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The detoxification from heavy metals, a public health issue perspective

A great buzz is happening around this.

Yes, heavy metals is an area of great concern. Heavy metals are for our purpose ---metals body does not require but because they are in environment body is forced to ingest it. Heavy metals come from food chain via soil, water, environment and there is no way to escape it.

Comes by water both overground and under ground, mostly because of industrial waste.

Like every toxic material, there are three stages of it.

Tolerable limits: where body can manage it on itself.

Limits of concern: where one must be proactively worried.

And toxic levels: where you need medicinal help

And fortunately, very small numbers are in segment 3 –where in treatments are not pleasant nor cheap.

Since it is a public health issue swatches of area will be known where heavy metals is issue like coastal areas especially mercury via fishes.

Arsenic in water. And there are pockets in India they are well known for this issue.

So, identifying the zone one is living in is crucial ---some regions/areas will require focused attention. For most of us we are in zones of not serious concern ---but since its growing area and accumulation in body is continuous process ---being care full is a welcome step.

Below is list of food items that can be incorporated in life that will reduce the load of heavy metals in body.

Cilantro and Chlorella: Scientific Study

Study Overview

 A study was conducted over three years by a team of researchers led by Dr. George J. Georgiou at the Da Vinci College of Holistic Medicine, Larnaca, Cyprus (published in the "International Journal of Complementary & Alternative Medicine), aimed to identify effective natural chelators for heavy metal detoxification. The research, meticulously designed as a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, focused on testing various natural substances, with a particular emphasis on the combined use of cilantro and chlorella.



The study's findings highlighted the remarkable effectiveness of the cilantro and chlorella combination in heavy metal detoxification:

·        Cilantro and Chlorella: The heavy metal detox blend was the only compound that effectively mobilized and eliminated all metals tested.

·        Statistical Significance: The post-provocation samples showed a statistically significant increase in the elimination of heavy metals compared to the baseline. 

Key statistics from the study:

·        Arsenic in Urine: People taking the detox compound had a massive surge in arsenic levels in their urine, indicating that the arsenic was being flushed out of their bodies. The detox made arsenic levels in urine shoot up by an average of 74 times the starting amount, which is a strong indication that it was being effectively removed.

·        Lead in Urine: Lead levels in urine increased by more than four and a half times after using the detox compound, compared to a decrease in the placebo group. This suggests that lead was being actively eliminated from the body.

·        Cadmium in Urine: There was a notable increase in cadmium elimination, with levels in urine going up by two-thirds compared to a significant decrease in the placebo group.

·        Mercury in Urine: The detox led to a more than fourfold increase in mercury levels in urine, while there was almost no change in the placebo group.

For the other metals tested (like Nickel, Bismuth, and Uranium), the results varied:

·        Nickel in Urine: The increase in nickel was not statistically significant compared to the placebo.

·        Bismuth in Urine: Bismuth showed a significant increase, with levels in urine after detox being more than five times higher than the placebo group.

·        Uranium in Urine: Uranium also showed a significant sevenfold increase.

Call for Further Research:

Despite the promising results, the study acknowledges the necessity for further research:

·        Understanding the Full Potential: The remarkable findings pave the way for additional studies to fully comprehend the mechanisms, efficacy, and safety of cilantro and chlorella in heavy metal detoxification.

·        Clinical Trials: Further clinical trials are essential to validate these findings and to establish standardized guidelines for the use of these natural chelators in medical practice.

Cilantro and Chlorella: Scientific Article

The article titled "Chelation: Harnessing and Enhancing Heavy Metal Detoxification—A Review" from PubMed Central provides an extensive review of the role of chelation in heavy metal detoxification. The review discusses the ubiquity of toxic metals like arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury, their detrimental effects on human health, and the potential of chelation therapy in mitigating these effects.


Key Points from the Article:

·        Toxic Metals and Health Risks: The article emphasizes that toxic metals have no beneficial role in human homeostasis and contribute significantly to noncommunicable chronic diseases. The review highlights the need for interventions that aid in the detoxification of these toxic elements.

·        Chelation in the Body: Chelation, involving multiple coordination bonds between organic molecules and metals, is a natural process in the body. The review details how peptides like glutathione and metallothionein chelate both essential and toxic elements as they are sequestered, transported, and excreted.

·        Enhancing Natural Chelation Pathways: The article reviews strategies to enhance natural chelation detoxification pathways and the use of pharmaceutical chelators against heavy metals. It discusses the historical outcomes, lessons learned, and successes of using chelation to improve conditions related to renal, cardiovascular, and neurological health.

