How to Detox Heavy Metals: Boost Your Glutathione Levels

What I have come to learn during my own healing journey and recovery from dry eyes and other health issues is that the body has an innate ability to heal its self. If you cut your arm, the immune system immediately gets to work to repair the damage. It creates inflammation which provides a necessary function in bringing white blood cells to the area to fight infection, clear debris and stimulate the healing process. 

The difference in chronic disease states is that the bodies ability to heal is BLOCKED and as a result disease symptoms occur in the form of self perpetuating inflammation. This causes oxidation and damage to the cells and tissues within the body rendering them unable to function optimally.

In functional medicine we identify and remove the underlying causes which impede the bodies natural healing mechanisms and ability to detox heavy metals. Examples of underlying causes are:

  •  Toxins: when the bodies ability to detox heavy metals (such as mercury, lead, aluminium, cadmium) or chemicals has been compromised these toxins accumulate within the cells and tissues of the body over time and cause chronic disease.
  •  Nutritional deficiencies: the western diet is lacking in vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and zinc and most people have nutritional deficiencies. As a result, the body is unable to detox heavy metals and they accumulate causing cellular damage, inflammation and gene mutation.
  • Low grade infections: in the gastrointestinal tract and/or systemically.

Detox heavy metals by boosting your glutathione levels

The first requirement to detox heavy metals and chemicals from the body is to raise your glutathione levels. Glutathione is the master cellular antioxidant, its role is to bind to toxins, pull them out of the cells and carry them to the liver to be processed and then excreted via the bowels, kidneys, lungs or skin.

Many whole foods contain significant amounts of glutathione or its precursors. Foods richest in sulfur-containing amino acids such as cysteine, are the best sources of glutathione.

1) Cruciferous vegetables

Detox Heavy Metals

Detox Heavy Metals

Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and bok choy are part of the cruciferous vegetable family. They contain a substance called sulforaphane which enhances liver detoxification enzymes and increases glutathione production, speeding up the detoxification of heavy metals from the body. 

My recommendation is to consume 7-9 portions of fruits and vegetables per day and to include as many of the cruciferous family as possible. Cruciferous vegetables are also rich in vitamins C, E and K, folate, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and selenium which enhance antioxidant status and re-mineralise the body.

Stir-fry’s are a great way to get all the vegetables in everyday. Another great option is doing a green smoothie every morning, the fibers are pulverized and the nutrients will be much easier to absorb. Just add whey protein and fruit or Stevia to sweeten, I will post some smoothie recipes soon!

Be sure to lightly steam or eat raw vegetables as sulforaphane and other vitamins and minerals are lost during the boiling process.

 2) The overall top food for maximizing your glutathione to detox heavy metals is whey protein:

Detox Heavy Metals

Detox Heavy Metals

Not all whey protein is are created equally so be sure to choose undenatured, whey protein from grass fed/hormone free cows, with out sweeteners for highest quality.

Whey protein contains the highest levels of naturally occurring glutathione precursors: cysteine, glycine and glutamate, along with important co-factors, immunoglobulins, lactoferrin and alpha Lactalbumin (also a great source of cysteine), which together help create the right metabolic environment for high glutathione activity.



3) Raw milk and dairy

Detox heavy metals

Detox Heavy Metals

Glutathione occurs in the highest levels in fresh, uncooked eggs and raw milk, but is almost entirely absent in pasteurized dairy products.

Ensure that the eggs are organic and free range or local eggs from a neighbour who keeps hens is even better! This minimizes any risk of salmonella, which is only a problem in no free range commercial eggs.


4) Red meat and organ meats

Detox Heavy Metals

Detox Heavy Metals

Alpha lipoic acid found abundantly in red meat and organ meats from grassfed animals, has been shown to help regenerate glutathione and recycle other antioxidants: vitamins A and E- enhancing their activity in the body.

Alpha lipoic acid is also able to detox heavy metals by binding to them and pulling them out of the body.

It can be supplemented if you are leery about eating organ meats. Grass fed or organic lamb is recommended several times a week because it is high in zinc and many other vital nutrients, including cysteine and omega 3 fatty acids which are essential for dry eyes and skin.

5) Curcumin

Detox Heavy Metals

Detox Heavy Metals

 Curcumin is found in the Indian spice ‘turmeric’, it is a delicious addition to curries, stir-fry’s, soups, stews or dressings. I love using it in my vegetable stir-fry’s, along with garlic and other herbs. Curcumin acts as an antioxidant, mopping up toxins from within the body and studies have shown that it enhances glutathione production and heavy metal detox. You can also buy curcumin in supplement form if you want a higher dosage.

Remove toxic foods from your diet

Keeping your glutathione levels up in order to detox heavy metals is a matter of increasing factors that boost your glutathione and decreasing factors that lower it. The things that deplete your glutathione levels the fastest are: chemicals, toxins, stress and a SAD diet (standard American diet).

Avoid processed foods, sugar, gluten, hydrogenated oils such as vegetable oils and caffeine which place the adrenal glands under stress, create more oxidative damage and increase the toxic load of the body.

Eat a whole food diet rich in vegetables, gluten free whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, gluten free oats and buckwheat, nuts, seeds, beans, pulses and wild caught oily  fish (3 times a week).

