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HEAVY METALS

"Heavy metals" are chemical elements with a specific gravity at least five times that of water. The specific gravity of water is 1 at 4°C (39°F). Specific gravity is a measure of density of a given amount of a solid substance when it is compared to an equal amount of water. Some well-known toxic metals with a specific gravity 5 or more times that of water are arsenic (5.7), cadmium (8.65), iron (7.9), lead (11.34) and mercury (13.546).

Industrial use of heavy metals elements has caused spillage and leakages into the environment that have contaminated food and water resources and is cause for concern as they are toxic to animals and humans and can lead to many serious conditions when levels increase in the human body. They often go undetected for a long period of time and this can cause even more harm to organs like the brain, eyes, heart, kidneys, liver, lungs and the glandular, immune and nervous systems and lead to degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease..

Heavy metals can replace the minerals and trace elements that are required in the body causing even further problems in a world when minerals in foods are being reduced by intense farming techniques and removed by the heavy refining and processing of food. Minerals are so essential to so many bodily processes that any imbalance or reduction is worrying. Minerals are required as cofactors for thousands of other nutrients and are used in all bodily processes including those involving the brain.

There is concern that the synthesising of some vitamins can leave traces of heavy metals which are detectable in the final product. Over the last decade a number of supplements, from individual vitamins to whey proteins, have been tested and traces of a number of heavy metals have been detected. As mandatory product testing is not enforced it is impossible to determine which vitamins may contain these heavy metals, and which do not. It is for this reason that many people do not recommend synthetic forms of vitamins, as heavy metals are linked to brain and eye degeneration, liver toxicity and genetic mutations and could lead to the development of Alzheimer's disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease. It is always best to consume natural foods rich in the vitamins and minerals required rather than synthetic versions.

There are many types of foods that should be consumed regularly to protect against and treat heavy metal contamination. Mercury exposure at high levels can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune system of people of all ages. Deep sea ocean fish have been found to be contaminated with mercury. Farmed fish, such as salmon, is usually far less contaminated than wild deep sea fish. Oily fish is nutritionally important in the diet and should not be avoided due to mercury contamination. Rather, add foods that can protect against this and detoxify the body.

For foetuses, infants and children, the primary health effect of mercury is impaired neurological development. Mercury exposure in the womb, which can result from a mother's consumption of fish and shellfish that contain it, can adversely affect a baby's growing brain and nervous system and have impacts on cognitive thinking, memory, attention, language and fine motor and visual spatial skills. Pollution can add to the toxic build-up of metals in the human body but this can be treated very easily through a cleansing diet. In the worst cases, those contaminated by heavy metals may suffer from changes in heart rhythm, liver and kidney damage, high blood pressure, paralysis, bronchitis, damage to blood vessels, dementia and even death. In pregnant women, overexposure to these harmful elements may even trigger miscarriage.

Fish most likely to be contaminated by mercury

  • Ahi and bigeye tuna

  • Halibut

  • King mackerel

  • Marlin

  • Orange roughy

  • Sea bass

  • Sea bream

  • Shark

  • Swordfish

  • Tilefish

  • Turbot

 

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Consuming certain foods when eating these fish can help to stop mercury being absorbed into the bloodstream and chelate any that is there already. See foods and nutrients capable of removing heavy metals from the body below.

High levels of arsenic has been found in some common foods such as apple juice, dairy products, rice and wine that has raised some serious concerns.

Heavy metals get stored in the bones. There are 35 metals of concern because of occupational or residential exposure; 23 of these are the heavy elements or "heavy metals": antimony, arsenic, bismuth, cadmium, cerium, chromium, cobalt, copper, gallium, gold, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, platinum, silver, tellurium, thallium, tin, uranium, vanadium, and zinc. Small amounts of these elements are common in the environment and diet and are actually necessary for good health, but large amounts of any of them may cause acute or chronic toxicity (poisoning).

Heavy metal toxicity can result in damaged or reduced mental and central nervous function, lower energy levels, and damage to blood composition, lungs, kidneys, liver, and other vital organs. Long-term exposure may result in slowly progressing physical, muscular and neurological degenerative processes that mimic Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, muscular dystrophy, and multiple sclerosis. Allergies are not uncommon, and repeated long-term contact with some metals (or their compounds) may cause cancer.

