What are toxins?

What's toxicity? Most definitions would describe it as the degree to which a substance is poisonous. Knowing a material's toxic levels is especially important to federal agencies using the information to test potential dangers posed to people's health and to the environment. How do scientists understand how poisonous something is and whether that substance--be it oil, chemical treating agents, or toxic compounds - will be contaminated when introduced into marine or coastal waters?

How can you know if you have been exposed to toxic substances that are affecting my health? In today's hyper-industrialized world, we are exposed to many contaminants daily. They invade our bodies through the air we breathe, the foods we eat, and the water we consume, among numerous other sources. Our bodies work to expel these contaminants using natural detoxification procedures. However, when toxic substance exposure is high, it can overwhelm the body's ability to eliminate these compounds, enabling them to build up to levels efficient in impacting health and well-being.

High levels of body contaminants can be triggered by a single, concentrated direct exposure to toxic substances, such as heavy metals or damaging chemicals. Those affected by this sort of intense exposure to harmful substances typically know they have been exposed and will generally experience instant symptoms, such as breathing difficulty, headache, nausea, or confusion, among others.

Toxins are chemicals generated by plants and animals that are harmful to humans. Most frequently, toxins that create difficulty in individuals come from germs such as bacteria. Other environmental toxins consist of metals, like aluminum or lead. Some evaluations to track vulnerability would be the Aluminum Blood Test, Lead Blood test, or the Arsenic Blood Test.

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Medications & toxicity

The concept that symptom-relief-based medication isn't just not coping with the true causes of disease and ill health but also exacerbates the situation through harmful drugs. It is a well-known fact that most medications are essentially toxic for the enzymes, and they often make people less healthy by adding to their already heavy toxic load. Conventional medicine has many advantages, and in many instances drugs are lifesaving. But for everyday health issues, we must stop using them as the first line of intervention. Treating the disease source is the only solution to the medical care crisis, and toxins are a potential source of disease.

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What is toxic load?

How can we determine a person's toxic load? With toxic load becoming an ever-more severe problem, accurate assessment is essential for determining if this has to be addressed for the individual and monitoring the intervention's efficacy. There are several approved tests for metal toxicity. Still, they rely primarily on blood and urine, mainly for acute exposure and unreliable body load. The criteria for chemical poison load are essentially population-based meaning unless a patient is in the top 5 percent of blood levels, they aren't considered toxic.

However, high toxin levels are likewise often triggered by chronic everyday exposure to low levels of toxins, allowing them to gradually collect in the system. Signs of this sort of toxicity are not as clear-cut. They may include problems like a lapse of memory, fatigue, muscle aches, impaired immune function, and digestion issues, among numerous other rather non-specific symptoms.

How can you tell if your signs are because of toxin buildup in your body or simply a cold or flu? Identifying high toxic substance levels starts with examining the type of symptoms you have, their severity and period, and your capacity for direct exposure to damaging compounds in your daily environment. If your doctor presumes that toxins might be at the root of those symptoms, learning for sure will require a couple of laboratory tests.

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Common toxicity tests

Among the more common tests utilized to spot toxic compounds in the body are heavy metals profiles, blood tests that search for harmful metals that include lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic. Nickel exposure can be identified utilizing blood testing, too, as can hazardous chemicals plentiful in the environment, such as benzene, ethylbenzene, styrene, toluene, xylenes, and carbon monoxide. Blood testing can likewise measure the levels of metals and minerals that the body needs in trace quantities, yet are harmful at high levels, such as selenium, cobalt, iron, manganese, and zinc.

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Exposure to heavy metals

What are heavy metals, and how do we get exposed? A range of heavy metals is present in the environment. Some occur naturally, while others might exist due to pollution. Some, in percentages, play important functions in the body, while others have no known beneficial role in regards to health. Elevated levels of heavy metals in our bodies (whether nutritionally needed or not) are called heavy metal toxicity. These high levels can cause a long list of symptoms and various health issues.

