Environmental Toxicity | An Alternative Way of Assessing Heavy Metals

Environmental Toxicity:
An Alternative Way of Assessing Heavy Metals
by Dr. Thomas Nissen

Numerous scientists world wide are supporting the view today that all life processes are being determined by subtle electromagnetic and photon phenomena [see Prof. Dr. A. Popp,, Dr. Voll (EAP), Dr. Dr. Schimmel (Vega System) and many more). All electrically active metals (ions) and particularly heavy metals, can disturb the harmony of the electromagnetic and photon energies in our body, causing disharmony and disease. They also can increase the production of free radicals million-fold.

It has been stated that 90 % of all chronic and serious illnesses could be prevented if we were able to eliminate the 600 most dangerous environmental toxins (Dr. J. Higgensen, Head of Cancer Research, WHO, Geneva, Switzerland). Every health practitioner is fully aware of the devastating influence heavy metals and/or ionic metals can have on our mental, emotional and physical health and well being.

Until recently, most health care professionals and researchers assumed that heavy metals had to be taken into account only when a patient showed definite symptoms of 'poisoning'. We realize now that our health and well-being is affected by much lower levels of heavy metals than previously assumed. Health authorities constantly correct 'permissible' maximum levels downwards.

It is becoming more difficult to accurately determine the appropriate drug profile in a given case, because the respective simile of symptoms has undergone a shift due to the presence of heavy metal ions. In fact, this phenomenon may be observed for the majority of the classic Hahnemann remedy profiles and it is fair to say that at the present time the effectiveness of any antioxidant therapy is significantly compromised by the presence of heavy metal ions.

It is therefore important to first identify the heavy metal in question and then the degree of its involvement. Then, as the cause of the condition, the heavy metal ions must be removed and cleared out.

In cases of acute heavy metal poisoning (commonly the result of accidents or extreme workplace related contamination), clinical toxicology is generally able to provide an effective quick response with the DMPS procedure administered as mobilization test and antidote. However, hardly any appropriate treatment or diagnostic procedure is available for cases of long-term heavy metal contamination. No satisfactory method exists for the early recognition of heavy metal contamination.

Two Types of Metals

The methods used to detect heavy metal contamination are cumbersome and costly and in some instances can’t differentiate between organically bound and free metal atoms (e.g. Cu, Zn in spectrometric analyses). Recent research has shown that it is essentially electrically active heavy metal atoms not bound with organic complexes that actively destroys molecular compounds and thereby cause the formation of free radicals.

Up to a certain point, a healthy body is able to bind (i.e. chelate) free heavy metal atoms, i.e. neutralize their electromagnetic charge and clear them out. If this mechanism is no longer able to function because too many toxins have accumulated in the organism, the number of free radicals will increase, especially if the body is suffering an antioxidant deficiency at the same time. In such cases, administering antioxidant supplements will not solve the real problem, namely the accumulation of heavy metal ion deposits in the body.

Unfortunately, traditional methods like hair or blood analyses are not able to uncover these connections for the simple reason that the organic sample is destroyed in the course of the analysis. Such procedures are therefore unable to differentiate between metal atoms bound with organic complexes and unbound and therefore electro-magnetically active ions, a difference that is crucial in the assessment of the overall situation.

A New Way to Assess Heavy Metals

In 1925 Helmut Fischer of the Siemens Concern in Berlin succeeded in detecting heavy metal ions by means of a dithizone process. As a reagent, dithizone is able to indicate the presence of heavy metal ions in qualitative and in quantitative terms. In binding with them, colored complexes are formed in the interior of the molecule which are soluble in non polar organic solvents. The coloration of these solutions is very intensive, its particular coloration determined by the atomic radius of the respective metal present in the complex.

The reaction times of the heavy metal ions vary; therefore, depending on their respective concentrations, different colorations may occur from which one can, in addition to the qualitative conclusions (the dithizon reagent binds to Cu, Zn, Cd, Hg, Pb, Mn, Co, Ni,) also semi-quantitative ones regarding the contaminant. (At the lower ppm level, even at the ppb level).

