Lead Toxicity

I’m sad to report that everyone is lead toxic due to it being added to gasoline and emitted from cars for decades. Lead causes fatigue and damage to the nervous, reproductive, and renal systems.  Learn how to detox it!

Lead is extremely toxic to humans. Exposure can happen quietly, without you realizing it, and the damaging effects – primarily to the brain – are often irreversible. In addition to the nervous and reproductive systems, lead impacts both the liver and kidneys (1).

One of the most common consequences of lead toxicity is high blood pressure due to lead accumulation in the kidneys. Detox the lead and people often seeing a normalizing of their blood pressure.

Lead is stored in our Bones

Lead accumulates and makes its home in our bones, where the body prefers to store it (2). This is done in an effort by the body to protect vital organs.  From there, it is released into the blood stream.

Women’s bones release lead more slowly into the blood stream than men’s. Meaning, lead can continue to be released into the blood long after exposure. This is of particular importance for women whom are pregnant, as the slower release of lead from the bones could negatively impact a developing fetus (Vigeh).

Once women reach menopause, they have faster bone cell turnover due to lowered estrogen levels. Lead begins leaching into their bodies from the breakdown of bone tissue. Symptoms like fatigue and brain fog begin to occur due to lead toxicity.

How You Are Exposed to Lead

Lead is everywhere. No one can avoid it completely. Too much exposure to this toxic metal places more pressure on our already over-burdened systems that are busy fighting off all the other toxins from our modern-day, industrial environment. Know it’s sources so that you can take steps to protect you and your family.

Lead is in the air due to coal combustion and fossil fuels. We breathe it in. While leaded gasoline is no longer used in the United States, if you live or travel to a developing country that does not use unleaded gasoline, you must beware! You are breathing in neurotoxic lead!

Ready to hear another scary thing? Lead persists for 500 to 1000 years in the environment. So, even though we no longer use leaded gasoline in the U.S., this deadly metal can still be found in the soils where it then gets into our food and water.

That’s right: soil may be contaminated with lead sediment due to industrial or car exhausts, especially in densely populated areas. Growing your own vegetables under those circumstances is not recommended.

In China, the rapid economic development has led to alarmingly elevated lead levels being released into environment due to the mineral processing activities (4). As a result, lead has made its way into the country’s water, soil, crops, and vegetable supplies and the levels here are much higher than other developed countries (4).

Water pipes used to be made of lead and many are still in use. They can leak lead into drinking water and contribute to toxicity that way.

Lead is also found in your beauty products. Yes, you are likely putting lead on your face daily to beautify yourself. Cosmetics, especially lip stick and mascara, have been found to contain shocking levels of lead. Be sure to buy lipstick that has been certified to be free of lead.

Lead was commonly used in house paint until the 1970’s. In 1978, lead-based residential paint was banned from use in the United States (5). But unfortunately, an estimated 30-50% of the population lives in houses built before that time. If you belong to this group, you are at greater risk of inhaling of miniscule paint chips and dust containing lead, and this can lead to lead toxicity. (5)

Attention parents: lead is the most common toxicant found in the drinking water of U.S. schools, via water fountains, coolers, and other water outlets (6). Another danger is lead-based paint, as it is the most common source of exposure for children under 6 years of age who have suffered lead poisoning (7)

You need to know these and the other widespread sources of lead so that you can identify how it is entering your body. These sources include:

  • Ammunition (2)
  • Auto exhaust
  • Batteries and battery manufacturing (2)
  • Candle Wicks (8)
  • Ceramics (2)
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Coal combustion
  • Colored inks
  • Cosmetics (2)
  • Root canals
  • Eating utensils
  • Electroplating
  • Farm equipment (2)
  • Gasoline (2)
  • Glass production
  • Glazes for pottery
  • Herbs, especially from India and China (9)
  • Hair dyes, especially black (2)
  • Industrial emissions
  • Jewelry making
  • Lead pipes (2)
  • Lead-glazed earthenware pottery
  • Mascara
  • Meat (if lead shot was used to kill it)
  • Metal polish
  • Milk
  • Newsprint
  • Occupational exposure
  • Paint (2) (5) (CDC)
  • Pencils
  • Pesticide residues
  • PVC pipes
  • Smelters
  • Solders (2)
  • Soil (2, 5, 11)
  • Supplements containing herbs from India and China
  • Cans with lead solder sealing (such as juices, vegetables)
  • Toothpaste
  • Water (city/well/tap) (2, 5, 12)

Knowing all of this, it’s not hard to see how we are exposed to lead in our daily lives, often without realizing it!

