Heavy Metal & Chemical Detoxification 101: Why is this important for my child?

Team GR: Heavy metal and chemical detoxification is something that’s always on our minds. What are the benefits and how can we achieve them? We asked our detox expert, Stephanie Ray, ND, CNHP, to break it down.

Heavy Metal & Chemical Detoxification 101

Written by Stephanie Ray, ND, CNHP

Environmental pollution[i] includes a mixture of toxic heavy metals and chemicals that our families are exposed to through the air we breath, water we drink, food we eat and in the environment we live[ii]. These toxins block our ability to absorb nutrients, cause electrical chaos, and overtax our immune system. They are the underlying cause of many neurodevelopmental issues our kids face today. According to the NCLD, 1 in 5 children in the US struggle with learning issues and participating fully in school. It costs our kids their sense of self, belonging, and purpose.

Signs of Heavy Metal & Chemical Toxicity:

  • Frustration
  • Angry outbursts
  • Fatigue or hyperactivity
  • Fluctuation with moods and behaviors
  • Inability to focus, concentrate or finish work
  • Immune issues
  • Psychological issues

First, it’s important to understand that detoxification is normal. We do it every time we breathe, poop or sweat. However, some of our kids have a tough time with having a daily bowel movement or even sweating – and both of these need to occur daily to have a happy body.

Removing toxins is appropriate and important for many of neuro-compromised kids as research shows they have a predominance of mercury, aluminum, lead, cadmium[iii], dioxin, plastics, pesticides, and other pollutants[iv] – and are not efficient at removing these toxins on their own.

Many Ways to Detoxify: Chelation or Mother Nature?

To some people, “heavy metal detox” is taboo or scary. Let’s be clear there is a difference between a natural detoxifier and chelation. Chelation is considered by the FDA to be a drug process using substances such as DMSA or DMPS to remove lead and other metals only. This method, while it can be done safely, tends to over stimulate and place burden on organ systems in the body. These medications also deplete nutrients, requiring mineral supplementation[v][vi][vii].

Natural detoxifiers are gifts from Mother Nature and have an innate intelligence removing a wide range of toxins, including heavy metals, chemicals and plastics[viii][ix][x]. These natural detox agents include plant-based detoxifiers and ion footbaths, are non-invasive and gentle. The plant-based detoxifiers have an added benefit of balancing beneficial mineral profiles rather than removing them[xi].

What Markers Indicate Improvement?

We can use several lab tests before and after doing heavy metal & chemical detoxification to see if we’ve moved the needle with detoxification[xii].

  • Heavy Metal Hair Analysis
  • Porphyrin Testing
  • Toxic & Essential Element Urine Analysis (This lab test lets you know how your child’s beneficial minerals are doing as well.)

None of these lab tests require needles, making them easy options for both child and parent. In fact, blood testing is the least efficient test to take when it comes to looking for heavy metals and chemicals that have accumulated in the body over time.

At the beginning of introducing a detox agent, we typically see a large dumping or high levels of metals and chemicals on these lab tests. This is good as it indicates the toxins are leaving the body. As detox continues, these levels come down into normal range, over time.

With the appropriate intake and application, your child should feel the same or better. They should not get worse as this indicates that more toxins are being mobilized than the organs can comfortably excrete.

A Practical Detox Approach to Avoid a Detox Reaction

If the adrenals are depleted, the liver or kidneys are congested, and/or the bowels are not moving efficiently and/or the dose of a detoxifier is too high, more metals will be mobilized than the organs can comfortably excrete. This increases the chance of experi­encing a detox reaction and contributes to redistribution.

Here are steps to prevent detox reactions, redistri­bution of toxins and promote balance in the body:

  1. Replenish the adrenals to support a healthy stress response. When toxicity is present, the adrenals get depleted which makes kids sensitive to normal detoxification process.
  2. Support the liver. This organ is most responsible for removing toxins in the body.
  3. Restore healthy first morning urine pH to a healthy range of 5.5 -6.2[xiii]. This tells us the liver is processing and dumping toxins (acidic waste) after a sleeping/fasting state.
  4. Insure hydration is ½ the body weight in ounces of water per day to flush toxins.
  5. Move the bowels at least twice a day
  6. Balance chemical chelators with natural binding agents such as NDF or NDF Plus, activated charcoal, bentonite clay, modified citrus pectin.
  7. Use the appropriate dose of detoxifiers for your child. Begin with a low dose and titrate up as tolerated. Increase the intake of the detoxifiers as the body comes into balance.
  8. Give constitutional support remedies such as: probiotics, omegas, & a multi-vitamin.

