By Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath
With February being national Heart Health month, I wanted to address an aspect of heart health that is often misunderstood or completely ignored.
Everyone is exposed to heavy metals every day. Everywhere you turn, you will see a source of heavy metals: from air pollutants to drinking water to vegetables to cosmetics and even vaccines (Table 1). This constant exposure allows heavy metals to accumulate in the system, causing many problems such as memory loss, heart problems, difficulty concentrating and behavioral issues and cancer, among others.
Here at Depke Wellness we recommend a urine porphyrin when heavy metal toxicity is suspected. Without this tests, you can look for physical markers that signify heavy metal toxicity, such as the following:
- Dark protruding veins under the tongue with red/black spots
- Black- or blue-colored nails
- Dark/blue lines/discoloration on gum
- Metallic taste in mouth
If you have these markers it is likely that you have heavy metal toxicity. The dark colored nails or gum and the spots under the tongue indicate metal deposits.
If you have red or black spots under your tongue (Figure 1) as well as an earlobe crease (Figure 3), you have a high risk for heart disease and may have to undergo heart surgery (angioplasty or bypass) eventually.
Heavy metals are known to cause inflammation, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, vascular damage, plaque, blood clots and more. If this can be controlled, angioplasty and other heart procedures can be avoided. Besides, about 38% of angioplasty procedures have been found to have no benefit at all (Reference: JAMA. July 2011). Furthermore, those who undergo open heart surgery have a 5% chance of death during the operation.
If we have a client with suspect heavy metal toxicity we will assess this further with a urine porphyrin test. If this test comes back as positive for heavy metals we would address this in a systematic approach as presented below.
- We first test blood/brain barrier function with a GABA test. GABA is a neurotransmitter that is too large of a molecule to cross a healthy blood/brain barrier. Taking 1000mgs of this on an empty stomach should have no affect on your if the blood/brain barrier is healthy. If this is not, this may create an affect of either a sedating or a stimulating effect. Either of these responses would show a likelihood of poor blood/barrier function. This is important to know up front because this will protect your brain when working through a metal detox. If this is an issue we would first recommend supplements to assist in increasing blood flow to the brain and the appropriate form of glutathione to assist the body in reestablishing a healthy blood/brain barrier.
- It is also important to remove any silver amalgam fillings that you may have. It is well known that mercury will leach from your fillings at a faster rate than your body can detoxify the mercury. Always have these replaced by a dentist that understand the dangers of mercury and follows protocols for safe removal.
- Mild liver support is next. We use a combination of an herbal tincture and glutathione to assist your liver in natural function.
- Next we would recommended moving into a more aggressive liver support. We use one supplement that supports all areas of phase I and II liver detoxification as well as a powder to be mix with water to enhance liver function.
- Once we reach this point we would then recommend Metal Flush which is an aggressive, yet safe oral chelator. This is an oral chelating herbal supplement that is typically free of side effects, does not strip essential trace elements, safe for children in the proper dose, and supports the body in removing heavy metals through urination and fecal excretion. It is also very cost effective. The use of vitamin C with this can even enhance your benefits.
- A retest is typically done after 6 months and if this shows that the body has reduced the heavy metal toxins in the tissue, this would be a good time to add in a cilantro extract which as been shown to help remove metals from the brain. I do not recommend this until the tissue of the body has been cleared so there is no risk of carrying metals into the brain.
If you have been diagnosed with a cardiovascular challenge, suspect that something is simply not right with your heart or if you have a history of heart disease in your family, please be sure to pay attention to any of the body signs shown earlier in this article. And if this shows a suspected heavy metal toxicity, get yourself tested and address this appropriately.
Your heart with thank you!