In this modern era, we are bombarded by toxins of every kind imaginable. Our bodies are subjected to an onslaught of dangerous chemicals on a daily basis from things like air pollution, plastics, and industrial cleaning agents, not to mention the thousands of new chemicals introduced into our environment every year.
Toxins also saturate our water reservoirs, fall down from the sky, and hide out in our homes and workplaces. This has become an unfortunate reality of modern life. However, if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, there’s a good chance that a particular class of toxins are to blame.
They are known as toxic heavy metals. Heavy metal toxicity—from metals such as mercury, aluminum, copper, cadmium, nickel, arsenic, and lead—represents one of the greatest threats to our health and well-being. While heavy metal toxicity is quite common, it is not commonly diagnosed. This is because heavy metal toxicity is an elusive adversary. It stays well-hidden within our bodies, never revealing itself unless you are actively looking for it.
“Heavy metal toxicity—from metals such as mercury, aluminum, copper, cadmium, nickel, arsenic, and lead—represents one of the greatest threats to our health and well-being.”
Heavy metals are everywhere
Toxic heavy metals are virtually everywhere, and are present in things we come in contact with every day, such as aluminum cans and aluminum foil, batteries, metal cookware, old paint, and even the foods we eat. For instance, pesticides and herbicides (which are hard to completely avoid even on a strict organic diet), are a common source of heavy metals. As a result, most of us are carrying around heavy metals that have been with us for almost our whole lives and which have burrowed deep inside our tissues. Unfortunately, it is these “old” metals, the ones that have been lurking in our system for prolonged periods of time, that pose the greatest threat.
For example, over time toxic heavy metals can oxidize, causing damage to surrounding tissue and promoting inflammation. They literally poison our bodies, and can inflict damage on virtually every system and organ, including our brain, liver, digestive system, and other parts of our nervous system. Toxic heavy metals put an immense burden on our immune system, leaving us vulnerable to a variety of illnesses.
While toxins of every kind are harmful, heavy metals pose a unique threat. Not only are they damaging in their own right, they are also a form of neurotoxin (a poison that disrupts nerve function and confuses your immune system). Heavy metal neurotoxins can inflame and irritate our central nervous system (especially our brain), causing multiple symptoms such as memory loss, brain fog, fatigue, and depression. Toxic heavy metals can also promote inflammation in the digestive tract, releasing poisons into our gut as well. As if this isn’t bad enough, heavy metals also serve as a source of food for viruses, bacteria, parasites, and other pathogens in our body.
Promote various illnesses
For example, heavy metals can serve as a feeding ground for Streptococcus A or B, E. coli, C. difficile, H. pylori, and yeast cells. This can create an overgrowth of multiple bacteria in our gut, resulting in a condition known as SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), which is characterized by bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation (or both), and can lead to nutrient deficiencies.
Additionally, when viruses such as Epstein-Barr and shingles feed off toxic heavy metals, this can produce symptoms such as tingling, numbness, fatigue, anxiety, heart palpitations, ringing in the ears, dizziness and vertigo, as well as neck pain, knee pain, foot pain, pain in the back of the head, and a variety of other aches and pains that are often attributed to other causes.
“Over time toxic heavy metals can oxidize, causing damage to surrounding tissue and promoting inflammation.”
How To Detox From Heavy Metals
In the modern world, the accumulation of heavy metals and other toxins, along with inherited mercury deposits, is inevitable—that’s the bad news.
The good news is that it is relatively easy to get rid of the heavy metals that you may have already accumulated (both generational and recent), and there are steps you can take to minimize your future exposure.
Adding the following all-star team of foods to your diet and being diligent in your efforts to consume them will go a long way toward ridding your body of heavy metals:
Spirulina (preferably from Hawaii): This edible blue-green algae draws out heavy metals from your brain, central nervous system, and liver, and soaks up heavy metals extracted by barley grass juice extract powder. Take 2 teaspoons mixed in water, coconut water, or juice.
Barley grass juice extract
Barley grass juice extract powder: This nutritive grass has the ability to draw heavy metals out of your spleen, intestinal tract, pancreas, thyroid, and reproductive system. Barley grass juice extract prepares the mercury for complete absorption by the spirulina. Drink 1-2 teaspoons mixed into coconut water or juice.
Goes deep into hard-to-reach places, extracting metals from yesteryear (so it’s great for that mercury inheritance you’re carrying around!). Blend one cup in a smoothie or juice, or add to salad or guacamole.
Wild blueberries (only from Maine): Draw heavy metals out of your brain tissue, healing and repairing any gaps created by oxidation when the heavy metals are removed. It is important to use wild blueberries, as they possess unique phytonutrients with special detoxifying capabilities. The potent antioxidants in wild blueberries help reverse any oxidative damage left behind by the heavy metal removal.
This is especially important for your brain tissue—in fact, wild blueberries are the most powerful food for halting or in some cases reversing Alzheimer’s and dementia. Eat at least one cup daily. Note: while cultivated blueberries are nutritious, they lack the metal-drawing ability of the wild blueberries.
Atlantic dulse: In addition to mercury, this edible seaweed binds to lead, aluminum, copper, cadmium, and nickel. Unlike other seaweeds, Atlantic dulse is a powerful force for removing mercury on its own. Atlantic dulse goes into deep, hidden places of the digestive tract and gut, seeking out mercury, binding to it, and never releasing it until it leaves the body. Eat two tablespoons of flakes daily, or an equal amount of strips if it’s in whole-leaf form.
