Preventing and Eliminating Heavy Metal Toxins
In today’s modern world, exposure to heavy metal toxins is unavoidable and happens on a daily basis. Everything from our food supply, water, air we breath and products we use contain toxins that eventually impact the functioning of our bodies and our susceptibility to disease. Awareness is always the first step. Once we know how to limit the amount of toxins we ingest as well as how to eliminate those that do enter our bodies, we’re on our way to a cleaner bill of health.
Heavy metals that get into our bodies quite easily and are harmful in large amounts include mercury, lead, aluminum, cadmium and arsenic. Here’s a list of some common places where we are exposed to these metals in our daily lives. 
-aquatic food chains
-vaccines and some medicines
-packaged foods that contain high fructose corn syrup
-lead based paint
-building construction (pipes, drains, etc.)
-lead containing products (batteries, rubber, glass, etc.)
-aluminum foil, soda cans
-flour, baking powder and other refined foods
-all foods (shellfish, liver and kidney meats are especially high)
-contaminated air and occupational hazards
-occupational hazards or in air near waste sites
Symptoms of over exposure depend on which of the metals or combination of metals you’ve been exposed to over the long-term. However, its important to know that chronic heavy metal toxicity has been linked to autism, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression/anxiety, MS, muscle and joint pain, brain fog, candida, food allergies, migraines/headaches, nervous system malfunctions, gastrointestinal problems, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney/liver problems, depressed thyroid, neurodevelopmental disorders, insomnia, anemia and many more. 
To avoid these heavy metal toxins is self-explanatory. Simply try to limit exposure to the sources listed above as well as take precautionary measures to investigate your water supply, household products, food ingredients, medications/vaccines, home construction materials and location of nearby industrial/waste product facilities. For those with mercury amalgams, these fillings can now be replaced with a non-toxic material. Make sure you find a recommended dentist who can do this safely. Also, make sure that you consume as much organic foods as possible, paying careful attention to the amount and source of seafood you consume. A diet rich in antioxidants is also important for combatting heavy metal toxicity.
Regardless of how much effort you put into avoiding heavy metals, it’s simply not possible to avoid them completely given the amount of pollution we are exposed to from all directions. The following remedies can be taken on a regular basis either as a precaution or to remove heavy metals you already know or believe to be present. Either way, they won’t harm you. Instead they will provide nutritional benefits beyond heavy metal detoxification that will benefit your complete health and wellbeing.
The herb cilantro, a staple in Mexican cooking, is an excellent and natural way of pulling heavy metals out of the body. To get the best results, one should try to consume 400mg or several tablespoons of cilantro each day. One way to do this is to make a pesto sauce. You can also take supplements or add cilantro to a coffee enema. To be effective, it’s very important to be eliminating properly, so an ideal time to use cilantro for eliminating heavy metals might be during a colon cleanse.
A powerful fresh water micro algae, chlorella contains proteins and peptides that bind to toxic heavy metals and carry them out of the system through the bowels. Due to its chlorophyll content, chlorella is also great for overall detoxification as it cleans the blood and digestive system and is also helpful for fungal infections. Even though spirulina has many of the same nutritional properties, the lack of cell wall/membrane does not make it as effective for heavy metal detoxification. Consume 20-30g of chlorella daily for removing heavy metals.
A food grade activated charcoal supplement is also great for detoxifying heavy metals. Traditionally used to treat poisonings, activated charcoal is made by heating charcoal in the presence of a gas that causes it to develop pores. These pores are then able to trap chemicals and eliminate them through the bowels, since the activated charcoal does not get absorbed into the body. Make sure you take it a few hours apart from food or nutritional supplements as it can also remove these if they have not yet been absorbed. This is more likely to happen with synthetic supplements than food sources themselves.
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 Mercola, J. (2003, December 27). Five common toxic metals to avoid, and where you’ll find them. Retrieved from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/12/27/toxic-metals-part-one.aspx
 Adams, M. (2009, November 9). Cilantro helps detox heavy metals. Retrieved from http://www.naturalnews.com/027434_cilantro_natural_detox.html  Mercola, J. (2011, July 1). Ignored since the 1950s - now a ‘miracle’ high-protein super food? Retrieved from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/07/01/spirulina-the-amazing-super-food-youve-never-heard-of.aspx
 Walling, E. (2009, December 15). Spirulina and chlorella aid heavy metal detox. Retrieved from http://www.naturalnews.com/027740_spirulina_chlorella.html
 Fassa, P. (2011, December 21). An excellent, inexpensive multi-purpose detox agent you probably don’t know about. Retrieved from http://naturalsociety.com/food-grade-activated-charcoal-detox-agent/
Kara wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Food & Nutrition.