In-Depth Guide to Heavy Metal Poisoning and Detoxification
Heavy metal poisoning, or some level of metal toxicity, is surprisingly common. These toxic metals are present throughout our environment and can be very difficult to avoid. However, being properly informed about the health effects of toxic metals, the most common ones and where they typically are in the environment, and methods for detoxifying these elements from the body or preventing their absorption in the first place can go a long way towards protecting you and your family from these dangers.
Toxic Metals in the Body
Toxic metals are metallic substances that are harmful to one’s health. Most people are familiar with heavy metals, such as mercury. However, while they are sometimes used interchangeably, heavy metals and toxic metals are not necessarily the same thing. Iron, for example, is a heavy metal that is necessary for healthy red blood cells, while bismuth is also a heavy metal with minimal toxic effect. Beryllium, on the other hand, is not a heavy metal, but is a metal that can cause lung and skin problems in industrial workers who may be exposed, and is thus a toxic metal. In some cases, essential trace elements can become toxic in high doses, as in the case of copper. They can also be toxic in certain forms; Chromium(III), for example, is a necessary mineral, while chromium(IV) is a known carcinogen.
The level of toxicity of any element depends directly on its solubility. Insoluble metals display only marginal, if any, toxicity to the body. Insoluble metals are generally not toxic, simply because they are so difficult for the body to absorb. Some toxic metals can be even more toxic when they occur in particularly soluble forms, such as methylmercury, or tetraethyl lead. Toxic metals cannot be easily excreted and tend to bioaccumulate, that is, to build up in the tissue. This is why even miniscule amounts are of concern. Repeated exposure to tiny amounts adds up to a lot of toxicity, leading to heavy metal poisoning.
The NeuroEndoMetabolic System and Heavy Metal Poisoning
Neuroendocrinology examines the interaction of the nervous and endocrine systems and how they work together to regulate various physiological functions. Neuroendocrinology was developed after the discovery that the brain, and in particular the hypothalamus, directly controls the release of hormones from the pituitary gland.
The NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) perspective takes this idea of various systems in the body working together to the next level. The NEM system describes how the nervous, endocrine, and metabolic systems work together in conjunction with various other systems and organs to regulate the body’s reaction to stress. It is through this perspective that we are able to describe the mechanisms behind all stages of adrenal fatigue, from mild fatigue to full burnout.
Conventional ideas of how the body responds to stress focused on the HPA-axis, which refers to the interactions of the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands. These organs are at the core of the stress response, and dysfunction in one or more of these explains many, but not all, of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. It is the symptoms that cannot be explained this way that have prompted some scientists and doctors to look more closely at how stress affects the body as a whole. They discovered a strong connection between the metabolic system and the HPA-axis. Dysfunction in the metabolism can impair the effectiveness of the stress response, while prolonged stress can lead to metabolic disturbances. Thus a healthy stress response depends not only on a healthy neuroendocrine system, but also on a healthy metabolism.
The Detoxification Circuit
In the early stages of adrenal fatigue, many people respond to fatigue by pushing through, perhaps with the assistance of caffeine or other substances. As adrenal fatigue advances, sufferers may seek the assistance of a healthcare professional, who may recommend medications to manage symptoms. However, correcting the problem behind adrenal fatigue requires supporting the NEM system through rest, good nutrition, and removal of toxins.
Your body has a built in detoxification system that continuously removes most toxins. However, not only are we exposed to far more toxins than in ages past, but toxic metals that can lead to heavy metal poisoning are very difficult to remove, especially without proper nutrition through fresh, whole, minimally processed, and organically grown foods. Primary routes of detoxification are through the liver, intestines, skin, lungs, kidneys, and lymph nodes.
The liver removes toxins from the body in several ways, including:
- Neutralizing ingested toxins,
- Filtering toxins from the blood,
- Removing toxic byproducts of intestinal fermentation, and
- Producing Kupffer cells, a specific type of immune cell that destroys damaged cells, bacteria, fungi, cancer cells, and other harmful substances.
Toxins removed by the liver are released through the bile ducts into the small intestine. Supporting the liver is crucial to the detoxification process.
Your digestive tract does more than simply extract nutrients from the food you eat and excrete what is left over. When the digestive tract is healthy, it allows nutrients to pass through to the bloodstream, and absorbs toxins from the bloodstream to be eliminated. When the digestive tract is not working optimally, it cannot effectively remove toxins and may allow partially undigested food particles to enter the bloodstream. In addition, food and toxins that cannot be eliminated begin to ferment and putrefy, releasing additional toxins.
