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On the Road with Lee Swanson:

Budapest, Hungary—Humifulvate® Metal Shield

Lee Swanson, President of Swanson Health Products®

Lee Swanson

Dear Friends and Valued Customers:

Budapest, the “Paris on the Danube,” is the cultural and economic heart of Hungary, the former Warsaw Pact country that has emerged as one of the most progressive post-communist nations since the fall of the Berlin wall. It is here that we found our newest dietary ingredient, the all-natural heavy metal chelating agent Humifulvate.® I traveled to Hungary last autumn to see for myself the site at which this product was discovered and to meet the scientists who brought it forth.

I was greeted in Hungary by Mr. Janos Civin and his daughter, Terez, two individuals who embody the generous spirit of the Hungarian people. They are the leaders of Humet, Plc., a company dedicated to the development of Humifulvate as a globally recognized natural health ingredient.

The Civins, along with their chief scientist Dr. Vilmos Galamb, took me to the countryside near Hungary’s famous Lake Balaton, where Humifulvate was first discovered by Dr. Elek Csucska. Although Dr. Csucska has passed away, his family still maintains the land where the special peat is harvested to create Humifulvate. Thanks to their wonderful hospitality, I was able to see first-hand where this product comes from and hold in my hand the rich soil that contains this natural wonder.

Later, I visited the oldest research facility in Hungary, where scientists have investigated herbs and other natural sources for medicines since 1915. Here I met with Professor Bela Gachalyi, M.D., D.Sc., a clinical pharmacologist who has done extensive research on Humifulvate. Dr. Gachalyi was kind enough to review with me the details of his independent research, which includes an analysis of 1,125 cases in which a Humifulvate-based product was used.

I also met with Dr. Sallai Eva, who shared with me her real-world experience using Humifulvate to help combat environmental lead exposure in workers at one of Hungary’s famous leaded glass factories. And finally, I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Laszlo Meszaros who, in addition to serving on the faculty of two prominent Hungarian universities, is also one of the country’s leading developers of natural health products. My visit to Hungary was a whirlwind of activity and a truly enriching, eye-opening experience. I could not be more confident in my new Metal Shield supplement, thanks to everyone who helped show me—live and in-person— where Humifulvate originated and how it became a most promising new ingredient for natural wellness.

Exclusive Swanson Interview: Dr. Laszlo Meszaros of Budapest, Hungary—The Amazing Heavy Metal Chelating Power of Humifulvate®

SWANSON: Dr. Meszaros, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Can you please tell our readers about your background and training?

Lee Swanson and Dr. Laszlo Meszaros

Lee with Dr. Laszlo Meszaros

Dr. Meszaros: Certainly. I completed my medical degree at the University of Budapest and then jumped right into scientific research in the field of biochemistry, also at the University of Budapest Medical School. Through my early work I became acquainted with a professor from Harvard who invited me to the U.S. I came to the states in 1980 and spent six years in Boston completing my Ph.D. in biochemistry. My focus was the biophysics and biochemistry of the muscles, specifically relating to excitation/contraction coupling mechanisms. Later, I was invited to conduct research at the University of Texas Medical School in Galveston and, finally, I was offered a faculty position at the Health Sciences University of Georgia, Medical College of Georgia, where I spent 10 years working on cardiovascular physiology and biochemistry. When I left, I established my own independent research company focused on developing nature-based health products—we call them nutraceuticals. We have a variety of products available in Hungary and throughout Europe. This is how I became interested in Humifulvate, and it’s been my pleasure to work with Swanson on the development of our new Metal Shield supplement.

SWANSON: What led you to become interested in nature-based products, or nutraceuticals, as you call them?

Dr. Meszaros: Initially my interest was purely scientific, as a researcher. At the time, in the early 1990s, one of the exciting problems in vascular physiology was determining the mechanism for dilating blood vessels. A colleague of mine ran across research being done with a certain type of flavonoid and suggested that I take a look at it. The results in the lab were nothing less than amazing. Since then, not only have I continued to research natural products, but I continue to take this particular flavonoid every day myself because I’ve seen its powers with my own eyes in countless research models.

SWANSON: In addition to your cardiovascular research, you also have some expertise in heavy metal toxicity, which we understand has been an issue of particular concern in Hungary over the years. What are the metals of concern, and where do they come from?

