This is an ALERT about heavy metals that are being found more often in many of your supplements and what you can do to avoid them.
Heavy metals are naturally occurring compounds found in the Earth’s crust. These compounds are generally regarded as being unable to be created or destroyed; only able to be redistributed throughout the soil. In most cases, the levels of these compounds aren’t of concern; they are simply an inescapable part of our world. They are commonly found in the ground and in the plants and vegetables that grow in it – both in the wild and on farms. Many plants absorb these heavy metals as they grow as part of their natural growth cycles. The vegetables you grow in your garden or buy from the organic section of your supermarket or health food store will all have certain amounts of heavy metals. Many of these, in trace amounts, are actually necessary and vital to our health – we couldn’t survive without them. However, when heavy metals exceed a certain threshold and are no longer in “trace” amounts, we need to be aware.
Most cases of heavy metal contamination stem from man-made issues such as acid rain, use of pesticides, motor vehicle exhaust, and the toxic leavings of a variety of manufacturing and mining processes which contribute to the presence of these substances in the soil.
The FDA doesn’t explicitly state which compounds qualify as toxic metals, though it is generally regarded as being lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic. These are the elements that are most often discussed in the context of supplements and nutritional products. Since many natural components of the Earth’s crust are absorbed by plants during their natural growth cycles, herbal supplements can contain them.
Unfortunately, heavy metals in larger quantities have been discovered in many popular vitamin/mineral and protein supplements, many times due to their manufacturing processes.
The Chart above represents a new standard in consumer food safety. It’s a non-profit project of the Consumer Wellness Center. Customers should try to purchase and consume only products that have an “A” or “B” Verified Rating and avoid any product that is rated “C” or lower with regards to heavy metals. (see the Supplify® Heavy Metals Certificate of Analysis below)
To a certain extent, the body has been created to detoxify small amounts of various kinds of toxins, including heavy metals. However, we are so inundated by excess toxins and pollution that it’s easy for the body to become overwhelmed. Therefore, it’s imperative to keep heavy metal exposure and ingestion to a minimum.
Note: the relative dangers of most nutraceuticals/supplements are less than minimal when compared to pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter drugs. As I’ve mentioned in previous newsletters, prescription drugs kill up to a 140,000 Americans a year, yet herbs and nutraceuticals are responsible for less than 100 (with most of those being highly questionable and usually attributable to abuse such as the death from Ephedra overdosing some years ago). Even FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Joshua Sharfenstein has stated that he wasn’t worried about the safety of the supplements that has been reported.
Some new studies have shown that many of the top-selling powders and drinks may contain concerning levels of heavy metals such as the previously mentioned arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead, and toxins like bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in some plastic containers and food can liners. These substances have been linked to cancer, brain damage, and reproductive issues. “These toxins accumulate in your body and can stay there for years,” says Tunde Akinleye, a test program leader in Consumer Reports’ Food Safety Division. “Frequent consumption of foods that contain them can have adverse health effects over the long run.”
This is not the first research that has shown high contaminant levels in such products: A 2010 Consumer Report’s study detected arsenic, cadmium, lead and/or mercury in samples of all the 15 powders tested.
To ensure consumer safety, it’s vital that manufacturers adhere to rigid quality heavy metals testing programs as an integral part of their overall quality assurance program. Organizations like NSF International helps protect consumers by offering cGMP certification programs. This certification ensures products meet identity, purity, strength, and composition standards set forth by the FDA. By being mindful of total heavy metal contents of all your supplements, and checking that your brands or the ingredients are cGMP certified, you can rest assured you are doing as much as possible to avoid heavy metal toxins in your products.*
*(ingredients in Supplify® are manufactured in cGMP certified facilities.)
Disclaimer: The SomaHealth, Inc.© website content is for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace the guidance of your licensed healthcare practitioner. Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Information and products are meant for general use only and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease or provide medical advice. Any questions concerning your use of drugs, medications, or supplements should be directed to your healthcare provider.