You and your loved ones may be at risk of an unseen danger in the workplace or home: heavy metal toxicity. Howard Liebowitz, MD, with Liebowitz Longevity Medicine in Santa Monica, California, has experience treating patients with heavy metal toxicity. If you have unexplained symptoms of mental confusion, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, nausea, or vomiting, call or book an appointment online with Dr. Liebowitz. He can determine if you have heavy metal toxicity and treat this condition before it gets worse.
Chelation therapy is the process of eliminating toxic heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium, from your body. Substances called chelates attach to heavy metals and help eliminate them. Lead and mercury are the most common contaminants.
Dr. Liebowitz diagnoses heavy metal toxicity through urine tests. Chelation therapy can be given by mouth or by intravenous infusion.
If Dr. Liebowitz chooses infusion therapy for your needs, he injects a special acid-based solution, abbreviated as EDTA, into your blood. When EDTA enters your veins, it binds to the heavy metals and eliminates them from your body.
If he recommends administering medication by mouth, it also binds to the heavy metals and they are eliminated through urine and the digestive tract.
In children, lead poisoning may present through a developmental delay, learning problems, irritability, sluggishness, vomiting, and other physical symptoms. In adults, heavy metal poisoning can present as mental confusion, headache, weakness, joint or muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, or fatigue.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved prescription chelation therapy for the treatment of lead and other metal poisonings. Chelation therapy may be suggested for children with a blood level of 45 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL) or greater and adults with high blood levels of lead/other heavy metals.
Old houses often contain lead paint on the walls. Children can get lead poisoning by simply breathing dust contaminated with lead paint or eating paint that has chipped off of window sills.
Sometimes the corrosion on lead pipes carrying water causes significant lead contamination in children and adults. Adults who work in auto repair shops or contractors who renovate older homes might also be exposed to heavy metals. Mercury is a common component in old dental fillings and now, unfortunately, a common contaminant in fish and seafood.
Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems. Lead poisoning can cause severe mental and physical damage. Young children are especially at risk because their brains and nervous systems are still evolving. Once damage has occurred, it can become permanent.
Chelation therapy is not recommended for women who are pregnant and those with heart or kidney disease. Some health professionals caution against chelation for children. Side effects may include high blood pressure, headache, and low blood sugar. Always coordinate any recommendation for chelation with all of your healthcare professionals before beginning treatment.