Heavy Metal Detox for Kids

by | Mar 15, 2024 | Blog, Environmental Toxins

It is common for children to experience symptoms that traditional healthcare professionals cannot explain. Parents looking for answers may want to consider a heavy metal detox for kids.

Heavy metals are toxins that exist all around us. They can be particularly harmful for children who are still developing. Heavy metal exposure can bring about general symptoms now, but it can also cause lifelong health effects.

A heavy metal detox is a safe and effective way to improve the body’s ability to get rid of these environmental toxins. Then, parents can put preventive measures in place to reduce future exposure.

What is a kid’s heavy metal detox, and how can parents implement these solutions at home? We will tell you in this guide.

Understanding Heavy Metals

Heavy metals come in three main varieties. Some are essential for human health, such as iron, copper, and zinc. Others are not necessary for our health but are not typically harmful to us either (e.g., silver).

The final type of heavy metal includes those that are toxic to human health. Essential metal nutrients can become toxic when we are exposed to them in high volumes. A small number of heavy metals are toxic in any amount.

Most heavy metals come from natural sources. However, many result from industrial activity, which can release these toxic metals into the environment.

Common Heavy Metals and Their Sources

The five most common heavy metals that are harmful to human health are mercury, lead, arsenic, chromium, and cadmium. Some of these heavy metals can be toxic even in small amounts (i.e., arsenic). Others feature negative health effects that build up over time.

There are many ways humans become exposed to these toxins. Industrial activities release them into the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil, which can affect the foods we eat.

Despite knowing the toxic effects of heavy metals, some companies put them into their products. Medicines, personal care products, cosmetics, and even baby foods are all sources of toxic heavy metals.

How Children Get Exposed

Babies can be exposed to heavy metals before they are born. For example, mothers who smoke may inadvertently expose their babies to toxic metals, such as chromium and lead.

Young children can also encounter these environmental toxins by ingesting them, absorbing them through the skin, or breathing them in. Children living in developing countries may be at a higher risk of exposure.

Living near industrial plants that process or use any of the above metals can increase the risk of heavy metal exposure. Urban-dwelling children are at risk of breathing in heavy metals from polluted air.

industrial plant, sources of heavy metals

Symptoms of Heavy Metal Toxicity in Children

Heavy metal poisoning occurs when someone is exposed to a high dose of a toxic metal. Lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and thallium can all lead to heavy metal poisoning symptoms, such as:

  • Stomach pain
  • Chills or low body temperature
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • A scratchy throat
  • Numbness in the hands and feet

These signs are more obvious indications of acute exposure to heavy metals. Yet, these toxins can also build up in the brain and body over time, leading to symptoms parents and doctors may not immediately recognize.

Nervous System

The developing brain is particularly sensitive to the effects of heavy metals. Both acute and chronic exposure before birth and during childhood have been linked to disorders affecting the brain.

The effects of acute and chronic heavy metal exposure can impact attention span, social skills, cognitive impairment, and even low IQ. Heavy metals can also slow brain development, leading to neurobehavioral disorders.

Heavy metal buildup in the brain and body has the potential to cause permanent nervous system damage. The damage may not be obvious now. However, it will show up later in life, often as severe neurological conditions.

Digestive System

Environmental toxins can wreak havoc on the digestive system. The digestive tract plays a role in detoxification. The more toxins someone’s body is exposed to, the harder digestive organs must work to eliminate them.

When heavy metals get into the digestive tract, they can lead to gut dysbiosis. Dysbiosis is a condition that occurs when healthy bacteria that live inside the gut become unbalanced.

Gut dysbiosis can cause a range of symptoms in children. The symptoms of dysbiosis may include but are not limited to bloating, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, burping, bloating, gas, and poor oral health.

Skin, Hair, and Nails

Despite being known toxins, heavy metals are often used to formulate personal care products. Heavy metals in the air can also get into a child’s skin, hair, and nails.

