Are you exposed to Heavy Metals and Chemicals?
Find out which heavy metals and dangerous chemicals in our household and beauty products can negatively affect psoriasis and cause flare-ups. Being aware and reducing exposure to these products could help you heal your Psoriasis.
These are the Poisonous Heavy Metals Reported to Affect Psoriasis
Heavy metals are natural components of the Earth’s crust. They cannot be degraded or destroyed. To a small extent, they enter our bodies via food, drinking water and air. The heavy metals most commonly associated with human poisoning are:
- Mercury (Hg)
- Cadmium (Cd)
- Arsenic (As)
How heavy metals affect people with Psoriasis?
Heavy metals are dangerous because they tend to bioaccumulate. Bioaccumulation means an increase in the concentration of a chemical in a biological organism over time, compared to the chemical’s concentration in the environment.
Compounds accumulate in living things any time they are taken up and stored faster than they are broken down (metabolized) or excreted. 
Since heavy metals bioaccumulate, long-term exposure can be highly hazardous in general even for healthy people, and for people with psoriasis long term exposure to some of these metals can mean more inflammation and oxidative stress.
Below we view some case reports:
Let’s look at this Pustular Psoriasis and Mercury poisoning case report by J Wehner-Caroli et al. “A patient suffering from long-standing pustular psoriasis of the palms was treated for 3 weeks with a mercury-containing drug.
Exacerbation into generalized pustular psoriasis developed. Mercury levels in blood and urine were increased.
After the withdrawal of the mercury preparation, therapy with DMPA (2,3-Dimercapto-1-propane-sulfonic acid), a mercury antidote, was initiated, together with short-term treatment with aromatic retinoids and PUVA.
Within a few days, mercury levels decreased significantly and the skin lesions practically disappeared.“
Cadmium is another heavy metal, an environmental pollutant, that increases the levels of inflammation markers and influences the immune system and has been linked to the severity of Psoriasis.
A study by Fang-Yih Liaw et al. demonstrated that psoriasis was independently associated with high blood cadmium. In a U.S. general population, participants with severe psoriasis have higher blood cadmium.
To clarify the relationship between cadmium and psoriasis, 5,927 participants, ≥20 years, in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003–2006 were studied.
Psoriasis severity was assessed using self-reported dermatology questionnaires. Cadmium was measured using blood chemistry. Three adjusted models were applied for the interaction between serum cadmium and severity of psoriasis.
Psoriasis patients had significantly higher blood cadmium (0.67 vs. 0.52 μg/L, p = 0.006). There was a strong linear increase in predicted blood cadmium values with an increase in severity of psoriasis (p for trend = 0.002).
Environmental exposure to cadmium may compromise immunity, and microenvironmental perturbation can predispose to the worsening of psoriasis.
Given the widespread exposure to cadmium and the increasing cases of psoriasis, which increase the worldwide burden of metabolic syndrome, these data have substantial public health implications for the general population.
Smoking, sidestream smoke and exposure to cadmium can exacerbate metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, and the results of this study demonstrate the importance of smoking cessation, avoidance of sidestream smoke, and prevention of exposure to cadmium, particularly among psoriasis patients.
Arsenic is quite an interesting subject which is worth looking further into, beyond this post. Often referred to as “Therapeutic Poison”, Arsenicals have been used since ancient Greek and Roman civilizations and in the Far East as part of traditional Chinese medicine.
Despite serious safety concerns, arsenic is often used in homoeopathic medicine.
Here is a case report by Jian-Wei Zhu, and Min Zheng in relation to the subject: “The patient had a 19-year duration of psoriasis and received various treatments. In his last year of life, he had been taking an illegally produced folk drug with the hope of controlling his psoriasis.
However, 6 months after the drug ingestion, many papules appeared on his right leg, which eventually developed into a large tumor in the next few months.
The patient died of acute pulmonary embolism only a week after hospitalization when his tumour was pathologically confirmed as verrucous carcinoma. Later, the folk drug was analyzed and found to contain arsenic.”
