Are There Toxic Health Risks Hidden In Your Healthy Supplements?

Food Forensics by Mike Adams

Many people practicing a natural lifestyle recognize the need for supplementation to make up for compromised soils, excessive processing, additives and preservatives for profitability found in our foods.

They usually carefully select their supplements. Additionally, they may have a partner or children that they also want to get the benefits of supplementation as well. Surely, they want to make sure themselves, their partner or family is in the best of health as well, right?

Overlooked Considerations?

Could there possibly be a few surprises in those supplements that you may not have considered? Surprises that may be adding to your toxic overload? Even toxic surprises that the manufacturer has not considered? Or even worse, simply doesn’t want to tell you about because well………it may cost them profits or you as a customer?

We’ll take a look at that possibility. Along the way as we do so that you will also become a more selective and informed customer. perhaps more importantly, you will learn to make better choices from better sources.

Potential Dangers- Step One

What you may not know is that the supplements you are taking are also impacted by some of the same factors that caused you to take supplements in the first place: compromised soils, excessive processing, additives and preservatives.

Most especially are those supplements imported from nations that have less stringent regulations or a population that is more controlled as in totalitarian nations which don’t encourage or permit expression outside of the approved narrative. China, from which we import much, is one of those nations.

Hence, just as with your food purchases, the first place to start with your supplements is to read the label. Find out what may be in there to accompany your primary intended ingredient?

If a quick read of your supplement labels reveals ingredients that you already know are not good for you or don’t know about, it’s time to either do some more careful research or find a replacement. Start doing your homework. Be sure to read the labels of potential replacements just as carefully.

Organic or wild grown always has preference over supplements that are not able to make that claim. Look for that confirmation of that as well. The USDA label should be on a product that claims to be organic somewhere on the package.

Less Known and Acknowledged Danger

Less known and widely unacknowledged but very real danger are heavy metals. Most manufacturers provide no way of knowing whether they check for heavy metals in their supplements. This may be because they are becoming so prolific that a manufacturer has to take specific precautions to avoid them. Precautions that cost them money and profits.

Unless the consumer demands, most manufacturers will therefore ignore this aspect of their product quality. However, as will be discussed, heavy metals pose a greater danger than one might expect.

In his book Food Forensics, Mike Adams- health ranger, writes about how he set up a food forensics laboratory in central Texas. The central instrument in the lab was an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry instrument, called ICP-MS for short. 

Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry
Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry Machine

One of the main purposes of the ICP-MS when analyzing food products and supplements is to detect metallic elements, especially what are known as heavy metals.

So that you can better understand his findings, let’s take a quick detour through some of the terms Mike refers to in his publication.

Testing Terms

This brief section will help you to make more sense of testing terms you run into here and in the future so don’t glaze over when you reach this point. It will prove helpful in the future.

In the testing results noted below, you will see toxicity levels noted of ppm (parts per million) and ppb (parts per billion), These measurements apply in this case to the mass of a chemical or contaminate per unit volume of water.

Parts Per Million

Parts per million (ppm) can also be expressed as milligrams per liter or mg/L. It means the same thing on a lab report.

To place some perspective on this measurement, you can think of 1 ppm as one inch in 16 miles or 1 second in 11 ½ days or 1 minute in 2 years. In short, not very much at all.

Parts Per Billion

Parts per billion is an even smaller amount.

To give you some perspective on what parts per billion means one drop of ink in one of the largest tanker trucks used to haul gasoline would be an ink concentration of 1 ppb. Or 1 pinch of salt in 10 tons of potato chips. In time units, one ppb is the equivalence of 1 second in nearly 32 years.

A Pinch of Salt in 10 Tons of Potato Chips

A common mistake is to report ppm when it is really ppb. This is actually a pretty big difference, as big as $1 and $1,000.

Now that you have a sense of what the measurements ppm and ppb refer to, let’s take a brief look at the heavy metals as outlined in Food Forensics.

Heavy Metals and Toxicity Levels

Most people don’t really take any time to give consideration to this health factor. However, it is more important than you have been made aware of. I can not cover all of the implications of heavy metal toxicity in this post but this will make you aware of it in the supplement arena and get you started.

Heavy metals have become prolific in our environment due to the use of pesticide sprays, chemically based fertilizers, vehicle exhausts, industrial waste, cleaning products, food products like seafood and surprisingly even in products like brown rice.

Children and adults are also subject to heavy metals in the form of vaccines which of course is in the denial stage at present from the modern medical community (big profits have a loud voice). That however, is a separate topic on its own that would deserve more space to more address more effectively.

Nevertheless, some credit heavy metal toxicity from vaccine ingredients like thimerosal (ethyl mercury) which have supposedly been removed from vaccines.

