While researching several health issues, including headache migraines that I’ve been suffering from for years, I stumbled upon the little known issue of heavy metal toxicity, mercury in particular, and its chelation. Little did I know how deep that rabbit hole goes. I spent many weeks reading books, forums and expert sites on the subject and once I understood what I needed to do — I acted on this issue. I decided to share my notes with you. I’m not trying to convince you of anything, other than sharing what I found resonating with me and what I did about it. And as they say YMMV.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Should You Care?
- 2 Three Stage Process
- 3 Bonding and Chelating Agents
- 4 How to Test for Heavy Metals?
- 5 Prioritizing Mercury Removal
- 6 Removing the Toxic Sources First
- 7 Chelating Your Brain
- 8 Elimination
- 9 Chelation Protocols
- 10 Andy Cutler Protocol
- 11 Dosage
- 12 Dose Frequency
- 13 Length of Chelation Cycles
- 14 When to Stop Chelating
- 15 Purchasing DMSA and ALA
- 16 Purchasing a Countdown Timer
- 17 Body Restocking
- 18 My Supplement Schedule
- 19 Body Monitoring During Chelation
- 20 Doing the Hair Element Test
- 21 Single Thiol “Chelators” are Harmful
- 22 EDTA
- 23 Why IV-Based Chelation Protocols Are A Bad Idea
- 24 Using Homeopathy to Chelate Heavy Metals
- 25 What to do Next
- 26 Literature
Why Should You Care?
Most people are unaware that they are loaded with heavy metals which affect their health in many subtle and not so subtle ways. Some incredibly debilitating diseases can be developed in an environment of a body with a suppressed immune system, as heavy metals excel at accomplishing just that – compromising the immune system by disrupting metabolism and essential minerals transport through the body.
The effects can be of having migraine headaches, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer, Lyme and various other autoimmune diseases, damaged bones, lungs, liver, kidneys, the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal (GI) systems, make the body more susceptible to cancer, etc. To make things even worse — unfriendly bacteria thrive in bodies with a compromised immune system and are very difficult to eradicate. Some sources suggest that certain bacteria possess mind control abilities and it’ll drive its host to perform activities that will result in ingestion of heavy metals, so that it’d be easier to make the immune system even weaker and for bacteria to establish a stronghold.
There is a long list of very useful to us elements, which become very detrimental to us if they end up being inside of our bodies. This list includes: Aluminum, Antimony, Arsenic, Beryllium, Bismuth, Cadmium, Lead, Mercury, Nickel, Platinum, Thallium, Thorium, Tin, Tungsten, Uranium and some other elements.
Three Stage Process
To help you better understand what it takes to get rid of heavy metals we are going to talk about a 3 stage process of (1) Bonding, (2) Elimination and (3) Restocking.
- a. trap the heavy elements in a “cage”
- b. escort them into the elimination system.
- a. make sure that the elimination systems of urination, defecation and sweat glands are properly functional.
- b. support and encourage the elimination process.
- Restocking — the extraction process takes a toll on the body and in the process it often depletes body’s essential elements, which need to be restocked.
In the rest of the article we will discuss each stage in detail.
Bonding and Chelating Agents
A strong body with an uncompromised immune system knows how to eliminate the invaders without any intervention from its host, except it can deal with only a limited amount of it since it’s only recently that humans started to ingest heavy metals in big quantities, so the evolution may need a few million years to catch up. But we can’t wait that long.
Luckily there are ways to aid our bodies in heavy metal elimination with the help of chelation agents which when ingested find the heavy metals and chemically bind to them and then take them out of the system via sweat, urine and feces. The word “Chelation” comes from “chelos” (to claw). Since each heavy metal element has a different molecular structure, the same chelating agenst may bond strongly with one element, weakly with another or not at all. Therefore depending on what heavy metal is targeted the best corresponding chelating agent should be used.
It’s crucial that the created bond is strong and won’t break until the unwanted elements are escorted out of the system. If the bonding is weak the outcome can be of a disastrous nature to the host, since a heavy metal re-distribution will then happen instead of its elimination. While having the heavy metals lodged in the body tissues is bad, having a huge amount of freely floating heavy metals in the body could cause a lot more damage, especially if it manages to bypass the brain blood barrier (BBB) and enter the brain, which could have a devastating effect to the owner of that brain.
It’s also crucial to have the elimination systems working well, since if you are constipated, not drinking enough water and (slightly less important) not sweating, even the best chelators won’t help as the body will not eliminate and the heavy metals will go right back into the body. Therefore one shouldn’t approach this subject lightly and you need to understand well the
There are three main chelators that have been used by the medical system for several decades now and depending on your whereabouts can be easily bought either over-counter or via a prescription. Typically these are prescribed when someone has an acute heavy metal poisoning, e.g. someone “playing” with the balls of “quick silver” from an old style thermometer that contained mercury, some factory malfunctioning where toxic heavy metals get released in the air, etc. These three mainstream chelating agents are DMSA, DMPS and EDTA.
Heavy metal chelation process is a mother of all controversies, so there is a controversy in every aspect of it. The first controversy is that professionals cannot agree on how to dosage these agents. Some profess giving huge infusions
How to Test for Heavy Metals?