The dithizon heavy metal reagent allows the detection of free heavy metal ions in bodily liquids like urine and saliva . By administering the test reagent as an exploratory measure, contaminations from amalgam fillings or from the environment (cadmium, lead, zinc, copper, manganese, nickel and cobalt - pointing to infections, organ or system disorders) can be identified on the spot, the potential health problem, as well as the need for detoxification before any specific therapy is administered.

The test reagent is therefore an important aid in the decision making process during the initial evaluation and detoxification therapies, recommended as urgent and necessary counter-measures, can be monitored with the test reagent administered.

The dithizone reagent can also be used to determine the environmental sources of the contamination in aqueous solutions such as tap water and since all heavy metal ions are water soluble, solids like food items, porcelain dishes, dust samples from carpets, wall paints and wall paper etc. can be tested for heavy metals by soaking them in distilled water beforehand.

In other words, in addition to being a diagnostic tool for urine and saliva, the reagent is also useful to find contamination causes in the patient's environment.

Replacement Reaction or How to Assess Mercury Toxicity

The sheep study done at the University of Calgary in Canada(sheep had amalgam fillings placed in their mouths) clearly shows that very little mercury is found in the urine and in the blood, but highest amount are shown in the kidneys. Since this is the case how to assess mercury toxicity via the urine?
To understand this a short review of basic bio-chemistry and how heavy metals react in the body is necessary.

In the human system, the bivalent metals are engaged in a continuous fight against one another, e.g. copper against zinc, magnesium against calcium, which results in the replacement of the "lighter" element by the "heavier" one in terms of their atomic masses. Replacement reactions, also called fight for the site, occur when heavy metals grab the biological spaces that should be filled by necessary minerals.

Just as carbon monoxide replaces essential oxygen, other elements and compounds cause their toxic effect by replacing chemicals essential to the body functions. Within a group, for example group 2 in the periodic table of elements( 2 refers to the number of extra electron) there is zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd), and mercury (Hg), in order of increasing atomic weight. (65, 112, and 200 respectively).

Zinc in its ionic form, Zn2+, is necessary for proper body function, although an excess is toxic. Cadmium, found in paints, cigarettes, tires, and brakes, is toxic. Mercury, found in amalgam fillings, paints, and some industrial processes, has no known use in the body and is even more poisonous.

Since cadmium and mercury, in their more soluble ionized or salt forms, will attempt to participate in the same biochemical reactions as zinc, their presence will prevent the zinc reacting and performing its functions in the body. This is like a 65 pound person (zinc) competing unsuccessfully with 112 pound (cadmium) and 200 pound (mercury) people in a game of musical chairs.

As a result, mercury leaching into the body from silver-mercury amalgam fillings will cause symptoms of zinc deficiency such as fatigue, PMS, thyroid problem, loss of smell and taste, macular degeneration, prostate enlargement, rheumatoid arthritis, sterility, immune suppression, etc., even if there is plenty of zinc available.

Other symptoms caused by mineral deficiency and displacement by a heavy metal. (Hg, Cd, Pb, ) include:

  • Magnesium:   Irregular heartbeat, osteoporosis, receding gums, etc
  • Iron:   Anemia
  • Copper:   Anemia, thyroid dysfunction, impaired digestion, scoliosis
  • Zinc:   Anorexia nervosa, loss of taste, low libido, PMS, etc.
  • Iodine:   Thyroid dysfunction

Causing a Toxic Accumulation of Essential Minerals

By taking the biological spaces of the essential minerals, heavy metals, in particular mercury, create simultaneously a toxic accumulation of essential minerals. The body receives everyday essential minerals through the food, unable to be absorbed leading to an accumulation and overburden of these minerals.

High toxic accumulation of copper for example can be the cause of Parkinson’s disease, anaemia, allergies, hair loss, appetite disturbance, hyperactivity, low thyroid activity, headaches, skin conditions, constipation, learning disabilities, and/or depression. When checking the urine for mercury,  by using the dithizone reagent, toxic amounts of copper and zinc (direct antagonist to mercury) will always show up first.

These are the  markers to monitor if mercury our other heavy metals are present in the body. After starting detoxification therapy, the copper and zinc level will even increase more (discharge of the depots), before they decrease. This indicates that there are now less heavy metals in the tissues and more copper and zinc ions are now being assimilated.

