Looking at Urine Element Profiles

A reader forwarded their Comprehensive Urine Element Profile from Genova Diagnostics. with some questions. This is an area that I did not expect to find much or anything.

The reports had high:

  • Antimony
  • Copper
  • Lead
  • Thalium
  • Zinc

A 2008 study was interesting and may be related. Humans were given bismuth supplements and the results were:

“The upshift of the bismuth content also led to an increase of derivatives of other elements (such as arsenic, antimony, and lead in human feces or tellurium and lead in the murine large intestine). “

Bismuth or it’s salts are in a fair number of supplements, for example:

WebMD states:
“People take bismuth salts by mouth for inflammation of the lining of the colon(colitis), constipationdiarrheaindigestionHelicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, odor caused by an opening in the belly wall during surgery (ileostomy odor), stomach problems caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs, stomach ulcers, stomach flu, and preventing traveler’s diarrhea.”

Additionally, “Many epidemiological studies have shown an association between Parkinson’s disease  and exposure to metals such as mercury, lead, manganese, copper, iron, aluminum, bismuth, thallium, and zinc. ” [2018] We know that Parkinson’s has a distinctive microbiome shift too.

High Copper (Cu) Possible Consequences

“high-copper diets led to liver injury in high-fructose-fed rats, and this was associated with gut barrier dysfunction, as shown by the markedly decreased tight junction proteins and increased gut permeability. … [2018]

High Lead(Pb) Possible Consequences

” For the gut microbiota, at the phylum level, the relative abundance of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes changed obviously in the feces and the cecal contents of mice exposed to 0.1mg/L Pb for 15weeks” [2018]


High Zinc (Zn) Possible Consequences

“dietary Nano-ZnO increased the bacterial richness and diversity in ileum, while decreased both of them in cecum and colon. Specifically, the relative abundances of Streptococcus in ileum, Lactobacillus in colon were increased, while the relative abundances of Lactobacillus in ileum, Oscillospira and Prevotella in colon were decreased (P < 0.05). I” [2017]

Bottom Line

We have some interesting questions to ask:

  • Was this person recently consuming any supplements containing bismuth?
    • There was no detectable bismuth in the results
    • If so, some of the test results could be due to that
  • Did the person take EDTA or other biofilm breakers — or fibrinolytics recently?
    • These could release the above into the blood system, resulting in higher urine levels
  • We know almost nothing about which bacteria uptake these mineral
  • We see that some of these elements are known to influence the microbiome.

In short, no answers and many questions. What we did find is that bismuth compounds are likely significant microbiome modifiers — in some case this may be by an indirect route (i.e. increasing lead and arsenic)

“At the end of bismuth therapy, the relative abundances of Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria decreased to 0.5% (P < .001) and 1.3% (P = .038), respectively. Additionally, the relative abundance of Verrucomicrobia also decreased from 3.2% to 1.11E-3% (P = .034). In contrast, the relative abundances of Proteobacteria and Cyanobacteria increased (P < .001 and P = .003, respectively). ” [2018]

“we report that the production of methylated bismuth species by the methanoarchaeum Methanobrevibacter smithii, a common member of the human intestine, impairs the growth of members of the beneficial intestinal microbiota at low concentrations. The bacterium Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, which is of great importance for the welfare of the host due to its versatile digestive abilities and its protective function for the intestine, is highly sensitive against methylated, but not against inorganic, bismuth species. The level of methylated bismuthspecies produced by the methanoarchaeum M. smithii in a coculture experiment causes a reduction of the maximum cell density of B. thetaiotaomicron. ” [2011]