·        Cilantro and Chlorella in Chelation: The review mentions cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) as a popular culinary and medicinal herb known for its potential in heavy metal detoxification. It also discusses chlorella as a natural polymer gaining attention for its potential to adsorb heavy metals. The review, however, points out that while cilantro has been reported to enhance mercury excretion, the evidence is limited, and more research is needed to establish its efficacy conclusively. The article does not provide any further information.

·        Call for Further Research: The article calls for renewed attention to simple, safe, and inexpensive interventions like chelation that offer potential to stem the tide of debilitating chronic diseases. It suggests that while novel drug targets for chronic disease are eagerly sought, agents that aid in the detoxification of toxic elements should not be overlooked.

Cilantro and Chlorella: Scientific Review

In the Journal of Herbmed Pharmacology, the article titled "Heavy metals detoxification: A review of herbal compounds for chelation therapy in heavy metals toxicity" by authors Reza Mehrandish, Aliasghar Rahimian, and Alireza Shahriary, provides a comprehensive examination of the impact of heavy metals on human health and the environment. It emphasises the potential of medicinal herbs in mitigating the adverse effects of heavy metal toxicity.


Key Insights on Chlorella and Cilantro:

Chlorella, identified as a green algae, stands out for its high chlorophyll content and natural chelating properties. It's particularly effective against heavy metals such as lead and mercury. The study highlights chlorella's ability to:

·        Bind with heavy metals.

·        Facilitate the removal of mercury from the body, including the digestive tract, muscle ligaments, connective tissue, and bones.

The effectiveness of chlorella is significantly enhanced when used in conjunction with cilantro. Together, they form a potent duo that detoxifies a range of neurotoxins, including:

·        Heavy metals like mercury.

·        Toxic chemicals such as phthalates, plasticizers, and insecticides

From our note (15/apr/2023)in our Facebook group:


Medicinal herbs effective in treatment of heavy metals poisoning

Key herbs which can act in this way including Allium sativum (garlic), Silybum marianum (milk thistle), Coriandrum sativum (cilantro), Ginkgo biloba (gingko), Curcuma longa (turmeric), Phytochelatins, triphala, herbal fibers and Chlorophyta (green algae) are briefly discussed below:

Allium sativum

Allium sativum is an herbal medication containing allin, as its main amino acid. Allin contains sulfur substitutes and in the presence of alliinase is converted to allicin, which then produces other compounds such as: vinyldithiines, ajaenes, and poly sulfides. Sulfur components are responsible for the smell created by garlic. Allium vegetables, such as garlic, onion, leek, and chive, contain organosulfur compounds contributing to clearance of heavy metals such as lead and arsenic by the liver. Also, cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, turnips, and kohlrabi are rich sources of sulfur-containing substances.


Heavy metals can damage the tissues through indirect induction of oxidative stress. It has been shown that garlic has a protective effect on the liver. It has the high effect on poisoning caused by cadmium, mercury, and lead, respectively.

Onion and garlic could be used as an alternative remediation to increase clearance of toxic heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, iron, mercury, and lead. Garlic is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese. Organosulfur compounds specially and allicin, are biologically active ingredients providing the main protective capabilities of garlic. These components could contribute to detoxification of heavy metals since they are able to bind to most of chemical compounds harboring positive charges.

Garlic shows a protective effect against heavy metals poisoning in mice and co-administration of garlic with cadmium or organic mercury for 12 weeks reduces the accumulation of heavy metals in the liver, kidneys, bones, and testicles (target organs of cadmium poisoning). Also, it has been shown that regular garlic consumption reduces the histopathological damages and inhibit serum alkaline phosphatase enzyme. Garlic at the higher dosage causes a decrease in mercury accumulation in the brain in animals treated with methyl mercury. This protective effect is because of a smaller amount of mercury absorbed into the brain as a result of the increased excretion of mercury from the body by garlic. The protective effect of garlic is probably caused by sulfur compounds combining with the heavy metals in the body and promoting excretion through bile to the feces. Studies have also shown that the absorption of garlic through the respiratory tract can limit the effect of lead.

Milk thistle

In the seventeenth century, physician and herbalist Nicolas Culpeper claimed that milk thistle can help the liver by unblocking it, when the bile ducts blocked, bile builds up in the liver and jaundice developed due to increasing level of bilirubin in the blood, so it also helps to cure jaundice. In traditional Chinese medicine, milk thistle belongs to the category of herbs that clears heat and relieves toxicity. Herbs in this category are used to clear infections, which are referred to as internal heat in traditional Chinese medicine.

