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
Migraines and/or headaches
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.