How To Test For Heavy Metals

Written by

Benedict Freudenmann

Assessing your heavy metal status isn’t easy. Questioning and a thorough investigation into your past and present provide some indication of exposure. However, exposure doesn’t indicate how much of those heavy metals stayed in your body. A DNA test gives us another angle of understanding, by assessing your detoxification capacity and thereby assessing how capable your body is of removing these harmful metals. However, we still don’t know for certain whether treatment is required until we directly test for heavy metals. Unfortunately, testing for heavy metals isn’t that simple.

Do you suffer from elevated heavy metals?

We are exposed to heavy metals every day. The air we breath, the food we eat, the water we drink, the clothes we wear, the cosmetic products we use and the place we sleep at night, all contribute to the toxic burden on our body.

What is a heavy metal?

Simply stated, a metal of relatively high density, or of high atomic weight that causes abnormal or negative disturbance in the body.

These heavy metals may be; carcinogenic (cause cancer), disrupt the nervous system (brain function), affect the microbiome (gut bacterial balance) and commonly affect the endocrine system (hormones).
The most common heavy metals and ones considered by the World Health Organization to be the biggest risk to the population are cadmium, mercury, lead and arsenic.

cadmium

When we look at toxins in relation to our body, we often refer to them as toxic burden and toxic load. The “toxic burden” is the amount of toxins we are exposed to everyday. The “toxic load” is the amount of toxins we carry in our body.

Unfortunately, its not always apparent if you have a toxic build up in the body. Many toxins can be stowed away in the bodies various tissues such as bone, fat, nerves, red blood cells and kidneys. Therefore, it is extremely important to test your heavy metal load and burden to see if these may be contributing to your ill health.

However, testing your heavy metal load or burden isn’t as straightforward as you might think. There are many tests available on the market to check you levels. Some are complete quack, while others have some limitations. The most common tests include the examination of urine, whole blood, serum blood and hair.

So lets explore the positives and negatives of each of these common testing types and thereby provide you with the knowledge to get the right test, at the right time, for the right heavy metal.

Urine-Test

Heavy metal tests:

  1. Urine test

This test involves collecting urine and testing the concentration of heavy metal ions.

Pro:

Gives a reasonably accurate indication of recent exposure and long term exposure of a few heavy metals (listed below). Would also indicate if you are still currently exposing yourself to the heavy metal.

Con:

If there has been no recent exposure, it can show up with a very low or negative result, even though there could be elevated levels of heavy metals in your body. This is because some heavy metals are more easily excreted via the kidneys than others. Lead and methyl mercury are bound to protein structures in the body and therefore don’t show up in urine tests.

Thus, only look at the following heavy metals in urine tests:

Cadmium: Urinary cadmium is the best indicator of long-term exposure. Cadmium is concentrated in the kidneys and urinary levels represent cumulative cadmium exposure over the long term.Arsenic: Urinary arsenic is the best indicator of recent exposure, as 80% is excreted in urine after 3 days.
Urinary mercury is the best indicator of inorganic and elemental mercury exposure and kidney burden.

2. Urine challenge test


This test involves the administration of a chelating agent such as DMPA, DMSA or EDTA prior to collecting urine. The chelating agent can be administered orally or via I.V.


Pro:

The chelating agents mobilize stores of heavy metals in the body and thereby show results that reflect heavy metal stores instead of only recent exposure.

Con:

There are no regulations on how this test is completed; as such there are no high and low reference ranges. As each chelating agents works differently, the dose of chelating agent, the route of administration and the length of time before urine is collected, effects the result. Therefore, as there are no regulations to follow, everyone makes them up and the reference ranges most laboratories supply are similar to a non-challenged urine test. Therefore, almost everyone has elevated results but we have no reliable way to know if this is a sign of toxicity or normal daily excretion. Finally, taking high levels of chelating agents can be very damaging to your health as they can draw out essential minerals or mobilize toxic heavy metals.

blood-sample-in-test-tubes-with-health-analysis

3. Whole blood test

This test examines the heavy metal concentrations inside your red and white blood cells, but does not check the heavy metal levels in the fluid surrounding the cells (plasma).

Pro:

As blood cells live up to 120 days the level of heavy metal found reflects your exposure/blood levels over the last 120 days.

Con:

Not all heavy metals have an affinity to bind with red blood cells. Some heavy metals prefer to adhere to tissues in the kidneys or bone structures throughout the body. Therefore, those that do not have a high affinity with red blood cells will only be elevated if there has been very recent exposure or the body is extremely toxic.