While most people don’t think of the skin as an organ, it’s actually the largest organ in the body. The skin is able to remove water soluble toxins such as protein residue and uric acid through the sweat glands.
The lungs are primarily responsible for removing carbon dioxide and other gaseous toxins through exhalation. When the membranes are healthy, these are the only toxins removed by the lungs. However, when the membranes are irritated, toxins from the blood stream may squeeze through the membrane and be coughed up as phlegm.
Like the liver, the kidneys filter harmful substances from the blood. Toxins removed by the kidneys are excreted in the urine. In order for the kidneys to function efficiently, blood pressure should be within a healthy range, neither too high nor too low, and the body should be well hydrated.
Lymph is created when the fluid surrounding the cells is taken up by the capillaries, similar to the capillaries that carry blood. Lymph flows through these capillaries to larger vessels to the lymph nodes, and ultimately to the subclavian vein, where it mixes with the blood. Lymph transports excess protein from the cells to the bloodstream, and can pick up bacteria and metastatic cancer cells for destruction in the lymph nodes.
The Five Most Common Toxic Metals
Many minerals are toxic, but most of them are relatively rare and your risk of exposure is very slim unless you work in an industry that involves their use. There are five, however, that people in the modern world are frequently exposed to. These five represent some of the biggest risks for heavy metal poisoning in the modern world.
Mercury is one of the worst toxic metals simply because, despite it being a known neurotoxin, it is still a pervasive part of our lives. Dental fillings, fish, and even some vaccines still contain traces of thimerosal, a preservative containing 50% mercury by weight. You can minimize your exposure to mercury by asking for alternative filling materials when you have dental work done, by asking for thimerosal-free vaccines, and by avoiding the varieties of fish that are known to have the highest mercury concentrations, such as shark, swordfish, mackerel, and some varieties of tuna.
If you have any ‘silver’ fillings in your teeth, those fillings are as much as 50% mercury by weight. Mercury in these fillings has been ruled safe by the American Dental Association. However, while just over 75% of the American population has at least one mercury amalgam filling, 95% of people with disorders of the central nervous system have them.
Many people who have had their mercury fillings removed have reported significant improvements in heavy metal poisoning and other health conditions within weeks of the procedure.
However, if you are considering having mercury fillings removed, talk with your dentist to find out what safety precautions are used to contain and minimize your exposure to mercury that may be released in the process. It is very important for both the dentist and the client to have the biofumes vacuumed up before they are exposed to the mercury vapor.
Lead is a heavy metal that naturally occurs in the earth’s crust. As long as it remains there, it’s perfectly safe. However, through mining and industry, lead poisoning has become a significant concern, especially in children. As a result, lead was removed from household paint and gasoline in the mid-1970s, though an estimated 64 million homes built before 1978 may still have lead-based paint. Lead is also used in the manufacture of products including batteries, rubber products, and glass. In some areas, drinking water may be contaminated with lead. Lead can also enter the water supply through lead pipes or be released into the atmosphere during demolition of industrial buildings.
Low levels of lead in children can cause heavy metal poisoning symptoms such as learning disabilities, developmental delays, behavioral issues, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, and other issues. Lead exposure in all ages can damage the kidneys and the nervous system, reproductive system, and cardiovascular system. It can also cause cognitive impairment, irritability, and even hearing loss and tooth decay.
Avoiding lead exposure isn’t easy, especially if you have small children and live in a house built before 1978. You can minimize your exposure by leaving your shoes outside when you enter the house, wet-mopping and wiping down surfaces frequently, and using a water filter. If you have children, you can minimize their exposure by washing their hands and toys frequently and by keeping them away from lead-based paint as much as possible.
Aluminum is another toxic metal that is found in many everyday items, including antiperspirant, antacids, medications, some baking powders and other processed foods, and some feminine products. It can also be released into food through the use of aluminum cookware, aluminum cans, and foil. Aluminum has been linked to a variety of serious heavy metal poisoning health conditions, including osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, anemia, cognitive difficulties, impaired liver, and impaired kidney function.
