13 Gadolinium Side Effects

In this article, we have collected 13 side effects of gadolinium contrast dye observed in scientific research.

FDA class warning

In 2017, the FDA required a new class warning for all gadolinium-based MRI contrast agents regarding gadolinium remaining in patients’ bodies (including the brain) for months to years after receiving these drugs11.

They require several actions to alert healthcare professionals and patients about gadolinium safety and ask them to report side effects11.

What is gadolinium?

Gadolinium is a metal belonging to the lanthanides, a series of rare earth elements.

It is widely used as a contrast dye in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

How to remove gadolinium from the body naturally.

What is a contrast dye?

A contrast dye (or contrast agent) is a substance that improves the discernability between an area of interest and its surroundings within the body in medical imaging.

It makes it easier for the radiologist to differentiate between organs, tissues, or blood vessels.

Gadolinium-based MRI contrast dye

Gadolinium-based dyes are the most commonly used MRI contrast agents5,8.

Every year about 30 million MRI scans are enhanced with them worldwide4.

MRI contrast dye (gadolinium) side effects and toxicity.

Patients are intravenously, or intra-articularly, injected with them before the imaging procedure6,7.

Is gadolinium toxic?

Gadolinium is a toxic heavy metal1,5.

Gadolinium-based dye is more toxic than radioactive iodine contrast agents7.

One reason is that gadolinium is similar in size to calcium7.

This similarity can generate a competitive reduction of biological processes requiring calcium, causing side effects7.

Gadolinium-based contrast dye causes toxicity through the following processes7,8:

  • Cell death
  • Oxidative stress
  • Exchange of gadolinium with another metal (such as zinc)
  • Competition with calcium for cellular processes

Related: 10 Best Heavy Metal Detox Supplements

Gadolinium-chelator complex

Gadolinium-based contrast dyes consist of gadolinium ions bound tightly to chelating agents to form a stable complex8.

Theoretically, the chelating agent makes gadolinium unavailable to interact with body tissues while maintaining its contrast properties6,7,8.

How long does gadolinium stay in the body?

Approximately 90% of administered gadolinium contrast dye is excreted by the kidneys in the urine within 24 hours in patients with normal renal function6.

Therefore, patients suffering from chronic kidney disease are particularly prone to suffer from gadolinium side effects9.

Kidneys kidney

Related: 13 Health Benefits Of Diatomaceous Earth

Is gadolinium completely eliminated?

After exposure to gadolinium contrast dye, the metal is not entirely excreted from the human body as previously believed7.     

Instead, it accumulates in tissues (such as the brain, bone, liver, kidneys, and skin) despite normal renal function6,7,10.

Furthermore, retention of gadolinium increases following repeated gadolinium contrast dye exposure7.

Can gadolinium dissociate from the chelating agent?

Studies have shown that gadolinium can dissociate from the chelating agent and be retained in the human body7,10.

It then persists in tissues and binds to host chemicals while the chelating agent is eliminated in the urine10.

The higher the dissociation constant of the gadolinium-based contrast dye, the more likely free gadolinium can be released into the circulation and tissues7.

13 Gadolinium side effects

Gadolinium-based contrast dye may cause the following side effects3,7,8,10:

  1. Nausea
  2. Vomiting
  3. Headache
  4. Dizziness
  5. Abdominal pain
  6. Itching
  7. Taste disturbance
  8. Skin lesions
  9. Bone and joint pain
  10. Brain fog
  11. Hand and foot numbness
  12. Gait incoordination
  13. Plaques

Gadolinium-induced diseases

Studies have reported that gadolinium contrast dye could cause the following conditions in patients with normal renal function7,8,10:

  • Anaphylactic reactions
  • Renal failure
  • Pancreatitis
  • Brain damage
  • Spinal cord impairment
  • Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis
  • Cognitive delay

MRI with or without contrast agent?

MRI contrast dyes, such as gadolinium-based agents, were developed many years after MRI was already in use2.

They were initially used for detecting regions of blood-brain barrier disruption in brain imaging8.

Since then, gadolinium MRI contrast dyes applications also include8:

  • Tumor diagnosis and staging
  • Perfusion imaging
  • Blood vessel imaging
  • Joint imaging
MRI contrast dye (gadolinium) side effects and toxicity.

In light of the side effects and toxicity generated by gadolinium-based contrast dyes during MRI, it is essential to evaluate their necessity before each procedure.

The clinical benefits should outweigh the side effects.

How to remove gadolinium from the body

Here Is How To Remove Gadolinium From The Body Naturally

Is gadolinium radioactive?

While gadolinium is a toxic heavy metal, it is not radioactive.

Related: How To Detox From Radiation Exposure Naturally

Summary: 13 Gadolinium side effects

Gadolinium-based contrast dye improves the detail and clarity of diagnostic MRI images.

However, it causes long-term toxicity and side effects.

Studies have shown that following injection with gadolinium, the metal is not completely eliminated from the body.

Instead, it accumulates in tissues where it dissociates from the chelating agent and binds to host chemicals.

Patients have reported neurological, musculoskeletal, dermal, and ocular side effects.

Related: How To Detox Aluminum From The Body

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