Heavy Metals: Your Circulation Nightmare

by David Grisaffi


By definition “heavy metals” are metals or metallic compounds that
negatively affect the health of humans.  All living organisms
require varying amounts of some heavy metals.  The human body needs
iron, cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc for optimal
health and metabolism.  Certain other heavy metals such as mercury,
plutonium, and lead are toxic to humans.  Even those heavy metals
that are beneficial to you can cause harm if they are used or
consumed in excessive amounts.  The main threats to human safety
and health come from the heavy metals lead, cadmium, mercury, and
arsenic.  Each heavy metal affects the human body in many different
ways.  In the remainder of this article you will find information
that will tell you how some heavy metals affect your heart,
breathing, and overall circulation.

Cadmium compounds are mainly used in re-chargeable batteries:
however, cigarette smoke is a major source of exposure, and , to
some extent, food.  Food is affected because of there is very
little recycling of cadmium batteries and it runs off from
landfills into surface water.  Cadmium causes kidney damage, bone
defects, and an increase in fractures.  The kidney damage and
defects in bones and bone marrow will cause circulation problems.
In general, people are exposed to mercury through the foods that
they eat.  Fish is the main food source that contains the methyl
mercury.  To a much smaller extent, dental amalgam can be linked to
mercury exposure. 

The main side effects of mercury exposure are in
the nervous system.  Pregnant women should be especially wary of
freshwater fish that have been caught because of the high mercury
in them.  The mercury will cause birth defects.  Mercury will cause
muscle weakness and loss of muscle control.  The muscle weakness
affects the heart, lungs, and blood circulation.  Lead exposure is
generally found in the air and food in equal parts.  Lead emissions
into the air have caused wide spread pollution.  Gasoline and
lead-based paint are the two major sources of exposure. 

While paint manufactured since 1978 does not contain lead, older
homes may still have walls painted with contaminated products.  An
unexpected source of lead is glazed food containers.  The side
effects of lead exposure are mainly neurological in nature.  They
are very similar to mercury exposure.  Lead can cause kidney damage
and anemia.  Arsenic, the last of the heavy metals, and arguably
the most common, is the most dangerous.  The major sources are
food, drinking water, and work environments. Hard to get away from
isn’t it.  Arsenic can penetrate rubber or latex gloves and is
easily absorbed by your skin. 

Arsenic is especially dangerous because it binds with your
hemoglobin and prevents your red blood cells from absorbing oxygen. 
It will cause your blood cells to rupture and then muscle cells will
begin to die from the lack of oxygen. Your heart muscle will weaken
leading to poor circulation.

Long term, or extreme, exposure will cause heart failure from
oxygen deprivation.  Arsenic has been linked to dozens of different
types of cancer.  The food sources that contain arsenic are too
numerous to list.  Most water sources contain some arsenic because
of run-off of pesticides used in farming or pollution from industry
and fossil fuel use.

All of these heavy metals have one thing in common.  They are a
nightmare for your circulation.  By blocking red blood cells from
picking up oxygen, they essentially strangle your cells and kill
them off.  Thankfully, we are aware of where our heavy metal threat
comes from.  That enables you to minimize your risks for health
damage.  Watching what you eat and knowing the source of the food
are essential.  Stop smoking and avoid second hand smoke.  Check
your local water supply.  The EPA requires testing and the results
are available to the public.  Another good point is that there are
several diets available that focus on the cleansing of your body of
heavy metals.  Severe cases will require medical treatment, but for
most of you a change in lifestyle and diet will prevent heavy
metals from becoming your circulation nightmare.
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David Grisaffi, C. H. E. K. II, CFT, PN
Corrective Exercise Kinesiologist II
Golf Biomechanic
Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach II