A Heavy Metal Detox – And How to Do One

Heavy metal toxicity causes various nagging symptoms and even chronic diseases. Exposure to toxic heavy metals is believed to be a contributing factor, if not the root cause, of things including mood disturbances, low energy levels, and cognitive changes. Heavy metals enter our bloodstream from things like consuming farmed fish, dental fillings, tap water, and household products.

These metals travel throughout our bloodstream, penetrating various organs and tissues where they can remain for years.

The Dangers of Heavy Metals

Heavy metals that cause problems (even in low concentrations) include:

  • Lead
  • Arsenic
  • Mercury
  • Aluminum
  • Cadmium
  • Nickel
  • Thallium
  • Uranium

Even some essential minerals can become dangerous when consumed at very high levels. These include iron, manganese, lithium, calcium, and zinc.

Metals are described as “heavy” because they stick around in our bodies, hiding out in fat cells or adipose tissues. This is one reason why weight loss sometimes contributes to heavy metal detoxification; as fat cells shrink, they release dormant toxins.

Long-term exposure to heavy metals can lead to muscular, physical, and neurological degenerative processes. When they become severe, toxic exposure can mimic symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. Because heavy metal toxicity symptoms mimic aging (loss of memory and increased fatigue), many people think that getting older is the leading cause of their emerging symptoms, never realizing it’s the exposure to heavy metals that are the major contributing factor.

Symptoms of Heavy Metal Toxicity

Among the most common warning signs that one might experience when dealing with heavy metal toxicity include:

  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Skin Irritation
  • Poor Recovery From Exercise
  • Weakness
  • Autoimmune Diseases – Including Lyme’s Disease
  • Brain Fog – Difficulty Learning, Trouble Concentrating, Poor Memory
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Depression, Manic Depression, Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Dementia
  • Digestive Issues
  • Tremors
  • Chronic Aches and Pains
  • Anemia
  • Impaired Motor Control, Speech, Hearing, Vision, and Gait

Where Heavy Metals Are Coming From

  • Exposure to environmental pollutants, including air pollution, traffic fumes, food contaminants, and radiation.
  • Eating a poor-quality diet. Farm-raised fish are believed to contain high levels of mercury. Processed foods or overly processed foods are a huge contributor.
  • Metal amalgam dental fillings. Silver fillings slowly release mercury into our bodies.
  • Tap or drinking water.
  • Exposure and use of household substances, including adhesives, cosmetics, floor wax, floor polish, air conditioner filters, and fabric softener.
  • Household items, like certain baby formulas, plastic toys, aluminum foil, antiperspirants, baking powder, metal pots and pans, stainless steel cutlery, and makeup.
  • Exposure to substances carrying lead. These include some chocolates, toothpaste, old paints, insecticides, and canned foods.
  • Various vaccinations.

Heavy Metal Detoxes and The Benefits

If people believe they have had excessive exposure to metals, they can seek medical testing for toxicity. However, because we’re exposed to heavy metals so frequently, it’s not a bad idea to consider an occasional DIY heavy metal detox.

The main goal of a heavy metal detox is to remove the accumulated heavy metals from our nervous system and brain. Our heart, liver, kidneys, respiratory system, and lymphatic system also benefit significantly from detoxifications.

If you’re wondering how heavy metals are removed from our bodies, the most common way is through “chelation.” While chelation therapy is a medical procedure, it’s one of the most effective ways to reduce severe heavy metal exposure, especially for metals like mercury, lead, aluminum, and arsenic. This therapy involves a chemical solution called EDTA – ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, administered into our bloodstream through an injection to bind with the excess minerals. While this option is excellent, it’s typically only used for severe cases and requires a doctor.

Aside from chelation therapy, other ways to detox our bodies of heavy metals include making dietary changes, along with using herbs and supplements that break down these metals into smaller molecules so they can be removed via our urine, feces, sweat, and even our breath.

Heavy Metal Detox Diet

Changing our diet should be one of the first steps to improve our general health and well-being. Let’s review some foods that can help remove heavy metals from our bodies.

Leafy Green Vegetables

Leafy greens are some of the most powerful heavy metal detox foods around. Bitter greens like Swiss chard, kale, mustang greens, arugula, beet greens, spinach, and dandelion greens are excellent choices. Broccoli sprouts are also a great source of antioxidants and help reduce inflammation.

