Get the Lead Out

lead_poisoningLead interferes with a variety of body processes and is toxic to many organs and tissues including the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive and nervous systems.

We are exposed to lead through contaminated air, water, soil, food, and consumer products. Vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, mustard, sunflower, and lettuce showed higher accumulation of heavy metals especially in their roots and older leaves. There is no known amount of lead that is too small to cause the body harm.

Symptoms of long-term exposure include abdominal pain, kidney damage, dizziness, forgetfulness, confusion, headache, anemia, irritability, and in severe cases seizures, coma, and death.

Symptoms of short-term effects of exposure can bring on headaches, abdominal pain, constipation, fatigue and even mild personality changes.

Your body stores lead in the blood, soft tissues, and bone; the half-life of lead in these tissues is measured in weeks for blood, months for soft tissues, and years for bone. Lead in the bones, teeth, hair, and nails is bound tightly and not available to other tissues, and is generally thought not to be harmful. In adults, 94% of absorbed lead is deposited in the bones and teeth, however, children only store 70% in this manner, a fact which may partially account for the more serious health effects on children.

The estimated half-life of lead in bone is 20 to 30 years, and bone can introduce lead into the bloodstream long after the initial exposure is gone. The half-life of lead in the blood in men is about 40 days, but it may be longer in children and pregnant women, whose bones are undergoing remodeling, which allows the lead to be continuously re-introduced into the bloodstream.

Also, if lead exposure takes place over years, clearance is much slower, partly due to the re-release of lead from bone. Many other tissues store lead, but those with the highest concentrations (other than blood, bone, and teeth) are the brain, spleen, kidneys, liver, and lungs. It is removed from the body very slowly, mainly through urine. Smaller amounts of lead are also eliminated through the feces, and very small amounts in hair, nails, and sweat.

The primary cause of lead’s toxicity is its interference with a variety of enzymes because it binds to sulfhydryl groups found on many enzymes. Part of lead’s toxicity results from its ability to mimic other metals that take part in biological processes, which act as cofactors in many enzymatic reactions, displacing them at the enzymes on which they act. Lead is able to bind to and interact with many of the same enzymes as these metals but, due to its differing chemistry, does not properly function as a cofactor, thus interfering with the enzyme’s ability to catalyze its normal reaction or reactions. Among the essential metals with which lead interacts negatively are calcium, iron, and zinc.

Lead is just one of many toxic minerals to which we have all been exposed. The others are aluminum, antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, mercury and silver.  Here at the Be Well Spa we can determine, through hair analysis, what heavy metal burden you might be carrying and can help you discharge the toxicity.

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