How to Detox Heavy Metals Safely (& Get More Energy)

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How to Detox Safely and Have More Energy
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“Detox” is one of the most popular buzzwords in the health world these days. It can mean anything from eating extra greens and sipping apple cider vinegar to fasting and taking a pile of supplements. In addition, external detox methods I’ve tried and love are epsom salt baths, detox foot soaks, and dry brushing.

I’ve tried plenty of ways to detox but never considered more serious regimens designed to detox heavy metals. I mean, isn’t that serious stuff that only happens to people living next to a chemical plant?

Not quite…

What Are Heavy Metals?

First of all, scientists debate the exact definition of a heavy metal, which depends on several factors like density, atomic weight, and chemical makeup. In a nutshell, heavy metals are dense metallic or semi-metallic elements naturally occurring in the earth. They occur naturally in the soil and leach into water sources, but there are plenty of man-made sources as well.

Certain heavy metals aren’t a problem in small doses and are even necessary to the body, but the harmful ones like lead, mercury, and the lesser known (but just as problematic) cadmium can bioaccumulate in the body faster than our bodies can detox them.

Sources of Heavy Metals

Here are some of the heavy metals causing toxicity in our modern environment and their common sources:

  • lead (auto exhaust, root canals, building materials, water, some teas)
  • mercury (dental fillings, vaccines, contact lens solution, seafood)
  • cadmium (cigarettes, batteries, hydrogenated oils, coffee)
  • arsenic (conventional poultry and eggs)
  • aluminum (deodorant, vaccines, cookware, some teas)
  • thallium (added to gasoline)
  • bismuth (makeup, medicines)

The list certainly goes on, but these are a few of the key players.

Limiting heavy metals exposure is just one of the reasons to consume meats and seafood from good sources, use holistic dentistry, make natural deodorant and beauty products, and avoid hydrogenated oils.

Unfortunately, we may not have as much control over other things on the list.

Why Are Heavy Metals a Problem?

So why are some heavy metals so bad for the body?

There are about 23 heavy metals in total that can be especially toxic. These substances actually “intrude” and interrupt normal cellular processes by binding with protein sites and replacing the metals that naturally occur in the cell. This affects the functioning of mitochondria, or the energy makers of our cells, leading to symptoms like fatigue (and much worse with long-term exposure).

Doing all we can to limit exposure is half of the battle, but there are certain steps we can take to help our bodies process and eliminate heavy metals.

You guessed it … detox!

Do We Need to Detox Heavy Metals?

Unfortunately, heavy metals toxicity isn’t isolated to a few acute cases. Take this rather stunning statement from my podcast interview with Wendy Myers, detox expert and founder of, on the topic of heavy metals:

Definitely I believe that toxic metals are a primary driver of disease today. We’re seeing health issues and diseases we didn’t see 30 years ago, and it’s because of the increasing introduction of these toxins into our environment.

Primary driver of  disease today? Clearly, heavy metal poisoning goes beyond an Erin Brockovich scenario!

Of course, our bodies have amazing detoxification mechanisms that allow us to take in a certain amount without harm. I’m not suggesting we invent health problems that aren’t there. Still, kids, pregnant women, and those with conditions that impair detoxification are especially vulnerable.

More from Wendy in our podcast conversation:

I’m definitely not a believer at all that our bodies detox just fine on their own. …Some people do have compromised liver function, the compromised ability genetically to detox, and a lot of other mitigating factors that cause them to accumulate toxic metals and chemicals that require them to take a more aggressive approach to detoxification.

How can we tell if we have a problem with heavy metals? There are some signs to look for:

Signs of Heavy Metal Toxicity

While signs of acute toxicity are easier to spot (severe cramping, vertigo, vomiting, difficulty breathing, impaired motor and cognitive skills, etc.), more subtle signs that you need to detox heavy metals are:

  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • acne
  • poor digestion/bloating/gas
  • compromised ability to digest fats
  • female problems (hormones, infertility, preeclampsia)
  • excess sweating
  • gaining weight just around the waist
  • severe food cravings
  • middle-of-the-night insomnia
  • aching joints
  • mood swings
  • and the list goes on …

Left unchecked heavy metal toxicity can cause not only misery but serious disease including Alzheimers, dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and cancer. A 2014 article in the journal Interdisciplinary Toxicology explains:

Heavy metal toxicity can lower energy levels and damage the functioning of the brain, lungs, kidney, liver, blood composition and other important organs. Long-term exposure can lead to gradually progressing physical, muscular, and neurological degenerative processes that imitate diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and muscular dystrophy. Repeated long-term exposure of some metals and their compounds may even cause cancer (Jarup, 2003).