Spices and Herbs

Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory spices, and herbs, including parsley, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and cilantro, can help remove metals from our bodies. Cilantro and other green herbs are some of the best choices for detoxification and can help reduce the buildup of heavy metals such as lead and mercury. If you’re a fan of smoothies and fresh-squeezed green juices, try adding a few of these herbs and spices to get your daily dose of goodness.

Vitamin C Rich Foods

Fruits and veggies rich in vitamin C help reduce the damage caused by heavy metal poisoning because of their antioxidant properties. Oranges, grapefruit, leafy greens, all types of berries, and cruciferous veggies like broccoli, kiwi, guava, papaya, and bell peppers are excellent options.

Onions and Garlic

Both garlic and onions contain sulfur which helps our liver detoxify itself from heavy metals like arsenic and lead.

Flax and Chia Seeds

These seeds are packed full of omega-3 fats and fiber that help detoxify our colon, and they help reduce inflammation.

Bone Broth

Bone broth can keep us hydrated. It provides essential minerals and supports our liver health by providing glutathione, a component vital for chelation. You can make bone broth and sip on several cups throughout the day or use protein powder made from bone broth.

It’s vital that during a detox, we drink 8 ounces or more of water or vegetable juice every couple of hours to stay hydrated. Water is also essential for flushing the toxins out of our bodies.

Supplements To Overcome Heavy Metal Poisoning

  • Vitamin C: 3,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily will give us the antioxidants necessary to reduce free radicals.
  • Chlorella: 1 to 4 grams or 4-8 capsules of chlorella daily is beneficial. Chlorella is a green algae that acts as a natural chelator, removing heavy metals, especially mercury, and lead. It’s also an excellent source of chlorophyll and absorbs other metals. You can find chlorella in tablet and powder forms.
  • Cilantro: A cilantro tincture taken twice a day.
  • Shilajit: 100 to 500 milligrams a day is highly recommended for our health. It’s typically found in powder form. Shilajit is an adaptogenic plant with certain things in common with activated charcoal, especially since it contains high levels of carbon. It’s a natural chelator due to the fulvic and humic acid that bind to any toxic molecules.
  • Milk Thistle: Use milk thistle by taking a capsule containing 150 milligrams twice a day or drinking milk thistle tea 1 to 3 times daily. Milk thistle is one of the most popular detoxifying herbs for the liver. Silybin is a component with the most significant degree of biological activity with potent antioxidant properties. It can act as a toxin blockade agent by inhibiting the binding of toxins to cell membrane receptors.
  • Probiotics: Soil-based probiotics of 50 billion units once a day can help improve the detoxification of our gut, and it helps boost immunity.

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal works to eliminate toxins and metals via absorption, or the chemical reaction where elements naturally bind to a surface. The porous surface of activated charcoal contains a negative electric charge which causes positively charged gas and toxins to bond with it. Activated charcoal is so incredibly powerful that it’s used as an emergency treatment to quickly remove poisons from the body. The carbon content helps discard heavy metals and other toxins. In my research, I’ve found that activated charcoal made from coconut shells or identified species of wood with an ultra-fine grain works the best. There will be directions on the package. Any time we ingest activated charcoal, it is crucial that we drink 12 to 16 glasses of water daily.

Bentonite Clay

Clays act like a magnet or sponge for metals and chemicals in our body, which absorb toxins, making them excellent for detoxing. The poly-cationic nature of bentonite clay leads to the absorption of toxins. Most clays are not supposed to be ingested. However, we can use some high-quality, organic clays internally. As always, consult your physician first.

Any sort of detox can cause us to feel worse before we feel better. This is entirely natural to experience as our body eliminates toxic waste. Potential detox symptoms might include loss of appetite, fatigue, headaches, and digestive issues. If you ever have any questions or concerns about symptoms caused during a detox, please reach out to a medical professional to check and see that all is well.

Actually, it’s a wise idea to talk with your primary healthcare provider, whether it be a certified doctor or holistic practitioner, to ensure the route you’re taking is best for you and your body.

-Elaina Garcia

Photo: Pixabay

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Elaina Garcia is a published writer in various niches. She has been studying and practicing plant medicine and natural healing for 15 years now. A New York native living far from her old home, she lives a sustainable lifestyle in her tiny home! Her writing career began a little over 4 years ago starting at the bottom and working her way up. Elaina is the author of children's educational books and a content creator with work on various sites

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