Toxic Overload: Improving Health by Ridding the Body of Harmful Toxic Metals

By Dr. Varsha Rathod, M.D.


What is a toxin?  A toxin is something that has a harmful effect on cell function or structure.  Heavy Metals can build-up within the body’s fat cells, central nervous system, bones, brain, glands and hair, which can cause disease and unpleasant symptoms.  Toxic metals that are commonly found at increased levels in the body include: lead, cadmium, mercury, nickel, arsenic, and bismuth.  Metal toxicity can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from headaches to painful joints.  In the early stages of toxic accumulation, symptoms are vague and may be mistaken for other disease processes.  As the toxicity builds, the severity of symptoms usually increases as well.


Aluminum toxicity has been connected to cognitive problems, ringing in the ears, poor bone density, and gastrointestinal disorders.  Arsenic toxicity may cause an abnormal heart rhythm, a tingling sensation in the hands or feet, and the appearance of small corns or warts especially on the palms or soles.  Beryllium can be harmful when inhaled, and can produce symptoms that resemble pneumonia.  A build-up of Cadmium can cause damage to the lungs and kidneys.  Lead has been known to affect multiple organs and systems in the body.  The nervous system is particularly susceptible to Lead and Mercury toxicity.  Mercury may also cause diarrhea, increase in blood pressure or heart rate, skin rashes, hyperactivity, etc.  Allergic reactions may occur with over-exposure to Nickel.  People working in Nickel refining plants may have reduced lung function or chronic bronchitis as a result of inhaling Nickel laden dust.


Exposure to heavy metals is largely due to environmental contamination from industrial processes and leaded gasoline.  Other sources of these metals can be: pesticide sprays, cooking utensils, dry cleaning chemicals, lawn treatment materials, cigarette smoke, dental fillings, cosmetics, contaminated fish, vaccines, and antacids, among others.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) lists Arsenic as the number one metal toxicity.

If you test positive for heavy metals (through the use of a urine test) your results will be reviewed in an office visit. We will make an effort to identify and eliminate the toxic source. If the test indicates sufficiently high levels of a particular toxic metal the health consequences will be discussed as well as a plan to reduce body burden of this contaminant.


Dr. Varsha Rathod is a board certified Rheumatologist and Internist at Preventive Medicine in the Westport Plaza Area of St. Louis, MO. The practice has focused on a combination of traditional and holistic medicine since 1967. For more articles and information about integrative solutions please visit www.preventivemedicinestl.com or call Preventive Medicine at 314-997-5403.

The information presented in this publication is for general educational purposes only. It is not intended to be used for the diagnoses of any illness.  It should not serve as a substitute for being evaluated by a certified healthcare provider.  If you suffer from any of these conditions you should consult a physician or an appropriate health care provider.