What is heavy metal detox?

Daily exposure to environmental and industrial factors leaves us vulnerable to high levels of heavy metals every day in our surroundings. Heavy metal poisoning can even happen from the foods we eat, the air we breathe, and even the dental fillings in our mouth contain heavy metals. Heavy metal poisoning refers to the buildup of various types of heavy metals in the body. Some of these metals, such as copper, iron, and zinc, are good for the body, but in small amounts. Overexposure to these metals can also lead to heavy metal poisoning. Heavy metal poisoning can cause many types of chronic health problems, and you may feel like there is no solution to your health problems. In such cases also, the accumulation of heavy metals in the body could be the underlying cause. 

If you want to consider a natural therapy that helps eliminate a variety of heavy metals from your body, then considering a heavy metal detox could be the right choice for you. Continue to find out the real story on heavy metals for detox below.


Heavy metal detox is a process that aims to eliminate any excess heavy metals from the body. A substance that binds to these heavy metals present in the body is called a chelator. The process that actually transports the heavy metals out of your body is known as chelation. Due to this, many people often refer to a heavy metal detox as chelation therapy as well.

In order to treat heavy metal poisoning, doctors make use of certain chelator medications. Similarly, there are many foods that can also help move out heavy metals from the body. 

Heavy metal poisoning or toxicity can have an effect on the functioning of many organs in the body, including the liver, the brain, and the lungs. Having high levels of heavy metals present inside the body also decreases your energy levels and impacts the composition of your blood as well. 

In fact, in the long-term, exposure to heavy metals can lead to symptoms observed in many degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. In some cases, exposure to heavy metals for a long time can even lead to cancer.[1]

Here are some examples of the commonly found heavy metals:

● Cadmium

● Arsenic

● Copper

● Chromium

● Lead

● Nickel

● Mercury

● Zinc

● Aluminum

● Iron

 

It is possible for heavy metals to enter our bodies through many factors. Some sources include:

● Soil erosion

● Smoking tobacco

● Pesticides on crops

● Wastewater

● Industrial waste

● Mining

● Fossil fuel emissions

See: Ayurvedic herbs for detoxification

Foods that can help without side effects

Foods to eat in a heavy metal detox

There are certain foods that can help detoxify the body by eliminating heavy metals. These foods work by binding to the heavy metals and removing them during the digestive process. [2]

In order to under a heavy metal detox, you should be eating foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals that have protective effects on the body, especially in those who have been exposed to heavy metals. 

 

Listed below are some foods that are good for heavy metal detox:

● Cilantro

● Wild blueberries

● Garlic

● Lemon water

● Spirulina

● Chlorella

● Atlantic dulse

● Barley grass juice powder

● Curry

● Green tea

● Probiotics

● Tomatoes

 

Additionally, if you are not getting the required daily intake of vitamins through food, then you should consider taking vitamin supplements.

In some cases, deficiencies of vitamin B, B6, and C are associated with reduced tolerance of heavy metals and also with easier toxicity in the body due to these heavy metals.[2]

A 2010 animal study found that B-1 supplements can help decrease iron levels in the body.[3] However, there are fewer human studies available to indicate the same. 

However, it is essential to understand that the US Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the purity or even the quality of supplements like they do for medications. This is why you should discuss with your doctor before trying out a supplement to make sure that the supplement does not interact with any medications that you are taking. 

See: Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Health Benefits

Foods to avoid in heavy metal detox

Avoid these foods in a heavy metal detox

When you are carrying out a heavy metal detox, you should focus on including lots of healthy fruits and vegetables in your diet. To lessen the effects of heavy metal toxicity on the body or to prevent it altogether, you also need to eliminate certain foods from your diet. 

This is especially true if you are fond of having excess fats and processed foods. These foods are known for their minimal nutritional value, and they also slow down the detoxification process. This is because fats end up soaking up the harmful heavy metals that you want to remove with the detox.

 

The foods you should try to avoid or at least restrict in the heavy metal detox diet include:

● Alcohol

● Non-organic foods

● Rice (especially brown rice as it can often contain arsenic)

● Certain types of fish such as long-living and large fish that tend to contain high levels of mercury

See: Potential of Disease Prevention with Panchakarma Therapy

Summary

Heavy metal poisoning is a reality in the world we live in today, where not just the environment is polluted, but so is the soil and the water bodies. Heavy metal toxicity triggers several side effects, and if left untreated, it can lead to many life-threatening conditions. This is why you should think about undergoing a heavy metal detox from time to time, especially if you know that you are exposed to heavy metals regularly. You can always discuss with your doctor about what types of dietary changes will help protect you and your family from overexposure to heavy metals. 

Remember that heavy metal detox does not happen overnight. It takes time to remove heavy metals from the body safely, but it is possible to do this through food. It is essential, though, that before you start a 

 diet, you talk about it with your doctor or dietitian to understand the pros and cons and how it will impact your health.

See: Buttermilk as Ayurvedic medicine

References

1. Jaishankar, M., Tseten, T., Anbalagan, N., Mathew, B.B. and Beeregowda, K.N., 2014. Toxicity, mechanism, & health effects of some heavy metals. Interdisciplinary Toxicology, 7(2), pp.60-72.

2. Zhai, Q., Narbad, A., and Chen, W., 2015. Dietary strategies for the treatment of cadmium & lead toxicity. Nutrients, 7(1), pp.552-571.

3. Reddy, S.Y., Pullakhandam, R., and Kumar, B.D., 2010. Thiamine reduces tissue lead levels in rats: mechanism of interaction. Biometals, 23(2), pp.247-253.


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