Q: What is a “heavy metal detox”? and should I do one?
A: Heavy metals, like aluminum, lead, and mercury, found in skin creams, shampoos, perfumes and other cosmetics and toiletries get into our bodies through our skin and are not easlity flushed out. They “bio-accumulate” — a process where contaminants gradually collect and increase in concentration in our tissues, creating a “body burden.”
Environmental groups like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Teens for Safe Cosmetics, and the Women’s Environmental Network (WEN) are asking personal care and cosmetics companies to reformulate their products so they don’t contain heavy metals. Until they do, most of us are walking around with significant amounts in our bodies. Some nutritionists and naturopaths suggest doing a heavy metal detox which helps to eliminate metals from the tissues in our bodies. Chelating agents are used to create a chemical bond with metals to make them less active and combine with the bloodstream. The heavy metals are then excreted through your kidneys and liver.
There are a variety of ways to detox. These include nutritional supplements like:
- Milk thistle: Also known as silymarin, it helps your liver detoxify and in the process, eliminate heavy metals.
- Chlorella: Green algae contains cholorella.
- Methionine: It supplies sulfur in the body. It helps in heavy metal detox by increasing the production cysteine and lecithin.
- N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC): It increases cysteine and glutathaione production. Fresh garlic is a good source of NAC.
- Cilantro: It is helpful in removing heavy metals, including mercury, from your body.
- Zeolite supplements
- Work with a naturopathic doctor to determine your level of heavy metal toxicity and the best ways to detox.
- Use a far infra-red sauna to sweat out the toxins safely. (There are portable models available.)
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