Antimony (Sb)

Antimony is chemically similar to arsenic, but is less toxic. Food and smoking are the usual sources of Sb.  Cigarette smoke can externally contaminate the hair as well as contribute to the uptake of Sb through inhalation. Gunpowder and ammunition often contains Sb, and firearm enthusiasts often have elevated levels of Sb in their hair. Other sources are the textile industry, metal alloys using lead and copper, and some drugs used to kill parasites. Sb is used in the manufacturing of paints, glass, ceramics, solder batteries, bearing metals, and semiconductors.

Sb combines with glutathione in the body, so excessive exposure has the potential to deplete intracellular glutathione stores. Glutathione is a naturally occurring antioxidant.

Early signs of Sb excess are:

  1. fatigue
  2. muscle weakness
  3. joint pain
  4. altered EKG
  5. myopathy
  6. nausea
  7. low back pain
  8. headache
  9. metallic taste

Later symptoms include:

  1. anemia
  2. renal failure
  3. muscle cramping and damage
  4. blood in urine

Absorption of Sb through the skin can result in “antimony spots”, which resemble chicken pox. Respiratory tissue irritation may result from inhaling Sb particles or Sb dust. Elevated levels of Sb are common in people with ADD/ADHD and autism.

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About Dr. Janet Starr Hull

Janet Starr Hull, PhD, CN has been offering the hair analysis service since 1995. She is the leading expert in environmental toxicology and holistic health and nutrition. Dr. Hull is the first nutritionist to offer the hair analysis through the internet. Connect with Dr. Hull on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.