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Lighten Your Load

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Lighten Your Load

Heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and aluminum are natural components of the earth’s crust; sometimes called trace metals, these metals were in our environment in only tiny amounts until the last century, when industrial uses became common.

Heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and aluminum are natural components of the earth’s crust; sometimes called trace metals, these metals were in our environment in only tiny amounts until the last century, when industrial uses became common. Now they leach into the air, our drinking water and into our soil. Every day they enter our bodies and affect our health. Heavy metal poisoning occurs over time as toxicity builds up in the system. In the beginning, symptoms are often vague, including headaches, fatigue, upset stomach, skin problems, irritability, constipation, muscle and joint pain. Over time, heavy metal toxicity affects many vital functions in the body, including neurotransmissions and liver function. Herbal Metal Cleanses It is best to avoid heavy metals, however in our toxic society that is not always possible. If you have been exposed to any of the above, it is imperative that you work to remove them. An effective natural method for removing heavy metals are herbal heavy metal cleanses. These cleanses remove heavy metals through a process known as chelation, from the Greek word “to claw” which means “to grab hold of.” When heavy metals are chelated, they are grabbed from tissues and organs and removed from the body. Many herbs are able to chelate heavy metals. In 1996 the Heart Disease Research Foundation of New York reported in the Acupuncture & Electro-Therapeutics Research International Journal that cilantro was effective in removing mercury from the lungs, kidneys, endocrine organs, liver, and heart in those who had mercury exposure from dental amalgam removal. Other natural chelators include freshwater algae spirulina which has been used to remove the heavy metals cadmium and lead from waste water; increasing evidence shows that spirulina may, too, be effective in removing heavy metals from the body. Chelation and Nutrient Levels The binding nature of chelation results in some vitamins and minerals being removed from the body during a cleanse. Therefore, it is important to use a cleanse that includes a vitamin and mineral supplement to replace those lost during the chelation process. For more information on heavy metal toxicity or to purchase a heavy metal cleanse, visit your local health food store. How are We Exposed? Heavy metals can enter the body through inhalation, ingestion or skin absorption. Listed below are the most common toxic metals and where they are found:

  • Aluminum: aluminum foil, aluminum cookware, antiperspirants, food additives such as sodium aluminum, phosphate, aluminum sulfate and alumino silicate; antacids; buffered aspirin; and canned acidic foods.
  • Arsenic: weed killers, wood preservatives, contaminated seafood, and contaminated well water.
  • Cadmium: cigarette smoke, soft water, shellfish, some inks and metal coatings.
  • Lead: paints from before 1971, water from leaded pipes, candy wrappers, and some ceramic glazes.
  • Mercury: contaminated fish, some fabric conditioners, and dental fillings.
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