Heavy metals are a group of metals which accumulate in cells and have adverse effects on human health and metabolism.
The contact with heavy metals is inevitable, but we can help our body to detoxify its cells and tissues, while also we can provide antioxidant protection through nutrients and enhance cellular metabolsm.
The definition “heavy metals” is not generally approved. ιt refers to all those metals which can be accululated in tissues (bioaccumulation) and they can have adverse effects to health even in small concentrations. Heavy metals are considered to be cadmium, copper, lead, copper, nickel and arsenic.
The toxicity of heavy metals can cause several damages in central nervous system, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal tract, lungs, kidneys, liver, endocrine glands and pancreas. Heavy metals have the ability intervene to cellular enzyme activity and occupy receptors of nutrients. Thus, homeostasis of the organism is disrupted and body’s biochemical processes are under-functioning.
Toxicity and actions
Heavy metals are abundant in the environment and our exposure to them inevitable. Environmental pollution, fuels, food with high concentration in heavy metals and even exposure to heavy metals due to work are some common causes of toxicity.
Heavy metals are introduced into our body either directly through the air we inhale,or indirectly through the soil, plants and animals. Common examples are lead contamination from exhaust gases or cadmium contamination from tobacco smoke. Unfortunately, heavy metals can be accumulated and stored in adipose tissue. Toxicity is manifested by:
- pain in the abdomen
- dysfunction of the nervous system
- cardiovascular problems
In addition, there are indications that heavy metals can cause even cancer (cadmium, lead, mercury amalgams) or even increase the incidence of autism.
Detoxification takes place in three stages.
The first step is to reduce exposure to heavy metals, such as quitting smoking, avoiding exposure to smoke and reducing consumption of large fish in one portion per week.
The second step is to provide adequate intake of trace elements, vitamins and antioxidants through diet. It is recommended to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables, because they provide nutrients that reduce absorption of heavy metals from gastointestinla tract, counteract the action and increase their excretion rate. Adequate intake of zinc and iron reduces the absorption of cadmium, while calcium, selenium, iron and calcium reduce the absorption of potassium.
The third step is to strengthen body with dietary supplemnets with substances involved in body defense system and enhance the physical processes of detoxification and inactivation of heavy metals. The process of binding heavy metals with aminacids is called chelation.
Nutritional supplements and detoxification
It is a powerful antioxidant trace element that inhibits the action of mercury and lead while helping to eliminate heavy metals from the cells, mainly via the kidneys. Supplemental administration of selenium helps reduce the bioaccumulation of heavy metals in tissues.
It is one of the most well-known antioxidant molecules that binds and inactivates free radicals, protecting cells from oxidative damage caused by heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium. High doses of ascorbic acid (> 500mg / day) contribute to reduced uptake of heavy metals and reduced toxicity.
Through chelation and thanks to its concentration in sulfur and cysteine, garlic can bind heavy metals, thereby facilitating their elimination and excretion from body. It also contains substances that protect tissues against oxidative damage, caused by heavy metals.
Alpha lipoic acid and glutathione
They are among the most powerful antioxidant molecules. They inhibit oxidative damages and help restore other antioxidants. In their molecule they contain sulfur, making them capable of binding heavy metals with chelation, thus helping to eliminate them from the cells.
It is a fat-soluble vitamin with strong antioxidant properties. It reduces heavy metals’ damages by enhancing the defense of body towards free radicals and even help other antioxidant molecules to exert their properties.
It is an algae, rich in chlorophyll. It has detoxifying properties as it binds heavy metals in its molecule, helping to their elimination (zinc, cadmium, copper and lead). It helps to reduce the accumulation of heavy metals in cells while speeding up their excretion from the body.
Zeolite is a mineral that has antioxidant properties, binds to heavy metals and helps to remove toxins from body’s tissues.
It is used for detoxification of liver. The liver is one of the most important organs and responsible for the detoxification of blood from toxic substances. Milk thistle also helps regenerate liver cells as well as improve their function.
It binds to heavy metals, such as mercury and lead. It reduces their bioaccumulation in tissues (kidneys) and bones, while also it inhibits their toxic action.
NAC – N-Acetyl Cysteine
NAC is a source of L-cysteine and a precursor molecule for glutathione production. It is a donor of sulfur molecules, and the amino acid bind to metals, helping to eliminate them from body through the kidneys. In addition, NAC helps in the production of glutathione, indirectly enhancing the antioxidant capacity of the cells.
They are friendly bacteria that improve the function of the gastrointestinal tract, strengthen the intestinal mucosa and contribute to the absorption of nutrients from gut. Several studies have revealed that some bacteria (Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium breve) bind heavy metals by reducing their toxicity and their accumulation in tissues.
In Vita4you you can find a great variety of nutritional supplements to detoxify your body.