Cleansing and Detoxification of the Body

By Kathleen Christ, LMT, NCMBT

Toxic heavy metals that have been released into our environment have reached such high levels that everyone's health is now seriously threatened. Mercury emissions have tripled since George Bush was elected president, and he has called for further easing of environmental laws that limit the release of industrially produced heavy metals. Missouri is the number one producer of lead in the United States, and although the mines and smelters in and around Herculaneum have produced the worst contamination of toxic lead in the state, most of the Mississippi River Basin has significant deposits of lead-containing soils that pose serious health risks to anyone living in this region.nPeriodic detoxification of heavy metals is a necessity for anyone hoping to maintain good health. Consuming certain natural foods and supplements can greatly assist in removing these poisons from your body.

The healthy foods that remove toxic heavy metals also remove dangerous radioactive substances. During the early years of the nuclear age scientists searched for ways to help people who were exposed to harmful levels of radioactive metals such as uranium, plutonium, strontium and cesium. One such scientist was Dr. Tatsuchiro Akizuki, the head internist at St. Francis Hospital in Nagasaki, Japan. When the atomic blast hit his city in August, 1945, he protected his patients and staff by feeding them a strict diet of miso soup, sea vegetables, brown rice and Hokkaido pumpkin. No one there succumbed to radiation sickness even though other hospitals much further from the blast suffered severe fatalities.

Years later scientists discovered that the key ingredients in Dr. Akizuki's regimen were certain naturally occurring plant chemicals found in the miso soup and the sea vegetables. Miso, which is a fermented soy bean paste, contains a phytochemical called zybicolin, and the sea vegetables, which included wakame, kombu and dulse, contain the polysaccharide, sodium alginate. These natural detoxifiers bind to heavy metals and radioactive elements and safely escort them out of the body. Such agents are called chelates (from the Greek word chele meaning "claw") because they have the ability to chemically hook onto toxic chemicals that the body can then eliminate through the kidneys, bowel or skin. A synthetic chelator, EDTA (ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid) was developed during WWII to detoxify soldiers who suffered from lead poisoning. It has since also been proven useful in clearing plaque from clogged arteries.

Following the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident in 1986, Russian scientists determined that a variety of sea vegetables, including the algae Spirulina and Chlorella, were effective detoxifiers. The best natural substance they found, however, was an extract of brown kelp, Laminaria japonica, that grows in the cold Pacific waters off the eastern coast of Russia. In addition to being a powerful chelator, Laminaria contains U-Fucoidan, an organic compound, which causes cancer cells to self destruct. Besides sea vegetables and miso, a cleansing diet would include other natural whole foods.

Raw, organically grown fruits and vegetables should comprise at least 50% of the diet. Organic foods are free of herbicides and pesticides that often contain lead, mercury or cadmium. Raw foods have higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that cooking destroys. Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale and collards, and yellow or orange fruits and vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupes and mangos are especially rich in vitamins A and C, as well as various minerals that assist in detoxification. Foods containing sulfur compounds, such as garlic, onions, eggs, broccoli and other brassica vegetables, are critical in providing this essential nutrient to the liver allowing it to process heavy metals for elimination. Supporting the liver with the herb, milk thistle and a natural protein supplement, glutathione eases the burden on this major cleansing organ. Cilantro, an herb used in Mexican and Chinese cooking, is a specific detoxifier for mercury.

Anyone undergoing heavy metal detoxification should do so with the assistance of a trained medical practitioner. Mobilizing toxins too rapidly can overwhelm the body's ability to eliminate them, causing further harm to one's health. Not detoxifying, and risking the damaging effects of storing these poisons in the tissues, is usually a less desirable option that could lead to acquiring a debilitating, degenerative disease. A proper diet coupled with regular use of a far-infrared sauna can detoxify the body and restore health.