Toxic heavy metals, they're everywhere: in your teeth, in your vaccines, in your water, in your pipes, in your soil, in the fish, in the herbs you use, in the tuna you eat, even in the tea you drink.
Why Are Heavy Metals Harmful to Your Health?
Unless you're living under a rock, you should know that mercury is not good for you. Neither is aluminum, lead, arsenic, cadmium, tin, nickel, or even copper, manganese and iron in high amounts.Toxic heavy metals do not belong in the body. They have no known nutritive value and can cause serious health consequences.
Aluminum poisoning is a primary cause of kidney disease and neurological dysfunction. Studies have linked aluminum to Alzheimer's disease as well as ALS. Alumiinum is the most abundant metal in the earth's crust and has made its way into the food chain and atmosphere, less because of its presence in the soil and more becasue of its use in industry. The most common sources of aluminum include:
- Aluminum cookware
- Aluminum cans
- Black and Green Tea
- Volcanic clays like bentonite and zeolite
- Anti-caking agents
- "Natural" Mineral Salt deoderants
Because aluminum is so abundant, it can make its way into the food chain. Certain plants and herbs like camelia sinensis, from which all caffeinated teas are derived, tend to leach large amounts of aluminium from the soil. This does not bode well for avid tea drinkers. White tea likely contains less aluminum because the buds have been picked at a very young age.
Many volcanic clays like bentonite, zeolite and french clays contain high amounts of aluminum due to having emerged from the earth. Some forms of clay contain much less aluminum than others. Some research indicates that bentonite contains aluminum but it is not absorbed into the body. The jury is still out.
Mercury is highly toxic to the body. Mercury has been shown to destroy brain neurons, as well as interfere with the adrenal hormones and the thyroid hormones. Mercury can precipitate immune responses in the gut which can lead directly to candisiasis overgrowth, intestinal dysbiosis and a cascade of symptoms. There are two forms of mercury: methylmercury and etylmercury. Methylmercury is considered to be the most toxic, but I believe that ethylmercury is also toxic even though the effects of ethylmercury has not been well studied. Mercury in either form has no place in the body.
It may be true that some individuals are more sensitive to mercury than others. There is actually a dianostic test called the MELISA test which is a specialized "Lymphocyte Transformation Test". It identifies sensitivities and immune reactions that people have to a variety of heavy metals, including mercury. The Melisa Test identifies immune reaction to opther metals as well: Aluminum, Gold, Palladium, Lead, Cadmium, Silver, Nickel, Copper, Titanium Chloride, Titanium Dioxide, Tin, Platinum, Inorganic Mercury, Ethyl-Mercury, Methyl-Mercury, and Phenyl-Mercury.
The most common sources of mercury are:
- Contaminated Fish & Seafood
- "Silver" Amalgam Dental Fillings which each contain 50% mercury
- Vaccinations with Thimerosal
- Industrial Mercury Emissions from coal burning and metal smelting
Other metals like lead, cadmium, tin and arsenic are toxic to the body as well. Minerals like copper and manganese can be toxic in higher amounts. Lawrence Wilson, MD believes that copper toxicity is one of the most common causes of toxicity.
The most effective ways to test toxic metals is through the hair or urine. Levels of toxic metals won't stay in the blood except after acute exposure. Hair analysis is the preferred method for metal testing because a hair sample will reflect a 3 month deposit of metals in it. To learn more about hair analysis, click here. Urine can also reflect heavy metals but the best way to identify their presence is by a challenge test. A challenge test is where you administer a chelating substance and then test its excretion through the urine. This is often done using DMPS, NDF or other chelators.
The body is capable of detoxifying heavy metals. Under normal circumstances, the body dumps metals into the urine, feces and hair as well as to a lesser extent through sweating. As our body burden of metals increases over time, it may become increasingly difficult for the body to eliminate them. The health and function of the kidneys, adrenals, liver, intestines and immune system play an integral role in their removal.
Traditional methods of heavy metal elimination is done through chelation therapy. This method may involve EDTA, DMSA or DMPS. Each of these methods invloves the administration of a chelating substance either as a suppository, orally or intravenously. Chelation therapy has applicability to not only the removal of toxic metals but also for people suffering from heart disease. A potential problem with chelation therapy is that with the removal of toxic metals also comes the removal of other minerals and nutrients such as Vitamin C and E.
