How To Safely Perform A Heavy Metal Detox
The phrase “heavy metal detox” gets thrown around all over the place these days and every health guru has a detox program they are selling. However, many of these detox programs either don’t work or are downright harmful and should be avoided at all costs. Participating in a detox program that is unsafe can cause more harm than good and leave you sicker than you were before.
Living in an increasingly toxic world, it is no surprise that health-conscious individuals are searching for ways to remove toxins like heavy metals from their bodies. However, there are many common detox programs like using chlorella and cilantro to remove heavy metals from the body that can make you sicker instead of improving your health.
Let’s take a look at the toxins we are dealing with along with common dangerous heavy metal detox programs that are ill-advised. Finally, we’ll discuss the proper way to detox your body from heavy metals.
A Toxic World
We live in a toxic world, especially if we choose to live in modern society. The main toxins that we are bombarded by include heavy metals, chemicals, and mold. Today, we are going to focus specifically on heavy metals.
Heavy metals are one of the biggest health offenders and lead to a wide range of maladies. Specifically, the heavy metals mercury, lead, hexavalent chromium, cadmium, and arsenic are all extremely toxic.
While the uses of heavy metals like mercury and lead are currently limited, they were extremely common, as gasoline used to contain lead and dental fillings used to contain mercury. Fortunately, lead in gasoline is now mostly illegal and modern-day dentists don’t use mercury-based fillings anymore. Unfortunately, the detrimental effects of toxic metals are still widely felt among humankind. If we ever wish to achieve ideal health, we must remove these toxins from our bodies with the proper heavy metal detox.
How Do Toxic Heavy Metals Affect Our Health?
Toxic heavy metals affect the nervous system. More specifically, heavy metals like mercury cause neuron damage and neurotransmitter inhibition which leads to neurotoxicity. Heavy metals also generate free radicals that damage nucleic acids, lipids, and proteins. This results in a loss of cellular function, and cellular membrane damage.1
Dangerous Heavy Metal Detox Methods
As we just mentioned, one of the most common heavy metal detox programs involves the use of cilantro and chlorella as a way to pull heavy metals from the cells and excrete them from the body. While it is true that both cilantro and chlorella are heavy metal chelators,2 3 they do not bind strongly enough to adequately remove these metals from the body. This causes heavy metals that have a weak affinity for cilantro and chlorella to recirculate in the body, often ending up in the brain.
How Does Cilantro And Chlorella Bind To Heavy Metals?
Chlorella and cilantro are not true chelators, meaning that they bind weakly to heavy metals, yet aren’t able to hold onto them long enough to properly excrete them from the body.
Think of both cilantro and chlorella as the claw from the common arcade claw game and the stuffed teddy bear prize as a heavy metal. While the claw may be able to pick up the stuffed animal and move it, it usually loses its grip before the prize can be claimed. In other words, cilantro and chlorella are similar to the claw in that they can bind to and move heavy metals but rarely excrete them from the body.
Science Behind The Weak Heavy Metal Binding Affinity Of Cilantro And Chlorella
A true chelator like DMSA or DMPS has a double thiol group so it is able to strongly bind to heavy metals and therefore, excrete them from the body.4 However, cilantro and chlorella only have a single thiol group so they don’t bind to heavy metals as strongly.5
The danger behind using weak heavy metal chelators that have a single thiol group is that they redistribute heavy metal throughout the body and oftentimes, deposit higher concentrations of heavy metals into the brain, causing neurotoxic consequences.
Dangers Of IV Heavy Metal Detox Chelation
Typically, DMPS is the drug used during IV heavy metal chelation and it works incredibly well. However, DMPS only pulls out heavy metals that are easily accessible during a typical short IV session. After the IV session is finished, heavy metals that are located in deeper tissue move into the void left over, as these toxins travel from a higher gradient to a lower gradient. After a DMPS IV therapy session is finished, these newly located heavy metals have a chance to circulate throughout the body.
The best way to perform an IV heavy metal chelation session is to extend it for at least 3 or 4 days. However, this isn’t practical in the real world.
The Proper Heavy Metal Detox – True Oral Chelators
There are oral chelation strategies that pull out the initial wave of heavy metals along with heavy metals that continuously become unlocked from deep tissue. Both DMSA and DMPS can safely be consumed orally to chelate heavy metals.6
The key is to use oral chelators at regular intervals. Specifically, a dose of either DMSA or DMPS should be consumed as soon as they respectively reach their half-life, meaning as soon as 50% of the compound has been removed from the body.
The half-life of DMSA varies from person to person but is typically between 2 and 4 hours.7 8
The half-life of DMPS is typically around 9 hours.8
Consuming an oral chelator at regular intervals ensures a constant supply so heavy metals will be bound and removed from the body without allowing them to recirculate and become lodged in more sensitive tissues.
Oral DMSA Cycle
I have found that the best way to detox from heavy metals is to consume DMSA orally every 4 hours over the course of 4 days. At this point, I advise a window of 10 days off and then repeat the cycle for as long as necessary.
I know that everyone wants quick solutions, but the accumulation of heavy metals has taken decades so it is erroneous to think that removing these heavy metals from the body only requires a couple of days. Typically, it takes right around 2 years of following this 14-day cycle for most people. However, for me, it took 4 years of DMSA detoxing to chelate the heavy metals from my body.
