Doctor's Note

Be sure to check out my other videos on Ayurvedic medicine, especially Some Ayurvedic Medicine Worse Than Lead Paint Exposure, and Get the Lead Out

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. Be sure to check back for the other videos on Ayurvedic medicine. Don’t miss Friday’s video Some Ayurveduc medicine worse than lead paint exposure or Monday’s video Get the lead out. And there are 1,449 subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them!

    • Dr Patryce A

       holy moley!!   if there is sooo much nasty mercury in canned tuna products why in the world are we not made aware of this fact?  as children are consuming more fish – parents thinking it is healthier than the ‘nasty’ animal proteins??   what are these children & parents to do?
      dr.p. adria smith
      phd in natural health
      mother & grandmother
      researcher & ceo

      • NickyC

        Yes, it is very unfortunate that our food supply has become so toxic. This is particularly true for foods derived from animal sources (e.g., fish, meat, chicken, and dairy). While this may seem extreme, the best thing you can do for you, your family, and your loved ones is to adapt an organic, whole foods, plant based diet; a diet that severely restricts or even eliminates completely animal products. As the link to these videos below will show you, eating a diet this way, will significantly lower the toxic load in your body: , and ; significantly improve your mood: ; improve your IQ: ; lower your risk of disease: Try a 30 day challenge and see how much better you feel!!!

        • Dr. Patryce A.

          I would suggest more than unfortunate…criminal would be a word that comes to mind!! People have accepted what the industries have been doing to people’s health for way too many years. If there is not a standing up to tell them STOP ..there will soon not be those folks that have enough health left to bother! As the Baby Boomers generations are progressing in aging & not taking responsibility for their life style choices this will drain the economy along with the younger folks that do not choose the healthier life styles. A major paradigm shift is needed quickly toward health..
          As my formal education & degrees are across many fields of health of mind, body & spirit I know the necessity of eating organic, local, & plant based diet …it is the new generation along with the aging that must reclaim their powers of choice toward healthy life styles. Another one to check out is the Health Ranger or implementing homeopathic & naturopathic healing modalities….Stopping the insanity of the Pharma-Mafia, telling corporations like Monsanto, etc. we will not eat those foods that they have genetically modified, etc.
          Much work is needed to help people regain common sense used by their Grandmothers when choosing food for health of mind, body, and spirit..

      • TMR

        One more reason of thousands to go vegan, but the best reason to be vegan is because all forms of animal use is morally unjustifiable and great violence. :-)

        • Rasa Petrauskaite

          I agree with you. People panic if something is toxic for them. But many people don’t think that other animals who are not human are suffering so much. Millions of farm animals are suffering today. Every day millions of animals are being murdered. There is no good reason for people to murder animals. Animals can think and feel. The only major difference between a farm animal and a human is that humans are more intelligent. Is that a reason to kill an animal?! If that’s a good reason, then why don’t these people also think it’s ok to kill people who have a mental disease such as Alzheimer’s or Down Syndrome?! People need to start seeing animals as individuals. They deserve only love and caring.

    • Scott

       I know I’m not the only one confused by this video. So Boston Amla&Triphala is fine, but Triphala bought over the internet is risky (no mention of Amla, so am I to infer Amla is fine) and someone below asked then where do you buy your metal-free Amla? I’d love to incorporate it into my family’s diet but right now I don’t have confidence I’d be buying a good product.

  • veganmontreal

    thanks for the confirmation dr greger that amla does not contain toxins. i found amla at my local indian market for $1.99 for 200g and i have been consuming a scant teaspoon full in hot water every morning. it is certainly sour but not unpleasantly so.

    • It is strange that triphala would be contaminated while other herbs are not. Perhaps the studies didn’t include pure amla (while they did contain other pure herbs like jatamamsi). It could also be that amla was made by a company that does make formulations with metals while triphala was from companies that do use metals in other formulations. Most of the formulas (classical anyway) in the study do not include metals and so are there thru contamination (like soy wheat and other substances in general food products here).

  • Emmeline

    So then how does one get for sure clean Amla ? what are the good brands ? where do you find them ? I want to add Amla to my smoothies but not mercury ! you are advertizing for a super dupper antioxydant and then you are telling us that it’s most likely contaminated !

    • Carl Matthews

      I was confused after the latest video.  So I  directly asked Dr Greger about the heavy metals in Amla.   At a June 5, 2012  seminar in Portland Or. He stated that” no study has found any contamination of Amla”.    Not ever? Couldn’t be any clearer than that!. Thought I’d pass this along to others. 

      • Rod Lewis

        Carl “we” have every right to be confused and we should be!

        When 20%, of a 3 part product is contaminated, and Amla, is one of those  3 parts ,WHY should we not see the Warning signs EVERYWHERE and just NOT naturally want to avoid “it”  and all of “them”?

        What about “GUILT BY ASSOCIATION” IF NOTHING in this situation?

        When  20% of a product is contaminated with these metals, how can amla, ever be considered “safe” and “skate free” so easily after such a warning?

        Testing for heavy metals apparently is not rocket science!

        After such a group warning shot has indeed been fired why not put on  the brakes and do some heavy duty testing of amla before giving it an overall clean bill of health when our health and lives are on the line?

        I saw recently where Consumer Labs, right here in the U.S. “failed” several “metal detox products” made  here in the U.S., BECAUSE  they CONTAINED THE VERY METALS THAT THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO BE REMOVING!

