Cleansing Environmental Toxicity and Heavy Metals

Over the last several generations, we have seen the emergence of a new kind of disease mechanism: environmental toxicity.

At one time, diseasing-causing bugs and infection were our biggest public health concern. Scientists are now turning their attention to chemicals, pesticides, air pollution, plastics, and heavy metals.

Your chronic migraines could be caused by environmental toxicity from pesticides, chemicals, air pollution, plastics, and more. Outside toxins could leave you at risk for a number of serious health issues, including depression, asthma, fibromyalgia, and even cancer!

This is because studies are finding that these substances play a large role in the development of many chronic conditions, including:

  • Asthma
  • Migraine headaches
  • Depression
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
  • Fibromyalgia (1)
  • Obesity and metabolic syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Neurological degeneration  (like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease) (2)
  • Autoimmunity (3)
  • “Leaky” or permeable gut (4)
While this list of known side effects from industrial chemicals and heavy metals is long, in reality there are many other conditions that have been associated with environmental toxins.

TILT: Otherwise Known as Toxicant Induced Loss of Tolerance

Chemical sensitivity, and the diseases associated with it, has a name. In the late 1990’s, Dr. Claudia Miller described the condition and mechanism as Toxicant Induced Loss of Tolerance (or TILT), and the name has stuck ever since. (5)

TILT explains why and how different communities from all over the world are affected by certain disease conditions. Dr. Miller and other scientists have determined that the one common element is environmental toxicity.

Environmental toxins can show up in our food, our drinking water, the air that we breathe, the soil that we dig in, the drugs that we take, the homes that we live in – just about anywhere!

Most commonly, these toxins come in the form of:

  • Heavy metals – such as mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and lead.
  • Plastics – such as vinyl and those plastics that contain bisphenol-A (BPA).
  • Pesticides – such as insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
  • Home care products – such as Teflon (found on cookware) and the triclosan that is found in many antimicrobial soaps.

According to Dr. Miller, the development of chemical sensitivity and its related conditions occur in two stages:

1. The breakdown of natural tolerance. For example, the inability of your immune system to respond to infection or environmental toxins.

2. An easily triggered immune response. This means that small quantities of a toxin commonly found in certain foods, smells, fragrances, gasoline, etc. will become unbearable and can even generate disease.

Not Everyone Will Respond to an Environmental Toxin in the Same Way

Have you ever noticed how one person may get a massive headache around a certain fragrance, while it may not bother you at all?

Or how certain fabrics will give some people a rash, while most other people never even look at what fabric their clothing is made of?

These are examples of how a toxin can affect each of us differently. This difference is based on the strength of our immune system.

It also indicates whether or not the environment has worn down our natural tolerance. Increased sensitivity to foods, drugs, chemicals, synthetic materials, and air pollution is an indication that our natural tolerance to toxicity has been compromised.

Heavy Metals: Are You Being Protected?


This past March, a federal judge ruled that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not liable for approving a mercury-based vaccine preservative (such as thimerosal). (6)

While most vaccines given to children and pregnant women do not include thimerosal, the flu vaccine is one exception.

Meanwhile, mercury is a known neurotoxin. (7)

Rather than take a substance off the market until we know its level of safety, we allow a substance to be put into continued use until we can prove its levels of toxicity.

The problem with this model is that over years, sometimes decades, of litigation, a toxin can continue to build up and accumulate in the environment, in our soil, and in the body.


While on the subject of vaccines and neurotoxicity, aluminum is another toxic metal found in vaccines that has been shown to not only affect brain development but also healthy bone development in children. (8)(9)

In 2011, the Cambridge Journals released a study that explains why it is so important to limit the amount of aluminum exposure that our children receive. (10)

In spite of the data, several vaccines contain aluminum. This includes the Hepatitis B vaccine, which is routinely given to infants shortly after birth.

Are Chelating Agents Healthy for Detoxing the Body?

When we learn that our environment and our bodies are overloaded by an exposure to heavy metals, many of us want to remove those toxic heavy metals as quickly as possible.

There are two ways to chelate, or bind and remove, heavy metals from the body.

  1. Use pharmaceutical grade chelating agents, such as DMSA, DMPS, or EDTA.
  2. Use natural chelating agents, such as cilantro, chlorella, alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), and minerals.
Unfortunately, depending on your body and the health of your immune and barrier systems, chelation can actually do more harm than good. This is true for both conventional and natural chelating agents.

While the FDA approved the use of chelation therapy in 1991 in order to pull toxic heavy metals out of the body, research has shown that conventional chelating agents actually redistribute heavy metals into the brain and liver. (11)(12)

This potential also applies to natural chelators.

This is why all chelation therapy must be done under the guidance of a physician or health care specialist. If you are interested in chelation therapy, remember that your immune system must be robust and well-balanced. This means do not chelate:

  • When pregnant or nursing.
  • When ill.
  • When going through a period of stress or transition.

Safely Detox!

