What is the Best Way to Test for Heavy Metal Toxicity?

Q. Cynthia, What is the best way to test for mercury and all other heavy metals? Also your quote page is excellent!! Dustin

A. Hi Dustin,

Thank you, I’m glad you enjoy my inspirational quotes page. Quotes are one of my most favorite things and I love to share them.

There are a variety of ways to test for mercury and other heavy metals and each one has its strengths and drawbacks. It will vary from practitioner to practitioner on what they feel is best. The options include hair, urine and blood. Each one has merit.

With urine this is usually what is called a chelation challenge. The heavy metals and nutrient metals are measured in the urine and then the individual is given a heavy metal chelator like DMPS or DMSA. Then the urine is collected again and the metals are measured again. This is a common and well-established method used in clinics and doctor’s offices. The benefits for this method are the results are considered to be highly accurate and you have your results quickly. The drawback is you must have it done by a physician, it’s expensive and you must take a chelating agent. Some people get very sick from the chelating agent, because it mobilizes the heavy metals that are dormant. Another benefit of this method is that the results are reliable for both your heavy metals and your nutrient metals (zinc, copper, potassium, selenium etc.) That’s important, because we need to know both.

There are a variety of ways to measure both nutrient and toxic metals within the blood, but I have been schooled to believe that the RBC Mineral test is the best way to go with blood tests. This method of testing will tell us if there is a recent or ongoing exposure to heavy metals, however it is not a good tool for telling us if there are heavy metals stored in the organs, tissues, cells and fat and it does require a doctors order and a trip to the lab for the blood draw. However, I’m in the camp that believes the RBC mineral is the best and most accurate way to measure the nutrient metals.

The blood cleans itself twice a day. Therefore, if toxic metals are showing up in an RBC test, this indicates one of two things. One, there is a recent or ongoing exposure to the metals. Two, the level of metals is so high that the body is saturated with them and the blood is not able to clear them.

The hair analysis is considered by most to be a very reliable and accurate tool for telling us if heavy metals are being stored in fat, tissues, organs and cells and how much is being stored. It is easy, convenient and the most affordable. A hair analysis doesn’t require a visit to the doctors office. You can get a kit sent to your home, collect a hair sample and mail it back to the lab. The results will be sent to you. The drawbacks to this method are that it takes a couple weeks to get results, so not the best way to go if you have an urgent need to have your information and I have been schooled to believe that the hair analysis does not provide accurate and reliable results for the nutrient metals. However, not all practitioners will agree with this. Some of them do use the hair analysis for both the toxic and nutrient metals.

Since my focus is largely on self-care, I like methods that give control to the client and are affordable. So my favorite form of testing for heavy metals is the hair analysis. However, since the results for the nutrient minerals can’t be relied on with this method and the hair analysis doesn’t tell us about recent or ongoing exposures, then an RBC Mineral test is also called for.

We have toxic metals and nutrient metals in our body. Toxic metals should not be there, but the nutrient metals are fundamental to health. Some of the most common toxic metals include aluminum, cadmium, mercury, antimony, arsenic, lead and others, while some of the most important nutrient metals include potassium, calcium, selenium, zinc, copper, manganese and molybdenum. It’s important to know the levels of both for a variety of reasons. For one, the toxic metals often compete with the nutrient metals. Sometimes you can drive out the toxic metal simply by increasing the nutrient metal that is low.

There can also be toxicity in a nutrient metal like copper. Too much copper or any particular nutrient metal can be just as bad as not enough. Keeping the nutrient metals in balance is essential for optimal health.

Now, if I were a physician and had a bricks and mortar health clinic I might prefer to use the urine chelation challenge testing, but that’s not a good fit for my practice which consists of providing my services by phone consultations. So I like to combine the hair analysis with the RBC Mineral test. The hair analysis provides us with the best results for heavy metals that are being stored and the RBC Mineral test provides us with the best results for recent and ongoing exposures and the nutrient metals. The two together, give us everything we need to know.