The heavy metals that do have an affinity with red blood cells are:

Lead: Whole blood is the best indicator of lead status. Around 95% of lead is bound to red blood cells, while the rest binds to bone and other protein structures.
Mercury: Whole blood is the best indicator of organic (methyl or ethyl) mercury exposure with 70-95% bound to hemoglobin in red blood cells. Blood is however not a good indicator of inorganic or elemental mercury levels.
Cadmium: Whole blood cadmium levels reflect recent exposure within the last 50 days, but not overall toxicity levels.

4. Blood Plasma Test


This test examines the Heavy metal concentration of the fluid surrounding our red and white blood cells.

Pro:

The main reason to conduct this test is if liver or kidney damage is present, as urinary excretion will not be accurate or give false readings. In this case, plasma testing can replace this. However, It will only show recent exposure or severe toxicity.

Con:

Blood plasma testing will not show stores in the body or long-term exposure unless every other tissue is over saturated and toxicity levels are very high. Most heavy metals are bound to another molecule and either stick around in the body or are quickly excreted via the urine.

5. Hair mineral test

This test examines the heavy metal content of newly grown hair.

Pro:

This test shows a long-term picture of plasma concentrations of heavy metals. It can also indicate some protein bound stores that are used in the hair’s growth.

Con:

Not all heavy metals are mobilized in the growth of a hair follicle, therefore generally only plasma concentrations influence the heavy metal levels. There is also a large risk of contamination with hair testing as hair dyes, shampoos, conditioners and other products can contain heavy metals thereby providing false results.

The solution

As you may have noticed there are no perfect tests. Each and every one of the tests discussed, have some pretty significant drawbacks. However don’t despair, as there is at least some light at the end of the tunnel.

 

Introducing the Mercury Tri-Test

Quicksilver scientific utilizes a combination of 3 tests to examine mercury as well as tests for all other heavy metals in whole blood. The Tri test for mercury looks at samples of hair, whole blood and urine to assess for the body’s mercury burden and its ability to eliminate it. By combing the results of all three markers, we are bypassing the limitations of each test and thereby get a much more thorough and complete picture of your Mercury levels. The Blood metals give us a further snapshot of other metal burdens. Although there are limitations to testing all other heavy metals in your blood it is a great starting point.


Quicksilver scientific currently hold the patent for the mercury tri-test and all third party providers send their test samples to Quicksilver Scientific in the USA for testing. Certain states in the USA are able to order this test directly, everyone else must order through an accredited practitioner.

blood test

The Future and Today


The Mercury Tri test is a prime example of the future of heavy metal testing. Hopefully very soon, more test like this one will become available where the combination of urine, whole blood and possibly even hair is used to give us a thorough understanding of what’s actually going on. As time goes on we can also hope that challenging urine tests, which was once considered a gold standard, are put under the microscope and proper guidelines with corresponding reference ranges are established so we are able to properly utilize this test.


Until that time comes, we will use the tri test for mercury, urine for cadmium and arsenic and whole blood for lead and cadmium. By combing these 3 testing methods we have reliable way to understand the 4 major heavy metals that affect our system.

  • Become A TRULY HEAL Functional Medicine Health Coach

    Start an exciting career as a functional medicine health coach and help your clients live a healthier and more fulfilled life.

  • The FREE Functional Medicine Training will give you insights into the workings of a TRULYHEAL Health Coach. You will learn that treating the patient and not the disease makes the real difference.

  • Learn how to save thousands of $$ for treatments you can easily do at home. 

  • Watch “TRULY HEAL from CANCER” now completely Free! You have also access to the original version “CANCER is curable NOW”

  • Learn more about PEMF Therapy at the PEMF Expert academy

  • At the O3 academy we will show you how to set up a little home clinic to treat many different maladies like open wounds, infections, cancer or even leaky gut. 

  • At the HYPERTHERMIA academy you can learn how every German clinic uses fever therapy once a week to boost the immune system, increase white blood cell count and detoxifies the body like little else. 

  • Providing You Truly Unique & Effective Vitamin Supplements

  • Leave your comments for! "How To Test For Heavy Metals"

    3 Responses

    1. That does make sense. Since mercury is prevalent and so toxic,knowing actual levels would be helpful. What might the costs be to run this tri fecta? It sounds like doing a challenge could be hard on the body if youre excreting mercury , because some would likely get recirculated through the hepatic portal. Too many people just end up recirculating mercury and not getting rid of it.
      And, In lieu of what mercury can do and knowing that it gets in brain tissues,
      What do you think of thermography for looking at the brain….not to diagnose mercury poisoning or exposure but to see if there was damage? Is that a viable method?

