Detoxing Heavy Metals
Heavy Metals in The Body
In trace amounts, certain metals have beneficial physiological functions in the body –however, when their presence exceeds their physiological norm, they are a MAJOR cause of immune system suppression, increased free radical activity (causing cellular and tissue damage in vital organs) and disruption of cellular functions. Some metals have no business being in the body at all and have a toxic effect at any level. See Heavy Metals - Table 1
Health Effects of Toxic Metals
Even at a low level, toxic heavy metal ions can cause serious health effects, including reduced growth and development, cancer, organ damage, nervous system damage, and in extreme cases, death.
To give an idea of the problems caused by or associated with toxic metals:
- Aluminium has been associated with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases, senility and pre-senile dementia.
- Arsenic exposure can cause cancer, abdominal pain and skin lesions
- Cadmium exposure causes kidney damage and hypertension
- Lead and mercury may cause the development of autoimmunity - whereby the immune system attacks its own cells. This can lead to joint diseases and ailments of the kidneys, circulatory system and neurons. At highter doses, lead and mercury can cause irreversible brain damage
Heavy metals enter the body from various sources (consumed, breathed, trans-dermally acquired or via other contact):
- Dental amalgam (silver coloured ones that contain mercury)
- Food - fish can contain mercury and cadmium; aluminium found in antacids, canned foods, aluminium foil, and in some baking sodas (bicarbonate of soda); arsenic in CAFO-produced meat.
- Water - arsenic, fluoride, chlorine and much more
- Cookware - iron or aluminium pans or teflon coated (non-stick) cookware and utensils - contaminate food
- Air pollution - arsenic, cadmium, coal-burning (adds mercury to the air)
- Cigarette smoke - cadmium
- Household chemicals - arsenic in wood preservatives, cadmium in some paints
- Lead water pipes - in older houses, introduce lead into water
- Gasoline - (petrol) lead
- Batteries - lead
How to Detoxify The Body of Heavy Metals
“Tools” to help rid the body of heavy metals: See: Removing Heavy Metals - Table 2
Care must be taken when detoxing cancer patients.
Vitamin C therapy causes the trophoblasts to ripen – if attention is not paid to cleaning the body after the Vitamin C therapy, the cancer will run riot throughout the body.
Please discuss this therapy with your DBM Physician / Practitioner before proceeding.
Silver Dental Amalgams
- These contain mercury and should be removed by a holistic/biological dentist - with the concurrent use of a heavy metal detoxification protocol.
- Avoid taking in any more toxic heavy metals.
To read more on silver dental amalgams follow the link
Lead poisoning diagnosed by analysing blood samples - The maximum allowed concentration of lead is 10 micrograms (3.5 × 10 −7 ounces) per decilitre of blood. Hair samples give meaningful data on heavy metal toxicity – the United States Environmental Protection Agency reviewed over 400 studies of the use of hair for toxic metal detection, concluding that: “Hair is a meaningful and representative tissue for (biological monitoring for) antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, vanadium and perhaps selenium and tin."
Whilst Hair Analysis is not a practice DBM subscribes to (for many reasons), it can be useful for the monitoring of heavy metal toxicity.
How Do Heavy Metals Cause Problems in The Body?
The heavy metal ions form complexes with proteins involving carboxylic acid (–COOH), amine (–NH 2), and thiol (–SH) groups:
- These complexes (modified biological molecules) lose their ability to function properly and result in the malfunction or death of the cells - When metal ions bind to these groups, they inactivate important enzyme systems, or affect protein structure (linked to the catalytic properties of enzymes).
- Heavy metals may also increase formation of damaging radicals - that can oxidize and cause damage to body molecules, cells and tissues of vital organs.
Harmful Food Ingredients
Some of the ingredients lurking in our foods do not provide nutrition and are not beneficial to our health . . . some are downright harmful. Some harmful ingredients are added to food to improve texture, flavour, add artificial sweeteners, and/or to have an addictive effect - It is to your benefit to be able to identify these additives, be aware of the effects they have on your body, and then make a conscious choice to avoid products containing them. Some food ingredients may be beneficial in moderation, but are detrimental when taken to excess - E.g. caffeine, fructose, glucose, alcohol. Download the Harmful Food Ingredients PDF which contain links to more information.
Please note that no alcohol at all is permitted on any DMB Program.
