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Metallothionein (MT) mel-o-thio-nin Heavy Metal Toxicity (A protein)
See also the definition of Methylation a medical condition that is similar.

If you have OCB, Diabetes, Neuropathy, immune problems, Candia, brain problems, brain swelling, headaches, Autism, learning difficulties, Brest Cancer, cancer, MS or ALS you must study this page.

We collect medical research with links so you can verify everything for yourself, we never speculate or offer unproven theories.

Low Metallothionein is from either a genetic condition or from exposure to toxins and can be the root cause of diabetes, oxidative stress, and autoimmune disease. The reports below show that it can also cause parasite growth. Treating diabetes, immune disorders, parasites and oxidative stress when caused by heavy metal toxicity nullifies the effectiveness of their treatments. Drugs such as insulin for a diabetic may be an essential drug however if one has metal toxicity it is less effective, thus requiring greater doses than may be required if heavy metals are removed. One of the first steps in restoring health must be to evaluate and treat heavy metal toxicity.

"MT was discovered in 1957 by Vallee and Margoshe from purification of a Cd-binding protein from horse (equine) renal cortex [2]. MTs function is not clear, but experimental data suggest MTs may provide protection against metal toxicity, be involved in regulation of physiological metals (Zn and Cu) and provide protection against oxidative stress. There are four main isoforms expressed in humans. In the human body, large quantities are synthesised primarily in the liver and kidneys. Their production is dependent on availability of the dietary minerals, as zinc, copper and selenium, and the amino acids histidine and cysteine."

See these pages on our site for related information  Selenium, Aluminum,   Copper, Zinc, Candidia,  Mercury  and Wilson's Disease  

It may affect or cause the following diseases or problems:

  • Diabetes:
  • Copper toxicity
  • Low zinc levels
  • Candidia (yeast overgrowth)
  • Heavy Metal toxicity's; mercury, copper, lead and aluminum
  • Immune system problems
  • Development of brain cells as an infant
  • Effect enzyme production effecting casein and gluten
  • Produce harmful hydrochloric acid by stomach cells
  • Autism
  • Behavior control and development of memory and social skills
  • OCB and Obsessive Compulsive Disorders
  • Destroy brain cells 
  • Brest Cancer 

1. "...Some experts on auto-immune disorders,...believe that one of the underlying causes of the explosion in auto-immune diseases is due to pesticides used as common practice in agriculture. There is also much evidence that all chronic health disorders, including auto-immune can be triggered by the accumulation of heavy metals in the body, especially those involving the nerves such as M.S, ALS, Motor-neuron disease. "

2. "Candida - Another effective way to combat candida is using zinc therapy. Candida is killed by metallothionein (MT) proteins which are normally in high concentration in intestinal mucosa. MT is induced by zinc. Many persons with candida are low zinc and low MT persons. They usually exhibit low zinc in plasma, serum, or packed cells, but high zinc in hair. You can expect chronic candida problems until zinc is normalized. In a sense, zinc can be an effective weapon in your anti-candida arsenal. Typical anti-candida therapies (including dietary restrictions) can manage the problem for a while....... Maintenance supplementation with zinc (after these interventions) can permanently fix the problem, in many cases, without the need to continue dietary vigilance. (Feb 5, 2003)...Metallothionein levels are reported to be related to Attention Deficit Disorders"

3. Relationship to Diabetes and Heart Disease.  

American Diabetes Association Metallothionein and Catalase Sensitize to Diabetes in Nonobese Diabetic Mice
American Diabetes Association Overexpression of Metallothionein Reduces Diabetic Cardiomyopathy
Public Med Analysis of the possible protective role of metallothionein in streptozotocin-induced diabetes using metallothionein-null mice.
USDA Cardiac Metallothionein Induction Plays the Major Role in the Prevention of Diabetic Cardiomyopathy by Zinc Supplementation
Public Med Metallothionein prevents diabetes-induced deficits in cardiomyocytes by inhibiting reactive oxygen species production.
American Diabetes Association Metallothionein Prevents Diabetes-Induced Deficits in Cardiomyocytes by Inhibiting Reactive Oxygen Species Production

4. ""Scientists have discovered the ability of a protein which helps the brain heal itself...Research performed over the past two years by Mr Chung, a PhD student in the NeuroRepair Group at the University of Tasmania, has identified the ability of a family of naturally-occurring proteins, named metallothioneins, to influence brain healing following injury...The first would be by boosting the amount of metallothionein produced by the brain following a traumatic event...“To do that we’d need to discover the on-off switch that allows the body to produce the protein naturally, which is something that we are investigating right now” he said. “The second possibility would be to make metallothionein artificially, which is a straightforward process, and inject it directly into patients.” ..."

