Whether it’s from the environment, industry, or other sources, we are exposed to various heavy metals nearly every day. They’re in everything from the food we eat to the air we breathe, making heavy metal accumulation in our bodies a very real - not to mention concerning - issue.
Now, in small amounts, certain heavy metals, like iron, zinc, and copper, are acceptable. In fact, they’re good for you! But overexposure to these or other, more harmful heavy metals can cause side effects, from headaches and abdominal pain to organ damage and paralysis. And that’s where heavy metal detox supplements come in.
These natural supplements help reduce the amount of heavy metals in your body and the unpleasant symptoms accompanying them, allowing you to feel better and achieve optimal health. This article will explore the benefits of heavy metal detox supplements and help you choose the right one for your needs.
What Are Heavy Metals and How Do They Affect the Body?
Generally speaking, heavy metals are naturally occurring metallic elements found throughout the Earth’s crust. So, in a way, they’ve always been around.
However, since human exposure has increased dramatically throughout the years due to environmental and industrial factors, there has been a growing concern about what these heavy metals do to our bodies. And, as it turns out, rightfully so.
Many health problems are associated with overexposure to heavy metals, also known as heavy metal toxicity or heavy metal poisoning. The exact nature of the symptoms depends on the type of metal(s) involved.
Still, if it happens to be one of the most common culprits, such as lead, mercury, cadmium, or arsenic, an affected person may experience a wide range of side effects.
The more acute symptoms associated with these metals may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Skin problems
And it doesn’t stop there. In severe cases, you may experience side effects such as:
- Chronic infections
- Burning and tingling sensations
- Brain fog
- Visual disturbances
As you can see, you don’t want to play around with heavy metal poisoning. And this is precisely why heavy metal detox supplements are becoming increasingly popular - not to mention necessary.
Types of Heavy Metal Detox Supplements
Various supplements are now on the market to address the issues presented by heavy metal toxicity. The three main types include chelation therapy, herbal supplements, and mineral supplements. Let’s take a closer look at each below.
An effective way to reduce severe heavy metal exposure involves injecting a chemical solution called a chelating agent or chelator into the body. This is often ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), but it may also be dimercaptosuccinic acid or dimercaprol.
Once it enters the body, the chelator works by attaching itself to the metals it encounters as it circulates through the blood. The resulting compounds then make their way to the kidneys, where they are eventually eliminated from the body through urine.
While chelation therapy can effectively rid the body of unwanted heavy metals, it does come with a certain amount of risk. The mild to moderate side effects include a burning sensation near the injection site and fever, headache, nausea, and vomiting, which are relatively manageable in an otherwise healthy person.
However, there is a wide range of more severe side effects, including:
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Low blood pressure
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Brain damage
- Permanent kidney and liver damage
Chelation therapy is typically only recommended in the most severe cases.
Those looking for a safer way to detoxify from heavy metals may want to try herbal supplements. Since they usually involve all-natural ingredients, you won’t need to worry about severe side effects, which is a considerable benefit over chelation therapy.
A few different herbs may help remove heavy metals from the body. Some of the most common ones are:
- Also called coriander or Chinese parsley, this natural chelating agent is a popular addition to many supplements. Some say it takes only two weeks to work!
- A type of green algae, chlorella is another natural chelator that is thought to be especially good at absorbing lead and mercury.
- This blue-green alga is reportedly supposed to protect against arsenic toxicity in particular.
One of the best things about going the herbal supplement route is that they are relatively inexpensive and easy to fit into your lifestyle, especially when compared to something like chelation therapy.
For example, to use this Heavy Metal & Chemical Cleanse supplement featuring cilantro, you simply hold 1 mL in your mouth for 15 seconds and swallow. That’s all it takes to help remove the heavy metals from your system.
Minerals can also play an important role in heavy metal detoxification. One of the reasons that these metals are so toxic is that they interfere with the metabolism, use, and absorption of essential minerals like zinc, calcium, and magnesium. This can lead to a deficiency of these minerals in your body, leading to its share of health issues.
Take zinc, for example. This mineral increases the synthesis of metallothionein (MT), which can help clear heavy metals out of the body. However, heavy metals like cadmium compete with zinc for binding with MT and can displace it. And when toxic metals take the place of essential minerals like this, it can lead to a deficiency.
This may also happen with the other minerals we mentioned. Calcium may be displaced by lead, while aluminum can displace magnesium. If you know which heavy metals may be affecting your body, you can choose a mineral supplement to help keep the toxic metals out of the binding sites. To be on the safe side, you can look for a supplement that contains all three!
How to Choose the Right Heavy Metal Detox Supplement
There are several factors to consider when choosing the right heavy metal detox supplement. Some of the most important include the potential side effects, cost, and ease of use.
Potential Side Effects
You will want to consider the potential side effects of any treatments. As effective as it may be, are you willing to put your body at risk for something like chelation therapy? Some side effects may be more severe than your symptoms, so it’s worth carefully weighing the pros and cons.
This is one of the main reasons people choose to go with herbal and mineral supplements instead - the risks are much lower overall. However, these different herbs and minerals may also have their side effects, so be sure to do your research.
If you’re on a budget, you’ll also want to consider the cost of any detoxification process. Chelation therapy, for example, can get pricey. This method can take 5 - 30 sessions for the best results, so you must ensure you can afford it.
Herbal and mineral supplements, on the other hand, can be more budget-friendly. But again, you’ll need to do your due diligence to find the best prices.
Ease of Use
Finally, you’ll want to think about which option is easiest to fit into your lifestyle. If you don’t see yourself attending multiple chelation therapy sessions or simply don’t have the time, then an herbal and/or mineral supplement may be more appropriate. These will typically just take a minute or so out of your day!
Which Heavy Metal Detox Supplement Is Right For You?
Now that you know more about your options, which is right for you? Are your symptoms severe enough to warrant something like chelation therapy? Or would an herbal or mineral supplement be enough to remove the accumulation of heavy metals in your body?
Fortunately, no matter which option you choose, you can feel good about choosing to engage in a detoxification process. It may just be the healthiest decision you’ll make this year!