Heavy metals—such as mercury, arsenic, cadmium and lead—are making the population fat from the hormonal imbalances they cause. Don’t believe it? Expensive blood tests reveal that the average Canadian has over 700 industrial chemicals in her bloodstream, and that isn’t even measuring the deposits stored in flesh.
Heavy metals are pervasive toxins that are hard to avoid coming into contact with.
1. We inhale them. Motor vehicle exhaust is a considerable source of pollutants, as are construction sites. Whatever molecules we breathe in end up in the bloodstream within seconds!
2. We ingest them. Water and food are considerable sources and are not routinely tested for these contaminants. Arsenic has been found in frozen meals, rice and more. Mercury is in our seafood, and lead is in a myriad of processed food ingredients that we import. Arsenic is a component of several pesticides. The soils foods are grown in are sometimes contaminated by industrial sites within the area, or when food is grown in an area geographically close to a chemical factory.
Heavy Metals Act Like Estrogens
Metallo-estrogens are metals that are capable of acting like estrogens in the human body. As if they weren’t toxic enough, these anti-nutrients are tricking the body into behaving in ways that estrogen would. How do they do it?
1. Heavy metals increase fat storage. By acting like estrogen, they increase the number of estrogen receptors. These are like keyholes on the cell membranes into which estrogen fits, The more fat we have, the more estrogen receptors we have. The more estrogen receptors we have, the higher potential for estrogen excess or toxicity. Heavy metals tend to be fat-soluble, meaning they get stored in fat. What’s your capacity to store these toxins? A body composition assessment will reveal your total body fat and thus, how much ‘room’ you have for chemical storage.
2. Heavy metals disrupt healthy cellular processes. When essential minerals like zinc, calcium or magnesium is deficient in the body, heavy metals appear to take their places. For example, zinc is required for proper conversion of inactive thyroid hormone into active thyroid hormone, but in its absence, it appears that mercury can take its place in the thyroid hormone receptors. Even though it physically seems to fit, the mercury cannot do the job of zinc (indeed, no mineral can do the job of another). Instead it poisons the cells, preventing them from producing energy. This gets in the way of healthy metabolism, as the thyroid control the speed at which we convert food into energy and body maintenance materials.
How to Get the Lead (and other Heavy Metals) Out
“Traditional” heavy metal removal protocols involve the use of chelating agents, such as EDTA. The patient takes an oral or intravenous dose of EDTA at regular intervals over many weeks or months. But the problem with EDTA is it does not bind exclusively to the ‘bad stuff’; it can bind to nutritionally important minerals and result in mineral deficiencies. The chelator DMSA is certainly a better option than EDTA as it selectively binds only to heavy metals. However, DMSA is classified as a drug, therefore requiring a doctor’s prescription—and a doctor willing to prescribe it. Unfortunately finding one who is knowledgeable enough on this subject is challenging!
The good news is that heavy metals can be mobilized from the fat stores by adopting a healthier diet and a more active lifestyle (increased body temperature will help them come out of the skin). However, if they are displaced too rapidly and without buffering, they can make you feel quite ill and simply deposit in other tissues. A holistic nutritionist trained in proper detoxification support during a heavy metal cleanse can help. It just might be the missing piece in your weight loss struggle!