5. Metallothionein and Autism. "... metallothionein (MT) proteins, their central role in autism, and provides more than 100 references. The Pfeiffer Treatment Center recently discovered that (a) most autism-spectrum patients exhibit evidence of an MT dysfunction, and (b) many of the classic features of autism can be explained by this dysfunction. We believe that autism results from a genetic defect in MT functioning followed by an environmental insult. A metallothionein theory of autism is presented along with discussion of treatment opportunities."

6. " People with health issues have one thing in common: Almost all of them have some degree of digestive failure...This is what the body faces. It needs to make thousands of enzymes and other necessary chemicals, but does not have the raw materials. And it cannot get them from food because the digestion is not efficient enough. Even supplementation of stomach acid and enzymes usually does not enable the body to make enough free amino acids. So necessary materials cannot be produced. One compound that is necessary for health in a polluted world is metallothionein...The body uses metallothionein to carry away mercury and other toxic metals. But the body cannot make this material if there is a shortage of free amino acids. At there are more charts showing toxic metal removal using a product called Platinum Plus Essential Amino Acids. Each patient was also required to take a multivitamin-mineral product and 1/4 teaspoon of natural salt ( such as Real Salt or Celtic salt) in water daily. Those who did not take in enough salt failed to make good progress...The body also needs free amino acids to make neurotransmitters. I am hearing reports from people recovering from depression while using amino acids...The immune system also needs free amino acids...Fibromyalgia is another condition where there is an amino acid deficiency. Other conditions that involve a lack of free amino acids include skin wrinkling, thinning of hair, weak fingernails along with more serious conditions such as digestive failure, irritable bowel, chronic fatigue, spinal disk degeneration, joint degeneration, osteoporosis, pain and stiffness, infections, and stress to every tissue in the body...Amino acids are food. They are not medication and they do not "cure" anything. They do not make anything happen. They simply provide raw materials to the body. When combined with vitamins, minerals (especially sulfur) and essential fatty acids, they just help people move toward health."
The source article contains a lot of important information including MT's relationship to the immune system.

7. "...MT may therefore represent a "danger signal"; modifying the character of the immune response when cells sense cellular stress. Elevated metallothionein produced in the context of exposure to environmental toxicants, or as a result of chronic inflammatory disease, may alter the normal chemotactic responses that regulate leukocyte trafficking. Thus, MT synthesis may represent an important factor in immunomodulation that is associated with autoimmune disease and toxicant exposure."

8. Low MT causes Liver problems "Methionine: Methionine levels are a major determinant in the liver's concentration of sulphur-containing compounds, such as glutathione and cysteine. As methionine is the precursor for the manufacture of cysteine in the body, extra supplementation of this critical amino acid should increase available cysteine. Animal studies have shown that methionine protects rats from the toxic effects of lead and mercury. Chelating agents such as DMSA (dimercapto succinic acid) and DMPS (dimercapto-propane sulfonic acid) bind to cysteine for excretion. L-cysteine bound to mercury (L-penicillamine, N-acetyl-L-cysteine, DMSA and glutathione complexed with methylmercury) resembles the L-methionine molecule and can cross the blood brain barrier. L-methionine inhibits the transport of these complexes into the brain. Methionine increases the bioavailability of glutathione. Most of the cysteine required for the resynthesis of glutathione must originate from methionine and not from cysteine generated by the catabolism of glutathione. Patients taking only D-L-methionine increased mercury excretion in the urine by 60% over the excretion rate before taking the methionine. Lead excretion was also increased. The L-form is rapidly metabolized by the liver and does not offer a sustained antioxidant level. Over half of the D-form is slowly metabolized by the same pathways as excess L, and acts identical to L as an antioxidant. The benefit of the D-L form of methionine is the D form provides sustained blood levels allowing he L-form to be converted to other sulfur antioxidants. Babies need 22 mg/Kg body weight of methionine on a daily basis while adults need 10 mg/Kg of body weight daily."    and

9. "Exposure to heavy metals is a common phenomenon due to their environmental pervasiveness. Metal intoxication particularly neurotoxicity, genotoxicity, or carcinogenicity is widely known. This review summarizes our current understanding about the mechanism by which metalloids or heavy metals (particularly arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury) induce their toxic effects. The unifying factor in determining toxicity and carcinogenicity for all these metals is the generation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. The toxic manifestations of these metals are caused primarily due to imbalance between pro-oxidant and antioxidant homeostasis which is termed as oxidative stress" PMID: 19106443
This report has significant importance in treating oxidative stress and oxidation factors. It validates my claim that the first step to repair ones health is to find and eliminate the root causes. Treating diabetes, immune disorders, and oxidative stress when caused by heavy metal toxicity, parasites or any root cause nullifies the effectiveness of their treatments.

