Analysis of the levels of toxic metals in urine after the administration of a metal detoxification agent is an objective way to evaluate the accumulation of toxic metals. Acute metal poisoning is rare. More common, however, is a chronic, low-level exposure to toxic metals that can result in significant retention in the body that can be associated with a vast array of adverse health effects and chronic disease.
One cannot draw valid conclusions about adverse health effects of metals without assessing net retention. For an individual, toxicity occurs when net retention exceeds physiological tolerance. Net retention is determined by the difference between the rate of assimilation and excretion of metals. To evaluate net retention, one compares the levels of metals before and after the administration of a pharmaceutical metal detoxification agent such as EDTA, DMSA or DMPS. Different compounds have different affinities for specific metals, but all function by sequestering “hidden” metals from deep tissue stores and mobilizing the metals to the kidneys for excretion in the urine.
Many clinicians also request the analysis of essentials elements in urine specimens to evaluate nutritional status and the efficacy of mineral supplementation during metal detoxification therapy. Metal detoxification agents can significantly increase the excretion of specific nutrient elements such as zinc, copper, manganese and molybdenum.
This test is useful for toxic element exposure, alopecia, cardiovascular disease, dermatitis, detoxification therapy, gastrointestinal symptoms, immune function, inflammation, kidney function, and nutritional deficiencies.