Taming the Toxins

April 17, 2015
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Heavy Metal Detox Time

It’s that time again; time to take your body to the cleaners!

Today more than ever, our bodies are being bombarded by heavy metals.

Industrial pollution, mining, and increased pesticide use expose us daily to aluminum, arsenic, copper, lead and mercury.

Our oceans are becoming more and more polluted and the sea life that we rely on for nourishment is contaminated with mercury (and radioactive residues).

According to the American Heart Association, men who have higher mercury levels due to eating contaminated fish are almost 3 times more likely to suffer a heart attack than men with low mercury levels!

I’m sure you have questions:

How am I being exposed to heavy metals?  How can I reduce my exposure and eliminate the metals I’ve already absorbed?

Read on!  I can help you lighten your load!


Minerals impaired by aluminum: Heart-healthy magnesium & metabolism boosting phosphorus

Symptoms of toxicity: Dry skin, heartburn, flatulence, low immunity, colic, memory loss, Parkinson’s disease, muscle weakness, and mental confusion.

Where it’s found: Cookware, personal care products, soy-based infant formula, processed cheese, medications, dental work, and pesticides

Reducing your exposure: Use Pyrex, glassware, high quality stainless steel or enamel covered iron cookware.  Check your antiperspirant, toothpaste and nasal spray for added aluminum, or switch to homemade versions.  Consider breast feeding your infant children if possible.  Avoid processed foods and thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before eating.  Limit your use of over-the-counter painkillers and anti-diarrhea medicine.  Treat heartburn with HCl or baking soda instead of using aluminum-laden antacids (which also decrease your natural production of pepsin!).


Minerals impaired by arsenic: Immunity enhancing zinc & antioxidant selenium

Symptoms of toxicity: Horizontal white bands or longitudinal brown bands on fingernails and toenails, skin discolorations, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, peripheral nerve damage, respiratory problems, deafness, memory loss, confusion, uncoordinated movement, and visual problems.

Where it’s found: Rice based foods and sweeteners, chicken, contaminated well water, treated wood, tobacco smoke, coal dust, insecticides, and herbicides

Reducing your exposure: Rice plants absorb naturally-occurring arsenic from the soil and water, so reducing your intake of rice based foods is important.  A study by scientists at Dartmouth College found high levels of arsenic in foods sweetened with brown rice syrup.  Limit your intake of rice crackers, cereals, milk alternatives, proteins, and anything sweetened with brown rice syrup.  Eat chicken sparingly, and make it organic.  Have your well water tested.  Don’t burn treated wood in your fireplace.  Avoid smoking tobacco and being exposed to second hand smoke.

Insider Tip:  When preparing brown rice, boil it in a lot of water (as you do with pasta). Research shows that you can decrease the amount of arsenic in the rice by 30-to-40 percent by taking this simple step!

The only rice product I truly trust is the Fat Flush Body Protein, which contains rice protein concentrate that is third party tested for quality and purity- including heavy metal contamination.  UNI KEY goes to great lengths to ensure that arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury are virtually undetectable in each batch.


Minerals impaired by copper: Enzyme regulating zinc & menopause easing boron

Symptoms of toxicity: Estrogen dominance, insomnia, anorexia, obsessive-compulsive behavior, skin abnormalities, hyperactivity, hair loss, allergies, hypothyroidism and depression

Where it’s found: Birth control pills, dental fillings since 1976, copper intrauterine devices, fungicides, and certain foods

Reducing your exposure: Consider alternative methods of birth control.  Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before eating.  Some foods are particularly rich in copper and should be enjoyed moderately, or avoided all together in the case of copper overload.  These foods include nuts, seeds, avocados, grains, shellfish, chocolate, tea, wheat germ bran, and brewer’s yeast.


Minerals impaired by lead: Nerve stimulating calcium & hemoglobin-forming iron

Symptoms of toxicity: Behavioral problems, blue-tinted gums, hearing loss, visual disturbances, stomach pain, menstrual irregularities, miscarriages, kidney disease, and convulsions.  In extreme cases, lead poisoning is fatal.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that nearly half a million children have too much lead in their bodies, which is quite troubling because lead is especially damaging to the brain and nervous system.  It slows mental development, reduces intelligence, and can lead to attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity.