Now, the biggest problem with this situation is that it’s very difficult to measure the amount of any of these elements in the body, as most reside deep in the tissues and there is no way to know what’s going on inside. The simplest test of analyzing the blood is typically quite useless since only elements that have recently entered the body may show up in the blood. The same goes for urine test, since it will only show what body is able to eliminate unassisted and not the true load on the body.
There are two other tests that appear to give a better indication. They are Urine Provocation Test and Hair Test.
The Urine Provocation Test involves taking a chelating agent and then analysing the urine samples taken before and after the intake. Through this process one can get an idea of how much of each heavy metal the body was able to eliminate. Depending on the chelating agent the results could be very different as some will have a better affinity with some heavy metals but not the others. The problem with this method, is that the single dose of chelator given, which is often very large, stirs up the metals, and at the half life of the chelator, the bond between metal and chelator weakens. When this happens, a lot of metal is dumped on the body and will get redistributed, and a large dump of toxic metals can actually be dangerous, and therefore is not advised. For more details see “Why IV-Based Chelation Protocols Are A Bad Idea“, and while one can do this test by taking the chelator orally, the same side-effects of a single large dose apply.
The Hair Test involves a collection of several grams of hair from the head (pubic hair can be used as well, but is a second preference) — the 1 inch length of the hair closest to the root is used for the test. Based on the hair analysis one can tell a lot about the mineral transport in body in the last 3 months and there are techniques to tell whether the mineral transport is damaged which would point the guilty finger at the heavy metals. It also provides an indication of the heavy metals in the body, since the body will try to eliminate heavy metals via hair as well.
Both tests show the absolute numbers, and also a correlation of your numbers to the numbers of all the previous tests taken before you.
These tests are very controversial since they give only a clue of what might be going wrong and not the clear picture — no such tests have been devised yet.
At the end of this article I will make recommendation on where to do these tests should you choose to do it.
When I did my first test I knew nothing about this whole subject and relied on someone I thought to be an expert – so I ended up doing a urine provocation test using IV-DMPS, which was extremely expensive ($250!) and as I learned later – was not the safest thing to do. The report came back saying that I’m extremely loaded on mercury and about half as much on lead. I then started doing a chelation with EDTA, which 2 months later I discovered wasn’t the smartest thing to do since I had a lot of mercury. So I stopped that protocol and started researching the topic. Once I educated myself I did a hair test analysis for under $100 as a reference point, since in the future I’d like to continue doing the more affordable test to watch my progress. I hope this article will save you from making the same mistakes I did.
Prioritizing Mercury Removal
Mercury, which is most commonly found in a tooth filling material called Dental Amalgam, leeches into its owner body day by day, and those who have many filling and had them for years are guaranteed to be loaded with it. Second most common and significant source of mercury is vaccination. There are many other ways of getting mercury into one’s body: food, air, water, etc.
Mercury is the one of the nastiest of toxic heavy metals and should be dealt with first. Therefore if there is a suspect to high load (such as dental amalgam) or the tests show high do choose a chelation protocol that deal with mercury removal first, since it causes the biggest damage in your body. Also since a chelating agent provides a strong bond with some heavy metals, it provides a weak bond with other heavy metals and is more likely to lose the bond before it gets out the body and thus cause more damage. For example EDTA is a poor chelator for Mercury (but great for Lead), therefore if you have a lot of Mercury, do not start with EDTA. DMSA, DMPS and ALA (Alpha-Lipoic Acid) are good for Mercury, but see below about ALA and brain blood barrier.
Removing the Toxic Sources First
Before you go on starting a chelation process you need to make sure to first eliminate any recurrent sources of heavy metals that might be affecting your body.
Dental amalgam in one’s teeth is the obvious one. Since every time you brush your teeth, chew on things, expose your mouth to hot and cold temperatures, grind your teeth, etc. – the fillings will send a fresh portion of poison into your body. So you will want to invest your hard earned money and replace those fillings with modern substitute that contain no mercury and other bad toxins. The following is very important: do not ask your usual dentist to perform this procedure, go and see a specially trained biological dentist, who will make sure that you are not going to inhale mercury vapours and get bits of mercury into your mouth during the extraction. It’ll certainly cost you more, but it’ll save you a lot on your health expenses in the long run.
Chelating Your Brain
Your brain stands apart from the rest of the body due to its protection gate called the brain blood barrier (BBB), very few elements can pass through that barrier. Unfortunately mercury goes through it and lodged itself in the brain tissues, with devastating results in the long run to your overall health.
Most chelating agents can’t cross the brain blood barrier.
It’s not recommended to start using chelating agents (such as ALA) that cross the brain blood barrier (BBB) until the rest of the body had a chance to unload at least some of its heavy metal load first. Since if the body is overloaded chances are high that mercury removed from the brain tissues will right come back in since the body won’t be able to eliminate it.
If you have just removed the last of your mercury amalgam fillings it’s recommended to wait for 3 months before attempting to chelate your brain. Meanwhile start chelating the rest of the body with agents that can’t cross BBB.