        As much as I’d like to use amla for it’s much touted benefits, I am going to have to stop using it, until some things are cleared up via test for poisonous heavy metals first; ones,that will give amla an over all “clean bill of health” first, other wise I think taking amla is like playing Russian Roulette with a “5 shooter “instead of a “6 shooter.” !

  • jmboss

    Is there any information available on the safety of organic amla and/or triphala powders. Are these formulations also contaminated with heavy metals as well?


    • Vallis

      I see lots of organic amla and/or triphala powders offered for sale on line, but no mention of being free of heavy metals. So I am wondering the same thing.

  • GeorgeI

    I’ll chime in, I’m another person who ordered amla powder a few days ago. I’m disappointed to hear this news and reconsidering consuming it. However, I would rather be disappointed and have this information, so thanks Dr. G.

  • GeorgeI

    An earlier video stated that many folk medicines intentionally put heavy metals into their medicine.

    Many vaccines from allopathic medicine use thimerisol and many educated researchers defend the practice.

    If mercury is studied and safe for vaccines why isn’t it safe for folk medicine?

    • DrDons

      Thiomersal was patented in 1927 and has been used as a preservative. It is clearly a toxic substance to biological systems. Most recent controversy centers around its use in vaccines. Unfortunately I believe much of the discussion fails to ask a key question and to apply an important principle. The question is, Do we need to add a toxic substance(even if some studies show it to be “safe”) to our vaccines. The answer is No! Single dose vaccines don’t need a preservative. The use of single dose vials makes it a non-issue. However, it is cheaper to manufacture multidose vials with preservative where it is useful and necessary to avoid infections. Multidose vials are not necessary in that we can usually manufacture single dose vials. Applying the “precautionary principle” you should always avoid mercury any form. So it is not a “safe” product in my opinion. I would request vaccines from the medical profession that are thiomersal free aka single dose vials. If I were running a medical office giving vaccines I would stock single dose vials whenever possible. This can be challenging given the manufacturing practices of the companies that make vaccines. In each circumstance the risk of taking a vaccine with thiomersal must be balanced with the benefits of the vaccine.

      • Rod Lewis

        Right on Dr. Dons!

        Have you seen the direct link between Gulf War Syndrome and thiomersal containing  vaccines used on US & British troops?

        Apparently it was only the French troops  that DIDN’T  come down with this “disease” in the Gulf War even though they fought right next to our “guys and gals”  and that was because they used their OWN”vaccines that did NOT CONTAIN THIOMERSAL!
        And It’s the US and British troops and their families that are now paying the price and NOT THE FRENCH.

        Dr. Dons you hit the nail right on the head.

        Keep HAMMERING Dr., untlil this health carnage  is stopped! 

        There is no such thing as a safe level of MERCURY inside the human body anywhere!.

  • KDahlin

    It’s frustrating the authors don’t list the ones without toxic metals. The only way to react to this information is to avoid Ayurvedic medicines altogether.

    • Rod Lewis

       Well stated!

  • Frank Harris

    So, Dr. Greger, where do you buy your heavy metal free Amla powder for your breakfast smoothies?

  • I take both triphala and frozen amla fruit. Sadly haven’t been able to find the fresh fruit here anyway. Any idea about how frozen would compare to a powder or dried?

  • Dr Patryce A

    If so contaminated why in the world are you even suggesting that people purchase and use these products? Am I missing something here? 

    • Toxins

       He is not recommending them, he is saying keep away from triphala and consume Amla.

  • Deanna Lynn

    How can this be helpful if it is so confusing so alma is ok how do we know is organic ok do we purchase in boston only why is alma ok its a indian herb confusing to say the least 

    • Dr Patryce A

       So totally agree Deanna,
      This was rather a dis-service in this article…more confusing than helpful. Also there are many other ways to obtain the benefits from foods and herbs that should/could have been shared.

  • Just received this from BanyanBotanicals (a U.S. company selling Ayurvedic remedies)

    February 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Banyan tests every batch of herbs for
    arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury using independent U.S. laboratories.
    All of our products, when taken according to the suggested use on the
    bottle, are within the safety guidelines stipulated by the American
    National Standards Institute/National Sanitation Foundation
    International Dietary Supplement Standard 173 (ANSI 173).

    It is important to understand the heavy metals exist in our natural
    resources, including the soil, air, and water. This is not limited to
    any particular region, but is from natural occurrence in the Earth as
    well as the widespread result of industrialization. Therefore, it is
    very difficult to find a naturally grown product, including sometimes
    the food we consume, that does not have some levels of heavy metals. We
    ensure that our products adhere to the standards of ANSI 173 by testing
    the raw herb when it first comes in, and then testing the final product
    once it hasbeen tableted in our unique formulations.

    Many of the reports in the media about heavy metals in Ayurvedic
    products stem from products that were manufactured in India that contain
    heavy metals as ingredients. There is esoteric practice within Ayurveda
    called Rasa Shastra that uses metals as medicine. Banyan does not sell
    products based on Rasa Shastra nor do we intentionally introduce any
    metals to our products.

    For more information on acceptable levels of daily intake see our Quality Control statment”. Here is the link

  • guest

    Triphala guggula is not the same as Triphala. The tests showing arsenic are for Triphala guggula. Which is why Boston Triphala came negative for heavy metals. Triphala is a mix of 3 dried fruits. Triphala guggula contains additional herb that is processed.

  • TheHulk

    Dr. Greger, Triphala Gugglu is a seperate medicine. Gugglu by definition is heavy metal! It is prescribed in ayurveda only for short term for a disease cure, not for general wellbeing.

  • So amla is safe from heavy metals?