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An Introduction To Ionic Mimicry

An Introduction To Ionic Mimicry

Have you ever been in a situation where you could have sworn you saw your doppelganger? It's like "Wait, what? WHO WAS THAT? There is only ONE of ME"
And it's true, there is only one of special little you. 
However, when it comes minerals, there is this tricky thing that happens called ionic mimicry.

Ionic mimicry is similar to something called ionomics when the body's essential minerals are not present or not at sufficient levels, and instead chooses to use other nutrients (like metals) in enzymatic processes and proteins. The reason for this happening is not always because an individual is overly exposed in an environment with metals, but rather the body is constantly trying to survive and continue to function, even if resources are not the best. So, it'll allow metals that are similar in molecular weight or functioning characteristics to substitute temporarily.

Repeat after me, the body is always on your side.

So how does this look? Let's say you're stressed. You have a tiering job, you're a single parent, 2 kids, work 7 days a week, are caring for an older parent and your sleep begins to suffer.

One of the FIRST minerals that the body starts to burn through when stressed is magnesium. You're not supplementing, it doesn't help that our soils are depleted of magnesium either, and oops- you had a bit of lead in your surroundings and the body says "Hey, you can be useful to me".

Lead is now being used in replacement of magnesium in the body to keep all of these critical enzymatic reactions going- but not for long, and then you start feeling it. 

This process of ionic mimicry, where an non essential mineral replaces an essential one is an adaptive process where the body is simply trying to survive with the resources it is being given. Without this process of adapting, even when utilizing not the most suitable resources, is required or the body's systems would be at risk in developing severe issues from the get-go. Therefore, despite it not being a favorable mechanism, it still serves a purpose.

That being said, exposure to these metals doesn't support our bodies anyway. We now live in a world saturated in them from having them being sprayed on our food through pesticide use, inorganic fertilizer, makeup, hair dye, paint fumes, pharmaceuticals, canned foods, and so much more. We're constantly being stimulated, our bodies pretty stressed from just day-to-day life, this all concocts itself into a recipe for disaster where we become susceptible to accumulating these non essential minerals in place of our essential ones.

Examples of ionic mimicry are as follows

  • Calcium: Cadmium, lead
  • Magnesium: Cadmium, lead
  • Copper: Cadmium, mercury, lead
  • Zinc: Cadmium, lead, nickel
  • Selenium: Arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, titanium, tin
  • Iron: Cadmium, lead, mercury
  • Iodine: Halogens (fluoride, bromide, chloride)

It sounds a bit depressing, but this doesn't mean we are helpless. In fact, this is a reason why we encourage to check one's mineral status every so often- kind of like your yearly check-up to make sure you're on top of your game! With our HTMA testing, one can see if there is an accumulation of a certain heavy metal or none essential element in the place of a vital mineral, as well as see into different bodily systems that may be struggling (like adrenals, nervous system, thyroid, blood sugar, etc). By having this information available to you, it instills more control and power in preventing potential toxicities and illnesses to occur in the future. 

Hope this was helpful food for thought.

Barbara Madimenos
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Practitioner
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner
Integrative Health Coach

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