Here is another case study: Mark Louis Siefring et al. Reported a case of a “46-year-old Vietnamese man who developed widespread, numerous and concurrent cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) in non-sun exposed skin areas after taking a traditional medicine formulation for chronic plaque psoriasis.
The SCC lesions began to develop within 12–15 months after beginning the arsenic-containing traditional medicine. The patient experienced both acute and chronic symptoms consistent with arsenic exposure.
Laboratory investigation of a collected hair sample showed a significant arsenic level. The traditional medicine formulation used by the patient was tested and demonstrated an extremely high concentration of arsenic.”
How are we exposed to these Heavy Metals?
In order to minimize the exposure and damage to our health, we need to understand the sources of these heavy metals and learn to recognize the products that contain heavy metals and try to reduce consumption.
Here are top ways heavy metals enter our body:
Because heavy metals occur naturally in the soil they can enter our body through the food that is grown in contaminated soil.
Soils and water may become contaminated through emissions from the industrial areas, mining zones, disposal of high metal wastes, leaded gasoline and paints, land application of fertilizers, animal manures, sewage sludge, pesticides, wastewater irrigation, coal combustion residues, spillage of petrochemicals, and atmospheric deposition.
Example of foods containing heavy metals:
Cadmium found in foods such as leafy greens, potatoes, grains, peanuts, soybeans, sunflower seeds and tobacco leaves known to contain high levels of cadmium, typically between 0.05 and 0.12 mg of cadmium per kilogram of produce, according to the ATSDR.
Arsenic is everywhere in nature. It is one of many natural elements found in air, water, and soil, and virtually all crop plants take up arsenic. There are trace amounts of arsenic in nearly all of the foods and beverages we consume, including vegetables, fruits, juices, rice, grains, seafood, meat, and wine.
Mercury found mainly in fish. Larger and longer-lived fish tend to contain the most mercury, and those fish are Swordfish, Shark, Tilefish, King Mackerel, Bigeye Tuna, Marlin, Orange Roughy, Chilean Sea Bass.
Note; Organic doesn’t mean free of heavy metals. If grown in contaminated soil and irrigated with contaminated water, it will accumulate the same amount of heavy metals as non-organic produce.
According to WQA (Water Quality Association), Cadmium is found in drinking water supplies as a result of deterioration of galvanized plumbing, along with industrial waste contamination, or surface water contamination by certain fertilizers.
Another toxic heavy metal Lead can be found in Drinking Water. The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, faucets, and plumbing fixtures. Household plumbing fixtures, welding solder, and pipe fittings made prior to 1986 may also contain lead.
3) Through Cigarette Smoke
Tobacco plants absorb metal ions and compounds from the soil through their roots, and by translocation from roots to leaves.
Tobacco smoke has all kind of heavy metals and toxic chemicals like; Nicotine, Hydrogen cyanide, Formaldehyde, Lead, Arsenic, Ammonia, Radioactive elements, Benzene, Carbon monoxide, Tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Cadmium.
Nonsmokers have an average of 0.38 micrograms of cadmium per litre of blood. Levels of 1.58 micrograms of cadmium per litre of blood have been found in some groups of smokers. Cadmium concentrates in the kidneys and liver and can remain for many years and slowly leaves the body through urine and faeces.
According to a review published on American Journal of Biomedical Science & Research by Abdul Kader Mohiuddin states Kajal otherwise called Kohl or Surma contains Lead and is a potential source of lead toxicity in children because, in many societies of the world including Asia, The Middle East, European countries, North America and Africa, it is an old custom to colour infants eyes with Kajal and many people are unaware of the dangers.
Henna, a traditional plant product applied as temporary painton tattoos and hair dying, is reported to be very rich in heavy metals such as mercury and lead.
Saadatzadeh et al. reported that arsenic contents of lipsticks, eye shadows, and eyebrow pencils was significantly higher than the BVL (Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety of Germany) standard.
Heavy metals may be intentionally added to detergents, pigments, skin lightening products, as well as antimicrobial agents. A significant level of Arsenic and Mercury was reported by Mohammad et.al, (2017) in skin bleaching agents of the Caribbean region.
