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Zeolites, heavy metals and aluminum: Most scientific studies examine wastewater treatment or soil remediation, not human dietary consumption


(NaturalNews) Based on my recent articles revealing the composition and function of zeolites, some readers are asking questions to gain a deeper understanding of what zeolites are made of, how they work, and where they don't work.

Below, I present three of the most common questions, along with informative answers.

As you read these questions, keep in mind that some in the zeolite industry are now running a campaign of sheer denial, attempting to deny that zeolites contain lead, or denying that the aluminum they contain can be absorbed by the human body, or even denying that I run a laboratory at all. I always believe that the truth will come out, and the truth is that zeolites contain lead and aluminum, and when they are micronized, some of this lead and aluminum is released during digestion in gastric acid.

A lot of misinformation has been pushed by the zeolite industry over the years, and this is why many people are in such a state of disbelief over these recent revelations. I cite one of the most common studies, below, which is based on really, really bad science and a lack of critical thinking.

Cited research on zeolites focuses on wastewater treatment and soil remediation, not oral intake in humans

Before we get to the reader questions, it's interesting to note that to my knowledge, most of the zeolite studies being cited by zeolite researchers cite industrial applications. Research articles tend to cite industrial research papers in which zeolites are used to "purify metal finishing wastewaters" or similar applications.

Here's an exact quote from one of the most-cited studies: "These results show that natural zeolites hold great potential to remove cationic heavy metal species from industrial wastewater."

This is wildly different from the idea of zeolites reaching into your body's tissues and organs and pulling out heavy metals as part of a "detox." Your body is not an industrial wastewater pool. For one thing, heavy metals in your body's tissues are already "locked into tissue" and aren't flowing freely in water where they can be easily bound by zeolite material. There are a thousand other chemical and biological reasons why wastewater studies don't apply to human tissue detoxification claims.

Other studies cite zeolites being used to remediate soil of heavy metals like lead. These are also cited by zeolite marketers as evidence that zeolites can remove heavy metals from your body. If they work in soil, the narrative goes, they must also work in your body.

But that's a wild leap. Soil chemistry is very different from the internal terrain of the human body. Consider this sentence from a study on zeolites vs. lead in soils:

Lead retention in soils is commonly attributed to the ion exchange or specific sorption on silicates, metal oxide-hydroxides, and organic matter.

The process used to evaluate soil samples for zeolites and lead is also quite toxic and alien to the human body. Consider this:

In order to determine the time necessary to obtain Pb sorption equilibrium, 4-g samples were suspended in 75 ml of 3 mM Ca(NO3)2 solution. One milliliter of 0.05 M Pb(NO3)2 solution was added and the pH adjusted to 3, 4, and 5 by adding 0.1 M HNO3 or 0.01 M KOH as necessary. The suspensions were shaken at 25 +/- 1 C using an end-to-end shaker. After 1, 3, 5, 10, 24, 72, and 120 h the suspensions were allowed to settle for 1 h and solutions were sampled. The samples were filtered through a 0.2-Am membrane filter and lead concentration was measured with atomic absorption spectroscopy

In essence, these industrial and soil tests do not reflect what happens in human biology and digestion. The fact that zeolite manufacturers are using industrial wastewater studies to convince people that zeolites remove toxic heavy metals from body organs and tissue is especially troubling.

I've tested zeolites in gastric acid, using a human digestion simulator. In that testing, the only tested element that was efficiently adsorbed by zeolites was cesium. On aluminum, lead, cadmium and other elements, it failed miserably. For mercury, it had a slight effect, but mercury is so "sticky" that it is nearly impossible to pull mercury out of body tissues without very strong chelation chemicals administered via IV.

Also note that my lab tests used micronized dietary supplement zeolites that are sold and labeled for human consumption, while the soil and wastewater studies were using industrial zeolites not labeled for human consumption. Thus, my own lab work used the actual material being sold to consumers. Accordingly, its results have more direct applicability to human consumption than industrial zeolites used in wastewater treatment analysis.

Reader question #1) Is it possible that the ICP-MS plasma breaks down the zeolite and causes it to release aluminum and lead?

Nope. ICP-MS instruments do not test solids, they only test liquids.

In my tests of micronized zeolites vs. various metals, I "digested" micronized zeolite powder in a weak acid solution that's almost identical to the gastric acid found in your stomach. After this digestion, some zeolite solids settle to the bottom of the vial (this is the part that's indigestible). Only the liquid on top is drawn off and tested via ICP-MS. In other words, the zeolite solids left over from digestion were not tested.

