Lead Heavy Metal Poisoning and Adrenal Fatigue – Part 3

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM

Read Part 1 | Part 2

Removing Lead from the Body

Heavy metal poisoning remedies that do not cause side effects.Chelation is the process of removing lead and other toxic metals from the body. The word comes from the Greek word meaning ‘claw’ because it was thought that chelating substances literally took hold of toxic metals and transported them from the body through the digestive tract. The Greeks were onto something, because there are a number of substances that effectively bind with toxic metals, making them easier to excrete. In cases of severe or acute heavy metal poisoning, chemical chelating agents such as DMSA are administered in the hospital, either intravenously or orally. Chemical chelation doesn’t only remove toxic metals from the body, it removes essential minerals, such as iron, as well. IV chelation can also cause a variety of unpleasant side effects. This type of chelation involves hospitalization, as the patient must be monitored to ensure the kidneys and liver are not being overloaded and make sure white blood cell counts are staying within the normal range. Generally, medical chelation for heavy metal poisoning is only used if lab testing shows blood levels of one or more heavy metals to be over a specified concentration, and this must be done under medical supervision.

Fortunately, there are foods that are highly effective chelators that do not cause the side effects associated with medical chelation. Nutritional chelation works more gently, removing toxic metals more gradually than chelation with pharmaceuticals. That doesn’t mean they are any less powerful, however. In fact, some of these dietary measures have been shown to outperform chemical chelation.

Incorporating these foods into the diet does not require blood testing, prescriptions, or medical supervision. In fact, changing the diet to include chelating foods can be an effective preventive measure, particularly for those who are exposed to higher than normal levels of heavy metals, helping to remove toxic metals before they get the opportunity to accumulate. This can also be a helpful measure for those who are experiencing some of the earlier symptoms of heavy metal poisoning. Try working some of these into your daily routine for a few weeks and see if you notice a difference.

Cilantro and Chlorella

Cilantro is the pungent tasting, lacy, dark green leaf of the coriander plant. Chlorella is a single-celled freshwater algae. Together, they are one of the most powerful chelators available. The key is using them together, as cilantro is so effective that it pulls heavy metals from the tissues more rapidly than the body can excrete them, so they may be reabsorbed. Adding chlorella to cilantro can help ensure heavy metals are actually removed from the body rather than reabsorbed into the tissue. Research has shown that this combination begins removing heavy metals within two weeks, and can remove as much as 80% of accumulated heavy metals within six weeks. Both of these foods have also been shown to be excellent immune boosters with a host of other health benefits.

Amino acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are found in many foods, most notably in eggs, fish, and other animal products. Amino acids also help to support the liver and balance enzymes.

Activated charcoal

Heavy metal poisoning can be removed by charcoalNot really a food, but easy to obtain and use. Food grade activated charcoal is not the same as what you would use on the grill. Charcoal briquettes contain toxic chemicals, while food grade charcoal is made with pure, organic substances and is a known detoxifier. Activated charcoal is a fine powder that can be taken in capsule form, sprinkled over food, or stirred into a beverage.


Alliums, a family of vegetables that include onions, garlic, shallots, and leeks, along with cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are some of the best dietary sources of sulfur.

There are a few things you should remember as you incorporate these into your diet. First, these foods may remove essential minerals along with toxic metals, leading to deficiency. Second, when the body is deficient in essential minerals, it may use toxic metals to fill the gap. For these reasons, it is vital to ensure you are getting enough iron, copper, and other essential trace minerals in your diet. Finally, chelation only removes metals from the body, but it cannot undo the damage that has already been done.

Final Words About Heavy Metal Poisoning

If this all seems overwhelming, lifestyle coaching can help you determine your greatest risk factors for lead exposure, and nutritional coaching can help you determine the best approach for removing toxic metals without making adrenal fatigue or other health issues worse or causing nutritional deficiencies. Removing lead from the body is a good concept, but those with advanced adrenal fatigue should proceed with great care to avoid retoxifcation reactions which can trigger adrenal crashes and retard adrenal recovery.

While lead can be stealthily present in food, water, and homes, it is possible to reduce lead exposure and remove lead from the body.

Read Part 1 | Part 2

© Copyright 2017 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Heavy metal poisoning