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Happy Friday to you all!

 We touched upon toxins briefly yesterday.  Today we look at toxic metals and how we can try to avoid/eliminate them:

Toxic metals, such as cadmium (Cd), arsenic (As), mercury (Hg), and lead (Pb), are not associated with a biological role in the body and may disrupt normal physiological functioning and may lead to chronic DIS – EASE.

Toxic metals are unhealthy to living organisms and environments where they accumulate. Toxic exposures occur from agriculture, proximity to urban environments, cigarette smoking, consuming contaminated food or beverages, using certain cosmetics and cooking with inappropriate cookware.

However, toxicity depends on the dose, how someone is exposed, and how long they are exposed. Despite this point, toxic metals are associated with diseases affecting the cardiovascular, neurological, and renal (kidney) systems.  Chronic and acute exposures may also contribute to cancer, liver and kidney problems, diabetes, lower IQs, learning disabilities, and developmental delays. Understanding routes of exposure and how to minimize toxicity is paramount to avoiding harm to health.

Strategies to avoid toxic metals

Prevention of toxic metal exposure and accumulation begins in one’s living environment.

Cookware used to prepare foods may contribute to toxic metal exposure due to the colors and alloys used in processing, especially if produced before the 1970s. Steel, copper, and aluminum cookware have been shown to leach toxic metals during cooking. It is important to note that in addition to the cookware itself, the time of cooking and the pH (i.e., acidic environment) causes more leaching.

A recent study has shown that a scratch on a non-stick-coated pan can release approximately 9,100 plastic particles.  The “plastic” in this paper refers to PFA chemicals.  They found that this type of cookware can release thousands of PFA particles which end up in our foods with just 30 seconds of heat exposure.  At the time of writing the EU is currently CONSIDERING a ban on the entire class of PFAS chemicals due to their potential health risk effects!

The safest cookware materials include ceramic, glass, cast iron, and stainless steel. These can still leach metals, but at very minimal levels, depending upon enamels used.

Using cast iron and stainless steel cookware is generally considered safe, though, like ceramic and glass, it is important to be aware of certain risks. Cooking with a cast iron pan may leach iron into foods, which is a potential benefit if individuals are deficient in this essential nutrient. However, excess iron may cause several health issues. Like cast iron, stainless steel may leach metals into foods, primarily nickel and chromium. Longer cook times above 20 hours, cooking acidic foods, and new or unused pots contributed to the most leaching. The best course of action is to avoid older products with contaminated glazes, cooking with acidic foods, and cleaning with abrasive sponges that may cause the release of chemicals.

Because contaminated water and food grown in contaminated soils are contributors to toxic metal exposure, care must be taken to avoid these sources when possible. Toxic metals, such as arsenic, aren’t uncommon in groundwater, but they become problematic when inorganic sources(e.g., industrial uses, mining, agriculture) contaminate aquifers.

Soils are contaminated by toxic metals due to agriculture, mining, industry, and vehicle emissions. While contamination does not correlate with vegetable concentrations of metals, the diet is still a major pathway. Vegetables should not be grown in reclaimed fields near mining or industrial areas due to the potential risks.

Other sources of exposure (e.g., consumption of fish, cosmetic use, and smoking) can be avoided. If you regularly enjoy eating fish, consider smaller fish species, which are less likely to bioaccumulate toxic metals.

Cosmetic and personal care products such as make-up, body powders, shaving cream, lipstick, blush, and lotion sometimes contain toxic metals and may affect health over time. It may not be possible to completely avoid products with undisclosed information, but choosing products with ingredient lists or safety disclosures may help inform purchases.

Lastly, cigarette smoking and passive smoke inhalation may contribute to arsenic and cadmium exposure. Avoiding smoking is the best course of action to prevent exposure.

Strategies to prevent absorption

Not all sources of exposure can be avoided. As such, preventing toxic metals from being absorbed is a possible way to minimize risk. However, because many toxic metals and essential metals/minerals share similar sites of absorption, they may be taken up instead of the micronutrients needed by the body. What’s more, essential micronutrient deficiencies may increase toxic metal absorption.

Iron deficiency is associated with enhanced cadmium and arsenic absorption. When iron status is sufficient, it outcompetes arsenic at the site of absorption.

Calcium deficiency increases lead absorption. Additionally, when calcium is supplemented, lead absorption is reduced.

Therefore, the prevention of absorption is imperative to avoid toxic metal uptake by the body.

In addition to mineral sufficiency, binding agents, or chelators, may be used to prevent absorption. Chelation is the bonding of organic molecules and metals that occurs naturally in the body, supported by enzymes and a cofactor (e.g., essential metals/minerals). Sometimes, in cases of acute exposure to toxic metals, chelation is indudced by supplying specific binding agents that bond to certain toxic metals, making it easier to excrete from the body.

Some exposures are inevitable throughout one’s lifetime, but there are strategies to help rid the body of toxic metals. Supporting detoxification pathways and antioxidant systems in the body is a first-line defense. One such way to support detoxification and antioxidants is by supporting glutathione levels. (more explained tomorrow)

Nutrients sourced from the diet may also act as chelators.

Heavy Metal Nutrient Binders to support detoxification.


Two popular algae, chlorella and fucus (also known as bladderwrack), are considered natural mild chelators and have been found to decrease Mercury and Lead absorption. You can find these in supplement form or as a powder to add to various dishes.  There is chlorella in the Liver-GI supplement those on the 3 week programme have been given.

Dietary sources of sulphur-containing foods (e.g., garlic and broccoli are potential chelators due to the toxic metal affinity for these peptides. As an added benefit, sulphur-containing foods increase glutathione production, which is a potent chelator involved in natural transformation and excretion of toxic compounds.

Onions and garlic. The sulfur in onions and garlic can also work to eliminate heavy metals. Along with these, things like eggs, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage also have high sulphur content.

Cilantro / Coriander is another possible chelator and has been shown to effectively remove heavy metals (aluminum, mercury, and lead in particular) – in only two weeks. Also, because these metals can damper the immune system, cilantro is also recognised as an immune-supporting herb..

Lots of Vegetables – Cilantro (above), parsley (rich in vitamin C), alfalfa, and blue-green algae, are three powerful chemical and heavy metal chelators. Dark green vegetables and herbs alkalise and purify the blood, making it easier for the body to rid itself of wastes with less discomfort or “healing crisis” (when the loosening of toxic debris causes a sick or flu- like reaction). You can juice these, include them in salads, and/or mix powdered forms into water or juice for a quick and effective dose.


Brazil Nuts: Not necessarily a chelation food, Brazil nuts actually work to restore the good minerals, like selenium and zinc, that may be lost in the chelation process.

Activated charcoal for general detoxifying; this includes detoxing heavy metals. I suggest 1 tablespoon once in the morning, well before breakfast for general detoxification.

Remember:  Daily pooping is essential in removing these toxins that get bound up to foods in the intestines!

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