Heavy metals are everywhere in our environment. By definition they are simply metallic elements that have a relatively high density compared to water. Of course, small amounts of some heavy metals such as copper, iron and zinc are important to our health. The body often considers them “trace elements” if their concentrations are in trace amounts (generally less than ten parts per million). But in larger quantities they produce toxicity often referred to as poisoning: lead poisoning for example. What truly makes them important to our discussion here is that the human body has no real use for them in larger quantities. Once they get into the body, the body has no obvious mechanism for getting rid of them. So, it generally “suffocates” them by covering them in fatty body tissues. But often these accumulations get so large that the whole body simply gets “toxic” from them.
Of course, all of us get some toxic elements from our environment. Many are in the soil – especially if you live near toxic dumps or get your food from areas of toxic earth. And many people work in areas containing large quantities of heavy metals. In our immediate area there are many people working in sheet metal shops, many using metal grinders allowing the breathing of microscopic metal particles, and many work in the automotive industry where the used oil from engine wear is in abundance in their clothing and on their hands and arms. The oil industry is rampant with jobs which put employees in heavy metal contaminated conditions. Larger and long-living fish tend to have more mercury. And many alcohols have heavy metals in their processing.
Some common symptoms of heavy metal “poisoning” are headaches, abdominal pain and cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, difficulty breathing and fatigue. In more severe cases you may experience chronic infections, brain fog, burning or tingling sensations, insomnia, visual disturbances or paralysis.
Then what? They don’t go away on their own, so what can you do to keep yourself protected? Here are some suggestions:
- One of my annual cleanses is a “Heavy Metal Detox.” We have numerous products containing herbs, herbal combinations, foods and mineral compounds that “bond” with these metals in a process called chelation and pull them out of their fatty tissues and dump them in the body’s waste disposal systems.
- Add sea greens to your diet. Specifically, chlorella, spirulina, algin, and dulse work as a heavy metal detoxifying agents. I have a personal friend who saw great improvement in the condition of his adopted “drug babies”. Many drugs contain heavy metals.
- There are also foods that electrically attract metals to help move them out of your body. The list of such foods includes lemon water, the sea greens, cilantro, garlic, tomatoes, curry, green tea, barley grass juice powder, wild blueberries, apple fruit pectin, and probiotics. You should also avoid processed foods and excess fat as these have little nutritional value and slow down the detox process.
- A good multiple mineral and vitamin supplement is also helpful. Deficiencies in the B vitamins have been associated with easier toxicity, and vitamin C has been shown to have chelating effects on iron.
We often mention green tea for its antioxidant benefits, but green teas are also a great drink to aid in the removal of heavy metals from your body, too. It is truly a drink for your health!
For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130, call 405-736-1030, e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com, or visit TheHeathPatch.com.