Our weekly wellness spotlight is an article by medical journalist Bill Sardi on lead toxicity. Before reading the article below, a case of lead toxicity is also referenced below.
57 year old with toxic optic neuropathy…..
“Toxic optic neuropathies typically present with a gradually progressive, bilaterally symmetric, painless vision loss affecting central vision and causing a central or cecocentral scotoma. Heavy metals implicated in pathology of the visual system include lead and mercury. Lead poisoning is the most common cause of chronic metal poisoning. Sources of lead include old paint, improperly glazed pottery, indoor shooting ranges, old plumbing, contaminated herbal medications and exposure to glassmaking, battery burning, soldering, bronzing and brassmaking.”
Lead Toxicity 4th Leading Killer
By Bill Sardi
Continual Exposure To Ubiquitous Toxic Lead In The Environment Suggests The Public Begin Habitual Lead Removal Measures With Dietary Supplements
(Garlic, Vitamins C & B1, Rice Bran IP6)
(Garlic, Vitamins C & B1, Rice Bran IP6)
- With the realization that the toxic metal lead is ubiquitous in our modern world;
- And blood levels of toxic lead in the environment over the past 50 years are still 10-t0-100 times higher than people living in the pre-industrial era (700-1000 years ago);
- And that no blood level of lead is safe;
- And only 9% of Americans have undetectable blood/lead levels;
- While the Centers For Disease Control arbitrarily recommends blood levels of lead stay below 5 micrograms per blood sample, a massive 388% relative increased risk for death was recorded for adults with a blood/lead level below 3.8 micrograms compared to 2.0 micrograms!
- And lead toxicity produces over 400,000 newly recognized deaths annually due to heart and blood vessel disease alone (now the 3rd leading cause of death);
- And widespread chelation therapy is impractical and requires repeated treatment;
- The masses, in particular young children who are most vulnerable to lead toxicity, must begin to habitually incorporate a daily dietary and supplement regimen to continually chelate (remove and dispose) of toxic lead from the human body.
- Widely available and economical natural remedies such as garlic (allicin, the best tested natural chelator), vitamins C and B1 (thiamin), and IP6 rice bran have been shown to non-toxically remove lead from the human body (even bone) as effectively and safer than doctor-prescribed drugs (penicillamine).
- The Centers for Disease Control says more acute cases of lead poisoning (greater than 45 micrograms/blood sample) need chelation (key-lay-shun) therapy, but even this advice does not consider the gravity of newly published data on the health risks posed by very low levels of lead.
- Because lead interferes with iron and zinc balance and absorption, foods rich in iron (red meat) and zinc supplements (there are no zinc-rich foods outside of oysters) should be consumed particularly by children as well as adults to ward off anemia.
Public health authorities and the medical profession are remiss in putting preventive measures into practice given the recognition many of the adverse health effects posed by even the lowest blood/lead levels are irreversible.
There is no safe level of lead exposure. Symptoms are often subtle and affect thinking, IQ, learning and visual function and is also associated with more serious health problems such as elevated blood pressure, heart failure, dental cavities, gout, kidney failure, peripheral neuropathy, and diabetes. (Preventing Lead Poisoning in Young Children. CDC, Aug. 2005)
Highly vulnerable children experience a decline in IQ and mental function, and this is irreversible. A presenting symptom of lead overload is anemia due to iron deficiency which results in sluggish, fatigued children, a co-incident symptom.
Mild mental retardation (decline in IQ) and cardiovascular outcomes (elevated blood pressure) estimated in 2004 from exposure to lead amount to almost 1% of the global burden of disease.
Get the lead out
Lead is stored in bones and has a half-life of up to 28 years and can be mobilized intermittently during times of stress, infant breast feeding or hormonal imbalances.
Lead was phased out of leaded gasoline in 1970 with the recognition of all of its adverse health effects and the fact it is considered “extremely dangerous” to growing children, particularly their mental function. .
A report published Pharmacy Times in 2013 noted that lead poisoning has declined from 4.4% in the early 1990s to 1.4% in 2004. In America blood levels of lead dropped from ~15.0 micrograms in the 1970s (can you imagine?) to 1-2 micrograms per blood sample today. With the realization any blood level of lead is toxic, in June of 2012 a lower threshold of 5 micrograms lead per blood sample was established. It was estimated 450,000 American children have blood lead levels greater than 5 micrograms/blood sample.
Lead poisoning is pervasive
Exposure to lead is widespread in groundwater, airborne dust created by renovation of old homes (lead-based paints), soil, roadways, old lead pipes, and handling lead shot. Trace amounts of lead are still found in unleaded gasoline.
Lead can remain in the body, in blood, bones and organs for years.
The problem of lead poisoning is much greater than first realized. Population surveys indicate 20% of North American adults have blood lead levels greater than 5 micrograms per blood sample, the somewhat arbitrary cutoff point for toxicity given no blood level other than zero is acceptable. In one authoritative study only 9% of adults were found to have an undetectable levels of lead in their blood.
Alarm bells: lead and heart attack
Alarm bells rang when it was in 2018 it was reported in The Lancet Public Health journal that 18% of all heart attacks and strokes are attributed to elevations of lead in blood samples. There were 14,289 adult subjects surveyed and 4422 deaths over 2+ decades; 631 (14.26%) among individuals with a blood/lead level less than 2.0 micrograms versus 2451 deaths (55.42%) among individuals with blood/lead levels greater than 3.8 micrograms, a 388% increase!
Bone blood levels of lead are correlated with heart rate abnormalities.