So instead measuring the mercury(heavy metal) concentration  which is very difficult to assess since mercury(heavy metals) are neither in the blood nor in the urine, the indirect  disturbance caused by the heavy metal atoms are measured.

Case Study

Here are the results of one case that shows the importance of heavy metal assessment:

14 year old male, with very advanced 3rd degree scoliosis (adequate amounts of copper are required for the normal production of elastin and collagen, which are the primary components of ligaments and the spinal discs), shy and timid. The parents (father is a lawyer) are healthy and live in a good environment. The urine revealed very high amounts of free copper and zinc ions (unbound).

Child was breastfed (mother had twelve amalgam fillings) and has tow amalgam fillings. Studies show that mercury is eight times more concentrated in the fetus than in the rest of the body. Once the mercury is in the body tissues, it is replacing the less heavier minerals and blocks the entrance of essential minerals (Mg, Ca, Fe, Cu, Zn, etc).

Therefore, high concentration of essential metals (Cu and Zn), are a definite marker of chronic heavy metal poisoning and mal-absorption phenomena. The boy went through a detox program and after some months, Cu and Zn values went to normal, indicating that the heavy metals (Hg) are not blocking the entrance anymore and the Cu and Zn ions can now be absorbed.

The boy's behavior changed, being less shy and timid and more energetic. The scoliosis became stabilized and a remarkable improvement occured during the physical therapy sessions.

Highly Recommended: One thing we recommend for anyone who is experiencing autoimmune symptoms is to have a hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) to test for heavy metal toxicity. Studies have shown that metals such as mercury, cadmium and lead have been associated with the development of the autoimmune diseases scleroderma, lupus, autoimmune hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, pernicious anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and type 1 diabetes.

Mercury, in particular, directly damages our tissues, making them look foreign to the immune system. This is why it is crucial to assess your potential toxin exposure and take as many steps as possible to remove the toxins from your body and your environment.

A hair analysis can determine which heavy metals are overloading your body and measure the levels of each toxic metal as illustrated in a simple bar graph showing acceptable and unacceptable reference ranges.

Hair analysis test report

The hair analysis also tells you which essential minerals your body is lacking, which it has too much of, and which important mineral ratios are imbalanced due to heavy metals and other nutritional deficiencies. It also provides valuable insight into your metaoblism and what dietary changes might be most helpful.

We suggest you do a hair analysis before you embark on any type of heavy metal cleansing or detoxification program so that you have a clear baseline to compare results with later on.

For more information on the hair tissue mineral analysis, please click here.

Since heavy metals contribute, with up to 80% of the causes to all diseases, the assessment  for heavy metal contamination has become an essential component of any initial diagnosis. The dithizone reagent offers an alternative way in assessing heavy metal toxicity and is actually the only test which allows the assessment on the  intracellular level.

Dithizone References:
1. Isolation and Determination of Traces of Metals. The Dithizone System. H.J. Wichmann, Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C; Industrial and Engineering Chemistry.;
2. Journal of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology Vol.29, No.3, May, 1947; A comparative Study of The Lead Content Of Street Dirt in New York City in 1924 and 1934.;
3. Kaye, Sidney: A study of the analytical methods for the determination of lead from biologic materials, with special emphasis on the dithizone method. M.Sc. thesis, New York University 1939;

Addtional Information About Heavy Metal Poisoning Toxicity

Signs and Symptoms of Metal
and Chemical Toxicity

The two major symptoms of chemical & heavy metal toxicity are the breakdown of the immune system and diseases of the organs and central nervous system. 
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The Most Common Sources of Metal and Chemical Toxicity
The heavy metals that most commonly cause poisoning are iron, lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, aluminum, antimony, chromium, cobalt, copper, manganese, selenium, tin, thallium, and uranium. Toxic chemicals include formaldehyde, benzene, hexane toluene. 
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Lead Toxicity
We are presently being exposed to hundreds of thousands of toxic compounds in the form of inorganic chemicals and toxic metals. One of the most harmful is lead.
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Mercury Poisoning
Read this informative report by Dr. Thomas Nissen, an environmental toxicologist, on the effects of mercury poisoning in the body.
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