The toxicity level of a few heavy metals can be just above the background concentrations that are being present naturally in the environment. Hence thorough knowledge of heavy metals is rather important for allowing to provide proper defensive measures against
their excessive contact (Ferner, 2001). (Jaishankar 2014)

Not much good news here, but not to despair … there are ways to detox heavy metals that enter the bloodstream and help flush them out before they cause chronic disease.

Basically, if you generally live a healthy lifestyle but still experience many of the above symptoms, it may be time to dig deeper.

How to Test for Heavy Metals Toxicity

Granted, this list probably sounds pretty familiar to other issues like thyroid disorders, or autoimmune disease, even leaky gut and many others. Testing is needed to find out if heavy metals actually are the culprits.

A hair mineral analysis test is a great place to start. In addition to toxic metal levels, this test can give clues to overall health factors like metabolic rate, inflammation, blood sugar levels, and more. Wendy Myers covers the ins and out of testing for heavy metals in this informative post.

Is It Dangerous to Detox Heavy Metals?

Yes, detoxing heavy metals out of the body requires special caution, but there are safe ways to help our bodies’ natural detoxification processes along. However, since different heavy metals require different methods to get them out of the body, professional testing and supervision is definitely recommended for the safest and most effective detox.

Basically, you don’t want to get heavy metals moving around in your body unless you also have a way to make them exit or they can cause even more serious problems. There are two important steps in the process when it comes to ridding the body of heavy metals:

Step 1: Mobilize

Certain supplements and detoxification methods “unlock” heavy metals where they are accumulating and get them moving. However, releasing heavy metals can cause even worse problems without Step 2:

Step 2: Bind and Eliminate

This second step grabs on to heavy metals and ensures they are supposed to exit the body as quickly as possible!

Natural Ways to Detox Heavy Metals (You Can Do on Your Own)

There are some things we can safely do at home to improve our body’s detoxification mechanisms and lessen our chances of ending up with a more serious problem:

  1. Get hair mineral and other testing (EverlyWell is a lab test you can use at home)
  2. Drink plenty of filtered water
  3. Exercise to induce sweating and improve elimination
  4. Use a binding/mobilizing supplement. I use CytoDetox (or see Wendy’s recommendations below).
  5. Support the liver with a nourishing, anti-inflammatory diet
  6. Spend time in an infrared sauna (and take CytoDetox or PectaSol-C after)

Here are two safe supplements Wendy recommends for anyone concerned about heavy metal accumulation:

  1. BioSil – Take 5-10 drops or 1 capsule daily to mobilize heavy metals.
  2. PectaSol-C – Take 5 grams daily or more, depending on tolerance.

Important note: This is a two-part recommendation: don’t take one without the other!

Ultimately, while testing and supplements aren’t inexpensive, these supplements might be a lifesaver and prevent some terrible (and even more costly) health issues down the road.

The Bottom Line

Heavy metals exposure is unavoidable, so I think it’s best to remember why we’re striving for health in the first place (and not worry too much!). Being educated is the first step to knowing what to do if problems arise for you or a loved one.

For other ways to detox heavy metals and other detox supplements recommended by Wendy Myers, take a listen to her Wellness Mama podcast episode about toxic metals or see her Mineral Power Detox Program. I might do a hair mineral analysis just out of curiosity and I’ll be sure to share the results if I do!

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Lauren Jefferis, board certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor or work with a doctor at SteadyMD.