Metal oestrogens

Dietary cadmium exposure and smoking tobacco, which also contains cadmium, increases the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer and is just one of a broad range of metals humans are now being increasingly exposed to and represents an emerging class of metal oestrogens with the potential to add to the oestrogenic burden of the human breast. The following metals are capable of binding to cellular oestrogen receptors and then mimic the actions of physiological oestrogens:

  • Aluminium

  • Antimony

  • Arsenite

  • Barium

  • Cadmium

  • Chromium

  • Cobalt

  • Copper

  • Lead

  • Mercury

  • Nickel

  • Selenite

  • Tin

  • Vanadate

Toxic forms of selenium are used in organic infant formula and exposure to sodium selenite and sodium selenate is difficult to avoid, as it is the primary source of supplemental selenium in mass market vitamins, foods and beverages etc. The same is true for inorganic forms of chromium, copper, nickel, tin and and vanadium, that are found in many mass market multivitamins and supplements.

Fluoridation of water leads to increased levels of lead in children and may lead to autism.

Cadmium becomes concentrated in the eyes and can lead to vision problems which is why smoking should be avoided especially by those with any eye issues..

Natural chelation of heavy metals

 

Chelate comes from the Greek work meaning 'claw' and is used to described elements that can 'grab' or bind to heavy metals. When heavy metal exposure is suspected it is wise to undergo a twelve day chelation process by consuming a portion daily of one or two of the following foods that are the best natural chelators:

Foods to consume to eliminate mercury

Food grade activated charcoal can also remove arsenic and other heavy metals. It is recommended that 10 grams is consumed twice a day for twelve days half an hour before eating a meal when exposure is suspected.

 

It is wise to consume foods containing essential minerals during this process as they can also be removed during chelating. A litre of bottled-at-source mineral water should be consumed each day during the twelve day chelating process and use unrefined sea salt or Himalayan crystals instead of table salt. Saunas encourage the excretion of toxic metals in sweat.

A-Z of natural foods that can counteract the effects of heavy metals

  • Ashwagandha can reduce the damage caused by lead toxicity.

  • Chlorella can help to restore bone density and cytokine production resulting from lead exposure.

  • Gotu kola can reduce the damage caused by lead toxicity.

  • Green tea can reduce the adverse effects of lead and effectively prevent infertility which can be the result of lead poisoning.

Nutrients that can heal the effects, provide the lost minerals and help to chelate heavy metals

Ethanolic extract

Ethanolic extract from bulbs of the marsh marica (Cipura paludosa) can reduce long-lasting learning and memory deficits induced by prenatal methylmercury exposure in mice but it has not been tried on humans as yet.

Magnesium

Magnesium can be lost during the chelating process so extra magnesium-rich foods should be consumed.

Highest sources of magnesium in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Rice bran 781 mg

