in to Minamata Bay (Klein & Goldberg, 1970; D’Itri & D’Itri, 1977). Other incidents of Mercury(Hg) poisoning have been reported in Iraq, Pakistan, and Guatemala, with numerous deaths resulting from the eating of Hg-contaminated fish or consumption of foods prepared from seed grain treated with mercurial fungicides (Bakir et al., 1973; Zhrlich, 1990). Presently, this fearful concern of Mercury’s hazards or toxicity has heightened as observed in the numerous scientific international conferences and publications on Mercury as an environmental pollutant. Mercury is one of the priority toxic elements of global concern.
Small scale mining operations endanger the environment by inducing land degradation and contaminating surface and groundwater resources. Wide open excavated areas are left unreclaimed while heavy metals, total suspended solids, dissolved solids, and other water contaminants are introduced into water bodies by mining and mineral extraction activities of the small scale miners. Mercury amalgamation technique, which is heavily relied on for gold extraction can pose serious health threats and is deleterious to a wide range of ecological entities (Harada, 1995).
Signs & Symptoms Heavy Metal Poisoning
The symptoms of heavy metal poisoning vary according to which type of metal overexposure is involved. Some specific examples are discussed below.
Lead production workers, battery plant workers, welders and solders may be overexposed to lead if proper precautions are not taken. Lead is stored in the bone but may affect any organ system. The effects of lead poisoning vary depending on the age of the individual and the amount of exposure.
In children, symptoms vary depending upon the degree of exposure to lead. Some affected individuals may not have any noticeable symptoms. Symptoms usually develop over a three to six week time period. Lead overexposure may cause children to be less playful, clumsier, irritable, and sluggish (lethargic). In some cases, symptoms include headaches, vomiting, abdominal pain, lack of appetite (anorexia), constipation, slurred speech (dysarthria), changes in kidney function, unusually high amounts of protein in the blood (hyperproteinemia), and unusually pale skin (pallor) resulting from a low level of iron in the red blood cells (anemia). Neurological symptoms associated with lead overexposure include an impaired ability to coordinate voluntary movements (ataxia), brain damage (encephalopathy), seizures, convulsions, swelling of the optic nerve (papilledema), and/or impaired consciousness. Some affected children experience learning or behavioral problems such as mental retardation(autism) and selective deficits in language, cognitive function, balance, behavior, and school performance. In some cases, symptoms may be life-threatening.
In adults, overexposure to lead may cause high blood pressure and damage to the reproductive organs, causing sterility or infertility. Additional symptoms may include fever, headaches, fatigue, sluggishness (lethargy), vomiting, loss of appetite (anorexia), abdominal pain, constipation, joint pain, loss of recently acquired skills, incoordination, listlessness, difficulty sleeping (insomnia), irritability, altered consciousness, hallucinations, and/or seizures. In addition, affected individuals may experience low levels of iron in the red blood cells (anemia), peripheral neuropathy, and, in some cases, brain damage (encephalopathy). Some affected individuals experience decreased muscle strength and endurance; kidney disease; wrist drop; and behavioral changes such as hostility, depression, and/or anxiety. In some cases, symptoms may be life-threatening. Lead is excreted in urine and feces. However, it may also appear in hair, nails, sweat, saliva, and breast milk.
Lead Poisoning Symptoms
Lead poisoning can be hard to detect — even people who seem healthy can have high blood levels of lead. Signs and symptoms usually don’t appear until dangerous amounts have accumulated.
Lead poisoning symptoms in children
Signs and symptoms of lead poisoning in children include:
- Developmental delay as in Autism/ASD
- Learning difficulties
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Sluggishness and fatigue
- Abdominal pain
- Hearing loss
- Eating things, such as paint chips, that aren’t food (pica)
Lead poisoning symptoms in newborns
Babies exposed to lead before birth might:
- Be born prematurely
- Have lower birth weight
- Have slowed growth
Lead poisoning symptoms in adults
Although children are primarily at risk, lead poisoning is also dangerous for adults. Signs and symptoms in adults might include:
- High blood pressure
- Joint and muscle pain
- Difficulties with memory or concentration
- Abdominal pain
- Mood disorders
- Reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm
- Miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth in pregnant women
Arsenic is used in the manufacture of pesticides and insecticides. The gas from arsenic also has some destructive effects on humans. Overexposure may cause headaches, drowsiness, confusion, seizures, and life-threatening complications. Neurological symptoms include brain damage (encephalopathy), nerve disease of the extremities (peripheral neuropathy), pericapillary hemorrhages within the white matter, and loss or deficiency of the fatty coverings (myelin) around these nerve fibers (demyelination). Skin problems include transverse white bands on the fingernails (mees’ lines) and excessive accumulation of fluid in the soft layers of tissue below the skin (edema). Gastrointestinal symptoms include a flu-like illness (gastroenteritis) that is characterized by vomiting; abdominal pain; fever; and diarrhea, which, in some cases, may be bloody. Other symptoms include breakdown of the hemoglobin of red blood cells (hemolysis), a low level of iron in the red blood cells (anemia), and low blood pressure (hypotension). Some individuals may experience a garlic-like odor that may be detectable on the breath.
