[Transcript] – How Hidden Sources Of Heavy Metals Are Destroying Your Health, And What You Can Do About It.

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Podcast from:  https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/biohacking-podcasts/heavy-metal-natural-detox/

[00:00] About Dr. David Minkoff

[07:18] Where Are Heavy Metals?

[14:35] What Happens in Heavy Metal Toxicity?

[25:32] Testing for Heavy Metals

[39:38] Different Heavy Metal Formulations

[45:18] Dr. Minkoff's Multivitamin

[47:12] Different Natural Chelators

[48:50] Detoxification & Important Metals in the Body

[54:28] End of the Podcast

Ben:  Hey folks, it's Ben Greenfield, and with me today on the call is a voice with which you'll be familiar if you've listened to many of the health podcasts that we've had here at bengreenfieldfitness.com.  It's Dr. Minkoff who's on the call with me today, and we're going to be talking all about metals and metal detoxing and what you need to know about when it comes to metals, because it actually is a pretty serious issue.  It's more serious than what I was aware of, prior to finding out some more information from David and from his Life Works Wellness Center down in Florida.  That wellness center is one of the largest alternative medical clinics in the US, so Dr. Minkoff sees a ton of patients, and I know he sees a lot of this stuff.  He, himself, is on the pointy edge of performance, having done 38 Ironman triathlons.  I know he's on the brink of his a 39th coming up here pretty soon, and Dr. Minkoff has a ton of post-graduate training in addition to his traditional M.D. certificates.  He's an expert in functional medicine, in chelation and allergy elimination, neural therapy, longevity and anti-aging medicine, just tons of different therapies and alternative medical treatments, so really honored to have him here on the show.  So, Dr. Minkoff, thanks for coming on.

Dr. Minkoff:  Thank you, Ben.  It's good to be here and talk again.

Ben:  So really quick, before we jump into metals, what is going to be your 39th Ironman triathlon?

Dr. Minkoff:  I'm doing Ironman in July, and I'm doing Ironman Florida in November, so that'll be 39 and 40.

Ben:  Awesome, well 40.  That's huge, that's a lot of miles.  So, I think that you've probably got a pretty interesting story, in terms of how you got interested in how metals affect our health and why it's something we need to be aware of.  So how did you get into this and finding about metals?

Dr. Minkoff:  Well I got into it by accident 'cause my wife got sick.  I was an emergency room doctor and was interested in health but didn't know anything about having metals or toxicity or anything like that, and my wife decided one day that she didn't like the way her fillings looked and she went to a dentist who supposedly knew how to pick out more fillings, and that it took a matter of weeks later.  She's also a triathlete, a really quite a good one.  She's almost always in work operation here, she's a podium finisher here in her age group.  She woke up one day and she couldn't lift her arm and she couldn't move.  Her boot on one side is pretty much gone, too.  She couldn't move it at all, and I took her to the best neurologist I knew, and they said looks like she's got MRS.  She'd had some problems with the thyroid laryngitis.  Based off, maybe this was what was going on, and I just was just flabbergasted at it.  I didn't really know what to do.  She's a nurse and she owned a home health care nursing agency.  I went to pick her up one night, and there was a new dentist who had moved in the same building, and the sign on his door said natural dentistry.  So, I was waiting for her at the parking lot to come out to drive her home, and he was walking out of his own office, and I said, “hey, let me introduce myself, and do you think that my wife having this [03:45] ______ out of her teeth has anything to do with now since being diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis?”  And he said, “absolutely, and you better get trained because this is making maybe sick-ish, and nobody around here knows anything about this, and there's a guy in Seattle who's real smart and he sees doctors, and you should go up there and learn about him.”

So, the next weekend, I was in Seattle, and I spent the week with him, and he taught me about heavy metal poisoning and mercury, and when I came back and did a diagnostic test on her, she was very positive, and it just opened my world to like holy smokes, and so I began to learn.  I went around the country and studied with a lot of very smart people who mentored me and some very good doctors from Switzerland who came over here and spent about 200 hours with him, and what happened is she got better.  Her mercury toxicity went away, her M.S. disappeared.  Her thyroid symptoms disappeared, and within about six months after doing the treatment that we did, she was normal again, and her arm recovered, and she's never had anything since, but a lot of our friends noticed.  Someone came in and said I've got chronic headaches, could that be mercury?  And someone else said well, I've got chronic arthritis?  I got interested, and so in the back of her nursing office, I set up a little office, did a couple of afternoons a week.  I started to see people, and I learned from this doctor, it's a kind of kinesiology.  It's a kind of neuro biofeedback muscle testing where you can diagnose a lot of things or get ideas and what's wrong with the body, using the body's autonomic nervous system as a tester, and I began to see these people and get results using nutrition and detoxification and chelation.  And it just blew up, and the practice just blew up.  All of a sudden, I needed a nurse practitioner and we needed three more rooms, and so it just grew, and it's so fascinating that I actually left in this medicine and went into useful time because it's a lot of fun, because you can really find out what's wrong with people, and you can really help them.  Heavy metals are a major problem in our society, and a lot of people have them, and when they get rid of them, they can get better, and that's a plus.

