Heavy metals are compounds that are considered to be toxic because they interfere with the normal functioning of the human body. “Heavy metals” are chemical elements with a specific gravity that is at least 5 times the specific gravity of water. Some examples of heavy metals that can be toxic in the body are lead, arsenic, cadmium, lead, nickel, aluminum and mercury. Today our food and water are commonly contaminated by heavy metals. Heavy metals like aluminum, lead and mercury have no biological benefit and are in no way needed by the body.
Beneficial Heavy Metals
Certain heavy metals are nutritionally essential for a healthy life in small quantities. Some of these are referred to as the trace elements (ex. copper, iron, zinc, and manganese). Trace elements act as co-factors in the body that help to drive metabolic reactions and support body tissues. These elements, or some form of them, are commonly found naturally in foods such as fruits and vegetables.
Toxic Heavy Metals
Heavy metals can enter the human body through a wide variety of mediums such as water, food, air, or they can be absorbed through the skin when they come in contact with humans in agriculture and in manufacturing, pharmaceutical, industrial, or residential settings. Heavy metals become toxic when they are not metabolized by the body and accumulate in the soft tissues. They affect all aspects of cell function and can alter how our genetic code is expressed thereby having a long term detrimental effect on our health.