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3/3/2019 6:51:48 PM

Heavy metal detox treatment

How do you treat heavy metal toxicity? Following a heavy metal detox plan is one of the best ways to start reversing symptoms. 

First and foremost, changing your diet should be the first step you take to improve your overall health. What foods can help remove heavy metals from the body?

Foods to eat while doing a heavy metal detox include:

Leafy green veggies — Greens are some of the most powerful heavy metal detox foods. Try to have some type of bitter greens each day, such as kale, swiss chard, dandelion greens, mustard greens, arugula, spinach or beet greens. Broccoli sprouts are another great food for providing antioxidants and reducing inflammation.

Herbs and spices — Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant herbs and spices like basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary, thyme, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and cilantro can help remove heavy metals. Cilantro (along with other green herbs and plants) is one of the best herbs for detoxifying and can help reduce the buildup of heavy metals like mercury and lead in the body. (9) Try adding herbs like cilantro and parsley to fresh-squeezed green juices.

Foods rich in vitamin C – Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C can reduce the damage caused by heavy metal toxicity by acting as an antioxidant. High-vitamin C foods include citrus fruits like oranges or grapefruit, leafy greens like spinach and kale, all types of berries, broccoli and cruciferous veggies, kiwi, papaya, guava and bell pepper.

Garlic and onions – These vegetables contain sulfur which helps your liver detoxify itself of heavy metals like lead and arsenic.

Water – Drink 8 ounces of water or vegetable juice every two hours to stay hydrated and help flush out toxins.

Flax and chia seeds – These provide omega-3 fats and fiber that can help with detoxification of the colon and reduce inflammation.

Bone broth — Bone broth helps to keep you hydrated, provides important mineral, and supports liver health by providing glutathione. It also provides amino acids that help strengthen the organs. Consume bone broth by either making your own and sipping on several cups daily, or by using protein powder made from bone broth.

Foods to avoid while detoxing include:

Farmed fish – Farmed fish, especially those from foreign countries where the quality is not monitored, can contain heavy metals, dioxins and PCB’s which are highly toxic. The worst offenders are tilefish, swordfish, shark, king mackerel and bigeye tuna. You can continue to eat fish up to several times per week — just make better choices that are low in mercury and purchase wild-caught fish, ideally from a local fisherman that you trust.

Food allergens – If your body is fighting against common allergens and dealing with high levels of inflammation, it will not be able to detoxify from heavy metal poisoning as well.

Non-organic foods – These foods increase exposure to chemicals which make symptoms worse. Some of the worst offenders include conventional apple juice and brown rice products. For a list of other foods that you should always try to buy organic, see this list of the Dirty Dozen, detailing the most pesticide-contaminated produce as tested by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Foods with additives – Additives may aggravate toxicity symptoms and decrease your body’s ability to detoxify.

Alcohol – Too much alcohol is toxic to the body and can make it more difficult for your liver to process other toxins.

Supplements to take that may help you overcome heavy metal poisoning include:

Chlorella (1-4 grams per day, or about 4-8 caps daily) — Chlorella is a type of green algae that acts as a natural chelator to remove heavy metals, especially lead and mercury. It’s a great source of chlorophyll and is “hungry” to absorb other metals. You can take it in powder or tablet form.

Vitamin C (3000 milligrams daily) — Acts as an antioxidant to help reduce free radicals.

Cilantro (preferably taken as a tincture 2x per day)

Shilajit (between 100-500 milligrams daily, typically in powder form) — Shilajit is an adaptogenic plant that has certain things in common with activated charcoal, especially that it contains a lot of carbon. It’s a natural chelator because it contains fulvic acid and humic acid that bind to toxic molecules.

Milk Thistle (150 milligrams taken 2x daily, or milk thistle tea 1-3 times daily) — This is one of the most popular herbs for detoxifying the liver. Silybin is a component with the greatest degree of biological activity that has strong antioxidant properties. It may act as a toxin blockade agent by inhibiting binding of toxins to cell membrane receptors. Silymarin has been shown to reduce liver injury and is used to treat alcoholic liver disease, acute and chronic viral hepatitis and toxin-induced liver diseases.

Probiotics (soil-based, 50 billion units one time daily) — Can help improve detoxification of the gut and help boost immunity.

Treatment methods to use include:

Chelation therapy — Of all heavy metal detox products, chelation therapy is probably one of the most effective ways to reduce serious heavy metal exposure, especially metals like lead, mercury, aluminum and arsenic. Chelation therapy involves a chemical solution called EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), which is administered into the body, typically directly into the bloodstream via injection, so it can bind with excess minerals.

EDTA chelation therapy helps to eliminate metals by binding salts to molecules. After EDTA attaches to heavy metals, together they both move to the kidneys where they are eliminated through urine. Most people need between 5–30 chelation sessions to see the best results.

While it’s considered to be generally safe, side effects are possible. What are potential side effects of chelation therapy? These include burning at the injection site, vomiting, feeling dizzy, fever, headaches, nausea, low blood sugar symptoms and blood pressure changes.

