Heavy metal poisoning
What is heavy metal poisoning?
Every living organism needs a wide range of elements for life and health. Some are only needed in the most minute quantities. For example, a teaspoon of selenium is sufficient for good health for the average human's entire life. In larger quantities, selenium becomes toxic. For cadmium, even smaller quantities are required. There are a few elements that seem to be toxic in any quantity. For most people, the following heavy metals are a problem:
Other elements sometimes found in the body to a toxic excess include:
- tin (small quantities of tin are essential for good health, but it is increasingly deficient in most people)
- most radioactive metals
Heavy metal poisoning can come from many sources. The smelting of metal ores is a common source. Electroplating is the primary source of chromium and cadmium. Through precipitation of their compounds or by ion exchange into the soil and ocean floor, heavy metal pollutants can localise and lay dormant. Unlike organic pollutants, heavy metals do not decay.
Heavy metal remedies / toxic element removal
You can remove these toxic minerals from your body, and protect against taking them up by:
- Chelation. Certain foods, drinks, herbs and clays actively bind to a range of minerals. They are then excreted or washed away in the bath water. A list of natural chelation agents is provided below. Manufactured pills containing amino acid and other chelates can also be purchased, but I prefer the natural agents.
- Saturation. If you have a sufficient and wide range of minerals in your diet your cells become saturated with the variety of minerals they need. Toxic minerals are then likely to be excreted rather than taken up. Some minerals are also antagonistic to each other, and a high level of one prevents the uptake of another. Example: iodine saturation prevents the uptake of radioactive iodine pollution, and the absorption of other halogens (chlorine, bromine, fluorine). See fluoride removal.
- Antioxidants. A diet high in antioxidant nutrients and enzymes protects you from toxic minerals.
Warning re non-natural / pharmaceutical chelates
Pharmaceutical or chemical (non-food) chelating agents bind to lead and some other toxic metals in soft tissues and are used in the treatment of heavy metal poisoning. They promote the excretion of these metals in the urine and faces. Unfortunately most of these chelating agents also increase the excretion of beneficial minerals such as zinc and calcium. These non-food chelating agents should only be used under medical supervision in cases of severe toxic metal accumulation, because they can cause a drastic drop in the levels of critical serum electrolytes. For example, a severe loss of calcium (hypocalcemia) can result in in cardiac arrest and death.
Food and natural remedies
1. Prasad (ed).
Metals in the Environment.
University of Hyderabad. Dekker, New York, 2001.
2. Ashmead, H. DeWayne. The Roles of Amino Acid Chelates in Animal Nutrition. 1993. Westwood: Noyes Publications.
3. Turkez H., Geyikoglu F., Tatar A., Keles M.S., Kaplan I. The effects of some boron compounds against heavy metal toxicity in human blood. Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2012 Jan;64(1-2):93-101. Epub 2010 Jul 20. Article