Cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) are toxic heavy metals that cause adverse health effects in humans and animals. Chelation therapy, the conventional treatment for heavy metal toxicity, is reported to have a number of safety and efficacy issues. Recent studies have shown that dietary supplements play important roles in protecting against Cd and Pb toxicity. This paper reviews the evidence for protective effects of essential metals, vitamins, edible plants, phytochemicals, probiotics and other dietary supplements against Cd and Pb toxicity and describes the proposed possible mechanisms. Based on these findings, dietary strategies are recommended for people at risk of Cd and Pb exposure. The application of these strategies is advantageous for both the prevention and alleviation of Cd and Pb toxicity, as such supplements can be added easily and affordably to the daily diet and are expected to have very few side effects compared to the chelation therapy.
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