  • Basil, coriander, dill and sage 694 mg

  • Hemp seeds 640 mg

  • Pumpkin and squash seeds 535 mg

  • Raw cocoa 499 mg

  • Flaxseeds 392 mg

  • Brazil nuts 376 mg

  • Sesame seeds 353 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 346 mg

  • Chia seeds 335 mg

  • Chlorella 315 mg

  • Wheat germ 313 mg

  • Cashew nuts 292 mg

  • Almonds 268 mg

  • Caraway seeds 258 mg

  • Black strap molasses and dulse 242 mg

  • Buckwheat 231 mg

  • Spirulina 189 mg

  • Oats 177 mg

  • Durum wheat 144 mg

  • Macadamia nuts 130 mg

  • Adzuki beans 127 mg

  • Kelp 121 mg

  • Millet 114 mg

  • Kale 88 mg

  • Anchovies 69 mg

  • Amaranth 65 mg

  • Globe artichoke 60 mg

  • Okra and nettles 57 mg

  • Chestnuts 54 mg

  • Rocket 47 mg

  • Dates 43 mg

  • Plantain 37 mg

  • Lentils 36 mg

  • Butternut squash 34 mg

  • Coconut 32 mg

  • Potatoes with skin 30 mg

  • Passion fruit 29 mg

  • Savoy cabbage, halibut 28 mg

  • Bananas, rabbit 27 mg

  • Bread fruit, green beans 25 mg

  • Peas 24 mg

  • Raspberries 22 mg

  • Guava 22 mg

  • Blackberries 20 mg

  • Courgettes 18 mg

  • Kiwi fruit, fennel, figs 17 mg

  • Endive 15 mg

  • Cucumber, lettuce 13 mg

Malic acid

Malic acid is an acid found naturally in foods, especially unripe fruits. It was first isolated from fruit juice, and one of the best sources of this naturally-occurring acid is apples. It is malic acid that gives green apples their tart taste. Malic acid is also found in a number of other fruits and vegetables and has the ability to bind to heavy metals and remove them from the body and can therefore be helpful in the treatment and prevention of Parkinson's disease.

Natural sources of malic acid

  • Apples (green)

  • Apricots

  • Berries

  • Corn silk

  • Grapes (green)

  • Pineapple

 

Pectin

 

Pectin found in citrus fruit skins can encourage the urinary excretion of arsenic and lead. Grating the zest of half a lemon into meals everyday can help to do this.

 

Glutathione

Glutathione s an amino acid, formed from cysteine, glutamic acid and glycine, that is found in every cell of all human tissues.

Glutathione is a superb chelator of mercury meaning it can clear the body of the heavy metal and prevent associated diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis. Heating or pasteurisation destroys the delicate disulphide bonds that give these proteins their bioactivity.

Natural sources of the precursors needed for the body to make glutathione.

Alpha lipoic acid also increases the levels of intra-cellular glutathione.

Highest food sources of alpha-lipoic acid in alphabetical order

  • Brewers yeast

  • Broccoli

  • Brussel sprouts

  • Flaxseeds

  • Organ meats

  • Peas

  • Rice bran

  • Spinach

  • Swiss chard

  • Tomatoes

  • Watercress

Potassium

Potassium can be lost during the chelating process so extra magnesium-rich foods should be consumed.

Highest sources of potassium in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Dried basil, chervil, coriander, dill, parsley 4240 mg

