I had been dragging myself for several months with an overall feeling of exhaustion, along with chronic pain, dizziness, and headaches, when I was finally properly diagnosed with arsenic poisoning. The diagnosis came both as a relief (finally, a diagnosis, and a treatment) and as a shock. Arsenic? Like in a film noir from the 1950s?
Metals such as mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, and aluminum are dangerous even in very small quantities. But worse, the danger is compounded when they accumulate in your body. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that these metals can "build up in biological systems and become a significant health hazard." Heavy metals become toxic when they are not metabolized by the body and accumulate in the soft tissues. Heavy metals may enter the human body via food, water, air, or absorption through the skin in agriculture, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, industrial, or residential settings.
Since the Industrial Revolution, production of industrial chemicals has risen rapidly. Today the US generates or imports some 42 billion pounds (19 billion kg) of chemicals per day. These chemicals have a habit of finding their way out of everyday products, into the environment, and ultimately into living organisms. Toxic load is a serious problem in our modern industrialized world, meaning that detoxification has become essential for maintaining optimal health. Medical literature has often made an etiological link between numerous health problems and environmental exposure to toxic metals and other pollutants. With this knowledge, many are becoming interested in natural and nutritional options that are effective and safe to help detoxify the body.
Heavy metals can be found at the most unexpected places: Researchers at the University of Berkeley tested various lipsticks – both drugstore and department store brands. They measured lead and eight other metals in a convenience sample of 32 lip products, and assessed potential health risks related to estimated intakes of these metals. Most of the tested lip products contained high concentrations of titanium and aluminum. All examined products had detectable manganese. Lead was detected in 24 products (75%). When used at the estimated average daily rate, estimated intakes were >20% of ADIs derived for aluminum, cadmium, chromium, and manganese. In addition, average daily use of 10 products tested would result in chromium intake exceeding our estimated ADI for chromium.1
What detoxification actually is, is the removal of harmful toxins that build up in your body over time, especially in the liver, kidneys, lymphatic system, and colon. The body does detoxify itself naturally to a certain extent, but in today's world, it cannot cope on its own with the amount of harmful molecules that it encounters.
Chelating agents were introduced into medicine as a result of the use of poison gas in World War I. The first widely used chelating agent was used as an antidote to the arsenic-based poison gas lewisite; it was named BAL, for British anti-lewisite, and had strong side effects. After World War II, a large number of navy personnel suffered from lead poisoning as a result of their jobs repainting the hulls of ships. The medical use of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) as a lead chelating agent was introduced.
Unlike BAL, it is a synthetic amino acid and contains no mercaptans. EDTA side effects were not considered as severe as those of BAL. In the 1960s, BAL was modified into DMSA, a related dithiol with far fewer side effects. Once administered intravenously, those synthetic chelation agents scavenge for minerals and metals in order to excrete them through natural detoxification pathways. Unfortunately, they remove not only heavier metals but also essential metals. Chelation therapy is most often given into a vein, either as a short injection or over a period of two to four hours.
Chelation therapy is a course of treatments that usually consists of from 20 to 50 separate infusions, depending on each patient's individual status. Some patients may experience a burning sensation and bruises at the site where the needle enters the vein.
I went through 17 sessions, sitting in the treatment room together with people receiving chemotherapy. My arms were covered with bruises (I happen to bruise very easily), and I was hiding them with long sleeves as if I were a drug addict.
The alternative, I was told, is oral chelation. But EDTA is very poorly absorbed by mouth – only about 5%. The unabsorbed 95% of EDTA remains within the digestive tract, where it mixes with undigested food. On the long term it may prevent normal absorption of zinc, manganese, chromium, vanadium, copper, chromium, molybdenum, and other essential nutrients, potentially leading to nutritional deficiencies and possibly worsening the very problems supposedly being treated. As per DMSA, it does not cross the blood–brain barrier of humans, limiting its use to extracting heavy metals from parts of the body other than the central nervous system.2
I was definitively not thrilled with the idea of fighting back chemical poisoning by ingesting even more chemicals. And I knew that my condition resulted from the fact that I do not process those toxins very wellin the first place, and therefore I would start accumulating them again. I thought there should be another way, a more gentle, natural one. Unfortunately, I could not find on the market what I was looking for: a product that would encompass each necessary step of the elimination process.
And that's why I created Signature Chelate by Sylvie Beljanski, a blend of natural products, synergistically formulated to promote the elimination of heavy metals, bind to the heavy metals, fix them, help to expel them from the body, and replenish the body with essential minerals. All in One. Because I had to have it.
