Monday, February 17, 2014

Heavy Metals Part 2 - Testing


Heavy Metals & Diseases

Autism isn't the only disorder associated with heavy metals. Alzheimer's, chronic fatigue, candidasis,  food allergies, autoimmune diseases, fibromyalgia, neuromuscular disorders, tics, and a host of others can also have heavy metals as their cause or as a contributing factor. 

Heavy Metal Testing

There are three main types of heavy metal testing:
  • hair analysis
  • blood test
  • urine test & urine challenge test
Blood tests and urine tests are great for testing what is going on in the blood at that snapshot moment, but are not at all effective at testing what is in the tissues. The metals in the tissues are what matters in chronic or long-term issues because that is where metals that are not excreted or detoxified from the body lodge and cause interference in the normal functioning of the body and cell.

Hair analysis can reveal metals the body has been storing. It can also show levels of essential minerals. I believe this is an excellent tool. However, it does have limitations. In a study done comparing mercury levels in hair analysis samples of autistic children and non-autistic children, the autistic children's hair samples showed LESS mercury than the non-autistic children. Yet in challenge tests (which I'll explain in the next section), the mercury excreted by the autistic children were much higher than the amounts excreted by neurotypical children.
  *Jordan's hair analysis revealed he was extremely high in several metals, but his mercury level was not significantly high.

Urine challenge testing is done by the client/patient taking a chelating agent (substance that pulls metals out of the tissues) such as DMSA or DMPS while the urine is collected for 24 hours and is then tested for the levels of metals. This is a very accurate way to determine the level of metals in a body. It needs to be supervised by a doctor and is relatively expensive. 
 *I took a urine challenge test since my levels were likely reflective of Jordan's levels due to his age at the onset of symptoms. It revealed relatively high levels of mercury.

For more on metals:
Heavy Metals & Autism Part 1 - Signs & Symptoms
Heavy Metals Part 3: 4 Critical Considerations BEFORE You Detox!

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