Our bodies normally have an immune system that’s strong enough to fight off all manner of bacterial and viral pathogens. Louis Pasteur called this the “terrain” of the body, and when functioning in it’s natural, optimal state, it is sufficient to either keep us in good health or to successfully overcome illness. When a chronic illness or infection sets in, it’s the result of one of these three scenarios:
- Lack of proper nutritional status in the body.
- Excessive exposure to and accumulation of toxic heavy metals and other pollutants.
- Genetic abnormalities or changes.
The Terrain of the Body and Resistance to Infections
Something has to be wrong or imbalanced within the “terrain” of the body to allow bugs and viruses to hang around and thrive inside us. My job as a functional medicine practitioner is to identify what is poisoning the cells of the liver, brain, nerves, and so on, and to help the body to get rid of the aforementioned junk.
Chronic Fatigue, Persistent Infections, Lyme Disease, and Toxic Heavy Metals
Elements such as lead, mercury, cadmium, tin, arsenic, thallium, and aluminum, when accumulated in sufficiently high levels, cause damage to the mitochondria in our cells, which are responsible for producing energy in our bodies. This leads to chronic fatigue and persistence of infections, including potentially Lyme disease. Also, we can trace many cases of depression, brain fog, and lethargy to heavy metal toxicity.
Treatment Protocol for Chronic Conditions & Toxicity
In treatment, I usually start with a correctly executed hair mineral and metal analysis to view levels of both nutritional minerals (including magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, and zinc) as well as toxic heavy metals (such as lead, mercury, tin , cadmium, thallium, and aluminum). I practice a new type of analysis of the hair test data which is based in richly documented clinical and research-based methodology. Hair analysis has been used incorrectly in the past with some methods, such that results are not correctly interpreted. Following correct analysis of hair mineral/metal testing results, I can determine any specific follow-up blood or urine testing that is needed to elucidate more detail about any particular toxins or nutrients in your body.
After reviewing the health trends described by the hair test, I’m able to point clients to nutritional adjustments to begin correcting deficiencies. For example, I find many people to be deficient in magnesium, potassium, and other common elements. But minerals such as boron and lithium are often neglected in our diets, despite being extremely crucial for our health. While we strive to obtain needed nutritional elements from food sources whenever possible, there is typically a need to supplement with some specific minerals and vitamins during the therapy/detoxification period to ensure plentiful access and absorption of needed elements. Supplementation should be done in as succinct a manner as possible, and once the treatment period has been completed, most patients can resume obtaining the majority of their nutrient needs from food sources. This does vary somewhat from individual to individual, as each body has uniquely specific long-term needs to maintain optimum health.
Are You Deficient in Lithium?
Lithium occurs in the Earth’s crust in relatively small amounts. Soils in some regions are naturally low or depleted in this essential trace element, with the result that minimal amounts of lithium get into our plant and animal-based foods. Notice I said “trace element,” as supplementing with a few milligrams of lithium-orotate per day is completely different from the mega-doses of synthetic lithium used for managing some conditions, such as bipolar disorder. One pharmacological substance is a poison, while the other is essential for health. Do not throw the baby out with the bathwater by confusing the two! I’m talking about taking just enough to get our bodies’ lithium reserves to healthy levels for proper physiological functioning.
Lithium is crucial for:
- Proper insulin signaling. Together with zinc, lithium signals to the glucose transporters to get the glucose out of our bloodstreams and into our cells, where it can be used for energy. This is likely part of our national epidemic of Type-2 diabetes, as low lithium levels result in insulin resistance.
- Modulating the amount of a neurotransmitter called glutamate. Think of glutamate as the accelerator in your car – every muscle movement in the body is initiated with the passage of glutamate between the brain and nerve cells. But if there is not enough lithium in the body, the glutamate level can become excessive, leading to hyperactivity and then eventually fatigue. Without testing for lithium levels in a hair mineral test, we simply do not know if you’re getting adequate reserves in your body. Have chronic muscle strain that always returns no matter what you do? Consider getting a mineral/metal test with me to look at your levels.
- Lithium is needed for us to effectively absorb vitamin B12, and working with zinc, lithium is additionally an important part of the methylation cycle in our bodies.
What Happens when My Boron Levels are Deficient?
Boron is an essential trace element that is most easily tested for using hair analysis. Boron is found plentifully in most fruit; if you reduce fruit intake to an excessively low level, boron eventually will become deficient. If your body does not do well eating two to three pieces of fruit daily, you’re probably
a good candidate for supplementing in capsule form with boron. Boron is needed for bone strength and maintaining the health of the prostate (healthy levels of boron lead to lower levels of prostate-specific antigen, which is a good thing). Research also indicates an important role of boron in maintaining the health of breast tissue.
Candida, Mercury Toxicity, and Gut Bacteria Imbalance
With all this talk about eating two to three pieces of fruit daily, you might ask, “What about people with candida overgrowth?” It’s best to find the underlying cause of the candida. It’s often more related to
glucose and starches than to fructose (the form of sugar found naturally in fruit). The other main cause of high levels of mercury toxicity is persisting candida. Mercury kills off the beneficial bacteria, E. coli in the gut, allowing candida to multiply out of control. The mercury can come from eating swordfish, shark, and albacore or ahi tuna (the fish that are higher in the food chain than fish such as sardines, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, or even the smaller chunk light tuna sold in cans). Or mercury can also leach out from the silver amalgam dental fillings previously mentioned; this inorganic mercury is the most toxic species or form of mercury. Vaccines containing thimerosol as a preservative are a source of elemental mercury in our bodies, which is equally problematic. Thankfully, the current trend appears to be towards removing thimerosol from most vaccines.
When is Detoxification Needed?
If the patient is exhibiting signs of mercury toxicity, or if he/she has lots of amalgam dental fillings, or shows high levels of other heavy metals upon testing, a detoxification program is in order. This is best done gradually – my preferred strategy is to work on strengthening the glutathione system in the body (glutathione is our body’s “master anti-oxidant,” very important for detoxification), thereby assisting the body in ridding itself of these metals without using harsh chelation substances. In my clinical experience, it’s crucial to simultaneously supplement with nutritional minerals that are found to be deficient in testing.
Silver Toxicity, Gut Dysbiosis, Leaky Gut Syndrome, and IBS
After mercury, the second most common metal in amalgam dental fillings is silver. Silver is a sterilizing
agent that’s toxic to all bacteria, including the beneficial ones needed to keep our human microbiome (the total balance of bacteria in our bodies) in healthy balance. When silver disintegrates from silver amalgam fillings and gets to the gut, it can cause dysbiosis (overgrowth of undesirable bacteria), and it may well be causing many cases of leaky gut syndrome, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), and so forth. With large amounts of silver stored in the body, no amount of probiotic supplements will be effective until the underlying issue is corrected.
Have specific questions about detoxification of heavy metals and reaching your health goals? Get in touch with me for a free phone consult to decide the best starting point for your path to great health!