Though you may not realize it, you have been exposed to heavy metals nearly every day for your entire life. These metals are in the soil under your feet, the water you drink, the air you breathe, and even in the food that you eat. There is no escape. You have to accept that. Therefore, the focus should not be on trying to prevent ANY exposure, but rather focus on detoxing from inevitable exposure. This article will explore several reasons why a heavy metal detox is beneficial for you, even if you are unsure if you suffer from heavy metal exposure.

What Are Heavy Metals?

To understand why a metal detox is beneficial, you need to understand what heavy metals are. Heavy metals are naturally occurring metallic compounds. These compounds can be found in the earth’s crust. However, they are also the result of industrial pollution and can be found in the soil, water, and air. There are about 35-40 metals total that are naturally occurring, but only 23 are deemed heavy metals. These 23 heavy metals are:

  • Antimony
  • Arsenic
  • Bismuth
  • Cadmium
  • Cerium
  • Chromium
  • Cobalt
  • Copper
  • Gallium
  • Gold
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Manganese
  • Mercury
  • Nickel
  • Platinum’
  • Silver
  • Tellurium
  • Thallium
  • Tin
  • Uranium
  • Vanadium
  • Zinc

What makes these metals so complicated is that some of them we need in small concentrations for optimal health. Furthermore, most of the exposure to these heavy metals occurs in our environment and diet, which is why avoiding exposure altogether is just impossible. So before we look at heavy metal detox reasons, let’s look at that thin line between the good and bad heavy metals.

Heavy Metals: The “Good” Ones…

I use the term “good” loosely because these heavy metals are only good when consumed in small concentrations. Have you ever heard the phrase, “too much of a good thing can be bad for you?” If exposure to these metals occurs in excess, it will lead to the same outcome as the more toxic heavy metals. Here are a few examples of “good” heavy metals and what they do for us when consumed in the right amounts.

  1. Copper. This metal helps with:
    • forming collagen
    • making red blood cells
    • promoting bone density
  2. Iron. This metal helps with:
    • helps with hemoglobin production
    • helps with hormone production
    • helps create myoglobin
  3. Zinc. This metal helps with:
    • helps reduce inflammation
    • supports immune function
    • promotes gut health

Other metals that promote overall health in trace amounts include cobalt, chromium, manganese, and nickel.

Heavy Metals: The Toxic Ones

While some heavy metals are beneficial to our health in trace amounts, others are generally toxic and do us no good. You would definitely want these metals detoxed. These include lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium to name a few. These will wreak havoc if exposure is prolonged and each carries a plethora of negative side effects for both acute exposure poisoning and long-term exposure. Some of these long-term effects include:

  • neurological damage
  • liver damage
  • kidney damage
  • GI tract damage
  • lung damage
  • cardiovascular problems
  • increased risk of multiple cancers

Several acute symptoms include:

  • fatigue
  • muscle aches
  • joint pain
  • headaches
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • numbness
  • dizziness
  • fainting spells

Metals can create an array of cardiovascular, endocrine, and neurological issues. You could be suffering from heavy metal exposure without realizing it. If you have hormone problems, blood pressure problems, thyroid problems, or low energy, you could have excess heavy metal accumulation and not know it. The only way to deal with these issues would be to do a metal detox. Now, let’s look into some more reasons a metal detox might be right for you.

6 Reasons To Get Rid Of Heavy Metals

To be upfront, there are definitely more than 6 reasons to get a heavy metal detox, and I can cover more in another article. For now, read these 6 reasons and take them to heart.

Metal Detoxing Reason #1: To Boost Your Energy

6 Reasons You Need A Heavy Metal Detox

One common sign of heavy metal exposure is fatigue. This negative effect can impact not just your health, but your quality of life. If you are experiencing a general chronic lack of energy, it might be time to get your blood tested for heavy metals such as lead and mercury. To be thorough, you can make sure your sleep and diet are optimal. If sleep, diet changes, and supplements aren’t cutting it, heavy metals might be the culprits. Taking the steps to detox from heavy metals, like adding specific foods to your diet can help you flush those toxins and boost your energy levels.

