Is metal detox necessary?

I had a client that was complaining of extreme fatigue and a deep aching in her bones. She told me that she was in the process of doing a heavy metal detox.

Body aches and lethargy can be a normal reaction when you are actively chelating heavy metals from the body.

When I asked how long she had been detoxing heavy metals for, she confided in me that she was under a well-known doctor’s care and had been going for chelation therapy 1x per week for the past 18 months!


In my professional opinion, 18 months is way too long to be on any type of detox without giving the body a break, and without rebuilding the system.

Our bones and body need “essential metals” like sodium, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, cobalt and zinc [1].

A heavy metal detox, if done for too long, could negatively impact overall health and vitality by drawing out essential metals as well, leaving you in a depleted state.

You may be wondering if a heavy metal detox is necessary.

Unfortunately, for many folks living in the highly toxic environments we have created, the risk of heavy metal exposure is a common struggle. And, long-term exposure to heavy metals can lead to neurotoxicity and severe neurological damage including dementia and brain cancer.[2] [3]

Some of the most common metals we get exposed to are lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and chromium. Exposure to those metals come from[4] [5]:

  • Ingestion of insecticides, herbicides, and pesticides
  • Industrial waste in soil and water
  • Air and water pollution
  • Dental amalgams
  • Pharmaceutical medicines
  • Improperly coated food containers, plates, and cookware
  • Lead-based paints

There is a good chance that you have been exposed to heavy metals at some point in your life.

You can certainly do a heavy metal detox (under medical supervision, of course). But, that runs its own risks, as I mentioned above.

In the meantime, there are many foods and herbs that can help you chelate metals naturally and gently.

First and foremost, eat clean, organic foods that haven’t been liberally sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides.

I think for many people, that one simple step can help resolve chronic exposure to metals and help your body function better.

Beyond altering the overall quality of your food, incorporate these two specific ingredients to help with heavy metal chelation.

Kelp Sea Vegetable

Besides being rich in iodine and good for thyroid and endocrine health, kelp binds with lead and mercury and helps you naturally excrete heavy metals from the body. Kelp contains something called algin.

According to botanist, Ryan Drum, “Algin has great therapeutic value as a heavy metal detoxifying agent. When added to the diet as a component of edible brown seaweed, algin powder, or sodium alginate, it can bind heavy metals present in the food stream and carry them out with the stool, since algin is generally not digestible”[6]

When I was healing from my autoimmune thyroid condition, I ate kelp and other sea vegetables a few times per week and this naturally and effectively reduced my heavy metal load.

Here’s a delicious example of how to use kelp in a simple and Savory Miso Soup.

Cilantro Culinary Herb

It seems that people either love cilantro or hate cilantro, but there is no in-between.

I’m in the “love” group.

Research suggests that there is a genetic component to whether you love or hate this herb. “Those who dislike cilantro tend to have a gene that detects the aldehyde part of cilantro as a soapy smell and taste.”[7]

But, I have a theory that the folks that can’t stand the taste and smell of cilantro may have an overload of metals that need to be resolved.

Cilantro has long been known in the natural foods movement as a natural chelator of lead, copper, and mercury. And, science is slowly catching up.

“Ivy Tech Community College chemist Douglas Schauer presented work by undergraduate students showing that cilantro may be an effective biosorbent that can remove lead and other heavy metals contaminants from water.”[8]

One easy way to start the detox process is by incorporating cilantro (parsley too) into your diet on a more frequent basis and in a larger quantity than just a sparse spring or two.

You can do that easily by eating more herbed-based sauces.

For example, try this delicious Cilantro and Parsley Pistou that you can slather on fish, chicken, meat or veggies.

Wishing you many delicious heavy-metal detoxifying meals!