If you would like to live to “ripe” old age, filled with bubbling  and roaring energy, and free of pain and disease, you should be interested in experiments of Dr. LEXIS CARREL which made tissue from the heart of chickens live for about 14 years. Dr. Carrel was a French surgeon and biologist. He won the Nobel Prize for the findings of these experiments which suggest that human beings may live twice or three times or even more than they now live if they feed the cells of their bodies with the right nutrients and remove the waste products of the living processes of these cells. When Dr. Carrel worked at the Rockefeller Institute in New York, he began in 1912 to research longevity of chicken cells. The average backyard chicken lives for about eight or ten years, although many do not live longer than five years.

Dr.  Carrel made his experimental embryonic chicken heart tissue live in laboratory settings for many years before he quite Rockefeller Institute and handed the research to his colleague, LIBERT EBELLING.

Ebelling kept the research going and discarded the chicken heart tissue after he grew tired of the experiment. That was 34 years after Dr. Carrel had begun it. The lesson in this experiment is that, if the backyard chicken lives for no longer than 10 years but its heart tissue lived in the laboratory for 34 years, there must be something in the environment which is antagonistic to longevity. What affects the chicken affects us, humans as well. Human anti-aging research had been unearthing many of these challenges, and heavy metals poisoning is one of them. Poor nutrition is another. As this column has been suggesting, we cannot flee from our poisoned Earth. Man is now reaping bountiful harvests of the poisonous seeds he has been sowing. What he can now do to protect his health is to aid the organs of his body which remove poisons from his system. We should not forget that the ideas for this series came from:

  1. The roasting of cow skin (Ponmo in Yoruba and Kanda in Igbo) and.
  2. The report last months by the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) that it had investigated samples of underground water in all 20 Local Governments Council Areas of Lagos State and found them all filled with high levels of toxic heavy metals, especially iron. The first part of this series addressed poisoning by Arsenic and Lead. Both cause cancer and death from other diseases. Maybe I should now add that all those boys and girls, men and women hawking all sorts of articles in traffic jams are inhaling lead in automobile exhaust and that, in the future, their generation may fall prey to all sorts of  diseases, the origins of which may not be immediately linked to their childhood occupations. The same may go for many children, who, like their mothers, spend a great deal of time after school hours, selling one thing or the other by the road side. These children are hardly top brass at school. They fail “O” Levels woefully and are no materials for university education unless they “runce” (manipulate) examinations. Lead inhalation may have disturbed their cognitive capacities.

More frightening than this is the report last week that four men had been arrested by the police in Warri for treating cow skin (Ponmo, Kanda) with the chemical mortuaries used to preserve human corpses. This chemical is said to make cow skin swell and weigh well for a good market price. The outcome of Police investigations should be of interest to us.

Meanwhile, we should remember that, as much as we are unable to flee from this poisoned Earth, detoxification is our lifeline to the protection of our health. I learned this much when I lived in a house on Ajanaku Street, in Awuse Estate, Ikeja, Lagos. It was after about 10 years of living there that I discovered that the house had an underground water storage tank the tank was locally fabricated from aluminum, a dangerous metal. The soldering was made with lead, a dangerous heavy metal. And, to worsen matters, the inside of the tank was coated with coal tar to prevent rusting. Coal tar, like any tar, including the blackened roasted corn, is a cancer causing agent.

This discovery opened my eyes to the need for regular detoxification of my system. And that, exactly, is what Dr. Carrel and Dr. Ebelling have taught us by keeping chicken heart tissue alive for more than 34 years, throwing it away. Dr. Ebelling got tired of the research. Who knows, if the tissue would not have lived till the day, that is for more than a 100 years?

Iron toxicity

Before I suggest some detoxification ideas, I would like to quickly mention the damage iron toxicity and mercury poisoning may cause to health. Men often wonder why women live longer than men. It may have to do with iron toxicity. Iron is the central atom which holds the atoms of hemoglobin together. These atoms comes from Carbon, Oxygen, Hydrogen and Nitrogen. When Iron hold them together, hemoglobin is formed. Hemoglobin is a component of the red blood cell. It helps the cell absorb oxygen for the transportation to all the cells. Too much iron in the body is a cause of pain for which many people take pain killers instead of addressing the underlying or root cause(s).

Too much iron may damage the liver and the heart. Women are less likely than men to have too much iron in their blood because they lose iron every month during menstruation.

