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6 Foods for Natural Heavy Metal Chelation

Elizabeth Renter
March 14th, 2013
Updated 05/08/2014 at 5:32 pm
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chlorellapowder 263x164 6 Foods for Natural Heavy Metal ChelationHeavy metals can do significant damage to the body. Historically, they’ve been used as “an instrument of murder” (in the case of arsenic) and instruments of war. But most people who are exposed to heavy metals in today’s times are through their food, water, vaccines, or the air around them. The good news is that there are natural ways to chelate heavy metals from your body.

In high amounts, heavy metal toxicity can cause numerous symptoms like headache, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and even death. In lower amounts toxicity from lead or mercury, for example, can have much subtler effects. In either case, however, ridding the body of these harmful metals is important.

Removal of heavy metals from the body is known as chelation. This word actually comes from the Greek word “claw” and was used because early practitioners saw substances that they believed grabbed a hold of the metals and carried them out of the body through the digestive system. The term stuck.

Fortunately, there are foods with natural chelation properties. In cases of minor exposure, you don’t need to spend a fortune on prescriptions or even supplements in order to restore optimal health. The following are natural heavy metal chelating agents.

  • 1. Amino Acids. Amino acids are great at removing metals from the body – so good for meat eaters. These proteins are found in eggs and fish, among other things, and can work to increase liver health and balance enzyme production.
  • 2. Cilantro. Cilantro is just one super-herb that can effectively remove heavy metals (aluminum, mercury, and lead in particular) – in only two weeks. Also, because these metals can damper the immune system, cilantro is also recognized as an immune-booster.
  • 3. Food-Grade Activated Charcoal - Dr. Al Sears, MD, has his patients use food-grade activated charcoal for general detoxifying; this includes detoxing heavy metals. For heavy metal detoxifying, he recommends a total of 20 grams per day, spaced apart in two to four doses, over a 12 day period. I prefer taking a heaping tablespoon once in the morning, well before breakfast for general detoxification.
  • 4. Brazil Nuts: Not necessarily a chelation food, Brazil nuts actually work to restore the good minerals, like selenium and zinc, that may be lost in the chelation process.
  • 5. Onions and garlic. The sulfur in onions and garlic can also work to eliminate heavy metals. Along with these, things like eggs, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage also have high sulfur content.
  • 6. Chlorella. The superfood known as chlorella can serve as a mild chelation-helper. You can find it in supplement form or as a powder to add to various dishes.

If you’re looking for a more advanced way to cleanse your body of heavy metals, Dr. Edward Group has a great starter heavy metal cleansing kit as well as an advanced kit.

Here are 7 other methods for cleansing your body of toxins.

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  • fite

    interesting…my doc has me on EDTA suppositories right now…to be taken every other evening…..I'll retest in about a month

  • metal man

    What about Zeolite or infer-red sauna and coffee enema, I read an article about these being used to clean and mobilize. Any thoughts out there.

  • Kef

    Kefir and kombucha are superior anti-oxidants and dump heavy metals from the body. Stalin discovered this in a heavy industrial mining town in the USSR. Folks who drank kombucha did not get cancers attributed to heavy metals.

  • Iindigo


    Chelators are supposed to bind tightly to metals and escort them out of the body.Even the so called “best” chemical chelators like DMPS.DMSA,ETDA are not guaranteed.Mobilizers on the other hand are just that mobilizers.Many chelators do not bind tightly and drop the metals.So ,you have pulled metals, from deep in the tissue, only to have it, still in the body ,in a new place.

    • Thinker

      DMPS has exhaustively proven for decades as has EDTA. Get informed.

    • mmm

      How does it work?

      EDTA is a chemical that binds and holds on to (chelates) minerals and metals such as chromium, iron, lead, mercury, copper, aluminum, nickel, zinc, calcium, cobalt, manganese, and magnesium. When they are bound, they can't have any effects on the body and they are removed from the body.

  • Iindigo

    Please do some research.Many people with mercury toxicity,do not handle sulfur well at all, because sufur foods increase glutathione,which will mobilize mercury and if it is not eliminated,it will land somewhere in the body and cause new problems.The way this works is,mercury due to it’s extreme toxicity and the body in it’s deep wisdom,will bury it deeply in the tissues to keep it from causing more harm.Once you pull it out of these tissues,if not eliminated,it will land somewhere, till the body has a chance to again sequester it.My main complaint will the article,is the casual approach to a possible nightmare.Heavy metal detox is not to be taken lightly.

  • Iindigo

    As I stated in my reply to Rebecca,these foods are mobilizers,not chelators.Many people can not handle excess mercury and become ill.
    If you are a good eliminator,no problem.However if you have accumulated metals in the first place,it is usually because you are not a good eliminator.Why add fuel to the fire?

