Over time, heavy metals will accumulate in your body for a variety of reasons. These metals can trigger a host of symptoms and diseases if left unchecked. Fortunately, we are able to detox these metals with some natural remedies and specialty supplements. While I have covered natural remedies in a previous article, this article will explore a mixture of natural and synthetic supplements that can help the body detox from heavy metals.


Where Are Heavy Metals Found?

Heavy metals are naturally occurring elements within the earth’s crust. Furthermore, heavy metals are often made as a product of various industries as waste. Just a few examples of industries that produce heavy metals in some form are:


  • Automotive
  • Technology
  • Mining
  • Chemical Plants


How Does Exposure Happen?

Exposure occurs from multiple methods. A few of these methods include:


  • Air inhalation
  • Workplace hazards
  • Poorly maintained infrastructure
  • Contaminated water
  • Contaminated food

For most of us, the most common methods of exposure are contaminated food and water. In regards to food, this will occur mostly due to fish and certain crops. In regards to water, it will be from faulty or poorly maintained plumbing.


Symptoms Of Heavy Metal Exposure

Depending on how much exposure has occurred, you may notice some acute symptoms. Several of these acute symptoms of metal poisoning are:


  • headaches
  • nausea
  • stomach pains
  • memory and focus problems
  • dizzy spells
  • sleep problems
  • mood swings

If exposure occurs frequently over a long period of time without detoxing, some long-term effects include the development of diseases such as:


  • Cancer
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • fibromyalgia
  • liver failure
  • Crohn’s disease

Because of the effects heavy metals have on us long-term, it is in our best interest to find supplements to help us detox these metals. Before we look at some of these supplements, let’s look at a few specifics of heavy metals.


The Big Four

There are roughly 23 heavy metals. Four are most toxic to us. These metals are mercury, arsenic, lead, and cadmium.



Exposure to this metal occurs primarily through our diet. Primarily, this occurs through eating contaminated seafood such as tuna, salmon, shellfish, and swordfish. Other means of mercury exposure can be from:


  • certain vaccines
  • air inhalation from industrial plants
  • dental fillings



Exposure to lead occurs in many ways. The primary method of exposure to lead is through our drinking water. A prime example of this is the fiasco in Flint, Michigan. Poorly kept infrastructure or old pipes can easily leak lead into our water supply. Because of this, it is best to filter your home water in some way. A couple of other methods of lead exposure are:


  • old buildings with lead paint
  • air inhalation from chemical plants
  • canned foods



Arsenic exposure occurs primarily from contaminated soil. This can be from natural events such as volcanic eruptions that push arsenic out from the earth’s crust. It can also be from industrial waste that has contaminated nearby soil with arsenic. The industrial waste can contaminate water supplies with arsenic as well.



Most human exposure to cadmium comes from contaminated soil and water via close proximity to mining ores. Similar to arsenic, it can leak into food and water supplies as well as contaminate the air via vapors.


Treating Heavy Metal Exposure

The easiest way to remove heavy metals is to eat well and make smart lifestyle choices. You want to avoid highly-processed foods, drinking excess alcohol, using tobacco products, and spending too much time in industrial areas if possible. The only way to know if you have any heavy metal accumulation is to visit a doctor. There are some hair mineral testing kits online, but a test at the doctor’s office will likely be more accurate.

Once you know for sure if heavy metals are to blame for any symptoms you are experiencing, you can decide how you want to detox. Eating specific foods and herbs is a great start. If you wish to go the medical route, you can engage in chelation therapy. Chelation therapy is consuming a chelating solution that will bind the metals in your bloodstream and mobilize them to be removed by your body’s natural detox pathways (bowel movements, sweating, urination, etc).


The 10 Must-Haves’ For A Detox

As I said before, there are plenty of natural means and foods you can use to detox from heavy metals. However, I wanted this article to also touch on some synthetic supplements and other metal-binding agents that might not come to mind when searching for natural means. I will list a combination of natural means and man-made means that serve as supplements for a metal detox.


Metal Detox Supplement #1: Chlorella

This green alga is a natural metal binder. This means it will bind to and move metals throughout the blood to get rid of them naturally. This makes chlorella a powerful supplement to detox metals. Mercury in particular is removed well by this little green alga.


Metal Detox Supplement #2: Ethylene-diamine-tetra-acetic acid (EDTA)

EDTA is a medication widely used in chelation therapy to treat heavy metal toxicity. As a bonus, EDTA is also adept at removing calcium from clotting up arteries and leaving deposits in places they do not belong. While we do need calcium to keep our bones healthy, calcium can deposit with blood clots and cholesterol to create clogs. EDTA helps reduce this possibility.


Metal Detox Supplement #3: Alpha Lipoic Acid (APA)

APA is an antioxidant that helps the body break down carbohydrates for energy. Furthermore, APA helps is a chelator that helps to remove all four of the most toxic metals. This makes APA a valuable supplement for detoxing metals. There is also research that shows APA as a liver support supplement, protecting the liver from arsenic exposure.


Metal Detox Supplement #4: Milk Thistle

Milk thistle is commonly cited as a supplement that protects the liver. Since it promotes liver function, it is a must-have supplement for a metal detox. Furthermore, milk thistle promotes resistance to several other problems such as diabetes and cirrhosis.


Metal Detox Supplement #5: Modified Citrus Pectin

This metal detox supplement is able to get rid of heavy metals without getting rid of the good metals we do need. Since we need trace amounts of some metals, we have to be careful with chelation. Chelation therapy can sometimes remove the helpful metals as well as the toxic metals. With modified citrus pectin, this risk is reduced.


Metal Detox Supplement #6: Zinc

Zinc is a trace element that we need for optimal health. While it is a metal, it is only harmful to us in excess amounts. Zinc has a number of uses, some of which include:


  • immune support
  • faster wound healing
  • helps the body make proteins
  • reduces inflammation

Since zinc reduces inflammation, it helps destroy free radicals resulting from metal exposure. Zinc works best when taken with selenium.


Metal Detox Supplement #7: Iodine

Two well-known effects of a lack of iodine are cognitive and learning disabilities. A common symptom of heavy metal poisoning is cognitive impairment. Aside from brain development, iodine is needed for hormonal balance. Another side effect of metal toxicity is mood swings. Supplementing with iodine can help reduce symptoms of metal poisoning, making it a valuable metal detox supplement. Similar to zinc, iodine is best taken with selenium.


Metal Detox Supplement #8: Selenium

Since zinc and iodine pair well with selenium, selenium needed to be included. Selenium is a trace element that is essential in trace amounts and toxic in excess. We use selenium as an antioxidant for cellular function.


Metal Detox Supplement #9: Cilantro

This herb is one of nature’s best chelating agents. Furthermore, since cilantro is so versatile as an herb, it can be added to plenty of meals.


Metal Detox Supplement #10: Carnosine

Carnosine is a compound produced in the liver. It is created from the amino acid beta-alanine. The benefit of this metal detox supplement is that it is both naturally occurring and available in synthetic form. For meat-eaters, just eat a steak. For those who cannot eat meat, carnosine is available as a capsule. This compound protects the kidneys. This makes it valuable for detoxing from heavy metals.




Final Thoughts

It is best to remember that heavy metal exposure is going to happen to us all at some point. Therefore, your focus should always be to reduce exposure rather than avoiding any exposure at all. . To learn more about heavy metals and general healthy living tips, check out the rest of our blog here.