Having a healthy blood flow, free of toxins is essential for good health. The blood is responsible for three key functions: transport, protection, regulation. It transports gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from the lungs and throughout the body. It also moves nutrients from the digestive tract and disperses them throughout the body. Then, it transports waste products where they need to go for removal.
Secondly, the blood protects the body by using white blood cells to destroy pathogens and other harmful invaders and platelets to clot the blood to minimize blood loss from an injury. Lastly, the blood regulates body temperature, water balance, and pH level. When there is an increased level of toxins in the blood, it hinders its ability to perform any of these functions well.
Therefore, blood purification becomes necessary. This detox treatment can be achieved through filtering the patient’s blood and removing pathogens, heavy metals, and other contaminants that enter the bloodstream. But what is blood purification therapy exactly and how do toxins leave the body in this process?
Blood purification is a therapy that is used for many disorders to “clean” the patient’s blood by removing toxins and pathogens and restoring filtered blood to the patient. It’s mostly administered to critical care patients, as a way to prevent and treat multiple organ failure.
The blood purification process takes many forms, including filtration, dialysis treatment, adsorption, or a combination of these. Each is administered based on a patient’s health condition, symptoms, and a number of other factors that go into prescribing treatment.
Filtration is a common blood purification technique that’s performed in various ways. For example, the filtration methods used to treat patients involve using a blood purification device that filters the blood and returns the filtered blood to the patient. These devices are designed to reduce pathogens, cytokines, and other inflammatory mediators that typically become elevated during infection. A buildup of any of these can potentially lead to respiratory failure, severe inflammation, organ failure, and death.1
Additionally, performing blood purification continuously is now possible to help critically ill patients experiencing multiple organ failure. This is also referred to as renal replacement therapy, of which continuous hemodiafiltration is considered the most useful. Hemodiafiltration combines hemofiltration and hemodialysis in a single procedure.2
It can be performed without causing serious side effects and is successful in removing or decreasing humoral mediators, including pro-inflammatory cytokine, from the blood. It’s also useful in managing fluids, electrolytes, and maintaining an acid-base balance in the body. Hemodiafiltration used as a renal replacement therapy offers benefits regarding inflammation, oxidative stress, and anemia correction.
Hemodialysis cleans toxins from the blood and is mostly administered in patients with kidney failure, renal failure. The process separates out the good parts of the blood from invading toxins. It’s a procedure that involves a dialysis machine and a special filter called an artificial kidney working together to clean the blood. The artificial kidney is made of two parts. One is for the blood and one is for the dialysate or the washing fluid.3
A thin membrane separates the blood filter from the dialysate filter. Smaller waste products in the blood, such as urea, potassium, and extra fluid pass through the membrane and are washed away, while the beneficial components of your blood, like protein and blood cells, remain.
Hemodialysis is typically performed three times a week for a four-hour period each time. It can be done in a hospital, a dialysis center, or at home. The length of time prescribed is based on each patient, depending on how much treatment is needed. In addition to this blood purification treatment, patients on dialysis are advised to increase the protein intake in their diets and limit how much potassium and sodium are consumed.
Adsorption techniques, such as plasma perfusion and hemoperfusion, can enable more selective removal of specific compounds from the blood. Coupled plasma filtration-adsorption cleans toxins from blood by separating plasma from whole blood through a plasma filter and circulates it in a sorbent cartridge. Sorbents are insoluble materials used to recover liquids through the means of adsorption.
The plasma is then returned to the blood circuit to undergo the process of hemofiltration or hemodialysis. The purpose of this approach is to remove an adequate amount of hydrophobic molecules that aren’t removed by the other blood purification techniques. This has often been used in septic shock patients.4
These blood purification methods are used in emergency situations where toxicity in the body has led to near-fatal results. They are widely used for the treatment of the types of disorders mentioned that aren’t responsive to conventional therapies, medication, or surgery. In addition to these common blood purification methods, there are also alternative detox therapies that are also effective in aiding the body’s natural cleansing function.