Ben:  Well I definitely want to ask you a little bit more about testing for heavy metals, but before we even get into that, your wife obviously got this from dental work, and I know that's becoming less and less common these days, even though it's still an issue, especially in people of a certain age, but in addition to that, what are some common sources of metal exposure, and if you want to, may I know, mercury is the one that flies on the radar, but are there other heavy metals as well and where are we finding these?  How are we getting exposed to them?

Dr. Minkoff:  Well, the environment has a lot of this stuff in it.  Mercury is released when you burn coal, if you live near a coal burning plant, the mercury levels in the atmosphere are high, and then what happens is that the mercury particles then fall into water, and it gets into plants, and so if you do [07:48] ______ the vapors, there are nice healthy foods that have sulfur in them like onions and broccoli and cauliflower, you'll find that the mercury levels if the atmosphere is high, and they'll be mercury in there.  If you live in Hawaii and you're near the big volcano, that thing spits out tons of mercury.  I had some patients.  They're coffee farmers, they're around the big island.  They spend half the time in Kona and half the time in Florida, and when they're six months in Kona, their mercury levels skyrocket 'cause they're on the mountain, the volcano's active.  A lot of mercury comes out there, they breathe it in, get some on their skin, the body absorbs it, and then we come here for six months, we give them detoxification products, and the mercury goes down.  Fish are high in mercury, the bigger the fish, the more the mercury.  If you like tuna and you eat a lot of tuna, you're getting a lot of mercury.  There's been surveys done in Chicago and New York and Los Angeles where they went to sushi bars, got portions of fish, and especially predator fish, so it's swordfish and mahi and grouper and tuna and shark, and they accumulate mercury and they're high.

So, if you eat a lot of it, you get in your body, and I measured quite a few sushi lovers or big fish eaters, and their mercury levels are high.  Their mercury levels are high.  I had a patient who had chronic fatigue for many years, and when he came, we measured mercury levels, and they were really high.  So, we started to do a program with him where we were doing both doing intravenous and oral, what's called chelation.  Chelation is a way of finding mercury in the body, so that even if it comes out in your stool or it comes out in your urine.  And after about six months of doing the chelation on him, he wasn't getting any better, and so I sat him down and I said, “I don't know what's wrong, is it even working?  Give me a seven-day diet history on you, and maybe, there's things coming in that I don't even know about,” and he said, “well, I eat a lot of fish, but I catch the fish myself, and where I get the fish is I go to a pristine lake in Tennessee where there is just nothing around it.  Water is pure, and I catch the fish there, and I prepare it myself and I feel it, and I probably eat around two or three pounds of fish a week of my self-practice.”  So, I said, “bring me a sample of the fish, we're going to send the fish back state in Chicago, and let's have them have a mercury test on it.”  They did a mercury test on it in a group.  So, in areas where there's mining or where there's runoff, you can get water that has a lot of mercury, and if the water has a lot of mercury, then it's in the fish.  I was concerned one year in Coeur d'Alene when I did Ironman Coeur d'Alene.  I got out of the water a couple of days before, and I just wandered and said, “Gee, I don't feel good.  I wondered if fish and wildlife guys in Coeur d'Alene, and I said is there any problem with it 'cause there's a lot of them in here?  Is there any problem with it, and they said well we have a fish adviser?  This is some years ago, and I don't know if this is still true, because the metal levels are too high.

Ben:  Yeah, that's obvious where Ironman Coeur d'Alene is and also the river that comes off of Coeur d'Alene goes right behind my house, and it's the same issue.  I can go fishing behind my house, but I can't eat those fish, and when I go swimming in that river, I do feel a lot different.  It's a pristine-looking lake and a very clear river, and you wouldn't think it's polluted, but yeah, there's a ton of metals.

Dr. Minkoff:  Yeah, and what happened is this.  The metals are absorbed through the skin, and they get in your body, and if you spend much time in that, you can get just like the fish.  It can get in your body, and they can poison you.  Now a lot of pesticides, they don't have mercury, but they have arsenic, and if you're working with jewelry or fabricating or slathering or grinding, then whether it's cadmium or chromium or arsenic or beryllium, these are all metals that the body will absorb, and they act like poisons, and one of the ones that we're seeing here now, a lot of, is uranium.

Ben:  From the nuclear fallout?

Dr. Minkoff:  It's from nuclear fallout.  I originally thought, in Iraq, starting in 1992 with the first Iraq War.  The armor-piercing missiles have depleting uranium covering on the war head, and so when those missiles hit a tank, the temperature heats up to 2500 or 3000 degrees, and the air unifies the uranium, and it goes up into the atmosphere, and it blows around, and then when it rains, it comes down.  And so, I've been seeing uranium levels around here for a while, and now, they're even more.  A lot of people, even children, if I did a hair analysis on them or a challenge test where I'm looking at your face, it's very common to see very high uranium levels, and uranium is just like mercury.  It's a heavy metal, and it's potent again because it blocks the body from making energy, and it may block hormone receptors or cell surface receptors where things have to plug in and tell cells what to do, and when you have these heavy metals staying on there, the hormones don't work or the neurotransmitters don't work, and the body can't make energy, so people get fatigued or they get problems with sleep or they get depressed or they go through changes.

Ben:  That's what I wanted to ask you, in terms of the exposure to a lot of these metals that you're talking about, basically what is going on?  Can you get into that on a hormone or a cellular level, what happens?