Dr. Meszaros: This is a very complicated topic, as there are lots of metals in the environment that can potentially become problematic for human health. But the primary heavy metals we’re concerned about today are cadmium, mercury and lead. Now, over the last 10 to 20 years we’ve made great strides in eliminating lead from common items like paint and whatnot, but as evidenced by the recent recall of children’s toys from China, it’s still around. Cadmium and mercury also are very much in the environment and are, I would say, as great a danger to human health as lead was 20 years ago. One of the biggest sources of cadmium is something most people would never think of—the brakes of our cars. Brake pads contain cadmium, which is released every time we heat up the pad by stepping on the brakes. In large cities, this can really be significant. Another source is cigarette smoke. On average, smokers take in about one microgram of cadmium per cigarette. When it comes to mercury, the main concern in the past was certain types of preservatives used in the food industry, chemicals used in cosmetics, and even some medical products like vaccines. Many of these are banned from containing mercury now, but there are still significant sources in our daily lives. The biggest and most troublesome to many people is amalgam fillings used in dentistry. And there’s one more major source of environmental mercury that will surprise a lot of your readers—computers. All that circuitry contains mercury, which is slowly released by the heat generated when the computer runs. When you put many computers together, as you see in large companies, there’s a considerable amount of mercury entering the air.

SWANSON: How real is the danger of heavy metal accumulation? Can it really have that much of an impact on our health?

Dr. Meszaros: One of the best illustrations of the dangers of heavy metal toxicity is the origin of the phrase “mad as a hatter.” Of course, most people immediately think of the Mad Hatter character from Lewis Carroll’s famous story, but the idea of the mad hatter came from a real occurrence in 19th century America. Back then, hat makers used a mercury solution to treat fur and turn it into felt. They couldn’t help but inhale the fumes, which led to widespread mercury poisoning among hatters. They developed neurological problems and, in severe cases, became psychotic. This was really the first time that metals like mercury were recognized as being toxic, and although we’ve come a long way since the late 1800s, it’s still a concern. Mad Hatter Syndrome is still used by doctors today to describe mercury poisoning, even though the exposure comes from different sources.

SWANSON: How did you become involved in this area of heavy metal physiology?

Dr. Meszaros: In the late 1990s, my partner and I were researching and developing natural products based on emerging science. There was a hypothesis being explored, which said that heavy metal accumulation may be a contributing factor to certain mental, physical and developmental abnormalities. This work continues, but the hypothesis has yet to be conclusively proven. That said, we felt the research was encouraging enough that we began looking for natural ways to protect against heavy metal accumulation and to rid the body of excess metals that may have already built up. I ran a variety of experiments using different materials, but I wasn’t getting the results I was looking for until I was introduced to Humifulvate, which was being used in Hungary at the time for a different but related purpose.

SWANSON: What was Humifulvate used for back then, and why did you find it attractive for your project?

Dr. Meszaros: Humifulvate was, and is still, used in Hungary as a component in a very popular and effective mineral supplement. Today it’s used also for the elimination of and protection against heavy metals. What makes it so interesting is that it has both the ability to attract, trap and remove heavy metals and the ability to bond with dietary minerals and facilitate their absorption. This dual activity is quite remarkable.

SWANSON: What is Humifulvate, exactly?

Dr. Meszaros: Humifulvate is a combination of humic acid and fulvic acid, which are nothing more than decomposition products of plants. You find these molecules in peat and in coals like lignite, for example. Currently, the only pure Humifulvate in the world comes from a unique peat deposit in the valley of Lake Balaton. You see, it takes hundreds of thousands of years for enough material to decompose and produce enough of these substances to reach a concentration at which you can reasonably extract them.The peat deposits in this region have extraordinarily high concentrations of Humifulvate.

SWANSON: Can you explain what peat is, exactly? Is it the same as peat moss?

Dr. Meszaros: Peat is a rich, dense, soil-like matter composed of decayed vegetation and organic material. Peat moss grows within peat and becomes part of its composition. Basically, peat is partially decomposed matter that is held in this state by a concentration of acids that maintain an anaerobic environment. Those acids, as I mentioned earlier, are what we extract to make Humifulvate.

Hungarian Peat Field

Hungarian Peat Field

SWANSON: I had the pleasure of visiting the exact site of this unique peat deposit near Lake Balaton, and I must say it was very interesting to see firsthand where such a remarkable health product like Humifulvate comes from. I understand this peat deposit is very famous in Hungary.

Dr. Meszaros: Yes, it certainly is. The chemical and biological properties of this peat bog from which Humifulvate comes have been studied for over 40 years.

