Some elements can accumulate in tissues causing toxic effects. Metal toxicity is a significant environmental health concern. A toxic load of lead, cadmium, mercury or arsenic is capable of rendering considerable damage to the brain and nervous system, particularly in children. Toxic elements produce their many negative effects through various mechanisms.
One mechanism, irreversible enzyme inhibition, is illustrated by the anemia caused when lead binds to enzymes in the hemoglobin synthesis pathway. The cancer-inducing effect of arsenic seems to be due to an inhibition of DNA repair. Genotoxicity, in which chromosomes are damaged, is linked to the free radical generation abilities of cadmium, lead and nickel. Mercury causes enzyme poisoning.
Erythrocyte and whole blood toxic element levels are good indicators of body pools of essential elements as well as the toxic elements aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead,* and mercury. The Genova Diagnostics Nutrient and Toxic Elements Profile is an especially accurate way of determining whole body status of potassium and selenium.
Whole Blood generally reflects increased or recent exposure to toxic elements. The Genova Diagnostics Toxic Metals Profile shows levels of cadmium, lead,* and mercury.
Nutrient elements are measured in erythrocytes and toxic elements are measured in whole blood. One exception is selenium, which is measured in whole blood as a reliable index of selenium status.