Dr. Minkoff:  Yeah, if the body's going to make energy through what's called the Krebs cycle, what happens is it takes a molecule of oxygen and a molecule of sugar, and it makes an energy particle called ATP, and in order to do that there's an eight or ten-step process where the original sugar molecule gets changed, and hydrogen gets pulled off of that, and in the process, some energy gets pulled off of it and it gets stored in another particle called ATP, and then the body, when it needs something, when it needs an energy, it can use the ATP as the energy.  And so, this process called the Krebs cycle has enzymes which do this work, and those enzymes are blocked by most heavy metals.  So, if you have a molecule of sugar coming into a cell, if the cell can't use the Krebs cycle, it can only make two ATPs with a molecule of oxygen and a molecule of sugar.  If the Krebs cycle is not blocked, it can make 38 ATPs, doing it the way it's supposed to.  So if you have a cell that needs energy, it's a liver cell that's going to be toxified or it's a muscle cell that's going to contract or it's a brain cell that's going to be a relay for some neural hormone or something like that, and it's only getting two energy particles out of each time the sugar comes in versus your 38, that cell isn't going to have a lot of energy, and it's not going to be able to do its job.

With that in your brain, you might be pressed, or you might not be able to sleep, or you might not have quality thinking, or you can’t hydrate.  If it's in your liver, then you can't detoxify, so the body will not get rid of its toxins and builds up.  In your muscle, it might be that you have what people call fibromyalgia.  You have muscles that hurt, and you have little nodules in those muscles and they're tender, and when the body can't make ATP using oxygen and glucose to get 38 of them, when it's only getting two of them, it builds up lactic acid.  And so, the body gets acidic, and you get these areas in the body which are very tender.  You wake up in the morning and you see it, the way that you're aching all over and you have these tender nodules, especially in the back of your neck and in the muscles in your back and in your legs, too, those are areas where the circulation has gone down, there's lactic acid build-up.  Those muscle cells or those cells aren't able to produce enough energy to do their job, and so they get local toxicity.  Heavy metals are very prominent in causing that in some people.  Just one other thing on this is that we do a lot of alternative cancer treatment in our clinic, and virtually everybody with cancer has high levels of mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium.  Really high levels, and these have carcinogens.  So, they're part of the process when a cell gets damaged, caused by cancer.  So that's another issue with it, so there's no good thing about them.  It's always a bad thing.

Ben:  What about hormones?  Can they directly deplete hormones or are we talking about the cellular process that you just described, basically being disruptive to the point where you can't make hormones?

Dr. Minkoff:  On one hand, you can't make hormones, but on the other hand, they can't block the receptor where the hormones may be.  So, you get mercury sitting on a hormone receptor, then when the hormone comes by and the receptor has already got something staying on there, so that the hormone can't interact or can't bind, then you can get either what looks like an over-amount of hormones or an under-amount of hormones.  One of the problems today with some of the heavy metals, they act like drugs.  They bind estrogen receptors, and you'll see people where they'll have an over-expression of estrogen, and a lot of the peri-menopausal, menopausal symptoms that women get may be related to this, too, is they look like they've got an excess of estrogen, kind of a premature puberty.  Some of it is chemicals, some of it is coolly added to, but some of it is heavy metals where kids are going into puberty at seven years old and eight years old, and it's because those estrogen receptors are being plugged with estrogen, but it's not.  It's what's called veto-estrogen, it's a foreign estrogen or estrogen-like compound which actually comes from the environment, and some of that is caused by heavy metals.

Ben:  And does this depend on where you live, too?  I mean do you see more heavy metal toxicity in people who are living in certain areas or environments?

Dr. Minkoff:  You do, like I said here.  I'm seeing a lot of uranium, but we obviously see a lot of mercury.  The whole vaccine thing, there is mercury that's used as a preservative.  It's called prime aerosol, and its ethyl mercury.  It's putting vaccines, and a long time ago in the 50s as a preservative, and basically what was occurring was that children, and when I was a little kid, we got only a few vaccines a year.  Now the average kid gets about 24, 26 vaccines, and those vaccines make and change prime aerosol.  So, you're giving a kid an injection of a dose of mercury which is a toxic dose.  And so, some children, more than others are sensitive to this, and if they can't detoxify properly, then they can get problems with development, with autism, with learning, with allergies, with recurrent sinus infections and problems with our absorption, because these metal particles can close in any body system.  Sometimes it's adrenal, sometimes it's in the intestinal wall, sometimes it's in the brain, and like you said, we're not seeing as much mercury in the brain anymore, though there's still plenty of it, but we do see it from vaccines, from the environment, cosmetics, Chinese toys.  I had a kid that got metal toxic on his mother's keys.

Ben:  Wow, so toys and keys, this goes beyond just mining runoff and predatorial fish.  Sounds like there's lots of hidden sources?

Dr. Minkoff:  Right, so I mean to tell people.  If you eat fish, don't eat it too often, and eat little fish.  Eat sardines, eat tilapia.  Always eat wild fish, don't eat fish that have been farmed.  There's some tuna around that's okay.  There's a guy in Oregon called Oregon's Choice, where he's pull-catching the tuna, and they're young tuna, so they're less than two years old.  They're almost 16, 18 inches.  They don't bite or accumulate as much, and he sent his sister in the University of Oregon.  They've done levels of mercury around it, and its way lower than whatever the regular brand is.  So, we eat some of that, but you got to watch it with fish, and if you're a fish lover, and now some people are good excreters.  Their liver is good, they're not deficient in minerals, and they can keep up with it, but a lot of people can’t, and the levels would go up, and then they can feel the effects of it.