Arsenic can be found in organic and inorganic compounds and functions as a pesticide, bactericide, and fungicide. Organic arsenic is often used as a pesticide in agricultural applications, and inorganic arsenic is commonly used to preserve wood. Arsenic is naturally occurring in apples and some other fruits and has been found in some brands of rice. Many arsenic compounds are water-soluble and can be found next to occupational hazards, and contaminated water, especially well water. Other potential sources of exposure include sawdust or smoke from wood treated with arsenic.
Low levels of arsenic heavy metal poisoning exposure can cause nausea, vomiting, decreased blood cell production, cardiovascular damage, nerve damage, and has been linked to certain cancers, including bladder, lung, skin, kidney, liver, and prostate cancers.
Cadmium is a naturally occurring metal that has been shown to both damage the DNA and inhibit the body’s ability to repair damaged DNA, making it a known carcinogen. Some studies suggest it can also cause hypertension, and may damage the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. Cadmium is released as a result of mining, burning coal, and manufacturing some goods. Cadmium is water-soluble and binds with soil particles. As a result, it can contaminate water sources and food grown in contaminated soil. In industrial areas and areas where waste is frequently burned, it can also be found in the air. Cigarette smoke contains high amounts of cadmium, and smokers are exposed to approximately twice as much cadmium as nonsmokers.
Symptoms of Heavy Metal Poisoning
Heavy metal poisoning can be either acute or chronic. Acute toxicity occurs when one is exposed to a toxic metal at a high level, such as drinking contaminated water or through occupational exposure. Acute exposures are easier to identify than chronic exposures. Symptoms of acute Heavy metal poisoning include:
- excessive sweating
- labored breathing
- impaired cognition
- impaired motor skills
- severe cramping
Symptoms of chronic, low level metal toxicity are more common and often quite subtle and easy to dismiss. Symptoms of chronic metal toxicity include:
- digestive issues
- joint soreness
- difficulty regulating blood sugar
- female reproductive issues
As toxic metal levels continue to build, problems can become more serious, and cause damage to the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal system, and endocrine system as well as to the lungs, kidneys, liver, and bones.
Sources of Toxic Metals
Minimizing your exposure to toxic metals starts with understanding your potential sources of exposure. Some of the most common sources of toxic metal exposure include items you come into contact with every single day without a second thought.
Water may be contaminated with many toxic metals. This may be the result of pollution or leaching from lead pipes or other plumbing components. If you think your water may be contaminated, you have two main options. You might opt for bottled water, but bottled water is not regulated as strictly as tap water and may contain just as many plastic toxins. Bottled water can also be quite expensive and may present other health hazards. A better (and potentially more budget-friendly) option is to invest in a good water filter that can filter out not only bacteria and viruses, but also chemicals and metal toxins.
Aluminum, stainless steel, and nonstick cookware like teflon can all leach toxic metals into your food during cooking. Opt for glass, cast iron, titanium, or enamel cookware. Cast iron is an especially good option for those that tend to be a bit anemic, as food cooked in cast iron absorbs the iron. This is especially true for acidic foods, such as tomato-based sauces. Be aware that restaurants are required to use stainless steel cookware, so limit restaurant meals. On a related note, stainless steel water bottles and orthodontic devices can also contain toxic metals that can lead to heavy metal poisoning.
Many cosmetic products, especially antiperspirants, contain aluminum and other toxic metals that can cause heavy metal poisoning. Women are exposed to approximately 700 chemicals daily and have no idea about it because the cosmetic industry is not regulated well. Many companies dump toxins into their products to make them more functional. However, the skin absorbs much of these toxins and has a hard time expelling them out of the body. While mercury is notorious for being absorbed by the skin, it’s not the only toxin absorbed in this way. Toxic metals in your beauty routine aren’t just sitting on top of your skin, they’re making their way in. Check labels closely and look for products that do not contain aluminum or other toxic metals. Even costume jewelry can pose a problem in those with sensitive skin.
Most toxic metals are naturally occurring, and may be found in the soil. Removing your shoes before entering your home can help to keep toxic metals out. Also, be sure to wash your hands after working in the yard or playing outdoors with children.
As discussed, seafood can be contaminated with mercury, and food cooked in certain types of cookware absorb toxic metals. However, these are only two of the ways in which the food you eat could be a source of heavy metal poisoning. Food grown in soil containing high levels of toxic metals will contain at least trace amounts of those toxic metals. Seafood may also contain cadmium, as can grains, legumes, and leafy greens. This may be one of the most difficult sources of toxic metals to avoid, as it can be difficult to know what kind of soil your food has been grown in, even when you have your own garden. If you do choose to grow some of your own food, avoid commercial pesticides and other garden chemicals and consider having your soil tested.