As one of the finest oral chelation products available, Signature Chelate by Sylvie Beljanski combines four ingredients with strong detoxifying properties, including interestingly (I wouldn't believe it, when I first heard about it) a mixture of ingredients derived from an ancient peat:
- L-glutathione, a peptide naturally produced by the body with powerful antioxidant properties that can stimulate the liver and help it to expel toxins;
- humifulvate, a complex of fulvic, humic, and phenolic acids derived from the peat of Lake Balaton (located in Hungary), which helps promote chelation of heavy metals and mineral balance in the body;
- chlorella, a green alga rich in trace elements, which acts as a filter and natural blood purifier to help absorb heavy metals, pesticides, and other pollutants, which can later be expelled by the liver;
- chitosan, which is extracted from shrimp shells and is known for its ability to bind fats and aid in their removal (toxins tend to accumulate in fat). Removal of toxins is indeed essential, as we do not want them to be absorbed and "recycled" by the body.
Detoxification is important for protecting yourself and fortifying the body against the aggressive molecules in our environment that cause DNA destabilization. This is the principle on which the Beljanski Approach to Wellness is based. Mirko Beljanski, my father, a PhD in molecular biology and a pioneer in environmental medicine, pursued his original research at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. While there, he made a fundamental discovery: the secondary structure of DNA is altered when it is exposed to some of the chemicals in the environment. This process of DNA destabilization is cumulative and, once started, it gains momentum from continued exposure to environmental pollutants. The destabilization of DNA eventually triggers unregulated gene expression and DNA replication, and may lead to cancer or numerous chronic diseases.
Directly inspired by this extensive body of research, the Beljanski Approach to Wellness was developed as a holistic philosophy based on the idea that health starts at the cellular level and that it is most important to: Avoid environmental toxins to the fullest possible extent, Restore the body's balance, and Repair homeostasis by reviving healthy cell populations. It is the use of all three components together that produces the greatest result.
When the word detox is mentioned today, many people immediately think of radical juice diets that are designed to make you drop a lot of weight in little time. These diets are often fads and can in fact be dangerous to your health if they are too extreme. Detoxification is about much more than weight loss. When incorporated into your lifestyle, it can be essential to maintaining optimal health, as most of us don't even know when we are being exposed to toxins until it is too late; and even when we do know about the exposure, it is often impossible to avoid.
Therefore when "coming clean," nutritional supplements are as important as a healthful diet for their ability to enhance detoxification pathways. Some of the most interesting combinations of nutrients come directly from nature, delivering exactly the kinds of detoxification benefits needed to complement a healthful lifestyle.
I started by designing Signature Chelate for my own needs – then, having become a detoxification enthusiast, I designed the entire Targetage line. Targetage is a two-step approach:
- Remove: Targetage is a comprehensive line of products that will help eliminate toxins, revitalize and rebuild cells, and support and rejuvenate the functioning of the body's systems.
- Rejuvenate: In order to achieve true optimal health, the human body requires a constant supply of nutritionally balanced food. This includes fruits and vegetables filled with antioxidants, fiber, and probiotics. While these nutrients may be critical for health, most people fail to get enough of them in their regular diet. This may lead to conditions such as a lack of energy, GI discomfort, or headaches; hence the need to support our regular diet with dietary supplements.
There is a significant difference, however, between natural and synthetic vitamins. Natural vitamins are accompanied by various bioflavonoids, the cofactors essential for proper absorption, which act as catalysts optimizing the effectiveness of vitamins. Bioflavonoids are thought to increase the bioavailability of vitamins by 30%. Synthetic vitamins, however, contain no cofactors, and research suggests that synthetic molecules can even deplete the existing resources in the body, eventually causing vitamin and cofactor deficiencies.
Because all-natural vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are thought to be better absorbed and utilized by the body than their synthetic counterparts, Targetage includes "Rejuvenate": potent and complete whole-food formulas, providing a superior source of vitamins and minerals, plus a wide array of antioxidant protection, as well as quality probiotics (beneficial bacteria, sometimes referred to as "friendly bacteria") that help to maintain the health of the intestinal tract and aid in digestion. They also help keep potentially harmful organisms (e.g., bacteria and yeast) in the gut under control.
I invite you to discover the Targetage line of products at: www.targetage.com. If you would like to try Signature Chelate, the product that helped me, please use promocode TLSC13 upon checkout to save an extra 15% off this product until November 30, 2013.
All the best in health,
1. Liu S, Hammond SK, Rojas-Cheatham A. Concentrations and potential health risks of metals in lip products. Environ Health Perspect. 2013;121:705–710. http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1205518.
2. Rooney JPK. The role of thiols, dithiols, nutritional factors and interacting ligands in the toxicology of mercury. Toxicology. 20 May 2007;234(3):145–156. doi:10.1016/j.tox.2007.02.016.
Article sponsored by Natural Source Int.