Cultural practices of old had built-in strategies for keeping the body fit and free from toxins. Fasting and detoxing were part of the normal fluctuations of life. And these practices also naturally encouraged heavy metal detox. Today, many people make the mistake of thinking that achieving optimum health is as simple as watching what foods you eat. While diet is important, it's only half of the picture. Heavy metals play a role in poor health, so getting toxins out of your body is just as important as what you put in it. In fact, it's probably more important. The public's increasing awareness of this fact has brought significant attention to heavy metal detox in recent times. But what is a heavy metal detox – and how do you go about doing it? Let's explore.
How Pervasive Is Heavy Metal Toxicity?
Most of us don't have the luxury of living on a private island where we can tightly control what enters our environments. Rather, we're exposed to all sorts of products and elements by nature of the tightly-packed urban (and suburban) areas we live in. Many of those products and elements contain heavy metals like arsenic, tin and aluminum. (1) These heavy metals accumulate in your body's soft tissues, causing a variety of symptoms that can range from abdominal pain to weakness, chills, nausea and vomiting. (2) Because heavy metals are so prevalent in our environments, it's next to impossible to avoid some degree of exposure. That said, arming yourself with some knowledge concerning the common types of heavy metal toxicity can go a long way towards helping you begin the detoxification process.
Common Types Of Heavy Metal Toxicity
AluminumAluminum, as one of the most popular manufacturing materials in the world, is all around us. You'll find it in cookware, cans, antiperspirants and even tap water, for example. Research has shown that people who ingest too much aluminum face a higher risk of dementia. This is one of the many disastrous long-term effects of heavy metal toxicity. (3)
If you live in a city, you're definitely exposed to thallium on a daily basis as a result of its presence in gasoline. You know, that unmistakable smell of exhaust. But surprisingly, you can also find thallium in insecticides (it is specifically a rodenticide), and it contaminates some cruciferous vegetables like kale. Because it competes with potassium uptake, this heavy metal causes two-pronged damage: high heavy metal toxicity as well as low potassium uptake. So you may have more in your body than you realize. (4) Thallium toxicity can cause impaired vision, abdominal pain, acne, agitation, confusion, chronic fatigue, and can even contribute to mood disorders like depression. (5)
ArsenicArsenic is a heavy metal that unfortunately contaminates many food items due to the pesticides producers use on them. Common sources of arsenic exposure include rice and chicken. (6) Regarding rice, many people use brown rice on a regular basis with the understanding that it's more healthy than white rice. While this is true in theory, research has shown that brown rice has about more arsenic than white rice, mainly because arsenic concentrates more in the outer shell of the grain. (7) Pro Tip: rinse your rice before cooking to remove about 10% of the arsenic. (8)
What To Do About All This Toxicity
As mentioned earlier, avoiding ingesting any of these heavy metal toxins is difficult because they're so prevalent in our environments. While you certainly should limit your exposure to products containing those toxins, you're going to come into contact with them at some point or another and over time, they will build up in your tissue. In light of this, detoxification is one of your best bets. First, however, you should have a heavy metal toxicity test conducted on you. Most naturopaths should be able to do this or refer you to someone who can. There are online test kits that you can order, but seeing a naturopath in your area could help you receive detailed, location-specific advice.
How To Conduct A Heavy Metal DetoxOnce you've done a heavy metal toxin test – and determined what sort of heavy metal toxicity you should be concerned about – you'll want to find a practical heavy metal detox strategy. Please be sure to check with your trusted healthcare provider before giving any of these heavy metal detox recommendations a try.
For one, some experts recommend using a full-spectrum sauna. (9)This is an especially important point if you have metal implants in your body, including pacemakers, as the infrared rays in the type of sauna used for detoxification can heat up those implants.
Nutritional supplements also carry out a heavy metal detox.Antioxidants in foods help bind to heavy metals and remove them from your body. Unfortunately, we don't get enough of those nutrients to counteract heavy metal toxicity. So supplements to the rescue! Nutritional supplements will give your body's natural detoxification processes a boost and help you get rid of heavy metal toxins. Try these: (10)
Activated Charcoal works quickly to latch onto and remove toxins.
There's a reason emergency room doctors reach for activated charcoal when a patient arrives with some form of poisoning. It works, and it works fast. Activated charcoal binds to poisons (including heavy metals) and flushes them out of your system. (11) You should take caution regarding activated charcoal, though. Unfortunately, not all products that use it follow high production standards. In fact, the manufacturing process behind some activated charcoals is laden with chemicals, including petroleum. For a high-quality activated charcoal, use Kohlbitr. It's a coconut shell-based activated charcoal, and it checks off all the boxes you'd want from an activated charcoal. It's wildcrafted, non-plantation, pesticide free, accelerant free, non-GMO, non-irradiated, and has no glycerin, no maltodextrin, and no citric acid. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better activated charcoal product.