Lead Detox

There are three steps involved in almost any detoxification program, including lead detox:

1. You need to determine that this is the detoxification you need.

2. You should avoid future contact with the toxin.

3. You need to clean out the toxin.

You can do some of this; you might also need medical therapy.


Is this the detoxification I need?

If your body has slowly accumulated lead toxins, you may have the following symptoms:
  • Problems with irritability, aggressive behaviour and shortened span of attention
  • Difficulty hearing
  • Kidney damage
  • Anemia
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Decreased appetite and energy
  • Numbness, pain or tingling in the hands or feet

Children are at greater risk from lead poisoning. Additional symptoms for children include reduced IQ and slower growth.

You should also ask yourself, “Where could I be in contact with lead”?

  • Old house paint (dating from before about 1978), especially if you are sanding or stripping a room
  • Old painted toys – dating from before 1976, or some recent imported toys
  • Costume jewellery, especially if imported
  • Lead fishing sinkers or bullets
  • Older plumbing: lead pipes, or old solder in the pipes or faucets
  • Crafts and hobbies that involve soldering, making stained glass or jewellery, glazing pottery, or lead figurines
  • Pewter dishes
  • Car batteries
  • Contaminated soil: in land near highways (due to car exhaust from the days of leaded gasoline); in land near older houses where exterior paint had been stripped repeatedly; in neighbourhoods which have changed from industrial to residential use

Ask your doctor if there are other medical explanations for your symptoms. Many of the listed symptoms are common and not very significant if they occur infrequently. However, a blood lead test gives sure results. Discuss the results with your doctor to determine if it's necessary to do a lead detox.

How to detox: Get the lead out

There are four pillars for a lead detox program:

  • Avoid lead
  • Nutrition – both to cleanse, and to keep healthy despite the lead
  • Self therapy (other than nutrition)
  • Medical therapy
Avoid lead

This step may be very easy or very difficult and costly. It seems obvious that you should avoid further exposure to lead, but it is the absolutely necessary first step.

Identifying leaden or lead-painted toys, jewelry, and other items may not be easy. Putting them away should be easy.

Curtailing your fishing, hunting, or soldering hobbies may be straightforward, but it is not emotionally easy to give up a hobby.

You might want to re-paint a room if you know it has lead paint – but what about preparing the surface? Sanding would scatter lead dust into the air.

Paint stripping may release chemicals into the air. Hire a professional, and inform them of the problem. You should consider a thorough professional cleaning (including air ducts) to remove contaminated dust.

You might need to contract to have the soil removed from your yard – possibly while you go out of town to avoid the dust. Will you hose down the house afterwards?

You might need to upgrade the plumbing in your home.

Nutrition

Good nutrition is always important, but more so when dealing with lead toxins. Lead interferes with the body’s absorption of some nutrients, but these nutrients also help the body avoid absorbing lead. To do a lead detox, Iron, calcium and vitamin C are important. Raw fruits and vegetables are important, both for vitamins and as fiber.

Several foods and herbs may be used to specifically target lead:

  • Beans: cook them, eat them, and possibly rein in your social life for a few days
  • Cabbage: raw in salads, or cooked as a vegetable
  • Cilantro (aka coriander): raw or cooked, in salads or soups
  • Chlorella, a green freshwater algae
  • Garlic: eaten raw, or stir-fried in olive oil and added to other dishes
  • Green tea: steep the fresh leaves, and sip all day
  • Milk thistle: Herb capsules that can be found at any health food store.
  • Onions: eaten raw, or stir-fried in olive oil and added to other dishes
  • Rutin is extracted from buckwheat, apple skin, and black tea
  • Wheatgrass juice
Other self therapies for lead detox

You can induce perspiration by soaking in a hot bath. Add ½ cup each of Epsom salts, baking soda, and ginger juice. After perspiring for at least five minutes, rinse off with a shower. Opinions are mixed regarding exercise. Aerobic exercise will help induce perspiration, and is generally a good thing.

Far infrared sauna is another wonderful method of removing toxins by sweating. You may purchase a personal sauna, or visit a spa or a naturopath who has one.

Medical treatment

Medical treatment involves chelation therapy. A drug is injected, which binds to the lead and produces a compound that the kidneys can filter into the urine. Chelation therapy can be done by many reputable naturopaths, so if you suspect lead may be a problem in your system it would be advisable to consult a naturopath about removal via chelation therapy.

According to the naturopath I consulted, most people today are plagued by high levels of one or more heavy metals in their system. He was able to provide Tom and I with liquid oral chelation, which was much more cost effective than the IV procedure.

Recently I have found that there are pills (EDTA) that are effective methods of performing chelation therapy as well, and at a much more reasonable cost than either the IV or the liquid.

If you determine you have high levels of lead, or other heavy metals, consider one or more of these options for removal.

Other Resources

The U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) listed 1-800-424-5323 as the number for the National Lead Information Center. They can advise on how to get your home tested.

They also offer a web site, http://www.epa.gov/lead/ .

Your Turn!

Here's your chance to tell your story about lead detox now. Tell us how you removed the lead from your system and how much better you feel now.

Tell us about how you "got the lead out."

Have you found your system to be contaminated with lead? Have you done detox procedures to remove it?

Tell us how you got the lead in your system, how you found out about it, how you eventually went about detox to remove it.

Tell our readers how you felt before detox and how you felt afterwards.

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