Recognizing Chemical and Heavy Metal
By Maureen Kennedy Salaman
A very dear friend of mine had a daughter who was diagnosed as having epilepsy when she was 12 years old. The girl went through years of embarrassing and sometimes dangerous public seizures. Years later she discovered she didn't have epilepsy at all. Her body had been reacting to the presence of aluminum in her body. When she completely stopped eating and drinking out of aluminum cans and cookware, eliminated all foods and medicines containing aluminum, her symptoms stopped. She has not had a seizure for 10 years.
This is the tragedy of our current conventional medicine: the tragedy of misdiagnoses. Many of our chronic diseases: Alzheimer's, arthritis, cancer, chronic fatigue, depression and epilepsy, can be caused by chemical poisoning. The good news is that our bodies are capable of throwing off most chemicals alien to our systems and good health. With certain detoxifying tools, which I will describe, we can handle short-term toxic exposure.
What causes chemical poisoning?
Exposure to automobile emissions day after day is one. Children playing in yards that have been sprayed with pesticides, new carpeting that smells of chemicals long after it has been laid —— all are products of our modern, and very toxic environment, wearing down our immune systems and contributing to disease.
Old buildings are not the only dwellings that can cause its occupants to get sick. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), up to 30 percent of new and remodeled buildings trigger illness in some of their occupants. Affected individuals exhibit nonspecific complaints, including headache, respiratory irritation, asthma or flu-like symptoms, chest tightness, and fatigue. Over the past decade, many studies have demonstrated that "sick building" syndrome contributes to increased absenteeism and reduced work efficiency, not to mention physical discomfort.
Not surprisingly, removal of toxic metals and chemicals in the body has been found to reverse symptoms of disease. In a Canadian newspaper there was a case report of two children whose autistic symptoms and hyperactivity disappeared when they were treated for lead poisoning. Important in any program of self-help health is an awareness of symptoms and ailments that can be traced to chemicals.
The number of pharmaceuticals that cause side effects severe enough for hospitalization are so numerous we can't know about them all. One estimate is that side effects each year put 1.6 million people in hospitals and kill up to 160,000 Americans, at a cost of more than $20 billion. Suffice it to say you should be aware of the dangers of both prescription and over-the-counter remedies available in your drugstore. The Physician's Desk Reference is available in libraries and bookstores and lists all the known side effects of prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Chemicals Threaten us Daily
The United States uses 2.2 billion pounds of pesticides annually, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. All pesticides are potentially toxic to the brain. Yet they are not usually subjected to testing. According to the Food and Drug Administration, approximately 5,000 food additives are permitted in America's food supply. Included among these are antibiotics given to meat-producing animals, anti-foaming agents, foaming agents, bleaches, chemical sterilizing agents, coating materials, colorings, emulsifiers, flavorings, artificial smoke, modifiers, organic solvents, preservatives, sweeteners, synthetic dyes and thickeners.
One expert states there are 20 groups of possible cancer-causing additives as well as 17 groups of suspect food contaminants. It is known that many chemicals introduced into foodstuffs possess carcinogenic properties.
Two products often found in cosmetics are dangerous. Sodium lauryl sulfate, a detergent that is associated with cancer, skin irritation and eye problems in children, is found in approximately 90 percent of commercial shampoos. Propylene glycol, a chemical contained in antifreeze and brake fluid, associated with kidney problems, liver abnormalities and skin problems, is a common ingredient in beauty creams, cleansers and cosmetics.
When looking for skin care formulas, look for manufacture-guaranteed, natural, chemical-free ingredients. Look for natural ingredients at the top of the label's list, indicating its highest amount, and don't be afraid to spend a little more money.
Certain nutrients, in adequate dosages, naturally force heavy metals and chemicals out of the body. Interestingly, long-term drug addicts include high doses of vitamin C with their drugs. Perhaps they know something we are just learning. One doctor I know treats lead poisoning with a combination of 30-40 grams of vitamin C intravenously, with calcium, at frequent intervals, and less severe cases with oral doses of vitamin C, calcium, vitamin D and a vitamin B complex formula.
One of his patients, a three-year-old boy who had been exposed to lead from the air and soil of a crowded trailer park near a busy freeway, was given five grams of vitamin C initially with 600 mg of calcium, 400 IU of vitamin D, and a B complex formula that contained at least 25 mg of vitamin B6. The boy's symptoms —— dark circles under the eyes, poor appetite, lethargy, sallow appearance —— subsided in 4-6 months.
Electric battery factories are notorious for lead-polluted air. Researchers at the Brain Bio Center in Princeton, New Jersey did a study of 22 factory employees with lead poisoning. They were given 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C and 60 mg of zinc each day, and within 24 weeks, their blood levels of lead plummeted by 26 percent. Support any detoxification program with a healthy diet high in natural sources of fiber, emphasizing raw fruits and vegetables, lots of pure spring water and little else. Good sources of supplemental fiber are psyllium, oat bran and hyssop.
Maureen Kennedy Salaman is an expert in the field of health and nutrition. She is the author of six books and tours the country speaking on this topic. For more information, call (800) 445-HEAL or (650) 864-3922.
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