Overview of Toxic Metals
The term “Toxic Metals” is often used in connection with a group of naturally-occurring metals that are toxic to humans at high concentrations. Examples of these metals are Mercury, Lead, Arsenic and Cadmium. In addition to these better-known metals there are also other toxic metals that can be detrimental to our health. Examples include Aluminum, Thallium, and Cesium. There are about 20 metals generally regarded as “Toxic Metals”. These metals are also referred to as “Heavy Metals” even though not all of them have high atomic weights.
Toxic metals can affect our health by interfering with or disrupting a wide array of vital functions in the human body. The range of symptoms and effects of heavy metals are summarized in the table below from www.environmentalchemistry.com :
To protect ourselves from the toxic effects of heavy metals, our bodies have developed amazing strategies for excreting or sequestering (hiding) them. But when many metals reach toxic levels, our body’s ability to protect itself can become compromised. This can lead to a variety of symptoms and health conditions that can be severe and debilitating. In some cases, heavy metal toxicity can be lethal. In other cases, the toxicity from either a single metal or multiple metals—can lead to “mystery symptoms”, and health conditions that are very difficult to diagnose.
As much as we might like to live in a world free of toxic metals and chemicals, we are exposed to a wide array of them in our daily lives. They are present in varying amounts in our food, our water, our air, and in a variety of products we use in our homes and workplaces. The scientific and medical communities are becoming increasingly-aware that heavy metal toxicity especially may be at the root of many health conditions.
At PMCM we have experience in testing for metal toxicity and treating patients with natural and safe detoxification programs. We encourage you to consider if you might be a candidate for metal testing, and if so to contact us to discuss how we might be of service.
Q. What is the Toxic Metal Testing Program (“TMT”)?
A. The TMT is a new program for 2015 offered by PMCM to provide toxic metal testing and detoxification to qualified patients. TMT is based upon many years of research and testing, and the use of natural detoxification strategies for the removal of toxic metals from the body. We have used the protocols and detoxification agents with patients at PMCM for many years in the course of their treatment. Now we are formally introducing this as a comprehensive program specifically to address issues regarding toxic heavy metals.
Q. What heavy metals does the TMT test for?
A. The type and number of toxic metals tested for depends upon your specific situation and the type of test offered. Tests include urine, blood, stool, and hair. Most of these tests include at least the top 20 toxic and heavy metals:
Q. How do I know if I should be tested for heavy metals?
A. If you have not already consulted with your healthcare provider, we encourage you to do so. You are also welcome to contact us directly to discuss if testing for toxic metals would be advisable in your particular situation. Since people vary in their sensitivity to toxic metals, we consider it wise to for everyone to be tested, especially if you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with metal toxicity. Even if these symptoms appear minor at the present time, you might benefit from a toxic metals test by detecting the presence of toxic metals before your symptoms become worse. If you have been exposed to known sources of heavy metals in your diet, environment or via other exposures you might also benefit from a heavy metals test.
Q. What does the testing involve?
A. Our toxic metals testing usually requires a 6-hour urine collection after taking a small dose of a natural chelating agent to activate removal of metals form the body, through the kidneys and into the urine. We use a variety of agents to facilitate chelation and to stimulate urinary metal excretion.
Q. What type of detoxification agents do you use?
A. We use a variety of agents to “provoke” toxic metals and to “chelate” these metals for removal from the body. “Provocation” is the process of releasing metals into the urine so that they may be detected in a standard urine test. “Chelation” involves the longer-term trapping and removal of toxic metals. We are using and evaluating a number of agents with patient safety and efficacy in mind. These agents include “Orea”, a naturally-derived water-soluble detoxifying agent, DMSA and EDTA–well-known as provocation agents, and Prussian Blue–a well-established agent for removal of Thallium. Since our use of agents is constantly being updated, please contact us if you are considering being tested, and we will give you our latest status on this issue.
Q. How much does testing cost and is it covered by insurance?
A. The toxic metals test is relatively inexpensive and typically costs $125. Medicare is the only insurance carrier we are aware of who pays for both the initial consult and the test. Some insurance plans cover the cost of the consult—Contact us if you have questions about what is- and is-not covered, and we will do our best to assist you. Since we are not always sure which plans pay for what, we typically ask patients to pay us up-front, then we help them seek reimbursement from their insurance plan if appropriate.
Please Note: Based upon your individual health situation, you and your PMCM healthcare provider may determine that other testing is also recommended.
Q. What if I test positive for heavy metals? What next?
A. We will review your toxic metals test results with you and consult with you to design a customized program for the removal of toxic metals and for the reduction of your toxic metal load.
Q. How much does it cost to detoxify?
A. Detoxification of toxic metals is a very individualized process, depending upon your health history, level of toxic metals detected, and other factors. Simple detoxification programs generally costs approximately $500, some of which may be covered by your insurance plan.
Q. How long does a typical testing and detoxification program take and what does it involve?
A. Typically, our detoxification programs last 6-12 months, with intermittent testing and consultations. We have found that slow detoxification with such monitoring is the safest way to achieve lasting removal of toxic metals with minimal side effects.
If you are wondering if your health may be affected by heavy metal toxicity, you may want to ask the following questions:
- Do I (or does someone I know) exhibit symptoms of Thallium toxicity? (fatigue, nausea, arryhthmias, hair loss).
- Am I (or is someone I know) at risk of having toxic levels of Thallium and/or other heavy metals?
- How would we know if we have toxic levels of Thallium and other heavy metals (what are the testing options)?
- What would we do to remove heavy metals if present, and how safe is the process?
- Should we eat kale and other crucifers at this point?
- Where do we turn for high-quality food tested free of heavy metals?
- What might be done to improve the quality of our food supply empower consumers with information?
We are happy to discuss these and other issues with you regarding toxic metals and our TMT Program in particular. Please contact us to learn more.