  • Iindigo

    Hi Rebecca.
    What I can offer is,caution in how you approach this.I know people who were toxic and did IV chelation and did fine.I know people who were made very sick by doing this.If you are a poor eliminator,you must be very very careful.Heavy metals,mercury in particular once mobilized,if not eliminated,will land in new areas not previously occupied,now causing damage to more of your body.All the foods mentioned are NOT chelators,they are mobilizers.Once metals are mobilized it’s a crap shoot.That said ,again,there are people who will be OK with this but for the ones who are not,it can be more sickness,more time to heal etc etc.I’ve been there more times than I like to remember.
    I recommend a little book,Natural Mercury Detoxification,find it on Amazon.It explains all this in detail.

  • mary

    Lindigo, how can you be sure the people you are talking now about metal detoxing are correct, , if you don't agree with this article, outlining what to do in case of metal buildup in our body's. You are jumping from one boat to the next, badmouthing the first boat. Education and knowledge is power and i like the information on this article.

  • Iindigo

    Meant to say while breastfeeding ,although not good at anytime if pregnant or breastfeeding.

    • rebecca

      Lindigo, Can you offer some sound advice, please, thank you.

  • Iindigo

    Not safe,DO NOT mobilize metals when you are pregnant.This will definitely end up in your breastmilk.

  • Iindigo

    I’m tired of seeing articles on how to detox metals, written by people who don’t know what they are talking about.These people have no clue how dangerous this can be.For instance a person may have a pretty heavy load of metals and not be aware of it.They don’t feel good,but don’t know why.Along comes this article,and they say,what the heck,can’t hurt anything.WRONG

    All of the above substances will mobilize heavy metals,then what?

    If the elimination organs are not functioning well,and they usually aren’t ,or metals wouldn’t accumulate,in the first place,then all these metals that have been mobilized are now free to land in new places and cause more damage.How do I know this.I have heavy metal toxicity.Eggs and garlic make me very sick as does selenium and especially chlorella.I spent yrs eating these foods ,feeling really bad,till I joined a group for metal toxic people and found out that these things were making me worse.This is why articles like this are irresponsible and should not be published.They have the potential to do a lot of harm,especially to someone who is not aware and gets sick and has no clue as to why.

    • NnnnnnH

      I feel that there is more to the story than what you've said, there has to be something else going on with your body and that's why the eggs and garlic didn't work for you. Why would toxins lodge somewhere else in the body if the body recognizes that it's being attacked.

    • wayne diotte

      Excellent comment. In my over 35 years of wellness and macrobiotic counseling I have seen far too many thousands of people who are excessively cavalier regarding the bodies finite capacity to actually discharge excesses such as heavy metals. The term that I use is” toxic traffic jam” WD which occurs when the elimination organs reach their maximum capacity to eliminate and then the toxicity load is transferred to other organ systems wreaking in many many cases havoc on the person's overall vitality and health.

      The quality of simplistic suggestions and recommendations; without the accompanying cautionary notes and big picture perspectives is a problem. Critical thinking and macro [large view] thinking is highly recommended. :-) lindigo, Thank you for sharing and adding to the conversation.

      • N – H

        So, why is maximum capacity reached? is the person doing too much detoxing all at once

      • Ananlyst

        'macrobiotic counseling', lol. Your polysyllabic blather is condescending nonsense. I have thirty years in this area and your institutional blather belongs there, in an institution, not here where most of us would avail typically ourselves of secondary research after introduction to something new. This subject is not new for me of course, but those who visit this site are not the type of shlubs that submit to your brand of … 'service' and as such are capable of thinking for themselves (gasp).

      • Anonymous

        Wayne, I’ve been taking a whole food supplement, Lifestar Genesis, which also includes some kind of heavy metal chelators in food form, for several months now while breastfeeding. Now may baby has borderline lead levels. Do you think this could be the reason? They told me that it’s ok. That she must be chelating metals from her own system as the helators would go through my milk. Also, im worried as now im

    • Joel

      I hear you, but is it accurate to equate “chelator” with “mobilizer”? Do you know for a fact that anything that will chelate will miss some that mobilizes in the process? Link please. My understanding of a chelator is that it assimilates (‘grabs onto’) a toxin and then the combined is excreted. This is different conceptually from mobilization.

    • donna groom

      I totally agree. I have a practitioner who does muscle testing and nutritionals and he can tell where the toxicity is and does muscle testing to see what supplements are the most bioavailable. Never treat yourself in these cases.

  • chris

    Is it safe to do si hike breastfeeding? Or will it release metals into breastmilk? I know it was not good while pregnant. I love garlic and cilantro