  • Sun dried tomatoes 3427 mg

  • Turmeric 2,525 mg

  • Raw cocoa 2509 mg

  • Whey powder 2289 mg

  • Paprika and chilli powder 2280 mg

  • Yeast extract 2100 mg

  • Soya beans 1,797 mg

  • Cumin 1,788 mg

  • Fennel seeds 1,694 mg

  • Rice bran 1,485 mg

  • Black strap molasses 1464 mg

  • Kidney beans 1,406

  • Dried soya beans 1364 mg

  • Spirulina 1,363 mg

  • Coriander seeds 1,267 mg

  • Apricots dried 1,162 mg

  • Rabbit stewed 1026 mg

  • Pistachio nuts 1007 mg

  • Squash and pumpkin seeds 919 mg

  • Chick peas 875 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 850 mg

  • Raisins 749 mg

  • Prunes 732 mg

  • Almonds 705 mg

  • Dates 696 mg

  • Whelks 694 mg

  • Dried figs 680 mg

  • Cashew nuts 660 mg

  • Peanut butter 649 mg

  • Clams 628 mg

  • Watermelon seeds 648 mg

  • Pine nuts 597 mg

  • Chestnuts 592 mg

  • Spinach raw 558 mg

  • Anchovies 544 mg

  • Baked potatoes 535 mg

  • Coriander leaves 521 mg

  • Mackerel 520 mg

  • Breadfruit 490 mg

  • Avocados 485 mg

  • Sweet potato baked 475 mg

  • Sesame seeds 468 mg

  • Spinach boiled 466 mg

  • Walnuts 441mg

  • Soya sauce 435 mg

  • Black beans 431 mg

  • Cinnamon 431 mg

  • Pork 423 mg

  • Potatoes 421 mg

  • Guava 417 mg

  • Fennel 414 mg

  • Bulgur wheat 410 mg

  • Garlic 401 mg

  • Brussel sprouts (juiced raw) 389 mg

  • Lentils cooked 369 mg

  • Salmon 363 mg

  • Bananas 358 mg

  • Coconut 356 mg

  • Nutmeg 350 mg

  • Passion fruit 348 mg

  • Green chilli peppers 340 mg

  • Sweet potatoes 337 mg

  • Venison 335 mg

  • Watercress 330 mg

  • Carrots 320 mg

  • Bass 328 mg

  • Red chilli peppers 322 mg

  • Black currants 322 mg

  • Mushrooms 318 mg

  • Brussel sprouts boiled 317 mg

  • Kiwi fruit 316 mg

  • Lamb 310 mg

  • Beef lean 318 mg

  • Cannellini beans 307 mg

  • Sweet corn 287 mg

  • Bread bread 285 mg

  • Butternut squash baked 284 mg

  • Soda bread 266 mg

  • Coconut milk 263 mg

  • Apricots 259 mg

  • Coconut water 250 mg

  • Peas 240 mg

  • Sweet potato boiled 230 mg

  • Chicken 223 mg

  • Goat's milk 204 mg

  • Orange juice 200 mg

  • Grapes 191 mg

  • Peaches 190 mg

  • Oranges 181 mg

  • Clementine's 177 mg

  • Bell pepper green raw 175 mg

  • Cabbage 170 mg

  • Bell peppers green (boiled) 166 mg

  • Blackberries 162 mg

  • Plums 157 mg

  • Raspberries 151 mg

  • Milk semi-skimmed 150 mg

  • Onions 146 mg

  • Cauliflower boiled 142 mg

  • Yoghurt 141 mg

  • Lemon 138 mg

  • Grapefruit 135 mg

  • Butternut squash boiled 133 mg

  • Milk (whole) 132 mg

  • Sour dough bread 128 mg

  • Eggs 126 mg

  • White bread 115 mg

  • Balsamic vinegar 112 mg

  • Apples 107 mg

  • Cottage cheese 104 mg

  • Blueberries 77 mg

  • Apple cider vinegar mg

  • Oats 61 mg

  • Cous cous 58 mg

  • Honey 52 mg

  • Brown rice 43 mg

  • Butter 24 mg

  • Pasta 24 mg

  • White rice 20 mg

  • Tofu 20 mg

  • Sugar 2 mg

  • Olive oil 1 mg

  • Sesame oil 0 mg

NOTE: Potassium-rich foods should be restricted during acute renal (kidney) failure and Addison’s disease.

Selenium

This important mineral can be lost during the chelating process. Selenium also has a role in detoxifying poisonous phenols, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, hydrocarbons and chlorine. Many people with allergic reactions to these substances have found relief through the use of selenium. However, selenium can be toxic in large amounts therefore supplements are not advised..

Highest sources of selenium in micrograms per 100 grams

  • Brazil nuts 1917 µg

  • Oysters 154 µg

  • Lamb's liver 116 µg

  • Tuna 108 µg

  • Whelks and octopus 89.6 µg

  • Wheat germ 79.2 µg

  • Sunflower seeds 79 µg

  • Amaranth 70.7 µg

  • Caviar (fish roe) 65.5 µg

  • Anchovies 68.1 µg

  • Egg yolk 56 µg

  • Chia seeds 55.2 µg

  • Kippers 52.6 µg

  • Pork 51.6 µg

  • Halibut 46.8 µg

  • Oat bran 45.2 µg

  • Lean beef 44.8 µg

  • Crab 44.4 µg

  • Salmon 41.4 µg

  • Rabbit (wild) 38.5 µg

  • Chicken and turkey 37.8 µg

  • Turbot 36.5 µg

  • Sesame seeds 34.4 µg

  • Kamut 30 µg

  • Couscous 27.5 µg

  • Mushrooms (Crimini) 26 µg

  • Cashew nuts 19.9 µg

  • Calf's liver 19.3 µg

  • Rabbit 15.2 µg

  • Rye (whole grain) 13.9 µg

  • Venison 10.3 µg

  • Spirulina 7.2 µg

  • Asparagus 6.1 µg

  • Spinach 5.5 µg

NOTE: One µg is one microgram.

Sulphur

Sulphur-containing foods are very efficient at removing heavy metals from the body.