Heavy metal exposure can lead to skin allergy symptoms. Parents should also look out for severe redness, swelling, and skin ulcers. These symptoms may indicate elevated heavy metal exposure.

Thinning hair and hair loss have also been linked to mercury exposure. Heavy metals like arsenic are attracted to keratin, which is the protein that makes up hair and nails. Mees’ lines on the nails could be a sign of exposure to dangerous levels of arsenic and other toxic heavy metals.

General Symptoms

Heavy metal exposure can also lead to more general symptoms in children. These symptoms include but are not limited to the following:

  • Behavioral changes, such as irritability, hyperactivity, or restlessness
  • Mental health symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, or insomnia
  • Sensory issues, such as sensitivity to sound, light, or touch; vision or hearing impairment; and unexplained changes in smell or taste
  • Motor skill delays, such as poor coordination or balance
  • Developmental delays, such as trouble crawling or walking
  • Poor immune system health symptoms, such as slow healing or frequent colds
  • Excessive clinginess or social withdrawal
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Chronic bed wetting
  • Teeth grinding
  • Speech or language delays
  • Headaches

These symptoms may also indicate other health conditions. It is important to have children tested for toxins in the brain and body to rule out heavy metals as the cause of these symptoms.

heavy metal symptoms in children

Importance of Early Detection

Early detection is not only important for helping children with any heavy metal exposure symptoms they may be experiencing. It is also crucial for preventing the long-term effects of heavy metal exposure.

Being exposed to heavy metals during childhood can lead to serious health conditions later in life. For example, kidney damage and anemia are long-term symptoms of too many heavy metals in the blood.

Children who live in areas with high amounts of pollution may breathe in heavy metals. Breathing in heavy metals can lead to respiratory problems like asthma in childhood. Long-term exposure can increase the risk of chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) in adulthood.

Many of the most common causes of adult deaths are also linked to heavy metals. Failing to address the issue now may increase the likelihood of these deadly conditions. For example, cancer and cardiovascular diseases are more likely after childhood exposure to toxic heavy metals.

Studies also show that heavy metals in the brain are related to the onset of certain neurodegenerative diseases. Neurodegenerative diseases cause widespread death of brain cells and, ultimately, death. They include Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Detecting heavy metals in the brain and body early can help parents prevent these health complications later in life. It all begins with getting tested and understanding how to reduce exposure to these environmental toxins.

Heavy Metals and Behavioral Disorders in Children

Neurobehavioral disorders affect around 10% to 15% of children. Research shows that heavy metals may be involved in common childhood behavioral disorders.

For example, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, one of the most common childhood diagnoses, is linked to manganese exposure. There is also evidence that heavy metals are involved in some cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Scientists continue to research the connection between heavy metal exposure and behavioral disorders. New evidence is coming out all the time. For example, studies have recently found links between heavy metals, learning disabilities, and pervasive developmental disorder (PDD).

The good news is that some experts theorize that reducing toxic metal concentrations in the brain and body is a solution to the symptoms of these disorders. How can parents help their children reverse heavy metal accumulation? One way is through the detoxification process.

Natural Heavy Metal Detox for Kids

The best way to prevent the health consequences of heavy metals for children is to detox. Detoxing involves improving the efficiency of the brain and body’s natural toxin-removal pathways.

Once heavy metals are re-balanced throughout the brain and body, parents can turn to prevention. While it may be impossible to fully avoid heavy metals, there are ways to reduce a child’s exposure to them.

Eating a balanced diet, choosing the right supplements, and trying techniques like detox baths can help optimize heavy metal removal. Then, parents can implement lifestyle changes to reduce exposure.

diets for heavy metal detox in kids

Dietary Changes and Specific Foods

Paying attention to the foods a child does and does not eat is one of the simplest ways to eliminate and prevent heavy metal accumulation. As long as parents consult with a professional dietician, diet changes are also extremely safe.

Choosing organic over conventionally grown foods is a great place to start. A scoping research review analyzing over 343 different studies found that organic crops contain significantly lower amounts of cadmium.