Symptoms of Lead Toxicity in Children

Children are particularly susceptible to the dangers of lead and the adverse health effects of this dangerous metal will be more pronounced in them (13).

There is no safe level of lead exposure for children (5). Exposure to lead – be it in childhood infancy or even in utero – is especially damaging and toxic to a developing nervous system.

In fact, it has been proven that there is a direct link between, “low-level lead exposure during early development and deficits in neurobehavioral-cognitive performance evident late in childhood through adolescence.” (2). Lead poisoning in children can lead to such things as brain damage, low IQ, developmental delays, hyperactivity, and even hearing loss (2).

Some of the primary symptoms of lead toxicity include:

  • Loss of memory (2)
  • Loss of Vision (2)
  • Cognitive and behavioral problems (2)
  • Brain damage
  • Mental retardation (2)
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Violence
  • Delays in growth and pubertal development (14)

Health Conditions Caused by Lead

Like many metals, the main target for lead toxicity is the central nervous system (15). But it’s toxic effects don’t end there; lead also effects the immune, renal, reproductive, and hematopoietic (stem cell) systems (16, 17). Lead toxicity also causes oxidative stress, which then leads to free radical damage (2). It is a truly dangerous metal.

Let’s start with its effects on the central nervous system. Lead is a potent neurotoxin that can cause learning and behavioral impairments, especially in young children (7, 18, 19). Exposure to it may result in detrimental effects to both brain development and function (12, 20).

It has also been found that exposure to lead early in life may cause neurode-generation in later life. (2). Among the many neurocognitive effects of lead are: brain damage, mental retardation, memory loss, vision loss, behavior problems, antisocial behavior, and even violence. (2)

I mentioned that lead also effects hormone production. Lead has endocrine disrupting properties (EDCs), which interrupts hormone regulation in the body (21). Among the hormone activities it interrupts, lead has been shown to inhibit progesterone and impair prolactin production in females; these imbalances can lead to lead to irregular periods.

Lead builds up in the ovaries, which then causes delays in both growth and development during puberty, as well as reduced fertility. cells of the ovary, causing delays in growth and pubertal development and reduced fertility in females. For males, lead negatively affects growth during puberty (21). A 2017 study found that lead toxicity directly impairs sperm function and may lead to such things as low sperm count or testicular degeneration (22).

Exposure to lead may also bring about a deregulation of the immune system, along with reduced immunosurveillance. Immmunoserveillance is critical because it is the process by which the body’s cells scan for foreign pathogens – including toxins and chemicals – as well as for pre-cancerous and cancerous cells (17)

These are a few of the health conditions which may result from lead toxicity:

  • Mitochondrial damage (23, 24)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Aggression
  • Allergies
  • Alzheimer’s (2)
  • Anemia
  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety (2)
  • Arthritis (oust and rheumatoid)
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD) (2, 13)
  • Autism
  • Back pain/problems
  • Behavioral disorders
  • Blindness
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cataracts (2)
  • Cartilage destruction
  • Concentration loss
  • Constipation
  • Convulsions
  • Coordination loss
  • Deafness (2)
  • Dementia
  • Depression (2)
  • Diabetes
  • Disrupts neurotransmitters
  • Dyslexia
  • Emotional instability
  • Encephalitis
  • Epilepsy
  • Fatigue
  • Gout
  • Hallucinations
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure (25)
  • Hostility
  • Hyperactivity (2, 13)
  • Hypertension (2)
  • Hypo-thyroid
  • Impaired glycogen storage
  • Impotency
  • Immune suppression (17)
  • Indigestion
  • Infertility or reduced fertility (14)
  • Inflammation
  • Insomnia
  • Intellectual loss (13)
  • Irritability
  • Joint pain
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Learning disabilities
  • Libido decrease
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Low IQ (2)
  • Memory loss (long term)
  • Mental retardation
  • Menstrual problems
  • Miscarriage
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Myelopathy (Spinal cord pathology)
  • Nausea
  • Nephritis
  • Nightmares
  • Numbness
  • Paralysis
  • Parkinson’s disease (2)
  • Peripheral neuropathies
  • Psychosis
  • Psychomotor dysfunction
  • Pyorrhea
  • Red blood cell damage
  • Renal dysfunction (2)
  • Restlessness
  • Schizophrenia (2)
  • Seizures
  • Sterility
  • Stillbirths
  • Sudden infant death syndrome
  • Tingling
  • Tooth decay
  • Vertigo
  • Violence and aggression (2)
  • Unintentional weight loss

