Is it Heavy Metal Toxicity, Mineral Deficiency, or Both?

I’m betting it’s both.  Migraineurs tend to have higher levels of heavy metals and lower levels of essential minerals than non-migraineurs.  Heavy metal detox is easy, and restoring the three main minerals that are notoriously low in migraineurs is not as hard as some may think.  

No matter your triggers, history, or previous attempts at treatment, this is going to be something you’ll want to figure out and fix to keep those chemicals balanced correctly.  Most people don’t have to worry about this!  But migraineurs are more susceptible to the adverse effects of heavy metal toxicity and mineral deficiency, so it’s an important topic to discuss.

The Heavy Metals and Minerals that Affect Migraines

Long-term exposure to heavy metals creates an accumulation of these toxins in your body:

·         Arsenic: Found in groundwater.

·         Lead: Mostly found in lead-based paint or contaminated dust in older buildings.  Other sources include air, water, and soil…so there’s no escape (but there is detoxification!).

·         Mercury: Dental fillings most often cause toxicity. It’s also found in air, water, and soil.  It is present in some kinds of fish, shellfish, and animals that eat fish.

·         Cadmium: You’ll find this in storage batteries, vapor lamps, electroplating, and solders.

·         Iron: Present in some of the foods we eat and the supplements we take.

·         Aluminum: Mostly found in over the counter medicationsfood, stainless steel cookware, and aluminum-based salts.

The Minerals that play a role in migraine include:

·         Copper: Affects blood vessel dilation and helps absorb iron.  You can get more copper through foods like liver and organ meats, whole grains, and seafood.  

·         Magnesium:  The most common and obvious mineral deficiency in migraineurs is magnesium. It’s nearly impossible to get enough in your diet, so supplementation is necessary.

·         Zinc: Synthesizes coQ10 and melatonin (potent antioxidants with considerable roles in sleep, heart, and brain function).  It’s found in foods like meat, shellfish, nuts, and dairy. A supplement is acceptable too.

Symptoms of Heavy Metal Toxicity

There are two terms used to describe the effects of heavy metal toxicity:

1.       Biotoxicity is a buildup of toxins in tissues, causing joint pain and digestive problems.

2.       Neurotoxicity is when the toxins affect the nervous system and cause disorders like headaches, depression, sleep problems, and cognitive impairments. 

Symptoms of heavy metal neurotoxicity are generally painful and include such problems as:

·         Migraines

·         Chronic fatigue syndrome

·         Fibromyalgia

·         ADHD/ADD

·         Depression

·         Chronic Lyme disease

·         Asthma

·         Chronic sinusitis

Biotoxicity symptoms resemble those of an autoimmune disease such as:

·         Celiac disease

·         Irritable bowel syndrome

·         Rheumatoid arthritis

·         Psoriatic arthritis

Symptoms of Mineral Deficiencies that Lead to Migraine

Your digestive system is smart.  It will tell you when something’s not right.  In migraine cases where mineral deficiency is a problem, symptoms include:

·         Diarrhea

·         Constipation, cramping and bloating

·         Appetite loss

·         Nausea and vomiting

Other symptoms of a mineral deficiency include:

·         Decreased immunity

·         Numbness and tingling in the extremities

·         Muscle cramps and pain

·         Irregular heartbeat

·         Fatigue or feelings of weakness

·         Poor concentration

·         Slow social and mental development in children.

Any mix of these should have you planning out your mineral restoration plan. 

How to Clean Out and Restore

Heavy metals can be breathed in, ingested, or come in through the skin or other mucous membranes.  Restore depleted minerals with foods rich in those minerals and quality supplements.  For heavy metal detoxification, start with the following:

1.       Increase daily dietary fiber.

2.       Chlorella is likely most helpful for mercury detox.

3.       Eat foods rich in sulfur like broccoli and garlic.

4.       Flavor foods with cilantro.

5.       Supplement with any of the following:

a.       Glutathione protects from oxidative damage caused by heavy metals.

b.       Amino acids with sulfur, like taurine or methionine.

c.       Selenium (good for mercury detox).

d.       Modified citrus pectin was found to lower toxicity by 74%.

6.       Spend some time in a sauna 1-2 times per week approximately 20 minutes

If you do this correctly and clear your body of the toxins while simultaneously restoring essential minerals, then managing migraines will be a much easier task. Without all the sludge and sluggishness, you’ll be ready to take the challenge of migraines head-on (pun intended).