10."The liver is the major detoxification center of the body. It acts as an “in-line” filter for the removal of foreign substances and wastes from the blood. Toxins that are cleared by the liver include alcohol, solvents, formaldehyde, pesticides, herbicides and food additives. Despite varying chemical toxicity, the liver has the function of reducing toxins into compounds that the body can safely handle and remove through the kidneys (as urine), skin (as sweat), lungs (as expelled air) and bowels (as feces). Optimal liver function is therefore essential for good health. The symptoms of heavy metal poisoning in the liver include psychological and neurological symptoms such as depression, headache, mental confusion, mental illness, abnormal nerve reflexes and tingling in the hands. The solution is to take compounds that support the liver's detoxification mechanism. Such compounds include milk thistle extract, choline, methionine , and antioxidants." (12)

11. "Metallothionein protein plays an important role in regulation of zinc and copper levels in the blood, detoxification of heavy metals as they enter the body, development and continued functioning of the immune system, development and pruning of brain cells, (neurons), prevention of yeast overgrowth in the intestines, production of enzymes that break down casein and gluten, production of hydrochloric acid by stomach cells, taste and texture discrimination by the tongue, behavior control and development of memory and social skills." (13)

12. "Metallothionein (MT) plays a role in fundamental cellular processes such as proliferation, apoptosis and differentiation. We examined MT expression in women with invasive breast ductal carcinoma who underwent mastectomy/lumpectomy without neo-adjuvant treatment. We showed that MT was over-expressed in 87.9% of breast cancer tissues examined" (14) MT shown to relate to breast cancer

13. "Grape seed procyanidins inhibit the expression of metallothione in genes in human HepG2 cells...Our findings demonstrate that metallothionein genes are direct targets of procyanidins action, both in vivo and in vitro, in hepatic cells. Thus, this study will help to elucidate the mechanisms by which procyanidin exert their beneficial actions." (15)

14. "New insights into generalized hepatoprotective effects of oleanolic acid :key roles of metallothionein and Nrf2 induction. OA treatment also increased the expression of genes related to cell proliferation and suppressed the expression of several cytochrome P450 genes possibly to switch cellular metabolic energy to an acute-phase response. Hepatic MT protein was increased 60- and 15-fold in mice and rats, respectively, together with a 30% increase in mouse liver zinc. These gene expression changes, particularly the dramatic induction of MT and the Nrf2 signaling, occur with hepatoprotection doses of OA, and likely are important in the generalized protective effects of OA against hepatotoxicants." (16)

15. "Podocyte-specific overexpression of the antioxidant metallothionein reduces diabetic nephropathy." (17) Means high expression of metallothionein reduces diabetic nephropathy, thus low MT relates to nephropathy.

16. "EDTA modified layered double hydroxides (LDHs) were investigated as potential sorbents to remediate heavy metals pollution...The sorbent removes [Cu(H(2)O)(6)](2+) with high affinity in a wide concentration range. The elimination process reaches equilibrium in less than 30 min and leaves metal cation concentrations lower than 0.05 ppm in the supernatants."
PMID: 19100993

17. "Over-expression of metallothionein predicts chemoresistance in breast cancer...Cell cycle analysis also revealed a corresponding increase in apoptosis in the MT down-regulated cells following doxorubicin exposure, showing that down-regulation of MT increased susceptibility to doxorubicin cytotoxicity. The data suggest that MT could be a potential marker of chemoresistance and a molecular therapeutic target. PMID: 19116991

18. "Podocyte-specific overexpression of the antioxidant metallothionein reduces diabetic nephropathy...These results provide evidence for the role of oxidative damage to the podocyte in diabetic mice and show that protection of the podocyte can reduce or delay primary features of diabetic nephropathy." PMID: 18632844