In addition to the aforementioned sources. here is one I’m pretty sure you never thought of- chemical spraying into the atmosphere.

For more on this last one, which is having a much bigger impact than just about all of the others in adding heavy metals into our environment at present, take some time and watch the documentary- What in the World Are They Spraying? below.

You will learn not only about this now acknowledged activity (which of course the government was denying when first addressed on it) but also how it is impacting our environment and the effect of heavy metals on us as well. It is an issue of concern for all of us:

Heavy Metal Impacts

The following brief summaries are not designed to present the full picture of the impact of heavy metals on our health, but are just a snippet. Keep in mind that one of the primary impact targets of heavy metal toxicity is the central nervous system or the brain and nervous system.

For example, health practitioners are now beginning to recognize the possible role that heavy metal toxicity may play in the rise of Alzheimer’s disease which is now affecting 40 million people worldwide.

In the U.S. alone Alzheimer’s costs $200 Billion annually or 1 out of every 5 Medicare dollars. It is expected to grow as our current baby boomers age. Another reason to pay attention to heavy metal toxicity.

The summaries below will give you some idea of both the impact and toxicity levels of some commonly measured heavy metals as summarized in Food Forensics. These are five big ones but not the only heavy metal threats.

Arsenic: Long-term exposure to this heavy metal through drinking water and food may cause neurotoxicity, cancer, developmental issues, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, according to the WHO. The EPA has set the arsenic standard for drinking water at .010 ppb. (That’s very tiny.)

Cadmium: When ingested in high doses, this heavy metal can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and severe gastroenteritis, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). The reference dose for dietary exposure to cadmium is 0.001 mg/kg/d. (One thousandth of a mg per kilogram per day or dose)

Lead: While there is no safe blood lead level in children, the CDC recommends the threshold at which a child is deemed to have lead poisoning is 5 micrograms per deciliter of blood, or 50 ppb (remember: parts per billion).

Mercury: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mercury, even in small amounts, may cause serious health problems, earning it a spot on the top ten list of the most dangerous chemicals to humans. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) maximum containment level goals for mercury in drinking water is 2 ppb.

Tungsten: Exposure to high levels of tungsten has been linked to an increase in strokes. Acute poisoning can be caused by just 5 mg/L, or approximately 5 ppm. (remember: essentially the same amounts on a lab report)

Generally speaking, heavy metals will block receptor sites and disrupt cellular communication. They tend to also accumulate in the brain and nervous system and can block nerve and brain activity which is why some believe they have a causative impact in diseases like Alzheimers, Parkinson’s, MS and other nervous system disorders.

The Brain is Key
The Brain- A Terrible Thing to Waste

Additionally, since they also attract electro-magnetic energy an accumulation of heavy metals in the brain can also over stimulate the central nervous system causing symptoms as mild as social anxiety to seizure activities.

They are certainly not a causative factor in one’s health to be taken lightly (no pun intended).

Initial Testing Results

Once installed and calibrated by chemists and instrumentation engineers, Mike began to use this new equipment to test on a variety of foods for people and animals in the form of supplements and cosmetic products.

In the first few months, he discovered:

  • Over 500 ppb mercury in cat treats and fish-based dog treats (As noted above the maximum human toxicity is only 2 ppb. Wondering why your pet is getting sick? This could be a cause.)
  • Over 500 ppb mercury in dog treats (Seeing the vet a lot lately? A cause to watch.)
  • Over 10 ppm tungsten in rice protein products (5 ppm toxicity level)
  • Over 5 ppm lead in ginkgo herb products (5 ppb is the toxicity level or billion not million)
  • Over 500 ppb lead and more than 2,000 ppb cadmium in rice proteins (Hugely toxic!)
  • Over 1,200 ppm copper in children’s multivitamins
  • Over 11 ppm lead in mangosteen powder
  • Over 400 ppb lead in cacao powders (80 x the toxicity level)
  • Over 6 ppm arsenic and more than 1 ppm lead in some spirulina products
  • Over 200 ppb lead in brand-name mascara products (Cosmetics are a biggie for toxicity btw.)

Manufacturer’s Response

Mike contacted the manufacturers or primary distributors of supplements he tested and found containing toxic levels of heavy metals

This was a common response he received related in the book:

They insisted their products were perfectly safe while urging me to remain silent and keep their secret from the public.

The consistency of these kind of responses prompted him to reach out directly to the public with his findings which is why he wrote Food Forensics as well as used other means of informing the public which eventually led to getting himself banned from social media like YouTube.

So much for integrity. More like honor among thieves.