Cigarette smoke contains thousands of known toxic substances, including cadmium and other toxic metals. If you smoke, quit. If someone in your home smokes, encourage them to quit or insist that they smoke outside.
Supplements and herbal remedies
Some products may be contaminated with toxic metals, either because they are believed to have medicinal properties or through accidental contamination. Make sure to look for a reputable vendors for these types of products with strict quality testing.
If you work in an industry where you may be exposed to toxic metals, be sure you review the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) information on the materials to which you may be exposed, and be sure to observe all safety precautions.
Lead toxicity is of particular concern, simply because lead is nearly impossible to avoid. Lead has been banned from many applications in numerous countries, but not everywhere. Children’s toys imported from countries where lead has not been banned may contain lead, especially in the paint. Even in the United States, lead has not been banned from use in plastics, and it is frequently used to make plastic more flexible and durable.
Many of the symptoms of heavy metal poisoning caused by lead, such as fatigue, hyperactivity, irritability, lack of appetite, digestive distress, weight loss, and impaired cognition, can be caused by many other conditions and are easily disguised. If you live in a home painted prior to 1978 and have these symptoms, consider getting a lead blood level test and moving out of the home if your levels are elevated.
Fluoride is the subject of significant controversy in the field of dentistry. There are studies that show fluoride can strengthen teeth, while other studies cast doubt on these claims. High doses of fluoride can cause fluorosis, which can weaken the bones and discolor the teeth. Fluoride has also been shown to increase absorption of lead, aluminum and other toxic metals that can lead to heavy metal poisoning. Fluoride is added to the water supply in many municipalities, so it can be difficult to avoid completely. If you use toothpaste or other dental hygiene products containing fluoride, be very careful not to swallow it.
How the Body Detoxes Heavy Metals
When people with healthy lifestyles find they experience serious health issues, get sick more often than their peers, or experience poor digestion and gastric distress, it’s possible that toxic metal overload is the cause. High levels of these metals are considered to be a medical emergency, but even low levels of toxic metal exposure can cause a host of illness symptoms, especially when exposure is frequent. Some of these metals, mercury in particular, are toxic at concentrations as low as one part per billion.
Even if you try to follow a generally healthy lifestyle, you’re being exposed to toxic metals from many different sources every single day. In fact, we’re exposed to so many toxins that babies are born with these toxic metals in their bloodstream. In 2004, the Environmental Working Group discovered that babies were born with an average of 287 toxins, including mercury, at detectable levels in their bloodstreams. These toxic metals are difficult for even a healthy body to process and remove, so they simply build up in the tissues and cells until they begin to cause or exacerbate any number of health conditions.
Removing toxic metals occurs through a process known as chelation. In cases of acute heavy metal poisoning, chelation may be done in a medical setting. Lower levels of metal toxicity may not be addressed medically, but there are some foods, supplements, and nutrients that have been shown to effectively bind with toxic metals in the body so they can be more easily removed.
Proper nutrition is a vital component in removing toxic metals from the body. Part of the importance of proper nutrition lies in supporting those organs and systems responsible for removing toxins. Just as importantly, however, is that the body is an expert at making do with what’s available. When the body does not get enough of the essential minerals it needs to function well, it will find a way to fill the gap. This may mean using toxic metals to stand in for what is lacking. For example:
- Lead may replace calcium, building up in the bone and disrupting red blood cell formation. Lead buildup in the bones can lead to osteoporosis and other bone illnesses.
- Cadmium may replace zinc and buildup in the kidneys and cause peripheral neuropathy.
- Aluminum may replace magnesium, leading to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and a variety of other neurological changes.
- Nickel is a carcinogen that may replace manganese, which is needed for proper collagen building.
Substitutions are not a good thing when it comes to substituting lead for calcium. However, substitution is the body’s way of surviving in situations of deficiency. When the body begins substituting toxic metals for needed minerals, they cannot be removed through chelation. The only way to remove them is to replace them with the needed nutrients. This is one of many reasons why proper nutrition is so critical to the chelation process.
