Why heavy metals are dangerous to human health

Note: This post has been reproduced from The Food State Company blog, a local Jersey based business supported by Barannes. We stock a wide range of Food State products including the Multi Antioxidant featured in this article. 

Toxicity from heavy metals is all around us in everyday products and foods, and also in the air we breathe. There are 4 metals that are of particular concern to human health; mercury, lead, cadmium and aluminium.

Why are they dangerous? 

They cause damage at cellular level through oxidative stress - what is often referred to as “free radical damage”. The destruction of healthy cells from these toxins is linked to the development of many diseases and underlying health problems. A simple Google search will provide lists of products, foods and environments that expose us to these dangerous heavy metals

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How do they enter our bodies?

It varies depending on the particular heavy metal, but in brief:

-  Mercury: It’s used in scientific equipment like barometers and thermometers, but you are more likely to be exposed to it from certain seafood, amalgam fillings and vaccines

-  Lead: Exposure to lead is a significant concern because it deposits itself in various parts of the body such as the brain, soft tissue and the bones. Pregnant women and children are at particular risk. Common sources of lead poisoning are old properties with lead pipes and lead-based paint, drinking water and cigarettes

-  Cadmium: Another one to seriously avoid because it affects the function of our brain, kidneys and eyes as well as our reproductive and cardiovascular systems. Common sources are cigarettes, contaminated foods and batteries containing nickel-cadmium

-  Aluminium: It is all around us, particularly in food-related products like cans, non-stick pans and baking foil, and also certain pharmaceutical products, especially those applied in a spray. Research has shown links to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and aluminium is prone to settling in the brain, kidneys, lungs, liver and thyroid

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How can certain nutrients help remove these undesirable toxins from the body?

Certain vitamins and minerals have the ability to bind to these heavy metals and remove them from the body. This is a list of the more important ones and the toxins they relate to:

Minerals

Selenium binds (chelates) with many toxins and may facilitate their excretion from the body

Iodine may facilitate the excretion of aluminium from the body

Silicon may facilitate the excretion of mercury and aluminium from the body

Calcium competes with mercury, cadmium and lead for absorption, and may thereby reduce absorption of both                   

Magnesium deficiency may exacerbate the toxic effects of mercury and magnesium supplementation may reduce the toxicity of mercury

Zinc may facilitate the removal of mercury from the body and prevent the accumulation of cadmium by competing with it for absorption

CopperIronMagnesium and Selenium may increase the elimination of cadmium from the body

Vitamins

Vitamin E may enhance the detoxification of most toxic heavy metals and may lower plasma aluminium levels and may inhibit the accumulation of aluminium in the brain

Folic Acid may inhibit the accumulation of aluminium in the body’s tissues. 

Vitamin C may minimise the toxic effects of aluminium and may facilitate the excretion of aluminium, lead and aluminium from the body. It may also reduce blood lead levels in smokers

Vitamin A may facilitate the detoxification of lead

Vitamin B1 may reduce the deposition of lead in almost all tissues of the body. 

The Foodstate Company Multi Antioxidant

This product contains many of the potent antioxidants that are referred to in this article, and provides excellent protection from heavy metal toxicity. We consider it one of the most important products in the range

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