Highest sources of sulphur in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Scallops 520 mg

  • Lobster 510 mg

  • Crab 470 mg

  • Prawns 370 mg

  • Mussels 350 mg

  • Haddock 290 mg

  • Brazil nuts 290 mg

  • Peanuts 260 mg

  • Cod 250 mg

  • Oysters 250 mg

  • Chicken livers 250 mg

  • Cheese (parmesan) 250 mg

  • Caviar (fish roe) 240 mg

  • Peaches (dried) 240 mg

  • Cheese (cheddar or stilton) 230 mg

  • Salmon 220 mg

  • Beef 220 mg

  • Eggs 200 mg

  • Apricots (dried) 160 mg

  • Almonds 150 mg

  • Rabbit 130 mg

  • Walnuts 100 mg

  • Peppercorns 100 mg

  • Cabbage 90 mg

  • Spinach 90 mg

  • Brussel sprouts 80 mg

  • Chickpeas 80 mg

  • Figs (dried) 80 mg

  • Coconut 80 mg

  • Hazel nuts 80 mg

  • Mung beans 60 mg

  • Dates 50 mg

  • Split peas 50 mg

  • Onions 50 mg

  • Leeks 50 mg

  • Radishes 40 mg

NOTE: Those suffering with bowel disorders such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis should avoid sulphur-rich foods and some people develop an intolerance to the thiols in some sulphur-contain foods. See Food Allergies

Zeolite

Zeolite can remove common heavy metals like aluminium, arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury from the body. It is a negatively charged, crystalline structure formed from the fusion of volcanic lava and ocean water. The molecules in zeolite contain a magnetic energy that attracts and holds several types of toxins at a molecular level which, taken orally, pull metals out of body tissues and into the zeolite itself. It is then passed safely through the urinary tract, without depleting the body of essential electrolytes. It may be useful in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. See Zeolite

Zinc

Zinc is an important mineral that can be displaced during the chelating process and especially if an individual drinks alcohol or takes medications.

Highest sources of zinc in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Oysters 78.6 mg

  • Chlorella 71 mg

  • Wheat germ 16.7 mg

  • Beef 12.3 mg

  • Calf's liver 11.9 mg

  • Hemp seeds 11.5 mg

  • Pumpkin and squash seeds 10.3 mg

  • Sesame and watermelon seeds 10.2 mg

  • Bamboo shoots, endives and gourds 9 mg

  • Chervil (herb) 8.8 mg

  • Lamb 8.7 mg

  • Venison 8.6 mg

  • Alfalfa seeds (sprouted), amaranth leaves, Crimini mushrooms, Irish moss and tea 8 mg

  • Crab 7.6 mg

  • Lobster 7.3 mg

  • Agave, basil, broccoli, buffalo, elk, emu, oats, ostrich, spinach and turkey 7 mg

  • Cocoa powder 6.8 mg

  • Cashew nuts 5.8 mg

  • Asparagus, chicken livers, laver seaweed, mushrooms, parsley and rice bran 5.7 mg

  • Cashew nuts 5.6 mg

  • Pork 5.1 mg

  • Jute (herb), lemon grass, mung beans, Portobello mushrooms, radishes and shiitake mushrooms 5 mg

  • Agar seaweed, butterbur, cauliflower, chicory, Chinese cabbage, chives, coriander, green beans, lentils, lettuce, okra, rocket, spring onions, summer squash, Swiss chard, tomatoes and wasabi (yellow) 3.4 mg

  • Peanuts 3.3 mg

  • Cheddar cheese 3.1 mg

  • Mozzarella cheese 2.9 mg

  • Anchovies and rabbit 2.4 mg

  • Cabbage, cucumber, jalapeno peppers, , kidney beans, navy beans, spirulina and turnip greens 2 mg

  • Mussels 1.6 mg

  • Arrowroot, artichokes (globe), beetroot, bell peppers, black eyed peas, borage, broad beans, Brussel sprouts, butter beans, cabbage, carrots, celery, chilli peppers, courgettes, dandelion greens, garlic, horseradish, kale, kelp, mustard greens, peas, pinto beans, potatoes, pumpkin, turnips, Swede, sweet potato, tomatoes (red),  wakame (seaweed), watercress and winged beans 1.2 mg

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 "Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC

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