How to Detox Heavy Metals From The Body

by | Feb 16, 2024 | Environmental Toxins

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Wondering, “How to detox heavy metals from my body?” Ridding the body of heavy metals is as simple as making a few lifestyle tweaks.

The best heavy metal detox involves reducing environmental exposure, opening up drainage pathways, making dietary changes, and incorporating heavy metal-fighting supplements.

Learn more about the importance of getting rid of heavy metals from the body and how to do it in this guide.

Top Six Heavy Metals

Not all metals are created equal. Some are necessary for human health. Others are environmental toxins and do far more harm than good.

Toxic heavy metals can also block naturally occurring nutrients crucial for survival. Mercury and calcium can interfere with calcium production, which can impact bones.

A high bodily load of these heavy metals is also linked to iron deficiency. Since people who are deficient in iron are also at a higher risk of kidney damage, metal toxicity could also cause renal problems like chronic kidney disease.

There are six heavy metals, in particular, that people should be concerned about: arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, and nickel.

Arsenic

Arsenic is a metalloid, and one of the ten chemicals the World Health Organization (WHO) cites as a significant public health concern.

Copper-chromium-arsenic (CCA) is a timber preservative. It is the most common cause of arsenic contamination in food, but arsenic also exists in the air, soil, and drinking water sources. Arsenic is also an ingredient in many cosmetic products.

A toxin and a carcinogen, arsenic is particularly concerning for pregnant women and children. It can result in low infant birth weight and lower weight in children exposed to high amounts of arsenic.

Over-exposure to arsenic can lead to oxidative stress, certain types of cancer, and other health effects. However, the seriousness of the effect depends on how much arsenic is exposed to and how long they are exposed to it.

Cadmium

Cadmium is another of the ten chemicals the WHO has found to be a major public health concern.

This heavy metal is found in certain healthy ingredients like leafy vegetables, rice, organ meats, nuts, and oilseeds. However, it is also a major component of tobacco and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in people who smoke.

Exposure to too much of this toxic metal can cause bone calcium loss. Children under six are especially vulnerable to its effects, as their skeletons are still developing. Cadmium can also negatively impact fertility and fetal development.

Exposure to even a tiny amount of cadmium over a short time can be toxic. The good news is that the human body has a natural defense against this heavy metal. Metallothioneins can bind and buffer cadmium to protect the body from deleterious effects.

Chromium

Naturally occurring chromium is an essential micronutrient for regulating blood sugar levels. Industrial chromium, on the other hand, is toxic to humans.

Industrial chromium is also known as chromium hexavalent. It forms when humans expose natural chromium to certain pH levels. Leather tanning, chromium plate production, and wood preservation are some of the most common sources of toxic chromium.

When toxic chromium gets into the air or drinking water, it can lead to many adverse health effects. Chromium overexposure is linked to cancer, skin conditions, kidney dysfunction, and gastrointestinal disorders.

Lead

Lead is yet another of the metals on the WHO’s list of chemicals of major public health concerns.

Contaminated soil and groundwater are the most common ways we encounter lead. Countries like Europe prohibit lead in personal care items, but some manufacturers still add it to cosmetics, eye creams, and rinse-off products.

Like cadmium, lead is similar to calcium, making it particularly concerning for children whose bones are still developing. It can also reduce the body’s ability to absorb iron, has carcinogenic effects, and negatively impacts mitochondria.

Lead-based gas, lead mining, and battery recycling can cause lead poisoning. However, even exposure to smaller amounts of lead through food and water can lead to adverse health effects.

Mercury

Mercury is the last of the four heavy metals on the WHO’s list of major public health concern chemicals.

We primarily encounter mercury through fish consumption. Mercury occurs naturally in certain fish species, as well as healthy foods like lettuce, water spinach, rice, and amaranth. However, there are also man-made sources of foodborne and airborne mercury.

Inhaling mercury is more dangerous than ingesting it. Exposure in high amounts or for a long time may cause neurological problems, kidney damage, infertility issues, skin conditions, and poisoning.

Some studies have found that consuming certain beverages with mercury-containing foods can reduce this metal’s bioaccessibility. Try drinking green or black tea and black coffee with meals high in mercury.

