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Detox heavy metals with Pectin & Chlorella PDF Print E-mail

Mercury is a neurotoxin that can damage the brain and other internal organs. Autopsies have shown that people who have died of Alzheimer's disease have three times the amount of mercury in their brains compared to people without Alzheimer's disease. Mercury has also been implicated in the development of Parkinson's disease, and making symptoms of type II diabetes worse.

We get exposed to mercury from three sources: 1) "silver" metal fillings in teeth, which are made from an amalgam of mercury and other metals, 2) toxins in the environment, including the air, water, and seafood, and 3) mercury is used as a preservative in some vaccines.

Our bodies have a natural detoxification system based on the production of an anti-oxidant called glutathione, which is made in the body from the amino acids L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid, and glycine. In a perfect world, our glutathione systems would remove mercury from our bodies just as quickly as it enters, and no one would suffer ill effects from mercury exposure. However, some people have a greater degree of exposure than others, and so the mercury accumulates in their bodies over time. Just two examples of individuals who are at an elevated risk due to mercury exposure are dentists, who are exposed to mercury fillings on a regular basis at work, and healthcare workers who are required to receive a flu vaccine every year. People who have mercury amalgam fillings in their teeth are also exposed to a small amount of mercury every time they eat and drink, and it adds up – studies of cadavers have shown that people who had these fillings have significantly more mercury in their brain tissue. Also, some individuals have a genetic predisposition to having a slow glutathione system that does not detoxify mercury from the body at a fast rate, and these individuals are at an elevated risk of Alzheimer's.

When is the best time to get started detoxifying mercury from your body? NOW! Eliminating mercury from your body is a slow, gradual process. You should think of it like a marathon, not a sprint. If you have already seen effects of mercury exposure (such as fatigue, confusion, or "brain fog"), you should eliminate mercury. But even if you have not seen any symptoms, it is best to begin the process of detoxifying now, to prevent any problems in the future and greatly reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer's or other dementias.

A term you may come across for removing mercury from the body through food and supplements is nutritional chelation (pronounced key-lation), from the Greek word chele, meaning claw. You are using food to chelate, or remove, mercury from your body.

If you have had a severe level of exposure, you should work with a doctor you trust to create the perfect detox program for you. However, if you have not been exposed to enough mercury to have experienced symptoms already, and want to take proactive steps now to safeguard your health, it is pretty easy to implement a simple chlorella + pectin detoxification protocol. By following this protocol you will reduce your risk of mercury-related problems in the future, and it likely that you will find that you have greater levels of energy, alertness, and awareness. You might find that you didn't know you were experiencing a sub-optimal level of health, until you eliminated the feelings of sluggishness and brain fog that were a result of mercury exposure, that you thought were just "normal" for you.

Like I said, mercury detoxification it is not an instant fix. You aren't going to notice that you feel healthier or more alert within a week, or even a month. Mercury detoxification is something that you should make a part of a healthy lifestyle, that also includes healthy food and exercise.
An important feature of mercury is that it is a heavy metal that binds to other substances very easily. Mercury causes damage to the body when it binds to organs, connective tissue, and nerve tissue--including the brain. Fortunately, we can also use mercury's affinity to bind to substances in order to remove mercury from the body.

Two supplements that should be the backbone of mercury detox protocol are chlorella and pectin. Both supplements together create an awesome one-to punch against the enemy that is mercury toxicity. Chlorella is a type of green algae that forms in ponds. You want touse organic chlorella to make sure that it is pure -- that no toxins have already attached to it. You also want it to be chlorella with a broken cell wall, so that you can digest it and your body can use it. Chlorella has an affinity to bind with mercury. You can build up chlorella in your body by taking
three grams per day. Chlorella is available in pill (tablet or capsule) format or powder. I prefer pills because they are more convenient and I dislike the taste of the powder.

How does chlorella work? As you take chlorella, your levels of it build up in your intestines. Mercury that gets mobilized inside your body gets brought to the intestines, where it binds to the chlorella and is eliminated in the stool. It will take about 3 to 6 months of consuming 3 g per day of chlorella for the levels of this nutrient to be built up enough for detoxification to start. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Meanwhile, your body is receiving many other benefits from chlorella, which is highly nutritious and is a source of vitamin A and vitamin C, and chlorophyll and other phytonutrients.

An important thing to know about chlorella is that taking large doses of vitamin C (such as in a concentrated form in a vitamin pill, rather  than what is naturally present in food) can weaken the ability of chlorella to bind mercury. If you take vitamin C and chlorella at the same time, there is a risk that the chlorella will let go of the mercury, releasing it back into your system. Do not consume chlorella and vitamin C within three hours of each other. I take my chlorella supplements early in the morning, and I avoid taking any supplements containing large doses of vitamin C until three hours later. The small amount of vitamin C present in the chlorella it self, or other vegetables, is not a concern.

