We’re exposed to thousands of toxic substances every day. There are pollutants in the air you breathe, pesticides in most foods that aren’t organic and countless other toxins. Among the worst are heavy metals. They’re in the ground we walk on, in the air we breathe, in the water we drink, and in the products, we use every day. But high levels of most heavy metals can make you sick.
Heavy metals are introduced into the environment generally as by-products of industrial pollution accumulating in the soil and eventually accumulate in the foods (especially organ meats) that we eat. Some examples of heavy metals include lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic. Not all heavy metals are particularly toxic, and some are essential, such as iron, copper and zinc.
Understanding the risk these heavy metals pose in our food supply is complicated by the fact that no single food source accounts for most people’s exposure to metals in foods. People’s exposure to these metals comes from many different foods containing low levels of these metals. Combining all the foods we eat; these low levels can sometimes add up to a level of concern. Symptoms come on slowly and can include: weakness and tiredness, achy joints and muscles, headaches and constipation plus a myriad of other symptoms.
Lead is found in refined chocolate, pesticides, lead water pipes in older buildings. City water sources are now being implicated as sources of toxic heavy metals, so it’s recommended to use a water filtration system.
When exposed to lead, animals and humans often store the toxin within bone minerals. In 2013 scientists measured the levels of lead in broth made from the bones of organic chickens. The broth was found to have “markedly high lead concentrations” compared to water cooked in the same cookware. So be aware of bone broth.
Cadmium is found in fungicides, refined wheat flour (white flour), some skin cream, soft drinks from vending machines with cadmium in the pipes, aquatic animals, and in smaller quantities in grains, legumes, cereals and leafy vegetables.
Mercury is found in dental fillings, primarily released as a vapor gaining access to the brain and blood, many vaccines, high-mercury species of fish such as shark and swordfish, but also tuna, sea bass, halibut, and marlin, as well as many farmed varieties.
Arsenic can be found in insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides, some aquatic animals and seaweeds, rice and fruit juices. Rice efficiently absorbs arsenic from irrigation water, soil, and even cooking water.
An essential strategy to reduce these heavy metals is to consume adequate quantities of minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, selenium, zinc, and folate; antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and beta-carotene and foods like garlic and cilantro, which help with the excretion of heavy metals. For example, if your body is running low on either zinc or iron, your capacity to absorb cadmium may increase. Calcium, iron, and zinc can block out lead, and selenium can serve to prevent the absorption of both mercury and lead. Additionally, selenium helps us excrete toxic metals mercury and arsenic.
Besides this array of supplementation, I also use a green powder called Organic Greens Booster which is a whole food supplement that provides the equivalent of one cup of raw, organic, nutrient-rich green vegetables in every scoop. I love that it is totally safe and I don’t have to worry about any heavy metal contamination and that it helps protect me.
Cleansing is also important and I recommend that as well.