It’s a stealth health issue that continues to fly under the radar. Environmental toxins, like heavy metals, are all around us and yet most people know very little about where heavy metals are found, what they do in the body and what to do about them. Dr. Morrison sat down with Zoe and Erica of the Highway to Well podcast to talk about mercury and other heavy metals, along with Leonard Steinberg, who found answers with Dr. Morrison for his cluster of strange symptoms.
When it comes to heavy metals, exposure is virtually impossible to avoid, but metals don’t necessarily affect everyone in the same way. Many people are able to efficiently excrete mercury and other heavy metals through their body’s elimination pathways via stool, urine, and sweat. But some people are less efficient heavy metal detoxifiers, which allows metals to accumulate in the body and ultimately get stored in tissues and organs, including bone.
For many - as was the case with Leonard - that accumulation triggers a cascade of unusual and seemingly unrelated symptoms. He sought help from Dr. Morrison for symptoms of brain fog, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, numbness and tingling, muscle twitches and anxiety. While these symptoms seem strange, they are some of the hallmark symptoms of prolonged elevated mercury levels.
According to Dr. Morrison, exposure to mercury alone generally won’t cause symptoms. It’s usually a combination of exposure plus some other variable that allows the mercury to “stick,” or accumulate, and cause symptoms. The variable can be stress, nutritional deficiencies, infection or even mold exposure, which is why a thorough evaluation is key.
Metals block proper cellular and organ function, so allowing them to accumulate can cause significant health issues in the long term. High levels of mercury and other heavy metals are known to cause kidney disease, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's Disease. So when Dr. Morrison finds elevated levels of mercury and other heavy metals, a major part of the plan is to reduce or eliminate exposure. Some common culprits include:
- Large fish like tuna, swordfish, and Chilean sea bass — and increasingly salmon
- Environmental pollution
- Unfiltered drinking water (e.g. lead found in Flint, MI)
The treatment plan depends largely on the type of heavy metal present and the extent of the accumulation based on specialized testing. Most treatment plans include diet instructions to support detoxification, chelating agents and dietary supplements to bind heavy metals in tissue and chaperone them out of the body through the urine and stool. Dr. Morrison also recommends using an infrared sauna, which has been shown to remove heavy metals via sweat through the skin.
Dr. Morrison encourages people to pay close attention to how they feel and to be proactive about their health. It’s important to discover the underlying cause of symptoms before they develop into something more serious.
Click here to listen to the full podcast for even more information about what you can do to reduce your contact with environmental toxins like mercury and every-day strategies to support your body’s own detoxification systems.
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This guide was written by Dr. Morrison and the health and nutrition experts at The Morrison Center. Our team is dedicated to helping you achieve optimal health through the treatment and prevention of disease.
Dr. Jeffrey Morrison is an award-winning medical doctor, a leader in the field of Integrative Medicine, and champion of a nutritional approach to healthcare
Robin is a registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in Integrative Medicine, Functional Medicine and holistic healing modalities. She helps her clients address complicated conditions and return to wellness.
Stephanie is a Holistic Nutrition Consultant and Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner with a passion for helping her clients fulfill their potential through both emotional and physical optimization.