Heavy metals refer to any high-density metallic chemical element that is poisonous or toxic at low concentrations.
These metals have the potential to have a negative impact on your health, mainly if they accumulate in your body.
Since humans are often exposed to these metals in various ways, it is essential to have some knowledge about where exposure can happen.
The possible health effects and the potential cleansing methods that may aid you in removing these metals from your body.
Effects of Heavy Metals
There are approximately 23 heavy metals that can pose risks to human health. The body needs some of these, but too much can cause adverse health consequences. Examples include selenium, zinc, iron, and phosphorus. The following shows the potential health effects of the heavy metals that the body does not need:
- Arsenic: Drowsiness, headaches, seizures, confusion, nerve damage, edema, gastroenteritis, hemolysis, low blood pressure, anemia, flu-like symptoms, polyneuritis, kidney issues and heart problem.
- Cobalt: Nausea and vomiting, nerve damage, enlarged thyroid, kidney damage, lack of appetite, ringing in the ears, respiratory disease and heart damage.
- Cadmium: Headaches, vomiting and nausea, diarrhea, pulmonary edema, tachycardia, cyanosis, bone softening, protein in the urine, fatigue, abdominal cramps, dyspnea, anemia and kidney dysfunction.
- Lead: Headaches, lethargy, loss of appetite, constipation, incoordination, anemia, brain damage, kidney disease, fever, fatigue, vomiting, joint and abdominal pain, seizures, altered consciousness and peripheral neuropathy.
- Mercury: Respiratory symptoms, fatigue, lethargy, headaches, depression, irritability, behavioral changes, polyneuropathy and nerve damage, extremity tremors, slurred speech, seizures, skin changes, intestinal disturbances, visual problems, kidney damage, and gingivitis.
- Thallium: Drowsiness, abdominal pain, hair loss, nerve damage, seizures, optic nerve atrophy, vomiting and nausea, cardiac or renal failure, psychosis, confusion, and coma.
- Aluminum: Brain damage.
- Tin: Tremors, hallucinations, convulsions and psychotic behavior.
- Antimony: Headache, constipation, loss of appetite, dizziness, albuminuria, abdominal pain, distaste for food, small mouth ulcers, skin rashes, weight loss, and glycosuria.
Where Heavy Metals Come From
Heavy metals are all around you on a daily basis. For example, eating certain types of seafood can expose you to mercury, old lead paint can expose you to lead, and certain herbal medicines contain various heavy metals. The following are common sources of heavy metals:
- Arsenic: Soil, irrigation or drinking water, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and outdoor products, such as picnic tables and play structures.
- Cobalt: Magnets, colored glass, paints, batteries and cutting and grinding tools.
- Cadmium: Paints and pigments, synthetic rubber, cigarette smoke, shellfish, green leafy vegetables, copy machines, certain batteries, electroplated parts, photovoltaic cells and vapor lamps.
- Lead: Lead pigment paints, ayurvedic herbs, ceramic glazes, bullets, contaminated water and food, batteries, old toys or those manufactured in China and fishing sinkers.
- Mercury: Seafood, coal residues, dental amalgams, barometers, fluorescent bulbs, certain thermometers, pesticides, fungicides, electrodes, and batteries.
- Thallium: Coal burning, soil, shellfish, cigarettes and contaminated water.
- Aluminum: Aluminum cookware, certain herbal products, table salt, baking powders, astringent, deodorant, cosmetics and aluminum food and beverage cans.
- Tin: Canned goods in tin cans, soil, certain coloring agents and food additives, brewer’s yeast, sea water and seaweed, certain soaps, plastic stabilizers and improperly filtered water.
- Antimony: Fireproofing plastics and textiles, pigments, battery electrodes, ceramics, and gunpowder.
Testing for Heavy Metals
Before cleansing your body, it is a good idea to be tested to determine which heavy metals might be present in your body and at which amounts. Doctors using recommend testing using whole blood, urine, and red blood cells.
In some cases, hair or toenail samples may be used. Testing your urine is considered to be the gold standard for mercury (inorganic), lead, arsenic, and cadmium. For organic mercury, whole blood is the best testing choice.
Dietary Supplements for Cleansing
There are a number of supplements that can be helpful for cleansing the body of heavy metals. Certain supplements are best for specific heavy metal types. The following describes the supplements that can detoxify:
- Glutathione is an antioxidant that can bind with lead, mercury, and cadmium, helping to transport it from the body.
- Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that can chelate heavy metals by passing the blood-brain barrier and penetrating the cell membrane. It helps with arsenic, mercury, and cadmium.
- Citrus pectin is a type of fiber that can help to remove lead, arsenic, and cadmium.
- Vitamin C has been shown to increase the urinary excretion of lead.
- Selenium is commonly used for heavy metal chelation, especially mercury.
- DMSA has been shown to be helpful in helping the body to excrete lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium.
Activated Charcoal for Cleansing
Activated charcoal, sometimes called activated carbon, is often described as a magnet that can essentially attract heavy metals to transport them out of your body. It can bind to substances that are not supposed to be in the body. It is introduced via the mouth and swallowed. It essentially pulls the metals from your body and binds with them.
It is then excreted from your body via bowel movements without causing gastrointestinal irritation.
It can also help your microbiome because by removing toxins, this brings balance to your gut’s microbiome. It can protect the healthy bacteria in your gut too. This balanced, diversified microbiome is imperative for optimal health and healing from heavy metal toxicity.
When using this method, it is essential that you drink sufficient water since it may cause dehydration if you do not. The pressurizing and heating process of activated charcoal makes it effective without needing to consume large amounts of it.
It comes in a variety of forms, such as capsules, powders, and tablets. All of these produce the same effect, so it is your preference which you use. Make sure to follow the administration instructions precisely for the best impact.
If you suspect that heavy metals might be causing you ill effects, it is time to explore the different cleansing methods. It is ideal to start with one and then add more if you need more help cleansing your body of heavy metals.