Ben:  I remember you talking about that a little bit when you did that interview with us a few months ago about exercise-induced asthma in kids, and how in addition to gluten and food intolerances and stuff like that, that metal accumulation could be an issue.

Dr. Minkoff:  Let me just throw one more point in there, now that I'm thinking of it.  The other population that we see in it is in very young children, newborns.  Because if the pregnant mom has a high level of heavy metals or other environmental toxins and she gets pregnant, the toxins actually get put into the fetus.  So, the mother will dump her metal load of her chemical or her pesticide load into the baby.  So I recommend that mothers who want to get pregnant, and fathers, take six months and do a program where they're eating really clean food, and they're making sure that their liver and their gut is healthy and that if they need to detoxify heavy metals or chemical or pesticide that they do it, so that when they get pregnant, the mother's not going to poison the baby because we see a fair number of children now who are newborns or infants or young children who have a chronic colic, chronic rashes, chronic sections, and they're poignant.  They're heavy metal toxic, and they got it in uteral.  So, you detoxify them, they come out.  The rashes go away, the colon gets better, and they can then thrive.  That's another point that parents, or expecting parents, it's worth doing.

Ben:  That's super scary.  I want to ask you here in a little bit about this whole detox thing and chelation and all this stuff, but first, I want to return back to testing for heavy metals because you talked about muscle testing, and I want to find out more about how you're doing that, and then also if there are some other tests that you get for heavy metals like blood tests or hair tests or nail tests.  I mean, it seems like there's a bunch of stuff out there, but it's kind of a two-part question.  Explain this muscle activation testing that you're doing, but then also talk about some of the diagnostic panels that are out there that you could get for heavy metal toxicity?

Dr. Minkoff:  One of the problems with it is that metal toxicity can be in only one organ or two organs in the body or it can be in the whole body.  There is not a test where you can say I'm doing X test, and I can tell you if you have, that tells you one way or any other, whether you have a build-up of heavy metals in your body.  That doesn't exist.  The way we diagnose this is always a secondary way.  Now what happens is that most of the time, if you get heavy metal ingestion, either from something you ate or something you put on your skin or when you breathe in, that the heavy metals don't stick around in the blood very long.  They end up inside tissues.  They will stick in your liver or your brain or your kidney or your pancreas, and so if you measure regular blood levels for these things, unless you got an acute exposure like a high exposure, the blood levels usually look pretty normal.  So that's a problem, and when doctors who aren't very familiar with toxicology, some of them come in and think oh, I must have mercury.  I've got 12 fillings and I'm fatigued, and somebody told me I might have heavy metal poisoning, and the regular doctor does a blood level for mercury, most likely it’s going to be normal., and it's not the fault of the test, it's just that the mercury doesn't stay there.  Now if you do a specific blood test where you look at the red blood cell level instead of the serum level, if you draw blood and you spin it, what you'll find is there's cells and there's liquid.  The liquid is called the serum, and when normal mercury tests are done, or lead tests are done, they're looking at the serum, and usually it doesn't stay there very long, but it will stay in the red blood cells.  So, there is one of the tests that we use, and it's called red blood cell, RBC toxic mineral levels.

Ben:  That's the same kind of test you can get to test just basic minerals, too, like your magnesium levels, right?

Dr. Minkoff:  Yup, if you're going to a metric laboratory, that's the one we usually use, but either way, if you know what you're using and probably doctor does it and you do regular minerals and red blood cell toxic minerals, we get the panel back, and it's got mercury, arsenic, cadmium and lead, and if the red blood cell levels are high, it'll show they're high.  And those are people who are eating a lot of fish, or they have an ongoing exposure.  Aluminum's the other one, so it's aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury.  That's on everybody that comes through the door because if their levels are high, I know one of two things.  They have active, ongoing exposure.  Their aluminum levels are high, they're cooking in aluminum pots, they're using an aluminum deodorant.  They've got some exposure where their getting high levels of aluminum, or if it's mercury or if it's cadmium, and some people have had exposure and they don't know about it or they don't think of it.  They're on well water and it's not filtered, and we try to figure out where it is, and that can be good if the exposure is within the last three or four months.  The red blood cell has a lifespan of about a hundred twenty days, so four months.  So, for the last four months, that red blood cell got exposed to mercury through the blood.  It forever will be high, and it will show you that it's high.  So that's helpful.

The other way you can do it is you can do a hair sample and having it can be excreted in the hair.  So, you get a hair sample, and it shows uranium and tin and arsenic are really high.  That person probably has had a lot of exposure and the body is trying to get rid of it, and it's coming out the hair.  Now if the person is a good detoxifier, it will show up in the hair.  If a person is a bad detoxifier, it won't show up in the hair, and you do a hair analysis and it looks normal, but you've got a person with chronic fatigue and they look terrible, and then you know that they're not even able to get rid of it.  But as a screening test, hair can be helpful, and sometimes we get foul hair 'cause it's more expensive.  So, you do a hair analysis on someone and levels are very high.  I'll talk about the muscle test in a minute, but the muscle test agrees with the hair and will detoxify them.  If you do three months with your hair, at first, the manganese might have been really high, and it went down number and then it goes up, and then three months later, the mercury goes up, and then three months later, everything was normal, and they feel good.  So, if you feel a way to follow someone to see is your detoxification working, is your body cleaning it out?  It's easy, as long as they don't put stuff in your hair with coloring and things, it's an easy way to do it.

