Toxic metals are everywhere. Arsenic is in your rice crackers. Mercury is in your sushi. Baby food may contain lead, cadmium, and other toxic metals. Even your dark chocolate might be contaminated with cadmium and lead! Unfortunately, everyone has toxic metals in their body, and the more toxic metals present in YOUR body, the higher YOUR risk of developing many health concerns, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Toxic metals can also affect the health of your adrenal glands, the production of cortisol, the stress hormone, and the production of other hormones.
What are adrenal glands?
The adrenal glands are a part of your endocrine system, and you have two. One adrenal gland sits on top of each of your kidneys and produces hormones, including cortisol, DHEA, and progesterone, in response to signals from your brain. The communication between your brain and your adrenal glands is known as your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis or your HPA axis. The adrenal glands play a primary role in maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm and an optimal stress response.
Which toxic metals harm the adrenal glands?
Research shows at least five toxic metals harm the adrenal glands. One toxic metal that significantly impacts the function of the adrenal glands is cadmium. Numerous studies assessing the impact of exposure to cadmium on the HPA axis have been published. The studies confirm cadmium accumulates in the hypothalamus and affects cortisol production.1 The data show cadmium may either increase or decrease cortisol levels, depending on the duration and magnitude of the toxic exposure.2
The effect of lead on cortisol production has also been studied. Exposure to toxic lead may affect the basal, or baseline, cortisol level. Studies also suggest exposure to lead contributes to a stunted stress response, which may be a factor in the development of learning impairments.3
Research studies show women with higher mercury levels manifest a blunted morning cortisol response compared to women with lower mercury levels.3 Exposure to nickel and aluminum is also associated with reduced production of cortisol.5 According to animal studies, mercury exposure may even alter the structure of the adrenal glands, leading to enlargement.4
How do toxic metals harm the adrenal glands?
Some of the mechanisms by which toxic metals may harm the adrenal glands include:
- Increased oxidative stress6
- Abnormal enzyme activity6
- Reduction in cofactors available for optimal enzyme activity6
- Altered metabolism of hormones6
- A change in the number of hormone receptors6
- Altered hormone receptor function6
- Induction of autoimmune activity6
- Inhibition of the production of hormones7
- Impairment of signaling from the hypothalamus and pituitary in the brain7
- Mitochondrial dysfunction8
What should I do?
Ask your doctor to order:
- An Adrenal Stress Index Panel to check your cortisol levels and determine if you have adrenal fatigue
- A Toxic Metals and Elements Panel to screen for exposure to toxic metals
Once you know which toxic metals are in your body, you can determine the source(s) of the toxic metals, reduce your exposure, and quickly improve your health. Consider testing all of your family members too!
Adapt is a physician-formulated blend that includes Ashwagandha, zinc, and B vitamins to support the detoxification of toxic metals and other endocrine disruptors.*
B-KalmPlexus offers B vitamins, magnesium, Ashwagandha, and phosphatidylserine to support mitochondrial function and the detoxification of toxic metals.*
Flavo-PlexC is a potent blend of antioxidants that contains vitamin C, bioflavonoids, Ashwagandha, and magnesium to support cellular health and the detoxification of toxic metals.*
* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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- Lafuente A. The Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Gonadal Axis Is Target of Cadmium Toxicity. An Update of Recent Studies and Potential Therapeutic Approaches. Food Chem Toxicol. 2013; 59: 395-404.
- Caudle M. This can’t be stressed enough: The contribution of select environmental toxicants to disruption of the stress circuitry and response. Physiol Behav. 2016; 166: 65–75.
- Schreier H, Hsu H, Amarasiriwardena C, et al. Mercury and psychosocial stress exposure interact to predict maternal diurnal cortisol during pregnancy. Environ Health. 2015; 14: 28.
- Rana, S. Perspectives in endocrine toxicity of heavy metals - A review. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2014; 160(1): 1-14
- Perez-Cadahia B, Laffon B, Porta M, et al. Relationship between blood concentrations of heavy metals and cytogenetic and endocrine parameters among subjects involved in cleaning coastal areas affected by the 'Prestige' tanker oil spill. Chemosphere. 2008; 71(3): 447-55.
- Gruszecki, A. Adrenal Fatigue: Environmentally Induced Adrenal Hypofunction? NDNR. 2020; 16(2): 1-5.
- Crinnion W, Pizzorno JE. Clinical Environmental Medicine: Identification and Natural Treatment of Diseases Caused by Common Pollutants. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2019.
- Jomova K, Jenisova Z, Feszterova M, et al. Arsenic: toxicity, oxidative stress and human disease. J Appl Toxicol. 2011;31(2):95-107. doi:10.1002/jat.1649