As I’ve mentioned in the previous blog posts of this series, heavy metal toxicity has a negative impact on each and every system of the body. That includes hormones and all the systems of your body that under normal circumstances would produce healthy hormones and detoxify dangerous hormones.
The presence of heavy metals in the body disrupts the liver, a key organ when it comes to detoxification. When heavy metals accumulate, the methylation pathway and glutathione pathway become impaired and your body is unable to metabolize your sex hormones. Additionally, it is unable to release toxic estrogens, causing estrogen dominance.
Estrogen dominance can cause the following symptoms:
- Weight gain
- Water retention
- Breast tenderness
- Heavy and painful periods
Estrogen is not the only hormone that is affected by heavy metal toxicity, however. The accumulation of heavy metals in the body also adversely affects testosterone production.
It’s a common misconception that women do not need testosterone, and can function well with just estrogen and progesterone. That is not the case, however. Women need testosterone for optimal brain function as well as to maintain muscle mass and libido.
Without testosterone being produced at optimal levels due to heavy metal toxicity, you may experience:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of motivation
- Difficulty increasing or maintaining muscle mass
- Inability to lose weight
- Low libido
In the second blog of this series, I spoke about the chelation process and how this process can deplete the body of vital minerals, but depletion is not limited to chelation. It also happens prior to chelation as heavy metals can displace vital minerals in your body, namely calcium, zinc, and selenium.
Zinc and selenium are the building blocks of testosterone production, so when these levels are less than optimal, so is our production of testosterone.
In addition to your sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone, heavy metal toxicity also negatively impacts your pancreas and production of the hormone insulin. This can increase the risk of developing blood sugar dysregulation – hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, and diabetes.
I see this often in my clinic with children who have had a significant number of mercury-containing vaccines. Their pancreas’ can be severely impaired, putting them at risk of developing juvenile, or type 1, diabetes.
Other organs affected by heavy metal toxicity are the thyroid and the adrenals.
When heavy metals accumulate in the body, they are stored in fat cells and block receptors that are typically reserved for hormones. When this happens in the thyroid, your body becomes unable to properly produce and use thyroid hormones.
As you now know, heavy metal toxicity negatively affects liver function. In addition to detoxification, your liver is also responsible for producing the active form of thyroid hormone called T3. If the liver is unable to produce this hormone, the thyroid cannot function properly, leading to thyroid conditions like Hashimoto’s and symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, and dry skin.
Finally, heavy metal toxicity can negatively impact the production of cortisol, a stress hormone.
Initially, the production of cortisol will increase due to an overproduction of this hormone by the adrenal glands. Once the adrenal glands become burnt out, the production of cortisol will decrease, resulting in adrenal fatigue, or the inability to cope with and manage stress. This can lead to feelings of fatigue, low energy, and decreased immune function.
Everything in the body is connected, so impairment and imbalance of one part of your body inevitably affects another part.
If you suspect that your hormone imbalance is due to heavy metal toxicity, it’s important to get tested and treated by a doctor. Treating heavy metals through chelation, diet, and lifestyle, will make it possible to reverse hormone imbalances and help you to restore balance to your body and ultimately, your health.