Nickel

Nickel is a naturally occurring metal found in the air, water, and soil. It can also be toxic to humans.

Industry, fuel burning, and waste products are some of the primary sources of excess nickel in the environment. Being exposed to this metal in high doses or for long amounts of time can lead to negative health effects.

Currently being studied as a carcinogen, nickel is also known to cause cardiovascular and kidney conditions. It may also harm the respiratory system, leading to allergies, lung problems, and even nasal cancer.

Symptoms of Heavy Metal Poisoning

Heavy metal poisoning is a concerning condition that can happen if someone is exposed to high amounts of toxic metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury. A large burden of heavy metals in the body can interfere with vital organs like the heart, kidneys, liver, and brain. If you’re wondering “how to detox heavy metals from my body” the explanation is coming up, first, we will discuss some of the symptoms you might be feeling.

The exact symptoms to watch out for depend on the heavy metal. For example, acute arsenic exposure commonly leads to vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Meanwhile, food poisoning symptoms are common after ingesting cadmium.

In general, though, the following may be signs of exposure to a toxic amount of heavy metals:

  • Abdominal pain
  • The chills
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
  • Feeling weak
  • A sore throat
  • Numbness or prickling in the hands or feet

These symptoms are not necessarily dangerous, but they are a sign of needing to detox from heavy metals. If these toxins continue to build up over time, they could lead to more serious concerns.

Severe Heavy Metal Poisoning Symptoms

Being exposed to high amounts of heavy metals can cause more serious symptoms. However, the following signs can also mean that heavy metals have built up to toxic levels in the body due to chronic exposure:

  • Arrhythmia
  • Anemia
  • Memory loss
  • Trouble breathing
  • Renal damage
  • Hepatic effects
  • Miscarriage

People who experience any of these symptoms should talk to a healthcare professional, especially if they have recently been exposed to high amounts of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, or nickel.

How Does the Body Naturally Detox?

The question, “Can my body detox from heavy metals” may pop up in your mind, and the answer is yes it can. The body naturally detoxes through the kidneys, liver, digestive tract, drainage pathways, lungs, and skin. The exact organs involved will depend on whether the heavy metal is inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin.

When someone inhales heavy metals, the lungs may play a role in detoxing these toxins. The lungs eliminate inhaled toxins by forcing the body to cough or sneeze.

Heavy metals that are not eliminated by the lungs may pass into the bloodstream. The kidneys and liver then filter these toxins from the blood and eliminate them as urine.

Any toxins that remain in the blood may ultimately reach the lymphatic and glymphatic systems, which will filter out the heavy metals and send them to the kidneys and liver.

The liver and digestive tract are involved in detoxing ingested heavy metals. First, these toxins will enter the digestive tract. Some may enter the liver via the small intestine; others will be eliminated as waste by the large intestine.

Heavy metals absorbed through the skin may be removed through sweating. However, some may accumulate in bodily tissues or even get into the bloodstream and pass to the kidneys and liver.

What Is a Heavy Metal Detox?

A heavy metal detox is a strategy for eliminating excess toxins from the body. Importantly, a detox is not enough for heavy metal poisoning. People experiencing symptoms of heavy metal poisoning should seek help from a medical professional. To understand “how to detox heavy metals from my body” it’s essential to understand what is a heavy metal detox.

Chelation is a common medical solution for heavy metal poisoning. Doctors administer medications via IV. These medications contain compounds that bind to and eliminate heavy metals in the bloodstream.

Non-medical heavy metal detoxes promote the body’s natural ability to get rid of heavy metals. They may also involve cutting out certain food groups to avoid exposure or adding specific ingredients that bind to and promote the elimination of heavy metals.

The skin can also help eliminate toxins through sweating. Getting more exercise or using saunas can amp up sweat production. Some studies have found that sweating is more effective than urination for heavy metal detox.

Are Heavy Metal Detoxes Effective?

Yes, heavy metal detoxes are effective, especially when received in a healthcare setting. Chelation has been shown to prevent kidney, cardiovascular, and neurological damage in people with chronic exposure to small amounts of heavy metals.

Heavy metal detox diets do not have as much research to support them. However, experts suggest that these diets can be an effective and low-risk way to prevent heavy metal consumption.