A more ominous and disquieting is discovery that an estimated 18.0% of all (2.3 million) deaths (all-cause mortality) in the USA correlate with elevated lead levels which when extrapolated to the population at large amounts to an estimated 412,000 deaths a year! This is roughly ten-times greater than previously estimated. This is comparable to the number of deaths attributed to tobacco smoke exposure.
Diabetes and high blood pressure too
The percentage of adults who were diagnosed with diabetes was 12.0% in the group with the lowest blood/lead level (less than 2.0 micrograms) and 19.2% among the group with a blood/lead level above 3.8 micrograms (160% increased risk). Only 9.6% of the group with the lowest blood/lead level (less than 2.0 micrograms) had high blood pressure versus 24.3% (253% increased risk) among those with a higher blood level (greater than 3.8 micrograms). All of these subjects were under the 5.0 microgram cut off toxicity level arbitrarily established by the Centers For Disease Control!
Major Cause of death
This newly evaluated data (see below) suggests ~two-thirds of cardiovascular-related deaths in the U.S. (412,000 of 635,260 deaths) are lead toxicity-related and that cardiologists should embrace chelation therapy, a long dismissed practice, on a more widespread basis.
Possible explanation of failed chelation therapy trials
As an aside, this may help explain why studies involving chelation therapy for heart disease have often failed. If only the human subjects with elevated lead levels were analyzed, maybe those failed studies would have been positive.
The reported decreases in the death rate from heart disease over recent decades may have been mistakenly attributed to improved treatment or medication when it was really due to decline in exposure to lead.
Positive trials of chelation therapy
Given that positive large-scale human clinical trials of chelation therapy have now been published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., the American Heart Journal and Circulation
journal, and the fact heart disease remains the No. 1 killer in America despite the many advances in cardiac care, resistance to practice preventive chelation within the cardiology profession may have been mounted purely for competitive and financial reasons.
Unexpectedly, in 2016 the manufacturer of the most commonly-used chelation treatment for lead poisoning (calcium-EDTA) raised their prices by 7200% ($5000 per gram; only costs 33-cents per gram in a chemical catalog), possibly because the publication of positive chelation studies was prematurely believed to increase demand for chelation.
It is not likely the cardiology profession is going to turn its cannons around and practice prevention any time soon instead of rescuing patients from the precipice of death with coronary artery bypass surgery. Given that the practice of medicine has become increasingly dysfunctional and treatment rather than preventive oriented, patients with more severe heart disease will likely have to locate chelation therapists on their own.
Number of Deaths For Leading Causes of Death (2016)
Source: Centers for Disease Control and NPR and Centers for Disease Control(with added lead-related deaths and deaths due to medical errors)
- Heart disease: 635,260
- Cancer: 598,038
- Cigarette smoking 480,000
- LEAD-RELATED HEART DISEASE 412,000
- Medical errors: 250,000
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 161,374
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 154,596
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 154,142
- Alzheimer’s disease: 116,103
- Diabetes: 80,058
- Influenza and pneumonia: 51,537 (mostly pneumonia)
- Kidney disease: 50,046
- Intentional self-harm (suicide): 44,965
Garlic to the rescue
Garlic is the best-tested remedy for lead toxicity.
Garlic has been found to be a natural lead detoxifier equal to the effectiveness and exceeding the safety of a popular drug (penicillamine).
Garlic detoxifying facts
- Allicin is the primary active ingredient in garlic attributed to its lead-chelating/detoxifying effect.
- Remarkably, allicin even removes lead from bones. Allicin works rapidly, with a day, to significantly reduce blood/lead levels.
- Garlic has been shown to reverse immune suppression induced by lead toxicity.
- Garlic fed to domesticated animals removes lead from meat which is eventually eaten by consumers.
- More importantly, while the adverse mental effects of lead toxicity are reported to be irreversible, garlic has been demonstrated to reverse learning and memory impairments in laboratory animals.
Make sure it’s allicin
Beware garlic pills that advertise they provide or deliver allicin. Stomach acid negates the synthesis of allicin in garlic cloves and capsules. This is simulated by placing garlic cloves or powder in a dish of vinegar (acetic acid) to simulate stomach acid and no allicin is produced. Crushing a clove outside of the body will produce allicin but will be very pungent to consume. A non-odorous alkalinized garlic pill assuredly produces allicin by temporarily countering the hydrochloric acid in the stomach, this allowing allicin to be produced.
Vitamin C is another safe and economical lead detoxifier considered on par with garlic. Dr. Tom Levy, an advocate of daily vitamin C supplementation to health maintenance, says everyone has some degree of lead toxicity and supplemental vitamin C is a dependable way of achieving lead detoxification. Depending upon the severity of symptoms and amount of lead exposure, mega-dose vitamin C has been safely used to detoxify in cases of lead poisoning (a dosage chart is provided here). In fact, low vitamin C blood levels are associated with high blood levels of lead. The only downside is that vitamin C is rapidly excreted from the body. A newly available vitamin C pill that maintains high blood levels of vitamin C on a 24-7 basis is also now available.
Vitamin B1 (thiamin, as benfotiamine)
Vitamin B1 is a well-known lead detoxifier and is effective in cases of subtle forms of lead toxicity. Its reported use as a lead detoxifier dates back at least 35 years. Its combination with vitamin C makes it more effective. In fact, lead actually depletes vitamin B1. Thiamin works in tandem with zinc to detoxify from lead poisoning. Benfotiamine, the fat-soluble form of thiamin (B1), is the preferred form. (Note: sugar, alcohol, tea, coffee, inhibit B1 absorption.)
IP6 rice bran (aka phytate or phytic acid)
IP6 (six molecules of phosphate/1 molecule of inositol) is a commercially available extract from rice bran that is known as nature’s mineral chelator. It is well documented to chelate lead.