As Clifford S. Spanier man advises us in www.emadicine.medscop.com:

“Iron toxicity can be classified as corrosive or cellular. Ingested Iron can have an extremely corrosive effect on the gastrointestinal (GI) Mucus, which can manifest as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, hematemesis and diarrhea. Patients may become hypovolemic because of significant fluid and blood loss. Cellular toxicity occurs with the absorption of excessive quantities of ingested Iron. Severe overdose causes impaired oxidative phosphory action and mitochondrial dysfunction which can result in cellular death.

The liver is one of the organs affected by cellular iron toxicity, but other organs such as the heart, kidney, lungs and the hematologic system also may be impaired. Overload of iron in the heart may cause death due to myocardial siderosis. With both chronic and cellular toxicity, the end result is significant metabolic acidosis, due to several factors. Inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation will promote anaerobic metabolism. Individuals demonstrate signs of GI toxicity after ingestion of more than 20mg per kg. Moderate intoxication occurs when ingestion of elemental iron exceeds 40mg/kg.

Ingestions exceeding 60mg/kg can cause severe toxicity and may be lethal.

Suggested iron doses are based on calculation of the amount of the elemental iron. Different iron preparations (salts) contain different amounts of elemental iron, as follows:-

  • Fumarate – 33%
  • Sulfate – 20%
  • Gluconcite – 12%

I am not a blood tonic lover for this reason. Many people who feel run down are too quick to drown proprietary blood toxics with lots of iron without knowing the level of iron in their bodies, how much iron, they need, if they need it at all, and the amount of iron present in the self-recommended blood toxic they are taking. I’d rather take iron – rich food supplements if I believe I have any need for iron pep up. This natural iron is better tolerated by the body, which knows how to safely handle any excess of it.

The LASEPA finding that iron and other heavy metals are present in Lagos underground water should not be glossed over, especially as most of the sachet water (“pure water”) and bottle water brands sold in Lagos come from well waters.

On the wash basins of the toilets in many homes, red markings or etching are common signs. This is evidence that iron is present in the tap water. It should be frightening to the health – conscious person that iron in larger quantum than is safe may be present in his sachet or table water. I had a needless argument with one of my acquaintances the other day. We were relaxing over snacks in the evening at a rendezvous in our housing estate and discussing environmental poisoning in today’s earth. When I said I do not drink water from the borehole of my house, he asked why I did not treat it. When I said I did not because the chemicals for treating borehole water were poisoning, and that even the chlorine in tap water was a poison, he asked why I took sachet water or bottle water at all. At that point, I knew we were headed for a long but needles argument. For, much, earlier, I had said we couldn’t flee from todays poisoned Earth but could navigate our ways and health around its discomfitures.

One way I did this, I had said, was that I minimized my risks and took time to detoxify my body regularly.

Certainly, I am not a “something – will – kill – a- man” person.  Even people who are “something – will – kill – a – man person do not wish to die when the chips come down. This gentleman had no money to look after his health, is addicted to health-damaging lifestyle, exhibits symptoms of degenerating health and unprepared to learn from the experience of other people. I guess many people are like him. Our friend may profit from this information from JENNIFER BLAIR in the website.ehow.com:

“Home owners who receive their drinking water from a well often have concerns about its possible contaminants, such as heavy metals. One of the more common metals to find its way into well water is iron. Iron oxides and salts found in Nature may work their way into a well water supply with no obvious signs, depending on the concentration. Individuals who consume water contaminated with iron for a prolonged period may develop iron toxicity, a potential deadly condition. Recognizing the symptoms can help catch the condition before it progresses to a more serious stage.”

Jennifer Blair lists these symptoms under the following headings…gastrointestinal cardiovascular and pulmonary nervous system and skin symptoms.

Gastrointestinal

Typical, the first symptoms of iron toxicity from well water are related to the gastrointestinal tract because iron has a corrosive effects on the lining of the stomach. Initial symptoms are usually abdominal pain and diarrhea and there may also be a metallic taste in the mouth. Nausea and vomiting are common as well and, in some advanced cases, individuals suffering from iron toxicity may have blood in their vomiting or stool. The loss of fluids often leads to dehydration and, more extreme cases, stock. In severe instance of well water iron toxicity, liver enzymes may become elevated and liver failure may occur. As a result, jaundice can also be a symptoms.”

Cardiovascular and pulmonary  

“Individuals who contract iron toxicity from the ingestion of tainted well water may experience rapid breathing and fluid build-up in the lungs. The heart rate often increases as well, and blood pressure may begin to drop. The blood may also be unable to clot properly. In addition, an individual with iron toxicity often has a fast and weak pulse.”