Activated charcoal— Activated charcoal is a treatment that works to eliminate metals and toxins via adsorption, or the chemical reaction where elements bind to a surface. The porous surface of activated charcoal has a negative electric charge that causes positive charged toxins and gas to bond with it. Charcoal is so powerful that it’s used as a emergency treatment for removing poisons from the body very fast. It’s full of carbon and can help discard heavy metals and other toxins. Look for activated charcoal made from coconut shells or identified wood species that have ultra-fine grains. Follow directions based on the specific type you use. Whenever you take activated charcoal, it’s imperative to drink 12–16 glasses of water per day.

Bentonite clay— Clays are used to absorb toxins because they act like a sponge or magnet for chemicals and metals inside the body. Due to its poly-cationic nature, bentonite clay leads to absorption of negative charge toxins. Most clays are meant for topical use only (they are not meant to be ingested). However, some high-quality, organic clays can be used internally, although you need to be very careful about doing this (contact the manufacturer to ask if it’s safe to consume the clay). Historically, many cultures ate clay to obtain minerals and help cleanse their bodies of parasites and other microbes. If you do want to use clay internally, mix 1/2 teaspoon with water, shake to combine and take once daily.

Triphala— Triphala is a a traditional Ayurvedic herbal formulation made from the dried powder of three different fruits that contain the strong antioxidants called gallic acid, ellagic acid and chebulinic acid. (14) Triphala has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-diarrheal abilities. Consuming triphala can help to cleanse the digestive tract, relieve constipation and produce regular bowel movements, which are important for removing metals, bacteria, and excess fatty acids from the body. It can be consumed in tea form, powder form, as liquid tincture or in capsule form. Take it on an empty stomach, ideally about two hours before bedtime.

Homemade Anti-Itch Cream — If you deal with skin irritation or itchiness either before or during your heavy metal detox, then apply anti-itch cream to help soothe the inflammation. This cream contains coconut oil and shea butter to boost hydration, essential oils to fight infection and help with healing, and ingredients like apple cider vinegar and bentonite clay to cleanse and detoxify the skin. Spread the cream over itchy skin irritations 2–3 times (avoid if you have an allergy to any of the ingredients).

Heavy Metal Detox Recipes

Detox drinks and recipes can help to naturally reduce inflammation, boost energy, support digestion, cleanse the liver and promote gut health.  Detox drinks are especially useful for providing raw vegetables, fruits and herbs that stimulate detoxification while providing vitamins and minerals.

Many detox drinks can be made with ingredients you already have at home, like lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, cucumbers, leafy greens, berries, ginger, herbs or melon. You can also make detoxifying water drinks, which you can sip on throughout the day.

Heavy Metal Detox Symptoms + How to Deal with Them

When you begin to detoxify, certain symptoms can be expected as you body starts to acclimate. Before you wind up feeling better and seeing improvements in your health, you might actually feel worse at first for a brief period of time. This is a sign that your body is going through changes that might not feel very great, but ultimately they will leave you healthier once you get through them. Remember that your body heals itself, and in the process you might need to go through a transition phase that feels uncomfortable.

What are the side effects of detoxing? Potential heavy metal detox symptoms you might temporarily experience while you’re cleansing include:

Bloating and gas

Nausea or vomiting

Diarrhea or constipation


A skin rash

Changes in appetite

Low energy

Metallic or sour taste in the mouth

Some people find that if they jump into a detox too “aggressively” and quickly, they wind up dealing with significant side effects/symptoms. It’s advised that you detox slowly and gradually; start by making dietary changes and then beginning incorporating herbs, supplements and treatments over the course of at least several weeks or months.

Try to stick with the detox plan outline above and be patient — it will be worth it! To ease symptoms, stay hydrated, get plenty of sleep, eat a nutrient-dense diet, manage stress and only do moderate exercises until you gain more energy.

How long can you expect it to take for a heavy metal detox to begin working? It really depends on how high your levels are, the source(s) of exposure and the efforts you make to rid yourself of these metals.

Remember that heavy metal exposure slowly takes place over many years, so getting rid of them will not happen overnight. It might take months for even longer for you reverse the problem, but it’s important to stay on track since toxicity can have a negative life-long impact on your health.

Precautions/Side Effects When Doing A Heavy Metal Detox

Because heavy metal toxicity causes such a range of health problems, it can be easy to confuse toxicity without another underlying health condition. If you have concerns about your heavy metal levels, it’s a good idea to see a doctor for testing who can help diagnose you. Regarding what to do amalgam about dental fillings, talk to your dentist about available options (I recommend seeking out a IAOMT-certified dentists who has been trained in biocompatible dentistry).

It’s especially important for women who are considering becoming pregnant in the near future to know their heavy metal levels, since toxicity can contribute to developmental problems in newborns. If a women has been diagnosed with high levels of a heavy metal, such as mercury, it’s recommended that she delay pregnancy by at least a few months so they can work on restoring normal levels first./.

  ( Dr. Josh Axe )
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