Arsenic, when consumed in large amounts, can kill a person rapidly, but when consumed in smaller amounts over the long-term, it can cause serious illness, or a prolonged death.
Symptoms of acute inorganic arsenic poisoning include severe burning of the mouth and throat, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure (hypotension), and muscle spasms. Individuals with severe inorganic arsenic poisoning may experience heart problems (cardiomyopathy); accumulation of acid in the tubes of the kidneys (renal tubular acidosis); breakdown of the hemoglobin of red blood cells (hemolysis); irregular heart rhythms (ventricular arrhythmias); coma; seizures; bleeding within the intestines (intestinal hemorrhage); and yellowing of the skin, mucous membranes, and whites of the eyes (jaundice).
Inorganic arsenic accumulates in the liver, spleen, kidneys, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract. It then passes through these sites but leaves a residue in tissues such as skin, hair, and nails.
In cases of chronic poisoning, weakness, muscle aches, chills, and fever may develop. The onset of symptoms in chronic arsenic poisoning is about two to eight weeks after exposure. Skin and nail symptoms include hardened patches of skin (hyperkeratosis) with unusually deep creases on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, unusual darkening of certain areas of the skin (hyperpigmentation), transverse white bands on the fingernails (mees’ lines), and a scale like inflammation of the skin (exfoliative dermatitis). Other symptoms include inflammation of sensory and motor nerves (polyneuritis) and the mucosa membrane lining the throat.
Illnesses, conditions and complications linked to long-term arsenic consumption include:
- Cancer, liver disease, diabetes, nervous system complications – such as loss of sensation in the limbs and hearing problems and digestive difficulties.
The main cause of arsenic poisoning worldwide is the drinking of groundwater that naturally contains a high levels of the toxin. The water becomes contaminated underground by rocks that release the arsenic. Secondary cause is now from environmental exposures as the most likely explanation. Exposure to pesticides, including pet flea shampoos, phthalates, PCBs, flame retardants, antibacterial soaps and other chemicals are potential culprits. In 2007, research was carried out to see how arsenic poisoning affects the human population worldwide. It showed that more than 130 million people could be affected by arsenic-contaminated drinking water.
Cadmium is used for many items, including electroplating, storage batteries, vapor lamps and in some solders. The onset of symptoms may be delayed for two to four hours after exposure. Overexposure may cause fatigue, headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and fever. In addition, progressive loss of lung function (emphysema), abnormal buildup of fluid within the lungs (pulmonary edema), and breathlessness (dyspnea) may also be present. In some cases, affected individuals may exhibit increased salivation; yellowing of the teeth; an unusually rapid heart beat (tachycardia); low levels of iron within the red blood cells (anemia); bluish discoloration (cyanosis) of the skin and mucous membranes due to insufficient oxygen supply to these tissues; and/or an impaired sense of smell (anosmia). Individuals with cadmium poisoning may also experience improper functioning of the canals with the kidney (renal tubular dysfunction) characterized by excretion of abnormally high levels of protein in the urine (proteinuria), minor changes in liver function, and/or softening of certain bones (osteomalacia).
It’s pretty safe to say that most people in the Western world have probably been exposed to too much mercury. You’ll find mercury in vaccines (where it gets thrown right into the blood stream- much harder for the body to process vs. it being ingested), dental tooth fillings ( what a dangerous idea! Mercury in your mouth), fish (especially tuna), and even cleaning products. Mercury can be passed through the placenta so a mother with amalgam fillings can unfortunately pass along this metal to her unborn baby. Since mercury fillings were introduced about 100 years ago, this has given us a long time to build up this toxic metal.
Other sources of mercury include pollution in our air, our water, acid rain, talc powder, broken thermometers, batteries, diuretics, suppositories, wood preservatives, adhesives, floor waxes, tattoos, fabric softener, hair dies, paint, plastics, chlorine bleach, laxatives, and the “eco-friendly” CFL light bulbs.