Detox heavy metals by keeping the pathways of elimination open

Once you start mobilizing toxins stored in your cells, you want them to move out of the body as fast as possible. Ways to achieve this are:

  • Sweat it out: visit your local sauna or take Epsom salt baths. The magnesium in the Epsom salts absorb into the skin after 20 minutes and stimulates the release of toxins.
  • Avoid constipation: make sure you are having at least one bowel movement per day. Anything less is constipation and toxins sitting in the colon will be reabsorbed back into the blood stream, circulate around the body and make you feel worse, so I can’t stress this enough!
  • Cleanse the liver: health problems such as dry eye syndrome are often linked to a toxic liver. All of above foods will detox heavy metals from the liver, but the most powerful method by far is a coffee enema. Now I know what you are thinking- ”did I hear that correctly?”. Well yes and the reason is nothing else out there that will jump start your detoxification machinery and boost your glutathione levels like it, so I have to mention it. Also, it costs next to nothing to do. Coffee enemas are able to raise your glutathione levels by 700% and do so faster than any other method. If you are not convinced, listen to this podcast:

If you choose to do this, start with a small amount of organic coffee, such as a teaspoon per two cups of filtered water and work up to two tablespoons. Please seek a naturopath or qualified practitioner to supervise you while doing coffee enemas. 

If this freaks you out don’t worry there are other ways to cleanse the liver, but they are less powerful and wont work as quickly:

Milk thistle is considered the ”king” of the detoxifying herbs and a fantastic liver cleanser. It is able to detox heavy metals, environmental pollutants and alcohol from the liver- also making it a great hangover cure! The active ingredient silymarin strengthens and supports the regeneration of liver cells.


DISCLAIMER: Heavy metal detox is a complex process and can be a challenging, you may experience detoxification symptoms along the way. Therefore, I would recommend a consultation with nutritional therapist/functional medicine doctor who understands detoxification and can guide you through the process. A functional medicine practitioner will access your entire case history, do testing and recommend personalized supplements which will aid your recovery and correct underlying imbalances. This article is solely for information purposes and is not intended to diagnose and treat.

I will be sharing more ways to detox heavy metals naturally soon, so check back for that, or like my facebook page for the latest tips on how to detoxify to restore your health and resolve chronic illness: facebook

Do you want to detox heavy metals to improve your health or are you already doing it? Post your questions or experiences below.

Happy detoxing!

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9 Comments on “How to Detox Heavy Metals: Boost Your Glutathione Levels

  1. You forgot to mention raw egg whites: and

    I love adding them to a sweet potato with cooked vegetables, topping it off with peanut butter (yes, peanut butter). They say you could run into a biotin deficiency if you consume a lot of raw egg white. Well, first, egg yolk has one of the greatest concentrations of biotin of any food, but peanut butter actually has more in a serving!

    • Hi Drew thanks for your comment!

      Yes you are right, Biotin is found in high amounts in the yolk so the chance of deficiency is low.

      Id also like to add that if anyone chooses to eat WHOLE raw eggs (whites and yolk), make sure it is organic and free range, or better yet, buy eggs from a local person who keeps hens. Salmonella is only a problem with eggs from hens raised in unsanitary conditions- such as in factories which produce non-free range eggs commercial eggs.


      • Yes, I’d have to agree buying locally will basically ensure healthy, salmonella-free eggs. I almost prefer local sources to the organic standards. In many cases farmers just can’t afford the requirements to be certified organic even if they have a very good product.

        I actually went to the Farmer’s Market yesterday and got a dozen eggs from a farmer based in Wykoff, MN (about 30 miles from me). She said her hens are out there with the goats, and I found later they have access to grass 24 hours a day. I love knowing the great potential of glutathione I’m getting from raw eggs!

  2. Hi Drew,

    That’s fantastic! Yes there is a local hen keeper down my road and I have bought eggs then her. I like to support the local organic growers/keepers as well. It’s good to know that they are kept well because even free range might only mean they were only let out for 5 minutes!

  3. Some people try to supplement with glutathione or its precursors and expect the system to jump up to speed but for the most part this doesn’t work very well as typically this is done orally with non-liposomal forms or done with IV glutathione, which is very expensive, inconvenient, and only marginally more effective. It’s an interesting fact that some people with high mercury exposure don’t become toxic, yet others with relatively low exposure do. Why is this?

    • Some people have the MTHFR gene mutation so are not able to detox and process toxins well which then get stored in tissue and cause disease. Children with Autism have been found to have a high incidence of this gene mutation, which is one of the reasons they are effected by the MMR vaccine which contains mercury while other children are not affected. Also most people are under methylators as a result of poor diet and stress and so on and so will be building up toxins slowly over a longer period of time. Health issues may not show up until later in life (i.e alzheimer’s) and people are unaware that they are accumulating toxins. Most people have toxic heavy metals in their bodies these days, its unavoidable in our modern society. That’s why the need to detox and eat healthy- is so important for everyone!

  4. What would you recommend different for people who have the MTFR mutation for detoxing heavy metal?

    • Eating a lot of green leafy vegetables every day, at least two cups as it contains the active form of folate. Folate levels are lower in people who have the 5 MTHF gene mutation. And/or taking the methyl folate supplement, along with maybe methylcobalamin (B12), this will speed up methylation.

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