It pains me to realize how many millions of people have been harmed by toxic heavy metals found in unscrupulous dietary supplement products sold by hucksters and charlatans. Yes, that’s a pretty big claim, but I’ve been in this industry for more than 15 years, I run an internationally accredited food science laboratory, and it appears I’m the only person in the world who has independently tested thousands of off-the-shelf products for heavy metals. (The results for 800+ foods, spices, superfoods and pet foods are listed in my new book Food Forensics, if you’re interested in seeing the charts.)
If you really want to protect your kidneys, your brain, your liver and your entire body from heavy metals damage, here’s what you need to know. I’ll boil it down for you: Most dietary supplements are safe and effective. The industry as a whole is very responsible while providing a multitude of products that help reduce health care costs, prevent disease, ease suffering and enhance quality of life. In fact, if you really want to look at what’s mostly killing Americans, it isn’t dietary supplements: It’s dangerous medications!
Yet within the dietary supplements industry, we also have a widespread and largely denied problem with unsafe products, and some are so dangerous to human health that I think they should be banned as dietary supplements. (That’s not a position I take lightly, as I’m very much against overly restrictive regulations.) If I were to pick five products that you should always avoid, they are:
AVOID #1) Zeolites
AVOID #2) Shilajit (sometimes sold in various forms as “fulvic minerals” or “fulvic acid minerals”)
AVOID #3) Harsh “detox” products (especially those made out of toxic elements)
AVOID #4) Cheap calcium pills
AVOID #5) Rice protein from China
What’s wrong with all these products? Well, zeolites contain huge quantities of lead and aluminum. Shilajit is high in lead and contains arsenic, copper, nickel and huge quantities of aluminum. Harsh “detox” products pose real dangers to consumers, and they are often sold with the ridiculous claim that all negative side effects you might experience are “part of the healing process.” (No they aren’t.) Cheap calcium pills are loaded with inorganic calcium which causes calcification of the body… plus they’re often contaminated with lead. And rice protein from China has been frequently found to be high in mercury, tungsten, lead and cadmium.
P.S. VEGA proteins have tested very clean for years. I’ve also been monitoring Garden of Life, and they still had a huge cadmium problem until just recently. Now, they’ve cleaned up and their newest proteins are quite clean from what I’ve tested so far. My own Heritage Whey protein is also extremely clean if you’re into the great taste of whey.
Along with the “detox” products, I also include Adya Clarity, a once-popular solution of inorganic minerals dissolved in acid, which was aggressively pushed as a detoxification miracle. It turns out to have very high aluminum, which was deceptively removed from the more visible section of the product label in order to hide its presence.
Incredible science fraud: “Muscle testing” for heavy metals and other forms of total bulls–t
I have also witnessed clinical science fraud associated with some of these products. In one such case, a widely cited “clinical trial” that was touted as proof that I was wrong about the product turned out to have been conducted using kinesiology testing to determine heavy metals concentrations in the blood.
If that claim doesn’t make your head explode, let me rephrase it: The clinical trial “scientists” were determining the concentrations of aluminum, lead, mercury and other metals in the blood of patients by doing so-called “muscle testing” on them. Yeah, I know. The insanity and stupidity of it all is just mind boggling. (And gee, why did I waste a million dollars building a lab with an ICP-MS instrument if all I had to do was “muscle test” everything?)
So yes, I’ve seen some real insanity in the fringe sectors of this industry. And because I so strongly support the honest, ethical companies who are helping hundreds of millions of people with safe, effective dietary supplements, I think it is crucial that we weed out the dangerous products and the industry hucksters who trick so many consumers into poisoning themselves with unsafe products.
That’s part of my mission at Natural News and CWC Labs, of course: To bring real transparency to the world about superfoods, dietary supplements and botanical products. The world of natural medicine is full of genuinely powerful healing nutrients. Many of those nutrients really do help prevent many types of cancer as well as other serious diseases and health conditions (the FDA’s censorship be damned!). Clean mineral supplements also have a hugely important role to play in correcting the widespread nutritional deficiencies that are common in our modern world.
But we have to be extremely careful not to poison ourselves in the process of consuming dietary supplements. Current U.S. law provides no restrictions on heavy metals contamination of food or supplements, meaning that supplement companies can sell products containing any imaginable level of harmful contamination and still say they are “abiding by all applicable laws.”
Just launched: My online heavy metals calculator
What quantity of heavy metals are you consuming each day?
If you want to find out, check out my heavy metals calculator.
You merely need to know the ppm of the metal in the substance you’re consuming. The calculator tells you total daily consumption in micrograms, milligrams or grams.
In case you’ve forgotten the metric system:
1,000 micrograms = 1 milligram
1,000 milligrams = 1 gram
1,000 grams = 1 kilogram
So, in other words, there are 1 million micrograms in a gram. That’s what “micro” means in the metric system, a beautifully simple system that we all use in the realm of scientific analysis. (As a nation, we should have switched everything to metric units a few decades ago, frankly. Maybe I will launch a petition to ask Donald Trump to go metric if he becomes President… so we can measure the national debt in “megaschlongs.”)
The “Naturally occurring” argument obliterated
In response to revelations that their products are heavily contaminated with toxic heavy metals, many companies attempt to invoke the “naturally occurring” gambit.