Where it’s found: Inside any structure built before 1978, chips of decaying paint, outdated lead water pipes, some toys, food packaging, and electrical cords

Reducing your exposure: If you live in a structure that was built before 1978, hire a professional to evaluate lead levels inside your home.  Be alert to news reports of recalls for children’s toys that are contaminated with lead.  Ensure good hand washing habits for yourself and your children.


Minerals impaired by lead: Detoxifying sulfur & muscle-toning iron

Symptoms of toxicity: Hair loss, kidney malfunction, dementia, heart disease, compromised immunity, mood swings, memory loss, fatigue, and headaches

Where it’s found: Dental fillings, batteries, non-electric thermometers, and fish

Reducing your exposure: Have your silver fillings replaced by a dentist experienced in the safe removal of dental amalgams.  Don’t eat large predatory fish like tuna, shark or swordfish more than once every few weeks, and avoid freshwater fish except for special occasions.

My Heavy Metal Removal Rx:

Taurine, the detox machine!

Taurine is a sulfur-rich amino acid that plays a key role in detoxification and liver support.  The liver uses taurine to produce bile, which is essential for the conjugation and removal of heavy metals, chlorine, aldehydes, petroleum solvents, alcohol, and ammonia.

Chemically sensitive individuals, vegans and vegetarians tend to have taurine deficiency, and those who abuse alcohol, use oral contraceptives, require cortisone therapy or have high stress levels typically have higher taurine requirements.

No detoxification protocol is complete without a supplemental source of taurine.  I rely on the Liver Lovin’ Formula, which provides 250 mg of taurine per capsule.  I recommend taking 2 capsules twice daily with meals.

Insider Tip: For all of my chemically sensitive patients I use taurine for 6 weeks or so prior to hair mineral analysis to improve heavy metal detection.

Dandelion Root

Dandelion root is a very gentle herb that is active as a tonic to the liver to increase bile secretion.  It can be enjoyed as a tea (1-2 cups daily), or in capsule form (3 capsules, 3 times daily with meals).  Fresh spring dandelion greens are even a wonderful addition to a detoxifying salad!


Chlorella is a single-celled freshwater algae that has the amazing ability to bind to heavy metals and other toxic residues and remove them from the body.  The chlorella cell wall must be “cracked” in order to effectively absorb toxins from the gut and the blood circulating through the bowel wall.

Recent clinical studies proved that heavy metal chelation using a concentrated form of cilantro and chlorella removed 87% of lead, 91% of mercury, and 74% of aluminum from the body within 42 days.  This is incredible!

To mobilize heavy metals out of the tissues, I suggest taking 3-9 grams of chlorella per day about 45 minutes before your meals.  It is essential to be sure that the chlorella you use is grown in pure, unpolluted water.

Irish Moss

Irish moss grows on rocks close to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.  Like other sea vegetables it is rich in many trace minerals- including iodine.  Irish moss contains Algin, a phytonutrient that effectively pulls heavy metals out of the body’s tissues.

When soaked and simmered it can be used in recipes as a thickener.  This gelatinous quality allows Irish moss to surround heavy metals and escort them out of the body.

Irish moss is one of the star ingredients in the highly effective detox formula, Super-GI Cleanse.  To encourage daily elimination of toxins, take 3 capsules one to two times daily with 10-12 ounces of water.

Zeolite and Modified Citrus Pectin: The New Kids On The Block


Zeolite Hunts Heavy Metals 

Zeolite is a mineral used for mechanical chelation of heavy metals as opposed to the chemical chelation action of many other remedies.  Heavy metals are magnetically attracted to the negatively charged cage-like structure of zeolite and they are pulled from the blood and trapped in the zeolite, read to be carried out of the body. Zeolite maintains pH balance in the body by targeting only heavy metals- not nutrient minerals.

To achieve a full body heavy metal detox in approximately 4-9 weeks (depending on heavy metal exposure and diet), between two and four 1800 mg capsules of Zeolite should be taken twice to three times daily with water.

Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP)- The Fiber Solution

Pectin is a soluble dietary fiber found in the peel and pulp of apples, plums and citrus fruits.  It can only be absorbed by the digestive tract when it is enzymatically modified to create smaller polysaccharide fragments. These fragments are easily digested and can enter the blood stream, where it begins to work its magic.

This modified citrus pectin is rich in galactose residues which actively bind to heavy metals. Because of the low molecular weight of the modified citrus pectin, a strong bond is formed with the metals and they are eliminated through the urine.

