Dr. David Minkoff’s Health Blog

Tattoos, Heavy Metals & Heart Disease – OHR #431

Tattoos, Heavy Metals & Heart Disease

Body art is very popular, and people take pleasure in using their skin to give the world some (at least at the moment) a meaningful personal message. From “peace” to “mom” to “I love Sharon” to “Semper Fidelis.”  It might have been during a frolicking night with the girls or a drunken night of leave from the USS Eisenhower, people proclaim their personal truths in their tattoos.


I recently saw an online video that showed what happened to the dyes that are used to impregnate the skin. The video is below and is for the not faint of heart as it shows the lymph node was so packed with the black stuff that it made me cringe.

What is the black stuff of ink?

Here is a list of compounds commonly used to produce different colored permanent tattoo inks:

  • Mercury: Red
  • Lead: Yellow, Green & White
  • Cadmium: Red, Orange, Yellow
  • Nickel: Black
  • Zinc: Yellow & White
  • Chromium: Green
  • Cobalt: Blue
  • Aluminum: Green & Violet
  • Titanium: White
  • Copper: Blue & Green
  • Iron: Brown, Red & Black
  • Barium: White

Yikes! You really want this in your lymph nodes and who knows where else? Just to give you an idea of the toxicity of these metals, consider that one silver filling, only weighing 500 mg, made of 50% mercury and the rest silver, tin and copper, ground up and put in a 10 acre lake would cause the fish living in that lake to be unfit for eating b/c of the levels of mercury.

How much is in the ink of your average tattoo? I don’t know, but it gives me caution that maybe it’s not such a healthy idea. One marine, who’s imploring mother, did not want him to get tattooed had a decal tattoo of Henna, an impermanent dye, on his chest, that said “Do not tattoo this body not matter what my son says, Love, His Mother.”

Not bad advice.

Watch below for the video and form your own opinion.

Don’t Miss This! #learnontiktok #doctorsoftiktok #plasticsurgery #brownsanatomy #ink #tattoo

Have a great week.

Dr. David I Minkoff, MD

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About Dr. Minkoff

Dr. David Minkoff graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1974 and was elected to the “Phi Beta Kappa” of medical schools, the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Medical Fraternity for very high academic achievement. He then completed both a Pediatric Residency and a Fellowship in Infectious Disease at the University of California at San Diego. He worked at the University of California and Children’s Hospitals in San Diego as an attending physician in infectious disease while conducting original research on Ribaviron, a broad spectrum anti-viral agent to fight disease. He also co-directed a neo-natal intensive care unit and worked in emergency medicine. In 1992, Dr. Minkoff’s attended a lecture by Dr. Jeffrey Bland, widely considered the father of functional medicine, during which he had a eureka moment, and began pursuing the alternative health field with a vengeance, studying under the most accomplished thought leaders on natural & integrative healing. In 1997 Dr. Minkoff and his wife set up a small clinic to help friends with their medical problems. What began as an experiment blossomed into LifeWorks Wellness Center, one of the most successful clinics for complementary medicine in the United States.