Trust Your Luck or Trust the Facts 
By Gisella Thomas, Director, Center for Advanced Medicine and V.P. Operation, Target Your Health 


Almost daily you see articles in your local newspapers about various toxins in our Southern California communities, “coke” in Long Beach or “lead” in Redlands. There may soon come a time when we all must put some serious thought into the insidious poisoning by toxic chemicals because the effects of these toxins are manifested in our body. Research has shown that 60-80 percent of all cancers are a direct result of chemicals in our air, water and food. 

The role environmental toxins play in the manifestation of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, as well as behavioral and mental disorders like depression, schizophrenia, and attention-deficit disorders, are not yet fully explored. The EPA estimates that billions of pounds of chemicals are released into our water system and the atmosphere annually. Today, more than 70,000 different chemicals are used commercially and very few have been tested for neurotoxin effects. 

Neurotoxins are toxins that directly affect the nervous system and, since the nervous system is very much connected to our immune system, it can be stated that neurotoxins also affect our immune system and immune functions. Knowing that, we can ascertain that our ability to think and function normally may be significantly affected by exposure to any environmental toxins. Neurotoxins we are most commonly exposed to are lead, mercury, cadmium and pesticides. Most of these toxins are colorless and odorless, hence making it rather difficult to detect. Because of this, symptoms of poisoning from today’s pollution may come on slowly due to a gradual buildup in toxins in our system. 

Have you ever wondered why you feel fatigued, lethargic, depressed, have allergies, frequent colds or infection, brain fog, memory loss, pains in your joints, anxiousness, feel disoriented, have cramps, blurred vision, behavioral changes and many other symptoms of the nervous system; then look into possible exposure to neurotoxins. Sadly enough, our children are particularly at risk. 

Many illnesses are attributed to the increased amount of free radicals. Whenever the human body is exposed to pollutants, pesticides, chemical waste or direct or second-hand cigarette smoke, exhaust or any of the before mentioned occupational, or environmental chemicals, they have been demonstrated to produce enormous amounts of reactive oxygen species, resulting in the oxidative deterioration of lipids, proteins and DNA in the cellular system. This is further enhanced by physical stress. 

One way to reduce the effect of neurotoxins is to increase nutrients in your diet to counteract cell damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are highly-reactive chemicals that damage our cells and prevent cell stabilization. Free radicals have been implicated in more than one-hundred human disease conditions including advanced aging, immune system changes, central nervous system diseases, gastritis, heart diseases, arteriosclerosis, arthritis and cancer. 

Are you aware of the neuro toxic effects caused by various metals? Do you know that lead binds to phospholipids of your nervous membrane! That lead poisoning reduces fertility in men and women, and is also able to penetrate the placenta barrier causing significant damage to embryos and fetuses. Toxic amounts of lead in children have been associated with a reduced IQ, hyperactivity, inability to concentrate and learning difficulties. 

Digestive disorders, which manifest themselves as persistent constipation, are also frequently symptoms of lead poisoning. Lead enters the organism primarily through the air we breathe and the food we eat. Gasoline is among the causes of lead contamination in the environment and will play an important role for a long time to come. Even new copper and/or galvanized plumbing may still be the cause of contamination if the soldered connections contain lead. The toxic effects of lead consist in its tendency to form bonds with enzymes and other proteins, and especially with DNA as well as with the blood producing cells, thereby causing anemia. 

Nickel is another of the highly-toxic trace elements. The danger of nickel poisoning is particularly high for persons working in the metal industry. Nickel is a frequent component of many types of high-quality steel and other industrial nickel alloys, but also of everyday objects like belt buckles, buttons, costume jewelry, coins, rechargeable (Nicad) batteries, glass and ceramics. Cocoa and tea contain relatively high levels of nickel. Inhaled by smokers as a component of tobacco, it contributes to the dangers of lung cancer. In the human organism, nickel deposits are found in the ribs, cerebellum, kidneys, liver and thyroid gland. 

A relatively high level of nickel occurs in embryos during the third and fourth month of pregnancy. Nickel, nickel alloys and nickel compounds have been shown to cause skin irritation, which with continued contact, can turn into the so-called nickel allergy of the skin and can develop into dermatitis. The chronic toxicity of metallic, as well as of ionic nickel, is enormous and it must be considered carcinogenic for humans. 

Copper is an important trace element but it is highly toxic in higher concentrations. If copper levels in the body are suppressed, i.e. as the result of chronic liver disease or in infants and small children, the long-term intake of copper ions may have serious toxic consequences. Important sources of contamination are tap water from copper pipes, cookware or IUD’s.

 Zinc is also a trace element needed as a building block for many enzymes and by cells of the immune system. Exceeding, as well as staying below these normal concentrations of zinc in your blood, will cause disorders. 

Mercury deposits in the human body do not come exclusively from amalgam tooth fillings but also from the food we eat, especially fatty fish and shellfish. The damages caused by chronic exposure to mercury are now generally recognized, so in many countries health authorities have stopped the use of amalgam for tooth fillings, at least for pregnant women. The high neurotoxin effects of mercury can have a visible impact on the whole body. Mercury enters the brain through the blood-brain barrier where the pituitary gland can sustain heavy damage. 

Hormonal dysfunction may result in infertility, and damage to the immune system caused by mercury probably plays a role in the development of tumors. As mercury is also able to penetrate the placenta barrier it can cause significant damage to embryos and fetuses. 

Together with mercury, cadmium is among the most dangerous of the heavy metals. It is an undisputed carcinogen, with kidneys, liver, prostate and lungs being the most likely affected. Smokers are especially at risk to accumulate high levels of cadmium. Its toxicity may be a cause of anemia and osteoporosis. Cadmium occurs in nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries and plastics, which, when incinerated, releases it into the atmosphere and water supply. Similarly, emissions from burning soft coal may contain high levels of cadmium. As a result cadmium turns up in the food chain notably seafood and hydrogenated fats. 

Antioxidants are scavengers of free radicals and render the cell-damaging free radicals harmless. Antioxidants are found in fruits, vegetables, and are those with vitamin C and E, beta-carotene, green tea, bioflavonids, to name a few. They all have demonstrated the prevention of numerous degenerative diseases. 

The criteria to use when taking antioxidants, and their therapeutic potential, is to check for absorption and bio-availability, and assuring effective dosage to avoid toxicity. It is also important to ensure proper distribution to your cells and tissues while assessing the ability to take on your free radicals. Other criteria to consider is the metal-chelating activity of your antioxidants and the interaction with other antioxidants and antioxidant enzymes, as well as the detoxification and excretion of metabolites. 

To find out whether your body has environmental toxins, an easy self-screen is available. This screen allows you to check your urine for any free radical excretion which is an indicator that you may be at risk for toxin poisoning that may contribute to unexplained ailments. 

To find out more information about the Center for Advanced Medicine, check out their website at . To learn more about the home screen, please check out . Be sure and tune in to Dr. William R. Kellas, co-founder of the Center on “Health Talk A Second Opinion” on KKLA 1210AM and KPRZ 99.5FM every Saturday from 11:00am to noon. His books “Thriving in A Toxic World” and “Surviving the Toxic Crisis” can be purchased by calling (888) 244-4420.

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