It is this liquid that showed slight increases in lead and cadmium while simultaneously registering huge increases in aluminum. Micronized zeolites "give off" aluminum when digested in gastric acid. This extra aluminum goes right into solution (liquids) where it could feasibly be absorbed into blood via the digestive tract. This is my primary concern about the daily consumption of micronized zeolites. Note that I do not have this concern about granular zeolites, because they pass right through your digestive tract.

Remember: We aren't inserting zeolite solids into the ICP-MS instrument. It doesn't work that way. You can only sample liquids derived from zeolites.

Reader question #2) I've been told that zeolites contain an aluminum compound that can't be absorbed by humans

Apparently, some people are being told that zeolite aluminum is "magical aluminum" which somehow defies the laws of chemistry and biology.

As you might expect, that's just more marketing nonsense. The aluminum in zeolites is, of course, fully capable of being absorbed into the human body as long as its molecules are small enough to pass through intestinal walls. One of the scientific papers touted by zeolite supporters even shows aluminum being eliminated via urine after people eat micronized zeolite powder (which contain high concentrations of aluminum).

From that paper, authored by Emmanouil Karampahtsis, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine in Scottsdale, Arizona:

We observed the most urinary excretion with the use of the powdered zeolite preparation ... as an oral chelating agent in the following heavy metals (mean percent increase in excretion): Arsenic 119%, Thallium 119%, Tungsten 99%, Lead 43%, Aluminum 43%, Cesium 41%, Barium 37% and Nickel 23%.

In other words, after people eat micronized zeolite powder, their urine starts to excrete aluminum, arsenic, lead, tungsten, and other elements found in zeolite powder. This isn't rocket science. If you eat large quantities of these elements, your body will try to eliminate them via urine and other avenues. Nowhere does this prove that zeolites are pulling these toxic elements out of your tissues.

That same paper goes on to state that if study subjects would have eaten more zeolites, they would have excreted more toxic metals:

For the powdered zeolite preparation ... we used the minimum recommended dose from the company of one scoop (5 grams) per day. Since the maximum recommended daily dose of the powdered zeolite preparation is three scoops per day (15 grams), it is possible that for those toxic metals that we did not observe any significant excretion with the use of this product could also be dose dependent. A higher dose of two or three scoops per day could have shown an increase in urinary excretion of those metals.

In other words, if you eat more zeolites, you'll excrete more of the metals found in zeolites! That does not impress me.

By the way, I have never made a statement about whether or not I think the concentration of aluminum found in zeolites is harmful or dangerous to the human body. My position has been that this aluminum is present in zeolites, and it's present in very high concentrations in the gastric acid liquid in which zeolites are "digested."

What I do find astonishing is that many people who avoid vaccines because of aluminum are happily eating aluminum every day in the form of zeolites, then telling themselves that aluminum doesn't count because it's somehow a "different" aluminum. Consider the claims of the zeolite manufacturers: They claim zeolites are micronized in order to let them pass into your blood stream, right? Then, if zeolites are made of high amounts of aluminum, how is this aluminum also not entering your blood? Is it their position that "zeolite aluminum" circulates around your blood but somehow never gets deposited in tissues, organs or cells? That just doesn't add up.

Reader question #3) You've said before that human gastric acid is not strong enough to "dissociate zeolite material" and therefore it passes right through the digestive tract

I was referring to intact, GRANULAR zeolite material as it is mined from the ground. Because this wasn't clear on some of the text I previously published, I'm in the process of clarifying that text now. I've consistently stated that granular zeolite material cannot be digested by the human body and passes right through it because gastric acid is too weak to break down intact granular zeolites.

My concern has always been with the "micronization" of zeolite material which is intended by manufacturers to create a particle size that's small enough to pass through intestinal walls and enter the blood.

The narrative pushed by zeolite marketers is that once these zeolite materials are tiny enough, they will enter your blood stream and circulate around your body, extracting heavy metals and then eliminating them from your body. I have never seen a legitimate clinical trial that demonstrates this. This is the "great leap" from the zeolite marketers. It is merely assumed that zeolites function in this way inside the human body.

My contention is that this assumption is wrong. I believe micronized zeolites should not be consumed orally except in emergency situations or under the direct supervision of a naturopathic physician who's using them for a specific, limited purpose (most likely nuclear fallout decontamination efforts).

While I fully realize that some people who take zeolites will never be convinced to stop taking them, I do believe in health freedom, and I believe people should be free to swallow, eat or smoke whatever they want. At the same time, we also have freedom of speech, and I could not live with my own conscience if I did not publicly state my concerns about zeolites.

What you decide to do is up to you, but you're probably wise to stop eating tiny rocks and start eating real food as your detox method of choice.

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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com) and a globally recognized scientific researcher in clean foods. He serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation.

Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and Native American Indians. He's also of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his "Health Ranger" passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.

Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world's first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.

In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released over a dozen popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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