Metal Detoxing Reason #2: To Improve Cognitive Function

Memory and focus are two components of cognitive function that are in danger when heavy metal exposure occurs. We need these components to navigate our daily lives. Without these tools being sharp, we can experience difficulty:

  • remembering workplace tasks
  • focusing on work tasks
  • remembering school assignments’
  • keeping track of when things are due
  • remembering names and faces
  • remembering where you last put your phone/keys/wallet

Deteriorating cognitive function impacts every aspect of our daily lives. A heavy metal that is primarily responsible for these effects is mercury. Thankfully, if this metal is to blame, we can detox from mercury and regain some of that lost function. Herbs such as cilantro are especially helpful in helping the body detox thanks to their chelating capabilities.

Metal Detoxing Reason #3: To Improve Hormone Regulation

A common symptom of heavy metal accumulation is endocrine dysfunction. Essentially, this is a fancy way of saying hormonal problems. These hormonal issues affect men and women and can to issues such as:

  • infertility
  • insulin sensitivity and insensitivity
  • increased risk of type 2 diabetes

A heavy metal detox can help alleviate these risks and help promote a stable endocrine system which can help with weight management, stress management, and other health issues associated with hormonal imbalances.

Metal Detoxing Reason #4: To Improve Lung Health

While there are other mechanisms that support lung health, a heavy metal detox can also be helpful. Heavy metals such as cadmium can create breathing issues. Cadmium is a heavy metal considered toxic to humans that are found in the air due to industrial pollution. Furthermore, cadmium can be found in tobacco products and certain pesticides. We all know smoking is bad for the lungs, but not many people are aware of the heavy metals that are contained in tobacco products due to soil and air contamination. The breathing issues from exposure to these products can easily be misdiagnosed as a general smoking side effect or mild asthma symptoms. Therefore, it would benefit you to get tested for cadmium accumulation if you use tobacco products or are around pesticides often. A heavy metal detox may improve your breathing and overall lung health if cadmium is to blame.

Metal Detoxing Reason #5: To Treat Anemia And Other Health Issues

A lack of iron can cause anemia, which is a lack of red blood cells to carry enough oxygen throughout the body. A couple of ways to deal with anemia would be to increase your iron intake as well as increase your nitric oxide production. Both methods help deal with a symptom of anemia. However, another helpful trick would be to check your blood for arsenic. Arsenic accumulation can lead to anemia. Therefore, eliminating arsenic exposure to the best of your ability may help deal with anemia. Some ways to detox from arsenic and arsenic-related health issues include:

  • cut out arsenic-contaminated foods such as rice and beer
  • eating herbs such as cilantro and parsley
  • consuming nitric oxide-rich foods to promote optimal blood flow
  • consuming iron-rich sources to promote hemoglobin and myoglobin production

Metal Detoxing Reason #6: To Lower Your Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is one of those health issues that can be caused by a multitude of factors. High Blood pressure could be due to factors such as:

  • lack of nitric oxide
  • a diet high in salt and fat
  • high cholesterol
  • being overweight or obese
  • chronic liver and kidney issues
  • excess smoking & alcohol consumption

While some of these are lifestyle choices that can be rectified with changes to diet and exercise, some of these could be due to heavy metal exposure and flying under the radar. Heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury in particular can contribute to high blood pressure by creating cardiovascular problems as well as liver and kidney problems. Since we need the liver to detox from heavy metals and the kidneys to flush out toxins, by detoxing from these metals, we can help lower our blood pressure. In doing so, we reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular problems, cardiometabolic problems, and other health problems associated with high blood pressure.

How Do You Know If Heavy Metals Are To Blame?

The only way to know for sure is to go get tested. Visit your doctor and request heavy metal testing. Blood testing is most common, but some testing can be done with hair follicles and even saliva. Once you know for sure if heavy metal accumulation is to blame for your health problems, your doctor can provide you with a course of action. This plan can include:

Final Thoughts

Even if you are not sure if heavy metals are to blame for health concerns, some of these steps can be implemented just to make you healthier. The reasons listed above are beneficial for your overall health even if you are not suffering from heavy metal exposure. Consider a heavy metal detox every several months just to be safe, as it can be done with little effort in most cases. For more info on heavy metal detoxes and other healthy living tips, check out the rest of our blog here.