Remember that once the heavy metals pass into the elimination system they are still in our body. So it’s essential to make sure that the waste matter comes out as often as possible to ensure a minimal heavy metal redistribution. Do not attempt to chelate your body until you restore your elimination systems to normal, as otherwise you could harm yourself beyond repair.
That also means that you need to normalize the function of liver and kidneys, since if either is compromised your body won’t be able to handle the processing of the additional toll that a chelation process will load the body with.
During the chelation process it’s recommended to:
- sweat a lot (sauna, hot bath, exercise, etc.) — drink a lot of of water so that you don’t get dehydrated
- drink a lot of water and urinate often
- get as many bowel movements as possible — definitely more than once a day. Various kinds of enemas are of great help, especially coffee enemas. Enemas will help you to have a peace of your mind, since you know for sure you’re getting those nasty toxic bits out of your body.
Sauna clears the blood and extracellular space, like DMPS and DMSA, but if an adult sweats out a quart or two of sweat a day it is the same as using 100-200 mg DMSA every 4 hours that day. It clears a lot of other things, too, and it turns out sweat is the major route nickel takes on its way out of the body.
Depending on the chelating agents you choose some rely more on the urinary elimination, whereas others on bowel movement. For example with ALA 3/4 of elimination goes through feces, and 1/4 of it via urine. Taking DMSA or DMPS will increase the urine portion.
DMSA-heavy metal complexes are excreted through urine. However this does not mean the kidneys are stressed. Alkalinizing urine is only required for cadmium. It doesn’t make a difference for other metals. Liver is not involved here.
Fasting is not OK at the beginning of chelation (mercury may get stuck in the intestine).
Lots of complete protein (food or supplements: whey or free-form amino acids) is needed to move things along.
Colinics/enemas are important (mechanical intestinal support). To learn about enemas see this article on how to do enemas easily.
Constipation is a big problem.
There are many chelation protocols out there, all of which are highly controversial, especially since the mainstream medical system doesn’t believe anybody but acutely poisoned ones should worry about testing and eliminating their heavy metals.
Some of IV-based methods received a bad reputation as there quite a few reports of bad outcomes. Remember that if you do a provocation testing using IV, you are doing a pretty an actual chelation and which could have a strong effect on your body. When I did the very urine test, it was a IV-DMPS, I felt I was out of function for a few days after doing it. The IV protocols are not only more aggressive, but are much more expensive, since typically it requires equipment and a nurse to to perform the IV.
Andy Cutler Protocol
After an extensive reading and research I found that what resonated the most with me was Andy Cutler’s protocol which is described in his book “Amalgam Illness – Diagnosis And Treatment” (Andrew Hall Cutler). An excellent resource to read is a compilation of various mailing list posts by Andy at Moriam’s site.
The basic protocol is simple: Take DMSA and/or ALA every 3 hours for 3 or more days, then have a break for the same or longer period of time, and repeat the cycle for a year or longer. The details of the protocol are very important and the rest of the article will provide those.
- DMSA (alone or in combination with ALA): 1/8 to 1/2 mg of DMSA per pound of body weight, per dose
- ALA (alone or in combination with DMSA): 1/8 to 1/2 mg of ALA per pound of body weight, per dose.
Ratio of DMSA to ALA (if using both):
A 1:1 ratio seems to work fine. A ratio between 1:2 and 2:1 is best.
I weigh about 170lbs, so my dose is between 21 and 85 gram of each chelating agent.
These doses can be higher if tolerated, e.g. 100-150mg for 170lb is fine. (i.e. 0.6-0.9mg/lb), maximum is probably around 2mg/lb).
Here is the synthesis of comments by Andy about the core of his protocol:
There is no requirement to take ALA with food. It does not taste bad, but it does irritate the throat if taken as powder (no problem if taken in capsules).
ALA crosses the brain barrier, DMSP and DMSA don’t. But don’t start ALA until 3 months after amalgams have been removed, as there things haven’t settled yet and potentially a lot of mercury floating in the blood and we don’t want it to enter the brain more than it does already.
ALA can be used on its own, but if you give DMSA with the ALA, since the DMSA does NOT cross the blood-brain barrier, it stays on the blood side and reduces the free mercury concentration in the bloodstream. This reduces the rate of back diffusion into the brain, and thus (modestly in most cases) increases the net rate of brain mercury clearance and decreases the side effects experienced with just taking ALA.
If the copper is over 50 (in Doctor’s Data Hair Test) you have to consider the potential of copper toxicity, which means no ALA for a while.
DMSA changes the side effects of ALA, but not always for the better. Most people like DMSA/ALA better. A few like ALA alone better. I don’t know why this is, but if the side effects are really bothersome I generally suggest trying it the other way.
Using a much larger dosage does increase the likelihood of side effects but doesn’t really accelerate clearance much. It is also much more expensive.
Time release ALA doesn’t work. It’s unclear about time release DMSA. I.e. Have to wake up during the night to take the night doses — can push it to 4 hours if really have to.
ALA can lead to frequent urination; this can be a sign of too high a dose
Substantially increased symptoms, new symptoms, indications of unhappiness or discomfort would indicate that dosage should be reduced. Chelating does increase symptoms somewhat while it is going on. This should not be a wild increase, but a modest one and should clear up a day or two after you stop.