Ben:  Gotcha.

Dr. Minkoff:  The other way it's often done is to give somebody a chelator, what's called a chelator, and that is something oral, a pill you can take, or you can give somebody intravenously.  You challenge the body, you give them up.  It's a chemical or an amino acid that finds heavy metals really well, and usually, these things have a lot of sulfur and mercury like each other, and they bind.  It's the same with blood and arsenic and cadmium, they stick to it.  So, you put this stuff in the blood or you give it to them orally, and their stuff soaks up these things, and when you collect the urine and you measure how much came out.  And if you do it unchallenged, which means if you just collect the urine and send it for heavy metals, you won't get anything.  If you give this person this challenged dose, you'll see that their metal levels will just skyrocket.  I just got one back today.  There's a person who actually works for me where she got an IV dose of what's called EDTA.  It's a chelator, it's an amino acid that binds mercury, and then we collected urine for her for six hours.  Her aluminum levels should have been less than 35, it was 380, and her cadmium levels should have been less than one and it was six, and her lead levels should have been less than two, and it was 27.  These are really high.  This stuff is in her body, and it's a poison.  There's no space dose, so to speak.  So, then we truly, until we get this thing, we get her ten or twenty treatments, I've done some oil supplements to help them in the detoxification process, and we measured another six-hour urine a couple of months, and what you can see is they go down.  They go down, down, down, down, until you're not getting anymore of it.  When you're more of, you've gotten what you could get, and you reduce the load on that person and usually people feel a lot better.  So those are the three main ways, and the other way we do it is through what's called applied kinesiology or neuro biofeedback.  They're a system that runs and coordinates everything in the body, kind of like the operating system on a computer.  It's called the autonomic nervous system, and it runs below a conscious loophole, and there are literally billions of reactions that are occurring every second that have to be all coordinated in the body for the body to work right.

So, when you eat or when you walk outside and should be cold or really hot, all the things that have to change, like what's the self-concentration in your little toe and how fast should your heart beat be beating in?  Should your stomach be putting acid in or not?  How fixed should the tear film be on your eye?  I mean it's impossible for all the things to be coordinated.  Probably your nervous system coordinates all this stuff, and the system works on a reflex, so just like if you take a reflex hammer and bop somebody's knee and their leg jumps, you can challenge the body with something that it's poisoned with, and if you have a muscle that strong, it will make that muscle temporarily weak, and you could put an electron on a muscle and you can measure in.  It's a little bit hard to explain it, but it's very sensitive and it's someone who is proficient at it.  You can often tell where the mercury or where the arsenic is in their body and what the relative concentration of it is, and then since it's very easy to do, once I get this on the muscle test, I will do the objective test.  I'll get the hair analysis or I'll do the IV challenge, the oral challenge or I'll get the red blood cell minerals so that I can make sure that what I'm testing, on the muscle testing, is right, and I'll find it, and then as I can detoxify, I can follow it with the muscle test to make sure it's going down, down, down and down, and it saves the patients money 'cause the lab test for heavy metals aren't all that cheap.  We can detoxify them, and we can get these things out of their body.

Ben:  You know, there are so many ways to test for this stuff, and I know that people who live down in Florida can probably look into Life Works Wellness Center where you're at, but I mean is this the kind of stuff that people can just go to their local doctor to test for?  Is there any kind of resource or place you could point listeners to if they wanted to get these kind of tests done?

Dr. Minkoff:  There's a couple of good resources.  Two websites, one is acam.org.  A.C.A.M. stands for American College for Advancement in Medicine.  That is a group of doctors which are specifically trained to do heavy metal detoxification through the station process, and so these guys are usually certified.  They've been trained, they do it in their offices, they're knowledgeable about it, and there's probably 800 or 1000 guys in the US, and they're scattered around, and that would be the first place to go where you could at least talk to someone about it 'cause most likely, your regular, normal, family-practiced, internist doctor, OBGYN, they don't know anything about this stuff.  Literally, they know nothing about it, and doctors who don't know something are always negative about it.  So, you got to find someone certified.  The other organization is called the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, which is A.A.E.M., and I think it's .com, but it could be .org.  These guys, they're specially trained in environmental medicine, and part of that is environmental toxicity, and that group is also a good group, and the guys will be trained and will be knowledgeable, and they will talk to you about it.

Ben:  Okay, cool.  I'll put a link to both of those in the show notes.  Now obviously, I didn't just want to scare people and tell them about all this stuff without talking about ways you can chelate or detox.  I know you've kind of mentioned some of those words already, but there's lots of different things out there I think that are used for chelation or for heavy metal detoxification, lots of formulas and supplements and stuff out there.  What's the basis behind these?  I mean how do they work, and do they vary from formulation to formulation, in terms of the best way to heavy metal detox?

