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While heavy metal music probably won’t hurt you (unless you’re crushed in a mosh pit), there are heavy metals that are toxic to the human body.
The interesting thing about metals is that our bodies actually require certain metal elements to stay alive, while others can be incredibly toxic to us! There is a certain category of metals that are referred to as heavy metals, which are the ones that can be particularly toxic. Some of these heavy metals are required for life, including iron, zinc, and copper. However, there are others that are toxic heavy metals, and they include cadmium, lead, aluminum, arsenic and mercury.
These heavy metals are ingested through various ways in today’s modern world, including through our water, contaminated soils and food, air pollution, mercury fillings, and other such sources of exposure. Chronic, low level exposure to these heavy metals can cause some serious health concerns, and the symptoms that may develop can be severe. Toxic heavy metal poisoning, especially when chronic, can be hard to diagnose, but symptoms can include constipation, fatigue, headaches, muscle and joint pains, depression and weakness. The unfortunate fact is that more people have heavy metal toxicity than may be realized.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common toxic heavy metals.
Mercury is one of the most toxic of the heavy metals and is considered to be a neurotoxin, which means it’s a toxic poison to the nervous system. It is also being found to be a likely contributor to the increase in the incidence of autism and other neurological disorders such as ADHD. Some of the main sources today of chronic mercury toxicity include dental fillings and fish.
Millions of Americans have received silver dental fillings, which is approximately fifty percent mercury! This is a huge problem as this harmful neurotoxin is being placed in the body only inches away from the brain! When someone with a dental filling does things such as chew gum, drink hot liquids or brush their teeth, some of the mercury can be released into the body.
Fish is also a surprising source of mercury. Because our oceans are contaminated with pollutants, the fish that live in the ocean consume these metals that remain in their tissues. Thus, when we eat fish that are contaminated with toxic heavy metals, we too become contaminated.
Lead is another toxic heavy metal linked with neurological problems, and like mercury, is quite poisonous to the brain and nervous system. Unfortunately, we are exposed to many sources of this heavy metal. Lead can be commonly found today in lead-based paint, leaded gasoline, contaminated water, manufacturing of batteries, rubber products, and many other products that use lead in their manufacturing. While the problem of lead poisoning is more understood today, and its use has been decreased significantly, it is still found in many homes (that have been painted using lead-based paint or built with lead-based products) and products that continue to expose individuals to this poison.
Being one of the most frequently used and distributed heavy metals, this toxic metal—and poisoning from it—is quite common. Sources of aluminum are seen nearly daily, from gum wrappers to aluminum (tin) foil, deodorant, soda pop cans, aluminum cookware, some flours, some baking powders, highly refined and processed foods, and sources can even be found in our water. It is also found in certain medicines including aspirin, antacids, anti-diarrheal medicines, and vaccines. The frequent exposure to aluminum is a serious problem, as this heavy metal can damage lung functioning, lead to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and wreak havoc on the Central Nervous System, leading to conditions such as brain disease. Other effects of aluminum accumulation in the body include nervousness, osteoporosis, anemia, headache, forgetfulness, speech disturbances, and reduced kidney functioning.
Like the other metals, arsenic is a very poisonous heavy metal. Exposure and buildup of arsenic can result in a number of serious issues such as skin cancer, lung cancer, bladder cancer, prostate cancer and kidney and liver problems. Additionally, it damages blood vessels, can cause abnormal heart rhythm, and can lead to a reduction in red and white blood cell count. Arsenic is often used as a pesticide, and therefore is commonly found in soil that our food is grown in. Plants cannot release the arsenic, and therefore, when we eat a food that was grown in arsenic-contaminated soil, we become contaminated as well. Because of contaminated soils, arsenic is also beginning to contaminate our water supply, and can be found in even higher concentrations in well water.
The negative effects that can be caused by even low levels of cadmium are many, as it affects all systems of the body, including the cardiovascular system, reproductive system, and the nervous system. Specifically, it has a strong negative impact on blood pressure, prostate function and testosterone levels, bone damage, and certain cancers, particularly pancreatic cancer. The main source for cadmium is sadly from our food and water. However, if you’re a smoker, cigarettes are another very large source for cadmium poisoning.
All toxic heavy metals accumulate in the body and can cause chronic, long-term and serious health problems. Great consideration should be used to minimize and avoid exposure to these metals, by buying organic food, purifying your water source, and minimizing environmental pollutants around you as best as possible.
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