Heavy Metal Toxicity

Heavy metals (including lead, cadmium, mercury, and the metalloid arsenic) are persistent in the environment and have documented potential for serious health consequences. Heavy metal toxicity may damage:

  • central nervous system

  • cardiovascular system

  • gastrointestinal system

  • lungs

  • kidneys

  • liver

  • endocrine glands

  • bones

Fortunately, integrative interventions like selenium and garlic have been shown to decrease the buildup and increase the excretion of toxic heavy metals.

Risk Factors for Toxic Metal Exposure

Sources of toxicity can include environmental, water supply, industrial, hobbies, and others, thus a full history of the person's work and living habits can help pinpoint potential heavy metal sources.


  • Lead-containing plumbing

  • Lead-based paints (in buildings built before 1978 and is the predominant source for children)  

  • Foods grown in lead-rich soil


  • Eating fish or shellfish contaminated with methylmercury (includes shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tile fish, bass, walleye, pickerel)

  • Breathing contaminated workplace air or skin contact during use in the workplace

  • Release of mercury vapor from dental amalgam fillings


  • Tobacco smoke

  • Eating foods containing cadmium (levels are highest in grains, legumes, and leafy vegetables, fish and shellfish)

  • Contact with cadmium from household products (electric batteries and solar panels)

Signs and Symptoms that you may need Chelation

As an example of the scope of a heavy metal's toxicity, lead can affect the nervous systemgastrointestinal system, cardiovascular system, blood production, kidneys, and reproductive system.

Symptoms of heavy metal toxicity include mental confusion, pain in muscles and joints, headaches, short-term memory loss, gastrointestinal upsets, food intolerances/allergies, vision problems, chronic fatigue, and others.  The symptoms are so vague that it is difficult to diagnose based on symptoms alone.

Symptoms include nausea or vomiting, abdominal paindiarrhea, garlic odor on breath, excessive salivation, headache, vertigofatigueparesthesiaparalysiskidney failure, progressive blindness, and mental impairment.  Signs include mottled brown skin, hyperkeratosis (increased pigmentation) of palms and soles, cutis edema, transverse striate Leukonychia, perforation of nasal septum, eyelid edema, coryza, limb paralysis and reduced deep tendon reflexes.  Mental symptoms include apathy, dementia, and anorexia.

Signs and Symptoms include combinations of gastrointestinal complaints, hypertension, fatigue, hemolytic anemia, abdominal pain, nausea, constipation, weight loss, peripheral neuropathy, cognitive dysfunction, arthralgias, headache, weakness, convulsions, irritability, impotence, loss of libido, depression, depression of thyroid and adrenal function, chronic renal failuregout.  A patient with lead poisoning may have a combination of symptoms – or no symptoms at all until the condition has progressed.  Mental symptoms include restlessness, insomnia, irritability, confusion, excitement, anxiety, delusions, and disturbing dreams.

Mercury toxicity has been linked to, among other things, mercury dental fillings, particularly when people have a large number of them.  Symptoms include a metallic taste in the mouth, excess salivation, gingivitistremors, stomach and kidney troubles.  Mental symptoms include shyness, irritability, apathy and depression, psychosis, mental deterioration, and anorexia.