I’ve never been a fan of heavy metal – neither the music nor the toxic type in the atmosphere that accumulates in your tissues and destroys your cells and causes disease.
So when a patient at my wellness clinic recently asked me if a liver-cleanse or a full detox treatment was better for removing heavy metals, I told him neither.
In fact, I suggested that his time – and money – would be better spent writing poetry, pondering the joys of biking, or setting aside 15 minutes every day for a real exercise program.
They are all probably just as effective as those expensive, fad cleanses out there today.
I’m in favor of filling the body with nutrient-rich foods and pushing physical fitness with short, intense interval-based exercise, like my PACE program, which has helped transform the bodies of at least 65,000 people of all ages.
But I’d never recommend that anyone spend their hard-earned dollars on a fad detox treatment that gets more support from celebrities than science.
Yet my patient did hit upon something very important: The heavy metals that get into our body are a big problem – because we’re being exposed to them on a daily basis.
Consumer products continue to provide the biggest exposure to heavy metals like lead, mercury, aluminum, thallium, arsenic and cadmium.
They are found in antiperspirants, antacids, cigarette smoke, diesel exhaust, old paints, dental fillings, cosmetics, salt, carbonated drinks, the fungicides and pesticides that coat fruits and vegetables, and even fish – to name just a few.
So, in today’s world, contamination by heavy metals is inevitable.
The CDC has identified 199 chemical toxins and heavy metals to which Americans are regularly exposed.1
Over time, these heavy metals bind to tissue in a way that makes it hard for the body to get rid of them.
The nervous, endocrine and immunes systems are particularly vulnerable to these toxins.
They cause problems like headaches, joint pain, mood disorders, infertility, and can lead to much more serious conditions, like diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
The biggest hurdle in treating heavy metal toxicity is determining the problem in the first place. The challenge is that the half-life of these metals in the blood is short.
So unless you are getting acute exposure, they probably will not show up on a blood test. Instead, they accumulate quietly in the body, stressing various tissues.
But, as I tell my patients, there is good news.
I recommend some safe and natural treatments that you can take advantage of from the comfort of your own home.
I’m also currently testing one particular class of minerals that promises to be a very safe and powerful heavy metal detoxifier.
These minerals are called zeolites.
They formed between 50 million and 350 million years ago, when volcanic ash mixed with ocean water and, under the right conditions, zeolite deposits were created
Various industries now use them for the treatment and purification of water – but I’m interested in the ability of zeolites to treat and purify heavy metal toxins.
Recent studies show that one specific type of zeolite – called a clinoptilolite – attracts and captures heavy metals, removing them from the body.
- One study had two groups of 11 healthy men take a zeolite supplement for seven or 30 days. These healthy men all released high levels of heavy metals through their urine, with the peak concentration happening on the fourth day four. 2
- In another study, mice fed this zeolite absorbed less lead through their digestive tract. 3
- A similar animal model noted zeolites acted like antioxidants and prevented amyloid plaque build-up, a common precursor and symptom of Alzheimer’s disease.4
The results so far look extremely promising, but I’m still investigating. You will be the first to know when my research is complete.
In the meantime, I recommend the three supplements for the removal of these dangerous heavy metals.
DMSA (Meso-2, 3-dimercaptosuccinic acid): This compound is highly effective at binding up arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury, and eliminating them from the body. It can even remove mercury that has deposited in the brain.
DMSA has receptor sites to which the toxins bind. The toxins live inside cells and DMSA cannot enter the cells. Instead, glutathione (your body’s natural toxin remover) pushes the metals out of the cell, where they’re picked up by DMSA and excreted.
This is also a good way to test for heavy metals, because it liberates the toxins, which can then be identified in a urine sample.
DMSA should be taken in on-again/off-again cycles – ideally, three days on and 11 days off, because your body needs 11 days to regenerate its glutathione levels.
Activated charcoal: This form of charcoal has been processed into a very fine, black powder. It is odorless, potent and safe to consume. Hospitals around the world use it as an antidote for drugs, poisons and medicinal overdoses. It’s also a good neutralizing protocol for dental amalgams containing mercury.
It works by a process called adsorption. In other words, when it encounters a heavy metal molecule, it sticks to it and then escorts it from your body.
And it only takes a small amount of charcoal to wash out the years of heavy metal build-up.
You can find activated charcoal, which also eases digestion, gas and bloating, in any health-food store and online way to get a proven heavy metal detox. And it’s relatively inexpensive.
Take 20 to 30 grams a day of powdered activated charcoal mixed with water over a period of one to two weeks.
Modified Citrus Pectin: This is a proven detox remedy that comes from the inner peel of citrus fruits. And it’s one of the most potent detoxifying substances I’ve ever found.
A clinical study completed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported study participants more than doubled the amount of arsenic, mercury, cadmium and lead excreted within 24 hours of taking it.5
What’s great about modified citrus pectin is that while it eliminates toxic metals and pesticides, it doesn’t deplete your body of zinc, calcium or magnesium.
But consult your physician before taking modified citrus pectin to make sure it’s the kind used in clinical studies and the proper dosage.
Most pectin is made of large-long-chain carbohydrate molecules, which is too big to digest and will just pass through your body. The citrus pectin used in clinical studies is specially formulated for absorption, so it can easily find and bind to toxins.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
2. James L Flowers, Stewart A Lonky, Erik J Deitsch. Clinical evidence supporting the use of an activated clinoptilolite suspension as an agent to increase urinary excretion of toxic heavy metals. November 2009 Volume 2009:1 Pages 11—18. dx.doi.org/10.2147/NDS.S8043
3. Beltcheva M1, Metcheva R, Popov N, Teodorova SE, Heredia-Rojas JA, Rodríguez-de la Fuente AO, Rodríguez-Flores LE, Topashka-Ancheva M. Modified natural clinoptilolite detoxifies small mammal’s organism loaded with lead I. Lead disposition and kinetic model for lead bioaccumulation. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2012 Jun;147(1-3):180-8. doi: 10.1007/s12011-011-9278-4. Epub 2011 Dec 7.
4. Montinaro M1, Uberti D, Maccarinelli G, Bonini SA, Ferrari-Toninelli G, Memo M. Dietary zeolite supplementation reduces oxidative damage and plaque generation in the brain of an Alzheimer’s disease mouse model. Life Sci. 2013 May 20;92(17-19):903-10. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2013.03.008. Epub 2013 Apr 3.
5. Alternative Therapies, Jul/Aug 2008, Vol. 14m, No. 4