Healthy blood and the regulated flow in the body are essential for good health. However, 97% of Americans have some level of a “forever chemical” known as PFAS in their blood due to toxic household products.
It is no secret that blood is a vital liquid for the body, boiling down to three critical functions: transport, protection, and regulation.
- Transportation – Blood transports gasses 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.
- Protection – 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.
- Regulation – 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.
Because of these essential functions of blood, healthy blood flow ensures it can carry out its essential duties. But what is blood purification therapy exactly, and how does it remove toxins from the body?
Blood purification is a therapy 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 to prevent and treat multiple organ failure.
The blood cleansing procedure takes many forms, including filtration, dialysis treatment, adsorption, or a combination. Each is administered based on a patient’s health condition, symptoms, and many other factors that go into prescribing treatment.
Filtration is a common blood purification technique that can be performed in various ways. For example, the filtration methods used to treat patients involve using a blood purification device that filters and returns the purified 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.2
Additionally, performing blood purification more consistently is used to help critically ill patients experiencing multiple organ failure.Consistent blood purification is referred to as renal replacement therapy, of which continuous hemodiafiltration is considered the most useful. Hemodiafiltration combines hemofiltration and hemodialysis in a single procedure.3
This can be performed without causing severe side effects and help remove or decrease humoral mediators, including pro-inflammatory cytokine, from the blood. It’s also helpful in managing body fluids, electrolytes, and an acid-base balance. Hemodiafiltration, often used as a renal replacement therapy, offers inflammation, oxidative stress, and anemia correction benefits.
Hemodialysis cleans toxins from the blood and is primarily administered in patients with kidney and renal failure. The cleaning process separates 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.4
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 four hours each time. It can be done in a hospital, a dialysis center, or a home. The 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 circulating 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. This approach aims to remove an adequate amount of hydrophobic molecules that the other blood purification techniques don’t remove. This method has often been used in septic shock patients.5
These blood purification methods are used in emergencies where toxicity in the body has led to near-fatal results. They are widely used to treat the types of disorders mentioned that aren’t responsive to conventional therapies, medication, or surgery. In addition to these standard blood purification methods, alternative detox therapies 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.6 The therapy has been used since the 1950s, since being 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 removes substances like copper, iron, and lead from the blood.7 Other possible agents to use include:
Each chelation agent is used to remove specific types of metals and toxins, such as arsenic, copper, and mercury. Though the body is designed to filter out many toxins naturally it encounters through the liver, kidneys, and other organs, there are times when the system isn’t functioning as it should.
Detoxification therapy like IV chelation can help remove excess toxins and help strengthen the immune system, and restore health. The severity of a patient’s condition and their specific needs and symptoms, will all factor into the type of treatment administered and how frequently it is required.
Protecting the Natural Filtration Process
The liver converts food into energy and toxins into harmless substances that are removed from the body. Kidneys are responsible for filtering blood and also removing waste. Together, they lead a powerful detox system involving 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.
Several alternative treatments and therapies are available to filter the blood and eliminate toxins from the body. However, preventative measures are equally important. It’s best to support the body’s natural filtration process by taking care of the liver and kidneys by 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. These are your body’s way of saying it’s rundown. It’s difficult to combat all the toxins you face daily, through the environment, products you use, and what you consume. If you’re experiencing any of these consistently, it may be time to discuss treatment options with your doctor.
Feeling Fatigued Constantly
Feeling tired now and again is normal. However, if you feel sluggish throughout the day, all the time, there may be something internal going on. Though it could be the result of several things, such as lack of sleep or dehydration, it could also mean too many toxins are weighing down your immune system.
Irregular Bowel Movements
Bowel movements are one of the body’s natural ways of releasing toxins. If you have irregular bowel movements or experience constipation often, it could mean your intestines aren’t working as they should due to a buildup of toxins. An influx of processed foods, constant exposure to heavy metals and chemicals from household items, beauty products, and environmental factors can all wreak havoc on your system and slow down the normal filtering functioning your body is used to.
When your body is experiencing stress from toxins, one of the first ways it reveals itself is through the skin. Skin inflammation, acne flare-ups, and rashes indicate that something isn’t quite right beneath the surface. Toxin overload manifests itself in many ways, but if you’re experiencing unexplained breakouts, your organs may not be filtering as fast as they need to be.
Foods to Help You Detox
One way to help the body function as it should is by filling your diet with blood-cleansing foods.
