It’s easy to say that pollution is bad for us but understanding a little more will allow us to see how we are affected by these particles in our environment. Let’s take environment to mean the air, water, and food we interact with everyday. Today is an amazing time in our country considering where we’ve been. In the earlier part of last century the coal industry was booming and so was the amount of air pollution. As more cars and trucks filled the roads, not to mention airline proliferation, the air thickened with lead and numerous other dangerous chemicals resulting in much illness and death. Today we’ve had years of unleaded fuel, effective anti-pollution regulations, smoke-free areas everywhere, more organic food sources, and of course the list goes on and on. Wow, everything sounds rosy. Well, the other side of the picture isn’t so pretty.
Our exposure to certain toxins today is controllable and yet many sources are extremely difficult to avoid. Here’s a short list just to make you think.
• factories, vehicles, planes
• air and water contaminated from nuclear accidents and leaks
• chlorine in drinking, bathing, and pool water
• countless pesticides on produce
• hormones and antibiotics in most livestock and farmed fish
• sushi and many fish/seafood species—especially bottom feeders
• landfills leaking battery acid and much more into the water supply and farm land
• improper dumping of human drugs down toilets and into landfill
• BPA and other chemicals in plastics, cans, and receipt tapes
• fire retardant clothing including kids pajamas
• room fresheners, dryer sheets, Purell and all similar disinfectants
• fluoride toothpaste, anti-perspirants, vaccines, many medicines
Many of the worst toxins today are known as heavy metals. These include mercury, lead, aluminum, cadmium, and arsenic among others. They are found in the majority of the list above. Once they enter the body, they have affinity for our organ systems including the brain, liver, kidneys, and heart where they accumulate. Our body has built-in detox mechanisms to get rid of poisonous substances but those mechanisms have limitations. Often, the heavy metal burden on our immune system is too great for detox to occur, especially from our coronary arteries and brain. The list of diseases resulting from toxic metals is vast. Think Alzheimer’s, heart disease, autism, cancer, MS, all auto-immune diseases, and weakened immunity overall, just to name a few. Most of these conditions develop slowly and therefore we are not prompted to find and eliminate the metals before they have left irreparable damage.
Blood tests don’t accurately assess the levels of heavy metals because they don’t remain or accumulate in the blood. We use hair testing instead. In the lab, a hair sample is analyzed for a dozen or so heavy metals and also essential minerals that we all need. Based on the results, we make recommendations and then retest a new hair sample several months later to see how well our detox process has worked. There are many methods of detoxification we use. We usually recommend foods and nutrients that provide a very effective multi-pronged approach that has excellent results. Everyone can take small steps toward ridding their body of heavy metals but avoiding as many sources as possible, and incorporating some natural, easy foods into their diet including garlic, onions, cilantro, and lots of pure filtered water.
Since we don’t have a host of obvious signs telling us we are accumulating these metals it’s not likely we would be motivated to test for them. We also unfortunately know that 99% of all MDs would never consider the need to know this critical information. In our attempts to enjoy a long, happy, and healthy life, it just make sense to know our toxic metal status and have freedom to decide how to respond to the findings. The hair analysis is part of our overall science-based-nutrition assessment that can’t be recommended enough. For any questions about this, please call our office at 415-956-3226.
Harris Meyer, DC
Body Focus Health Center