Erica talks about Heavy Metals in a Way You’ll Understand

Erica is Alkaway’s in-house naturopath.

I was thinking about heavy metals (and no, that’s not entirely a reflection on my taste in music) and contemplating that we all know heavy metals are bad for us, but not many of us know exactly why and what they do.  The Ultrastream takes out the heavy metals from drinking water, but why is that so very important.

So, I decided to do a bit of research on a few of them for all of us.

The media in the Ultrastream that removes heavy metals is the KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion, and that’s why we call it KDF).  From the manufacturers of KDF it “can remove up to 98% of water-soluble cations (positively-charged ions) of lead, mercury, copper, nickel, chromium, and other dissolved metals.”


The ancient Romans thought lead was great. 
They used it in water pipes and makeup.  Birth rates in the upper classes plummeted to the point that many of the great families had to adopt sons in order to continue the family line.  I’ve always wondered if lead contamination had anything to do with the behavior of Nero, Caligula and the like.

And did we learn?
Well, not much it seems.  You may still find it in water pipes, canning, batteries, bottle caps, cigarette smoke and house dust.  For many years it was used in fuel, so we all got to breathe in a lot of it.

Lead based paint was such a great invention.
Especially for young children.  Children are inquisitive and happily go about discovering their world.  Part of this exploration seems to be the need to taste everything they can, and this can include paint that is peeling from walls or painted on toys.  If it is llead-basedpaint they get a nice dose of lead along with whatever other dubious qualities the paint has.  This can lead to mental and behavioural deficits.

In adults lead toxicity is associated with anaemia, anorexia, anxiety, behavioural abnormalities, cognitive impairment, digestive problems, fatigue, headaches, kidney damage, peripheral neuropathy, joint pain, low IQ, violent behaviour, prostate cancer and cardiovascular abnormalities.

In addition, lead blocks the absorption of calcium, iron, chromium and molybdenum.  The absorption of lead is increased in those with zinc or magnesium deficiency.


When I was young cadmium was simply part of the name of a paint colour, such as cadmium yellow and cadmium red.  Great shades of paint, but they do contain cadmium.  All these years later, I am not even a little surprised that members of my family who make a living as artists have high levels of cadmium in their bodies.

It is also found in cigarettes, pesticides, galvanised pipes, fertilisers, soft water, batteries, plastic coatings, contaminated seafood, and acid soils increase uptake of cadmium by vegetables,

So, what’s so bad about cadmium?
Well, cadmium is associated with kidney damage and bone abnormalities, osteoporosis and fractures: prostate, bladder, lung and liver cancers.  Also aggression, alopecia, high blood pressure, chronic bronchitis, scaly dry skin and yellow teeth.

On the nutrient side, it blocks the absorption of magnesium, zinc and selenium.  Absorption is increased in people with deficiencies in iron, vitamin D, copper, calcium and zinc.


Great little planet Mercury, closest to the sun and very hot.  He is also a Roman God, and is the patron god of financial gain, commerce, eloquence, communication, travellers, luck, trickery and thieves.  As a metal to us humans, there is no safe level of mercury in the body, though some sources say 0.1micrograms/day.

You can find it in body talc, dental amalgams, fabric softeners, pesticides, large fish, thimerasol – which is the mercury based preservative used in vaccines, some fungicides and pesticides, and of course, some thermometers.

Toxic levels have been associated with: A decrease in the activity of the bodies antioxidant enzymes, cardiovascular abnormalities, autoimmune conditions, autistic spectrum disorders, birth defects, nervous system disturbances, hair loss, cognitive and behavioural disorders, loss of vision and hearing, multiple sclerosis, thirst, tingling of lips and feet and psychosis; to name but a few.

Mercury can block iron, zinc and selenium absorption and function.  And if you have high levels of cadmium, then you absorb mercury much better.


A favourite of those writing historical romances entailing women who wanted to poison unwanted husbands and heirs.  Easily obtainable and used in everything from cosmetics, to medicine to rat poison.  The symptoms mimicked those of cholera, dysentery, heart attacks and food poisoning; and without modern testing, was untraceable.

Most of think that that’s where arsenic’s tale ends.  Unfortunately, it isn’t so.  Due to the wonders of mining, agriculture, forestry and industry arsenic contamination in the Australian environment isn’t as rare as we would hope.  A study in 2003 found that over 1000 sites previously used as cattle dips are contaminated.

Most human arsenic exposure occurs from consumption of contaminated drinking water.

Chronic effects of arsenic exposure via drinking water include skin lesions, neurological effects, hypertension, peripheral vascular disease, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, diabetes mellitus, and malignancies including skin cancer.

In addition, it blocks the absorption of selenium and vitamin E, two of the body’s main antioxidant nutrients.


A fantastic lightweight metal that made beer in cans so much lighter. It’s used in beer kegs too.  Beer drinkers rejoice for the smelting of aluminium.  And it’s really strong, four 6-packs could support a 2-ton car.

It’s really useful stuff, you’ll find it in other cans as well as making foils, kitchen utensils, window frames, analgesics, baking powder (not bicarb soda), toothpaste etc etc etc.  Then it leaches into the body.

Inside the body it isn’t quite so useful.  Long associated with Alzheimer’s and breast cancer, it is also been linked to bone abnormalities, muscle pain, Parkinson’s disease, rickets, seizures, weakness, multiple sclerosis, liver dysfunction and psychosis.

Nutritionally it blocks the absorption of sodium, potassium, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, Vitamins B1, C and E.


Copper is one of my favourite minerals, so first up, COPPER IS AN ESSENTIAL TRACE ELEMENT, you need it for immune function including making white blood cells; antioxidant enzyme function; making and repairing connective tissue, including collagen; and brain function, including making dopamine. O and you need it to keep the pigment in your hair (I’m not sure if taking copper supplements will get rid of grey hairs though)

But yes, like every other mineral in the body, too much is toxic.  Excess levels are associated the yeast and viral infections, PMT and prolonged and heavy menstrual cycles, post-natal depression and psychosis, premature ageing and peripheral oedema.

We get it from copper pipes, nuts, grains and seeds, legumes, chocolate, avocado and oysters (yummm).

Nutritionally copper levels are balanced by zinc levels, so looking after zinc intake will help mitigate high copper levels.  Of course, it has adverse effects on other nutrients, being that it blocks the absorption of magnesium, iron, molybdenum, manganese, Vitamins B1, C, E and folate.

I’m not saying that drinking Ultrastream water will directly help the body eliminate heavy metals, it can simply help reduce the intake of them.  The ability of the body to eliminate heavy metals decreases with age so for my mine, it makes sense to reduce exposure.

** Next time I’ll be investigating chlorine, fluoride and maybe POP’s (Persistent Organic Pollutants)






*References available on request.

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