Adrenal Fatigue and Detoxification
Healthy adrenal function is critical to supporting a strong detoxification system and removing heavy metal poisoning from the body. When the adrenals are not functioning well, toxic metals can build up in the tissue. As toxic metals build up, they become an additional stressor on the adrenals, impairing their function further.
For those with adrenal fatigue, detoxification, especially removing toxic metals, should be done very carefully to avoid reactive metabolite overload, retoxification reaction, liver congestion, and extracellular matrix pollution.
Chelation is a two stage process. First, the toxic metals must be released from the organs and tissue. Once the toxic metals have been released from the tissue, they must then be eliminated. People who suffer from adrenal fatigue have a greater load of toxins to eliminate, and less ability to effectively do so. Releasing this concentrated load of toxins, when they cannot be effectively eliminated, simply mobilizes the toxins to circulate through the body. This can lead to a sort of healing crisis in which symptoms of adrenal fatigue may become significantly worse, potentially leading to full adrenal crash.
By supporting the adrenal glands and other organs of detoxification with the right elimination pathways and correcting the nutrient balance gradually and carefully, these side effects of the chelation process can be minimized and managed.
Supporting the Body During Detox
The easiest way to support your body during detox is by getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of clean water, and eating high quality, nutritious food. Your diet should consist primarily of foods that are natural, unprocessed or minimally processed, locally grown, seasonal, organic, and unpasteurized. Work toward eliminating sugar and sweeten with honey or maple syrup when needed. Be sure to get plenty of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but be careful of seafood that may contain mercury.
Cilantro and chlorella have both been shown to be especially effective in binding with toxic metals and mobilizing them so they can be removed from the body. Milk thistle and dandelion root are also great herbs to help strengthen the liver and detoxify.
Preventing and Detoxifying Heavy Metals
While the body has several routes of detoxification, heavy metals can only be removed via the liver, kidneys, and bowels. The liver is the primary organ of detoxification and works in several ways. The liver filters large toxin particles from the blood, produces and releases bile (full of cholesterol and fat-soluble toxins), and denatures chemicals through a two phase detoxification process. In Phase I, toxins are either neutralized or they are converted into a form that can be neutralized in Phase II by a variety of enzymes.
Both Phase I and Phase II detox require several different nutrients, but the most important nutrient is glutathione, a major antioxidant. Getting enough glutathione is critical to the detoxification process and a deficiency in the nutrient has been linked to not just heavy metal poisoning, but also to various neurological and autoimmune conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue, cancer, diabetes, HIV, autism, and epilepsy.
The process of detoxification produces a great deal of free radicals, which pose their own problems. The body then neutralizes these free radicals with antioxidant enzymes, primarily GST (glutathione-S-transferase), GPOX (glutathione peroxidase), and SOD (superoxide dismutase). These antioxidants are endogenous, that is, they are produced in the body, and made from glutathione and selenium. In locations with high levels of environmental toxic metals, the average person has lower than normal blood levels of these enzymes.
Producing these antioxidant enzymes begins with getting the right nutrients in the diet, specifically glutathione and selenium. Glutathione is a protein that can be found in several foods, especially asparagus, avocado, walnuts, and raw goat milk. Getting enough selenium can be tricky, as it depends on the quality of the soil in which food is grown. Brazil nuts are one of the best sources of selenium. Other sources of selenium include: fish, shellfish, meat, poultry, eggs, grains, sunflower seeds, grains, mushrooms, and onions.
It’s also possible to produce glutathione in the body, provided the right precursors are present. Compounds that can be used to produce glutathione in the body include folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6. It is however, far easier to simply take glutathiolne supplementation if the body can tolerate.
Glutathione is comprised of three sulphur-based amino acids, specifically glutamate, cysteine, and glycine. Eating foods high in sulphur, such as raw eggs and alliums (onions, garlic, and related vegetables), can also help boost glutathione levels.
Detoxifying Heavy Metals with Nutrition
Chelation therapy calls for the use of chelating agents to bind with heavy metals so they can be more easily removed. One of the best nutritional chelating agents is Alpha Lipoic Acid, more commonly known as ALA. ALA is highly effective at binding with toxic metals, including mercury, cadmium, lead, arsenic, copper, and iron. Once ALA binds with these toxic metals, it neutralizes them so they can then be excreted from the body.
ALA neutralizes free radicals inside and outside the cells and is soluble in both fat and water. ALA can also be used to produce other antioxidants, including glutathione and vitamin C and E. Good sources of ALA include dark leafy greens and animal foods, particularly organ meats.