A study using MCP showed a dramatic increase in the excretion of toxic metals through the urine.  Taking 15 grams of MCP each day for five days and 20 grams on the sixth day, study participants showed significantly increased excretion of arsenic and mercury, a 150% increase in cadmium and a 560%  increase in lead excreted in the urine.  To add wonder to these stellar results, the MCP treatment did not deplete calcium, zinc or magnesium levels.

Budget-Friendly Detox Tools


Cilantro mobilizes heavy metals in preparation to be carried out of the body.  You can experience powerful detox results by putting a handful of fresh cilantro in salads, soups or my Hot Metabolism Cocktail.  Here’s a great recipe for Cilantro Pesto:

Blend 1 1/2 cups packed fresh cilantro and 9 tablespoons olive oil until cilantro is chopped.  Add 2 cloves garlic, 4 tablespoons lemon juice and ¾ cup walnuts.  Blend to a lumpy consistency, adding a little water if needed.

Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, which is a precursor to powerfully detoxifying glutathione.  Selenium is also an antagonist to mercury and arsenic.  Enjoy a handful throughout the day!


Nourish your liver by eating at least half a cup of asparagus daily.  My favorite way to savor the flavor is in a frittata each morning.


Incorporate this potent antioxidant into your seasonings to purify your blood, support the liver and reduce inflammation.

Broccoli Sprouts

Adding broccoli sprouts to your salad provides sulphorophanes, indole-3-carbinol and D-glucarate.  These compounds accelerate detox and even help ward off pathogenic bacteria!

Jumping 20 times per day

The simple act of jumping up and down moves your lymphatic tissue, increasing your rate of detoxification (and reducing the appearance of cellulite!).

Purified Water

It is vital to drink about half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.  Staying hydrated allows for the effective metabolism and removal of toxins, improves the appearance of your skin and increases energy.

Have you been successful in removing heavy metals from your body naturally?

I want to hear from YOU!  Please leave your comment below!

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Katherine Sexton

    I have read all your books. Could you address long term adrenal exhaustion and also how to recover from long term undiagnosed celiac in future emails?
    I understand you are retired. Do you ever consult with people? I have been trying to get well for 15 years after an endocrinologist over medicated me with huge amounts of Synthroid. Later I was diagnosed with celiac and adrenal fatigue .
    Thank you

    • Lynn

      I did not have full blown celiac, but did have gluten intolerance which is similar. I have been seeing a biological dentist at my alternative doctors direction. I had a gold crown removed, a root canal tooth removed and finally a mercury filled tooth removed – after the removal of the mercury filled tooth (which a metal bridge was attached to), my digestive problems went away (not completely yet, still healing) but I am amazed ad the improvement. I’ve also read that there is a genetic defect that can cause celiac/gluten intolerance. If I were in your position, I would see a GOOD biological dentist (try Dr. Krystyna Wolski in Phoenix or New York (two offices). She is amazing – trained MD, turned Homeopathic doctor (makes her own homeopathic cures), trained in dentistry (and taught it at Tufts Univ.) and now a biological dentist who helps many people with health conditions that respond to nothing else. You would never guess that your teeth/dental work can be tied to health but there are charts out there that tell you exactly which tooth is tied to which organs and how they can affect your health!

    • Team ALG

      Hi Kathy, There is indeed a strong connection between celiac and adrenal exhaustion. The best tools for you would be an Adrenal Stress Panel and the Expanded GI Panel, which Ann Louise personally examines the results of and makes specific recommendations to your individual needs. She is not consulting at this time but does have a consultant available to go into greater depth with the test information and your health history. Here is a link to read more about and purchase the tests > http://www.unikeyhealth.com/testing , and here is a link to a recent blog about adrenal fatigue > http://annlouiseprod.wpengine.com/blog/2014/05/23/stop-the-stress-fat-cycle/

  2. Dana Sherry

    Hi! I’m very interested in trying Zeolite for heavy metal detox. The information states that it traps the heavy metals and is ready for transport out of the body. Is there something additional needed to take for testing transportation ? Or how is it excreted? Also can you recommend a brand? Thank you

    • Team ALG

      Hi Dana, The Lee Cowden Zeolite HP is what is recommended, along with magnesium to relax and open the detox pathways and Super GI Cleanse to bind with and sweep the toxins out.