Dr. Minkoff:  I think that the best fundamental way is eat as clean a diet if you can.  If you can get this organic, you're going to have a lot less exposure.  There's heavy metals in pesticides and eat clean.  That's really important.  The second thing is most people are mineral deficient, and if your body is magnesium or potassium or iodine or selenium deficient, and we test these every day, virtually everybody I see designed these things where they are mineral deficient, that a broad spectrum, mineral supplement and a lot of green food and I have people avoid greens that you can get, you can make sure that your mineral levels are good.  I supplement virtually everybody with a little bit of iodine and a lot of magnesium because it's so prevalent that they don't have enough.

Ben:  You mean like an oral form of iodine?

Dr. Minkoff:  Yeah, like lose all iodine.  You can try it, it's an over-the-counter.  A lot of supplement companies make it.  Your average person, the dose of iodine that's the minimum daily requirement is I think 400 micrograms, very low, and I grew up in the Mid-West, and they gave us iodine tablets when we were kids 'cause the Mid-West soil was well in iodine, and there's epidemics and goiters, but there's no iodine and fluorine.  We tested 600 people for iodine levels, and all but two were low.  So, I don't even test iodine levels anymore, I put everybody on about six milligrams of iodine per day.  Now if you talk to a regular nutritionist, that's a lot.  So, our average Japanese person is eating a lot of seaweed and sea vegetables and is taking in 12 to 13 milligrams of iodine per day, and there's no toxicity level on that basis.  So, I usually supplement people with that little bit of iodine, one drop a day.  I supplement everybody with magnesium to balsamic.  So, the easiest part is called Com, it's a powdered magnesium, and you can just put hot water in it, and then you just keep taking it till you get a loose stool, and then back off and then usually, that'll bring magnesium levels up to normal.

Ben:  That's what I used, well I use that, and I use a topical magnesium like a transdermal magnesium, and then my kids take what's called a Kid's Calm Natural Vitamin that I think is made by the same company that makes that Natural Calm magnesium.

Dr. Minkoff:  A couple more things.

Ben:  Oh, go ahead.

Dr. Minkoff:  I think everybody should be on a green spot.  Natural greens or doctor's greens, there's a lot of them out there.  It's ten servings of fruits and vegetables.  It's organic, it's full of minerals, it's full of chlorophyll, it's full of flavonoids which are antioxidants, and this is a newer study that we did more often.  It's 2000 patients, measured their levels of what are called carotenoids.  Those are what give fruits and vegetables color, and they're the main source of antioxidants of the human body.  So, we did 2000 patients, measured their level of carotenoids, and the healthy level is above 50, and to get about 50, you have to eat between eight and twelve servings a day of fruits and vegetables.  Well very few people eat that many, and so when we did the study in our office, the average level was 18, and the average kid level, children under 12, was below 15.  And so, these people, thy aren't having any antioxidants, and their bodies don't work well, and we did one called nanogreens, and we tested their level from six weeks, and everybody was above 50.  So that's easy, you throw it in a smoothie, it tastes good, and it makes a big difference.  So those are protections, these things are protections against 'cause these heavy metals are free radicals.  They generate injury because they 'cause what's called oxidative stress.  They're unstable, and they damage membranes 'cause they steal electrons, in that damaging the membranes.  If they have a lot of these other options around, they protect you.  So that's sort of a no-brainer that everybody can do.  The other thing is I put people on wheat. I put together a product when we first started doing the heavy metal detoxification in the office, we had people taking 14 different supplements, and it just got a little dizzy.  It got too expensive, it got to where you can't.

People, they just wouldn't take them that stuff.  So, I put together a multivitamin, multi-mineral product that had whole foods, and it had sixteen whole foods, organic concentrates.  It has extra stuff to help the liver detoxify, and it had a lot of extra stuff in it which are very strong in antioxidants.  That has Body Health Complete, plus detox.  You could take two tablets twice a day.  It's the best multivitamin, multi-mineral.  We just did a new comparison.  When people are taking eight or twelve tablets a day of this stuff don't have the amount in here.  It's really easy to take.  You could give it to children.  You just snatch them up, the ducks can take it.  The dose is twice a day, and it's a great product, and when you look at the ingredients list, it's terrific, and so as basic support for minerals and vitamins and antioxidants and it support your liver to detoxify it 'cause you're getting active every day.  You drink something out of a Styrofoam cup, you walk on your grass and all the pesticides, you eat a non-organic food, you take a Tylenol and aspirin.  You get a new car, and you breathe all the fumes in it.  I mean it's literally 24 hours a day you're getting toxins into your body, and you have to mobilize your body, so that it can deal with it.  So, the greens, the mediums, the iodine, the body helps complete the detox.  You'd have to spend a couple of hundred bucks a month to equal what's in that product.  I think it's 57 dollars a month or something.  It's really good, and it really works and people take it 'cause it's really a prize to take.

Ben:  Is that basically what chelator is?

Dr. Minkoff:  Well there's a lot of natural chelators, Vitamin-C is a chelator.  Lipoic acid is a chelator.  These are things which will bind metals and help them move out of your body.  So, there are specific, both pharmaceutical and natural chelators, that's a common thing to kill.  The origin of the word chelator or chelate.  It’s a Greek word which means “claw”.  It's the idea of this thing grabbing a heavy metal, and it sticks to it, and once it's stuck to it, it won't stay in your body.  You need to pee it out or sweat it out or poop it out, and so natural chelators exist, and a diet that's fiber is a natural chelator, Vitamin-C, lipoic acid, broccoli.  The vegetables, they have a lot of sulfur.  Sulfur is a natural chelator, so these things, if your diet is high in this stuff, you're chelating all the time, and naturally, you're moving all the time.  The other thing that's important about this is if you're not having a bottle or two of them every day no matter what, then you're holding this stuff in, and it will poison you.  So, one of the big things about doing any kind of chelation, or just being healthy, is that you have to make sure your waste leaves in a tiny manner every day.  Otherwise, it builds up.

