In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels. They bind to our tissues, create damaging free radicals, disrupt our endocrine system, and interfere with the absorption and function of important minerals such as magnesium and
zinc. The good news is that there are some natural things we can do to help remove or detoxify the heavy metals and block the absorption in our intestinal tract.
Cadmium is classed as a possible carcinogen. Lead can damage the nervous system and be harmful to the developing brains of young children. Mercury is also known to damage the brain, the nervous system and its effect by its bioaccumulation in the food chain, especially to fish and seafood consumption. We are exposed to legacies of mining and toxic waste, lead in paint and gasoline, ongoing emissions from industrial coal-burning activities, chemicals in cleaning products, lead ingested from old drinking water supply pipes.
Certain foods that are high in sulfur have been known to detoxify these heavy metals and block their absorption. Good sources of sulfur-containing foods are garlic and onions, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy and turnips. Garlic has prevented cadmium-induced kidney damage and decreased free radical damage due to lead in rat experiments.
Fiber ingested from whole grains and fruits have been able to reduce levels of mercury in the brain and blood. The ingestion of healthy minerals such as calcium, selenium and iron at optimal nutritional levels has been shown to block the absorption of heavy metals into the body. In addition, certain dietary supplements can be helpful as heavy-metal detoxifiers. Selenium supplementation was also shown to increase mercury excretion from the body.
Certain dietary supplements can be helpful as heavy-metal detoxifiers. Glutathione, the mini-protein helps to remove metals from body tissues and excrete them from the body
Individuals should do their best to reduce exposure to heavy metals in the environment and the food they eat. Avoid shark, swordfish, mackerel and tile fish. Take multi-vitamin/mineral supplement enriched with vitamin C, E and selenium, which help to preserve and raise glutathione levels.