The heavy metals that the body needs are the same ones that we enter contact with usually, such as zinc, copper, chromium, manganese, and iron. While these essential elements boost health in trace quantities, they can become heavy metal poisoning at high levels. These metals are generally gotten from foods, though it is incredibly uncommon for metals ingested in food to lead to unfavorable health results. Direct exposure to harmful levels of these metals typically occurs via overuse of dietary supplements, industrial/workplace direct exposure, or medical problems that hinder the metabolic process, such as liver or kidney illness.

Other heavy metals commonly experienced in the environment are metals that serve no purpose in the body. However, they might still collect in its tissues, such as mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and aluminum. Typical direct exposure sources consist of:

- Lead: Typical sources of toxic lead exposure include lead-based paints, which are most typical to discover in older homes in the United States. This exposure can result in ingestion as flakes or breathed in as dust, contaminated water and/or pipes, air contamination, and work environment exposure. Some cosmetics include lead, particularly lipsticks, improperly glazed ceramic dishes that might leach lead, and it has been discovered in some toys, mainly imported plastic ones.

- Cadmium: Air pollution is the primary source of this metal, settling to earth from the air to infect water and soil. It remains in a lot of foods, with the heaviest contamination discovered in shellfish, liver, and kidney meats, and is breathed in from infected air and tobacco smoke.

- Mercury: Direct exposure takes place via inhalation, skin absorption, or consumption. Typical sources are air pollution, mercury amalgam mercury-based vaccine preservatives, oral fillings, cosmetics, and direct dietary exposure, the majority of commonly through contaminated seafood. Methylmercury is a particularly dangerous kind of mercury that forms when the mercury in soil, water, or plants comes in contact with a particular bacteria. Fluorescent light bulbs and older glass thermometers include mercury, and if broken, can be a source of exposure. 

- Arsenic: exposure can come from pesticides, dealt with wood, water, air contamination, and work environment exposure. Some paints include arsenic, as do specific rat poisons or fungicides. Fish and shellfish may also contain arsenic from polluted waters, and many chicken manufacturers utilize arsenic-based additives in chicken feed.

- Aluminum: Common sources of direct exposure consist of drinking water, antiperspirants, air contamination, aluminum pots and pans, aluminum foil, baking powders, processed cheeses, table salt, and over-the-counter drugs, consisting of numerous antacids, anti-diarrheal drugs, and pain relievers.

While there is no way to avoid direct exposure to heavy metals completely, there are steps you can require to lower your possibility of direct exposure. For example, you can reduce your modification of mercury exposure by restricting your intake of fish and seafood to no greater than one or two times a week. Likewise, you can reduce your direct exposure to lead by looking into the lead content of dishware, cookware, cosmetics, and toys. Picking organic foods can restrict exposure through pesticides and arsenic-laced poultry. Other preliminary techniques you must consider to limit exposure to heavy metals are using stainless-steel or enamel cookware, avoiding the use of aluminum foil, eating less processed foods, avoiding medications that contain aluminum, and setting up a water purification system. Your doctor can supply you with more information on how to restrict your direct exposure to heavy metals.

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Heavy metal toxicity signs

Signs or symptoms of heavy metal toxicity

There are two primary forms of heavy metal toxicity, intense toxicity that occurs when one is exposed to a considerable amount of metal at one time, and chronic toxicity, which occurs with long-term direct exposure to low levels of heavy metals. Symptoms of acute heavy metal toxicity typically appear quite quickly after current direct exposure and might include:

Confusion

Numbness or tingling in hands, arms, legs, and or feet

Nausea

Throwing up

Headache

Extreme sweating

Labored breathing

Impaired motor or language abilities

Irregular heartbeat

Convulsions

Chronic metal toxicity symptoms develop slowly and are more challenging to recognize. Amongst the most typical are:

Chronic fatigue

Brain fog

Headaches, migraines

State of mind swings, anxiety, depression

Dizziness

Muscle discomfort

Sleeping disorders

Impaired immune function

Gastrointestinal problems, such as bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea,  stomach discomfort, heartburn, indigestion

Burning, numbness, tingling in extremities

Be sure to schedule a visit with a health care professional if you experience these symptoms.

