Heavy metal toxicity is something I am coming across more and more frequently in my clients with ME, CFS and Fibromyalgia. The metals involved differ between clients – some return a high reading for mercury, some for lead, others’ for nickel, one for arsenic. The list goes on. Each metal has its own specific toxic action on the body. Arsenic, for example, has many harmful effects including the inhibition of mitochondrial function. Lead deposits in the adrenals and thyroid and impacts iron transport and Vitamin D synthesis. Mercury is linked to impaired energy production, memory loss and insomnia. Each metal is damaging enough on its own, though they are often worse in combination. For example, the toxicity of lead is significantly increased by the presence of either mercury or cadmium.

The body recognises that heavy metals are toxic, and so removes them from the bloodstream and stores them in organs and tissues. Because of this, a blood test or urine test will only identify a heavy metal if exposure has been recent. To get an accurate picture of the build-up, we need to ‘provoke’ a reaction with a chelating agent. A chelating agent acts like a magnet, drawing heavy metals out of the organs and tissues so they can be measured in the urine.

All heavy metals create a burden in the body that impacts overall health. A supervised detoxification programme using chelating agents and supporting nutrients is important and it is key that the detox is done gently so as not to further burden the liver and kidneys. It should also not be done when the body is in a very weakened state – some return to health is important prior to undertaking such a programme.

Chronic exhaustive conditions have many facets, triggers and causes. Although the effects of heavy metals on the body are wide and debilitating, and impact many of the body’s normal processes, dealing with heavy metal toxicity (and other environmental poisons) is never the total answer.  Addressing adrenal and thyroid health, mitochondrial function, methylation pathways, supporting the immune system and improving diet and gut health are all part of the picture. A truly holistic programme will also address the emotional aspects involved.

Remember, recovery is absolutely possible!

If you would like to know more about the treatment options offered by Wellbeing for ME, please visit the website www.wellbeing-for-me.co.uk, email Emma Chapman-Sharp Emma@wellbeing-for-me.co.uk or telephone 07880 974402.