Heavy Metals, Uranium in Particular,
are Triggers for Fibromyalgia By Dr. Mervyn Willard M.D.
The toxic profile of heavy metals warrants heedful attention on
the part of anyone with fibromyalgia ("FM"). Environmental
exposure is increasing to heavy metals like cadmium, mercury, arsenic,
lead, tungsten, and uranium. Entering the body via air and water
pollution and food contamination, these substances accumulate in
tissue and cause toxic effects. All of these toxic metals can cause
various FM symptoms, but uranium is capable of producing the entire
Our alarm mounts when we learn that despite bans on
atomic testing, more uranium than ever is being discharged into
the environment. Uranium is alloyed with other metals to make them
extra hard so they penetrate armored tanks. The shells explode upon
impact, scattering dust with uranium into the air. Dust from these
munitions is generated not only in the Middle East, but also in
practice runs from Nellis Air Force Base and at Nevada Test Site.
For clarity, we will limit our discussion to uranium's
hazard as a toxic chemical, a chemical that gets into the bloodstream
and migrates into body tissues. Uranium also poses a radiation hazard,
which we will not be discussing.
Percentage-wise, how many people actually
harbor these toxins?
The number approaches 100% for one or more of the toxic metals.
Maybe not everyone has symptoms; but FM symptoms if present can
only be worsened by heavy metal toxins.
But can anything be done about it?
Definitely, yes! Heavy metals are quite treatable by over-the-counter
agents that have recently become available. Derived from volcanic
ash, these agents trap heavy metals and carry them to the kidneys
for excretion. By the end of this article, you should know how to
test yourself and how to detoxify yourself.
* * * Typical toxic profile of heavy metals:
Heavy metal exposures of any kind carry an imposing list of symptoms,
many of which mimic and can therefore worsen FM:
• memory loss
• speech difficulties
Why isn't heavy metal testing routinely performed?
Has there been a mistake? Shouldn't we be routinely tested given
our level of exposure? Despite increasing exposure, routine testing
has never received an official nod from the Center for Disease Control
in Atlanta. Nor have specific metals come under suspicion in physicians'
offices, since the typical symptoms are not easily traced to a specific
There are exceptions. Infants are routinely tested
for lead poisoning. Persons with specific occupational exposure
(some miners; lead battery workers) may receive routine testing.
Our recommendation is for everyone to be tested. Those
without symptoms should have advanced warning of impending toxic
loads. Those with illness—FM emphatically included—have
all the more justification for being tested.
What will the results of testing show?
Results will reveal which metal exposures fall in the "unacceptable"
range. Results showing elevations of specific metals can be checked
against symptom profiles and sources of exposure.
Results also give a broad view of total toxic load;
e.g., multiple metals in the "unacceptable" range suggest
a heavy toxic load. Very likely, toxicity builds up in a synergistic
way related to the mix and total load.
How is testing properly carried out?
Seldom when testing is done is it properly done. Blood and urine
specimens often fail to reveal toxins harbored in body tissue unless
a "provocation" (or "challenge") test is carried
out. The provocative agent pulls toxins across cell walls into circulating
body fluids, where they can be detected by the lab.
In practical terms, you ingest the provocative agent
while collecting all urine at the same time. For example, you might
dissolve some of the agent in water and drink it down every four
hours for a total of 16 hours. You would also collect all urine
for during the same time period for lab analysis. The urine would
contain the metals that were pulled out of tissue into the circulation
while taking the agent. That is what would show up on your report
from the lab.
Treatment—reduction of total body load
The goal of treatment is reduction of toxic load. By continuing
use of activated, purified volcanic ash, toxins can be reduced without
side effects. A few weeks usually suffice.
Critics assert no proven benefits to reductions in
toxic load. Perhaps such assertions are justified, given the scantiness
of research on this gargantuan problem. Others advocate good riddance
to toxins whose only potential is grievous harm, and the sooner
the better. With successive doses, metals are removed by increments
from the body.
Your first provocative test will show you that the
agent is working— metals are being pulled from your body and
show up on your test report. Weeks later a follow-up test will show
a smaller amount than was present on the first test. After a variable
number of weeks, sometimes months, all toxins will be reduced to
a safe or "acceptable" level.
The danger of "pull and drop:"
A danger of some detoxifying and chelating agents is that after
they pull metals out of tissue, they release them into the blood
stream. Metals are thus "dropped" into the bloodstream
and re-distributed among body tissues. "Pull and drop"
syndrome results in fatigue and malaise for a few days after taking
the detoxifying agent.
Zeolite (a type of volcanic ash) circumvents the problem
of "pull and drop" due to its cage-like configuration.
The particles of volcanic ash are negatively charged, whereas metals
in solution ("ions") are positively charged. The negatively
charged ash pulls the positively charged ions across the cell wall,
out of the tissue, into the circulation.
Immediately after "pulling" the metal ions
out of tissue, the volcanic ash "traps" them in its cage-like
structure. The cage configuration was formed when the volcanic ash—originally
molten lava—poured into sea water. As the lava spewed and
foamed, bubbles and pockets were formed, "cages" of the
right size to capture metal ions.