DMSA raises body temperature is many people.
ALA added to DMSA could make a person a bit more depressive. LA alone is often emotional – personally I got quite reproducible euphoria on LA alone, along with obsessive stuff, and got slightly depresssive stuff on LA + DMSA. Some people, more common among women it seems, get teary and emotional on LA or LA + DMSA. Again, the effects are pretty individual.
Personal observations: At the time of this writing I’ve been on this protocol for 6 months, the first 3 months on just 50mg DMSA (as I had my amalgams removed shortly before I started the protocol) and the subsequent 3 months on 50mg DMSA and 100mg ALA.
I personally can’t handle more than 50mg of DMSA. I tried taking 100mg of it and I started getting a heart burn, unpleasant feelings in my belly and it just didn’t feel right. 50Mg most of the time has been unnoticeable to me. Since I added ALA I find that DMSA is even less noticeable. I still get some bad smelling burps at times, but that’s as bad as it gets. Andy suggests that trying to take larger quantities of the agents isn’t necessarily going to speed the process up.
Half-life of DMSA and ALA is about 3 hours, therefore in order to have a consistent level of the agents in the body — it is absolutely essential to take a dose every 3 hours during the day, every 4 hours of the night (compromise). But the more often the better, (every 15min would be the best but would be insane to manage).
It’s suggested to finish the 3+ days cycle with a 1-2 doses of just DMSA which should ease aftereffects.
Length of Chelation Cycles
- At least a 3 days on. Three days on or more is recommended. 2.6 days on is acceptable. (3 entire daytimes and the 2 nights in between = 2.6 days.) (Also, Friday after school until Monday morning = 2.6 days.) Less is getting iffy.
- At least as many days off as you had on. Need to give time to the body to recover, also help decrease the levels of copper and zinc.
- There is not an obvious one-size-fits-all answer. The following are all reasonable options: 3 days on, 4 days off. OR 3 days on, 11 days off. Many other options are also reasonable.
- Two weeks on at most.
Personal observations: Needing to take the doses at night is definitely disruptive and for me it requires more sleep, therefore I end up needing more than 8 hours, in which case 4 hour gaps are of no win to me. So I stick to the 3-hour schedule during the night as well, which also simplifies the timing, as I run a self-restarting 3-hour countdown vibrate alarm, which is awesome.
When I don’t have the luxury to sleep in – I stick to the short 3 day on/4 days off cycles, so I get only Fri and Sat nights with interruptions. When I do have the flexibility I do 5 days on/5+ days off.
When to Stop Chelating
The question of “when to stop” is a difficult one and I too think the proper answer is “keep going until you are sure there is no more, then do a bit more just to be safe.” I don’t really think there is a better answer than that. If you go too long you waste some time and money, but if you don’t go long enough you waste a lifetime of potential better health. If urine test shows no more mercury that’s one way to know (given that mineral transport is not deranged).
Andy made a crude estimate of removing 0.5-1% of the present mercury (not the original amount) for each day of chelation, someone charted it here.
- The red chart is for taking the maximum recommended doze of 1/2 mg per pound of body weight, per dose.
- The blue chart is for the taking minimum recommended doze of 1/8 mg per pound of body weight, per dose.
update 2017-07: Someone in the Andy Cutler Chelation Support Group FB group said: “Andy and I talked about the curves he published. They were both for 100 mg of ALA. The blue chart is lower estimate of mercury removal and the red chart is for the higher. The data are from rates and will represent the curves of a group of people well, but are not specific for a single person.” I wasn’t able to find Andy stating that change himself, so I provide it for you as is. Should you find a recent quote from Andy on that please update me in the comments section below with the link to such a statement and I will adjust the legend accordingly. Thank you.
Based on this graph one can see that it’d take about 2 years for a full clean out, assuming that you do the same amount of days on and off, yet after just 6 months the amount will get reduced by about 60%.
It is impossible to mobilize the mercury and get it out without doing SOME damage. This is minor as long as you allow some time between campaigns to let it heal up, but you don’t want to keep going so long it becomes significant.
Purchasing DMSA and ALA
The widespread brand name for prescription DMSA is “Chemet” . It apparently has some bad ingredients — therefore it’s better to compound just DMSA. Getting it from a local compounding pharmacy could be quite expensive, though I found a great compounding pharmacy in South Africa – Living Network which had the best price after comparing many online offers. They have prepackaged bottles of DMSA capsules, so you’re not paying the overhead of an individual compounding job. Their DMSA capsules also include Magnesium Aspartate and Vitamin C. The product ships for free and if you don’t mind waiting about 3 weeks, they provide a great deal. I bought many bottles of 50mg caps of DMSA from them. Their site provides tons of useful resources on chelation with Andy’s protocol and their support was extremely helpful and friendly to deal with.
For 100mg capsules ALA (with Magnesium Stearate) I found swansonvitamins.com to provide the best deal including free shipping (you will need to find an up-to-date coupon for that). Iherb’s offer was 2nd best. Of course prices could have changed meanwhile and there are better offers to be had elsewhere.
