By Doty Murphy, M.D.
Part 2 of a 2-part series
In the first article in this series (see Beeyoutiful’s Fall 2008 Catalog- Facing a Heavy Situation), I explained some of the insidious problems related to heavy metal contamination. To a disturbing degree, these problems affect many aspects of life, health, and well-being. People affected by metal toxicity frequently have no idea as to the root cause-and their physicians often investigate, diagnose, and prescribe in ignorance.
One area significantly affected by heavy metals is the immune system-that part of the human organism that resists, blunts, and hopefully overcomes the ever-present attacks of microbes, chemicals, and toxins. When heavy metals enter the immune system, the inevitable result is damage, interference, and-in the case of prolonged or excessive exposure-malfunction or destruction of individual components of that system.
A person’s immune response normally identifies invaders and/or potentially hazardous substances which enter the body. But if a heavy metal has damaged the immunities’ intricate abilities, the immune system does not and cannot respond normally. In some cases, an immune “under-response” may result, allowing invaders or toxins to wreak havoc. Damage, however, can also cause an over-reaction in which case an individual’s body actually attacks itself. The cause may remain hidden as medical personnel focus only on these outward effects of the auto-immune processes.
Since the mid-twentieth century, the United States has experienced a veritable explosion of several perplexing conditions, including “chronic fatigue syndrome” and “fibromyalgia.” Indeed for several decades, most allopathic physicians (primarily MD’s and DO’s of recent graduation) scoffed at the reality of both conditions. Fortunately,
medical leaders, researchers, and clinicians now acknowledge that these diseases do exist, yet they have not approached them from the standpoint of cause and effect.
One possible cause of these health issues lies with the interplay between damage from heavy metals (and other toxic materials) and the increasing prevalence of cryptic infections. Organisms including Chlamydia pneumonia (a respiratory germ-not the sexually-transmitted organism), Mycoplasma pneumonia, and the causative agents for Lyme disease all thrive in circumstances where the immune response has been inhibited or compromised-potentially due to heavy metals.
Since my graduation in 1967 until my semi-retirement in 2002, I have cared for individuals with clinical diagnoses including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and lupus. In many of them, the underlying cause involved mercury-related immune dysfunction. In addition, evidence sometimes suggested or confirmed a chronic, cryptic infection. While not everyone with such diagnoses was documented to have either problem, I found that neither had the possibilities been routinely considered or investigated.
Avoid, Avoid, Avoid
Considering the substantial danger to us humans from heavy metals, a reasonable question involves: What should you be doing to protect yourself and your family?
Recognize that few physicians know much about metal toxicity- including diagnosis and a logical approach to the problem in general. Consequently, you must take primary responsibility to inform yourself and then take steps to protect and strengthen your immune system.
For heavy metals, the primary protection starts with avoidance. YOU SHOULD AVOID ALL EXPOSURE TO HEAVY METALS. This is so incredibly important that if you remember nothing else from this article, please remember that statement: AVOID ALL HEAVY METALS. Become aware of and stay away from industrial dumps and dangerous workplaces. Wisdom would suggest that you seek a job other than working in a battery factory, for instance. Or don’t take up a hobby in which you use lead solder.
Since contaminated water sources can cause problems, drink only safe water and drink adequate amounts. (To determine the right amount for you, apply this formula: For a healthy adult who does not sweat excessively, take your body weight in pounds and divide it by 2- that will give you the ounces of water that you should drink each day.)
Become aware of possible toxic exposure of our food chain. Prodigious amounts of heavy metals are dumped in the ocean. Large fish (tuna, swordfish, etc.) reside at the end of the oceanic food chain, and they have been found consistently to have more mercury than smaller fish like mackerel, sardines, and cod. So eat small.
Refuse the placement of heavy metals (nickel, tin, and especially mercury-the latter often referred to as “amalgam”) in your mouth. If you already have such materials in dental fillings or crowns, you should consider having them removed and replaced. You might have to get away from heavy metals before you can stay away from them.
Toxicity Treatment Options
Avoiding heavy metals from now on only helps with future exposure. But what can you do about past contact and the present health difficulties it is causing? The answer involves a two-pronged approach:
1. Maximize your immune system’s effectiveness and your health in general;
2. Maintain a healthy suspicion regarding the possible involvement of heavy metals in any condition which defies easy diagnosis or management.
The first is up to you. For #2, you may be able to find a qualified health practitioner to help.
What can be involved in improving your immune system? Besides water, as I mentioned earlier, pursue a good diet. The old “balanced diet” and “food pyramids” never were adequate for optimal health. These traditions allowed too much room for options such as highly processed foods. A wise nutritionist once opined, “Eat only food that will rot-try to eat it before it does.” In addition, emphasize veggies and fruits, but do not neglect protein or fats.
Moderation and variety remain excellent watchwords for eating. Eat foods grown in mineral-rich soils (ideal locations include the San Joaquin and Imperial Valleys in California-yes, California carrots from those valleys really are better than those grown in the Rio Grande basin or in Florida). You can enhance the mineral content (and thereby the taste) of your homegrown foods by using soft-rock phosphate (50 pounds per 1000 square feet of garden) and lime (preferably after you’ve done soil testing). Organic fertilizers generally are best (beware, though, that some chicken litter contains contaminants such as arsenic).
Diet supplementation remains a necessity for most families and should include a multi-vitamin & mineral (MVM) daily. Beeyoutiful’s natural SuperMom, SuperDad, and SuperKids are ideal. From other sources, be careful to read the list of ingredients. Some vitamins actually contain small amounts of nickel and tin-two heavy metals that do not need to be part of your supplementation program.
In addition to a good MVM, several products warrant special mention related to heavy metal removal:
— Vitamin C. Th is wonder vitamin wears many hats, but functions wonderfully in our bodies as a low-key but eff- ective heavy metal chelator. It has particular affinity for each toxic metal and a special ability to bind to it. Once a metal is bound, the body can transport and excrete it, allowing for repair of any damage and/or restoration of function. For adults interested in optimal health, take 2000 to 3000 mg per day. If this amount causes diarrhea, decrease to 1000 mg per day and increase slowly (buffered vitamin C may be more readily tolerated).
— Alpha-lipoic Acid. Since toxins may be either water or fat soluble, this amazing product can handle either kind. It really is “good for what ails you.” Try taking 500 mg once or twice daily, and if indicated, this can be increased to 1000 mg once or twice a day.
— Trace Minerals, Magnesium, and Calcium. The proper functioning of many chemical reactions in the body depends on minerals. Adequate trace mineral supplementation needs to be augmented by daily magnesium and calcium. Since the latter two compete for absorption in the same areas of the gut, it is my recommendation that they be taken at different times of the day-e.g., calcium at breakfast and supper, magnesium at lunch and bedtime.*
— Chlorella and Spirulina. Studies have shown both to have a chelating effect on heavy metals while offering other benefits of increased energy and immune enhancement. Again, Beeyoutiful is an excellent source of these fantastic one-cell creatures. And did I mention the best time to start your metal de-toxing? That would be now!
* Editor’s note: For normal supplementation, many experts recommend calcium and magnesium taken together in a 2:1 ratio. Taking calcium and magnesium separately is usually reserved for correcting an imbalance or meeting some other specifi c need.
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