Do you know that the words “heavy metal” do not just pertain to that music people love listening to? They physically exist, and some of them can even be in our bodies as of this moment.
What are Heavy Metals?
Heavy metals are simply metals, but they differ from normal metals in some of their characteristics. Heavy metals are higher in density (mass over volume) or in atomic weight compared to normal metals. Also, since they are of higher content from other metals, heavy metals are also considered to be toxic and poisonous even when exposed to low concentrations.
These heavy metals are commonly found in the crust of the Earth. As they are naturally formed with the Earth, they cannot be easily removed or destroyed. That is why a few of these metals are able to enter our bodies because they somehow find ways to involve themselves with our food and water, which is a natural phenomenon.
There are also kinds of heavy metals that are essential for the needs of the body. They are used by the body from their form as trace minerals in order to support its metabolism processes. A few of these heavy metals are copper, selenium, and zinc. However, just like any other thing that we get too much of, excessive heavy metals in the body can cause negative results such as food poisoning or poisoning in general. They can be from the metal-contamination of the water, exposure of the air to chemical wastes from different chemical-producing sources, and from the intake of foods that have been exposed to conditions that allow the metals to get concentrated on them.
In addition, these metals undergo a process called bioaccumulation. The process of bioaccumulation gives the metal its more dangerous characteristics. It is because the concentration of these metals increase in a faster rate when they are ingested by an organism than when they are exposed to their natural environment. The moment these chemical compound are consumed by a biological organism, they start accumulating faster than when they are to be excreted.
Here are a few of the heavy metals that can enter our bodies and how they act when they get highly concentrated:
Antimony is a chemical substance that is commonly found in products like batteries, ceramics, and glass. When overexposed to this metal, symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may occur. Also, there were few studies thank linked antimony to being a carcinogen, which means it is capable of causing certain types of cancer.
The cadmium is often related to other metals zinc and mercury. Cadmium is commonly found in products like batteries, cigarettes, jewelry, and some metal coatings. In food products, they can be found in some shellfish, grain cereals, and a few vegetables.
This metal poses a danger for the human body because it tends to stay longer than any other element when ingested. It can take more than decades until they get excreted by the human body.
The dangerous effects of cadmium can cause a lot of health concerns, wherein one of those is its ability to disturb the functioning of the kidneys or the renal system. Also, since it is contained by most cigarette products, it is said that it can contribute to lung diseases that can lead to lung cancer. Another one is its capability to affect the bones in humans and animals which often results in conditions such as osteomalacia and osteoporosis.
Another heavy metal compound is the chromium. The chromium is contained in most products such as metal alloys like steel, bronze, copper, and brass; and also other products like paints, cement, papers, and rubbers. They are not needed by the body, thus they should be avoided as much as possible. Just by being exposed to chromium for a short period of time can already cause irritations on the skin or even ulcerations. Too much exposure to chromium can lead to problems in the functioning of kidneys and liver, and even the circulatory system may get affected at the same time. These may also be possible damages to the nerve tissues.
Copper is an important element that is also needed by the body. However, when too much than the needed amount is ingested; it can lead to problems like anemia, damages to organs such as kidneys and liver, and irritation in the stomach and intestinal area. Copper can be found in the water pipes of most houses and food products such as liver, oysters, lobster, some vegetables, and others.
The result from exposure to lead depends on how long and how much the person got exposed to. Too much exposure to lead causes health problems such as disturbed hemoglobin synthesis, kidney issues, complications in the gastrointestinal tract and the reproductive system, and long-term damage to the nervous system. Lead poisoning is considered to be very fatal, especially when the person gets completely intoxicated.
Lead is mostly found in products like paints, some canned foods, toys, and even a few makeup products were proven to contain unexpected amounts of lead.
Mercury is one of the most dangerous metals that can cause major problems to the human body. Even little amounts of mercury are not necessary for the body, which means it should be avoided. Too much exposure to mercury can cause serious issues like damage to the brain and central nervous system, it can also lead to unforeseen abortion and congenital malformation in newborn babies.
How to Do a Heavy Metal Detox
Getting rid of heavy metal intoxication in the body can be achieved by incorporating specific foods in the diet. At the same time, some foods should be avoided.
Try to eat more of the foods that have components that can help in removing the toxic heavy metal substance in the body, such as wild blueberry fruits and tomatoes; vegetables like cilantro and garlic; lemon water concentrate; juice powder made from barley grass; curry spices; green tea; and healthy plant-derived extracts such as spirulina and chlorella.
It is also devised to take extra supplements, especially if the person is deficient in vitamins B, B6, and C. Vitamin C is said to be capable of fighting against negative effects of iron, while intake of vitamin B1 supplements is said to be able to lessen the iron levels in the body.
For effective riddance or treatment of heavy metal intoxication, there are specific foods that should be steered clear of. Some of the foods that should be avoided are processed foods specifically those with excess fats that can decline the complete process of detoxification, rice which may contain arsenic elements (brown rice), seafood like fish that is more prone to having mercury content, alcoholic beverages (or anything that contains any alcoholic content), and inorganic foods (foods that are used with chemicals and pesticides).