Purchasing a Countdown Timer
Getting the best possible countdown timer that does the job is absolutely crucial. I can’t stress this enough. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but ideally it should have the following three features:
- an automatically self-restarting count-down feature
- support periods of 3 to 4 hours (many timers on the market go only up to 99 minutes)
- vibration feature (as you probably don’t want to wake up others in your house and also it could be a more gentle way to wake up for some)
If it doesn’t have at least the first 2 features you are very likely to sabotage the chelation process since it’ll make things too complicated. The chelation process works smoothly when you don’t need to think about, and you do it as if you brush your teeth.
After experimenting with various timers I found that a watch works the best for me as I’m less likely to forget to have it with me. I have it set to an automatic 3-hour countdown, so every time it’s down to 0 it vibrates and immediately starts a new 3 hour cycle. I obviously stop the alarm on the days when I don’t chelate.
And here is a useful trick for you — since taking the dose more frequently is not a problem, what I always do is I take a dose right before I go to sleep, so I make sure I end up having almost 3 hours of sleep before I get interrupted by the alarm. So say I had doses at 6pm, 9pm, 12am and if I go to sleep at 1:00am, I take another dose at 1am and reset the timer, so next I will be woken up at 4am and not at 3am. Remember that you can push the gap to 4 hours during the night, so if you sleep less than 8 hours, you will be woken up only once during the night sleep.
I have the capsules in easily accessible caps right by my bed and a glass of water, so when I wake up I can easily reach out and take those in. I recommend sitting up to swallow the capsules and take a few extra gulps of water to make sure it reaches the stomach. The few times I tried to cheat and stay horizontal I had the capsules stack and melt somewhere half-way to my stomach and I got the burning sensation in my oesophagus, which wasn’t feeling too good.
I ended up buying a cheap $27 Casio Vibration Alarm LDF10-1A watch (I got the black version which looks OK on a man). The watch has a very strange user interface, making the seconds the most prominent display, but it works perfectly for this job. It is compact and “flat” so it doesn’t bother me while I sleep. I won’t be wearing it otherwise ;)
You can definitely buy fancier watches like VibraLITE-3 which look better, while providing the required functionality listed here, but I really didn’t need a new watch, so I wasn’t keen on investing extra. There are very few watches out there that support vibration alarm while providing all the other features needed for this chelation protocol.
If you don’t want a watch — consider getting the Invisible Timer, which is very practical for many things, except I couldn’t use its vibrating feature at night since I couldn’t sleep with it attached to my body, so I ended up not using it.
Finally you want to support the body while it’s doing the heavy lifting of ridding itself of heavy metals. So you need to consider to supplement during the chelation process. Supplements will make things much more comfortable by reducing the amount of damage the mercury does while it is being dragged out of the system. Minerals are taken every day (if they are appropriate) regardless whether you are chelating or not on that day.
Daily Supplement Recommendation for adults during chelation:
Water soluble vitamins and herbals need to be given 4 times a day for best effect.
- Buffered vitamin C (total) 0.5 to 2 grams per dose, 4 of those doses daily (5-20mg/lb/doze)
- B complex (total) 12.5-25 mg equivalent to “b25” or “b50” 4 times a day – Quarter a “b-50” or “b-100” tablet. This is to support liver metabolism to make more ATP since this enzyme uses a lot of VitB.
- Zinc (total) 50-100 mg (0.25-0.5mg/lb) spread through the day. Zinc increases the body’s level of the protein metalothionein, which stores and passivates mercury (and copper, and zinc, and other things). Zinc also reduces body copper levels by hindering absorption, and copper is synergistic with mercury.
- Magnesium (total) 500-1000 mg in divided doses through the day (especially if diarrhoea, and decrease dosage if still having it).
- Vitamin A – 5 RDA’s per day. CLO is an OK source as are vitamin A supplements of any other kind (I realize there is some belief that only CLO has the “right” form of vitamin A, I don’t have an opinion on this one way or the other). If you use CLO, add the vitamin E soon if not right away. Andy Cutler is fond of large doses, but many people find this scary since none of them read 1960’s medical books any more and don’t remember how dermatologists used to treat acne (with 300,000 IU of A per day for months on end).
- Milk thistle extract 0.5-1 capsule 4 times a day preferably w/meals [liver support] (Jarrow brand is recommended) (equivalent to 250-750 mg silymarin)
- Vitamin E 1000-3000 IU daily (take d-alpha tocopherol (natural form) not dl-alpha tocopherol (synthetic form).
- Mixed carotenes, lycopene, etc.
- Flaxseed or oil (total) 1-3 tbsp = 15-50g, mixed in food, but not cooked
- Borage oil 1-4 grams.
- Chromium picolinate 200 mcg with every meal (i.e. 600 mcg/day)
- Molybdenum about 1000 mcg a day. Use to improve sulfate production and thus availability of the substrate. (*also reduces copper ;)
- CoQ10 100-400mg.
- Cysteine (like NAC) — only if tested to have low plasma cysteine — most people have high cysteine.
- Vinpocetine 5mg 3x per day.