There are other ways that are effective for metal chelation. Chlorella and cilanto is a popular combination. These two substannces have a strong effect on pulling metals from the tissues. Chlorella was used to effectively chelate radiaiton afte the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Japan in 1945.
One of the most potent chlorella/cilantro products is called NDF by a company called Bioray. They are one of the only compaines that document the effectiveness of metal elimination through urine and hair challenge tests. People should take caution with this product because of how potent it is. As a general rule, I recommend a specific protocol for each person.
Another powerful way to assist the body's heavy metal detoxification is by raising glutathione levels in the body. Glutathione is the body's most abundant and important antioxidant. Supplements like N-Acetyl Cysteine are a precurssor to glutathione. Possibly the most potent and documented product that can raise glutathione levels is this one: Max GXL
Coffee enemas are very well known for their ability to detoxify the liver as well as raise glutathione levels. Coffee enemas can detoxify the liver by stimulating bile flow.
Before proceeding with a program that is intended to detoxify metals, I believe it is important to:
- Reduce your exposure to toxic metals
- Enhance your body's biological energy production
- Eat high quality foods, and eat sufficient forms of protein which is suited for your type of metabolism
- Maximize the right nutrients for your body, minimize the wrong nutrients for your body
Once you stabilize with this, depending on your level of toxicity and your level of health, it may be a good idea to move deeper into liver and tissue detoxification. If blood test levels of liver enzymes are elevated such as GGT, AST or ALT, or if Urinary Bile Acid Sulfates are elevated, it is an indicator of liver toxicity.
Coffee enemas stimulate the liver directly. So does the combination of olive oil, garlic, turmeric, apple juice, carrott. Sulfur rich amino acids such as methionine, taurine and cysteine are very important for phase 2 liver detoxification, as is Vitamin C, B-Vitamins and glutathione. One double blind study has shown that taking 500mg of vitamin c can increase glutathione levels.
Phase 2 liver detoxification is critical because it is here that the liver conjugates toxins such as metals and xenobiotic chemicals.
In some cases where a person's gut is shut down and the mucosal barrieris damaged because of chronic infections, food sensitivities and extensive and long term metal and chemical exposure, repairing the gut is more important than detoxifying metals. If a person has a debilitated digestive system, in my opinion it is more important to restore digestive functions than to do major detox work.
Restoring normal gut function is important to restore immune and digestive function, as well as to protect the body from toxic metals like mercury. One of the key components to recommend for someone with mercury exposure is a powerful probiotic, or multiple probiotics with therapeutic potency.
Protein, Zinc, B-12 and Diet
Vegan and vegetarian diets tend to lack the sulfur rich amino acids: methionine, taurine and cysteine. Each of these are essential for heavy metal endo-chelation because they induce various phase 2 liver detoxification pathways. Plant based diets also lack sufficient forms of zinc. Zinc initiates more than 200 enzyme systems in the body and is essential for immune system modulation.
Vegetarian diets also tend to have excesses of copper, which can be toxic to the body in high amounts. Since zinc and copper are antagonistic and have an intrinsic relationship, high copper and low zinc is a bad idea. The richest plant sources of copper are soy, legumes, vegetables and nuts & seeds.
Vegan diets tend to lack or be deficient in Vitamin B-12. B-12 is another very important nutrient for phase 2 liver detoxification. True sources of B-12 are only found in animal protein sources such as meat, eggs, dairy, fish and seafood.
High quality water free from contaminants is becoming increasingly more difficult to find. Most bottled spring water that is sold in plastic leaches Bisphenol A and other petrochemicals. Disadvantages of consuming reverse osmosis and distilled water is that these forms of water are not hydrating to the body because they contain little to know mineral content. These forms of water can actually cause a loss of minerals in your own body if consumed regularly.
During times of metal detoxification, these forms of water can actually help your body to pull metals out. But these method should only be done for short periods of time. Adding 1/8th of a teaspoon of sea salt per gallon of RO water can help re-mineralize the water.
The best sources of water for regular consumption is high quality spring water from glass bottles.