Heavy metals can wreak havoc on every system of the body, so if you have been exposed to heavy metals, you’ll want to safely detox them from your body.
How do you know if you’ve been exposed to heavy metals?
A urine test from ordered by your doctor can help you determine whether or not you are currently being exposed to heavy metals or have been exposed to them in the past.
It can also help you to determine whether or not the metals have been successfully released from the body after detoxification.
Once your doctor has ordered the test, you’ll be asked to collect a urine sample. Your current heavy metal levels will be assessed and if needed, your doctor will support you through the detoxification process.
Detoxification of heavy metals is called chelation.
It is a process that involves ingesting or being injected with a chelation agent, like Dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA).
Chelating agents are FDA-approved treatments used for the removal of lead and other heavy metals from the body. They combine with heavy metals in the bloodstream, then both the metals and the drug are removed from the body by the kidneys and excreted
You will also be asked to collect a urine sample after the chelation process is complete. The results of this urine test will determine if chelation has removed the bulk of the heavy metals from your bloodstream.
Before we dive further into the detoxification process, it’s a good idea to read the first blog post in this series on heavy metals. In it, you’ll learn about the most common heavy metals and how they enter into the body as well as the effects they can have on your health.
This foundational knowledge will be really helpful as you move through the process of detoxification and also help you to reduce your exposure once you’ve completed the detoxification process.
Ok, now that you know where to look for more information, let’s get back to detoxification!
Chelation can be a very effective way to detox heavy metals, but in order to successfully complete the chelation process, your body needs to be as strong as possible, especially your liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal system.
Since these organs and systems are responsible for helping your body to excrete the heavy metals, if they are not strong, you run the risk of causing significant damage to your body as the toxins can become even more concentrated in your bloodstream if they are not safely released.
Prior to chelation, I examine the following functions on my patients:
- Bowel movements, frequency, and type
- Liver function
- Glutathione levels
- Kidney function
- Integrity of the gut lining
During the chelation process, I recommend natural binders – supplements besides chelating agents that bind to heavy metals and support their excretion. These may include activated charcoal, bentonite clay, and chlorella.
It is also helpful to have regular colon hydrotherapy appointments during this time to help your body successfully detox.
Depending on your body and the amount of heavy metals you’ve been exposed to, the detoxification process can take as little as 6 months and as long as 2 years.
During this time, you may need 10-20 rounds of oral or intravenous chelation.
As you can see, it is not a quick process!
The length of the process makes it imperative to hydrate and remineralize the body, or restore any essential minerals that may have been lost during the chelation process. Essential minerals, like calcium, magnesium, and zinc, can also be excreted during the chelation process, so it’s important to test these throughout the process and replenish as needed.
You can not do the process of detoxification on your own, unfortunately. There are different chelation agents depending on which metals are present in your body, and they all have to be prescribed by a physician. It’s also a process that needs to be monitored closely to ensure that you are safely detoxing the metals, instead of simply releasing them into your bloodstream without excrement.
If you think you have been exposed to heavy metals, please get proper support and guidance from your own doctor or medical practitioner prior to beginning any detoxification regiments.
In the next blog posts of this series, I will share some lifestyle practices and foods that can support your body throughout the detox process.