Balanced Diet: Macronutrients

A balanced diet is a smart strategy for supporting the body’s natural detox pathways. Incorporating more fiber can promote healthy digestion and balance heavy metal toxins in the GI tract.

Metallothionein is a type of protein that can also support a heavy metal detox for kids.. Eating foods rich in cysteine can help children obtain more of this nutrient. Cysteine is the precursor for metallothionein in the body.

Most proteins contain high amounts of cysteine. Children who eat a vegetarian or plant-based diet can also obtain this macronutrient through ricotta and cottage cheese, yogurt, wheat germ, granola, and oat flakes.

Balanced Diet: Micronutrients

Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to thrive. The body cannot make these nutrients on its own, so we must obtain them through diet. Micronutrients can also support healthy digestion.

Additionally, micronutrients like vitamin C can directly impact heavy metal accumulation. Antioxidants, which are present in high amounts in fruits and veggies, can also support an effective heavy metal detox for kids.


Fish are a common source of heavy metals like cadmium, lead, and mercury. Not all fish contain toxic levels of these heavy metals. It often depends on the location where the fish come from.

Avoid feeding children imported fish from areas known to have high levels of heavy metals in the water, such as Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and certain European countries like Italy.

Parents should also consider steering clear of mackerel, squid, bluefin tuna, and certain types of shellfish. These species may have high concentrations of heavy metals that could be dangerous for human consumption.

Processed Food and Canned Food

Foods stored in cans are a known source of heavy metals. Reducing or eliminating a child’s consumption of canned food can significantly reduce their exposure.

Processed foods are different. They may not contain heavy metals, but processed foods are hard on digestion. Consuming fewer products with preservatives and additives can support a heavy metal detox for kids.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of micronutrients and fiber. However, parents must be careful because some produce can contribute to heavy metal accumulation.

Remember to reach for organic over traditionally grown produce. Parents still worried about heavy metals left over from soil can soak fruits and veggies in a mixture of vinegar and water before feeding them to little ones.


Water is one of the most common sources of heavy metal, especially in highly polluted areas. However, even children living in locations with relatively clean water can fall victim to heavy metals if their drinking water travels through old pipes.

To avoid these potential issues, always offer children filtered water. Bottled water is an even safer alternative to ensure babies and children are not exposed to toxic heavy metals.

Probiotic-Rich Foods

Probiotics are supplements that contain live cultures of bacteria that are beneficial for the gut. These bacteria can improve the body’s ability to digest heavy metal-fighting foods and eliminate toxins.

Parents who want to reduce their child’s consumption of supplements can rely on probiotic-rich foods. Yogurt and fermented products like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and tempeh are naturally rich in probiotics.

Herbal Remedies and Supplements

Herbal remedies and supplements can promote the body’s natural detox pathways. Some may even work as solutions specifically for heavy metal accumulation.

Diindolylmethane, N-acetylcysteine, milk thistle, and L-glutamine are some excellent herbal options for supporting a natural detox.

Glutathione is another supplement to consider for a natural heavy metal detox for kids. It is particularly beneficial for balancing heavy metals. It works with metallothionein protein to bind and eliminate these toxins.

Heavy Metal Detox Bath for Kids

Detox baths are a safe and fun way to promote the elimination of heavy metals in a child’s body. All that’s required is a detoxifying product like Epsom salts, baking soda, or apple cider vinegar.

Epsom salt is the best choice for promoting the body’s natural detox pathways. Epsom salt contains high amounts of magnesium, which is beneficial for balancing levels of cadmium, mercury, and lead.

Apple cider vinegar and baking soda have effects on the body’s pH levels. Baking soda is also cleansing for the skin. Baking soda can be especially relieving for children with signs of heavy metal exposure through the skin.

Parents can also combine all three of these ingredients for an extra powerful detox boost. Combine one cup of Epsom salt, half a cup of apple cider vinegar, and a quarter cup of baking soda for best results, and make sure to rinse thoroughly after soaking.

