Fluoroquinolones and Lead Toxicity

Several people have asked me to write a post about how fluoroquinolones may mobilize, or otherwise affect, lead in our bodies. I haven’t gotten around to doing the research that would be involved in writing a post like that, BUT, my friend and fellow “floxie” JMR did. I encourage you to read the post, “Love May Be Fleeting, but Lead Is Forever: Testing for Lead Toxicity” published on Hormones Matter.

The entire post is enlightening and informative, and I encourage you to read the whole thing. Here are some excerpts that are particularly enlightening and useful for “floxies.”

“A particularly interesting, and in my opinion, potentially significant “Lead Re-exposure” incident may have occurred when I took a fluoroquinolone antibiotic over six years ago. I experienced a severe, acute, and ultimately permanent adverse reaction to just a few pills, described in articles I previously wrote for this website, here and here.   Symptoms of “Fluoroquinolone Toxicity” appear to mimic many other conditions, and lead toxicity is one of them. I describe how these FQ antibiotics may have contributed to yet another bout of “Acute Lead Toxicity” within myself after taking these antibiotics here (Scroll down about 60% of the page to “V-ATPase:  Target for Osteoporosis /Adverse Effects”).  How do I know if that did or did not happen to me?  I don’t – because I didn’t know to test blood lead levels during the acute stage (first 6 months) of my reaction or beyond. But now that I do, I would recommend all severely affected fluoroquinolone victims monitor blood lead levels over time during the course of their reaction, especially during the acute phase and relapses, to see if this might be something occurring in this population. A nice summary in table form shows the biological fate of Lead and its clinical significance here.”


“After that, it’s well accepted that overall mineral status is a factor. Lead competes with essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc for the same receptors in enzymes, transporters, and in cell signaling processes.  Adequate concentrations of minerals can offset the small concentrations of lead found in background levels of foods and soils, and can only help if Lead exposure increases. Keeping a healthy balanced mineral status is probably one of the best defenses against lead toxicity, forcing lead excretion rather than binding to enzymes or storing in bone.  High concentrations of healthy essential minerals combined with low concentrations of lead levels is the best scenario, as essential minerals we need to function would be able to out-compete lead for enzymes, receptors, and transporters. On the other hand, low concentrations of healthy essential minerals combined with high lead levels would be a worst case scenario for potential toxicity. Children and adults eating healthy diets with adequate minerals will probably experience less toxicity to the same exposures of lead than someone who is deficient in calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc or other minerals. Unlike when I was a young child, there is so much more knowledge and awareness about minerals and their importance today, and the internet makes this type of information easily accessible. A vast array of mineral supplements are available as well, making this an easy approach to help with prevention.  A nice lead-related summary of nutrients can be found here:  Fact Sheet: Nutrients That Reduce Lead Poisoning.”

The whole post is filled with great information, and I encourage each of you to read it. It also contains a list of links and resources that is immensely valuable to anyone interested in learning more about lead as it relates to illness.

Thank you for checking it out, and a huge THANK YOU to JMR for the post!

More information about the connections between fluoroquinolone toxicity and lead poisoning can be found on JMR’s web site, www.fluoroquinolonethyroid.com, on the post “Lead Toxicity: Secondary to Hyperthyroidism, Hyperparathyroidism . . . and Fluoroquinolone Toxicity?

This article, “Osteoporosis, lead, and baby boomers: When time gets the lead out.” is also full of excellent information.


Tagged: , , , , ,

2 thoughts on “Fluoroquinolones and Lead Toxicity

  1. Tanya Riley January 12, 2017 at 1:40 pm Reply

    I read that lead arsenic and fluoride are all in the same periodic table we learned in high school. None of this makes sense. I stayed in bed all day yesterday severely tired. Slept. Woke up feeling tired still. Trying force myself to stay up now. My legs hurt worse when I sleep long hours. But the fatigue knocks me out. Lead poisening does the same thing. I know better than text a lot. But feeling so abandoned and tired did it anyway. Four months into floxed. Four months of misery. Yes it’s better. But I am not close to where I was prior to drug. This is a lonely trying way to live. But will to keep going is always strong. How long can you keep will going…

    • Lisa January 13, 2017 at 8:13 am Reply

      Hi Tanya,

      I’m so sorry for everything that you’re going through! Several people have mentioned that fluoroquinolone toxicity is similar to both lead and mercury poisoning. Though FQs don’t contain either lead or mercury, they may do something to mobilize both. I suspect that they would do so through the disruption of mineral homeostasis in the body, and maybe through the fluorine molecule as well. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any studies that examined the connections between heavy metal poisoning and FQs, so this is all conjecture.

      Feeling abandoned and exhausted is common. Hang in there. Have hope. You can, and will, get through this. I’m glad to hear that you are seeing improvement. Try to be patient with getting back to how you used to be. It can take time.

      Here are some posts that may be helpful for you:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: