Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Heavy Metals Part 4 - Options for Detoxing Metals

As you learned in Heavy Metals & Autism Part 1 - Signs & Symptoms, metals are in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the body care products we spread on our skin. The likelihood of completely eliminating our exposure to them is, well, um...nil! So are we stuck with them in our brains and other tissues forever? Absolutely not, but it will take some extra help.

For kids like my Jordan, who have issues with his body being able to eliminate toxins on its own, additional help is absolutely essential. For others, who normally don't have an issue with eliminating toxins, metals deserve special consideration because they bind so tightly in the body, and can be there for decades continuing to accumulate, sometimes symptoms don't show up until later years with issues such as Alzheimers. Extra help is often needed to help pull them out and eliminate them.

There are several options for this process. The ones I'll discuss are: IV Chelation, oral chelation, bentonite clay, herbs, and zeolite.

IV Chelation involves a drip IV of a chelating agent such as EDTA. Obviously, this can only be administered by a doctor. It comes with risks and is often very difficult on the body.

Oral chelation involves taking a chelating agent such as DMSA. When doing this, there are a lot of considerations and many practitioners don't understand how to do it correctly without causing more harm than good (of course, that's true of IV chealtion as well, probably even more so).

Herbs. There are some herbs that help detox heavy metals. The most popularly marketed ones like cilantro and chlorella, among others, can mobilize metals, but don't do a good job "hanging on" to them all the way out of the body. If using them, it's best to combine them with other things to help make sure they get captured and taken all the way out of the body so they aren't left to recirculate and settle into another place.

Zeolites that are natural form from volcanic lava and salt water. They have a cage-like structure that allows them to hold or contain other molecules. They have a negative ionic charge, so they attract compounds with a positive charge and bind them. There are over 40 types of natural zeolites and hundreds of synthetic zeolites with a variety of molecular structures.

 There is a lot of misinformation out there about zeolites and a lot of true information about zeolites where zeolites were not used properly with negative consequences, like causing cancer or causing aluminum toxicity. All this to's important to know what you are getting if you buy zeolites.
Since zeolites naturally attract heavy metals and other toxic things; when found in nature, the cage-like structure is already filled with those toxic elements. They have to be cleaned out through a special process so they are ready to attract and hold any toxic elements that need to be detoxified from something. If that is not done, it can add to toxicity when taken internally, as happened with some cows that ended up with aluminum toxicity due to uncleaned or improperly cleaned zeolites in their feed. Also due to the crystalline structure, it can cause damage and even cancer if inhaled. 

I wouldn't let that scare you off from thinking about using zeolites entirely. When handled properly - micronized, cleaned, suspended in water they have proven incredibly effective at helping with all sorts of issues, including heavy metal toxicity, and being completely nontoxic.

I have never personally tried zeolites, since I came across other heavy metal detoxifiers that worked for us before I learned much about zeolite. However, if I needed to do it again, zeolites would be on my short list of things to try but only zeolite by Waiora in their product called Natural Cellular Defense.

Bentonite Clay. While other metal detox options focus on elimination pathways of the colon and urine, bentonite clay baths use the avenue of the skin, the largest elimination avenue of the body. But before we get into too much detail...what is bentonite clay? It is a clay that has a strong negative ionic charge, giving it amazing pulling power for things with a positive charge, such as heavy metals, free radicals, and most other toxins. The negative and positive ions bond and stay bonded. Basically, not only does bentonite mobilize the toxins and metals out of the tissues, it essentially grabs them and doesn't let go.There are more qualities of bentonite clay that make it a great detoxifier, but I'll save that for another post, as this one is getting plenty long. You can find it here A Closer Look At Bentonite Clay.

For detoxing baths, I've used LL Magnetic Clay. This clay is specifically chosen for it's incredible pulling and swelling qualities and they have package combinations with different herbs that help to mobilize or pull certain types of toxins.  I've been pleased with their products.


The Process of Detoxifying Metals

No matter which method is used for heavy metal detox there are a couple additional necessary factors.

Activated Charcoal
A "Capture". While pulling metals and even a couple days afterward, we ALWAYS had Jordan take activated charcoal internally before bed. Activated charcoal absorbs, well, everything. It's what we carried on the ambulance for poisonings when I worked as an EMT.  So metals that aren't held onto fully by the mobilizing or chelating agent, or are mobilized but not captured due to the chelating agent already being eliminated from the body are filtered by the liver and are directed toward the, um, exit, can be captured and escorted out rather than being reabsorbed and recirculated in the body.

Take a break. A pulse on/pulse off approach is needed with most of these methods in the short term, and with all of them in the long term. In the process of detoxifying metals, this usually starts with fairly short breaks of about a week or two and gradually extending, out to many months. This is for a few reasons:

1. Metals move from areas of high concentration to those with lower concentration, so as metals are pulled from the most available tissues, and those tissues become lower in metals, it will take a bit for metals in areas of high concentration to move into and refill those areas of lowered concentration to be ready to be detoxed again. At first, 10 days is usually sufficient for this to happen.

2. It takes a lot of resources - vitamins, minerals, energy, etc to detoxify and the body needs a break in order to reestablish necessary levels of those resources.

3. As metals leave the body the yeast that was bound to them is released and levels need to be brought back under control so they are not causing additional issues in the body. 

For Jordan, we just kept him on yeast killing herbs the entire time he was being detoxed from metals and in between.

4. The liver can become congested and may need to be cleaned out again. 

Remember, I am NOT a doctor and this is NOT medical advice. It's simply our experience and what I've learned along the way.

For more on heavy metals see:
Heavy Metals & Autism Part 1 - Signs & Symptoms
Heavy Metals Part 2 - Testing
Heavy Metals Part 3: 4 Critical Considerations BEFORE You Detox Heavy Metals

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