The “naturally occurring” argument ridiculously claims that whatever heavy metals were “naturally” present in the raw materials somehow don’t count. It’s as if we’re supposed to believe lead no longer functions as lead if it’s been in the ground long enough.
Refuting this argument is child’s play. Look at the problem of arsenic contamination of well water across Southeast Asia. Arsenic is so widely known to cause cancer that even the cancer establishment openly talks about it.
“Arsenic is a natural element that can be found in rocks and soil, water, air, and in plants and animals,” reports Cancer.org, a mainstream cancer establishment website. “Arsenic is known to cause cancer, as well as many other serious health problems… Arsenic levels tend to be higher in drinking water that comes from ground sources, such as wells…”
Cancer.org even writes this:
IARC classifies arsenic and inorganic arsenic compounds as “carcinogenic to humans”, based on evidence from human studies that it can cause cancer of the lung, bladder, and skin. IARC also notes possible links between exposure to arsenic in drinking water and cancers of the kidney, liver, and prostate, although the evidence for these is not as strong.
But wait, weren’t we told by the heavy metals denialists that “naturally occurring” heavy metals don’t count? Then why does arsenic in well water cause cancer?
Answer: Because heavy metals count, no matter where they came from or how long they’ve been around.
If you hear anyone saying, “Oh, those heavy metals don’t count because they’re naturally occurring,” then ask them to drink from a toxic arsenic well and see how they do.
Or maybe they think this article published in the BMJ is a conspiracy theory: Cancer Burden From Arsenic in Drinking Water in Bangladesh:
Groundwater contamination caused by inorganic arsenic is a massive public health hazard in Bangladesh. The millions of hand-pumped tube wells installed since the 1970s have led to 95% of the country’s 130 million residents becoming dependent on supposedly pathogen-free underground water. It is estimated that 25 to 57 million people in Bangladesh have suffered chronic exposure to arsenic, and because decades of exposure have already accrued, the exposed population is at an elevated risk of arsenic-induced health problems.
So why aren’t all the people who claim lead is “naturally occurring” in their products rushing out to drink naturally occurring arsenic in their bottled water, then? The answer is because inorganic arsenic is toxic, even if it’s “naturally” in the water.
Why U.S. supplements are the most toxic in the civilized world
Because poisoning people with toxic supplements is legal in America — high heavy metals are outlawed in Canada, the EU, Japan and most other civilized nations — there are quite a few companies in the industry that routinely sell heavily contaminated products to U.S. consumers. (Some are even certified organic.)
In fact, one rather disturbing trend I’ve noticed is that products which are too toxic to sell overseas are “dumped” in the USA where there are no restrictions on heavy metals. In other words, when a raw material is too toxic to be legally sold for human consumption in the EU, it’s bought up by U.S. manufacturers who legally sell contaminated products to the U.S. market.
While the FDA has recently sought to shut down a few contaminated products — such as lead-contaminated turmeric — for the most part, both the FDA and the supplements industry remain in total denial about the heavy metals problem. Everybody pretends in simply doesn’t exist, and until I achieved ISO 17025 accreditation for my laboratory, the industry’s response to my own scientific analysis was often something like, “He doesn’t really have a lab, he’s making this up, there’s no lead in our product…” and so on.
Instead of cleaning up their products, in other words, they were far more interested in destroying the messenger and trying to sweep their heavy metals problems under the rug. But now, they’re facing a huge problem: Public transparency. Thanks to Natural News and my independent laboratory, product manufacturers can no longer hide behind a veil of lies and deceptions. Now, the truth about the real composition of foods, supplements and natural health products cannot be withheld from the public.
The dietary supplements industry has a heavy metals problem
At this point, it can no longer be denied: The dietary supplements industry has a heavy metals problem. And yes, the industry is in denial about this problem. Right now, there are millions of health conscious consumers who are buying contaminated products that will contribute to kidney damage, liver damage and brain damage. Many of these products are labeled “organic” or even “better than organic.” (For the record, I am 100% pro organic, and I strongly recommend buying organic over everything else. But you should know that organic doesn’t cover heavy metals, which is why organic products can still be contaminated with lead, mercury, cadmium and so on. In other words, “organic” isn’t enough! It’s got to be organic plus heavy metals tested…)
Sadly, consumers around the world are being hoodwinked and poisoned by contaminated health products sold almost everywhere. Many such consumers suffer horrendous side effects as a result of consuming contaminated products, and retailers like Amazon.com and even Whole Foods seem to be more than happy to keep selling toxic products regardless of their heavy metals composition.
In the months ahead, I plan to keep publishing heavy metals analysis numbers and naming brand names that are selling these products. I do this in the hope that consumers will pressure these companies to clean up their products and stop selling toxic supplements to the public.
If we don’t act to clean up our own industry, it’s only a matter of time before the FDA forces strict regulations on us all.
Yes, I can test your products and raw materials
If any company reading this wants to validate the composition of their raw materials or finished products, my laboratory offers “blind sample” commercial testing services with very high precision for analysis of elements. “Blind sample” means you don’t have to tell us what the sample is. Most clients are sending us raw materials that they’re testing during pre-production quality control. (We’ve already helped save several companies from making huge sourcing mistakes.) For commercial testing services, visit CWClabs.com.
We also offer testing kits for individuals who want us to test dietary supplements, soil samples or their water supply. For individual testing services, purchase a heavy metals test kit from the Health Ranger Store.
And don’t forget to use my handy online heavy metals calculator, too!