Heavy metal toxicity is a challenge many of us face every day, but we may not even know it. I’ve written about how to help your child detox on a regular basis, but here, contributor Danielle tells us about the ways children are routinely exposed to heavy metals and what to do about it.
After the recent disaster in Flint, Michigan, you may be concerned about heavy metal toxicity, particularly lead, in our water. Though your water supply should be a concern, we should be concerned about the heavy metals lurking elsewhere and accumulating in our bodies as well. From the air to our water, and produce to vaccines, heavy metals abound, and cause destruction in our bodies if they are not properly detoxed.
Heavy metals do not easily detox from the body, so it’s necessary to complete a detox regularly, or following a particular assault of heavy metals on the body, such as vaccines, to avoid heavy metal toxicity.
How does heavy metal toxicity occur?
Heavy metals are, unfortunately, found all around us. They’ve been found in our soil, in our water, on our produce, in the lead or copper pipes in our homes, and in pharmaceuticals.
The greatest source of heavy metals is vaccines. Because vaccines are injected into muscular tissue and the bloodstream, the ingredients do not easily detox. Heavy metals, namely aluminum and mercury, are still found in vaccines today. (source) Your state, like mine, may have passed a law outlawing the use of thimerisol-containing vaccines, however, you may find that your state health department, like mine, exempts itself from that law each year. (source)
Some believe vaccines no longer contain mercury, but this is sadly not the truth. In the U.S., the flu shot may contain up to 50,000 ppb (parts per billion) of mercury. Two ppb of mercury is the EPA limit for drinking water. 200 ppb is considered the level at which a liquid is classified as hazardous waste by the EPA. There’s 250 times more mercury in just one flu shot.
Tests and symptoms to determine if you need a detox
Most of us would benefit from a heavy metal detox, but you are particularly susceptible to heavy metal toxicity if you:
- have ever received a vaccine
- taken a pharmaceutical medication
- consume non-organic produce
- live in a home built before 1970
- have unfiltered water through lead or copper pipes.
The symptoms of heavy metal toxicity may include:
- low body temperature or chills
- sensitive teeth or a metallic taste in the mouth
- prone to allergies
- muscle weakness, twitches, and sensitivity
- frequent illness.
In a child, heavy metal toxicity may show as delayed speech and focus, loss of facial asymmetry, loss of balance, muscle twitching, sudden allergies, eczema or asthma, digestive issues, sudden mood changes, and frequent runny noses and colds.
Like any illness, heavy metal toxicity brings different symptoms to different individuals. The best way to know if you have heavy metal toxicity and need a detox is to complete a lab test.
You can test heavy metal levels through hair follicle testing and blood testing. You can order hair follicle testing online, or request one from your current physician.
How to detox heavy metals safely
Before beginning any detox, evaluate how well your child is currently processing toxins. Does your child sweat a lot? Good! Never sweat? They may have a backup which needs to be addressed.
Does your child have bowel movements daily? If not, or there are other digestive issues; correct these first before beginning a detox. It’s a good idea to do a digestive tract cleanse before beginning a detox, so that your body will process out the toxins correctly. Otherwise, you may just be moving them around and overloading your liver, pancreas, and colon.
Start from the bottom of the digestive tract (colon) to the top (stomach).
Here is a very simple and gentle method:
- Cleanse the colon by adding some raw, organic fruit and vegetable juice and fiber into the diet. Psyllium husks are a great fiber to use. If your child will allow it, enemas can be helpful for clearing blockages and cleansing the colon. You can also try Pooper, a new supplement from BIORAY Kids which helps kids keep their bowels moving. Get it here.
- Cleanse the liver by adding turmeric, and dandelion and milk thistle teas. Also, add potassium to the diet (bananas and potatoes are good sources). Jaclyn’s note: I love BIORAY’s Liver Life formula for liver support. Get it here. (Read about how to support the liver here, plus a tip for mamas!)
- Support the stomach by adding pre- and probiotics. Prebiotics, such as potato starch, are essentially the foods which feed the good bacteria. Feeding good bacteria ensures that they will thrive in your gut. These good bacteria will help ensure the toxins do not return to take up residence.
Now, you’re ready to begin your heavy metal detox! Begin by detoxing through the skin, then building up the gut to prepare for ingested detox supplements.
Detox through the skin
Your skin is your largest organ, and holds the most surface area to expel toxins. Start these steps to get your little one sweating out all the bad:
- Baths: Epsom salts and essential oils will draw metals out of the body through the skin. You may also try bentonite clay in the bath. Try a lukewarm bath 3-4 days a week with 1/4 cup of Epsom salts and detoxifying essential oils, such as tea tree, peppermint, rosemary, grapefruit and lemon.
- Skin Brushing: purchase a skin brush and begin brushing your little one’s skin (always towards the heart) before each bath. This moves the blood and lymph fluids back to the center of the body to be processed and detoxed if necessary (Mom tip – I’ve actually lost weight since I started brushing, so get two).
- Sweating: get your child outside and work up a good sweat. If you are in a colder climate, you can also use a sauna at a local health spa or purchase a portable, home-use sauna like this.
Build up the gut
To properly detox heavy metals through the gut, which is susceptible to heavy metal toxicity,
- Clean up your diet: cut out processed grains, food dyes, and chemicals (read about the five ingredients you should remove from your diet NOW). Purchase organic produce, grassfed meats and dairy, and try a paleo or GAPS diet.
- Add a probiotic: purchase a quality probiotic and supplement it at high doses for at least two weeks prior to beginning the supplemental detoxes below. Jaclyn’s note: in my experience, you should build up to a higher dose of probiotics slowly in order to avoid too much die off. Get my favorite effective probiotic here.
Now you are ready to start the movement of metals out through the digestive system. Monitor your child closely (yes, check out each bowel movement!).
- Chlorella supplements and tinctures: chlorella can be found in tablets, in powder, or as a tincture. I give my son 1 teaspoon of the tincture in two juices or water each day.
- Cilantro: juice it, chop it, or add it to food. Try to have your child consume two tablespoons of juice every 2 days, or consume a tablespoon of it raw every two days during your detox. If your child will not consume it as a juice or raw, try a tincture.
- Juicing: juice fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. Try to have your child consume one drink per day, at a minimum. Jaclyn’s note: add a raw egg yolk and homemade creme fraiche to turn it into a “GAPS shake” and to provide extra liver support.
How long should you detox?
If this is your child’s first detox, complete this regimen for two weeks. If your child responds well, wait another two weeks and begin it again. This can be performed up to four times per year, ideally at the equinoxes.
After a detox, be sure to keep giving your child organic fruit and vegetable juices to supplement vitamins and minerals and continue supporting the liver.
Have you detoxed your child from heavy metal toxicity? What worked for you?
Please share this post for friends whose children may also need a heavy metal detox.