Support & Improvements

Work with your child’s health practitioners and let them know what supplements you are giving your child and approaches you are using to support him or her, such as the ion bath. The right time to consider heavy metal & chemical detoxification is when you have the organs of elimination working well. Then it won’t be work at all and you and your child will only see improvements in:

  • moods
  • brain function
  • speech
  • sleep

Lastly, ask questions. Recovering our children is a multi-modality approach. Each child is unique in their path to recovery. The amazing community of parents and practitioners at Generation Rescue are here to help guide you as you move forward on your child’s journey to recovery.


About Stephanie Ray: 

With twenty years of experience in herbal medicine, Stephanie brings to her position as President of BIORAY®, The Natural Detox Company, a wealth of formulating knowledge, clinical experience and a commitment to providing
the highest quality organic products along with comprehensive information and excellent customer support.


[i] Pollutant—a substance that pollutes, especially a chemical or similar substance that is produced as a waste product of an industrial process. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Environmental Science) Collins English Dictionary – Com­plete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003.
[ii] Clarkson TW, Magos L, Myers G. The toxicology of mercury – current expo­sures and clinical manifestations. N Engl J Med. 2003;349(18):1731-1737.
[iii] Obrenovich ME, Shamberger RJ, Lonsdale D. Altered heavy metals and transke­tolase found in autistic spectrum disorder. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2011 Dec;144(1-3):475-86. Epub 2011 Jul 14.
[iv] Winneke G. Developmental aspects of environmental neurotoxicology: lessons from lead and polychlorinated biphenyls. J Neurol Sci. 2011 Sep 15;308(1-2):9-15. Epub 2011 Jun 15.
[v] Dietart R, Suping C, Golmemboski K, Sanders F. Commonly used therapy for lead poisoning might alter the immune system, Cornell animal study indicates. 1999 Cornell News
[vi] Sallsten G, Barregard L, Schutz A Clearance half life of mercury in urine after the cessation of long term occupational exposure: influence of a chelating agent (DMPS) on excretion of mercury in urine. Occup Environ Med 1994;51(5):337-342
[vii] Chen S, Golemboski KA, Sanders FS, Dietert RR. Persistent effect of in utero meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) on immune function and lead-induced immunotoxicity. Toxicology. 1999 Jan 1;132(1):67-79.
[viii] Shiro Nakano, Taketoshi Noguchi, Hideo Takekoshi Go Suzuki and Masuo Nakano. Maternal-fetal distribution and transfer of dioxins in pregnant women in Japan, and attempts to reduce maternal transfer with Chlorella (Chlorella pyrenoidosa) supplements. Saiseikai Nara Hospital, 4-chome, 8-jyo, Nara, Nara 630-8145, Japan
[ix] Uchikawa T, Maruyama I, Kumamoto S, Ando Y, Yasutake A.Chlorella sup­presses methylmercury transfer to the fetus in pregnant mice. J Toxicol Sci. 2011;36(5):675-80.
[x] Queiroz ML, da Rocha MC, Torello CO, de Souza Queiroz J, Bincoletto C, Morgano MA, Romano MR, Paredes-Gamero EJ, Barbosa CM, Calgarotto AK. Chlorella vulgaris restores bone marrow cellularity and cytokine production in lead-exposed mice. Food Chem Toxicol. 2011 Nov;49(11):2934-41. Epub 2011 Jul 26.
[xi] B. Ley. Chlorella The Ultimate Green Food. Pg. 48, 2003; ISBN 1-890766-28-3
[xii] S. Ray, T. Wilken, How Plant Based Detoxifiers Benefit Chemical Detoxifiers. 2012 Explore! for the Professional, Volume 21, Number 2
[xiii] T. Ray, Heavy Metal Detox Without A Healing Crisis. 2001 Explore! for the Professional, Volume 10, Number 6
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