  3. Diana Fraser

    I love reading about all of these remedies; but I am confused. As a natural health “addict” for many years, I try not to take too many pills. How does one decide which metal detoxifiers to take? If a person took all of the above, wouldn’t that be way too much?

    • Team ALG

      Hi Diana, These remedies are meant to be used selectively based on which heavy metals are present in one’s body and to what degree. To determine this we recommend a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis


    I love your newsletters and the advice that you provide. I have done a detox program last summer that was very successful and made the world of difference in my health. It improved my energy within days and my pain levels had decreased. The only thing, I could not continue to afford to pay for the enzymes. My conventional medicine primary care doctor tells me that all my health problems are my fault. When I know very well that my health problems are linked to toxins that I have difficulty releasing.

    • Team ALG

      Hi Mandara, We hope that you will be able to put these affordable detox options to good use, and that they may improve your health and well-being!

  5. Debra

    Can I take all of these at once? Do you have one pill or do I need many different ones?

    • Team ALG

      Hi Debra, These remedies are meant to be used selectively based on which heavy metals are present in one’s body and to what degree. To determine this we recommend a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis

  6. Michael

    I hesitate using zeolite because of its high content of Aluminum and other metals and in my patients it tests poorly. Takesumi Supreme works great and when necessary DMSA, alpha lipoic etc

    • Leila

      Michael, have you has success detoxing very high lead levels with this product?

    • Team ALG

      Hi Michael, It is true that the zeolite one selects must be done so carefully- the Lee Cowden Zeolite HP is not high in aluminum. Ann Louise is well aware of DMSA and ALA, but they are not appropriate for many of her followers who have the MTHFR genetic deficiency and CBS mutations. These remedies are sulfur-rich, which can be too taxing for these sensitive individuals. The Liver Lovin’ Formula is gentle and effective, and provides a copper free chlorophyll, which you will not find anywhere else!

  7. Larry

    Thanks for sharing, what an interesting post.

  8. Cherie Ching

    Organic cilantro RULES !
    Several friends and family members eat a large serving daily and experience wonderful results.
    safe, safe, safe and effective!

  9. Amy

    JUICE cilantrro and parsley (cold/slow) daily for 30 days. Amazing results. But beware, you will detox and herx if you have heavy metals. Easy, cheap, effective, delicious and a real live food at the same time. Pair it with pure zeolite, and pure blue green algae and youre on your way to being metal free.

    • Team ALG

      Amy, This practice is going to be far too intense for many of our followers!

  10. Leila

    Is roasted dandelion root tea helpful or just unroasted?

    • Team ALG

      Roasted is great!

  11. Ellen

    I am on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet which keeps my Crohn’s Disease in remission. It’s a no starch, no sugar, no lactose, no yeast eating plan, similar to the GAPS diet. I have tried Modified Citrus Pectin & it caused cramps & diarrhea. Sea vegetables like Chlorella considered too mucilaginous for people with IBD by the biochemist whose research forms the basis for the diet – Elaine Gottschall. What forms of liver detox above would be better tolerated by people with sensitive digestive systems?

    • Team ALG

      Hi Ellen, Ann Louise is aware that some of these remedies may be too mucilaginous for IBD sufferers. For those individuals she recommends the Liver Lovin’ Formula and Super GI Cleanse.

  12. Ellen

    Re: Amy’s comment above, what do you mean by the word “herx”?

    • Team ALG

      “herx” is in reference to Herxheimer reaction, which is what can occur for some individuals as they begin to experience strong symptoms of detox and die-off during a cleanse. These symptoms are often much more intense than the symptoms caused by the toxins themselves as they lay sequestered in our bodies, but are usually short lived as the toxins are eliminated.

  13. Mary

    mmm, I love Cilantro good to know.

  14. Liz

    I’ve read all the comments and my favorite remedy is the first one Ann Louise mentions. The taurine containing Liver Lovin’ Formula is gentle which is important for chemically sensitive people. It also contains the power detoxifier copper free chlorophyll. Having it copper free is important because it can cleanse without adding to the toxic burden.

  15. dorothy

    Anna I have SIBO what would be good for me to do..

  16. Agatha

    High levels of radiation have been measured in brazil nuts.

  17. Annie

    What do you think about the “fit bands” that you wear all day and all night to count your steps and sleep patterns etc? I’m considering buying one and would like your suggestions. thank you

    • Team ALG

      A good old fashioned pedometer will do just fine in place of the fit band, for less money and no EMF exposure.

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