Preventing Metal Toxicity with Dietary Minerals
Good nutrition, especially adequate mineral intake, can help prevent the accumulation of heavy metals in the body. A diet deficient in calcium, for example, is associated with both increased lead absorption and decreased iron absorption. Other minerals that can protect against toxic metal absorption include magnesium, zinc, and selenium. To put it simply, there is an inverse relationship between toxic metals and essential minerals in the body. Eating a diet high in iron, calcium, zinc, and magnesium can help prevent absorption of toxic metals.
One of the best sources of iron is liver. Other good sources include red meat, fish, beans, figs, eggs, and leafy greens. Vitamin C improves iron absorption, so be sure to eat iron rich foods with foods high in vitamin C such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries, and melons. Cooking in cast iron cookware, especially with acidic foods like tomato sauces, is a great way to get more iron.
Dairy foods like cheese and yogurt are good sources of calcium, as are tahini and seaweeds.
Some of the best sources of zinc include spinach, mushrooms, and calf liver. Other good sources include sea veggies, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, meats like beef and lamb, veggies like asparagus, broccoli, and peas, shrimp, maple syrup, and several herbs, including basil, thyme, and mustard greens.
The best sources of magnesium include legumes, seeds, leafy greens and whole grains. Magnesium can also be obtained through the skin by rubbing with magnesium oil or other topical products.
Lifestyle Changes to Protect against Toxic Metal Accumulation
In addition to ensuring you get enough of the proper nutrients in your diet, there are also certain key lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your chances of heavy metal poisoning, and help keep heavy metals from your environment and body.
Eat regular meals, breakfast, and healthy snacks
Fasting increases absorption of toxic metals. Eating regular, nutritious meals, especially breakfast, can lessen absorption.
While mercury-based thimerosal has been removed from many vaccines, and exists only in trace amounts in others, this does not make them safe. Even trace amounts of mercury are toxic, and where mercury has been removed, it’s been replaced by aluminum, which is also toxic. To make matters worse, by being injected directly into the muscle, the toxic ingredients in vaccines bypass the protective digestive tract. The minute amounts of metals are said to be “safe in small amounts”. However, many chronic health conditions, including allergies, asthma, and autism are on the rise. Rates of these conditions are highest in locations where environmental toxic metals are most concentrated.
Fiber binds with heavy metals and improves bowel function to remove these toxins from the body. Pectin is a type of soluble fiber that is especially effective and can be found in apples, pears, psyllium husk, slippery elm, legumes, and grains.
Skipping meals can increase absorption of heavy metals, but therapeutic fasting utilizing enzyme-rich juice can help the body release and excrete accumulated toxic metals.
Bottled water is a disaster, both for the environment and for your health. A good gravity fed water filter can remove most toxins, including heavy metals.
Heavy metal poisoning is one of the most common health conditions, simply because we seem to be surrounded by toxic metals in just about everything we do, and because they are so difficult to remove once they are in the body. Certain precautions can help, such as avoiding products that may contain toxic metals, and using water and air filters.
Good nutrition is especially vital, both in preventing metal toxicity and removing toxic metals from the body. Avoiding nutrient deficiencies will stop the body from using toxic metals in place of necessary vitamins and minerals. This will also support the body’s efforts to remove toxic metals that have built up.
Gradually removing toxic metals from the body will help ease symptoms of adrenal fatigue by reducing toxic load on the glands and promoting the detoxification pathway in the NEM stress response system. However, caution is advised, as removing toxins too rapidly can overload the systems of elimination, leading to worsening of symptoms and potentially adrenal crash. It is therefore important to find an experienced doctor who will not jump into a detoxification program without evaluating the whole body and the root cause of your symptoms.
Self-navigation is highly discouraged for those with AFS. Improper detoxification is one of the most common causes of recovery failure, relapses, and adrenal crashes. Doing the right thing at the wrong time can weaken the body. Many are so carried away with the benefits that they do not carefully examine the body’s state each step along the way. Those with AFS and those suffering from serious heavy metal poisoning already have significantly weakened systems, and success is not guaranteed. In this case it’s important to consult with a qualified professional.
However, by taking steps towards better nutrition, cleaner air and water, and reducing or eliminating heavy-metal-containing products in the home, you can improve your chances of avoiding and detoxing from heavy metal poisoning.
© Copyright 2016 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.