How to Detox Lead

The most serious and harmful effects of lead exposure are often irreversible (1). But you can reduce the toxic effects of this dangerous metal with regular detoxing. Arm yourself with knowledge that will protect both the health of you and your loved ones!

An antagonist is an element that can help to push or detox a metal out of the body. The following elements work as potent detoxifiers of lead:

Detecting Lead Toxicity

I have found that most people show no lead on a hair mineral analysis but then have toxic levels on a Urine Metals DMSA Challenge Test. That’s why I always like to perform both tests to get a complete picture of one’s toxicity levels. However, lead rarely shows on a hair mineral analysis. It can when someone has been detoxing for a number of years or they are extremely lead toxic.

Urine Metals DMSA Challenge Test is a far more reliable method for determining lead toxicity.  The reason a urine test is so useful and provides meaningful results is that urinary excretion is the major route for the elimination of lead.

Mineral Power to the Rescue

With proper guidance, you can detox lead and reverse many of its negative health conditions.  It takes time to remove the metal completely, that’s why I advocate strongly for rigorous, long-term detoxing done in a safe and healthy way.

When it comes to lead, new research reveals that elimination of this toxic metal takes longer than previously thought and long-term retention of this toxic metal is not to be underestimated. This is why patience with detoxing is so important.

Of course, your recovery from toxic effects depends on such things as the severity of your symptoms, the levels of metal toxicity in your body, and how long you have been suffering from your adverse health conditions. At the very least, many experience a vast reduction in their symptoms with detoxification via mild chelating agents, mineral supplementation, and use of an infrared sauna, all of which are part of a comprehensive Mineral Power program.

Metals can often do the same jobs as minerals. So when we are mineral deficient, the human body is forced to accumulate metals to accomplish certain processes necessary to for us to survive. A Mineral Power program is one of the best programs to remove all heavy metals from the body, including lead, so we can get back to better health. The program utilizes over 20 different methods at once to remove ALL toxic metals safely and deeply, while replenishing the minerals your body actually needs. Many nutrients are given on a Mineral Power to aid the body’s removal of excess lead.  

So what is Mineral Power? I’m glad you asked!

Mineral-Power-social-square-graphic-2

Mineral Power replenishes your minerals, helps you to restore balance to your body, and gives it energy so that it can push an overabundance of metals and other substances out when it no longer needs them to function.

Presently, humanity is exposed to the highest levels of toxic metals in recorded history, up to several thousand times higher than even several hundred years ago due to industrialization. The danger of toxic metals in our environment is greatly aggravated due to low mineral content of our food supply, as well as the contamination of our food supply. If one does not consume preferred minerals in the diet, the body will pick up whatever toxic metals it can from the food, air, and water as substitutes to perform various functions in the body. A key principle to remember is that an abundance of essential minerals in the diet and via supplementation protects the body against toxic metals.

It’s time to restore balance to your body with Mineral Power!