Ben:  And I know we're running short on time, but I want to run by you really quickly.  When you're doing detoxing and stuff like this, is there concern about you somehow getting rid of important minerals or important metals in your body?  If you had anemia, do you have to worry about somehow the stuff removing iron, or magnesium?  Is it going to leech minerals from your body, that type of thing?

Dr. Minkoff:  Well, if you do pharmaceutical chelators, if we're doing IV, EDTA.

Ben:  What's a pharmaceutical chelator?

Dr. Minkoff:  Well EDTA or DMTS or DMSA.  These are initials, but these are pharmaceutical chelators.  For most of these things, you'd think you'd got a license to do it.  You can deplete someone of good minerals.  I formulated a product some years ago to help with this.  The first one was called Metal 3, and it's what got my wife better, and it's a spray and this is something that if you have a metal exposure, between one and eight sprays of Metal 3, it'll be detoxifying heavy metals in your body.

Ben:  So, it's a spray?

Dr. Minkoff:  It's an oral spray, and you spray it onto your tongue, and it goes in your body, and it binds heavy metals and it comes out in your stool.  Now usually, I don't use what the person's actually been diagnosed with having heavy metals, but it's very safe, used in children, it's easy to dose, and it's really good.  It's down in the market for 14 years, and we've had children drink a whole bottle of it and not get really sick, so it's very safe.  But the other one that is maybe more pertinent to your audience is one that we call Body Detox, and it has things in it things that will detoxify chemicals and pesticides and heavy metals, and you can use it as a pro-flax, like you're doing pretty good, and you don't need to have a whole program of severe detoxification, but you want something coming into your body every day  in addition to your basic nutrition, your body gets assistance to move this stuff out, and so this product Body Detox, you take four strains before you go to bed at night.  Just put it underneath your tongue, and it will bind chemicals and pesticides and heavy metals, and it will move it out of your body on a daily basis, and it helps people to stay more clean on this stuff than they would be without it.  There were two, and you could put links to that, the Body Health website and there's a lot more explanation about it.

Ben:  Okay, one is called Detox?

Dr. Minkoff:  Metal 3 is specifically for having metals, and the other one is called Body Detox.  The other one thing is, and just quick, is a lot of people are deficient in essential amino acids.  Essential amino acids are those eight amino acids that you need to eat in order for your body to make protein.  Now most people don't think of it, but proteins are required for detoxification.  If you are low in your eight essential amino acids, your detoxification system will be slow, and when the stuff comes in, it won't come out and when it doesn't come up, it builds up and that's when you get sick.  So, I put everybody on natural amino acids because most people are low on essential amino acids, and if we thought that people take that, detoxify about 3% better than people who don't.  It revs up their liver enzymes, so that you're able to detoxify this stuff, and when you're deficient in it, you don't detoxify as well.  So that's the other thing nutritionally that someone can do to make sure that their body has all this armor and bearings that it needs in order to be really good detoxifying machine.

Ben:  Got it, I actually take that stuff more for sports performance, but that's good to know that it's useful for that as well.  Okay, cool.  Ton of information here, and I'm going to pump up together the show notes 'cause I know that we've got a lot of stuff that Dr. Minkoff talked about for the listeners.  So, if you're listening in, I'll make sure that I link to all these recommendations and some of the testing resources that Dr. Minkoff gave for heavy metal, and then also for those of you who like Dr. Minkoff's information, he's always a wealth of information.  He's done podcasts on Ben Greenfield Fitness about, like I mentioned, how to fix exercise-induced asthma in kids and how to get rid of chronic pain, and he did one with this on prolotherapy.  He even did one with us on just his own personal life and how he squeezes in doing 39 Ironman triathlons and also being a doctor and running a medical clinic.  So, I'll put links to all those podcasts as well, if you just want to geek out on Dr. Minkoff.  So, Dr. Minkoff, thanks so much for coming on the call today.

Dr. Minkoff:  Thank you, Ben.  Hope it wasn't too much, but it gives people some ideas, hopefully.

Ben:  Awesome.  Alright, this is Ben Greenfield and Dr. David Minkoff, signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com.


Do you ever get chronic fatigue, poor mood, disrupted sleep, headaches, get sick more often than you think you should, have low hormones, or experience brain fog?

While there’s certainly no such thing as a “catch-all” term for symptoms like this, one cause tends to fly under the radar – and that is heavy metal exposure.

All of the issues listed above can be signs of heavy metal exposure, and as you learn in today’s audio interview with Dr. David Minkoff, you can get heavy  metal exposure in all sorts of sources that go way above and beyond having metal amalgams, fillings and mercury in your mouth, including:


-Car keys…

-Chinese toys…

-Second hand cigarette smoke…

-Pesticides and herbicides…

-Protein powders and dietary supplements…

-“Pristine” water (like my local Lake Coeur D’ Alene) that in fact has high amounts of mining runoff…

-Food stored in metal containers…

-Big fish like tuna and dolphin…

-Nuclear run-off from Japan…

-And the list goes on and on…

The problem is that it can be confusing how to know how to test for heavy metals, the best way to heavy metal detox, and the sources of heavy metals in your personal life.