Natural Chelating Agents
Natural chelating agents include amino acids, obtained from proteins such as meats, fish and eggs. Protein deprivation has been shown to decrease the liver content of several enzymes the body needs to remove toxins. Trans fats also interfere with the detoxification enzyme system, according to research carried out by Dr. Mary Enig. Besides amino acids, other organic acids found in the body or in foods can act as chelating agents, including:
Acetic acid is a natural substance found in fermented foods and drinks, i.e. sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kvass, apple cider vinegar, etc.
Citric acid is found in citrus fruits, i.e. lemons and limes.
Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) found in many foods including vegetables and fruits.
Lactic acid is found in dairy products, i.e. kefir, and yogurt – make sure it is goat/sheep dairy
Natural fats, such as unrefined coconut oil,
Natural fats naturally cleanse the entire body, and help get rid of all heavy metals. Neurotoxins in the body.
A rise in cholesterol levels and triglycerides in response to neurotoxins protects by preventing permanent attachment of the neurotoxins to the nerve and brain cells. Symptoms of neurotoxicity are most likely to occur when the cholesterol is lowered suddenly or when the affected patient goes on a low-fat, low-cholesterol, low-protein diet.” That is also the reason cholesterol levels increase when a person is detoxifying.
By having adequate fat, bile production is stimulated, absorption of minerals increased and the excretion of mercury facilitated as long as constipation is avoided.
Heavy Metal Remedies / Toxic Element Removal
You can remove these toxic minerals from your body, and protect against taking them up by:
- Chelation. Certain foods, drinks, herbs and clays actively bind to a range of minerals. They are then excreted or washed away in the bath water. A list of natural chelation agents is provided below. Manufactured pills containing amino acid and other chelates can also be purchased, but I prefer the natural agents.
- Saturation. If you have a sufficient and wide range of minerals in your diet your cells become saturated with the variety of minerals they need. Toxic minerals are then likely to be excreted rather than taken up. Some minerals are also antagonistic to each other, and a high level of one prevents the uptake of another. Example: iodine saturation prevents the uptake of radioactive iodine pollution, and the absorption of other halogens (chlorine, bromine, fluorine). See fluoride removal.
Antioxidants. A diet high in antioxidant nutrients and enzymes protects you from toxic minerals.
Warning re non-natural / pharmaceutical chelates
Pharmaceutical or chemical (non-food) chelating agents bind to lead and some other toxic metals in soft tissues and are used in the treatment of heavy metal poisoning. They promote the excretion of these metals in the urine and faces. Unfortunately most of these chelating agents also increase the excretion of beneficial minerals such as zinc and calcium. These non-food chelating agents should only be used under medical supervision in cases of severe toxic metal accumulation, because they can cause a drastic drop in the levels of critical serum electrolytes. For example, a severe loss of calcium (hypocalcemia) can result in in cardiac arrest and death.
Foods That Facilitate On-Going Natural Chelation
Cilantro can be used to remove heavy metals from the bloodstream. Cilantro is an herb that is also used as a seasoning or garnish. According to Maile Pouls, Ph.D., Director of Research for Extended Health, cilantro is effective as an oral chelator. The benefit of cilantro is that it is easily found and inexpensive. Pouls found that oral chelators, such as cilantro, can actually outperform intravenous EDTA chelation. Read more on cilantro / coriander here.
Garlic, also known as allium sativum, not only has a culinary purpose but a medicinal one, too. In 1994, the National Institutes of Health published findings that garlic was an effective in chelation of lead. The study showed that when lead alone was given to chickens there was a spike in lead concentrations in the chickens' livers and surrounding tissue. When chickens were given both lead and garlic, the concentration of lead was reduced. Read more on garlic here.
Selenium is a non-metal located just under sulfur on the periodic table. In 1999, The University of Arizona found that selenium reduced metal toxicity. Glutathione peroxidase is an enzyme that protects organisms from oxidative damage. Selenium plays a major role in this enzyme’s function. Researchers explain that through the process of mercury binding with selenium, metal toxicity is reduced. It is possible to control consumption of mercury through smart food choices, but mercury also is emitted naturally through the degassing of the earth’s crust. Read more on selenium here.
Other Natural Chelators:
- Boron as Borax
- Pectin. Apples are a rich source of pectin, and you can purchase pectin as a powder, often used as a setting agent when making jam. Other sources of pectin include sunflower seeds and citrus fruits. Pectin is a soluble dietary fibre which forms a sticky gel that tends to bind with heavy metals before they are excreted.