Are you concerned about heavy metals in the environment causing health problems? Have you ever done a heavy metals detox? Please share!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


54 responses to “How to Detox Heavy Metals Safely (& Get More Energy)”

  1. Michele Avatar

    I tested positive for lead a longtime ago. Lead settles in your bones and leaches out when your calcium drops. particularly during pregnancy, which we then pass on to our children, our first born getting most of it, causing neurological delays. So my son has sensory processing disorder, very mildly,makes him very snuggly, its awesome! But we ended up homeschooling him because he has difficulty with crowds & noises, something which bothers him less and less as he gets older and more macho. But I’ve never considered it as a cause for my chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia-like symptoms,& migraines that doctors just can’t seem to figure out. I knew it as a cause of my thyroid disease.

  2. Carla Avatar

    I was wondering if you have every heard of Anthony Williams and his books, the first one being the Medical Medium. He just released a book about thyroid health which I think would be very interesting for you.
    Antony also gives a recipe for a heavy metal detox smoothie.

    1. Elsa Avatar

      This is so very interesting, especially since I found out I have Mercury in my leg(causing a rash) and now surpresing my adrenals. I’m currently 27 weeks pregnant. I see a Naturalpath Dr(muscle testing) and he said I could take a very small dose before bed of HVS metals detox. Have you heard of this? I’ve been so concerned about taking it while pregnant but also don’t like that I have Mercury in my system while pregnant. It didn’t show up until half way through.

  3. Deeqa Avatar

    Thank you for the informative post Kelly. Also look into wet cupping (Hijama), it’s been practiced for thousands of years to detox the body. You feel amazing afterwards

  4. Levin Avatar

    You forgot to mention, as per Wendy’s protocol with the modified citrus pectin and the BioSil, that they should NOT be taken at the same time. I believe she recommends the citrus pectin in the morning, the BioSil at night.

  5. Kristy Avatar

    I’m just curious if you can take biosil and PectaSol-c if you are breasting? I have a 21 month old who I only really nursing 1-2 times per day.

  6. Bonnie Avatar

    Thanks for this informative post, Katie! I’d like to share the name of another lab and scientist who obviously has a very thorough understanding of metal detox: Quicksilver Scientific, run by Dr. Christopher Shade. I feel I’ve gotten a much clearer picture of what’s going on, metal-wise in our bodies, after reading and listening to him. He dives deep, but breaks the info down, so even my brain (in the process of remission from Hashi’s) can grasp it!

  7. Coriena Witman Avatar
    Coriena Witman

    I did a hair analysis test recently. Turns out I have moderately elevated lead. My first thought was, where the heck is it coming from!? 90% of the water I drink goes through a Berkey filter. I’m super cautious about potential exposures to toxins and only use the most non-toxic products. My conclusion was that I had been exposed in my younger, unhealthier years and it was coming out of where it was stored, say in my bones. But then I saw on Wendy’s website and this post, that root canals can be a source of lead. I had a root canal when I was 10 years old (I’m now 33). I’m curious what about a root canal canal can cause lead exposure and could it still be leaching after 20+ years?

  8. Kelly Avatar

    If I am going to do the sauna, Biosil and Pectasol, should I take the Biosil before the sauna to help release heavy metals? It says to take Pectasol afterwards, so that seems logical. Should the daily dose of both be all at once?

    Also, this never seems to be included in info about saunas, but I’m guessing it would be wise to shower immediately after the sauna and before cooling off to prevent any excreted toxins from re-absorbing?

    Thanks for this information!

  9. Edith Avatar

    Thank you for this very important information. I am interested in detoxing my body of heavy metals. I don’t know if I have them in my body but would love to find out as I have fatigue, irritability, extra weight in my middle and back! I have been in menopause for 15 years and in 4 years have gained 20 pounds! I certainly want to rule out heavy metals!

  10. Joel Avatar

    Food grade diatomaceous earth has a good reputation for pulling heavy metals and other toxins out of the body, so that the toxins can be safely removed via the body’s elimination system. Food grade DE is high in silica, mentioned in the article, and also has a unique shape and electrical charge that binds with toxins so they can be removed from the system.