Silybum marianum contains flavonoids such silybin, silychristin, silydianin and 2,3 dehydro derivatives. Oral silybin consumption, especially silybin-ß cyclodextrin, protects liver against iron-induced toxicity in mice. Silybin treatment reduces the accumulation of additional malondialdehyde-altered proteins in peritoneal portal hepatocytes (reduces oxidative and lipid proxidative damages).

Silybin also reduces liver function impairments. Protective properties of Silybin are possibly explainable by its notable iron binding ability.

A group of Italian researches have reported the silybin content for Iron binding (silybin is a component of the silymarin or flavonolignan complex). This complex is found in milk thistle.

The study was designed to find an oral and non-synthetic alternative for synthetic iron-binding agent “Desferrioxamine” because this drug has side effects like: bone deformation, sensory impairment, and toxicity. These researchers found that silybin bound to ferric iron, strongly even in acidic pH. Regarding its bioavailability silybin seems to have potential to increase the excretion of heavy metals.

In addition, the simultaneous consumption of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and silymarin, results in more improved detoxification of lead by rats’ liver. In patients with liver problems arising from toluene and xylene, silymarin could improve liver function.


Several studies have been conducted to investigate the potential of cilantro in detoxification of heavy metals. Results of two published studies suggest that this plant could help improve mercury clearance in a number of patients poisoned with heavy metals. However, these studies showed that cilantro established a weaker bond with heavy metals in comparison to allicin of garlic and silybin of milk thistle, indicating that its administration has less priority than garlic and milk thistle.

The results of another study showed that cilantro prevented localized placement of lead in mice. However, these results are remarkable for bone tissue and not for soft tissues. In other hand, the relationship between dose and response has not been observed so the presented results are not very reliable.

Ginkgo biloba

G. biloba extract is a standard extract of G. biloba leaves which exhibits anti-oxidant properties as the free radical scavenger in different organs providing protective benefits against sensory. It is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes through the senses.

The results of the study by Tunali-Akbay et al, indicate that lead toxicity causes toxic effects on aorta and the heart which are associated with increased lipid peroxidation and decreased glutathione level.

Ginkgo biloba is one of the herbal remedies useful as a complementary treatment for lead-poisoned patients. G. biloba inhibits lead-induced poisoning and corrects the biochemical parameters. Also, G. biloba causes the free radicals to be trapped leading to reduced oxidative stress and elevated glutathione level.

Increased malondialdehyde production as a consequence of lead poisoning is well-documented. Results of studies show that G. biloba consumption, significantly suppresses lipid peroxidation and reduces the production of malondialdehyde which is the end product of lipid peroxidation.


Turmeric is the root of a plant which is scientifically known as Curcuma longa. While turmeric is perfectly safe and a wonderful spice, it is not as useful to our body system as its component, curcumin. Curcumin is a naturally-occurring chemical compound found in the spice turmeric.

Curcumin is a bright yellow chemical agent produced by some plants. It is a member of ginger family, Zingiberaceae. Curcumin has been used historically in Ayurvedic medicine against various human diseases. Anti-hepatoxic effects of curcumin are well-documented and according to the literature, curcumin reduces liver toxicity caused by environmental toxicants such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, and mercury. It prevents histological damage, lipid peroxidation and corrects glutathione level to retrieve the antioxidant capacity of liver and to protect the liver enzymes against oxidative stress. Most of the protective effects attributed to the curcumin arise from its ability to trap free radicals and its chelating property.

As indicated in the literature, dietary supplementation could be considered as a natural method for detoxification of heavy metals. Although time-consuming, supplementation with vitamin C, chromium and garlic helps to clear metals from the body, and it does not show the side effects arisen from administration of chemical chelators.

The study by Hewlings and Kalman highlights two important biological properties of curcumin, one of them is anti-oxidant and the other one is anti-inflammatory effects. According to the results of these researchers, curcumin exerts its antioxidant effect by trapping free radicals and by adjusting the activity of catalase, glutathione, and superoxide dismutase enzymes.


Triphala (Emblica officinalis) is a traditional ayurvedic herbal formulation obtained from dried powder of three fruits: Amalaki (known as Bibitaki), Terminalia bellirica and haritaki. Triphala has been reported to exhibit anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diarrheal activities. This traditional formula is able to improve the constipation and regulating the gastrointestinal movements that are important for the removal of heavy metals.

Herbal fibers

Herbal fibers play an important role in detoxification of heavy metals. The results of studies show that fiber consumption reduces the exposure to toxins due to increased gastrointestinal motility. Pectin is the most important plant fiber. It is a form of soluble fiber found in many fruits. Consumption of pectin-rich fruits in the diet contributes to improved digestion and owing to it high capability of pectin in binding heavy metals, can support the detoxification process. After ingestion pectin passes directly the stomach and intestine and reaches the colon. As negatively charged compounds, pectin fibers tend to attract the ions of heavy metals. Pectin’s reach out with their carboxylic groups and grab heavy metals, radionuclides, and bile acids to bind and carry these items out of our bodies, which helps reduce our toxic load.