These are the steps scientists go through to determine whether a substance is poisonous and what concentration levels. Toxicity testing is much more complex and detailed. There are now many toxicity measures apart from death or illness: for instance, a lot of tests done now look at "endpoints," for example, effects on enzyme systems, or changes in animal behavior, or declines in egg production. The last use of toxicity data is in contrast with concentrations measured or anticipated in the area. If the attention of a pollutant in the area is under any of the concentrations termed "toxic" in the lab, it might well be that the contaminant isn't a problem. If concentrations in the area are higher, then there's cause for concern.

A toxicology test (drug evaluation) looks for traces of drugs on your blood, urine, hair, sweat, or saliva. You might need to be tested due to a policy in which you work or go to college. Your physician could also purchase a toxicology test to help you get treatment for chemical abuse or maintain your recovery on track.

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Heavy metal direct exposure treatment

A toxicology test can not show when you have a dependence issue. Additionally, it can not pinpoint just how much of a medication you have used or when. It can only tell if certain medicines are (or happen to be) on your body. Long after you inhale, inject, or ingest them, legal and illegal drugs leave clues in the body.

What is the treatment for heavy metal direct exposure? Heavy metal toxicity is identified employing an evaluation of symptoms and testing for heavy metal levels. A heavy metals test might try to find particular metals in urine, blood, or plasma to assess levels within the body. A blood sample is typically used to determine mercury levels or detect lead poisoning, for instance. Relying on the particular metal included, blood tests might also be done to evaluate the function of the liver and kidneys or to look for anemia related to heavy metal toxicity.

If your doctor detects you with a form of heavy metal toxicity, treatment in persistent toxicity starts with figuring out likely sources of chronic exposure and eliminating them. For moderate to moderate cases, avoiding additional direct exposure to the toxic elements may be enough to permit the body to remove contaminants, or nutritional therapy may be used to help the elimination procedure. Chelation treatment may be utilized in acute toxicity and more persistent severe toxicity cases, which use specific agents to flush metals from the body. A toxicology test can screen for:

Cocaine

Methamphetamine

Amphetamines

Barbiturates

Pot

Opiates

Phencyclidine (PCP)

Drugs banned from competitive sports

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References

1. Kong IC, Bitton G, Koopman B, Jung KH. Heavy metal toxicity testing in environmental samples. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol. 1995;142:119-47. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4612-4252-9_5. PMID: 7652196.

2. National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences/Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center. Gaithersburg (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Heavy metal poisoning:https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/6577/heavy-metal-poisoning

3. National Organization for Rare Disorders. Danbury (CT): NORD National Organization for Rare Disorders; c2017. Heavy Metal Poisoning: https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/heavy-metal-poisoning

4. University of Rochester Medical Center. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2017. Health Encyclopedia: Mercury (Blood):  https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid;=mercury_blood

5. Lab Tests Online. Washington D.C.: American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. Heavy Metals: Common Questions: https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/heavy-metals/tab/faq

6. American Academy of Pediatrics. Elk Grove Village (IL): American Academy of Pediatrics; c2017. Detection of Lead Poisoning  https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/lead-exposure/Pages/Detection-of-Lead-Poisoning.aspx

7. Lab Tests Online. Washington D.C.: American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. Heavy Metals: The Test: https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/heavy-metals/tab/test

8. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; What Are the Risks of Blood Tests?: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/bdt/risks

9. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; What To Expect with Blood: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/bdt/with

10. Quest Diagnostics. Quest Diagnostics; c2000–2017. Test Center: Heavy Metals Panel, Blood: http://www.questdiagnostics.com/testcenter/BUOrderInfo.action?tc=7655&labCode;=PHP

11. University of Rochester Medical Center. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2017. Health Encyclopedia: Lead (Blood). : https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid;=lead_blood

12. Lab Tests Online. Washington D.C.: American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. Heavy Metals: The Test Sample; https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/heavy-metals/tab/sample

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