How the Code of Silence is Maintained

According to Mike’s account of manufacturer response in Food Forensics, these are the steps he has determined which companies use to keep the public in the dark about the heavy metals toxicity issue:

Step 1: Deny the existence of heavy metals or other harmful substances in their products.

Step 2: Attack the source of the information. Try to create doubt about the motives of the researcher (me) or the accuracy of the findings.

Step 3: Should denials and attacks fail, twist scientific facts to claim that all heavy metals are “naturally occurring” and therefore don’t count, even if they are found in high levels due to heavy industrial contamination of the farms where the food is grown.

Step 4: If steps 1 through 3 are unsuccessful, lie to customers by telling them that heavy metals are good for them! This strategy has already been invoked by one company whose products tested at high levels of lead and cadmium. Instead of announcing they would reduce the level of these metals in their products, they posted an article that claimed heavy metals were good for you and people shouldn’t be concerned about eating them.

Mike also notes that the process of denial and obfuscation is pursued routinely in companies from large to small and cater to “organic consumers, raw foodies, vegans, vegetarians, detox patients, and health-conscious buyers.”

Techniques of denial include mislabeling product labels. Many don’t even test their products for heavy metals. When informed however, they deny and/or cover up the toxicity with evasive reporting.

What he found was that many natural products companies place profits over consumer safety just like the commercial firms.

However, he also found that some companies that manufacture natural and organic products have announced new efforts to test source materials for heavy metals and dramatically reduce heavy metals concentrations in their retail products.

False reports have also been circulated saying he doesn’t have a lab. Lawsuits have been threatened after he published his findings online. His YouTube videos on the topic blocked.

Mike has concluded based on the responses he has gotten that the FDA, food/supplement manufacturers and the mainstream media are all colluding to ignore these findings and prevent the public from learning about the truths he has been able to uncover.

Causes of Heavy Metal Toxicity in Supplements

Apart from the obvious reasons of preservation of profits and customers when confronted with this information, what could have caused these toxicities in supplements and foods in the first place?

In today’s marketplace, much of our organic food and supplements come from China who have little respect for labeling standards and regulations.

The Chinese are among the nations with the least adherence to environmental regulations. Not surprising in a nation who seems to care little for the overall well-being of its citizens.

For example, in 2013 Beijing was recorded as having maximum air pollution limits 1,100% higher than the maximum limits set by the WHO (World Health Organization). They had an astronomical pollution level of 268 micrograms per cubic meter.

Profits over health drive too many of growers, distributors and manufacturers.

Land on which many of our crops comes from has industrial waste dumped on it as “fertilizer”. The impact of this is to heavily contaminate our foods with toxic substances as they absorbed through the plants grown upon them.

Steps You Can Take

Step One- Read and Research

First of all, if you take supplements, read the labels of your supplements as you should do with anything you purchase to consume- if possible.

Ask yourself- Can you confirm that they come from viable natural or organic sources? Is there a website on the label that will permit you to go to their site? If so, visit it and see if you can determine the nature of the product’s ingredients.

If you cannot, can you contact the company through a phone call or email? Probably a phone call is better because your likelihood of not being ignored is lower if you can speak with someone directly.

Select from Reliable Sources

Mike’s online store- Health Ranger Store – offers a good amount of supplement products all of which have been tested to be within or free of heavy metal contaminants.

If you now understand the dangers of toxicity from heavy metals and are looking for substitutes this is a good place to start as you can trust the source.

Heavy Metal Detox

Heavy metals accumulate in the body over time. Chances are high that you have some accumulated in your body since the environmental sources are widespread.

There are a variety of methods suggested to unload your heavy metals. They are especially not needed in inorganic form so there is a good reason to get rid of them.

Some doctors and health practitioners recommend chelation therapy,

A word of warning here though, I have seen some warnings of the dangers of this method by people who have experienced negative reactions.

These reactions are attributed to a rapid detox due to the chelation substance pulling a lot of stored heavy metals into the blood stream. However, after the detox substance wears off (like DMSA), it leaves the person with a huge amount of heavy metals circulating in the blood stream causing all the symptoms of heavy metal toxicity to arise at once.

This has been known to lead to some serious problems from high fatigue to kidney overload.

For safety purposes it appears that a more gradual approach using whole foods, not as aggressive supplements and a gradually improved blood health level.

Full treatment options are not the point of this post, nor can be effectively covered her. However, I included have a few supplement recommendations at the end of the article that can be used with dietary recommendations as well.

The primary consideration here is that heavy metal toxicity is an issue that needs to be addressed from the supplement level to the dietary level as we are all subject to it.

I hope this article heightens your awareness of the potential dangers from heavy metals that we all face in the modern world while giving some practical alternatives to consider in addressing this growing threat.

Please feel free to contact me with any further questions on this issue.

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