Monthly Archives: April 2011

Heavy Metal Toxicity from Secondhand Smoke?


As I got my coffee the other day I began an interesting conversation with a fellow passionate nutrition hobbyist. Her passion – Heavy Metals – particularly heavy metal poisoning.

Living where I do talk of heavy metal toxicity is often as common as the water bottles on everyone’s hips. We have the various levels of course – denial to fanatical fear – yet this woman was seemingly not on either extreme. Her story can be summed quickly – family members dieing too soon, family obesity, along with long term smokers and drinkers.

What caught my attention is though she recognized mercury from fish as a leading cause for many of the mercury poisoning she had seen she also spoke on the cells memory of smoke. Her theory “Your cells remember what was in the environment you were conceived in and will tend to from “memory” want to return.”. Though new terms, I felt this fit with the second hand smoke is bad for in utero life.

Our conversation went for over an hour and I walked away with more questions than answers yet now my questions ha a very interesting focus.

Could we be increasing our heavy metal exposure through secondhand smoke both tobacco and marijuana?

Per The Office of the Surgeon General:

Some of the toxic metals contained in secondhand smoke include arsenic (used in pesticides), lead (formerly found in paint), chromium (used to make steel), and cadmium (used to make batteries). “

To answer this I first needed to know definitively what are heavy metals and what is heavy metal toxicity.

A heavy metal is a member of a loosely-defined subset of elements that exhibit metallic properties.

Heavy metal toxicity is an excessive build-up of metals in the body. Oftentimes, the vague symptoms produced by heavy metal toxicity are mistakenly misdiagnosed as incurable chronic conditions. The most common heavy metals that humans are exposed to are aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury.

I then wondered of the 4000 “chemicals” in secondhand smoke are any of them heavy metals.

Aluminum has been found to be in both inhaled and passive smoke, and contributes to respiratory, neurological, and other serious diseases.

According to a report from the California Air Resources Board and the Department of Health Services, smokers breathe an estimated 0.8 to 2.4 micrograms of inorganic arsenic per pack of cigarettes, with approximately 40 percent of it being deposited in the respiratory tract.

Beryllium, as a chemical component, occurs naturally in tobaccos and can be inhaled from cigarette smoke.

Cadmium is present in low levels in food, and in high levels in cigarette smoke.

Lead is a component of tobacco and tobacco smoke, and smokers have higher blood lead levels than do nonsmokers.

Cigarette smoke contains up to 11.5 nanograms of mercury per cigarette in mainstream smoke and up to 16.6 nanograms of mercury per cigarette in side stream smoke.

The major source of indoor exposure to nickel is tobacco smoke.

Obviously the answer was YES.

My next question was what are the symptoms and is it possible to be walking around with heavy metal toxicity and not know it?

From: Alternative Doctor


EFFECTS: ALS, Alzheimer’s, anemia, appetite loss, behavioral problems, cavities, colds, colitis, confusion, constipation, dementia, dry mouth, dry skin, energy loss, excessive perspiration, flatulence, headaches, heartburn, hyperactivity, inhibition of enzyme systems, kidney dysfunction, lowered immune function, learning disabilities, leg twitching, liver dysfunction, memory loss, neuromuscular disorders, numbness, osteoporosis, paralysis, Parkinson’s disease, peptic ulcer, psychosis, reduced intestinal activity, senility, skin problems, spleen pain, stomach pain, weak and aching muscles


EFFECTS: abdominal pain, anorexia, brittle nails, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, chronic anemia, burning in mouth / esophagus / stomach / bowel, confusion, convulsions, dermatitis, drowsiness, enzyme inhibition, garlicky odor to breath / stool, hair loss, headaches, hyper-pigmentation of nails and skin, increased risk of liver / lung / skin cancers, low grade fever, mucous in nose and throat, muscle aches / spasms / weakness, nervousness, respiratory tract infection, swallowing difficulty, sweet metallic taste, throat constriction


EFFECTS: disturbance of calcium and vitamin D metabolism, magnesium depletion, lung cancer, lung infection, rickets, vital organ dysfunction