However, not all hair analysis are created equal. Most labs wash the hair and I am in the camp that believes that washing the hair alters the results and should not be practiced. To my knowledge there are only two labs that don’t wash the hair, Trace Elements Inc. and Analytical Research Labs. I prefer Trace Elements Inc. because they test for a larger amount of toxic metals. You can get the Trace Elements test for only $125 by visiting this link

Click Here to Get the Trace Elements Hair Analysis*

If you’d like the RBC mineral test, you can set up a phone consultation and I can connect you with my preferred lab, which will also provide you with the necessary doctor’s order. The RBC Mineral can be purchased online and requires no visit to the doctor, but does require a visit to your local lab for the blood draw.

Heavy metal toxicity is very common in the population and is often a root contributor to many chronic physical and mental health conditions, like depression, anxiety, heart disease, addiction, cancer, chronic fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, autism, memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer’s, adrenal disorders, thyroid disorders, candida overgrowth, Parkinson’s, chronic pain, hyperactivity, attention deficit, arthritis, MS and other auto-immune disorders, and many more. Identifying whether you have heavy metals in your body is an essential component of all healing paths.

15 thoughts on “What is the Best Way to Test for Heavy Metal Toxicity?”

  1. My grandson was born with autism. He has responded to improved diet and possibly to chelation with the ionic footbath. He needs help and is now 7 years old and still living in his own world.

    I have heard of autism being totally cured by detecting what heavy metals are accumulated in the body and eliminating them. Have you any knowledge of success with this?

    1. Admin - Cynthia Perkins

      Hi Judy,

      Autism can be caused by many different contributing factors. Heavy metals is one of many possibilities. Take a look at the work of Dr. Amy Yasko for autism.



  2. Hello,
    I have a friend who recently suffered arsenic poisoning after living in China for a year. I went to visit her there and was experiencing some of the same symptoms as her (chest and arm pain). This was over a year ago and I still have this pain and haven’t really ever felt as good since that trip. I’d like to be tested for heavy metals but I can’t afford going to doctors or extensive testing. I found this test on Amazon that is $15 and I was just wondering if you think it is a valid test. I figured I’d take it and if it shows high levels of anything I’ll get further testing done later on when I’m not so broke. I don’t know much about this stuff so don’t know if this test is a valid or just a waste of money. Thanks for your input. Here’s the link- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007QENJX8/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A31FQ37TF77ZPZ

    1. Admin - Cynthia Perkins

      Hi Frances,

      I’m sorry but I don’t have any experience with that test, so I can’t really say how valid it is.


  3. Can a 4yr old boy have heavy metal toxicity? He has been diagnosed with Sensory deprivation on the autistic spectrum and has Epilepsy.

  4. Hi Cynthia I was at Standing Rock North Dakota this past November for about a month. I was sprayed with some kind of chemical/pesticide/toxic metals. I started getting very ill with upper respiratory problems which led to pneumonia which led to 3 TIA strokes. I want to be tested for what toxins ? But what is the best way and since it’s been several weeks since the exposures if anything will be detected or is it still in my blood?
    Thank you

  5. I live in the Chicago area (& my work requires Cook County residence), which has had significant pollution. In particular, lead is common in urban soils. I would like to garden. Do you know of labs that will test plant samples (e.g. fruit and other crops) or at least soil samples to see if contamination is a problem. I know mint is a hyperaccumulator of Pb (& should be grown in pots anyway because it is a weed), onions were moderately contaminated and tomatoes OK, but haven’t found any comprehensivw & thorough English language research on which if any crops take up lead and cadmium from contaminated soils–especially long term investments like fruit and nut plants, or even perennial vegetables. I want to grow my own food, but a tree won’t fit in a raised bed of imported dirt. Thanks.

    1. Admin - Cynthia Perkins

      Hi Erik,

      No I don’t know of any labs myself. But I’m sure there are ways to test your soil. You should be able to find them with a little research.

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