Remember, everyone responds to environmental toxicity differently, and we all have unique health needs.

Even if you know that you have toxic levels of heavy metals in your body (and many of us do), chelation therapy may not be an option for you. If this is the case, you can still safely transform the level of heavy metals in your body without chelation therapy.

To begin safely cleansing environmental toxins, try fermented foods and probiotic beverages.

Beneficial bacteria have the ability to metabolize and use heavy metals. (13) This means that they can reduce heavy metal toxicity without reintroducing these toxins back into the body.

Besides heavy metals, there are other forms of environmental toxicity that can severely inhibit the immune system, hormonal system, and neurological function.

Remember TILT?

Toxicant Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) simply means that the immune system has been thrown out of balance from exposure to an environmental toxin. It turns out that beneficial microorganisms actually help to reestablish balance to immune system function. (14)

One study from Duke University investigated this phenomenon. Researchers found that in our effort to be clean and free of infectious disease (through the use of substances like antibiotics), we have harmed the very system that protects us from environmental toxicity. (15)

For example, the team of scientists found that beneficial bacteria have the ability to metabolize toxic heavy metals, like cadmium and lead, as well as aflatoxins (commonly found in peanut butter).

The Body Ecology 21-Day Whole Life Detox

Environmental toxins affect us all. While each person has unique health care needs, there are basic steps that you can take to support your body’s ability to cleanse and renew.


What to Remember Most About This Article:

A new disease causing mechanism has appeared in the past several decades: environmental toxicity. Outside toxins can lead to chronic conditions like migraines, asthma, depression, and even cancer.

Chemical sensitivity can develop in the body in two stages:

  1. The natural tolerance of your immune system will be broken down to become vulnerable to infection or toxicity.
  2. Even small amounts of an environmental toxin will trigger an immune response.

If you’re concerned about toxic buildup in your body, you’re not alone. But depending on the health of your immune system, chelation to remove heavy metal toxicity could do more harm than good. Since we all respond to environmental toxins differently, we have unique needs when it comes to safe, effective detoxification.

Begin safely cleansing your body with fermented foods and probiotic beverages to balance your inner ecosystem today. You can also support healthy, safe detoxification with the Body Ecology 21-Day Whole Life Detox program!


  1. C DeLuca, et al. The Search for Reliable Biomarkers of Disease in Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and Other Environmental Intolerances. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health. 2011; 8 (7): 2770 – 2797. doi:10.3390/ijerph8072770
  2. J Mutter, et al. Alzheimer disease: mercury as pathogenetic factor and apolipoprotein E as a moderator. Neuroendocrinology Letters. 2004; 25 (5): 331–339.
  3. RM Gardener, et al.  Mercury induces an unopposed inflammatory response in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells in vitro. Environ Health Perspect. 2009 Dec; 117( 12): 1932 – 1938. Epub 2009 Aug 19.
  4. YJ Choi, et al. Polychlorinated biphenyls disrupt intestinal integrity via NADPH oxidase-induced alterations of tight junction protein expression. Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Jul; 118 (7): 976 – 981. Epub 2010 Mar 18.
  5. Miller CS. Toxicant-induced loss of tolerance–an emerging theory of disease? Environ Health Perspect. 1997 Mar; 105 (Suppl 2): 445 – 453.
  6. J Bouboushian. Mercury-Based Vaccine Preservative Lives On. Courthouse News Service. 2012 March 23. http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/03/23/44979.htm
  7. G Guzzi, et al. Molecular mechanisms triggered by mercury. Toxicology. 2008. 244 (1): 1-12.
  8. NJ Bishop, et al. Aluminum Neurotoxicity in Preterm Infants Receiving Intravenous-Feeding Solutions. N Engl J Med. 1997; 336: 1557 – 1562.
  9. L Tomljenovic, et al. Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism?Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry. 2011; 105 (11): 1489 – 1499.
  10. MS Fewtrell, et al. Aluminium exposure from parenteral nutrition in preterm infants and later health outcomes during childhood and adolescence. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2011; 70 (03): 299 – 304.
  11. O Andersen. Chemical and Biological Considerations in the Treatment of Metal Intoxications by Chelating Agents. Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry. Jan 2004; 4 (1); 11-21.
  12. KB Ewan, et al. Increased inorganic mercury in spinal motor neurons following chelating agents. Neurotoxicology. 1996; 17 (2): 343 – 349.
  13. T Halttunen, et al. Combining strains of lactic acid bacteria may reduce their toxin and heavy metal removal efficiency from aqueous solution. Letters in Applied Microbiology. 2008; 46: 60–165. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-765X.2007.02276.x
  14. SD Bilbo, et al. Reconstitution of the human biome as the most reasonable solution for epidemics of allergic and autoimmune diseases. Medical Hypotheses. 2011; 77 (4): 494 – 504.
  15. T Halttunen, et al. Rapid removal of lead and cadmium from water by specific lactic acid bacteria. International Journal of Food Microbiology. 2007; 114 (1): 30 – 35.
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