- Biotin 5-10mg 4 times a day (i.e. 20-50mg/day) for people with elevated pyruvate (on conventionally normed lab tests, not “out of reference range” in the yellow on alternative lab tests, otherwise a few hundred mcg is more than enough, split up during the day. [“normal” recommended dose is insanely low 60 mcg/day]. Egg yolk, liver, avocado and salmon are among the richest sources of biotin.
- Taurine 500-3000 mg a day (liver and mood support), but 50-100 mg a day are considered more effective than high doses (and could be a bad idea for those who have high levels of taurine relative to cysteine).
- Selenium (total) 200 mcg as selenomethionine. (1-2mcg/lb). There are two things selenium does:
First, it binds very tightly to mercury and passivates it. Thus taking more selenium reduces the level of “free” mercury that is bouncing around doing damage.
Second, there are some important enzymes in your body that require selenium. Since mercury binds very tightly to selenium it interferes with these enzymes. Taking more selenium lets your body make more of these enzymes. Two of them are glutathione peroxidase and the enzyme which converts the thyroid hormone T4 to the more active form T3.
Uva ursi and marshmallow root are kidney-protective botanicals.
My Supplement Schedule
A nutrition expert prepared a broken down schedule for me. As I learned this is not a simple job since it requires knowledge of how different supplements interact with each other, some need to be taken before food, others with food, etc. Feel free to borrow my schedule if it works for you. Remember that you will need to adjust the doses depending on your body weight and the type of supplement your end up buying, but the grouping will stay the same.
Daily Supplement Breakdown:
- Liposomal-Vitamin C 3-4 doses split through the day
30 min before breakfast:
- Taurine powder 50-100mg a day to start and then in time can increase to 500-3000 mg a day
15 min before breakfast:
- Milk thistle 1 tsp
- Raw B-Complex 1 pill
- Vitamin A Palmitate powder 125mg
- Biotin 1/2 tablet Natrol
- CarotenALL 1 capsule per day (Jarrow )
- CoQ101 cap of Natural Factors
- Vitamin E 1 cap (Healthy Origins)
- NAC 1 cap mg of Jarrow
- Vinpocetine 1 tablets of Source naturals
- Borage oil 1 capsule daily (Nature’s Way Borage)
- Zinc picolinate 20% powder 250mg
- Magnesium Glycinate powder 400-500mg
- Ultra-K2 1 cap
- Flaxseed or oil 1 tbsp mixed in food, but not cooked
15 min before lunch:
- Milk thistle 1 tsp
- Raw B-Complex 1 pill
- Selenium1 capsule (Now foods)
- Chromium Picolinate 2 capsules (Now foods)
- Molybdenum 2 tablets of Carlson Labs Moly-B
- CoQ10 1 cap of Natural Factors
- NAC 1 cap of Jarrow
- Flaxseed or oil 1 tbsp mixed in food, but not cooked
15 min before dinner:
- Milk thistle 1 tsp
- Raw B-Complex 1 pill
- Zinc picolinate 20% powder 250mg
- Magnesium Glycinate powder 400-500mg
- Vitamin A Palmitate powder 125mg
- Biotin 1/2 tablet Natrol
- Boron 1 pill
- CoQ10 2 caps of Natural Factors
- NAC 1 cap of Jarrow
- Vinpocetine 1/2 tablet
- Flaxseed or oil 1 tbsp mixed in food, but not cooked
We make our own home-made Liposomal-Vitamin C, which costs about 1/10th of the commercial version and is almost as efficient. Look up the instructions for making it on youtube or google if you’re curious to learn more – Lipo-C has a much higher absorption rate since it doesn’t get affected by a digestive tract.
Body Monitoring During Chelation
- DMSA clears through kidneys, so strong kidneys are important — need to test creatinine clearance test.
- Plasma cysteine test through Great Smokies labs.
- Do liver profile to make sure your liver is not under too much stress.
- Perform a CBC test after a couple of months of DMSA. If anyone is chelating even with low dose DMSA and starts to get infections, e. g. sinus problems with each chelation cycle, a CBC is a really good idea if they want to continue with the DMSA. One of the known possible adverse reactions for DMSA is neutropenia, where one particular type of white blood cell dies off (CBC tests for this).
Doing the Hair Element Test
The bottom line is this: if you test high on mercury then you’re toxic, if not, it means nothing and you need to check for disrupted mineral transport which can be done by looking at the essential elements results of the test (counting rules from Andy Cutler protocol) — so this requires HAIR ELEMENTS TEST, run through DOCTOR’S DATA INC. Do NOT get their “hair toxic exposure” test — it does not include the essential elements. More indepth on the topic here.
Hair test is also less risky as you are not required to take a provocation chelator, which could have side effects. A safe way to do it is to do Oral DMSA every 4 hours – and taking a 24 hour sample during that (and ideally continue on for 3 days in total, i.e. 2 more days after the sample has been collected.
Don’t test for mercury in urine or blood with or without challenge agents since it is not diagnostic. Instead look carefully at the hair report – the essential elements should be all over the place, or mostly very low if the person is toxic, but more or less average otherwise.
Andy wrote an in-depth book on just the Hair Testing: Hair Test Interpretation: Finding Hidden Toxicities. It includes the explanation of the counting rules and a lot of test cases.
