If you’ve been really paying attention the last few years, it has been brought to our attention that many superfoods and supplements are NOT as beneficial to your health as you may have hoped. It’s not that these nutritional powerhouses don’t have inherent value, BUT much like our food, some of them have been shown to have sky high levels of contamination that end up turning that healthy habit into a very destructive one.

A bit of a kick in the pants, ain’t it? You’re trying to get healthy and you’re munching on obnoxious toxins like heavy metals. How quickly your plans can turn sour when you are not doing your homework on a daily basis (good thing I’m here to help you pick up the slack).

Although I’m sure this list is MUCH longer, for now these are some foods and supplements that have been shown to have unacceptable levels of heavy metal contaminants, and why you should be careful to avoid them or purchase brands that have clearly proven they are not in their products.

Cacao (Chocolate)

I fully realize that unveiling the truth about the dangers of many cacao products may cause my popularity to sink, however, I’m far more interested in conveying the truth than letting people slowly destroy their health unknowingly. And the truth is, there’s a lot to be concerned about with many cacao products.

Many years ago, both Consumerlab.com and the Natural New Forensic Food Lab found high levels of the toxic heavy metal cadmium in cacao powder products. Tests revealed cadmium concentrations regularly hit 1000 ppb (1 ppm) or higher in several brands. You can see the brands tested and their results, here.

The reason this is a problem, including for organic products, is cacao tends to bio-accumulate cadmium, causing concentrations in the plant that are much higher than what is found in the soil. Since their is no nutritive benefit to cadmium, and excessive cadmium has been linked to kidney damage, cardiovascular disease, skin diseases, and more, it makes sense to be wary of any cacao powder products.

The better news is that cacao nibs have been shown to consistently have lower cadmium levels, perhaps due to less machining of the product into powder, so if you want to enjoy them that way you are generally safer. Of course, with cadmium levels being very persistent in many chocolate products, one should be careful about their choices and how much they eat, if they don’t want to create the health issues described earlier.

Best to stick with cacao nibs more often, and get them from a source that has lab-tested them to be low heavy metal verified (which includes cadmium).


Often described as one of the most nutrient-dense superfoods discovered, moringa leaf powder (derived from the Moringa oleifera tree) has been known as the “miracle tree” and contains vital nutrients such as iron, protein, fiber, chlorophyll, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamins A and C. It also contains 46 different antioxidant compounds and all 18 essential amino acids.

The benefits of consuming moringa include support of a healthy immune system, digestion, liver function, heart function, brain function, and energy levels. Of course, those benefits come with a disclaimer, and it’s a heavy one.

As reported by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger:

“Most moringa powder products on the market are extremely dirty. Moringa powder is very efficient in absorbing lead from the soil. Thus, about 95 percent of the moringa we’ve tested have failed our lab tests for lead.”

Again, a healthy habit that you may have been incorporating on a daily basis, becomes a deadly habit if you are consuming one of the brands who have shown unacceptable levels of lead. Typically, these brands source their raw materials from the same grower or suppliers, so it’s not surprising that such a high percentage of moringa products can be grossly contaminated, when they are coming from the same geographical region.

Unfortunately, I can’t name brands because that information hasn’t been made public, but I can recommend a rare lot of moringa that meets the safe levels of heavy metals (lead in particular), so you can stock up before it’s gone (and often, for a long while).


Zeolite is a naturally occurring compound which is deposited into the earth by the volcanic process, and has been known to be consumed as clay by cultures all across the world for health reasons. You can find zeolite in powders, liquid, and capsule form.

Zeolites have become a popular way to remove heavy metals from the body and improve your pH balance. They have also been used to draw out microbes like bad bacteria, viruses, and fungus. Lastly, zeolite has also been used in water filtration systems.

The unfortunate irony with many fine zeolite powders is that they contain high concentrations of aluminum and lead. So if consumed orally, you may be absorbing high amounts of the very toxins you are attempting to eliminate, into your bloodstream. In independent testing done by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, zeolite samples contained anywhere from 10-40 ppm of toxic lead, while his personal upper limit is .25 ppm of lead, which means even the cleaner versions have 40 times more lead than his upper limit.

So again, in your attempt to potentially remove heavy metals and detoxify your body, you may in fact be doing the exact opposite. My best advice is to avoid “micronized” (fine powders) zeolite powders in any format, and look for suppliers that have “cleansed” their zeolite of these contaminants, if you wish to use them for the desired benefits.

This of course is a short list, with many more foods and supplements having incriminating results, such as coffee (cadmium), rice protein (tungsten), and just recently probiotics sold by Amazon.com (lead and aluminum).

This is all to say that your supplements should get the same scrutiny your food does, and don’t get an automatic pass. Brands that have been given the green light due to their “popularity”, don’t always pass muster. This is why I only trust those brands that have their products tested, and scrutinized, to make sure they are safe for public consumption, like those sold at the Health Ranger Store.

Anything less, and you’re just gambling on your health.

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Derek Henry

Derek Henry, Founder of Healing the Body and the THRIVE Academy, used nutrition, supplementation, and a holistic lifestyle to naturally unravel 13 chronic disease conditions that conventional or alternative medical professionals couldn't help him resolve. As a result of this one-in-a-million health transformation and the knowledge acquired in the process, he now educates, coaches, and inspires others to transform their health through a natural and holistic approach. Since 2014, he has helped his THRIVE Academy participants heal over 20 different chronic disease conditions, primarily related to digestive and autoimmune concerns.

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