"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.
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.
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,
kidneys, liver, and other vital organs. Long-term exposure
may result in slowly progressing physical, muscular and neurological
degenerative processes that mimic
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
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:
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:
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
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 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 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.
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.
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
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 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 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
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