You don’t need to pay too much to your local naturopath who could easily charge $150-250 for such a test. Buy a test kit online and it comes with all the instructions and return envelope to send it back to Doctor’s Data lab.
Last I checked (fall 2013) the following were giving the best value for DIY hair test kit:
- labtestingdirect.com $85 + $6 shipping (for each kit)
- holisticheal.com $85 + $9 shipping (same for 2 kits) [I bought the kit from this shop several times] – Dr. Amy also writes her comments on the results of the test for free.
- drvitaminsoluions.com $95
- directlabs.com (search for hair): $119.00 in usa, $144.00+shipping international.
(please search the sites for the kit, as they continuously move things around w/o any respect to other sites linking to them, so I no longer try to link to the product page).
Single Thiol “Chelators” are Harmful
Mercury binds to the thiol groups in enzymes that are a natural part of your body.
Which does imply thiol groups are a natural part of your body. in fact, your body has quite a large number of these. A few percent of the amino acids inside you are in fact cysteine/cystine and contain sulfur that binds mercury quite strongly. So you contain a few hundred grams of cysteine and related things, which is much more of it than you eat in a day even on a “high sulfur” diet.
So you have proteins that have one or more thiol groups sticking out that grab onto mercury.
You have things like cysteine, glutathione, etc. that you eat that have a single thiol group sticking out that grab onto mercury.
The thiol groups in your body and the thiol groups in this food (much of which ends up incorporated into your body and thus contributes to the thiol groups there) pass the mercury back and forth because the food doesn’t hold onto it any more strongly than your body does. The mercury atoms bounce back and forth a lot.
Since your body has a lot of thiol groups in it, eating more doesn’t provide a large excess of thiol groups to grab the mercury and carry it out – it just provides some extra ones to stir the mercury up.
If you want the mercury out of there you need to eat something that holds onto it more tightly than your body and that is excreted or accellerates mercury excretion indirectly.
Since proper chelating agents have 2 thiol groups per molecule they do hold onto the mercury more tightly than most of the biomolecules inside you, so it doesn’t bounce around as much on its way out.
Chelators have 2 sulfurs per molecule, glutathione has one. It is not a chelator for heavy metals.
Sulfur is an atom in many food molecules. Sometimes it is in the form of a thiol, and sometimes in another form that can be converted to a thiol. Sulfate and sulfite are the only forms that seems not to convert to a thiol.
People with too many thiols running around stir up their heavy metal burdens and are in essence more poisoned than they have to be given the amount of metal present.
Glutathione is only appropriate for low sulfur people, and is harmful for high sulfur people.
NAC. The way to increase glutathione to appropriate levels is NOT to give more cysteine, but to give adequate amounts of antioxidants.
Do not use chlorella, cysteine, penicillamine, glutathione, cilantro extract as they may cause permanent neurological damage (since they can’t properly eliminate the released mercury and it gets redistributed). Since chlorella is just a good cysteine source, and all the other “sulfur foods” contribute molecules that have one sulfur in them in the active form, what happens is you make the mercury atoms play pinball among the proteins in your body. They bounce hither and yon – and mercury does its damage when it sticks to a new sulfur group that belongs to you, or comes off of one. Since the “sulfur foods” contribute molecules with one sulfur they don’t hold onto the mercury any better than you do, and they greatly increase the amount of damage the mercury does without really removing much of it.
DMSO can also be a problem for the same reason – “sulfur”.
EDTA is great… for a lot of things other than mercury. EDTA is not useful for mercury. It is good for lead, but DMSA is better. EDTA is an old chelating agent for lead that has been superseded by DMSA, and is an “alternative medicine” treatment for vascular disease – most widely known as the alternative to bypass surgery that has all the heart surgeons up in arms since it actually works but bypass seldom does. As you would imagine, the level of controversy is intense.
Why IV-Based Chelation Protocols Are A Bad Idea
If you were to go to a naturopath (and other medical practitioners) you will be most likely offered an IV-based (Intravenous) protocol where you get an injection of a very large amount of a chelator over a relatively short period of time ( DMPS, DMSA, EDTA and ALA- alone or as a combination of 2 or more of these).
The differences between the two are: (1) cost in time and money, (2) damage to the body and (3) toll to the body.
Each IV injection costs $100-200 or even more as compared to Andy’s protocol which costs about $5 or even less for the same dose of chelator.
And then you have to travel to the practitioner and spend an hour or longer to receive an IV.
And then it’s very likely that you will be flat out not being able to function for hours under the huge stress resulting to your body.
2. Damage to the Body
As mentioned earlier in this article – the important key here is a half-life of the chelator (3h for DMSA/ALA, 8h for DMPS). For the sake of simplicity let’s assume that we are talking about DMSA and its 3 hour life time, after which the agent disintegrates and no longer able to perform the function it was designed for – escorting a tiny bit of a heavy metal out of the body.
Let’s recall how this mechanism works – the chelator comes in, extracts a heavy metal from the body tissues and then tries to get out of the body, carrying its “prisoner” with it. If however the chelator falls apart half way through because it passed its half-life duration, the “prisoner” falls out and not only doesn’t get carried out of the body, it now may cause additional damage to the body before it finds a new place to settle in. This damage would be much more so if it ends up circulating pass the brain blood barrier into the brain.
