Series of articles on heavy metal toxicity

Heavy Metal Toxicity and its Strange Symptoms
By Pamela Levin, R.N.

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Many strange and seemingly unrelated bodily symptoms can be are due to heavy metal toxicity.  What are heavy metals and what are some of the symptoms they can produce in our bodies?
Definition:  Heavy metals are so named because of their specific gravity (the weight of a substance as compared with an equal volume of water).  Some examples of heavy metals include aluminum, arsenic, antimony, cadmium, chromium, copper, gold, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, silver, tin, titanium and zinc. 

General Symptoms:   Symptoms of heavy metal toxicity vary widely because these metals can enter every type of cell in the body: the brain, lungs, lymph, thyroid, heart, liver, pancreas, gall bladder (contributing to formation of gall or kidney stones), kidney, small and large intestine, joints, muscles, nerves and reproductive organs.  Heavy metals overload the immune system, making it more susceptible to a range of invaders, including viruses and parasites.  Toxic metals are reported to be one of the factors consistently present in people with cancer.
The types of symptoms usually reflect the degree of exposure, including exposure over time.  Adults often report the first symptoms begin with generalized muscle weakness, fatigue. These symptoms are probably due to the way heavy metals act to “short out” the electricity in our cells.  Other symptoms include headaches, feeling irritabile, and inability to concentrate.  If toxicity progresses,  these are followed by numbness and tingling sensations around the lips, fingers and toes (called paresthesia). A stumbling gait and difficulty in articulating words is the next progressive symptom, along with a constriction of the visual fields, ultimately leading to tunnel vision and impaired hearing. In severe cases, tremors or jerks are present. If toxic exposure continues, neurological effects of toxic metals can result in coma and death.

Nervous System Symptoms:  Heavy metals affect both the voluntary (central) and involuntary (automatic or autonomic) systems.  Someone experiencing heavy metal toxicity may feel anxious, nervous, irritable and hyper-reactive emotionally. Inorganic mercury is capable of producing symptoms which are indistinguishable from those of multiple sclerosis.  Aluminum toxicity has been implicated in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and in mental retardation.  A study of dentists by Joel Butler, Ph.D. of the University of North Texas, reported sub optimal neurological functions evident in ability to shift tasks, attention span, ability to concentrate, recent memory deficits, visual recall, control dyspraxia (painful functioning), tremor and perceptual accuracy in judgment. Psychological problems included irritability, impatience, tension, frustration and conflict.