So in today’s podcast, you’ll going to learn everything you need to know about hidden sources of heavy metals, and how to protect yourself against heavy metals and also detox your body of heavy  metals.


Dr. David Minkoff

Dr. David Minkoff, in addition to being on the Superhuman Network Board of Advisers, is the creator of the “Master Amino Pattern” amino acid supplement and the Metal Free Heavy Metal Detoxification Formula, and has also been on the following BenGreenfieldFitness podcasts:

How To Fix Exercise Induced Asthma in Kids

-Episode #168: How To Banish Chronic Pain Forever.

Episode #143: Can “Prolotherapy” Make Your Injuries Vanish?

Episode #105: A Peek Into The Life of An Ironman, Natural Medicine Physician.

During our interview, Dr. Minkoff mentions http://www.ACAM.org and http://www.aaemonline.org/ as a good testing resource for heavy metal detox through chelation.

For optimum heavy metal protection, Dr. Minkoff also recommends using 6mg of iodine per daymagnesium in supplemental form (around 400-600mg/day, or until you get loose stool), and a greens supplement.


Dr. Minkoff also highly recommends the following “Metal Free Heavy Metal Detoxification Formula”, and discusses in more detail in our interview:

Metal Free Heavy Metal Detoxification Formula

The word chelation comes from the Greek word, “chela,” or claw, and refers to the way that a specific chemical molecule, the chelating agent, binds to a heavy metal. Chelators are used to bind heavy metals and move them out of the body.

Chelators bind by way of ionic bonds. These are the attractions between the plus charge of a heavy metal and the minus charge of the chelating molecule. They have a natural attraction and that is how they work.

Metal Free is not a chelator. It does not work that way.

Instead, Metal Free is composed of a unique short protein chain, called a peptide. It is very small and easily absorbed. The way it interacts with the heavy metal is to wrap around it in such a way, that the heavy metal is not free to interfere or block an important body process. This interaction is called “cage binding”.

This is because the Metal Free actually forms a surrounding cage around the mercury, arsenic, lead, aluminum, uranium or cadmium which the body then removes by excreting it in the stool and then out of the body.

The Metal Free ingredients are as follows:

Microactivated algae, lactobacillus and bifidus extracts

This is a culture of bacteria involved in a microfermentation process with algae and the following nutrients. Certain nutrients from the culture are then extracted and filtered using a four-step process.


Peptidylgluconase is an enzyme with binding properties produced by the lactobacilli during fermentation. It is also involved in glucose metabolism.


Glycine is a component of a vital bile acid, and along with glutamic acid and cysteine, makes up glutathione, a free radical fighter and key detoxifier of the liver.

Ionic sea minerals

An ionic mineral is an element that has either positive or negative charge. Ionic minerals are part of a process that allows the body to facilitate changes that move nutrients to the areas that need them. The body relies on ionic minerals and trace elements to conduct and generate billions of tiny electrical impulses. It has long been known that the blood contains the same minerals as are found in seawater.

Hydrated colloidal silica

Silica is found in every living substance on earth, and is a vital component to the health and regeneration of human cells. It is a basic constituent for proper body function and a key element in the following body components: the lungs; the spleen; the lymph nodes; the blood; connective tissues; the nails; the hair; the skin; the skeletal system (bones); the blood vessels; cartilage and tendons.


Glutathione is a small peptide that dumps free radicals as well as being an antioxidant, heavy metal detoxifier, protector of red blood cell integrity and a transporter of various proteins. It also helps to regenerate vitamin C.

Vitamin C

As an antioxidant, Vitamin C can help prevent damage to DNA, lipids and proteins caused by free radical molecules. Studies have shown that Vitamin C can also help remove heavy metals.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance with physiological therapeutic activity. It is a highly viscous substance with numerous biological functions that is found in a variety of body tissues. In the body, it is part of a jelly-like complex necessary for transportation of essential nutrients from the bloodstream, via the capillary network, to the living cells of the skin.

Fulvic, Ferulic and Lipoic Acids

Fulvic acids are excellent natural chelators and are vitally important in the nutrition of cells. Ferulic acid is an organic acid, and its major physiological role is likely to be its potent antioxidant and photo-protective function. Lipoic acid has been used for many years to protect the liver and to help detoxify the body of heavy metals, such as excessive copper and iron and toxic metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury.


Numerous studies have been done on chlorella’s detoxifying effect on cadmium, heavy metals, PCBs and chlordecone (a harmful insecticide).

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a powerful antioxidant and a powerful tool in maintaining immunity. It also can detoxify heavy metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium.


Now it’s your turn. Do you have questions about heavy metal natural detox, the interview with Dr. Minkoff, or the Metal Free formula? Leave your thoughts below.


Ask Ben a Podcast Question

One thought on “[Transcript] – How Hidden Sources Of Heavy Metals Are Destroying Your Health, And What You Can Do About It.

  1. Tamara says:

    How do the ingredients of Metal free compare to a zeolite Chelator like cytodetox?

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