Removing Heavy Metals From The Brain
After performing the 14-day DMSA oral chelation cycle for a period of around 3 months, it is time to add a fat-soluble chelator that is able to efficiently remove heavy metals from the brain so they can be removed from the body. I refer to this as the “brain phase” of the heavy metal chelation protocol.
Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is an excellent fat-soluble chelator that pulls heavy metals like mercury out of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and other areas of the brain.9
Since heavy metal accumulation in the hypothalamus and pituitary gland negatively affect the overall hormone system of the body, removing these toxins can restore normal endocrine function.
After being on the brain phase of the heavy metal chelation protocol for around 6 to 9 months, there may be a resurgence in past symptoms, but as soon as those subside, a huge health breakthrough is often noted.
A True Cellular Heavy Metal Detox Is The Key To Getting Well
Achieving true cellular detox is a long process that starts with removing the source of toxins that is often heavy metals. If you are being exposed to heavy metals like mercury you must identify these sources of exposure. In my case, a silver/mercury amalgam filling was poisoning me, and that had to be removed before anything else.
After that, removing the toxic build-up of heavy metals described in this article is the next step in achieving cellular detox. Going forward I have defined a step-by-step protocol that is aimed at regenerating the cell membrane, restoring cellular energy, reducing cellular inflammation, and re-establishing methylation that I call the 5R’s.
True cellular detox is the key to getting well.
Proper Heavy Metal Detox Techniques
The key to getting well is removing toxins from your body. The main category of toxins that is causing detrimental harm are heavy metals and they absolutely must be removed if you ever want to achieve ideal health. Even though there are many heavy metal detox programs on the market, most of them don’t work and some of them cause more harm than good.
Avoid using cilantro and chlorella to remove heavy metals from your body because they don’t bind to them strongly and therefore, recirculate most of these metals throughout your system. Additionally, avoid IV chelation therapies that are only administered for a limited timeframe because they also allow heavy metals that were situated in deep tissue to leach out and recirculate throughout the body.
The proper detox protocol for removing heavy metals from the body is a tried and true technique that focuses on oral DMSA cycles over the course of years combined with ALA, a fat-soluble chelator that removes heavy metals from the brain. If you are willing to put in the effort and take the time to remove these biotoxins from your body you will eventually be rewarded with far better health.
Realize that removing heavy metals from your body combined with other health-improving strategies will heal you from the inside out and allow your body to repair itself.
1 Engwa, G. A. (2019, June 19). Mechanism and Health Effects of Heavy Metal Toxicity in Humans. IntechOpen. https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/64762
2 Mustafa HN. Morphohistometric analysis of the effects of Coriandrum sativum on cortical and cerebellar neurotoxicity. Avicenna J Phytomed. 2021 Nov-Dec;11(6):589-598. doi: 10.22038/AJP.2021.18107. PMID: 34804896; PMCID: PMC8588955.
3 Merino, J. J., Parmigiani-Izquierdo, J. M., Toledano Gasca, A., & Cabaña-Muñoz, M. E. (2019). The Long-Term Algae Extract (Chlorella and Fucus sp) and Aminosulphurate Supplementation Modulate SOD-1 Activity and Decrease Heavy Metals (Hg++, Sn) Levels in Patients with Long-Term Dental Titanium Implants and Amalgam Fillings Restorations. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 8(4), 101. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox8040101
4 Zalups RK, Bridges CC. Relationships between the renal handling of DMPS and DMSA and the renal handling of mercury. Chem Res Toxicol. 2012 Sep 17;25(9):1825-38. doi: 10.1021/tx3001847. Epub 2012 Jun 15. PMID: 22667351; PMCID: PMC4640686.
5 Feigelson, M. (2022, August 14). The Thiol Functional Group. ChemTalk. https://chemistrytalk.org/the-thiol-functional-group/
6 Adams JB, Baral M, Geis E, Mitchell J, Ingram J, Hensley A, Zappia I, Newmark S, Gehn E, Rubin RA, Mitchell K, Bradstreet J, El-Dahr J. Safety and efficacy of oral DMSA therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders: part B – behavioral results. BMC Clin Pharmacol. 2009 Oct 23;9:17. doi: 10.1186/1472-6904-9-17. PMID: 19852790; PMCID: PMC2770991.
7 Dart RC, Hurlbut KM, Maiorino RM, Mayersohn M, Aposhian HV, Hassen LV. Pharmacokinetics of meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid in patients with lead poisoning and in healthy adults. J Pediatr. 1994 Aug;125(2):309-16. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(94)70217-9. PMID: 8040783.
8 Hall AH, Shannon MW (2007) Shannon: Haddad and Winchester’s Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose 4th ed Chap 75 Other Heavy Metals Saunders.
9 Bjørklund G, Aaseth J, Crisponi G, Rahman MM, Chirumbolo S. Insights on alpha lipoic and dihydrolipoic acids as promising scavengers of oxidative stress and possible chelators in mercury toxicology. J Inorg Biochem. 2019 Jun;195:111-119. doi: 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2019.03.019. Epub 2019 Mar 23. PMID: 30939378.