IV Chelation Treatment
Chelation refers to how metals in the body like iron can bind to a chemical compound, known as a chelating agent.5 The therapy has been used since the 1950s where the therapy was successful in 19 out of 20 lead poisoning cases. IV chelation treatment involves a chelating agent being introduced through the body intravenously via a drip or infusion or orally through a supplement.
As the chelating agent enters the bloodstream, it binds to metals and other toxins in the body which are then removed through urination. Ethylenediamine tetra-acetic acid (EDTA) is the most common compound used since it’s known to remove substances like copper, iron, and lead from the blood. Other possible agents to use include:
Each of these chelation agents is used to remove specific types of metals and toxins, such as arsenic, copper, and mercury. Though the body is designed to naturally filter out many of the toxins it encounters through the liver, kidneys, and other organs, there are times when the system isn’t functioning as it should.
A detoxification therapy like IV chelation can help remove the excess amount of toxins and help strengthen the immune system and restore health. The severity of a patient’s condition as well as their specific needs and symptoms will all factor into the type of treatment administered and how frequent it is required.
Protecting the Natural Filtration Process
The liver converts food into energy and converts toxins into harmless substances that are then removed from the body. Kidneys are responsible for filtering blood and also removing waste. Together, they lead a powerful detox system that also involves your spleen, intestines, skin, and lymphatic system. When there are problems that arise in any of these areas, it’s likely due to a toxin overload.
There are several alternative treatments and therapies available designed to filter the blood and eliminate toxins from the body. However, preventative measures are equally important, too. It’s best to support the body’s natural filtration process by taking care of the liver and kidneys through identifying symptoms of toxin buildup and eating a balanced diet of blood cleansing foods.
Symptoms of Toxin Buildup
When there are too many toxins in your body, symptoms appear. First, the body will attempt to rid the body of toxins by any means necessary, which may lead to diarrhea, excessive urination, runny nose, or vomiting. Many people may experience changes to their skin and body odor as well since the natural detox system is trying to purge toxins out.
As they accumulate and build up, it’s also likely to experience fatigue, difficulty sleeping, skin rashes, constipation, and headaches. These kinds of symptoms are your body’s way of saying it’s rundown. It’s difficult to combat all the toxins you face on a daily basis, through the environment, products you use, and what you consume.
However, there is a way to ease the stress on your body through food while your body continues to work at expelling the toxin buildup.
Foods to Help You Detox
A change in your diet to whole, antioxidant-rich foods can support the body’s natural detox process. Some of these foods include:
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage)
- Blueberries and cranberries
- Green tea
Each of these foods and beverages contains antioxidants and specific properties that aid with regulating blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and protecting the liver from damage and eventual liver failure, to name a few. Alleviating stress from the kidneys and liver allows them to function properly and filter toxins from the blood and remove them from the body.
Making dietary changes is often the first step in improving your health. It limits how many toxins are absorbed through food and provides nutrients the body needs to stay healthy. Though switching which foods you eat on its own may not be enough for certain symptoms and conditions. As toxins continue to increase in the body, they have cumulative, harmful effects that range in levels of severity.
The best decision is the talk with your doctor about your options and which route of care is best for you. It may require a combination of treatment methods to reach the best possible result. Each person has their own specific needs that will affect the kind of treatment that’s prescribed in order to remove toxin buildup and purify the blood.
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Blood Purification Devices EUAs. https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-emergency-use-authorizations-medical-devices/blood-purification-devices-euas
- National Library of Medicine – National Center for Biotechnology Information. Blood purification for prevention and treatment of multiple organ failure.
- National Kidney Foundation. Hemodialysis. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/hemodialysis
- ScienceDirect. Blood Purification. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/blood-purification
- Hirasawa, H et al. “Blood purification for prevention and treatment of multiple organ failure.” World journal of surgery vol. 20,4 (1996): 482-6. doi:10.1007/s002689900076. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8662139/
- Verywell Health. What Is Chelation Therapy? https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-chelation-90006
At Immunity Therapy Center, our goal is to provide objective, updated, and research-based information on all health-related topics. This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by Dr. Carlos Bautista, a Board Certified Medical Doctor at Immunity Therapy Center. All information published on the site must undergo an extensive review process to ensure accuracy. This article contains trusted sources with all references hyperlinked for the reader's visibility.