Symptoms of Mercury Toxicity
Nearly every illness out there could be related to mercury toxicity, especially if you know that you have had exposure. Mercury can build up in the brain, lungs, heart, and kidneys so it can constantly be creating symptoms. Mercury is often found with Candida and parasites- there are many theories on why this happens. Some think that yeast, bacteria, viruses and parasites feed off of the mercury but others think that since mercury weakens the immune system it allows us to get this build-up of excess junk.
The most common symptoms include:
- Adrenal issues
- Auto-immune illness like RA, fibromyalgia, etc
- Mineral malabsorption/deficiencies
- Issues with anger or other emotions
- Depression, anxiety, racing mind
- Blood sugar issues
From sassyholistics.com the best ways to eliminate mercury include:
- Aid detoxification- liver and lymph health especially
- Strengthen the body with good nutrition
- Strengthen your skin! Skin is our biggest organ and plays a huge role in detoxification. Mercury apparently can be excreted through the skin when it is functioning properly. Sauna therapy, dry skin brushing, getting adequate sunshine and eliminating toxic beauty products are all essential to help the skin breathe!
- As much sleep and rest as possible. We heal when we sleep and without sleep, we will not detox properly since the liver and lymph work while we sleep
- Fix deficiencies in zinc, chromium, manganese and selenium
- Fix copper imbalances– Mercury has the ability to bind with copper and make it not able to work properly. We need copper to help undo the damage of oxidative stress in the body, which mercury creates a lot of.
Jonbarron.org recommends Detox of the Blood, Kidneys Liver etc. Please for more go to:
Suggested Treatment of Heavy Metals
In the event of emergency poisoning, patients or parents should call a poison hotline. The first step in treating lead poisoning is to avoid further contact with lead. For adults, this usually means making changes at work or in hobbies. For children, it means finding and removing sources of lead in the home. In most states, the public health department can help assess the home and identify lead sources. If the problem is lead paint, a professional with special training should remove it. Removal of lead-based paint is not a do-it-yourself project. Scraping or sanding lead paint creates large amounts of dust that can poison people in the home. This dust can stay around long after the work is completed. In addition, heating lead paint can release lead into the air. For these reasons, lead paint should only be removed by a professional who knows how to do the job safely and has the equipment to clean up thoroughly. Occupants, especially children and pregnant women, should leave the home until the cleanup is finished.
Medical professionals should take all necessary steps to remove bullets or bullet fragments from patients with gunshot injuries.
While changes in diet are no substitute for medical treatment, they can complement the detoxification process. The following nutritional changes are recommended:
- Increased consumption of fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, whole grains, and seeds.
- Increased consumption of soluble fibers, such as pears, apples, oatmeal, oat bran, rye flour, dried beans, guar gum, pectin, and psyllium.
- Increased consumption of sulfur-containing foods, such as eggs, garlic, and onions. Garlic has been used to reduce lead poisoning in animals.
- Taking high-potency multivitamin/mineral supplements (1 tablet a day).
- Taking additional supplements of vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, iron, calcium, zinc , L-lysine, L-cysteine, and L-cysteine supplements. These vitamins, minerals, and amino acids help reduce the amount of lead that the body absorbs. Iron is especially important, since people who are deficient in this nutrient absorb more lead. Thiamine , a B-complex vitamin, has been used to treat lead poisoning in animals.
- A 2002 report stated that eating tofu may lower lead levels in the blood since it is rich in calcium.
- Using a filter to prevent lead contamination in the water. Drinking lots of water (at least eight glasses per day) to help the body excrete the toxin.
- Committing to a three-day fastingat the end of every season. Fasting is the oldest method of detoxification. During fasting, patients should take supplements and drink four glasses of juice a day to assist the cleansing process and to prevent exhaustion.
- NaturalHealth365 report the benefits of vitamin C are many, and include protection and treatment for cancer, infections, scurvy, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, cataracts, and the common cold. Not surprisingly, vitamin C strengthens the immune systemand helps to heal wounds, control asthma and maintain elasticity of the skin. But, now, (as if we need another good reason to LOVE vitamin C) researchers have proven that this crucial vitamin can help to reduce toxic levels of lead in the blood.
Lead toxicity can lead to neurological damage in children and adults. However, in high doses, vitamin C can reduce lead blood levels. These results were discovered by the University of California at San Francisco and were recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Vitamin C supplementation helps to produce profound health benefits
The researchers found a direct correlation between high levels of vitamin C and lower blood levels of lead. These results have major public health implications for combating lead toxicity, especially in developing children.
The study looked at data from a national analysis of 19,000 persons ranging from adults to children six years of age. Children in the top one-third of vitamin C blood levels had a stunning 89 percent lowered incidence of lead toxicity. Adults were shown to have blood lead levels reduced by up to 68 percent with high vitamin C intake.