SWANSON: I realize that the modern research regarding Humifulvate has been ongoing for a long time, as you say; but is there also a long legacy of folklore about this peat?

Dr. Meszaros: Oh yes, the folklore surrounding Lake Balaton and the nearby peat bog goes back hundreds of years. There are just remarkable health-giving properties to Humifulvate and perhaps the peat itself that go beyond chelating minerals and heavy metals. For instance, every woman in Hungary knows that Lake Balaton is where you go to get that radiant beauty Hungarian women are known for. The legendary rejuvenative powers of its waters owe their reputation to the peat through which the water passes as it enters the lake. And, like the inventor of Humifulvate, Dr. Elek Csucska, farmers in the region knew that their animals seemed to thrive better on the land near the lake. Thanks to Dr. Csucska’s work in the 1970s, science began to lend credence to these legends and explain the benefits people believed on faith. At this point I believe there are over 60 studies on this peat and its components.

SWANSON: What are some of the other benefits to human health?

Dr. Meszaros: In addition to Humifulvate’s ability to chelate minerals and heavy metals, many of us believe that it may increase energy levels. We know it’s a powerful antioxidant and that, combined with its chelating properties, may explain its value for overall health and vitality.

SWANSON: How does Humifulvate work?

Dr. Meszaros: Put simply, it’s a chelating agent, which means that it attracts and bonds with elements like heavy metals and dietary minerals through an ion-exchange process. Now, I said that Humifulvate is a combination of humic acid and fulvic acid, and this is important to its dual benefits. Humic acid is a rather large molecule, while fulvic acid is a much smaller molecule. The humic acid component is too large to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Heavy metals are attracted to the humifulvate molecules, which bond with them through ion exchange and then carry them along when expelled from the body. The fulvic acid, on the other hand, is small enough to be absorbed into the bloodstream where it can bond with valuable essential minerals like magnesium, for instance, and facilitate bioavailability. The humic acid has a stonger influence, a much tighter affinity, than the fulvic acid, however, which is what makes Humifulvate so attractive as a detoxifying supplement.

SWANSON: Can you briefly describe some of the research that has been done with Humifulvate?

Dr. Meszaros: Certainly. I think perhaps the most profound research is that conducted by Dr. Sallai Eva, who is an attending physician at Hungary’s most famous ornamental leaded glass factory. Now, her trials weren’t the strict laboratory studies we rest our hats on in the scientific community, but rather open trials in which she enlisted Humifulvate to help the workers defend against the extraordinary exposure to lead they received day in and day out. Also, the work of Dr. Bela Gachalyi is very important. He conducted the authoritative safety studies on Humifulvate and performed an analysis of 1,125 cases in which people used a Humifulvate-containing product. He investigated Humifulvate’s effect and found no adverse effects. Dr. Eva also reported no adverse effects.

SWANSON: Your Metal Shield formula includes other ingredients as well. What are the benefits to combining these ingredients with Humifulvate?

Dr. Meszaros: First of all, it’s important to protect the integrity of the Humifulvate as it progresses through the body in order to ensure that it remains active. Vitamin C does this very well, so there’s a bit of that in the formula. Next, we know from studies on the physiology of heavy metals in our bodies that mercury, for instance, binds to the amino acid L-cysteine. The free amino acid L-cysteine also displays this affinity, so it makes a useful adjunct to Humifulvate. I was pleased to learn that Swanson was partnering with Ajinomoto Corporation, the world’s recognized quality leader in pharmaceutical grade amino acids. Ajinomoto is one of Japan’s premier pharmaceutical companies. The formula also contains chlorella, about which we have lots of evidence for cleansing and detoxifying. Finally, Spanish black radish is included to encourage peristalsis, the wave-like contractions that move the bowels. As I said, the humic acid binds heavy metals in the GI tract, so we need something to help move them out and black radish accomplishes this nice and gently.

SWANSON: How do you recommend people take your Metal Shield product?

Dr. Meszaros: I recommend one capsule daily.

SWANSON: Thank you, Dr. Meszaros, for sharing your experience and insight with us.

Dr. Meszaros: It’s my pleasure, Lee. I’m confident your customers will find great success with Metal Shield. I encourage everyone to visit as well for a series of interviews I did with host Raena Morgan. The site is really a great place for information. It’s so easy to jump on and watch a few short videos. I’m glad to be a part of it, and I know it’s really going to catch on.