    2. You aren’t mentioning biggest route for heavy metals elimination?
      Stool. Why do you think that liver, which is storing ferritin, isn’t storing others heavy metals as well? It’s our filter. Also heavy metals and chemicals (liver test GGT over 16), are to blame, why liver is producing bad cholesterol, which body can’t utilize. Industry don’t teach kids, that, if you want to make cheap hard margarine from crapy oils, you use heavy metals as catalysts. Doctors should, with urine challenge test, do also stool challenge test. Actually provoked liver bile test with binders. But that would undermine their teachings. And profits.

    3. Hi – I am trying to find the link to the tri mercury test and I can't find it on the link you have in the email. Can you please send it to me?

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Related Articles

    Education

    Kidney Stones: Functional Tips for Preventing Pain

    The kidneys are vital organs of the body that help in the removal of toxins, waste products, and excess fluids from our blood through urine. When we have too much waste or toxins or not enough fluid in the blood, this can lead to a build-up of waste in the system. The result? Kidney stones.
    In this article, we will discover the underlying mechanisms behind kidney stone formation, as well as some unique lifestyle and dietary suggestions to help you prevent kidney stones in the future…

    Read More »
    Education

    Is Fear A Friend or Foe?

    Fear is one of the most natural and universal human emotions. We evolved with a potent fear response to keep us healthy, safe from harm, and alive. Yet, most of us feel negatively about fear. We want to hide from it, escape it, and ultimately live a life free from fear.
    So, is fear a friend or a foe? Here we’ll dive deeper into fear and how it impacts our health and daily lives. Then, we’ll review a few simple steps that help us live better with fear – and even learn from it, too!

    Read More »
    Education

    Seductively Sweet & Severely Damaging

    So what exactly does this seductively sweet drug called “sugar” do to our bodies? There is bountiful evidence which indicates significant roles for both insulin resistance and beta cell dysfunction in the pathogenesis and evolution of type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is often present in your body years before diabetes is diagnosed. This reflects a diminished response to insulin in its key target tissues and has been shown to predict the development of the condition…

    Read More »
    Education

    Maintaining Your Lung Health

    If you’re striving for optimal health, you cannot ignore your lung health. In fact, lung health is absolutely critical for a well-functioning body. To better understand the crucial role your lungs play in your immune health, let’s first take a moment to visualise the lungs inside your body. The lungs sit in the chest and are filled with tiny structures called alveoli. These small air sacs are surrounded by tiny blood vessels called capillaries which allow for the exchange of two gases…

    Read More »
    Education

    Autism Spectrum Disorder A Functional Medicine Perspective

    Only a few generations ago, the children that suffered from autism were sent away to psychological institutions. Today, the CDC reported that approximately 1 in 54 school aged children within the USA are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Autism remains to be one of the least understood and most controversial diseases from the elusive cause to the treatment options. There is no easy answer to this complex and multifaceted condition…

    Read More »
    Education

    Thriving Senior Health

    The old has passed away, behold the new has come. Although you may inch towards seniority with reluctance, in essence it is those wonderful senior years which bring forth a new and beautiful chapter of your life. There is no greater gift than living these years healthy and worrisome free. Nonetheless it is true, that ageing can bring about numerous health issues due to the fact alone that most of our organ systems decrease in function.

    Read More »

    UNLOCK ALL HIDDEN content

    Trulyheal Course DVD

    Create your FREE account now to access all locked content and receive our weekly newsletter

    You will get instant access to the documentary “TRULY HEAL from CANCER” and our Functional Medicine Training Videos

    You can unsubscribe at any time.

    By signing up to the TRULY HEAL academy you confirm to have read and accepted the disclaimer

    Already have an Account?

    Sign in with Social Media

    Register your FREE account

    • Type your password.

    contact us

    Contact us with your preferred method. Calls are redirected to Qld Australia.  
    If we are not answering leave a message so we can call you back.

    TRULY HEAL Pty. Ltd.

    Sunshine Coast Noosaville Qld 4566 Australia

    INTERNET:  www.trulyheal.com       
    EMAIL:   contact@trulyheal.com 
       
    TOOL FREE CALL

    Australia   1 800 719 673
    USA & Canada    1 800 810 4796
     
    Calls are redirected to Australia. Please leave a message so we can call you back.   

    SKYPE:  deborah-freudenmann
    WHATSAPP    +61 499651419
     

    ABN:   32 621 367 557
    ACN:   621 367 557