There have been a lot of questions about how to remove heavy metals from the body. After reading through different sources on the subject this post is designed to give several ideas for diet and supplements that will help specifically with the detoxification of arsenic.  Different heavy metals are bound by different substances making them easy for the body to excrete.

For any detoxification is important to eat a diet rich in organically produced foods including meats, vegetables, and fruits.  This is an essential component of any detoxification program because it limits the number of new toxins coming into the body.  Arsenic specifically is used in a number of herbicides and pesticides.

Related: Arsenic Exposure

Foods to Eat to Support Natural Arsenic Detoxification

By making some adjustments to your diet, you can add in different foods that bind to heavy metals like arsenic to remove them during the digestion process. Eating foods that have higher amounts of vitamins and minerals has proactive effects for people that need help during arsenic detoxification. These foods include,

Lemon: Drinking lemon water throughout the day will increase the alkalinity of the body and help the body detox heavy metals by unbinding minerals.

Dark Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, and collard-type plants supply the body with organic and easily absorbed minerals essential to detoxification.

High Fiber Foods: Apples, lentils, pears, and raw nuts are all high in fiber. A high fiber diet helps keep the bowels unblocked and bids toxins in the colon.

B Vitamins: A balanced B vitamin supplement will supply all of the B vitamins essential to methylation of arsenic.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C can actually act as a chelating agent and help remove arsenic directly from the bloodstream.

Vitamin B and C  deficiencies have been linked to poor tolerance of heavy metals, making it easier for a person to have higher levels of toxicity.

Related: Cilantro for Detoxification

Foods to Avoid for Arsenic Detoxification

An effective arsenic detox includes more than incorporating healthy foods and vitamins into your diet. To help minimize the effects of arsenic, you’ll also want to eliminate some of the foods you eat. This is especially true for foods that are processed or contain excess fat—these foods usually don’t have significant nutritional value, and they can slow down the arsenic detox process. Foods that contain excess fats tend to soak up the heavy metals that you want to remove. For arsenic detoxification, you should eliminate or reduce:

Brussel Sprouts: While Brussel sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables are among the most healthy, arsenic that exists in the soil is attracted to the sulfur compounds that they contain.

Dark-Meat Fish: All seafood tends to be high in arsenic since it naturally exists in seawater, but dark-meat fish like salmon and tuna contain higher levels than others.

Rice: Rice is another food that contains high levels of arsenic. While white rice contains higher-than-usual levels, brown rice contains even more.

Poultry: Poultry birds typically eat feed that contains arsenic-based drugs, leading to elevated levels in the meat. Organic poultry, on the other hand, is not raised with those arsenic feed additives.

Alcohol: Beer and wine also contain arsenic. It can either be from the water used to brew the drink, but producers also use diatomaceous earth as a filtration material, which harbors arsenic.

There are no magic bullets, but by eating a healthy diet and limiting exposure to arsenic compounds, we can do our best to eliminate as much harmful arsenic as possible.

There are no magic bullets, but by eating a healthy diet and limiting exposure to arsenic compounds, we can do our best to eliminate as much harmful arsenic as possible.

Related: MediClear Detoxification

Portlanders have recently become aware that arsenic, cadmium, and chromium is contaminating our community. The source of the pollution is turned off for now and we are learning about how to clean our bodies, homes, and yards. This article is concerning the nature of arsenic and the risks associated with exposure. Future articles will explore how to get these chemicals out of our bodies. 

Inorganic vs. Organic Arsenic

Arsenic is a trace mineral found naturally on the planet.  There are two forms of arsenic and this distinction is important.  The organic form is found naturally in our environment at low levels and is either non-toxic or slightly toxic to humans. Organic arsenic naturally enters our diets in very small amounts through a number of foods including seafood, mushrooms, rice, and poultry.

Inorganic arsenic is highly toxic to humans. Inorganic arsenic enters our environment through a number of human activities such as manufacturing, use of pesticides and herbicides, weed killers, and smoking.  Here in Portland, the local glass factories were emitting high levels of inorganic arsenic into the air from the dyes they were used to color glass.

Risks of Inorganic Arsenic Exposure

Exposure to high levels of inorganic arsenic can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, delirium, shock, dehydration, and death

Long-term exposure to lower levers of inorganic arsenic can lead to skin changes, sensory and motor nerve defects, decreased kidney and liver function. It is associated with the development of several types of cancers including, bladder, kidney, lung, and skin.

Do you have digestive issues stemming from arsenic or heavy metal levels? See how Inner Gate’s acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine experts can help!