Lifestyle Changes

Making a few tweaks around the home can go a long way in preventing a child’s exposure to toxic heavy metals. Parents can feel empowered and positively influence the health of their children with the following lifestyle changes.

Check Old Plumbing and Paint in Your Home

Before people knew about the risks of heavy metal exposure, homebuilders used them inside the home. Lead was used to produce pipes and paint because this metal is highly durable and long-lasting.

Lead is so long-lasting that its effects can still impact homeowners today. Older homes equipped with lead pipes may have unsafe drinking water sources. Even if painted over, old lead paint can also pose a risk.

Ensure Toys Are Free from Heavy Metals

Ensure Toys Are Free from Heavy Metals

One surprising source of heavy metal exposure in childhood is toys. Parents may think these products are safe because they are created for kids. Unfortunately, heavy metals are commonly used as stabilizers or as replacements for higher-quality, non-toxic materials.

Avoid purchasing painted or coated plastic toys. Parents should also be careful when giving jewelry to children, as these items can contain high concentrations of heavy metals like lead.

Promote a Cleaner Environment

Parents cannot always control the toxins their children are exposed to outside the home. The good news is that there are things parents can do to reduce heavy metals and other toxins in the home environment.

Getting rid of rugs and carpets is a great place to start. Textiles commonly contain heavy metals like mercury, cadmium, and lead. Consider replacing synthetic rugs and carpets with natural materials.

Aluminum pots and pans, tin foil, and certain types of ceramic dishware are known to contain heavy metals. Replacing these items can reduce exposure to heavy metals like lead, cadmium, cobalt, and nickel.

When to Seek Professional Help for Heavy Metal Detoxification in Children

The tips we have offered so far are all achievable without the direct supervision of a healthcare professional. However, there are important situations where professional health is highly recommended.

If a child presents severe signs of heavy metal poisoning, shows dangerous levels of heavy metals on a blood test, or experiences the symptoms of being unable to detox naturally, parents should seek professional help as soon as possible.

Severe Symptoms of Heavy Metal Toxicity

Exposure to large amounts of heavy metals can be deadly. If a child experiences any of the following symptoms, it could be a sign of severe heavy metal poisoning:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Sudden loss of memory
  • Trouble breathing
  • Confusion
  • Signs of acute kidney injury, such as swelling in the extremities, decreased urination, or chest pain
  • Jaundice, a swollen abdomen, and other symptoms of acute liver damage

These symptoms warrant an immediate visit with a doctor, especially if a child has recently been exposed to heavy metals.

High Levels of Heavy Metals in Blood Tests

Parents concerned about heavy metal exposure should have their children tested routinely. Heavy metals can be detected through blood, urine, hair, and even fingernail samples.

Blood tests and urinalyses are most common. The exact type of test a child needs depends on whether parents suspect they have been exposed to an acute, high dose of heavy metals or if the issue is chronic accumulation.

Inability to Detoxify Naturally

Sometimes, the body may become so clogged with toxins and heavy metals that it cannot eliminate them fast enough. When this happens, the body’s natural detox pathways become overworked and less efficient.

At first, the body’s detox pathways may work in overdrive. Children may sneeze or cough more, experience excessive urination or vomiting, and suffer from constant mucus overproduction.

When this occurs, at-home detox and prevention strategies may not be enough. A healthcare professional may try chelating or another more powerful solution to bring the body back into balance.

This Is How to Do a Heavy Metal Detox for Kids

Heavy metals are dangerous, especially for children, but they are also unavoidable. Parents can do their best to prevent the consequences of heavy metals by reducing their children’s exposure and promoting the body’s ability to eliminate these toxins naturally.

Have you tried a heavy metal detox for kids without positive results? It may be time for professional assistance. Revolution Gut Health has the expert advice parents need to protect their children from the effects of toxic heavy metals.

Schedule a consultation with our environmental toxin experts today to get started.

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