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How Lead Exposure Affects Your Health

What does lead have to do with my health? | Kasia Kines - Functional Nutritionist

Dr. Kasia Kines, Nutritionist, CEO and founder of EBV Educational Institute
Virtual clinic serving the US and globally
[email protected]

I work with a lot of people that have impairments in their thyroid function. And heavy metals have a high affinity for thyroid, and unfortunately they damage it. Lead has come to my attention recently due to three serious issues. We all know that lead is extremely dangerous to a human body. Rather than how dangerous it is, let me share the three concerns of lead exposure today.

Lead Exposure in Lipstick!

I see in media that some lipsticks still contain lead. Please be careful about that and ask the manufacturer of your brand about it, or you will not know. A few years ago a study looked at lipsticks and glosses of a small group of teenage girls and found 75% of them to contain lead (other heavy metals were found too, like cadmium).  Even Burt’s Bees contained traces of lead!!!! Later FDA reviewed 400 lipstick brands. Here are some results:

To give you a sense what 5ppm means, California considers 5 parts per million and less as safe in personal care product. As you can see, 2 brands are around 7ppm while another three about 5ppm. And do not hold your breath to see FDA impose any legal actions on these companies as it has a notorious reputation. For example, in its long history, it has only banned 9 toxins (4 of them had been in use before the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976), so only 5 new chemicals since then!!! In comparison, a much younger EU has banned about 1300 chemicals so far. I cannot express how frustrating this is, while our population is exceedingly toxic.*

What to do about your lipstick

Environmental Working Group has  EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database for you to consider when buying your next lipstick.

Bone Broth is so Good for You

Yes it may or may not be true. Please be very selective of the bones you pick. Here is why: we store most of lead (and mercury for that matter) in our bones, and it is not different for animals. “A small, blinded, controlled study of lead concentrations in three different types of organic chicken broth showed that such broths do indeed contain several times the lead concentration of the water with which the broth is made.

In particular, broth made from skin and cartilage taken off the bone once the chicken had been cooked with the bones in situ, and chicken-bone broth, were both found to have markedly high lead concentrations, of 9.5 and 7.01 μg L(-1), respectively (compared with a control value for tap water treated in the same way of 0.89 μg L(-1)).

In view of the dangers of lead consumption to the human body, we recommend that doctors and nutritionists take the risk of lead contamination into consideration when advising patients about bone broth diets” (Monroe, 2013). These were organic chicken broths, I am afraid. Most likely, farmed animals do not drink filtered water and are exposed to a variety of heavy metals during their lifetime.

What to do about the bone broths?

If you have genetic alterations (gene SNPs) in your methylation or in glutathione pathways and you are already compromised, make sure you have liver and glutathione supporting supplements like N-acetyl cysteine, milk thistle, selenium, or topical glutathione if you really have to make bone broth. If you have several amalgam fillings in your teeth already on top of that, a bone broth may not be a good idea at this time. Just be aware that lead (and mercury) may be part of the package.

Lead Exposure and You

Which leads me to my third concern: what happens if you have indeed stored lead (and mercury) in your bones over the years and are going into a demineralization phase? Given that 90-95% of total burden of lead in the body is in the bones (Wedeen, 1992), I want you to be aware that studies point to pregnancy, lactation, and osteoporosis as to times when lead may be released to the blood stream.

During the bone loss in osteoporosis, lead worsens the condition because it inhibits activation of vitamin D, update of dietary calcium (calcium and lead compete for the same receptors in the bones) and it affects other aspects of bone cell functions (Silbergeld, 1988).

Antioxidants and phytonutrients like carotenoids and bioflavonoids abundant in fruits and vegetables, organic produce to maximize selenium level in it (we are losing selenium in produce due to the depletion of top soil), or added selenium in supplements, can all support the body’s mechanism to protect you from heavy metal toxicity.

*FYI, here are the 9: PCBs, fully halogenated cholorofuuoroaklanes (aerosol sprays), dioxins (e.g. Agent Orange), asbestos, hexavalent chromium, nitrites mixed with mono and diamines of organic acid, nitrites mixed with triethanolamine salt of substituted organic acid, nitrites with triethanolanime salt of tricarboxylin acid, and nitrites with tricadboxylic acid.

Monroe, JA et al. 2013. The risk of lead contamination in bone broth diets. Med Hypotheses. Apr; 80(4):389-90.

Silbergeld, Ellen K, et al. 1988. Lead and osteoporosis: mobilization of lead from bone in postmenopausal women. Environmental Research, Oct: 79-94.

Wedeen, RP.1992. Removing lead from bone

Dr. Kasia Kines, Nutritionist, CEO and founder of EBV Educational Institute
Virtual clinic serving the US and globally
[email protected]


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