Certain foods boost your organs’ ability to cleanse and filter the waste from the white and red blood cells. When viewing your health holistically, looking at your nutrition is often a good place to start.8
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)
Cruciferous refers to vegetables from the cabbage family, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Each cruciferous vegetable is high in antioxidants and has been shown to reduce the risk of certain types of cancers, including kidney disease and kidney cancer.
They are high in minerals and vitamins A, C, and K. Plus, they contain phytonutrients, which help lower inflammation. Adding them to a daily detox diet is easy since they’re available year-round and can be eaten in various forms. Roast, saute or eat them raw. The more you work them into your diet, the better it helps clean the blood.
Blueberries and cranberries
Blueberries are also high in antioxidants and can help keep the liver healthy by protecting it from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is an imbalance of free radicals in the body, which can result in cell and tissue damage. It can also lead to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, muscle or joint pain, and susceptibility to infections and sepsis.
Since the liver is the main organ in the body’s natural detoxification process, it must function at its best. Adding blueberries to your morning cereal or afternoon smoothie is an easy way to get more of these powerful liver-cleanse fruits into your daily diet.9
Grapefruit contains specific antioxidants, naringenin, and naringin, that protect the liver from liver disease, inflammation, oxidative stress, and harmful side effects of alcohol. It’s also been known to improve heart health and prevent insulin resistance.3 The tart fruit is low in calories but high in nutrients and can be eaten on its own as a light breakfast or used as a refreshing component of salads.
Research has found garlic reduced lead levels in the blood by 19% and signs of toxicity such as headaches and blood pressure. The active components are garlic’s sulfur compounds. They’ve been shown to protect against heavy metal toxicity in high amounts. Since garlic can be added to nearly any savory dish, adding more to a daily diet is convenient.10
Garlic is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties and helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Since high blood pressure can directly harm blood vessels in the kidney, garlic can help keep the kidney functioning smoothly. There are also certain compounds found in garlic that aid in boosting the immune system and digestive tract health and detoxify heavy metals in the body.
Everyone’s favorite morning pick-me-up has been proven beneficial to the liver. Research has shown it can lower the risk of cirrhosis and may reduce the risk of developing liver cancer. Coffee helps reduce inflammation and fat accumulation in the liver, keeping it healthy and working well.
While green tea does not actively detoxify the body on its own, it can support the body’s natural ability to cleanse toxins by supporting the liver and fighting free radicals. It is rich in polyphenols that aid the body’s natural detoxification ability by supporting the liver and preventing cell damage.11
Green tea is rich in polyphenols that can protect the liver and promote enzyme activity in the liver, making the detoxification function more efficient. Drinking green tea can also promote hydration and help you meet your daily fluid requirements
Certain fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to decrease blood triglyceride levels and lower blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids help boost liver and kidney functioning. Tuna, salmon, and sardines are the most common in this category, though they are also high in protein. Establishing a well-balanced diet is important,as too much protein can make your kidneys work even harder.
Popularly known to help with urinary tract health, cranberries may help bacteria from attaching to the urinary tract, which prevents your kidneys from being infected. Fresh cranberries added to salads, smoothies, or oatmeal are the best way to go since drinking cranberry juice can add unnecessary sugar and preservatives to your diet.
These are a few healthy blood-cleansing foods that can aid in the health of your organs responsible for filtering out harmful toxins. They each benefit liver function or the kidneys significantly, allowing the natural detoxification process to occur more effectively. Adding several of these foods to your regular diet can help improve functioning and allow your body to detox as it should.
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. However, switching which foods you eat 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 severity.
It’s important to consult with your doctors about your options to understand which route of care is best for you. It may require combining treatment methods to reach the best possible result. Each person has their own specific needs that will affect the kind of treatment prescribed to remove toxin buildup and purify the blood.
At Immunity Therapy Center, we believe blood purification is more successful when you are fully engaged with the treatment. You must understand what alternative therapies you are receiving and why you are using them. During your treatment with us, we will answer all of your questions and help you feel as comfortable as possible. We are not just providing your blood purification treatment— we are treating your well-being and helping you maintain your peace of mind.
- NIH, Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/pfc/index.cfm#footnote1
- 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
- Healthline.com. Blood Purifier: Can You Cleanse and Purify Your Blood Naturally? https://www.healthline.com/health/blood-purifier#foods-to-eat
- Better Nutrition. 7 Foods That Cleanse Your Liver. https://www.betternutrition.com/healthy-eating/7-foods-strengthen-liver/
- Healthline.com. 11 Proven Health Benefits of Garlic. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-garlic
- Green Tea Detox: Is It Good or Bad for You? https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/green-tea-detox-diet
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.