What pulls heavy metals out of the body?

Heavy metal toxicity is a serious health concern. Heavy metals such as lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and aluminum can accumulate in the body over time and cause damage. Removing these toxins from the body is important for maintaining health and preventing disease.

Chelation Therapy

Chelation therapy is a medical procedure that involves using chelating agents to bind to heavy metals in the body. The metal-chelator complex can then be excreted from the body through urine and feces. Chelation therapy has been used to treat heavy metal poisoning for decades and more recently has been studied as a potential treatment for other conditions such as heart disease.

How Chelation Therapy Works

Chelating agents, or chelators, are compounds that form strong bonds with metal ions. Common chelators used in therapy include:

  • EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid)
  • DMPS (dimercaptopropane sulfonate)
  • DMSA (meso-dimercaptosuccinic acid)
  • ALA (alpha-lipoic acid)

When administered, these agents travel through the bloodstream and bind to molecules of toxic metals. This metal-chelate complex is then excreted out of the body through urine and feces. Chelation therapy is often administered intravenously in a medical setting, but oral supplements are also available.


Studies show that chelation therapy can be effective at removing heavy metals from the body and reducing the body burden. A review of clinical trials found that chelation therapy successfully reduced lead levels in both children and adults with lead poisoning.

Studies have also shown success with chelation therapy for removing other heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury, aluminum, and cadmium. However, the benefits seem most established for lead and mercury toxicity.

Safety Considerations

When done correctly under medical supervision, chelation therapy is considered relatively safe. However, side effects can include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Low blood calcium
  • Kidney or liver damage

Incorrect chelation therapy can be dangerous, leading to mineral imbalances or excess excretion of non-toxic minerals like calcium, zinc, and copper. Working with a knowledgeable practitioner is important.

Sauna Therapy

Sauna therapy refers to the use of saunas, either dry heat or infrared, to help eliminate toxins from the body. Sweating is a natural mechanism the body uses to cool itself. When sweating is induced in a sauna, fluids from the bloodstream come to the surface of the skin and are excreted along with any contaminants dissolved in the sweat.

How Saunas Help

Research shows that sauna therapy can increase the excretion of heavy metals including mercury, cadmium, nickel, lead, and aluminum. The heat and sweating likely help mobilize toxins stored in fat tissue, allowing the body to eliminate them.

A review of several studies found that a single session in a sauna increased the elimination of toxic metals through sweat. Repeated sauna use was even more effective, with elimination rates increasing over time.


Sauna therapy appears to be a safe way to increase heavy metal excretion. Make sure to stay hydrated and listen to your body’s limits when using a sauna.

While saunas can help eliminate some toxins, chelation therapy may be more effective for cases of acute heavy metal poisoning.

Herbs and Supplements

Certain herbs, vitamins, and amino acids may support the body’s natural ability to bind and excrete heavy metals.


Chlorella is a type of algae that contains chlorophyll and other compounds that bind to metals. Animal studies have found chlorella helps increase the excretion of lead, mercury, cadmium, and aluminum.

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle contains the antioxidant silymarin. Research indicates silymarin may help improve glutathione levels in the body. Glutathione is part of the natural defense system and helps bind and clear various toxins including heavy metals.


Probiotics may help eliminate heavy metals in a couple different ways. First, beneficial gut bacteria can help suppress absorption of toxins from food. Second, certain probiotics strains can directly bind to heavy metals in the digestive tract.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C promotes glutathione production. Higher levels of glutathione may support the elimination of heavy metals.

Alpha Lipoic Acid

ALA is both water and fat soluble allowing it to access toxins in various tissues. Animal research indicates ALA increased urinary excretion of mercury after exposure.

Lifestyle Changes

Making certain lifestyle changes can reduce your exposure to heavy metals and support healthy metal excretion.

Avoid Exposure

Limit contact with known sources of heavy metals like lead paint and pipes. Choose low mercury fish and organic foods when possible.


Regular exercise helps mobilize toxins stored in fat and tissues. As the body sweats, metals can be excreted through the skin.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of filtered water to support detoxification pathways. Getting enough water also prevents toxin recirculation.

Eat Fiber

A high fiber diet promotes elimination through the digestive system. Binding to fiber may also prevent reabsorption of heavy metals.


Removing accumulated heavy metals from the body can be a challenge. Chelation therapy is considered an effective medical treatment for acute heavy metal toxicity. Sauna therapy may help eliminate some metals through sweat. Certain supplements can provide key nutrients to support the body’s natural detox systems.

Lifestyle measures like avoiding exposures, exercising, hydrating, and eating fiber all facilitate the release of stored toxins. Working with a knowledgeable practitioner to come up with a comprehensive detoxification plan can help restore balance and minimize the health impacts of heavy metals.

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