Naturally occurring metals in our body are needed for the healthy functioning of the brain and organs. They have several important purposes, such as the formation of blood, bones, teeth and other tissues. Usually, these metals can be found in a healthy, diverse diet. However, a deficiency in specific metals can lead to problems. Conversely, too many of these metals, such as by taking supplements, can also cause health problems. A trace metal blood test can be used to screen for the levels of various metals.
It is a well-known fact that exposure to heavy metals can cause long-term health problems.1 This is of particular concern for individuals exposed to metals in the workplace, and it is important for these workers to be monitored periodically.
Methods of exposure include ingestion, inhalation and dermal contact. Symptoms vary in nature and intensity depending on the type, quantity and length of exposure to the metal involved. Early symptoms can sometimes be missed because they are non-specific, such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and anaemia. More significant symptoms include kidney and liver damage, cardiovascular diseases, developmental abnormalities, neurologic disorders, diabetes, hearing loss, blood disorders and various types of cancer. In pregnant women, exposure can also induce miscarriage or premature labour.
A trace metal test would usually be required on health grounds if there is suspicion of acute or chronic exposure to one or more heavy metals. If confirmed, chelation therapy is the preferred medical treatment for heavy metal poisoning, including iron, lead, mercury, cadmium and zinc. This involves a synthetic solution (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid [EDTA]) being injected into the bloodstream to remove heavy metals and/or minerals from the body. Trace metal testing can also be used to check on the efficacy of the chelation therapy.
AlphaBiolabs’ trace metal testing can detect 11 elements in a blood sample. These include aluminium, manganese, iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, copper, cadmium, mercury, lead and chromium.
1. Tchounwou P.B., Yedjou C.G., Patlolla A.K. and Sutton D.J. Heavy Metal Toxicity and the Environment. In: Luch A. (eds) Molecular, Clinical and Environmental Toxicology. Experientia Supplementum 2012;101. Springer, Basel