Everlywell: What Are Heavy Metals?
We know that having lots of heavy metals in us is not good, but many of us do not know if that is an issue for us, or even what heavy metals are.
Historically, some of the biggest dangers in our environment have been toxic elements, including:
All of these elements can increase risk of many types of cancers. Furthermore, many of these elements interfere with blood vessel and nerve function affecting the brain, heart, kidneys, and thyroid.
Symptoms of Exposure to Toxic Heavy Metals
Symptoms of exposure can be as mild as headache, abdominal pain, fatigue and weakness to as severe difficulty thinking, tremors and seizures, and unexplained diffuse pain. More specific symptoms include:
- Mercury is well known to have polluted our water and seafood chain.
- Arsenic is present at low levels throughout our environment, with progressive exposure
- Cadmium is most commonly in batteries and fertilizers.
- Bromine is used in pesticides and even food preservatives.
Benefits of Chemical Elements in the Body
Fortunately, not all elements in our environment are toxic.
In fact, key elements help maintain normal physiologic function for many organs, including the thyroid. Iodine and Selenium are both essential for healthy thyroid function, which controls all aspects of metabolism. Low thyroid function can cause weight gain and fatigue, while excessive thyroid function can cause undesired weight loss and restlessness.
While there are healthy and unhealthy elements around us, the problem is we generally do not know about when we are over-exposed to unhealthy elements or not receiving enough healthy elements. We instead deal with various physical symptoms or increase our risk of future diseases without addressing the reversible causes.
Fortunately, we can now examine levels of essential and toxic elements with a simple urine test. If you are found to have high levels of a toxic element such as Mercury, you can then start to consider how you may be exposed and change it, or in some cases, get treated by a physician to lower your levels. If you are deficient in an essential element, you can eat more foods or supplement with that element. This can help normalize thyroid function and therefore your metabolism.
Even if your element levels are normal, Everly offers a Metabolism panel that includes thyroid function, cortisol, and testosterone so you can investigate more aspects of your metabolism, and your health continues to be in your hands.