This is the crucial difference between IV-based protocols and Andy’s protocol. If you ensure that you continuously send small doses of fresh chelators every 3 hours, when the “dying” after 3 hours chelators will drop their load – that load will get immediately picked up by freshly injected chelators who will continue carrying the “prisoner” out of the system. And the carrying out process for a single load of heavy metal may take more than 2 intakes of a chelator dose therefore this process is continuous. This is exactly what happens under Andy’s protocol. If however you flood the body with a huge amount of a chelator via an IV – after the duration of the half-life of the chelator, the load is dropped and there is nothing to pick it up again. Hopefully you can see the problem here. You will find cases posted online that indicate that the impact of the IV-chelation on their health was so bad that they would have been better off doing nothing in first place.
Now when you take the very last dose in Andy’s protocol you have the same effect as an IV, since the last batch will not be able to fully carry out the dislodged heavy metals, and have some dropped – but the damage will be much much smaller since there will be much less chelator in the body and it’ll dislodge much less of heavy metal, causing a significantly smaller heavy metal redistribution. If you haven’t realized until now, this is one the protocol calls for a minimal 3 days length and the longer the better (up to 2 weeks), since it creates less episodes of “the last batch” scenario over the months of the chelation process.
3. Toll to the Body
IV-based chelation causes a very strong impact on the body, since suddenly it’s required to make a huge effort at removing its heavy metals. Our discussion here was very simplified and didn’t even start talking about many different processes happening in the body during chelation. Not only the main organs of elimination – liver and kidneys – suddenly have to deal with extra load, in the process the body gets depleted of many essential elements which it can’t replace quickly enough.
If you are in a very good health it’s possible that you will feel little to no impact, if your body is already under a strong burden and your health is so so, the IV-chelation could be the last drop and take you out of normal function from several hours to several days and the results can be even worse for the few unlucky ones.
I personally had to take it very easy for several days after doing a IV-DMPS urine provocation test, since I felt completely exhausted after it.
Note: There are other applications of IV-therapy, like IV-C, IV-D, etc. which are very beneficial for your body’s supplementation with some miraculous results for some, so please don’t flash the baby with the bath water, we are talking here only about IV-chelation.
Using Homeopathy to Chelate Heavy Metals
Andy, do you know anything about homeopathy to chelate?
Some. Not as much as using chelating agents, but enough that coupled with what happened to lots of actual people who tried it I think I can give you an accurate answer.
Despite religious belief to the contrary among “AMA worshippers,” homeopathy is effective in at least some instances.
Homeopathy seems to work by stimulating the body’s natural mechanisms to do their job better – which is what the practitioners claim it does.
There is no natural mechanism to remove mercury from the human brain. Once the mercury is in there, it does not come out. Thus one would not expect homeopathy to be effective at brain detox and indeed it is observed that it is not.
Homeopathy does seem to detox the body OK. However, as with some other approaches this does mobilize mercury and concentrate more of it into the brain (from which homeopathic remedies can’t remove it).
Everyone I know who tried homeopathic detox got more brain symptoms after it. Most of them did experience some relief of other symptoms.
I’d suggest you detox using non-homeopathic approaches and reserve homeopathy for treating or correcting whatever problems are experienced along the way.
Remember, a healing crisis is a necessary part of homeopathy. If you treat a sick kid homeopathically, they MUST get SICKER before they can improve. This is a pretty harsh thing to do to little children if there are other ways to go.
What to do Next
Everybody is different. What works for me may or may not work for you. I hope that my notes were helpful at getting a better picture of a problem and what can be done about it. However your path could be quite different from mine. Therefore if you decide to act on your situation I recommend not to follow my protocol, but only use it as a reference, and create your own. That means that you need to educate yourself, by first reading Andy’s books and second researching your own situation by reading the forum dedicated to Andy Cutler’s protocol, where you will find hundreds of people who either have done it already or are in the process of researching it. You can find it here:
Chances are that someone already asked the questions that you have so use the search. Yahoo Groups search is far from being good, so I’d recommend this archive instead: http://onibasu.com/ (check frequent-dose-chelation and dental-chelation radio buttons) and then search. And I will tell you a little secret – I haven’t asked a single question while doing this research, I found all the answers I needed in the archives of that forums (hint, hint!).
If after reading the books and the archives you still have unanswered questions I encourage you to ask any further questions at that Yahoo Group, since you will find there many knowledgeable people. My intention was to go in, learn what I needed for my situation, act on it and move on, so I probably won’t be able to even attempt to answer most of the questions that are not pertinent to my specific situation. If however you find some unclear or inaccurate things in this article by all means contact me and let’s make things as clear as possible.
- Amalgam Illness – Diagnosis And Treatment by Andrew Hall Cutler.
- Hair Test Interpretation: Finding Hidden Toxicities by Andrew Hall Cutler.
- The Mercury in Your Mouth: The Truth About “Silver” Dental Fillings by QuickSilver Associates.
- It’s All in Your Head: The Link Between Mercury Amalgams and Illness by Hal A. Huggins.