19. Reported Treatments

  1. ZINC and SELENIUM: Research shows that zinc does not chelate with copper but rather increases Metallothionein in the body and it is Metallothionein that carries copper out of the body. See Selenium  for information that indicates taking Zinc is not enough. Zinc may already be in sufficient levels in the body and is being blocked. Low Selenium may impede the effectiveness of Zinc and taking Selenium may unblock Zinc thus aiding the healing and increase of Metallothionein. As I find more research on this I will include it. Check our selenium article for research showing that zinc will not be effective in the body without selenium and there are three types of selenium. THE VEGTABLE SELENIUM is reported to act best in the human body, mineral based is toxic at 400 icu and prescription types may also be toxic.
  2. EDTA to bind toxic metals Link (10) below is very scientific research report showing EDTA removes heavy metals.
  3. DMSA Heavy Metal & Mercury Chelator...heavy metals in the body poses a significant risk to life and health, including anemia, memory loss, cancer, depression, male infertility, gingivitis, and maybe even multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease...DMSA is a potent chelator of mercury...Long-term exposure to low levels of lead...a number of disorders and diseases, including learning and behavior problems, cardiovascular and kidney diseases, decreased fertility, hypertension and cancer... Caution: DMSA should be taken under the supervision of a physician trained in chelation therapy. Not for use by pregnant or lactating women or by children, unless under supervision of a physician. If nausea, vomiting or rash occurs, decrease dosage or discontinue use.
  4. APPLE: an apple a day keeps the doctor away and helps increase MT production. see procyanidinsE. Glutathione "The scientific literature clearly indicates that most of the body's MT is induced by zinc, with glutathione (GSH) needed for loading apo-MT with zinc and glutathione disulfide (GSSH) required for redox exchange. Selenium and the GSH/GSSH redox couple enhance"
  5. VITAMIN C, MOLYBDEUM, SULFUR-CONTAINING AMINO ACIDS: Chelators of copper include many natural substances. Among the best known are vitamin C, molybdenum and sulfur-containing amino acids. These bind to copper and help remove it from the body...6) Balance body chemistry, enhance energy production and improve adrenal gland activity. To support the adrenal glands, avoid sweets, eat protein with each meal. Supplements that assist the adrenals include vitamins A,C and E, manganese, zinc, adrenal glandular and B-complex vitamins. Animal protein is very helpful due to its higher content of zinc, B-vitamins and sulfur amino acids including cysteine and taurine. Adrenal glandular substance is also frequently helpful."
  6. "Moly-Cu: This product contains 100 mcg of molybdenum that binds with copper to reduce its toxic effects. It also helps the liver eliminate copper. The product also contains Russian black radish, an herb high in sulfur. Sulfur also binds with copper, reducing its toxic effects. Sulfur is also important for liver detoxification. The product also contains parsley, an herb helpful for the kidneys. An adult dosage is three to six tablets daily as needed. Molybdenum is particularly helpful if one’s hair sodium/potassium ratio is low. Hair must not be washed at the laboratory for accurate readings. L-Taurine. Taurine is an essential amino acid deficient in many people's diets. High in sulfur, it can donate a sulfate molecule that helps bind copper to reduce its toxicity and facilitate its removal. An adult dosage is one gram three times a day with meals. GB-3. This product contains ox bile and dehydrocholic acid that enhance bile flow and contains Russian black radish, a source of sulfur. By enhancing liver activity, it can increase the rate of copper elimination by the liver. An adult dosage is two to three tablets three times a day with meals. ICMN. This product contains 200 mg of methionine, another sulfur containing amino acid that is a precursor for taurine and helpful for liver detoxification. It also contains 200 mg of choline and 200 mg of inositol which are also helpful for liver detoxification. N-acetyl cysteine is another sulfur-containing compound that may help with severe copper elimination symptoms. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine or pyridoxal-5-phosphate). This is another copper antagonist that may be helpful during a copper elimination. Products that are less recommended during a copper elimination are vitamin C and zinc. They are most helpful in some instances, but not in others. Vitamin C is an excellent copper chelator but by stimulating adrenal activity may cause more copper to be dumped into the blood stream. Zinc replaces copper in the liver and elsewhere. It too can force more copper into the blood stream, exacerbating copper elimination symptoms. "
  7. GRAPE SEED: Grape Seed Grape seed procyanidins inhibit the expression of metallothione in genes in human HepG2 cells.PMID 18850154
  8. PROCYANIDINS: "Procyanidins are the most abundant polyphenols in red wine and are also found in cereals, fruits, chocolate and tea. ..our findings demonstrate that metallothionein genes are direct targets of procyanidins action, both in vivo and in vitro, in hepatic cells. Thus, this study will help to elucidate the mechanisms by which procyanidin exert their beneficial actions." PMID: 18850154
  9. OLENOLIC ACID: "Oleanolic acid (OA) is a natural triperpenoid that protects against a variety of hepatotoxicants such as carbon tetrachloride, cadmium, acetaminophen, and bromobenzene...These gene expression changes, particularly the dramatic induction of MT and the Nrf2 signaling, occur with hepatoprotection doses of OA, and likely are important in the generalized protective effects of OA against hepatotoxicants. PMID: 18706400    and   Wickepedia

A couple of good alternative sites on Metallothionen



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