What is pectin? Pectin is the type of fiber found in many fruits--for instance, there is a lot of pectin in the skin of apples. The kind of pectin you will find most often with supplements in modified citrus pectin, which is made from the peels of oranges and/or lemons. Pectin also binds with mercury in the body, and this mercury is eliminated through the urine. A study by Dr. Isaac Eliaz at Amitabha Medical Clinic in Sebastopol, California, found that individuals who took the recommended dose of modified citrus pectin (5 g per day) for a period of 4-10 months reduced an average of 70% of the total mercury load in their bodies. Four months was determined to be the minimum time needed to have significant results, and the amount eliminated increased with longer periods of taking the supplement.

I recommend taking pectin because of three things: 1) Pectin causes mercury and other heavy metals (such as aluminum) to be excreted through the urine and chlorella causes it to be excreted through the stool, so taking both means having multiple paths of removing mercury from the body, 2) Studies have shown that pectin reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol, and 3) Studies have also shown that pectin has cancer-fighting properties in that it can attach to cancer cells and prevent them from developing into tumours. Both chlorella and pectin have this in common – they are nutritious, health-promoting substances that have more to recommend them that simply removing mercury from the body.
If you choose to take both chlorella and pectin, as I recommend, it is something to take for the long-term. Results are not even going to be noticed until you have taken these supplements for 3 to 6 months. It is important to stick with it once you get started--once you have started to mobilize mercury, you want to make sure it gets out of your body, rather than said running back into a different place within your body. You also want to make sure you have enough fiber in your diet, and you are at having at least one but preferably two to three good bowel movements per day. This makes sure that you are removing mercury from your body quickly once it gets to your bowels.

I want to mention just a couple other nutrients that are helpful in removing mercury from the body. One is sulfur, which is found in garlic, garlic oil, eggs, and cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, kale, and collard greens.) Sulfur binds easily with mercury. So does selenium, which is found in its highest concentrations in Brazil nuts. With sulfur, you can consume just about as much as you want without it being harmful. If you ate garlic cloves all day, the only detrimental effect would be your friends complaining about your bad breath. With selenium, 400 mcg per day is considered the tolerable upper limit. Cilantro (dhania or coriander) is another food which binds to mercury easily. Cilantro has a lot of health benefits as a food to use in your cooking or as a garnish, including anti-inflammatory properties, phytonutrients, and improving your cholesterol
profile. However, there is a lot of misinformation out there about the role of cilantro in detoxification. High doses of cilantro – in pill or oil form – can have a place in a detoxification regime, but ONLY after you have been detoxifying with chlorella and/or pectin (preferably both) for at least 3-6 months. Cilantro will mobilize mercury – pull it out of the brain, organs, and connective tissue -- but it will not remove it from the body. If you take therapeutic (high) doses of cilantro but you are not actively excreting mercury (with the help of pectin and chlorella), then the mercury that has been released from its storage places by the cilantro can cause more damage in the body, and eventually be re-absorbed back into the brain, organs, or connective tissue.

After you have been taking pectin and chlorella daily for 6 months, what is happening in your body and what is the next step? First of all, it is very likely that your overall toxic body burden of mercury has significantly decreased. Your body is in the habit of removing mercury faster when it does enter your body – which means that you are receiving fewer harmful effects from being exposed to mercury through environmental exposure, eating seafood, mercury fillings in your mouth, or any vaccines you may be receiving. From here, you might decide to continue taking these maintenance doses – 3g / day of chlorella and 5g/day of pectin – to keep removing heavy metals from your body. You might decide to discontinue the pectin and only continue to take the chlorella. Or now that you have built a good foundation with 6 months of slow and steady removal of mercury, you might decide to kick your detoxification into a higher gear.

Another step you might consider is to get your mercury amalgam fillings removed and get them replaced with fillings made of a nontoxic substance such as composite resin or glass ionomer. If you choose to have this procedure done, you should only have it performed by a holistic or biological dentist who is well-versed in removing amalgam fillings safely. Otherwise, your health could be damaged by being exposed to high quantities of mercury vapors during the procedure. Even with the procedure performed by a skilled holistic dentist, you are still likely to be exposed to some mercury during the procedure – in which case your body will be much more equipped to eliminate it because you have already implemented that chlorella and pectin protocol for at least six months. A later article will discuss amalgam removal and a supplement and nutritional regime that will support doing it safely.   

So to wrap up – removing mercury from the body is a slow, gradual process, but it’s easy and surprisingly inexpensive to start right now. So put these items on your shopping list: Chlorella (you will be taking 3g/day) and medicinal Pectin (5g/day).

Also, next time you are out grocery shopping, pick up some garlic and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli or collard greens (for sulfur), and some Brazil nuts (for selenium.) Happy supplementing, and happy eating!