EFFECTS: alcoholism, alopecia, anemia, arthritis (osteo and rheumatoid), bone disease, bone pain in middle of bones, cancer, cardiovascular disease, cavities, cerebral hemorrhage, cirrhosis, diabetes, digestive disturbances, emphysema, enlarged heart, flu-like symptoms, growth impairment, headaches, high cholesterol, hyperkinetic behavior, hypertension, hypoglycemia, impotence, inflammation, infertility, kidney disease, learning disorders, liver damage, lung disease, migraines, nerve cell damage, osteoporosis, prostate dysfunction, reproductive disorders, schizophrenia, stroke


EFFECTS: abdominal pain, adrenal insufficiency, allergies, anemia, anorexia, anxiety, arthritis (rheumatoid and osteo), attention deficit disorder, autism, back pain, behavioral disorders, blindness, cardiovascular disease, cartilage destruction, coordination loss, concentration loss, constipation, convulsions, deafness, depression, dyslexia, emotional instability, encephalitis, epilepsy, fatigue, gout, hallucinations, headaches, hostility, hyperactivity, hypertension, hypothyroid, impotence, immune suppression, decreased IQ, indigestion, infertility, insomnia, irritability, joint pain, kidney disorders, learning disability, liver dysfunction, loss of will, memory loss (long term), menstrual problems, mood swings, muscle aches, muscle weakness, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, myelopathy (spinal cord pathology), nausea, nephritis, nightmares, numbness, Parkinson’s disease, peripheral neuropathies, psychosis, psychomotor dysfunction, pyorrhea, renal dysfunction, restlessness, retardation, schizophrenia, seizures, sterility, stillbirths, sudden infant death syndrome, tingling, tooth decay, vertigo, unintentional weight loss


EFFECTS: adrenal dysfunction, allergy, alopecia, anorexia, anxiety, birth defects, blushing, brain damage, cataracts, cerebral palsy, poor coordination / jerky movements, deafness, depression, dermatitis, discouragement, dizziness, drowsiness, eczema, emotional disturbances, excess saliva, fatigue, gum bleeding and soreness, headaches (band type), hearing loss, hyperactivity, hypothyroidism, forgetfulness, immune dysfunction, insomnia, irritability, joint pain, kidney damage, loss of self-control, memory loss, mental retardation, metallic taste, migraines, nervousness, nerve fiber degeneration, numbness, pain in limbs, rashes, retinitis, schizophrenia, shyness, speech disorders, suicidal tendencies, tingling, tremors (eyelids, lips, tongue, fingers, extremities), vision loss, weakness


EFFECTS: anorexia, kidney dysfunction, apathy, disruption of hormone and lipid metabolism, fever, hemorrhages, headache, heart attack, intestinal cancer, low blood pressure, muscle tremors, nausea, oral cancer, skin problems, vomiting

Common Symptoms of Heavy Metal Toxicity:

You may have heavy metal toxicity if you are experiencing any of these symptoms:

  • Chronic pain throughout the muscles and tendons or any soft tissues of the body

  • Chronic malaise – general feeling of discomfort, fatigue, and illness

  • Brain fog – state of forgetfulness and confusion

  • Chronic infections such as Candida

  • Gastrointestinal complaints, such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, heartburn, and indigestion

  • Food allergies

  • Dizziness

  • Migraines and/or headaches

  • Visual disturbances

  • Mood swings, depression, and/or anxiety

  • Nervous system malfunctions – burning extremities, numbness, tingling, paralysis, and/or an electrifying feeling throughout the body

Note: Heavy metal toxicity can produce vague symptoms that sometimes are mistaken for other chronic conditions such as Autism, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, depression, Multiple Sclerosis, and a host of other serious disorders. Discuss heavy metal toxicity with your healthcare professional before receiving any diagnosis or treatment for a serious chronic condition.

Conclusion: Secondhand or Side Stream Smoke is laden with toxic chemicals and toxic metals.  Though supposedly marijuana smoke has less of these chemicals since they “accumulate” the small difference seemingly makes little difference.


The Glory of Fiber!