Preventative diets can be beneficial for preventing cadmium toxicity. There is currently no approved solution for cadmium exposure, making prevention key.

Additionally, there is research supporting the benefits of sweating for heavy metal detoxing. Chromium, copper, zinc, cadmium, and lead respond well to exercise-induced sweating.

Other studies have found benefits of taking probiotics and supplementing with spirulina and curcumin. Eating foods high in phytochemicals, folate, and antioxidants like vitamins C and E, glutathione, carotenoids, and flavonoids may also be advantageous during a heavy metal detox.

Finally, research shows that someone’s risk for a high bodily load of heavy metals is higher if they are deficient in certain micronutrients. Heavy metal detox diets incorporate lots of micronutrient-rich fruits and veggies for this reason.

The Role of Genetics in Metabolizing Heavy Metals

Promoting healthy digestion can help improve metabolism. However, there is only so much someone can do since metabolism is mostly regulated by genes.

Genetics play multiple roles in how quickly or slowly someone metabolizes heavy metals. Metabolism determines the effectiveness of someone’s detox pathways, and genetics greatly impact metabolic function.

Additionally, certain nutrients serve as protections against specific heavy metals. Genetics can determine how well these nutrients function in the body. For example, studies show that glutathione-related genes are linked to bodily levels of methylmercury.

Are Heavy Metal Detoxes Safe?

Heavy metal detoxes are safe when done under a healthcare provider’s supervision. Using over-the-counter chelation products presents potential health risks, such as dehydration and kidney problems.

The good news is that most heavy metal detox diets are safe. They usually involve incorporating healthful ingredients like fruits and vegetables and cutting out foods known to be high in toxic heavy metals.

Still, individuals should always seek advice from a professional dietician when starting a new diet.

How to Detox Heavy Metals From My Body

The first step to any effective detox is to get tested. Total toxic burden testing can identify levels of heavy metals in the body so that individuals know where they are starting from and track improvements along the way.

Detoxing heavy metals from the body involves reducing environmental exposure, opening up detox and drainage pathways, cutting out and incorporating certain foods, and trying heavy metal detox supplements.

Learn about these strategies for reducing the load of heavy metals in the body below.

Reduce Environmental Exposure

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published guidelines for reducing exposure to heavy metals. The EPA’s recommendations include but are not limited to the following:

  • Limit consumption of mercury-containing fish
  • Practicing good hand-washing habits
  • Read the labels of processed items to identify metals
  • Drink bottled water
  • Avoid spending time in polluted environments
  • Getting rid of cosmetics that contain metals
  • Not using aluminum cookware

Some traditional Ayurvedic medicines contain preparations of heavy metals. Though some of these products claim to promote detoxification, they should be tested for excess levels of toxic metals before use.

Open-Up Drainage Pathways

The detox system’s drainage pathways are responsible for eliminating heavy metals, as well as the cellular waste that results from exposure to them. Start with a drainage pathway cleanse for a fully effective heavy metal detox.

The lymphatic, biliary, and glymphatic systems, bowels, and mitochondria are the main players in the drainage pathway. Opening up the whole pathway requires targeting each component.

Promote lymphatic drainage by drinking plenty of water and trying dry brushing or massage. The brain’s lymphatic system (the glymphatic system)responds best to physical activity and sleep.

Support a healthy biliary system with castor oil packs, improve digestion with probiotic supplements, and cleanse the mitochondria with red light therapy.

Heavy Metal Detox Diet

The best heavy metal detox diet incorporates foods healthy for the liver, kidneys, and other organs of the body’s natural detoxification pathways. It is also free of foods and ingredients that contain high amounts of heavy metals.

Some research has suggested that a slight calorie deficit could speed up the elimination of heavy metals from the body. For example, a 10-day fast may lower levels of arsenic, nickel, and lead.

Consult with a professional before starting a heavy metal detox diet. Consulting with a professional is especially important for people going on a lower-calorie diet, as too much of a caloric deficit can do more harm than good.

