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Heavy Metal Blues
by Decker Weiss, N.M.D.

Not that long ago, every household had at least one glass thermometer. Kept in the medicine cabinet over the bathroom sink, these mercury-filled thermometers were notoriously easy to break, most often during the required shake down of the mercury before use.While fascinating, those little blobs of mercury that appeared like magic when a glass thermometer was broken pose a significant hazard to our health, even many years later. In fact, it only takes 1/70th of a teaspoon of mercury (the amount in one glass thermometer) to contaminate a 25 acre lake.

Mercury, like lead and cadmium, is a heavy metal. Heavy metals are dangerous because they tend to bioaccumulate. When mercury travels down the bathroom drain, it makes its way into the ground water, lakes, and streams. Once in the water, mercury changes into methylmercury, a highly toxic form. Fish in lakes, oceans, and streams eat tiny organisms that contain methylmercury. The older the fish, the more contaminated organisms it consumes, the greater the amount of methylmercury in its tissues.When another fish eats the first fish, the accumulated methylmercury is passed up the food chain, eventually becoming hundreds or thousands of times its original concentration. Organisms at the very top of the food chain—you and me—face the highest risk of mercury poisoning.

As a potent neurotoxin, mercury causes brain and nerve damage as well as blindness. Mercury can also cause kidney damage, mouth ulcers, and serious gum disease. The toxic effects of lead include anemia, kidney disease, and fertility problems. Cadmium causes emphysema and cancer of the prostate and lung.

While heavy metal contamination and toxicity might seem overwhelming and hopeless, there are ways we can effectively reduce our personal health risks. By "chelating" or binding heavy metals in our bodies, we may remove these harmful toxins. Nutritional supplements containing Humifulvate® effectively bind to heavy metals like mercury, lead, and cadmium, allowing them to be eliminated naturally.

Discovered in Hungary, Humifulvate is made from a rich peat bed found primarily along the shore of Lake Balaton. Hungarian veterinarians realized that animals eating grasses and other plants on the lake's peat deposits had superior disease resistance, enhanced mineral absorption, improved immune function, and optimal growth.

The naturally occurring humic, fulvic, and phenolic acids in the Humifulvate in Metal Magnet, from Enzymatic Therapy, have an affinity for heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and mercury—toxic minerals with relatively high densities. The humic, fulvic, and phenolic acids in Metal Magnet, however, have no affinity for lower density metals and are unable to bind to the minerals in our bodies that are needed for health, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, chromium, manganese, iron, copper, selenium, iodine, molybdenum, sulfur, and cobalt.

Another effective way to reduce our exposure to mercury is by cutting it off at the pass. By saturating the blood-brain barrier, a unique shielding structure in the brain's blood vessels, we can prevent mercury from crossing into the brain. Mercury Detox, from Tyler, Inc., contains non-polar amino acids that saturate the bloodbrain barrier, preventing mercury's entrance into the brain.While all non-polar amino acids are thought to provide this protection, Mercury Detox contains the amino acids most effective at blood-brain barrier saturation.

Gone may be the days of the glass thermometer, but heavy metal contamination is now more reality than threat. Fortunately, there are effective and safe methods of natural chelation and detoxification with supplementation. As with any detoxification regime, however, it is vital to combine it with a colon cleanse—ensuring proper and regular elimination of toxins—and to get an adequate daily supply of antioxidants, minerals, and trace minerals.