Yes, I said FIBER!

I know – I know who likes to talk fiber.

Well many years ago now my father had angina.  I had been using a wonderful resource for years to create a healthier lifestyle (The Healing Foods CookBoook from Prevention Magazine’s Editors ISBN-10: 0878579567) and had learned what I thought was a wealth of information.  His heart condition though alerted me to many things I had not yet learned.

FIBER was at the center of the crisis.

The Healing Foods Cookbook is separated into 3 sections – healing foods, diseases and recipes.  I ended up using two books so I could open to the first two sections simultaneously.  And as I did I researched what would heal his angina and reduce his risks for further problems.

One thing came up fast – FIBER.  Not over the counter fiber but natural fresh fruit, veggie and grains fiber.

30 grams of fiber per day reduces cancer risk by 50%.

But what else can it do?

After researching for this online quite a bit the best article I found was from Dr Sears – Fantastic Fiber

And I would have loved to bring the whole article over but that’s unrealistic.  So I encourage you to click and read.

Here though are some highlights with sources noted.

Via eHealthMd

Getting enough fiber in the diet can lower the risk of developing certain conditions:

  • Heart disease. Evidence is now growing to support the notion that foods containing soluble fiber (such as oats, rye barley, and beans) can have a positive influence on cholesterol, triglycerides, and other particles in the blood that affect the development of heart disease. Some fruits and vegetables (such as citrus fruits and carrots) have been shown to have the same effect.
  • Cancer. The passage of food through the body is speeded up when fiber is eaten. Some experts believe this may prevent harmful substances found in some foods from affecting the colon and may protect against colon cancer. (However, a recent study conducted by Harvard University concluded that eating high-fiber food did not appear to protect people from colon cancer.) Other types of cancer that are linked with overnutrition and may be prevented by a fiber-rich diet include breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer.
  • Type 2 Diabetes. Adding fiber to the diet helps regulate blood sugar levels, which is important in avoiding diabetes. In addition, some people with diabetes can achieve a significant reduction in their blood sugar levels and may find they can reduce their medication.
  • Diverticular disease. Diverticular disease is a condition in which small pouches, called diverticula, develop in the wall of the colon. In a small percentage of people, these diverticula become inflamed or infected, a condition known as diverticulitis. Diverticular disease can cause pain, diarrhea, constipation, and other problems.
  • Gallstones and kidney stones. Rapid digestion leads to a rapid release of glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream. To cope with this, the body has to release large amounts of insulin into the bloodstream, and this can make a person more likely to develop gallstones and kidney stones (in addition to diabetes and high cholesterol).

Keeping Weight Under Control

Foods containing plenty of fiber have more bulk than low-fiber foods. If taken in the right form at the right time and at sufficient quantities, fiber can sometimes slow the onset of hunger.


Fiber Soaks Up Fat 

Eat high-fiber foods with high-fat foods to decrease the absorption of fat. Increase your daily fiber and you’ll absorb fewer calories.


How much fiber do you need?

How much fiber do you need each day? The National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, which provides science-based advice on matters of medicine and health, gives the following daily recommendations for adults:

Age 50 and younger Age 51 and older
Men 38 grams 30 grams
Women 25 grams 21 grams

Triple Chocolate – Almond Shake

[Source: Complete Idiot’s Guide to High Fiber Cooking]

Chocolate lovers will flip over this luxurious shake made with creamy soy milk and ice cream. Cocoa powder adds the final punch of flavor and fiber.

1 1/2 cups chocolate almond or rocky road ice cream
1 cup chocolate soy milk
2 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
2 TB local honey

1 TB toasted wheat germ

1/2 tsp almond extract

1. Place ice cream, soy milk, cocoa powder, honey, wheat germ and almond extract in a blender and puree until smooth.

2. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

Want to add a boost to your smoothies? Add Smoothie Essentials Boosts to any smoothie. Most are 0% Taste and 0% Color thus making them blendable into any drink.

Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids – very powerful anti-inflammatory agents.

Proteins – Important to muscle growth and maintenance but many red meats are thought to trigger inflammation.