5 Ways to Detox from Heavy MetalsJan 09, 2016
Happy New Year!
I hope you have had a great start to sweet 16!
It is often the case that the New Year kicks off with resolutions, new exercise regimes and of course detoxes. Many of us feel the effects of overindulgence during the holiday period and want to cleanse our overused livers from a few too many drinks and not the most nutritious foods.
Although it is important to cleanse the body from certain foods and drinks I believe we have a much greater reason to detox our body: In the environment we live in now we are exposed to more chemicals, pesticides and heavy metals than ever before.
This is not just something that happens over the holiday period, this is everyday. In order to detox the body we must start with detoxing those things outside our body first, removing chemical laden cleaning products and toiletries, removing fake fragrances in everything from candles to air fresheners (these can disrupt our hormones) and of course reducing the chemical-laden products we put on our bodies too. This topic is too much to cover in one article (and rather overwhelming) so I would like to start with detoxing from heavy metals from the inside out.
On the topic of heavy metals I have asked the lovely Lisa Guy, naturopath and author of The Art of Healing 3 key questions on this topic:
What are the common ways we ingest or inhale heavy metals?
Lisa: The most common ways we are exposed to heavy metals is by inhaling them or ingesting them (eating or drinking). They are found in the fish we eat (mercury), in amalgam fillings (mercury again), multi-dose vaccines (like some flu vaccines), lead paints, old water pipes (lead or copper), smokers (cadmium), cookware (aluminium), cosmetics (aluminium), skin lightening creams, industrial products such as pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides that contaminate our plants and environment. Copper and lead smelting, mining and coal burning release heavy metals into our environment that end up in our water ways and crops. High fructose corn syrup can also be contaminated with mercury. In old ceramic crockery the glaze can contain lead.
How do heavy metals affect our bodies and impact our hormones?
Lisa: Heavy metal exposure has been linked to many conditions including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, MS, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, insomnia, depression, autism, and ADHD. Heavy metals affect the health and functioning of the immune and nervous system and heart. Heavy metals can have a damaging effect on the endocrine system.
Exposure (even small exposure) can cause imbalances in hormone levels, negatively affecting the thyroid, pituitary and adrenal glands, which can lead to health issues such as infertility, menstrual irregularities, miscarriages and hypothyroidism.
Young children, and developing foetuses are most susceptible as their developing organs are particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of heavy metals. This is why it is extremely important that pregnant and breastfeeding women take measures to reduce their heavy metal intake.
Who should do a heavy metal detox?
Lisa: Pregnant women and breastfeeding mums should avoid doing a heavy metal detox. They should however take every measure to reduce their heavy metal intake through their diet and environment and should avoid fish high in mercury, and include foods such as garlic, coriander, and brassica veggies in their diet that will naturally help support the elimination of heavy metals from their bodies. Certain heavy metal detoxing herbs and nutrients are not recommended while pregnant or breastfeeding. Couples thinking about falling pregnant should do a heavy metal detox 4-6 months before trying to conceive.
I'm very grateful to Lisa for her wise words. If you would like to dig a little deeper into your personal health journey Lisa does both Skype and in personal consultations. You can read about that more here.
5 Ways to Detox From Heavy Metals
The below supplements/food have natural chelating properties, which means they naturally draw out heavy metals form the body.
Bentonite Clay is an excellent detoxifier. It can absorb chemicals, pesticides, and heavy metals and eliminates them from the body. It has a very powerful absorptive and drawing power. To make a clay shake simply add one teaspoon of bentonite clay to water and shake in a jar (avoid using metal to stir it).
Chlorella is a microscopic algae and is well known for its detoxification benefits. It is one of the most widely studied foods in the world. Chlorella’s molecular structure enables it to bind to heavy metals, toxins, and pesticides and eliminate them effectively from the body. It is important to use a high-quality Chlorella supplement - we recommend Synergy Organic Chlorella Powder, which uses the cracked cell wall process, or Yaeyama Pacifica if you prefer the tablet form. If you are looking for a good all-round superfood blend with high-quality Chlorella and Spirulina, I recommend Shakti's Superfood Blend.
Coriander is a natural chelation food and is very easy to add into your everyday diet. This herb acts as a detoxifier by eliminating heavy metals from the body (aluminum, mercury, and lead in particular). Add it to your salads or pop it into your smoothies. Try to go for organic where possible.
I was recently told by my Aunt to give a grated apple to my daughter for her upset stomach. Well apparently she was onto something: green apples have one of the highest sources pectin of any fruit. Pectin can help to draw toxins and other contaminants from the body, which are then eliminated through urination. According to Natural News, fruit pectin is found in the rinds of many fruits and vegetables. Foods that are high in pectin include banana, apples, cabbage, okra, beetroots, grapes, carrots and all citrus fruits (particularly the white part). It is also possible to buy powdered pectin from some supermarkets or health food stores.
Activated charcoal is very much a champion for detoxification, it's molecular structure makes it perfect for binding foreign proteins, free radicals, chemicals, and heavy metals. The charcoal binds the offending substances until they can be safely disposed of. Activating the charcoal increases its ability to detox the body. I recommend Activated Coconut Charcoal made from coconut shells. I will be sharing a full article on Activated Charcoal, so watch this space.
Some other heavy metal detoxers…..
MSM (organic sulfur), garlic, NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine), brassicas (sulfur) including broccoli sprouts.
Things you can do to avoid heavy metals:
- Remove mercury fillings (preferably by a holistic dentist)
- Minimise eating fish that are high in mercury - i.e. Tuna or Swordfish (larger fish)
- Avoid being around cigarette smoke where possible (which contains cadmium)
- Be cautious of older houses that have lead paint, especially when removing the paint.
- Choose natural deodorants that don't contain aluminium
- Go organic to avoid pesticides where possible
- Go for natural cosmetics, particularly lipstick which often contains lead. (I love LUK beautified lip Nourish 100% natural)
- Use a good quality water filter
- Consult your Doctor on whether your vaccines contain mercury
Wishing you a wonderful rest of your weekend!