Eliminating heavy metals and toxins is essential to maintaining and/or regaining health. Despite the body’s efficient filtration system, everyone living in our increasingly toxic world must detoxify. To help avoid disease and/or early death, we must be proactive. But many people wait until it’s too late.
Toxins are everywhere. Whenever we eat or drink or breathe we’re exposed to toxins. We can avoid using toxic weed killers and pesticides on our own property but high agricultural and industrial usage means that most of the food we eat, the air we breathe and the clothes we wear are contaminated.
Pharmaceuticals are also filled with toxins. New furniture, including car seats and mattresses, are typically doused with chemical fire retardants. Heavy metals leach from water pipes, cookware, and jewelry. According to a NATO Science for Peace and Security publication, the atmospheric heavy metal pollution is one of the most serious problems facing humanity and other life forms on our planet today.
We don’t have to work in a mine to become contaminated. We acquire toxins through common things like touching receipts and using cosmetics or sunscreens. The mercury and plastics in our waterways are absorbed into the fish we eat. Lead paint is in old houses, buildings and water systems. One study reported that over 3,000 communities in the U.S. have double the amount of lead in their water as the infamous Flint drinking water.
We breathe in heavy metal particles that float through the air and absorb them through our skin. The interruption of enzymes from heavy metals and their interaction with our DNA interferes with basic cellular processes and often leads to gastrointestinal and nervous systems problems.
Signs of chronic heavy metal exposure include skin changes, impaired cognitive, motor and language skills, nausea, lethargy, malaise, insomnia, and emotional instability. Mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and iron are some of the most common metals that accumulate within the body. (Note: Organic minerals and minerals in heavy metal form are not the same.)
Mercury exposure comes through dental fillings, vaccines, and seafood. The brain is the most serious target organ, yet mercury can impair any organ which may lead to the malfunctioning of nerves, kidneys, and muscles. It causes disruption to the membrane potential and interrupts intracellular calcium balance.
Lead exposure comes from auto exhaust, root canals, building materials, and water. In the US, more than 100 to 200,000 tons of lead per year are released into the environment from manufacturing practices. Some of this lead is taken up by plants. High lead concentration in plants causes damage that ultimately leads to damage of chlorophyll and photosynthetic processes and suppresses the overall growth of the plant. This damage carries on into humans when eating these plants.
Cadmium exposure comes from cigarettes, batteries, hydrogenated oils and coffee. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry reports that more than 500,000 workers in the US are exposed to cadmium each year. The body has no natural method of removing cadmium. Peripheral artery disease, COPD and renal damage are correlated with cadmium exposure. Although research continues to clarify the implications of cadmium toxicity, bone changes are implicated although they appear to be secondary to renal tubular dysfunction. Kidney stones are common in cadmium exposed populations.
Arsenic exists naturally in the soil so it is found in drinking water and many foods. Rice accumulates more arsenic than other crops. Long term exposure to high levels is correlated with skin lesions, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. It is a protoplasmic poison which affects primarily the sulfhydryl group of cells causing malfunctioning of cell respiration, cell enzymes, and mitosis. Arsenic poisoning manifests as a host of symptoms including seizures, brain hemorrhages, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, anemia, muscle aches, and hardening of the skin.
Chromium is released into the air through chemical manufacture, the combustion of fossil fuels such as oil and coal, the incineration of wastes and the production of iron, steel, and glass. It is used in industries such as metallurgy, electroplating, production of paints and pigments, leather tanning and wood preservation. Chromium compounds are respiratory tract irritants which can result in airway irritation or obstruction, and ultimately lead to lung, nasal, or sinus cancer.
Iron levels often become elevated through drinking water and supplements. Harmful free radicals are formed when the absorbed iron fails to bind to the protein. This circulating unbound iron results in the corrosive effect of the gastrointestinal tract and biological fluids. The free iron can also lead to lipid peroxidation, which results in severe damage to mitochondria, microsomes and other cellular organelles affecting energy production.
It is essential to remove the accumulation of heavy metals in our body through detoxification. Chelation is especially effective. In chelation, specific agents bind to heavy metal toxin ions and convert them into forms the body can expel. Non-digestible and functional fibers are necessary to surround the toxins and help remove them from the body.
My recommendations for detoxification include homeopathic protocols, dietary changes (incorporating healthy fats, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory foods) and proper hydration (adding Celtic salt for mineral replacement). Anyone embarking on a detoxification program should seek guidance from a qualified professional because symptoms often worsen before improving; detoxifying too quickly can be very dangerous.
I utilize specific supplements to assist the body with the process of detoxification while supporting the GI tract. An example is a supplement containing chlorella, psyllium, licorice root, ginkgo Biloba and pectin. Chlorella binds to dioxins, heavy metals, and other environmental toxins, helping repair the body’s detoxification functions while increasing glutathione. Psyllium blocks the reabsorption of heavy metals into the body once secreted into the gut via the liver and gallbladder. Licorice root supports gut, liver and immune health. Ginkgo biloba functions as an antioxidant and free radical scavenger (commonly used for treating lead poisoning.) Pectin latches onto heavy metals (used for treating patients after the Chernobyl disaster.)
Epsom salt baths, dry skin brushing, infrared sauna sessions and exercise along with an Ion Detoxifying Footbath complement any detoxification protocol. Be proactive and start your detoxification today!