Another important ‘rule of thumb’ is: The greater the sickness, the greater the need for vitamin C. Overall, vitamin C is a safe, potent antioxidant that supports the immune system and many aspects of health. Top food sources include citrus fruits, berries, bell peppers, cabbage, cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens, pineapple, and kiwi fruit. But, generally speaking, supplementing with 1,000 mg of vitamin C per day (or more) will offer added protection against lead toxicity and other immune-related health issues.
Steps & Tips to Help You Get the Heavy Metal Out:
- Find out if you are lead-toxic. The easiest test is a simple blood lead test. Be sure the lab can measure VERY low levels of lead accurately. Anything higher than 2 micrograms/deciliter is toxic and should be treated. If you cannot reach a good lab. Request for a Vibrational Health Assessment & Analysis (VHAA). Our VHAA can highlight such issues as the presence of heavy metals, vitamins and mineral deficiencies, etc. For more please go to cosmostotalhealth.org/but-what-is-a-vibrational-health-assessment-analysis-vhaa/
Your Vibrational Assessment & Analysis (VHAA) profile @ CTH provides you with a Vibrational perspective of your health problems and challenges and the best ways and means to overcome them.
- Test your water for heavy metals. There are a number of home test kits available online. If you prefer to have a professional test your water, call your city water provider or look for labs in your area that will perform this kind of test.
- Buy a carbon or reverse osmosis water filter for your drinking water. These filters remove lead and other toxic substances like PCBs. They are my favorite kind of filter and the type I use in my home.
- Take 1,000 milligrams of buffered ascorbic acid (vitamin C) a day. This helps remove lead from the body.
- Take 2,000 to 4,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day to prevent your bones from releasing lead into your bloodstream.
- Consider undergoing chelation therapy if your lead levels are high as a last resort. Chelation is powerful enough to pull the metals out of storage( some sources say that it cannot pull all the metals out of storage) if the body is weak, it cannot properly eliminate the metals properly and will likely redeposit itself elsewhere in the body, usually the brain.
Milk thistle (Silybum mariannum ) protects the liver and assists in the detoxification process by increasing glutathione supply in the liver. Glutathione is the enzyme primarily involved in the detoxification of toxic heavy metals including lead.
Homeopathic medicines can be administered once the source is removed, to help correct any imbalances brought on by lead toxicity.
If blood levels of lead are high enough, the doctor may also prescribe chelation therapy. This refers to treatment with chemicals that bind to the lead and help the body pass it in urine at a faster rate. There are four chemical agents that may be used for this purpose, either alone or in combination. Edetate calcium disodium (EDTA calcium) and dimercaprol (BAL) are given through an intra-venous line or in shots, while succimer (Chemet) or DMSA, and penicillamine (Cuprimine, Depen) are taken by mouth. (Although many doctors prescribe penicillamine for lead poisoning, this use of the drug has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.)
Now this is where many people tend to disagree. One of the most popular ways to treat metal poisoning, especially mercury, is chelation. Chelation is a process that usually uses 2 drugs (DMPS and DMSA) to remove mercury from the body. The biggest problem with chelation is that it also removes GOOD minerals from the body as well as bad metals. So you are stripping your body of much needed nutrients when you are already in a deficient state.
We cannot end this article without mentioning the toxic effects of Aluminum on humans, although Aluminum is not considered a heavy metal .Aluminum is actually a naturally occurring element in our Earth, but its use in everyday products like cookware, antiperspirant, antacids, tap water, vaccines, and bleached flour is making aluminum toxicity a huge issue.
Aluminum toxicity is most commonly related to Alzheimer’s disease, but it is also involved in ALS, Parkinson’s, kidney and liver dysfunction, dental cavities, anemia, and peptic ulcers. Aluminum can also be passed from the mother to their unborn baby in the womb.
Aluminum has a significant effect on the nervous system. According to ARL labs, aluminum blocks the electrical discharge of nerve cells. Aluminum inhibits enzymes like Na-K-ATPase in the brain. Aluminum may also inhibit uptake of important chemicals like dopamine and nor-epinephrine. Other symptoms of aluminum toxicity include loss of coordination, confusion, disorientation and colic (hmm, maybe colicky infants are so common because they receive a vaccine the first day of life? Be aware that some vaccines contain Aluminum (The Hep B has aluminum). (source).
For more information on how to obtain your Heavy Metal Status from your Vibrational Health Assessment (VHA) please go to Vibrational Health Assessment& Analysis (VHAA)
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