Do note, however amount of heavy metals in the cosmetic product also depends on the manufacturer brand quality standards and according to FDA, there are the limits for colour additives used in cosmetics:
- Arsenic: Not more than 3 ppm
- Lead: Not more than 20 ppm
- Mercury: Not more than 1 ppm
Read more: https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/potential-contaminants-cosmetics/fdas-testing-cosmetics-arsenic-cadmium-chromium-cobalt-lead-mercury-and-nickel-content#why
5) Through Household products
Rugs and carpets can contain heavy metals. The synthetic rubber backing of rugs and rug pads can contain endocrine-disrupting ingredients and high-impact dyes also used as colouring. Common heavy metals often found in carpets include lead, cadmium, and mercury.
Also, some batteries and compact fluorescent lights, Thermometers and Barometers contain some amount of mercury.
6) Through Dental Fillings
Mercury In Tooth Fillings According to the FDA, approximately 50% of dental amalgam is elemental mercury by weight. Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals, consisting of liquid (elemental) mercury and a powdered alloy composed of silver, tin, and copper and used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay and often referred to as “silver fillings” because of their silver-like appearance.
Mercury particles and vapour are continuously released in the body as you chew, grind, and brush your teeth. When it gets into the large intestine, it damages beneficial bacteria and promotes the overgrowth of candida and leaky gut.
How can you Reduce exposure to Heavy Metals?
It is very hard to memorize, monitor and control the exposure. Best way is to focus on elimination of these toxic metals from our body and you can take a note of major things to avoid and try to reduce the harm. Here is the list to remember:
- Wash your leafy greens well and peel the roots as the root vegetable skin showed to have heavy metals. Note: organic does not mean free of heavy metals, if grown in contaminated soil, organic produce will also accumulate heavy metals.
- Minimize mercury rich fish consumption and replace with other healthy varieties rich in omega3.
- Brown rice contains higher amounts of arsenic than white rice. Wash the rice well until the water is clear.
- Don’t drink unfiltered or underground water unless it is tested and confirmed safe for consumption.
- Get your tap water tested or use a water filtering system.
- Quit smoking if you decided to heal your psoriasis. Or at least reduce and avoid smoking indoors.
- Wash your hands, nail bed and brush your tooth well if you smoke.
- Buy from established and regulated brands. Studies have shown that unregulated brands have higher heavy metal contamination.
- Ensure safe disposal of fluorescent light bulbs and batteries and avoid purchasing mercury thermometers. If you break fluorescent light bulbs, Shut off the air-conditioning or heating system, make sure to open the windows and change the air, Wipe up the broken glass and powder, seal them in a container and dispose of them.
- Use laundry detergents that are listed as safer for skin conditions. Also, wear a mask when cleaning the house and using cleaning detergents. Consider using Vinegar and baking soda as DIY cleaning solution when possible to reduce chemical exposure.
- When getting a new crown or tooth filling, ask your dentist to consider healthier alternatives. According to FDA Composite Resin Fillings and Glass Ionomer Cement Fillings are the current alternatives to old dental amalgams.
Heavy Metal Detox
Consume foods that are known to help elimination of heavy metals. those foods are:
- Atlantic dulse
- Barley grass juice powder
- Wild Blueberries
Also, Try Medical Medium Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie Recipe
- 2 bananas
- 2 cups wild blueberries
- 1 cup cilantro
- 1 tsp barley grass juice powder
- 1 tsp spirulina
- 1 small handful of Atlantic dulse
- Optional: water to blend
In a high-speed blender, blend all ingredients until smooth. If a thinner consistency is desired, add up to 1 cup of water. Enjoy! (Note, orange juice has been eliminated from the original recipe because the citrus fruits are known to trigger flares but if you dont have sensitivity then you can add orange juice back as in the original recipe) See the original recipe here > https://www.medicalmedium.com/mm101/medical-medium-heavy-metal-detox.htm
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People with specific health or allergy needs are advised to consult their doctor before using any remedies. A natural remedy does not mean safe if exceeded recommended doses or if the person is allergic to the ingredients. We recommend doing personal research and allergy test before introducing new ingredients to your diet.