Got tattoos? Here’s what you might not know about them.


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Got tattoos?  Here’s what you might not know about them.


What I am writing today probably won’t win me any popularity contests, but I’m used to telling people what they don’t want to hear. 

Presently, about 35 percent of US adults, and nearly half of adults under 40, report having at least one tattoo. 

If you are among those that have gone under the tattoo needle, there is much more going on behind the scenes in your body’s “artwork” that you might not even be aware of. 

Here’s what I mean: 

The initial concerns 

The most obvious concern with tattoos is infection.  About one in 10 people who get tattoos experiences infection, itching, swelling and/or redness that may persist long after the tattoo has healed. 

Dirty needles can also pass infections from one person to another, including hepatitis B and C, and HIV.  

In addition, your immune system can see the tattoo ink as a dangerous invader and launch an inflammatory allergic response.  This is largely the reason why tattoos fade over time—because your immune system is attacking the ink. 

But the immune concern doesn’t stop there.  Because doctors are starting to observe cases of scleroderma antibodies in the blood of people with tattoos.  Scleroderma is an autoimmune condition that causes hardening and tightening of the skin.  

Plus scleroderma can also cause problems in your blood vessels, internal organs and digestive tract.  

Lastly, scar tissue can also form after getting a tattoo. 

Not for the not-so-obvious… 

The inks are not regulated in any way 

Amazingly, although the FDA steps in and ardently tries to control the safety of what you eat and the medications you take, they are mum as far as tattoo ink goes.   

Instead tattoos are considered cosmetics, and the FDA only investigates if a safety problem is reported.   

Tattoo inks contain toxic heavy metals 

Tattoo dyes have been shown to contain lead, cobalt, iron, titanium, nickel, barium, aluminum and the most concerning—MERCURY. 

Mercury is the most deadly, potent neurotoxin known to man—meaning it poisons your brain and nervous system!   

Here are some of the significant health concerns associated with mercury: 

  • Mercury harms your cells and impairs their functioning. This can lead to failure of organ systems such as the lungs, kidneys and especially the nervous system. 
  • Mercury can cause fatigue, poor memory, decreased senses of touch, hearing and vision, ringing/noise in the ears, depression and emotional problems.  
  • Mercury acts as an immunosuppressant in the body, weakening your immune system and/or triggering autoimmune conditions (like the scleroderma I mentioned above).  
  • It stirs up inflammation and can increase your risk of heart disease. 

It boggles my mind that we are warned about unsafe levels of mercury in the fish we eat, yet we’re getting it injected into our bodies in record amounts. 

Aluminum is no better.  As another lethal neurotoxin, aluminum has been found in high concentration in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients—that should tell you something.  

Lead competes with and inactivates many important minerals and displaces calcium from your bones, making you susceptible to mineral deficiency conditions.  It can also damage the brain and nervous system, the stomach, kidneys, thyroid and liver.   

And cadmium accumulates in your kidneys and compromises your liver's ability to produce detoxifying enzymes.  It also spurs the development of harmful free radicals.   

Here is a more specific breakdown of tattoo ink colors and the metals they contain: 

  • Red— azo pigments, mercury, cadmium and iron 
  • Blue— cobalt, copper 
  • Green— chromium, lead, aluminum and copper 
  • Yellow— cadmium, lead and zinc 
  • Orange— cadmium 
  • White— lead, titanium, zinc and barium 
  • Black— nickel 

To ink or not to ink? 

If you are considering getting a tattoo, I urge you to carefully weigh the risks.  There have been no appreciable studies to date proving tattoo safety, and the potential for exposure to infection and toxins is great.   

If you do already have tattoos, please ask your doctor to do a heavy metals urine test.  If you have known or suspected exposure to mercury or other heavy metals, here are some ways to help detox: 

Have a healthy diet of real foods and consider a multi-vitamin 

The nutrients found in wholesome real foods like fruits, vegetables, meats and poultry are essential for your body to be able to rid itself of mercury.   

When your nutrient levels are low, mercury has much greater access to your cells and can even "lock out" your nutrients as it starts on its path of destruction!   

Adequate fiber is crucial too.  Fiber binds to heavy metals and toxins and helps move them out of your body.  

If you feel your diet may be lacking, or you just want to be sure to have all bases covered, consider supplementing with a top-notch multi-vitamin and mineral formula like Super Core.   

In addition to a full array of nutrients, Super Core also contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatories which can help counteract inflammation you may already have brewing in you from your tattoos. 

Consider chelation therapy 

Chelation therapy helps clear heavy metals from your body.  It can be done via IV or with oral chelators.  

Supplement with potent probiotics  

A super potent probiotic formula like Super Shield PLUS can help repopulate your microbiome, support the digestive process, strengthen your gut wall and encourage regular bowel movements—all of which are vital to eliminating mercury. 

Also, Super Shield PLUS can help fight back against any effects that mercury may have already had on challenging your immune system. 

Think twice before removing a tattoo 

Tattoo removal can be very tricky, it likely will not provide any health benefits to you, and it may carry additional risks such as skin damage, more infections and increased inflammation.   

The biggest step you can take from a health perspective is to just not get any more tattoos.   

Yes, I know people love them and the designs can be stunningly beautiful, but is it worth the risk to your health? 

To your health, 

Sherry Brescia 


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  • I am curious about henna tattoos also. Thanks

    MaryBeth on

  • Wow…an eye-opening article. We’d best not block this from our minds, refusing to acknowledge the truth of it in order to allow ourselves destructive “skin art!” THINK ABOUT IT…your skin is an organ! Of COURSE tattoo inks are going to enter your bloodstream through this organ. Thanks for truth.

    Terry Barbato on

  • Appreciate your honest, straight forward approach to life. Reminds me of “WWJD”. Well done!

    Leon Mosher on

  • I am curious if you have info regarding Henna Tattoos, positive or negative? Janis

    Janis on

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