  11. Rhonda Avatar

    I am currently detoxing heavy metals, lead and mercury are my highest levels and I account the toxicity mainly due to my breast implant illness. My first step in detoxing was to have implants removed since they are a root cause/source. Under my ND’s care I did a 6 Hour provoked heavy metal test. I am taking detoxing supplements, eating a very clean/organic diet, and doing weekly colonics to help rid my intestines of the metals. I take DMSA (doctor prescribed) low dose the day before the colonic. I also did the 23 and me dna test and now know I have MTHFR and other gene mutations that affect how I detox and my Nd has helped me with the right supplements for this. It’s slow, it’s not always easy, but well worth it all to be healthy and able to enjoy life to the full. I’d love to see more info. put out on Brest Implant Illness for women who have no idea their implants are causing them to be ill in so many ways.
    Thank you for your article, I love reading good articles that increase my knowledge and understanding of health issues. I am now considering doing a hair analyses too.

  12. Bobbie Avatar

    I once took EDTA by mouth for a week and it resulted in some bone loss of the neck. It also occured with diatomacous earth. I also was excited to try a borax protocal but had to suddenly stop due to bone loss. The point is, you must take a mineral supplement along with any of these detox or parasite cleanses or don’t do them at all!

  13. Alisa Avatar

    The link for BioSil is for capsules but the recommendation is for 5-10 drops. What is the equivalent dose? Also, are these to be taken at the same time? What are the specifics of dosing? Thanks.

      1. monica Avatar

        Can you elaborate on dosing/timing? Do you know if they should they be taken together, or a certain amount of time apart? Thanks!

  14. Janet Avatar

    I did a hair analysis, I found out a lot, like I have the slowest metabolism. But I did it too find out if mercury was high, before I had all my silver fillings replace, I had a blood test which was normal, but I had all my filling replaced, even though the hair analysis also found normal levels of mercury. The biggest thing was high arsenic, which I wondered where that came from, after a week or two the only thing I could think of was the well, I had it tested they called the next day, not to drink the water. Almost all the wells in our neighborhood had high arsenic, which is naturally occurring. My chiropractor helped me detox, with supplements.

  15. Nicole Avatar

    I wonder why chelation therapy wasn’t mentioned. I’m curious to get more info on the subject. It seems to be a great way to rid the body of metals.

  16. Amy Avatar

    The hair analysis linked is $599 ??? I can barely afford to eat healthy these days…and I’ve had to include a lot more conventional meat and non-organic food now too ?? I definitely won’t be able to afford that.

    1. Amina Levy Avatar
      Amina Levy

      look up jvhealth services – I got a hair analysis done for much less than that.

    1. Robin Avatar

      these due pick up the metals but do not have a strong enough bond therefore the metals just get redistributed throughout your body, potentially doing more damage.

  17. Heidi Avatar

    What about clay baths for detoxing heavy metals for children? Is that safe to do (on its own) as a slow and gentle detox for children or does it require some extra things to maintain safety?

    1. Kristine Avatar

      Unfortunately, most of us cannot afford natural doctors or any doctors that will work with detoxing children or care to. For me I saw great success with liquid bentonite clay (used a tablespoon for a month), after a month my 3.5 year started talking and behavior improved. It’s been a year and behavior has declined and he still doesn’t talk fully. Pectasol has a download that says children age 2 and older can have up to 5 grams a day. I would think with adding biosil to the regiment maybe I will try 2 drops of biosil and 2.5 grams of Pectasol. Both are a healthy supplement so they certainly won’t hurt

  18. Belen Avatar

    Thanks for the information. How long should one take biosil and pectasol c for? In other words, how long should the detox take?

  19. Lanette Avatar

    Another great post, Katie! I’ve read that hair testing for heavy minerals is not reliable. Can anyone else weigh in on this? I had EDTA testing done with my functional medicine doctor which required a 4 hour IV of the EDTA and several urine tests during the IV. This shows over a period of time what the EDTA is eliminating from one’s body. Then the urine is sent to a lab and analyzed for the heavy metals that have come out. If heavy metals show at a high level, then several more EDTA IVs are required to eliminate all of it. It is not the most accurate for mercury unfortunately. DMPS is what I was told is best for that. (Same protocol)

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