Nervous system

“Exposure to iron toxicity from well water may be accompanied by a headache, dizziness, fever and chills. Individuals often feel drowsy and may become unconscious.

Irritability, confusion and lethargy are also common symptoms, and seizures may occur.

Skin

“Individuals who suffer from iron toxicity due to well water consumption may also demonstrate visible symptoms. Their skin, fingernails and lips often appear blueish due to low oxygen levels in the body. Flushing may also result or the skin loses its colour, giving it a pale appearance. In case when iron toxicity progresses further along to affect the liver, the skin may take on a yellow cast know as jaundice”.

It should be clear from the foregoing that treatment of the symptoms of iron and other heavy metal poisoning should go beyond merely restoring the conditions to status gun ante, to heavy metal hair analysis for example, and metals detoxification.

Mercury

“Many people are burdened with mercury tooth fillings. Yet this is a heavy metal which may cause cancer. Vaporises, especially when hot meals are eaten, damaging the gums and teeth.

If the vapour finds its way to the eyes, nerve damage may occur there, impairing vision. Many other ailments have been linked to mercury toxicity as well.

For a long time, one time Nigerian Health Minister Professor Olikoye Ransome-kuti spent his tenure advising Nigerian Women not to bleach their skin with mercury-containing soaps, explaining that, after mercury does its job, it would find its way to the liver. Many antiseptic soaps today contain mercury. It would be interesting to find out if a correlation exists between these soaps and related creams on one hand, and an upsurge of breast cancer on the other.

From the website www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets.com we obtain the following information:

“Mercury is a natural occurring element that is found in air, water and soil. Exposure to mercury, even small amounts, may cause serious health problems and is a threat to the development of the child in utero and early in life.

Mercury may have toxic effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems and lungs, kidneys and eyes. Mercury is considered by WHO as one of the 10 top chemicals or groups of chemicals of major public health concern. People are mainly exposed to methlmercury, an organic compound, when they eat fish and shell fish that contain the compound. Mercury exist in various forms:  elemental (or metallic) and inorganic (to which people may be exposed through their occupation), and organic (e.g methylmercury, to be exposed through their diet. These forms of mercury differ in their degree of toxicity and in their effects in the nervous, digestive and immune system, and on lungs, kidney, skin and eyes.

“Mercury occurs naturally in the earth crust. It is released into the environment from volcanic activity, weathering of rocks and as a result of human activity.

Human activity is the main cause of mercury releases, particularly coal-fired power stations, residential coal burning for heating and cooking, industrial processes, waste incinerators and as a result of mining for mercury, gold and other metals.

“Once in the environment, mercury can be transformed by bacteria into methylmercury. Methylmercury then (bio accumulates occurs when an organism contains higher concentration of the substance than to the surroundings) in fish and shell fish. Methylmercury also biomagnifies. For example, large predatory fish are more likely to have high levels of mercury as a result of eating many smaller fish that have acquired mercury through ingestions of plankton. ‘People may be exposed to mercury in any of its forms under different circumstances. However, exposure mainly occurs through consumption of fish and shell fish contaminated with methylmercury and through worker inhalation of elemental mercury vapours discerning industrial processes. Cooking dose not eliminate mercury.”

In Canada, Brazil, China, Greenland and Columba, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that there are many children whose mothers ate contaminated fish and shellfish when they were still in the womb. These children today suffer from poor memory, mental retardation language deficit and vision problems. In Minamate, Japan, one of worst cases of mercury poisoning occurred when a company producing a celtic acid dumped its wastes into a river between 1932 and 1968. The local community was a fishing and fish eating community. No one suspected the fish they ate were contaminated with methylmercury from the factory waste until many people began to suffer from brain damage, paralysis, incoherent speech and delirium, among other health discomfitures.

People in Nigeria are turning away from red meat on health grounds, and going more for fish caught in the high seas where lots of industrial waste from Europe and the United State have been dumped. In Nigeria, it is doubtful if the environmental protection agencies ensure industrial wastes are transformed into safer substances before they are discarded into public drains such as canals, from where they enter the underground water supply. Thus, there is no fleeing from our poisoned world. What we can do to protect our health is to help our eliminative organs, through detoxification, to remove toxic wastes, and prevent them from accumulating in our bodies.

The chicken heart longevity experiment of Surgeon Alexis Carrel, in which Chicken heart tissue before lived for 34 years before it was thrown away, shows that, by eating the right kind of foods and by detoxifying our bodies, we, too, can extend our lifespan, suffering no pain or disease.