References:
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  2. Talia Sanders, Yiming Liu, Virginia Buchner, and Paul B. Tchounwou. “Neurotoxic Effects and Biomarkers of Lead Exposure: A Review.” Rev Environ Health. 2009 Jan–Mar; 24(1): 15–45. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2858639/
  3. Vigeh M, Saito H, Sawada S. Lead exposure in female workers who are pregnant or of childbearing age. Ind Health. 2011;49(2):255-61. Epub 2010 Dec 16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2117352
  4. Luo W, Ruan D, Yan C, Yin S, Chen J. Effects of chronic lead exposure on functions of nervous system in Chinese children and developmental rats. Neurotoxicology. 2012 Aug;33(4):862-71. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2012.03.008. Epub 2012 Apr 6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22504049
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    Lead Wicks Pose Major Safety Hazard, Especially to Children.” Feb. 24, 2000. http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/pressroomredirect.cfm?ID=434
  9. Park, Alice. “Study” Lead Poisoning Could Lurk in Spices.” Time Magazine. March 15, 2010. http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1971906,00.html
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  12. Silbergeld EK. “Drinking Water and the Developing Brain.” Cerebrum. 2016 Jul 1;2016https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28058090
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  14. Doumouchtsis KK, Doumouchtsis SK, Doumouchtsis EK, Perrea DN. “The effect of lead intoxication on endocrine functions.”  J Endocrinol Invest. 2009 Feb. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19411819
  15. Clarkson TW. “Metal Toxicity in the central nervous system.” Environ Health Perspect. 1987 Nov;75:59-64https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3319566
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  17. García-Lestón J, Roma-Torres J, Mayan O, Schroecksnadel S, Fuchs D, Moreira AO, Pásaro E, Méndez J, Teixeira JP, Laffon B. Assessment of immunotoxicity parameters in individuals occupationally exposed to lead. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2012;75(13-15):807-18. doi: 10.1080/15287394.2012.690327. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22788368
  18. Ishida K, Kotake Y, Sanoh S, Ohta S. “Lead-Induced ERK Activation Is Mediated by GluR2 Non-containing AMPA Receptor in Cortical Neurons.” Biol Pharm Bull. 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28250271
  19. Devi CB, Reddy GH, Prasanthi RP, Chetty CS, Reddy GR. “Developmental lead exposure alters mitochondrial monoamine oxidase and synaptosomal catecholamine levels in rat brain.” Int J Dev Neurosci. 2005 Jun;23(4):375-81. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15927761
  20. Joseph P. Dressler, Gary W. Goldstein. “Mechanisms of lead neurotoxicity.” Biochemical Pharmacology. Volume 41, Issue 4, 15 February 1991, Pages 479-484.  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/000629529190617E
  21. Sergeyev O, Burns JS, Williams PL, Korrick SA, Lee MM, Revich B, Hauser R. “The association of peripubertal serum concentrations of organochlorine chemicals and blood lead with growth and pubertal development in a longitudinal cohort of boys: a review of published results from the Russian Children’s Study.” Rev Environ Health. 2017 Feb 23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28231067
  22. Gandhi J, Hernandez RJ, Chen A, Smith NL, Sheynkin YR, Joshi G, Khan SA. “Impaired hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis activity, spermatogenesis, and sperm function promote infertility in males with lead poisoning.” Zygote. 2017 Feb 10.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28185602
  23. Parr, D.R. and Eric Harris. “Effects of Sucrose and Dextran on the Toxicity of Lead to Mitochondria in the Presence of Inorganic Phosphate in vitro.” Department of Biophysics, University College London, Gower Street, London WCIE 6BT, U.K.http://www.biochemsoctrans.org/content/ppbiost/3/6/951.full.pdf
  24. A.M. Watrach. “Degeneration of mitochondria in lead poisoning.” Journal of Ultrastructure ResearchVolume 10, Issues 3–4, April 1964, Pages 177-181. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022532064800010
  25. Zeqiri N, Zeqiri S, Skenderaj S. Blood pressure evaluation at the workers exposed to lead. Med Arh. 2012;66(2):92-3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22486137

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Wendy Myers, FDN, CHHC, is a functional diagnostic nutritionist, certified holistic health coach and founder of Live to 110. Her passions include getting you healthy, Modern Paleo, retoxing and detoxing. Discover her Mineral Power Program and enjoy freedom from fatigue and brain fog with metal detox.