The cages encircle the metal ion and insulate it from
further contact with any tissue on its way to the kidneys. The kidney
then receives and excretes the ash-metal complex into the urine.
Other detoxifying agents are available, but do not
protect the body from "pull and drop" as well as Zeolite.
These agents include cracked Chlorella (from algae), alginate (from
seaweed), garlic, and cilantro. Drug chelators such as EDTA, DMPS,
and DMSA, in addition to "pull and drop," have to be monitored
for adverse reactions.
Uranium and Gulf War Syndrome ("GWS"):
While almost all toxic heavy metals can worsen some of the symptoms
of FM, uranium has been most closely connected to FM, since FM is
hardly distinguishable from GWS. Researchers discovered the connection
between Uranium and FM after the First Gulf War and also among veterans
of the Second Gulf War.
Official military reports brush off GWS as a psychosomatic
illness. "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" (PTSD) is usually
blamed despite exposures to uranium and other toxins, and despite
much higher rates of GWS among stressed soldiers who were also exposed
Uranium exposure in the Middle East and in
As we noted above, uranium is used to harden artillery shells so
they can pierce armored tanks. The shells after hitting their target
explode, scattering fine particles of uranium into the environment.
Combatants in areas where these shells have exploded breathe the
dust. The dust is absorbed and preferentially lodges in bone, brain
and kidneys. Large numbers of soldiers who have thus been exposed
to Uranium and other toxins and develop GWS.
These munitions are also used during practice maneuvers
at various testing sites throughout the U.S. Of concern to Nevadans,
these sites include Nellis Air Force Base and Nevada Test Site.
The uranium cannot be coming from Yucca Mountain (still under construction),
reactors, or from old nuclear tests, since "depleted"
uranium is showing up—a type not used for nuclear reactions.
Currently, the toxicity of uranium and its relation
to GWS have been wholly denied by the U.S. military, constituting
a scandal. Independent researchers and non-U.S. sources verify the
connection. For example, exposure to uranium correlates highly with
development of GWS in British soldiers according to British sources.
Other Uranium exposures:
Deep well water should be checked by county water analysts for heavy
metal contaminants. Uranium is a fairly common element found in
deep strata of granite deposits. Water seeping through layers of
rock can dissolve some of the uranium, making it impure to drink.
Reverse osmosis removes the uranium (but water softening may not).
River water does not contain uranium unless the river
crosses Uranium mine tailings (for example, the Colorado River can
pick up uranium at Moab, Utah).
Suggestions for preventing exposure to heavy
• Drink purified water.
• Avoid dental amalgam with mercury.
• Avoid shark, swordfish, and tuna (the most commonly metal-contaminated
fish). Ask for typical
heavy metal analyses from sources of fish that you would consider
• Install a high quality air filtration system in your home.
• Mercury has not been removed from all vaccines (such as
all flu vaccines). Request thimerisol-free vaccines (thimerisol
is a preservative with mercury).
• Avoid industrial areas especially in choosing where you
live. Air, water, and food are typically worse in these areas.
• Use organic food when possible.
Recommendations for heavy metal testing and
1. Test kit: generally, testing before using a provocative agent
(Zeolite) is not needed. Such tests
invariably fail to show toxins for reasons mentioned above. Therefore,
only one test kit is required. Use the kit while taking Zeolite
for 16 hours. Directions are mailed out with the kit. One bottle
of liquefied, purified, and activated Zeolite is sent separately
from the distributor, All Natural Prevention.
2. Treatment: the dose of liquefied Zeolite is ten
drops in a glass of water three times daily for two weeks. Then
use three drops three times daily for several weeks or months in
order to continue removing residues out of the body. Monthly or
bi-monthly follow-up provocative urine testing will show declines
in toxic metals. Once levels return to a safe range, you may stop.
Or, you may continue a small dose for prevention.
Whatever causes FM first affects the brain and spinal cord—research
firmly comes together around this hypothesis. Clinicians have also
observed that traumas and infections that harm the brain tend to
worsen FM. Beyond this, though, our knowledge about the cause of
FM is meager.
Researchers have been speculating about the cause
of Gulf War Syndrome—a condition very similar to FM—but
nothing convincing appeared until recently. If we set aside the
official military denials about uranium exposure, evidence comes
together around uranium.
Nevadans worry about uranium exposure perhaps more
than residents in other areas; however, the spread of uranium worldwide
gets worse every year. Of interest, uranium tends to deposit in
brain tissue. Also of interest, the climb of uranium in the environment
parallels the climb in incidence of FM.
The uranium hypothesis can be tested. We can check
to see if there is an association between FM and uranium. We can
also check how FM responds as heavy metal toxins are cleared out
of the body.
If uranium or heavy metal exposure can be shown to
trigger FM, at least in part, it will open promising new doors for
treatment. It will also open new doors to legitimacy. Once a definite
cause for a "new disease" is demonstrated, respectability
soon follows. Formal medical studies will hopefully be underway
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