Analysis of elements in feces provides a comprehensive evaluation of environmental exposure, toxic accumulation and endogenous detoxification of potentially toxic metals. For many toxic elements such as mercury, cadmium, lead, antimony and uranium, biliary excretion into the feces is the primary natural route of elimination from the body. The primary process by which the body eliminates the insidious sulfhydryl reactive metals is through the formation of metal-glutathione complexes of which greater than 90% are excreted into the bile. Evidence for the importance of the fecal route of detoxification is provided by the fact that fecal mercury levels of people with dental amalgams (filling) are typically an order of magnitude higher than people without dental amalgams.
The primary objective of preventative medicine is the avoidance or removal of exposure to toxic substances. The rate of oral absorption of toxic metals varies considerably among subspecies of a particular element. Therefore, fecal elemental analysis can also provide a direct indication of dietary exposure. Orally, the percent absorption of nickel, cadmium and lead is usually quite low. However, chronic low-level assimilation of toxic metals can result in significant accumulation in the body. The results of fecal elemental analysis cam help identify and eliminate dietary exposure to toxic metals.
Fecal metals test is not developed to replace urinary toxic metals provocation test but rather provides an alternative to infants, children or adults for whom urine collection is problematic, or for individuals who cannot tolerate chelation agents.