Heavy metals, like lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic, are one of our biggest health problems. Used to manufacture many common products, they’re now found throughout our air, water and food. Virtually all of us harbor toxic heavy metals in our bodies.
Heavy metals bioaccumulate, so even small exposures add up over time, triggering problems like heart disease, thyroid disease, dementia, neurological disease and birth defects. Tiny amounts of mercury have been shown to damage the brain of a developing fetus or child.
Heavy metals cause problems by displacing other minerals needed for essential body functions. For example, cadmium can replace zinc in key enzymes, causing those enzymes to malfunction so critical biological functions can’t be performed.
Many physicians use chelation to remove heavy metals—a “chelating agent” is ingested that binds with heavy metals and carries them out of the body through urine and/or feces. Chelation therapy is especially recommended, and has often been a “miracle cure,” for heart disease.
There are some problems with chelation though. Chelation puts a considerable burden on eliminative organs. While it’s often assumed that those organs are functioning optimally, in many cases they aren’t. If you can’t eliminate the chelated heavy metals properly, it can damage your kidneys as well as redeposit the heavy metals in critical organs, causing even worse problems.
Chelation also removes essential minerals along with the heavy metals. It’s also expensive, and you’ll need a series of treatments for it to be effective.
A safer, less expensive and more convenient choice for heavy metal detoxification is to use nutritional supplements along with frequent saunas. This approach takes longer, but it avoids the potential problems with chelation.
Essential minerals compete with heavy metals; when you’re getting all the minerals you need, they tend to push out the toxic heavy metals.
Vitamin C, glutathione, curcumin, garlic and the herb cilantro also help to remove heavy metals.
Fiber absorbs and removes heavy metals. Plant foods (but not animal products) are good sources of fiber. We also recommend supplementing with one or more scoops daily of Beyond Health’s Dietary Fiber Formula.
Probiotics help too. For more than a decade scientists have investigated using probiotics to rid our bodies as well as the environment of heavy metals. A 2016 study used many of the probiotic strains in Beyond Health’s Probiotic Formula to remove cadmium, lead and arsenic from water; in a 2014 study, the probiotic strain L-rhamnosus protected pregnant women living in a polluted area from mercury absorption by 36% and from arsenic absorption by 78%. It is thought that probiotics bind with heavy metals and escort them out of the body through the feces.
2. Bisanz JE. Randomized open-label pilot study of the influence of probiotics and the gut microbiome on toxic metal levels in Tanzanian pregnant women and school children. mBio. Published online October 7, 2014.