Foods to Eat While Doing a Heavy Metal Detox

A heavy metal detox diet is rich in whole foods and micronutrients. Foods to eat while doing a heavy metal detox include:

  • Folate-containing leafy greens
  • Brightly colored fruits and vegetables
  • Sulfurous foods
  • High-protein animal products, especially those that contain N-acetyl cysteine
  • Plant-based proteins
  • High-fiber foods
  • Foods rich in soluble fibers, such as chia and flax seeds
  • Foods rich in taurine

Additionally, drink plenty of water. Avoid tap water, even if filtered, as it may contain trace metals. Bottled or distilled water is the best option during a heavy metal detox.

Foods to Avoid While Detoxing

Foods to avoid while detoxing include:

  • Mercury-containing seafood and shellfish like oysters
  • Chocolate and cocoa powder
  • Greens that are grown in contaminated areas, such as lettuce and water spinach
  • Grains like rice and amaranth
  • Processed foods that contain pigments and dyes
  • Nuts
  • Broccoli
  • Eggs
  • Honey
  • Raw meats and fish

If these items are accidentally consumed while on a heavy metal detox diet, their negative impact may be reduced by drinking green or black tea or black coffee with the meal.

It can also help to understand where foods originate when going on a heavy metal detox diet. Foods growing in certain areas in China, some Middle Eastern and African countries, Italy, and India may be higher in heavy metals.

Heavy Metal Detox Supplements

Incorporating supplements can also promote the body’s ability to eliminate heavy metal toxins. The best supplements to consider during a heavy metal detox include:

  • Glutathione
  • Chlorella
  • Probiotics
  • Tulsi, an Ayurvedic herb
  • Milk thistle
  • Supplements containing garlic and vitamins C and E
  • Antioxidants
  • Fulvic acid

Make sure to examine the ingredient list before purchasing supplements. Some supplements and Ayurvedic preparations may contain metals, which are not recommended during a detox.

Kids’ Heavy Metal Detox

Heavy metal exposure can be especially detrimental to children. However, infant and toddler foods are often full of these toxins, making many parents wonder about heavy metal detox for toddlers and kids.

Parents concerned about their child’s exposure to heavy metals can practice prevention. Providing children with safe drinking water, checking labels for the presence of metals, and encouraging a healthy, whole-food diet are the best ways to prevent these toxins from getting into their systems.

For those wanting a more robust solution, always consult with a pediatrician. Using at-home chelating products can present serious risks, especially when given to children.

FAQ

Before we wrap up, we want to address some of the web’s most frequently asked questions about heavy metal detoxing.

Next, find out if it is safe to detox from heavy metals while pregnant and the roles of TRS and fulvic acid in an effective full-body cleanse.

Can I Do a Heavy Metal Detox When Pregnant?

Yes, you can do a heavy metal detox when pregnant, but chelating is not recommended during pregnancy. Instead, pregnant people should focus on preventing exposure and a healthy diet to optimize the body’s natural detox and drainage pathways.

Eating healthy during pregnancy is an excellent way to address heavy metal buildup, but it is also healthy for growing babies. However, it is not typically recommended that pregnant people go on low-calorie diets. Consult with a doctor to find out the best and safest heavy metal detox diet during pregnancy.

What Is TRS Detox?

TRS detox is a product from Coseva that claims to neutralize positively charged toxins, including heavy metals. It is a zeolite, a mineral with detoxifying effects. TRS contains a specific type of zeolite called clinoptilolite, which has been shown to be safe and effective for humans.

What Are Fulvic Acid Detox Symptoms?

Fulvic acid detox symptoms, or the symptoms that arise when using fulvic acid for a heavy metal detox, include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Digestive symptoms
  • Breakouts
  • Flu-like symptoms

Fulvic acid is a supplement with chelating effects. It can be taken as an oral supplement. However, a more popular method is to take a fulvic acid detox bath to promote heavy metal detox through the skin.

Heavy Metal Detox With Revolution Gut Health

Heavy metals are all around us. Still, we can prevent our exposure by reducing environmental exposure and avoiding food and water sources that contain them. Promoting the body’s natural detox pathways can also help to eliminate these toxins once and for all.

If you are wondering, ‘How to detox heavy metals from my body?” it is time to speak with an expert. At Revolution Gut Health, we specialize in using natural solutions to heavy metal overload.

Schedule a consultation to speak with one of our experts and finally stop stressing about heavy metals in your body!

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