What are heavy metals?
Heavy metals are natural elements found in the earth's crust and throughout its soil. The problem is these toxic heavy metals migrate to other areas of the environment, like the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat.
The body can naturally detoxify and eliminate many of these toxic heavy metals, but sometimes their levels can become so high that they begin to adversely affect an individual's health.
Exposure to heavy metals can come from a variety of sources, including:
Air pollution from vehicle exhaust, release of industrial waste, and coal-fired power plants
Contaminated fish from polluted water sources
Food grown in contaminated soil
Physical contact with contaminated soil
Older homes that contain lead-based paint
Residential water from older copper or lead pipe
Water pollution from industrial run-off
Why it's important to know your heavy metal levels
Chronic exposure to heavy metals can result in experiencing adverse health concerns such as:
Anxiety and depression • Increased cancer risk
Deteriorating eye health • Digestive problems
Fatigue • Headaches • Infertility • Memory problems
Mental "fogginess" • Less than optimal heart and/or blood vessel function
Less than optimal immune function (recurrent infections, autoimmune diseases)
Tingling sensations in the hands, feet, and/or around the mouth
Shakiness or tremorsshop now
How toxic heavy metals can harm you
Heavy metal toxicity adversely affects your health in a number of ways, in particular, by replacing non-toxic essential minerals in your bones, brain, liver, and other bodily tissues.
Heavy metals can sometimes directly compete with essential minerals for absorption and transport, which can interfere with the body's biochemistry by creating oxidative stress or disabling the enzymes that are essential to the liver, brain, and nervous system function.Watch Video
You should take Thorne's Heavy Metals Test if you:
- Smoke/used to smoke
- Are trying to conceive
- Are exposed to poor air quality
- Live in a home built prior to 1978
- Drink water from old pipes
- Have occupational exposure risk
- Have unexplained health concerns
Where the most common heavy metals come from
The most common source of mercury exposure is from eating fish. If you have already been tested and know you have a high level of mercury, then it is best to temporarily avoid eating all fish, particularly larger fish that tend to have the highest concentrations of mercury, including:
- King mackerel
- Orange roughy
* In terms of canned tuna, white albacore tuna is three times higher in mercury than less expensive light tuna.
Fish are not the only source of Mercury
Dental amalgam "silver fillings", tattoo inks, hair dye, cosmetics, and skin-lightening formulas also can contain mercury.
It is important to remember that everything you put on your skin or hair can end up in your body.
Smoking - in addition to its more well-known health hazards - also increases the exposure risk to heavy metals - especially cadmium. Research indicates that blood levels of cadmium are twice as high in smokers than in non-smokers.
Rice that is grown in areas irrigated with cadmium-polluted water tend to accumulate cadmium, or when it is grown in areas that formerly grew tobacco, as in some areas in the southeastern United States, where cadmium-based pesticides were used to kill boll weevils.
Gasoline and motor oil, some cookware, some processed foods and drinks, car batteries, fertilizers, and shellfish can also contain cadmium.
Cadmium accumulates predominantly in the kidneys, liver, and bones, and it can take decades for the body by itself to eliminate its total cadmium burden.
Lead-containing paints that were used as interior paints in homes built before 1978, as well as drinking water contaminated from corroded lead pipes, are two of the most common sources of residential lead exposure.
The soil and water in areas where mining activities occurred in the past can be very contaminated with lead. Workplaces where the risk of lead exposure is high include automotive manufacturing or repair, industrial construction, welding, battery manufacturing, ceramic and pottery production, and plastic and rubber manufacturing. If you work in one of these environments, then you should want to be tested for heavy metal levels in your body.
Lead exposure is believed to have contributed to more than 10 times the number of deaths in the United States than previously believed.
A 2018 study published in The Lancet Public Health estimated that lead exposure might have contributed to significantly more deaths from cardiovascular disease than was previously believed - perhaps as high as 10 times more. The study followed 14,289 adults for an average of 19.3 years and found that even low blood levels of lead (below 5 mcg/dL) contributed to increased rates of death, particularly from heart disease.1
1. Lanphear BP, Rauch S, Auinger P, et al. Low-level lead exposure and mortality in US adults: a population-based cohort study. Lancet Public Health 2018;3(4):e177-e184.
What elements are measured in Thorne's Heavy Metals Test?
Mercury is very toxic, even in extremely small amounts, and can cause harm in your body.
Lead is a toxic heavy metal that causes serious health issues when present in an excessive amount in the body.
Zinc is an essential metal for growth, immune function, testosterone production, and as an antioxidant. Copper is involved in more than 200 enzymatic reactions in the body.
Magnesium is an essential mineral present in all cells of the body and involved in more than 600 enzymatic reactions, including energy production. Essential for maintaining muscle relaxation, normal bone density, and normal heart rhythm.
Cadmium is a toxic heavy metal that adversely impacts your health when present in the body in an excessive amount.
Copper is an essential metal that is vital for bone health, heart health, brain health, and skin health, although too high levels of copper can be toxic.
Zinc and copper are both essential minerals that help to detoxify heavy metals and protect the body from their damaging effects. Their ratio helps determine the optimal functioning of detoxification.
Selenium is an essential element important for normal thyroid function, antioxidant function, and cellular health. Selenium is also associated with heart health and eyes health. Optimal levels may protect against heavy metal toxicity.
More than just the biomarker results
Simple visualization of your biomarker results over time, plus detailed descriptions of each biomarker for an easy interpretation of your overall health.
Insights based on your results help you identify potential health risks or areas of improvement.
Access your diet, activity, and supplement plan anytime, anywhere through the Thorne dashboard. Recommendations are generated from our medically-supervised algorithms based on your unique test results.See case study >