How Heavy Metal Detoxification Supports Your Overall Health

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Super Human" by Dave Asprey. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What causes a build-up of metals in your body? What effect does that have on your health? Can you reverse heavy metal toxicity?

Dave Asprey argues that you can grow older in years and extend your lifespan without suffering mental and physical deterioration. In Super Human, he identifies the culprits that accelerate biological aging. One of them is excess metals in your body.

Continue reading to find out how to avoid heavy metal toxicity and to learn Asprey’s recommendation for heavy metal detoxification.

Avoiding Excess Metals in Your Body

Asprey explains how inefficient mitochondria initiate a cycle that accelerates biological aging. One cause of mitochondrial inefficiency is having excess metals in your body. Asprey explains that the energy-extraction process mitochondria use to power your cells is an electrical process. Since metals have high electrical conductivity properties, having too many of them in your body interferes with this energy-extraction process and often results in mitochondrial dysfunction and mitochondrial death.

In his book, Asprey explains how you can avoid metal toxicity, and he shares his advice for heavy metal detoxification.

(Shortform note: Research briefly expands on how excess metals disrupt mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are particularly rich in minerals. While it’s not yet clear exactly what role these minerals play in mitochondrial function, what is known is that excess metals displace these minerals—which then disrupts mitochondrial physiology, preventing them from fulfilling basic functions.)

According to Asprey, you’re more likely to have excess metals in your body if you eat food derived from crops planted in thallium-rich soil, consume high quantities of oceanic fish, have dental fillings, or spend a substantial amount of time under fluorescent lighting. Therefore, avoiding such things can reduce the levels of metal in your body to a safe level.

(Shortform note: While it’s true that avoiding these things might help lower the levels of metal in your body, there’s no way to completely avoid them—metals are everywhere, in our soil, water, and air. And the more you’re exposed to them, the more they accumulate in the soft tissues in your body. Over time, this accumulation can cause muscular and neurological degeneration, mimicking symptoms associated with age-related diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, these symptoms prevent many people from getting the correct treatment—because they assume that they’re suffering due to their age rather than from excess metals.)

Detoxing From Excess Metals in Your Body

In addition to avoiding exposure to excess metals, Asprey suggests that you can detox your body of existing metals by consuming binding agents such as glutathione or activated charcoal. These substances work by binding themselves to the metals in your body. Your body then eliminates these metals through your urine and stool. However, Asprey warns that these binding agents can also bind to and inactivate useful substances, such as prescription medications or vitamins. Therefore, he recommends that you seek medical advice before consuming them. 

(Shortform note: There isn’t enough research to confirm if either of these supplements can safely detox your body of excess metals. Reported side effects of glutathione supplements include cramping, bloating, and allergic reactions. Furthermore, researchers aren’t sure if these supplements cause adverse reactions in pregnant people or those breastfeeding. Additionally, researchers aren’t sure if activated charcoal supplements effectively treat any medical conditions. As such, medicinal use has not been approved by the FDA. Reported side effects include severe constipation, black stools, heartburn, a sore throat, dehydration, and dizziness.)

How Heavy Metal Detoxification Supports Your Overall Health

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Dave Asprey's "Super Human" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Super Human summary:

  • How to grow older without the negative side effects
  • A look into the advancements of anti-aging science
  • Why a healthy future starts with making changes now

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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