Green algae

Green algae and some other aquatic plants are capable of absorbing mercury in the environment. It is reported that Chlorella in diet increases the clearance of mercury from the digestive tract, muscle, ligaments, connective tissue, and bones. Chlorella is a green alga which due to its high chlorophyll content acts as a natural chelator of heavy metals, especially lead and mercury. Chlorella and cilantro as food materials can detoxify some neurotoxins such as heavy metals (example: mercury) and toxic chemicals (like: phthalates, plasticizers, and insecticides). Herbs scientific and common names, their families and specific heavy metals that are excreted by each of them.

Dietary considerations for detoxification of heavy metals

The first step is to change the nutritional behavior and lifestyle for health promotion.

A plant-based diet beneficial for detoxification of heavy metals should include:

  1. Green leafy vegetables: green foods are one of the strongest foods to remove heavy metals. The results of the studies show that daily consumption of bitter vegetables such as cabbage, tomatoes, spinach, and beet vegetables reduces the inflammation and has antioxidant properties.

  2. Herbs and spices: Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant plants such as parsley, basil, Mentha pulegium (pune), rosemary, Thyme (avisen), ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and cilantro can contribute to improved clearance of heavy metals. Cilantro is a good herb to be consumed to remove heavy metals and can reduce the formation of heavy metals such as mercury and lead in the body.

  3. Foods rich in vitamin C: Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C can reduce the damage caused by heavy metals poisoning owing to their antioxidant properties. Vitamin C-rich foods include: citrus, such as orange and grapefruit, green leaves like spinach and cabbage and also red pepper.

Additional points we learn from agronomy and animal husbandry researches:

Soils too have the problem of heavy metals ---they absorb it same way as humans and that passes to food.

Lot of research is happening in that segment and lot of plants have been found to absorb heavy metals in huge quantities ----which proves two things

1. While one has to be careful about its use and products of that plant by logical sequencing have to heavy metal absorbers.

2. And as further logical sequencing they are natural chelation agents ---and since they are edible things with other proven benefits including providing fiber ---and get exerted via the route of colon as waste ---they very much can be considered as part of diet. Two herbs that strike me are hemp seeds and ashwagandha. But then they both must be heavy metal free ---that is where agronomy protocols turn important.

Other considerations:

The mechanism by which the heavy metals induce neurotoxicity follows free radicals’ production pathway(s) specially the generation of reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species. These free radicals produced in excess have been shown to create an imbalance between the oxidative and antioxidative systems leading to emergence of oxidative stress, which may cause necrosis, DNA damage, and many neurodegenerative disorders. “----so any herb that helps in managing this outcome will be helpful and we have huge list of such herbs like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, brahmi , amla .

But as I always say there is no option but to see it as public health issue and reduce its exposure to environment -----and that takes me to my favorite subject of every citizen must be involved in politics and speak for welfare of maximum benefit.

And I will try to develop an ARK distillate of products that will be helpful in reducing the formation of the impact of heavy metals in body and even capsules .

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27. Cha CW. A study on the effect of garlic to the heavy metal poisoning of rat. J Korean Med Sci. 1987;2(4):213-24. doi: 10.3346/jkms.1987.2.4.213.

28. Nwokocha CR, Owu DU, Nwokocha MI, Ufearo CS, Iwuala MO. Comparative study on the efficacy of Allium sativum (garlic) in reducing some heavy metal accumulation in liver of Wistar rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2012;50(2):222-6. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2011.11.003.

29. Senapati SK, Dey S, Dwivedi SK, Swarup D. Effect of garlic (Allium sativum L.) extract on tissue lead level in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2001;76(3):229-32.

30. Borsari M, Gabbi C, Ghelfi F, Grandi R, Saladini M, Severi S, et al. Silybin, a new iron-chelating agent. J Inorg Biochem. 2001;85(2-3):123-9.

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32. Tunali-Akbay T, Sener G, Salvarli H, Sehirli O, Yarat A. Protective effects of Ginkgo biloba extract against mercury(II)-induced cardiovascular oxidative damage in rats. Phytother Res. 2007;21(1):26-31. doi: 10.1002/ ptr.2007.

33. Hewlings S, Kalman D. Curcumin: a review of its’ effects on human health. Foods. 2017;6(10):E92. doi: 10.3390

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