Heavy metals accumulate in our bodies and can cause serious diseases. Their presence in water, air and the food chain make it very difficult to avoid exposure to them.
We tell you what the 5 most harmful heavy metals are, what diseases they cause and how we can eliminate them to prevent their accumulation in our bodies.
Heavy metals are a group of chemical elements with a high density (more than 5 grams per cm3). In reality, this concept is used as a synonym for toxic metals, as it includes neurotoxic aluminium, which is chemically not heavy metal.
Not all heavy metals are harmful to our bodies. Some of them, such as zinc or iron, always in low concentrations, are essential for our health. However, several other heavy metals pose a serious risk if we are exposed to them.
Here are the 5 heavy metals that are most harmful to the body.
Mercury is a heavy metal that is highly toxic to the environment. It occurs naturally in the rocky part of the earth’s crust, for example, in coal deposits.
It is used in electrical switches, dental fillings, fluorescent light bulbs, batteries, and disinfectants. It is also present in vapours generated by burning coal or in fish that have ingested it.
Mercury emissions to the atmosphere may be due to natural phenomena, such as the eruption of volcanoes or forest fires. Still, human activity has led to a significant increase in mercury exposure. For example, mercury is commonly used in the gold refining process.
Arsenic is a naturally occurring element in the earth’s crust, found in soil, water and air, usually carried by windblown dust.
Arsenic is also released into the atmosphere by specific agricultural and industrial processes, e.g. glass processing, wood preservatives, metal adhesives, leather tanning or pesticide manufacture.
It has two states: organic and inorganic, the latter being much more toxic.
According to WHO data, high levels of inorganic arsenic are mainly due to smoking, consumption of contaminated water and its use for food preparation and irrigation. Rice from the Far East has been shown to contain high levels of mercury.
Lead is another element that naturally occurs in the earth’s crust.
In ancient times it was used to make drainage systems, pipes and even cosmetics. Today, lead is used to make containers for radioactive materials or hazardous chemicals, plastics, ceramics and solder alloys.
Lead exposure is one of the most severe occupational diseases. Outside the occupational area, exposure to lead can occur through ingestion of food or drink, such as shellfish and milk, or through inhalation of vapours in the air.
Nickel is present in soils, water and plants. It is used in many metallurgical processes and can be found in everyday products such as coins, jewellery and car parts.
Tobacco smoke contains nickel, so smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke is one route of exposure. Other ways of exposure include occupational exposure through breathing in welding fumes, drinking water or eating contaminated foods such as tea, coffee, chocolate, soya, nuts, oatmeal, etc.
Aluminium is the most abundant metallic element in the earth’s crust and is found in food, water, air and soil.
It has a high industrial use and is used in the manufacture of cables and wires, in construction, in the automotive industry, and in the production of paints and household appliances and utensils.
It is widely used in the manufacture of packaging and as food wrapping paper. It is also used in cosmetics, deodorants, creams, ready meals, infant formulas and therapeutic injections, which are so popular nowadays…
According to data from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the average US adult ingests approximately 7 to 9 milligrams (mg) of aluminium per day in food.
Due to the multiple uses of heavy metals in various industries, our exposure has increased.
There are several ways in which we are exposed to their toxicity:
- The air. Environmental pollution causes the air to contain toxic particles that we inhale when we breathe.
- Water. Lead pipes or improper water decontamination can cause us to ingest these particles when showering, drinking water, cleaning and preparing food.
- Agricultural land. May be contaminated by irrigation or seepage containing these elements.
- Foodstuffs. By migration of chemical compounds from the packaging into the product it contains.
- Topical use. Cosmetics and deodorants containing aluminium derivatives in their composition.
- Occupational activity. Extraction and handling of heavy metals carry a higher risk of exposure.
Here are some of the various pathologies that the 5 most harmful heavy metals can cause:
- Mercury. It is highly toxic to the nervous system, immune system, lungs, digestive tract and kidneys. Mercury salts have a corrosive action on the skin and eyes.
Sustained exposure causes neurological and behavioural disorders such as tremors, neuromuscular involvement, motor dysfunction, cognitive impairment, memory loss and headaches.
- Arsenic. Acute poisoning results in vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea followed by numbness in the limbs and, in some cases, death.
Constant exposure causes chronic intoxication with skin lesions that can lead to skin cancer. Other cancers associated with this heavy metal include lung and bladder cancer. It also leads to developmental impairment, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- Lead. Acute poisoning manifests in digestive, hepatic and renal disturbances causing vomiting, abdominal pain, convulsions and coma.
Chronic exposure can lead to neuropathies, headaches, weakness, fatigue, muscle pain, tremors, behavioural changes, hallucinations, memory loss, and kidney and liver impairment.
- Nickel. Exposure to high doses has very adverse effects such as skin allergies, when contacted, dizziness, respiratory failure and lung embolism by inhalation. Psoriasis has also been reported to be strongly related to nickel levels in the body.
Long-term sustained exposure can lead to chronic bronchitis, heart problems and various cancers (lung, larynx, nose or prostate).
- Aluminium. Continued exposure to this metal has adverse effects on our health. Frequent inhalation can trigger respiratory problems and affect the functionality of the nervous system, which, according to studies cited by the American ATSDR, is highly susceptible to this element.
Similarly, people with renal pathologies store large aluminium deposits and often develop bone and brain diseases. Its accumulation in the body is closely linked to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
Fortunately, silica, another trace element naturally present in the body with multiple benefits, acts as a chelator of certain heavy metals such as aluminium, lead and arsenic. Thanks to this property, a product such as G7 Neuro Health can combat the harmful effects of aluminium, the primary inducer of oxidative stress in the brain.
How do you remove heavy metals from the body?
Although they cannot be eliminated, it is advisable to take preventive measures to avoid their excessive accumulation:
- Consume organic and ecological food, free of pollutants.
- Include in the diet foods that help to eliminate some of these metals, such as coriander, which helps to eliminate lead and mercury, and broccoli, which stimulates the purification of the body.
- Take Chlorella algae tablets, which can significantly eliminate toxins and heavy metals from the body.
- Organic silica. Organic silica goes one step further, as its property of reducing intestinal absorption of heavy metals and increasing urinary elimination is combined with the characteristic of being very specific and not eliminating other beneficial metals such as iron and copper. It is therefore considered a powerful neuroprotectant, reducing the accumulation of aluminium in the nervous system, and an excellent depurative, promoting the elimination of various heavy metals in the urine.
In addition to G7 Neuro Health, which acts against oxidative stress and increases concentration, memory and mental agility, you have G7 Siliplant, which also contributes to the purification of heavy metals and toxins due to its organic silica content and also promotes the care of your joints, skin, hair and nails.
Taking measures to prevent their accumulation and toxicity and knowing how to eliminate heavy metals from the body protects us from many pathologies.
Taking care of your diet, avoiding excessively polluted environments and taking a natural supplement such as silica will help you keep your body clean of these elements.