These five foods constitute your best offensive action against heavy metals, and as you can see, they each have their strengths, performing slightly different roles in the detoxification process.
On its own, each individual player isn’t 100 percent effective, but as a team, they are your anti-heavy metal secret weapon! At some point in the removal process, metals get “dropped” or dispersed back into the organs, at which point another member of the team will swoop in, grab the metal, and continue the journey toward the finish line.
You don’t need to eat all the foods in one sitting, but this is why it is important to consume these foods within 24 hours of each other for optimal effect. If you can’t fit them all in, try to eat at least two or three of the foods every day.
The above recommendations are extremely effective for removing metals already in your system. However, we are constantly coming in contact with heavy metals and other toxins—the exposure is ongoing. While complete avoidance of toxins is impossible, there are many things you can do to minimize your risk and bolster your detox efforts.
Tips to Minimize Toxic Load and Supercharge Your Heavy Metal Detox Efforts
Even if you eat the five heavy metal detoxifying foods religiously, if the rest of your diet is off-kilter, the process will be less effective. In the process of eliminating heavy metals, it is very beneficial to keep your blood fat ratio lower than usual. If you are trying to remove mercury and other heavy metals from your body, extra fats from the foods you eat can slow down or even halt the removal process, because the fat tends to soak up the metals you’re trying to get rid of. You don’t need to completely remove fat from your diet, just scale it back a bit. If you eat a vegan diet, reduce the amount of fat you take in from nuts, seeds, oil, avocadoes, and so on. If you are lacto-ovo-vegetarian, cut back on fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, seed oils, avocado, etc.
When performing a heavy metal detox, it is absolutely essential that you are sufficiently hydrated for the duration. Performing a detox without drinking enough water is like taking out the trash without trash service. Imagine if you gather up your household trash, put it all in a big garbage can, and put the garbage can out to the curb, but no one ever comes to take it away. Eventually this becomes a huge problem, because the trash doesn’t go anywhere—it just sits on the curb, becoming more toxic with each passing day. The same goes for detoxifying your body! Detoxification efforts help draw the “junk” out of your cells and tissues, but if you aren’t eliminating properly and frequently, eventually those toxins will just settle back in.
Aloe Vera Leaf Juice
Consuming fresh aloe vera leaf juice is another great addition to your heavy metal detox toolkit. Aloe is very adept at helping flush metals out of your body. For optimal results, cut off a four-inch section of a fresh aloe leaf (if it is large, as is typically the case for store-bought aloe. If you’re using a homegrown aloe plant, it will likely have smaller, skinnier leaves, so you will need to cut off more). Filet the leaf like a fish, trimming away the green skin and spikes. Scoop out the clear gel, taking care not to include any from the bitter base of the leaf. Blend it into a smoothie or eat as-is. Get some here.
You can give your heavy metal detox an additional boost with infrared sauna sessions. Infrared saunas emit infrared light on your skin for the purpose of healing. The rays deeply penetrate the body, providing benefits such as increased blood flow and oxygenation of the blood, removal of toxins from the skin, elimination of aches and pains, and enhanced immunity.
Infrared sauna sessions assist the body’s innate detoxification efforts, which expedites the heavy metal removal process. You can often find an infrared sauna at local gyms, massage therapy centers, and/or sauna centers. Recommended usage: 15- to 20-minute sessions twice per week. If you do it right, you should feel an immediate change for the better after each session. Be sure to drink plenty of water after your session to facilitate the removal of toxins from the body.
If you want to take things up a notch, consider the practice of one-day “fasts” in which you consume nothing but juices. Your juice should consist of celery, cucumbers, and apples. If you want, add in a bit of spinach or cilantro for variety; however, the core ingredients must remain celery, cucumbers, and apples. This combination has the proper balance of mineral salts, potassium, and natural sugar to keep your glucose levels stable as your body cleanses itself of toxic heavy metals.
Make each juice 16- to 20-ounces, and drink one every two to three hours. Consume nothing in between except water—preferably a 16-ounce glass of it an hour after each juice. Your goal is to drink six juices and six glasses of water over the course of the day. When trying this for the first time, it is highly recommended to do it on a weekend when you can stay at home. If you’ve never detoxed before, the poisons it brings out of your body may make you feel uncomfortable. If so, lie down and rest. After you’ve gone through this detox a few times and feel comfortable with it, you can optionally expand it to a two-day juice fast. Plan on being home for at least the second day, though, in case your energy dips. For many people, however, energy actually increases.
All of the above techniques are very effective at helping flush your system of heavy metals that are already on their way out thanks to your heavy metal detox team players.
Modern life has its upsides and downsides—and you no doubt see proof of this every day. While today’s technology means that, for example, we’re plugged in and reachable 24/7, it also means that, well, we’re plugged in and reachable 24/7. We have incredible resources today that our ancestors couldn’t even have imagined—societal advancements have made our lives easier in so many ways—and yet we’re suffering. Never before in our history have we been exposed to so many poisonous substances. On top of which, we are still bearing the brunt of our ancestors’ heavy metal toxicity.
While avoiding the daily onslaught of heavy metals and other toxins is tough, protecting your body from these threats is not. You can take a stand against your personal blend of toxic heavy metals! The truth is, your body wants to heal, and it is working for you every day. All you need to do is give it the tools and resources it needs to begin the healing process. Start by assembling your all-star team of heavy metal detoxifiers, and incorporating a few of the lifestyle practices. By taking advantage of these simple tips, you can assume an active and powerful role in reclaiming the vibrant health that you deserve—and are meant to have.