As much as you may attempt to avoid them, environmental toxins are everywhere. Food, water, products in our home, toxins may be lurking. Environmental exposure to heavy metals and other toxins is a constant threat. Although it is rare for individuals to develop acute cases of heavy metal toxicity, it is likely that many individuals suffer from some degree of heavy metal build-up. This can contribute to the development of various nagging symptoms and neurological or attention disorders.
One of the main ways heavy metals can impact people’s health is by irritating the gut, specifically the gut lining and the gut microbiome. This is because one of the primary ways our body tries to process heavy metals is through the gut lining. However, as the gut has developed to optimize the digestion of food and not heavy metals, these toxins irritate the sensitive gut lining, which causes inflammation. Both gut irritation and inflammation are precursors to the development of leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome, or intestinal permeability, occurs when the junctions that hold the cells of your intestine wall lose their connectivity, allowing for unwanted toxins, antigens, bacteria, etc. to pass through the intestinal barrier and enter the bloodstream. If left untreated, this can cascade into systemic inflammation a host of other health issues stemming from poor gut health.
Heavy metals also negatively impact the gut microbiome. The microbiome is a collection of bacteria in the large intestine that support digestion as well as many other aspects of the body such as immune health, heart health, brain health, and more. When heavy metals accumulate in the gut over an extended period of time, it can negatively alter several different kinds of beneficial bacteria. Studies have shown that lead and cadmium most severely alter the microbiome, but all heavy metals can to some degree. When gut bacteria are not as robust as they normally are, it will lead to an imbalance in the microbiome, allowing for pathogenic species to take over. Once there is a bacterial infection of the gut, it can cause widespread systematic dysfunction and even trigger autoimmune conditions in those with a genetic predisposition.
As the gut makes up approximately 75% of the immune system and is also responsible for balancing our moods, the ability to handle stress, obesity, cholesterol levels, and heart dysfunction, poor gut health and significantly impact a patient’s overall wellness and lead to serious systematic issues.
Resolving toxicity requires effective testing and toxin identification. By using advanced testing methods such as the Oligoscan available at Holtorf Medical Group, patients can quickly and accurately assess the level of heavy metals and other toxins present in the body. Utilizing methods such as these allows for higher quality patient-specific treatment that results in greater patient wellness. The Oligoscan testing apparatus is accurate for assessing tissue levels of various substances including heavy metals. The speed of Oligoscan is made possible through the use of spectrophotometry. This technology utilizes the relationship between material density and light reflectivity to determine the composition and prevalence of substances within the tissue.